Institute of Molecular Oncology IFOM

Milano, Italy

Institute of Molecular Oncology IFOM

Milano, Italy
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Goyal L.,Harvard University | Saha S.K.,Harvard University | Liu L.Y.,Harvard University | Siravegna G.,Candiolo Cancer Institute FPO | And 32 more authors.
Cancer Discovery | Year: 2017

Genetic alterations in the fibroblast growth factor receptor (FGFR) pathway are promising therapeutic targets in many cancers, including intrahepatic cholangiocarcinoma (ICC). The FGFR inhibitor BGJ398 displayed encouraging efficacy in patients with FGFR2 fusion-positive ICC in a phase II trial, but the durability of response was limited in some patients. Here, we report the molecular basis for acquired resistance to BGJ398 in three patients via integrative genomic characterization of cell-free circulating tumor DNA (cfDNA), primary tumors, and metastases. Serial analysis of cfDNA demonstrated multiple recurrent point mutations in the FGFR2 kinase domain at progression. Accordingly, biopsy of post-progression lesions and rapid autopsy revealed marked inter-and intr alesional heterogeneity, with different FGFR2 mutations in individual resistant clones. Molecular modeling and in vitro studies indicated that each mutation led to BGJ398 resistance and was surmountable by structurally distinct FGFR inhibitors. Thus, polyclonal secondary FGFR2 mutations represent an important clinical resistance mechanism that may guide the development of future therapeutic strategies. SIGNIFICANCE: We report the first genetic mechanisms of clinical acquired resistance to FGFR inhibition in patients with FGFR2 fusion-positive ICC. Our findings can inform future strategies for detecting resistance mechanisms and inducing more durable remissions in ICC and in the wide variety of cancers where the FGFR pathway is being explored as a therapeutic target. © 2017 American Association for Cancer Research.


Siravegna G.,University of Turin | Siravegna G.,Candiolo Cancer Institute Fondazione Piemontese per lOncologia FPO | Siravegna G.,Institute of Molecular Oncology IFOM | Mussolin B.,Candiolo Cancer Institute Fondazione Piemontese per lOncologia FPO | And 34 more authors.
Nature Medicine | Year: 2015

Colorectal cancers (CRCs) evolve by a reiterative process of genetic diversification and clonal evolution. The molecular profile of CRC is routinely assessed in surgical or bioptic samples. Genotyping of CRC tissue has inherent limitations; a tissue sample represents a single snapshot in time, and it is subjected to spatial selection bias owing to tumor heterogeneity. Repeated tissue samples are difficult to obtain and cannot be used for dynamic monitoring of disease progression and response to therapy. We exploited circulating tumor DNA (ctDNA) to genotype colorectal tumors and track clonal evolution during treatment with the epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR)-specific antibodies cetuximab or panitumumab. We identified alterations in ctDNA of patients with primary or acquired resistance to EGFR blockade in the following genes: KRAS, NRAS, MET, ERBB2, FLT3, EGFR and MAP2K1. Mutated KRAS clones, which emerge in blood during EGFR blockade, decline upon withdrawal of EGFR-specific antibodies, indicating that clonal evolution continues beyond clinical progression. Pharmacogenomic analysis of CRC cells that had acquired resistance to cetuximab reveals that upon antibody withdrawal KRAS clones decay, whereas the population regains drug sensitivity. ctDNA profiles of individuals who benefit from multiple challenges with anti-EGFR antibodies exhibit pulsatile levels of mutant KRAS. These results indicate that the CRC genome adapts dynamically to intermittent drug schedules and provide a molecular explanation for the efficacy of rechallenge therapies based on EGFR blockade. © 2015 Nature America, Inc. All rights reserved.


Spadoni I.,Italian National Cancer Institute | Zagato E.,Italian National Cancer Institute | Bertocchi A.,Italian National Cancer Institute | Paolinelli R.,Institute of Molecular Oncology IFOM | And 12 more authors.
Science | Year: 2015

In healthy individuals, the intestinal microbiota cannot access the liver, spleen, or other peripheral tissues. Some pathogenic bacteria can reach these sites, however, and can induce a systemic immune response. How such compartmentalization is achieved is unknown. We identify a gut-vascular barrier (GVB) in mice and humans that controls the translocation of antigens into the bloodstream and prohibits entry of the microbiota. Salmonella typhimurium can penetrate the GVB in a manner dependent on its pathogenicity island (Spi) 2-encoded type III secretion system and on decreased β-catenin-dependent signaling in gut endothelial cells. The GVB is modified in celiac disease patients with elevated serum transaminases, which indicates that GVB dismantling may be responsible for liver damage in these patients. Understanding the GVB may provide new insights into the regulation of the gut-liver axis. © 2015 by the American Association for the Advancement of Science; all rights reserved.


