Targeted cancer therapies, which act on specific cancer-associated molecular targets, are predominantly inhibitors of oncogenic kinases. While these drugs have achieved some clinical success, the inactivation of kinase signaling via stimulation of endogenous phosphatases has received minimal attention as an alternative targeted approach. Here, we have demonstrated that activation of the tumor suppressor protein phosphatase 2A (PP2A), a negative regulator of multiple oncogenic signaling proteins, is a promising therapeutic approach for the treatment of cancers. Our group previously developed a series of orally bioavailable small molecule activators of PP2A, termed SMAPs. We now report that SMAP treatment inhibited the growth of KRAS-mutant lung cancers in mouse xenografts and transgenic models. Mechanistically, we found that SMAPs act by binding to the PP2A Aα scaffold subunit to drive conformational changes in PP2A. These results show that PP2A can be activated in cancer cells to inhibit proliferation. Our strategy of reactivating endogenous PP2A may be applicable to the treatment of other diseases and represents an advancement toward the development of small molecule activators of tumor suppressor proteins.
Jaya Sangodkar, Abbey Perl, Rita Tohme, Janna Kiselar, David B. Kastrinsky, Nilesh Zaware, Sudeh Izadmehr, Sahar Mazhar, Danica D. Wiredja, Caitlin M. O’Connor, Divya Hoon, Neil S. Dhawan, Daniela Schlatzer, Shen Yao, Daniel Leonard, Alain C. Borczuk, Giridharan Gokulrangan, Lifu Wang, Elena Svenson, Caroline C. Farrington, Eric Yuan, Rita A. Avelar, Agnes Stachnik, Blake Smith, Vickram Gidwani, Heather M. Giannini, Daniel McQuaid, Kimberly McClinch, Zhizhi Wang, Alice C. Levine, Rosalie C. Sears, Edward Y. Chen, Qiaonan Duan, Manish Datt, Shozeb Haider, Avi Ma’ayan, Analisa DiFeo, Neelesh Sharma, Matthew D. Galsky, David L. Brautigan, Yiannis A. Ioannou, Wenqing Xu, Mark R. Chance, Michael Ohlmeyer, Goutham Narla
Tumor recurrence is the leading cause of breast cancer–related death. Recurrences are largely driven by cancer cells that survive therapeutic intervention. This poorly understood population is referred to as minimal residual disease. Here, using mouse models that faithfully recapitulate human disease together with organoid cultures, we have demonstrated that residual cells acquire a transcriptionally distinct state from normal epithelium and primary tumors. Gene expression changes and functional characterization revealed altered lipid metabolism and elevated ROS as hallmarks of the cells that survive tumor regression. These residual cells exhibited increased oxidative DNA damage, potentiating the acquisition of somatic mutations during hormonal-induced expansion of the mammary cell population. Inhibition of either cellular fatty acid synthesis or fatty acid transport into mitochondria reduced cellular ROS levels and DNA damage, linking these features to lipid metabolism. Direct perturbation of these hallmarks in vivo, either by scavenging ROS or by halting the cyclic mammary cell population expansion, attenuated tumor recurrence. Finally, these observations were mirrored in transcriptomic and histological signatures of residual cancer cells from neoadjuvant-treated breast cancer patients. These results highlight the potential of lipid metabolism and ROS as therapeutic targets for reducing tumor recurrence in breast cancer patients.
Kristina M. Havas, Vladislava Milchevskaya, Ksenija Radic, Ashna Alladin, Eleni Kafkia, Marta Garcia, Jens Stolte, Bernd Klaus, Nicole Rotmensz, Toby J. Gibson, Barbara Burwinkel, Andreas Schneeweiss, Giancarlo Pruneri, Kiran R. Patil, Rocio Sotillo, Martin Jechlinger
Identification and functional validation of oncogenic drivers are essential steps toward advancing cancer precision medicine. Here, we have presented a comprehensive analysis of the somatic genomic landscape of the widely used BRAFV600E- and NRASQ61K-driven mouse models of melanoma. By integrating the data with publically available genomic, epigenomic, and transcriptomic information from human clinical samples, we confirmed the importance of several genes and pathways previously implicated in human melanoma, including the tumor-suppressor genes phosphatase and tensin homolog (
Michael Olvedy, Julie C. Tisserand, Flavie Luciani, Bram Boeckx, Jasper Wouters, Sophie Lopez, Florian Rambow, Sara Aibar, Bernard Thienpont, Jasmine Barra, Corinna Köhler, Enrico Radaelli, Sophie Tartare-Deckert, Stein Aerts, Patrice Dubreuil, Joost J. van den Oord, Diether Lambrechts, Paulo De Sepulveda, Jean-Christophe Marine
Geminin expression is essential for embryonic development and the maintenance of chromosomal integrity. In spite of this protective role, geminin is also frequently overexpressed in human cancers and the molecular mechanisms underlying its role in tumor progression remain unclear. The histone deacetylase HDAC3 modulates transcription factors to activate or suppress transcription. Little is known about how HDAC3 specifies substrates for modulation among highly homologous transcription factor family members. Here, we have demonstrated that geminin selectively couples the transcription factor forkhead box O3 (FoxO3) to HDAC3, thereby specifically facilitating FoxO3 deacetylation. We determined that geminin–associated HDAC3 deacetylates FoxO3 to block its transcriptional activity, leading to downregulation of the downstream FoxO3 target Dicer, an RNase that suppresses metastasis. Breast cancer cells depleted of geminin or HDAC3 exhibited poor metastatic potential that was attributed to reduced suppression of the FoxO3-Dicer axis. Moreover, elevated levels of geminin, HDAC3, or both together with decreased FoxO3 acetylation and reduced Dicer expression were detected in aggressive human breast cancer specimens. These results underscore a prominent role for geminin in promoting breast cancer metastasis via the enzyme-substrate–coupling mechanism in HDAC3-FoxO3 complex formation.
