Cold Spring Harbor, NY, United States
Cold Spring Harbor, NY, United States

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Catanzaro J.M.,State University of New York at Stony Brook | Sheshadri N.,State University of New York at Stony Brook | Pan J.-A.,State University of New York at Stony Brook | Sun Y.,State University of New York at Stony Brook | And 4 more authors.
Nature Communications | Year: 2014

Mounting evidence indicates that oncogenic Ras can modulate cell autonomous inflammatory cytokine production, although the underlying mechanism remains unclear. Here we show that squamous cell carcinoma antigens 1 and 2 (SCCA1/2), members of the Serpin family of serine/cysteine protease inhibitors, are transcriptionally upregulated by oncogenic Ras via MAPK and the ETS family transcription factor PEA3. Increased SCCA expression leads to inhibition of protein turnover, unfolded protein response, activation of NF-ΰ B and is essential for Ras-mediated cytokine production and tumour growth. Analysis of human colorectal and pancreatic tumour samples reveals a positive correlation between Ras mutation, enhanced SCCA expression and IL-6 expression. These results indicate that SCCA is a Ras-responsive factor that plays an important role in Ras-associated cytokine production and tumorigenesis. © 2014 Macmillan Publishers Limited. All rights reserved.


PubMed | University of California at San Francisco, National University of Singapore, Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory and Cancer Genome Center
Type: Journal Article | Journal: PloS one | Year: 2015

Genomic analysis of human hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) is potentially confounded by the differentiation state of the hepatic cell-of-origin. Here we integrated genomic analysis of mouse HCC (with defined cell-of-origin) along with normal development. We found a major shift in expression of Wnt and RXR- pathway genes (up and down, respectively) coincident with the transition from hepatoblasts to hepatocytes. A combined Wnt and RXR- gene signature categorized HCCs into two subtypes (high Wnt, low RXR- and low Wnt, high RXR-), which matched cell-of-origin in mouse models and the differentiation state of human HCC. Suppression of RXR- levels in hepatocytes increased Wnt signaling and enhanced tumorigenicity, whereas ligand activation of RXR- achieved the opposite. These results corroborate that there are two main HCC subtypes that correspond to the degree of hepatocyte differentation and that RXR-, in part via Wnt signaling, plays a key functional role in the hepatocyte-like subtype and potentially could serve as a selective therapeutic target.


PubMed | Aichi Cancer Center Research Institute and Cancer Genome Center
Type: Journal Article | Journal: Cancer science | Year: 2015

Neuroblastoma is a pediatric solid tumor that originates from embryonic neural crest cells. The MYCN gene locus is frequently amplified in unfavorable neuroblastomas, and the gene product promotes the progression of neuroblastomas. However, the molecular mechanisms by which MYCN amplification contributes to stem cell-like states of neuroblastoma remain elusive. In this study, we show that MYCN and its cis-antisense gene, NCYM, form a positive feedback loop with OCT4, a core regulatory gene maintaining a multipotent state of neural stem cells. We previously reported that NCYM is co-amplified with the MYCN gene in primary human neuroblastomas and that the gene product promotes aggressiveness of neuroblastoma by stabilization of MYCN. In 36 MYCN-amplified primary human neuroblastomas, OCT4 mRNA expression was associated with unfavorable prognosis and was correlated with that of NCYM. The OCT4 protein induced both NCYM and MYCN in human neuroblastoma cells, whereas NCYM stabilized MYCN to induce OCT4 and stem cell-related genes, including NANOG, SOX2, and LIN28. In sharp contrast to MYCN, enforced expression of c-MYC did not enhance OCT4 expression in human neuroblastoma cells. All-trans retinoic acid treatment reduced MYCN, NCYM, and OCT4 expression, accompanied by the decreased amount of OCT4 recruited onto the intron 1 region of MYCN. Knockdown of NCYM or OCT4 inhibited formation of spheres of neuroblastoma cells and promoted asymmetric cell division in MYCN-amplified human neuroblastoma cells. These results suggest that the functional interplay between MYCN, NCYM, and OCT4 contributes to aggressiveness of MYCN-amplified human neuroblastomas.


Eifert C.,University at Albany | Eifert C.,Cancer Genome Center | Wang X.,University at Albany | Kokabee L.,University at Albany | And 4 more authors.
Genes Chromosomes and Cancer | Year: 2013

Tyrosine kinases orchestrate key cellular signaling pathways and their dysregulation is often associated with cellular transformation. Several recent cases in which inhibitors of tyrosine kinases have been successfully used as anticancer agents have underscored the importance of this class of proteins in the development of targeted cancer therapies. We have carried out a large-scale loss-of-function analysis of the human tyrosine kinases using RNA interference to identify novel survival factors for breast cancer cells. In addition to kinases with known roles in breast and other cancers, we identified several kinases that were previously unknown to be required for breast cancer cell survival. The most surprising of these was the cytosolic, nonreceptor tyrosine kinase, Bruton's tyrosine kinase (BTK), which has been extensively studied in B cell development. Down regulation of this protein with RNAi or inhibition with pharmacological inhibitors causes apoptosis; overexpression inhibits apoptosis induced by Doxorubicin in breast cancer cells. Our results surprisingly show that BTK is expressed in several breast cancer cell lines and tumors. The predominant form of BTK found in tumor cells is transcribed from an alternative promoter and results in a protein with an amino-terminal extension. This alternate form of BTK is expressed at significantly higher levels in tumorigenic breast cells than in normal breast cells. Since this protein is a survival factor for these cells, it represents both a potential marker and novel therapeutic target for breast cancer. © 2013 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.


