Project description:Objective: The aim of this study was to investigate how the tumor immune microenvironment differs regarding tumor genomics, as well as its impact on prognoses and responses to immunotherapy in East Asian patients with non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC). Methods: We performed an integrated analysis using publicly available data to identify associations between anti-programmed death 1 (PD-1)/ programmed death-ligand 1 (PD-L1) immunotherapy efficacy and classic driver oncogene mutations in East Asian NSCLC patients. Four pooled and clinical cohort analyses were used to correlate driver oncogene mutation status and tumor microenvironment based on PD-L1 and CD8+ tumor-infiltrating lymphocytes (TILs). Immune infiltrating patterns were also established for genomic NSCLC subgroups using the CIBERSORT algorithm. Results: Based on East Asian NSCLC patients, TIDE analyses revealed that for anti-PD-1/PD-L1 immunotherapy, epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR)-mutant and anaplastic lymphoma kinase (ALK)-rearranged tumors yielded inferior responses; however, although Kirsten rat sarcoma viral oncogene homolog (KRAS)-mutant tumors responded better, the difference was not statistically significant (EGFR: P = 0.037; ALK: P < 0.001; KRAS: P = 0.701). Pooled and clinical cohort analyses demonstrated tumor immune microenvironment heterogeneities correlated with oncogenic patterns. The results showed remarkably higher PD-L1- and TIL-positive KRAS-mutant tumors, suggesting KRAS mutations may drive an inflammatory phenotype with adaptive immune resistance. However, the EGFR-mutant or ALK-rearranged groups showed a remarkably higher proportion of PD-L1-/TIL-tumors, suggesting an uninflamed phenotype with immunological ignorance. Notably, similar to triple wild-type NSCLC tumors, EGFR L858R-mutant tumors positively correlated with an inflammatory phenotype, suggesting responsiveness to anti-PD-1/PD-L1 immunotherapy (P < 0.05). Furthermore, the CIBERSORT algorithm results revealed that EGFR-mutant and ALK-rearranged tumors were characterized by an enriched resting memory CD4+ T cell population (P < 0.001), as well as a lack of CD8+ T cells (P < 0.01), and activated memory CD4+ T cells (P = 0.001). Conclusions: Our study highlighted the complex relationships between immune heterogeneity and immunotherapeutic responses in East Asian NSCLC patients regarding oncogenic dependence.
Project description:Myelodysplastic syndromes (MDS) are a heterogeneous group of chronic hematological malignancies characterized by dysplasia, ineffective hematopoiesis and a variable risk of progression to acute myeloid leukemia. Sequencing of MDS genomes has identified mutations in genes implicated in RNA splicing, DNA modification, chromatin regulation, and cell signaling. We sequenced 111 genes across 738 patients with MDS or closely related neoplasms (including chronic myelomonocytic leukemia and MDS-myeloproliferative neoplasms) to explore the role of acquired mutations in MDS biology and clinical phenotype. Seventy-eight percent of patients had 1 or more oncogenic mutations. We identify complex patterns of pairwise association between genes, indicative of epistatic interactions involving components of the spliceosome machinery and epigenetic modifiers. Coupled with inferences on subclonal mutations, these data suggest a hypothesis of genetic "predestination," in which early driver mutations, typically affecting genes involved in RNA splicing, dictate future trajectories of disease evolution with distinct clinical phenotypes. Driver mutations had equivalent prognostic significance, whether clonal or subclonal, and leukemia-free survival deteriorated steadily as numbers of driver mutations increased. Thus, analysis of oncogenic mutations in large, well-characterized cohorts of patients illustrates the interconnections between the cancer genome and disease biology, with considerable potential for clinical application.
Project description:Most hepatocellular carcinomas (HCCs) develop in a chronically injured liver, yet the extent to which this microenvironment promotes neoplastic transformation or influences selective pressures for genetic drivers of HCC remains unclear. We sought to determine the impact of hepatic injury in an established mouse model of HCC induced by Sleeping Beauty transposon mutagenesis. Chemically induced chronic liver injury dramatically increased tumor penetrance and significantly altered driver mutation profiles, likely reflecting distinct selective pressures. In addition to established human HCC genes and pathways, we identified several injury-associated candidates that represent promising loci for further study. Among them, we found that FIGN is overexpressed in human HCC and promotes hepatocyte invasion. We also validated Gli2's oncogenic potential in vivo, providing direct evidence that Hedgehog signaling can drive liver tumorigenesis in the context of chronic injury. Finally, we show that a subset of injury-associated candidate genes identifies two distinct classes of human HCCs. Further analysis of these two subclasses revealed significant trends among common molecular classification schemes of HCC. The genes and mechanisms identified here provide functional insights into the origin of HCC in a chronic liver damage environment. CONCLUSION:A chronically damaged liver microenvironment influences the genetic mechanisms that drive hepatocarcinogenesis. (Hepatology 2018;67:924-939).