Lei Zhang, Meizhen Cai, Zhicheng Gong, Bingchang Zhang, Yuanpei Li, Li Guan, Xiaonan Hou, Qing Li, Gang Liu, Zengfu Xue, Muh-hua Yang, Jing Ye, Y. Eugene Chin, Han You
Pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC) is almost uniformly fatal; however, some improvement in overall survival has been achieved with the introduction of nanocarriers that deliver irinotecan or paclitaxel. Although it is generally assumed that nanocarriers rely principally on abnormal leaky vasculature for tumor access, a transcytosis transport pathway that is regulated by neuropilin-1 (NRP-1) has recently been reported. NRP-1–mediated transport can be triggered by the cyclic tumor-penetrating peptide iRGD. In a KRAS-induced orthotopic PDAC model, coadministration of iRGD enhanced the uptake of an irinotecan-loaded silicasome carrier that comprises lipid bilayer–coated mesoporous silica nanoparticles (MSNPs); this uptake resulted in enhanced survival and markedly reduced metastasis. Further, ultrastructural imaging of the treated tumors revealed that iRGD coadministration induced a vesicular transport pathway that carried Au-labeled silicacomes from the blood vessel lumen to a perinuclear site within cancer cells. iRGD-mediated enhancement of silicasome uptake was also observed in patient-derived xenografts, commensurate with the level of NRP-1 expression on tumor blood vessels. These results demonstrate that iRGD enhances the efficacy of irinotecan-loaded silicasome–based therapy and may be a suitable adjuvant in nanoparticle-based treatments for PDAC.
Xiangsheng Liu, Paulina Lin, Ian Perrett, Joshua Lin, Yu-Pei Liao, Chong Hyun Chang, Jinhong Jiang, Nanping Wu, Timothy Donahue, Zev Wainberg, Andre E. Nel, Huan Meng
Tumors are capable of coopting hematopoietic cells to create a suitable microenvironment to support malignant growth. Here, we have demonstrated that upregulation of kinase insert domain receptor (KDR), also known as VEGFR2, in a myeloid cell sublineage is necessary for malignant progression of gliomas in transgenic murine models and is associated with high-grade tumors in patients. KDR expression increased in myeloid cells as myeloid-derived suppressor cells (MDSCs) accumulated, which was associated with the transformation and progression of low-grade fibrillary astrocytoma to high-grade anaplastic gliomas. KDR deficiency in murine BM-derived cells (BMDCs) suppressed the differentiation of myeloid lineages and reduced granulocytic/monocytic populations. The depletion of myeloid-derived KDR compromised its proangiogenic function, which inhibited the angiogenic switch necessary for malignant progression of low-grade to high-grade tumors. We also identified inhibitor of DNA binding protein 2 (ID2) as a key upstream regulator of KDR activation during myeloid differentiation. Deficiency of ID2 in BMDCs led to downregulation of KDR, suppression of proangiogenic myeloid cells, and prevention of low-grade to high-grade transition. Tumor-secreted TGF-β and granulocyte-macrophage CSF (GM-CSF) enhanced the KDR/ID2 signaling axis in BMDCs. Our results suggest that modulation of KDR/ID2 signaling may restrict tumor-associated myeloid cells and could potentially be a therapeutic strategy for preventing transformation of premalignant gliomas.