Rudalska R.,University of Tübingen | Dauch D.,University of Tübingen | Longerich T.,University of Heidelberg | McJunkin K.,Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory | And 21 more authors.
Nature Medicine | Year: 2014

In solid tumors, resistance to therapy inevitably develops upon treatment with cytotoxic drugs or molecularly targeted therapies. Here, we describe a system that enables pooled shRNA screening directly in mouse hepatocellular carcinomas (HCC) in vivo to identify genes likely to be involved in therapy resistance. Using a focused shRNA library targeting genes located within focal genomic amplifications of human HCC, we screened for genes whose inhibition increased the therapeutic efficacy of the multikinase inhibitor sorafenib. Both shRNA-mediated and pharmacological silencing of Mapk14 (p38α) were found to sensitize mouse HCC to sorafenib therapy and prolong survival by abrogating Mapk14-dependent activation of Mek-Erk and Atf2 signaling. Elevated Mapk14-Atf2 signaling predicted poor response to sorafenib therapy in human HCC, and sorafenib resistance of p-Mapk14-expressing HCC cells could be reverted by silencing Mapk14. Our results suggest that a combination of sorafenib and Mapk14 blockade is a promising approach to overcoming therapy resistance of human HCC. © 2014 Nature America, Inc.


Cai C.,Cancer Genome Center | Rajaram M.,Cancer Genome Center | Rajaram M.,State University of New York at Stony Brook | Zhou X.,Cancer Genome Center | And 6 more authors.
Cell Cycle | Year: 2012

FNDC3B was recently identified in an oncogenomic screen for amplified oncogenes in hepatocellular carcinoma. It is located at 3q26 and is amplified in over 20% of cancers, usually as part of a broad amplified region encompassing the entire 3q arm. Consistent with an oncogenic role in multiple cancer types, we show here that overexpression of FNDC3B is capable of malignantly transforming mammary and kidney epithelial cells in addition to hepatocytes. To explore how FNDC3B transforms cells, we determined the cellular localization of its gene product and the cancer pathways that it activates. We found that the FNDC3B oncoprotein localizes to the Golgi network, and that its correct localization is essential for its transforming function. We found that overexpression of FNDC3B induces the epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition (EMT) and activates several cancer pathways, including PI3-kinase/Akt, Rb1 and TGFβ signaling. For TGFβ signaling, we analyzed the point in the pathway at which FNDC3B operates and obtained evidence that it induces expression of all three TGFβ ligands and also promotes TGFBR1 cell-surface localization. We found that RNAi-mediated knockdown of FNDC3B in cancer cells with 3q amplification suppressed their clonogenicity and tumorigenicity, but that the same RNAi knockdown had no effect on single-copy 3q cancer cells. These results indicate that FNDC3B is an important oncogenic driver gene of the 3q amplicon, adding to the growing list of oncogenic drivers within this commonly amplified region. © 2012 Landes Bioscience.


Rajaram M.,Cancer Genome Center | Rajaram M.,State University of New York at Stony Brook | Li J.,Cancer Genome Center | Egeblad M.,State University of New York at Stony Brook | And 3 more authors.
PLoS Genetics | Year: 2013

Many fibroblast-secreted proteins promote tumorigenicity, and several factors secreted by cancer cells have in turn been proposed to induce these proteins. It is not clear whether there are single dominant pathways underlying these interactions or whether they involve multiple pathways acting in parallel. Here, we identified 42 fibroblast-secreted factors induced by breast cancer cells using comparative genomic analysis. To determine what fraction was active in promoting tumorigenicity, we chose five representative fibroblast-secreted factors for in vivo analysis. We found that the majority (three out of five) played equally major roles in promoting tumorigenicity, and intriguingly, each one had distinct effects on the tumor microenvironment. Specifically, fibroblast-secreted amphiregulin promoted breast cancer cell survival, whereas the chemokine CCL7 stimulated tumor cell proliferation while CCL2 promoted innate immune cell infiltration and angiogenesis. The other two factors tested had minor (CCL8) or minimally (STC1) significant effects on the ability of fibroblasts to promote tumor growth. The importance of parallel interactions between fibroblasts and cancer cells was tested by simultaneously targeting fibroblast-secreted amphiregulin and the CCL7 receptor on cancer cells, and this was significantly more efficacious than blocking either pathway alone. We further explored the concept of parallel interactions by testing the extent to which induction of critical fibroblast-secreted proteins could be achieved by single, previously identified, factors produced by breast cancer cells. We found that although single factors could induce a subset of genes, even combinations of factors failed to induce the full repertoire of functionally important fibroblast-secreted proteins. Together, these results delineate a complex network of tumor-fibroblast interactions that act in parallel to promote tumorigenicity and suggest that effective anti-stromal therapeutic strategies will need to be multi-targeted. © 2013 Rajaram et al.