Project description:Chronic inflammation is a major etiological factor for hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC), but how immune cells respond in the initiation of hepatocarcinogenesis remains uncharacterized. This study aims to investigate the response and roles of neutrophils in early hepatocarcinogenesis.By inducible expression of oncogenic kras(V12) in hepatocytes in transgenic zebrafish combined with live imaging of neutrophils in transparent larvae, the response of neutrophils to oncogenic liver was characterized and their roles investigated by pharmaceutical and genetic manipulations.We found a rapid recruitment of neutrophils to the liver upon induction of kras(V12) expression. Pharmaceutical stimulation of neutrophils resulted in further increases of neutrophils in oncogenic livers, liver size and tumor severity, while inhibition of neutrophils caused decreases of liver-associated neutrophils and liver size. Time-lapse video indicated that neutrophils had a stagnant migratory pattern meandering along the tumor edge but became relatively stationary upon entering the kras(V12)-expressing liver. Both oncogenic hepatocytes and tumor-associated neutrophils (TANs) were isolated via fluorescence-activated cell sorting. Molecular analyses indicated a pro-inflammatory microenvironment, as marked by increased tgf?1a expression in kras(V12)-expressing hepatocytes and a loss of anti-tumor activities in TANs. Depletion of Tgf-? significantly reduced the number of TANs and the size of oncogenic liver.An inflammatory cue from oncogenic hepatocytes upon induction of kras(V12) expression causes a rapid recruitment of neutrophils to oncogenic liver and the neutrophils play a promoting role in early hepatocarcinogenesis.
Project description:K-Ras mutations are a hallmark of human pancreatic adenocarcinoma (PDAC) and epithelial-mesenchymal-transition (EMT) is a driver of progression. Oncogenic K-Ras causes the constitutive activation of NF-kB and the switch-on of an inflammatory program, which further fuels NF-kB and STAT3 activation. In this study we investigated how inflammatory pathways triggered by oncogenic K-Ras are regulated in human pancreatic cancer cells with distict epithelial or mesenchymal phenotype. Our results demonstrate that in cells with epithelial features, K-Ras driven inflammation is under the control of IL-1, while in cells undergoing EMT, is IL-1 independent. In pancreatic tumor cells with EMT phenotype, treatment with IL-1R antagonist (Anakinra) did not inhibit inflammatory cytokine production and tumor growth in mice. In these cells IL-6 is actively transcribed by the EMT transcription factor TWIST. Targeting of mesenchymal pancreatic tumors in vivo with anti-IL-6RmAb (RoActemra) successfully decreased tumor growth in immunodeficient mice, inhibited the inflammatory stroma and NF-kB-p65 and STAT3 phosphorylation in cancer cells. The results confirm that IL-1 is an important driver of inflammation in epithelial pancreatic tumors; however, tumor cells undergoing EMT will likely escape IL-1R inhibition, as IL-6 is continuously transcribed by TWIST. These findings have implications for the rational targeting of inflammatory pathways in human pancreatic cancer.
Project description:Preclinical modelling studies are beginning to aid development of therapies targeted against key regulators of pancreatic cancer progression. Pancreatic cancer is an aggressive, stromally-rich tumor, from which few people survive. Within the tumor microenvironment cellular and extracellular components exist, shielding tumor cells from immune cell clearance, and chemotherapy, enhancing progression of the disease. The cellular component of this microenvironment consists mainly of stellate cells and inflammatory cells. New findings suggest that manipulation of the cellular component of the tumor microenvironment is possible to promote immune cell killing of tumor cells. Here we explore possible immunogenic therapeutic strategies. Additionally extracellular stromal elements play a key role in protecting tumor cells from chemotherapies targeted at the pancreas. We describe the experimental findings and the pitfalls associated with translation of stromally targeted therapies to clinical trial. Finally, we discuss the key inflammatory signal transducers activated subsequent to driver mutations in oncogenic Kras in pancreatic cancer. We present the preclinical findings that have led to successful early trials of STAT3 inhibitors in pancreatic adenocarcinoma.