Yujie Huang, Prajwal Rajappa, Wenhuo Hu, Caitlin Hoffman, Babacar Cisse, Joon-Hyung Kim, Emilie Gorge, Rachel Yanowitch, William Cope, Emma Vartanian, Raymond Xu, Tuo Zhang, David Pisapia, Jenny Xiang, Jason Huse, Irina Matei, Hector Peinado, Jacqueline Bromberg, Eric Holland, Bi-sen Ding, Shahin Rafii, David Lyden, Jeffrey Greenfield
Gain-of-function (GOF) p53 mutations are observed frequently in most intractable human cancers and establish dependency for tumor maintenance and progression. While some of the genes induced by GOF p53 have been implicated in more rapid cell proliferation compared with p53-null cancer cells, the mechanism for dependency of tumor growth on mutant p53 is unknown. This report reveals a therapeutically targetable mechanism for GOF p53 dependency. We have shown that GOF p53 increases DNA replication origin firing, stabilizes replication forks, and promotes micronuclei formation, thus facilitating the proliferation of cells with genomic abnormalities. In contrast, absence or depletion of GOF p53 leads to decreased origin firing and a higher frequency of fork collapse in isogenic cells, explaining their poorer proliferation rate. Following genome-wide analyses utilizing ChIP-Seq and RNA-Seq, GOF p53–induced origin firing, micronuclei formation, and fork protection were traced to the ability of GOF p53 to transactivate cyclin A and CHK1. Highlighting the therapeutic potential of CHK1’s role in GOF p53 dependency, experiments in cell culture and mouse xenografts demonstrated that inhibition of CHK1 selectively blocked proliferation of cells and tumors expressing GOF p53. Our data suggest the possibility that checkpoint inhibitors could efficiently and selectively target cancers expressing GOF p53 alleles.
Shilpa Singh, Catherine A. Vaughan, Rebecca A. Frum, Steven R. Grossman, Sumitra Deb, Swati Palit Deb
Worldwide epidemics of metabolic diseases, including liver steatosis, are associated with an increased frequency of malignancies, showing the highest positive correlation for liver cancer. The heterogeneity of liver cancer represents a clinical challenge. In liver, the transcription factor PPARγ promotes metabolic adaptations of lipogenesis and aerobic glycolysis under the control of Akt2 activity, but the role of PPARγ in liver tumorigenesis is unknown. Here we have combined preclinical mouse models of liver cancer and genetic studies of a human liver biopsy atlas with the aim of identifying putative therapeutic targets in the context of liver steatosis and cancer. We have revealed a protumoral interaction of Akt2 signaling with hepatocyte nuclear factor 1α (HNF1α) and PPARγ, transcription factors that are master regulators of hepatocyte and adipocyte differentiation, respectively. Akt2 phosphorylates and inhibits HNF1α, thus relieving the suppression of hepatic PPARγ expression and promoting tumorigenesis. Finally, we observed that pharmacological inhibition of PPARγ is therapeutically effective in a preclinical murine model of steatosis-associated liver cancer. Taken together, our studies in humans and mice reveal that Akt2 controls hepatic tumorigenesis through crosstalk between HNF1α and PPARγ.
Cecilia Patitucci, Gabrielle Couchy, Alessia Bagattin, Tatiana Cañeque, Aurélien de Reyniès, Jean-Yves Scoazec, Raphaël Rodriguez, Marco Pontoglio, Jessica Zucman-Rossi, Mario Pende, Ganna Panasyuk
The eleven-nineteen leukemia (ENL) protein family, composed of ENL and AF9, is a common component of 3 transcriptional modulators: AF4–ENL–P-TEFb complex (AEP), DOT1L-AF10-ENL complex (referred to as the DOT1L complex) and polycomb-repressive complex 1 (PRC1). Each complex associates with chromatin via distinct mechanisms, conferring different transcriptional properties including activation, maintenance, and repression. The mixed-lineage leukemia (
Hiroshi Okuda, Boban Stanojevic, Akinori Kanai, Takeshi Kawamura, Satoshi Takahashi, Hirotaka Matsui, Akifumi Takaori-Kondo, Akihiko Yokoyama
Paradoxically, during early tumor development in many cancer types, TGF-β acts as a tumor suppressor, whereas in the advanced stages of these cancers, increased TGF-β expression is linked to high metastasis and poor prognosis. These findings suggest that unidentified mechanisms may function to rewire TGF-β signaling toward its prometastatic role in cancer cells. Our current study using non–small-cell lung carcinoma (NSCLC) cell lines, animal models, and clinical specimens demonstrates that suppression of SMAD2, with SMAD3 function intact, switches TGF-β–induced transcriptional responses to a prometastatic state. Importantly, we identified chaperonin containing TCP1 subunit 6A (CCT6A) as an inhibitor and direct binding protein of SMAD2 and found that CCT6A suppresses SMAD2 function in NSCLC cells and promotes metastasis. Furthermore, selective inhibition of SMAD3 or CCT6A efficiently suppresses TGF-β–mediated metastasis. Our findings provide a mechanism that directs TGF-β signaling toward its prometastatic arm and may contribute to the development of therapeutic strategies targeting TGF-β for NSCLC.
Zhe Ying, Han Tian, Yun Li, Rong Lian, Wei Li, Shanshan Wu, Hui-Zhong Zhang, Jueheng Wu, Lei Liu, Junwei Song, Hongyu Guan, Junchao Cai, Xun Zhu, Jun Li, Mengfeng Li