Revill K.,Cancer Genome Center | Revill K.,Mount Sinai School of Medicine | Wang T.,Cancer Genome Center | Wang T.,Whitehead Institute For Biomedical Research | And 10 more authors.
Gastroenterology | Year: 2013

Background & Aims Epigenetic silencing of tumor suppressor genes contributes to the pathogenesis of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). To identify clinically relevant tumor suppressor genes silenced by DNA methylation in HCC, we integrated DNA methylation data from human primary HCC samples with data on up-regulation of gene expression after epigenetic unmasking. Methods We performed genome-wide methylation analysis of 71 human HCC samples using the Illumina HumanBeadchip27K array; data were combined with those from microarray analysis of gene re-expression in 4 liver cancer cell lines after their exposure to reagents that reverse DNA methylation (epigenetic unmasking). Results Based on DNA methylation in primary HCC and gene re-expression in cell lines after epigenetic unmasking, we identified 13 candidate tumor suppressor genes. Subsequent validation led us to focus on functionally characterizing 2 candidates, sphingomyelin phosphodiesterase 3 (SMPD3) and neurofilament, heavy polypeptide (NEFH), which we found to behave as tumor suppressor genes in HCC. Overexpression of SMPD3 and NEFH by stable transfection of inducible constructs into an HCC cell line reduced cell proliferation by 50% and 20%, respectively (SMPD3, P =.003 and NEFH, P =.003). Conversely, knocking down expression of these genes with small hairpin RNA promoted cell invasion and migration in vitro (SMPD3, P =.0001 and NEFH, P =.022), and increased their ability to form tumors after subcutaneous injection or orthotopic transplantation into mice, confirming their role as tumor suppressor genes in HCC. Low levels of SMPD3 were associated with early recurrence of HCC after curative surgery in an independent patient cohort (P =.001; hazard ratio = 3.22; 95% confidence interval: 1.6-6.5 in multivariate analysis). Conclusions Integrative genomic analysis identified SMPD3 and NEFH as tumor suppressor genes in HCC. We provide evidence that SMPD3 is a potent tumor suppressor gene that could affect tumor aggressiveness; a reduced level of SMPD3 is an independent prognostic factor for early recurrence of HCC. © 2013 by the AGA Institute.


Liu-Sullivan N.,Cancer Genome Center | Zhang J.,Cancer Genome Center | Bakleh A.,Cancer Genome Center | Marchica J.,Cancer Genome Center | And 8 more authors.
Oncotarget | Year: 2011

RNAi screening holds the promise of systemizing the search for combination therapeutic strategies. Here we performed a pooled shRNA library screen to look for promising targets to inhibit in combination with inhibition of the mitotic regulator polo-like kinase (PLK1). The library contained ~4,500 shRNAs targeting various signaling and cancer-related genes and was screened in four lung cancer cell lines using both high (IC80) and low (IC20) amounts of the PLK1 inhibitor GSK461364. The relative abundance of cells containing individual shRNAs following drug treatment was determined by microarray analysis, using the mock treatment replicates as the normalizing reference. Overall, the inferred influences of individual shRNAs in both high and low drug treatment were remarkably similar in all four cell lines and involved a large percentage of the library. To investigate which functional categories of shRNAs were most prominent in influencing drug response, we used statistical analysis of microarrays (SAM) in combination with a filter for genes that had two or more concordant shRNAs. The most significant functional categories that came out of this analysis included receptor tyrosine kinases and nuclear hormone receptors. Through individual validation experiments, we determined that the two shRNAs from the library targeting the nuclear retinoic acid receptor gene RARA did indeed silence RARA expression and as predicted conferred resistance to GSK461364. This led us to test whether activation of RARA receptor with retinoids could sensitize cells to GSK461364. We found that retinoids did increase the drug sensitivity and enhanced the ability of PLK1 inhibition to induce mitotic arrest and apoptosis. These results suggest that retinoids could be used to enhance the effectiveness of GSK461364 and provide further evidence that RNAi screens can be effective tools to identify combination target strategies. © Liu-Sullivan et al.


Eifert C.,Cancer Genome Center | Powers R.S.,Cancer Genome Center
Nature Reviews Cancer | Year: 2012

The analysis of human cancer by genome sequencing and various types of arrays has proved that many tumours harbour hundreds of genes that are mutated or substantially altered by copy number changes. But how many of these changes are meaningful? And how can we exploit these massive data sets to yield new targets for cancer treatment? In this Opinion article, we describe emerging approaches that aim to determine which altered genes are actually contributing to cancer, as well as their potential as therapeutic targets. © 2012 Macmillan Publishers Limited. All rights reserved.

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