Mathiasen L.,Institute of Molecular Oncology IFOM | Bruckmann C.,Institute of Molecular Oncology IFOM | Pasqualato S.,Italian National Cancer Institute | Blasi F.,Institute of Molecular Oncology IFOM
PLoS ONE | Year: 2015

Human PREP1 and PBX1 are homeodomain transcriptional factors, whose biochemical and structural characterization has not yet been fully described. Expression of full-length recombinant PREP1 (47.6 kDa) and PBX1 (46.6 kDa) in E. coli is difficult because of poor yield, high instability and insufficient purity, in particular for structural studies. We cloned the cDNA of both proteins into a dicistronic vector containing an N-terminal glutathione S-transferase (GST) tag and co-expressed and co-purified a stable PBX1:PREP1 complex. For structural studies, we produced two C-terminally truncated complexes that retain their ability to bind DNA and are more stable than the full-length proteins through various purification steps. Here we report the production of large amounts of soluble and pure recombinant human PBX1:PREP1 complex in an active form capable of binding DNA. © 2015 Mathiasen et al.


Setti M.,Italian National Cancer Institute | Osti D.,Italian National Cancer Institute | Richichi C.,Italian National Cancer Institute | Ortensi B.,Italian National Cancer Institute | And 11 more authors.
Oncotarget | Year: 2015

Little progresses have been made in the treatment of glioblastoma (GBM), the most aggressive and lethal among brain tumors. Recently we have demonstrated that Chloride Intracellular Channel-1 (CLIC1) is overexpressed in GBM compared to normal tissues, with highest expression in patients with poor prognosis. Moreover, CLIC1- silencing in cancer stem cells (CSCs) isolated from human GBM patients negatively influences proliferative capacity and self-renewal properties in vitro and impairs the in vivo tumorigenic potential. Here we show that CLIC1 exists also as a circulating protein, secreted via extracellular vesicles (EVs) released by either cell lines or GBMderived CSCs. Extracellular vesicles (EVs), comprising exosomes and microvesicles based on their composition and biophysical properties, have been shown to sustain tumor growth in a variety of model systems, including GBM. Interestingly, treatment of GBM cells with CLIC1-containing EVs stimulates cell growth both in vitro and in vivo in a CLIC1-dose dependent manner. EVs derived from CLIC1-overexpressing GBM cells are strong inducers of proliferation in vitro and tumor engraftment in vivo. These stimulations are significantly attenuated by treatment of GBM cells with EVs derived from CLIC1-silenced cells. However, CLIC1 modulation appears to have no direct role in EV structure, biogenesis and secretion. These findings reveal that, apart from the function of CLIC1 cellular reservoir, CLIC1 contained in EVs is a novel regulator of GBM growth.


Medico E.,University of Turin | Medico E.,Candiolo Cancer Institute FPO | Russo M.,University of Turin | Russo M.,Candiolo Cancer Institute FPO | And 22 more authors.
Nature Communications | Year: 2015

The development of molecularly targeted anticancer agents relies on large panels of tumour-specific preclinical models closely recapitulating the molecular heterogeneity observed in patients. Here we describe the mutational and gene expression analyses of 151 colorectal cancer (CRC) cell lines. We find that the whole spectrum of CRC molecular and transcriptional subtypes, previously defined in patients, is represented in this cell line compendium. Transcriptional outlier analysis identifies RAS/BRAF wild-type cells, resistant to EGFR blockade, functionally and pharmacologically addicted to kinase genes including ALK, FGFR2, NTRK1/2 and RET. The same genes are present as expression outliers in CRC patient samples. Genomic rearrangements (translocations) involving the ALK and NTRK1 genes are associated with the overexpression of the corresponding proteins in CRC specimens. The approach described here can be used to pinpoint CRCs with exquisite dependencies to individual kinases for which clinically approved drugs are already available. © 2015 Macmillan Publishers Limited. All rights reserved.


Risolino M.,National Research Council Italy | Mandia N.,National Research Council Italy | Mandia N.,Institute of Molecular Oncology IFOM | Iavarone F.,National Research Council Italy | And 17 more authors.
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America | Year: 2014