Project description:Hepatocellular Carcinoma (HCC) commonly develops in chronically damaged liver tissues. The resulting regenerative and inflammatory processes create an adverse milieu that promotes tumor-initiation and progression. A better understanding of the hepatic tumor-microenvironment interaction might infer profound therapeutic implications.Integrative whole genome and transcriptome analyses of different tumor regions, the invasive tumor border and tumor-surrounding liver (SL) were performed to identify associated molecular alterations and integrated with our existing HCC database. Expression levels and localization of established CSC markers were assessed in pre-neoplastic lesions and confirmed in two independent patient cohorts using qRT-PCR, immunohistochemistry and immunofluorescence.Our results indicate that genomic and transcriptomic profiles between SL and different tumor regions are quite distinct. Progressive increase in genetic alterations and activation of pathways related to proliferation as well as apoptosis were observed in the tumor tissue, while activation of stemness markers was present in cirrhotic SL and continuously decreased from pre-neoplastic lesions to HCC. Interestingly, the invasive tumor border was characterized by inflammatory and EMT-related gene sets as well as activation of pro-survival signaling. Consistently, integration of gene expression signatures with two independent HCC databases containing 300 HCCs revealed that border signatures are predictive of HCC patient survival.Prognostic significance of the permissive liver microenvironment might be a consequence of a pro-oncogenic field effect that is caused by chronic regenerative processes. Activation of key oncogenic features and immune-response signaling indicates that the cross-talk between tumor and microenvironment might be a promising therapeutic and/or preventive target.
Project description:The growth of cancer metastases in the liver depends on a permissive interaction with the hepatic microenvironment and neutrophils can contribute to this interaction, either positively or negatively, depending on their phenotype. Here we investigated the role of IGF-I in the control of the tumor microenvironment in the liver, using mice with a conditional, liver-specific, IGF-I deficiency (iLID) induced by a single tamoxifen injection. In mice that had a sustained (3 weeks) IGF-I deficiency prior to the intrasplenic/portal inoculation of colon carcinoma MC-38 cells, we observed an increase in neutrophil accumulation in the liver relative to controls. However, unlike controls, these neutrophils did not acquire the (anti-inflammatory) tumor-promoting phenotype, as evidenced by retention of high ICAM-1 expression and nitric oxide production and low CXCR4, CCL5, and VEGF expression and arginase production, all characteristic of the (pro-inflammatory) phenotype. This coincided with an increase in apoptotic tumor cells and reduced metastasis. Neutrophils isolated from these mice also had reduced IGF-IR expression levels. These changes were not observed in iLID mice with a short-term (2 days) IGF-I depletion, despite a 70% reduction in their circulating IGF-I levels, indicating that a sustained IGF-I deficiency was necessary to alter the neutrophil phenotype. Similar results were obtained with the highly metastatic Lewis lung carcinoma subline H-59 cells and in mice injected with an IGF-Trap that blocks IGF-IR signaling by reducing ligand bioavailability. Our results implicate the IGF axis in neutrophil polarization and the induction of a pro-metastatic microenvironment in the liver.
Project description:CD8(+) T cells recognizing tumor-specific antigens are detected in cancer patients but are dysfunctional. Here we developed a tamoxifen-inducible liver cancer mouse model with a defined oncogenic driver antigen (SV40 large T-antigen) to follow the activation and differentiation of naive tumor-specific CD8(+) T (TST) cells after tumor initiation. Early during the pre-malignant phase of tumorigenesis, TST cells became dysfunctional, exhibiting phenotypic, functional, and transcriptional features similar to dysfunctional T cells isolated from late-stage human tumors. Thus, T cell dysfunction seen in advanced human cancers may already be established early during tumorigenesis. Although the TST cell dysfunctional state was initially therapeutically reversible, it ultimately evolved into a fixed state. Persistent antigen exposure rather than factors associated with the tumor microenvironment drove dysfunction. Moreover, the TST cell differentiation and dysfunction program exhibited features distinct from T cell exhaustion in chronic infections. Strategies to overcome this antigen-driven, cell-intrinsic dysfunction may be required to improve cancer immunotherapy.
Project description:Cancer driver gene alterations influence cancer development, occurring in oncogenes, tumor suppressors, and dual role genes. Discovering dual role cancer genes is difficult because of their elusive context-dependent behavior. We define oncogenic mediators as genes controlling biological processes. With them, we classify cancer driver genes, unveiling their roles in cancer mechanisms. To this end, we present Moonlight, a tool that incorporates multiple -omics data to identify critical cancer driver genes. With Moonlight, we analyze 8000+?tumor samples from 18 cancer types, discovering 3310 oncogenic mediators, 151 having dual roles. By incorporating additional data (amplification, mutation, DNA methylation, chromatin accessibility), we reveal 1000+?cancer driver genes, corroborating known molecular mechanisms. Additionally, we confirm critical cancer driver genes by analysing cell-line datasets. We discover inactivation of tumor suppressors in intron regions and that tissue type and subtype indicate dual role status. These findings help explain tumor heterogeneity and could guide therapeutic decisions.