Pre-B-cell leukemia homeobox (Pbx)-regulating protein-1 (Prep1) is a ubiquitous homeoprotein involved in early development, genomic stability, insulin sensitivity, and hematopoiesis. Previously we have shown that Prep1 is a haploinsufficient tumor suppressor that inhibits neoplastic transformation by competing with myeloid ecotropic integration site 1 for binding to the common heterodimeric partner Pbx1. Epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT) is controlled by complex networks of proinvasive transcription factors responsive to paracrine factors such as TGF-β. Here we show that, in addition to inhibiting primary tumor growth, PREP1 is a novel EMT inducer and prometastatic transcription factor. In human non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) cells, PREP1 overexpression is sufficient to trigger EMT, whereas PREP1 down-regulation inhibits the induction of EMT in response to TGF-β. PREP1 modulates the cellular sensitivity to TGF-β by inducing the small mothers against decapentaplegic homolog 3 (SMAD3) nuclear translocation through mechanisms dependent, at least in part, on PREP1-mediated transactivation of a regulatory element in the SMAD3 first intron. Along with the stabilization and accumulation of PBX1, PREP1 induces the expression of multiple activator protein 1 components including the proinvasive Fos-related antigen 1 (FRA-1) oncoprotein. Both FRA-1 and PBX1 are required for the mesenchymal changes triggered by PREP1 in lung tumor cells. Finally, we show that the PREP1-induced mesenchymal transformation correlates with significantly increased lung colonization by cells overexpressing PREP1. Accordingly, we have detected PREP1 accumulation in a large number of human brain metastases of various solid tumors, including NSCLC. These findings point to a novel role of the PREP1 homeoprotein in the control of the TGF-β pathway, EMT, and metastasis in NSCLC.


Urulangodi M.,Institute of Molecular Oncology IFOM | Sebesta M.,Institute of Molecular Oncology IFOM | Sebesta M.,Masaryk University | Sebesta M.,University of Oxford | And 8 more authors.
Genes and Development | Year: 2015

Accurate completion of replication relies on the ability of cells to activate error-free recombination-mediated DNA damage bypass at sites of perturbed replication. However, as anti-recombinase activities are also recruited to replication forks, how recombination-mediated damage bypass is enabled at replication stress sites remained puzzling. Here we uncovered that the conserved SUMO-like domain-containing Saccharomyces cerevisiae protein Esc2 facilitates recombination-mediated DNA damage tolerance by allowing optimal recruitment of the Rad51 recombinase specifically at sites of perturbed replication. Mechanistically, Esc2 binds stalled replication forks and counteracts the anti-recombinase Srs2 helicase via a two-faceted mechanism involving chromatin recruitment and turnover of Srs2. Importantly, point mutations in the SUMO-like domains of Esc2 that reduce its interaction with Srs2 cause suboptimal levels of Rad51 recruitment at damaged replication forks. In conclusion, our results reveal how recombination-mediated DNA damage tolerance is locally enabled at sites of replication stress and globally prevented at undamaged replicating chromosomes. © 2015 Urulangodi et al.


Bravi L.,Institute of Molecular Oncology IFOM | Dejana E.,Institute of Molecular Oncology IFOM | Dejana E.,University of Milan | Lampugnani M.G.,Institute of Molecular Oncology IFOM | Lampugnani M.G.,Mario Negri Institute for Pharmacological Research
Cell and Tissue Research | Year: 2014

Although being a monolayer the vascular endothelium controls fundamental vessel functions such as permeability, leukocyte extravasation and angiogenesis. The endothelial selective transmembrane constituent of adherens junctions, Vascular Endothelial- (VE-) cadherin plays a crucial role in the regulation of such activities. The signaling pathways controlled by VE-cadherin as well as the ones that regulate VE-cadherin activity start to be elucidated. This delineates a complex network of molecular and functional interactions that can be altered in pathologies. © 2014 Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg.


Hellriegel C.,Microscopy and Dynamic Imaging Unit | Caiolfa V.R.,Microscopy and Dynamic Imaging Unit | Caiolfa V.R.,San Raffaele Scientific Institute | Corti V.,San Raffaele Scientific Institute | And 3 more authors.
FASEB Journal | Year: 2011

We studied the molecular forms of the GPI-anchored urokinase plasminogen activator receptor (uPAR-mEGFP) in the human embryo kidney (HEK293) cell membrane and demonstrated that the binding of the amino-terminal fragment (ATF) of urokinase plasminogen activator is sufficient to induce the dimerization of the receptor. We followed the association kinetics and determined precisely the dimeric stoichiometry of uPAR-mEGFP complexes by applying number and brightness (N&B) image analysis. N&B is a novel fluctuation-based approach for measuring the molecular brightness of fluorophores in an image time sequence in live cells. Because N&B is very sensitive to long-term temporal fluctuations and photobleaching, we have introduced a filtering protocol that corrects for these important sources of error. Critical experimental parameters in N&B analysis are illustrated and analyzed by simulation studies. Control experiments are based on mEGFP-GPI, mEGFP-mEGFP-GPI, and mCherry- GPI, expressed in HEK293. This work provides a first direct demonstration of the dimerization of uPAR in live cells. We also provide the first methodological guide on N&B to discern minor changes in molecular composition such as those due to dimerization events, which are involved in fundamental cell signaling mechanisms. © FASEB.

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