bims-pimaco Biomed News
on PI3K and MAPK signalling in colorectal cancer
Issue of 2021‒02‒21
nineteen papers selected by
Lucas B. Zeiger
Beatson Institute for Cancer Research


  1. Mol Cell. 2021 Feb 18. pii: S1097-2765(21)00053-8. [Epub ahead of print]81(4): 708-723.e5
    Mukherjee R, Vanaja KG, Boyer JA, Gadal S, Solomon H, Chandarlapaty S, Levchenko A, Rosen N.
      The PI3K pathway regulates cell metabolism, proliferation, and migration, and its dysregulation is common in cancer. We now show that both physiologic and oncogenic activation of PI3K signaling increase the expression of its negative regulator PTEN. This limits the duration of the signal and output of the pathway. Physiologic and pharmacologic inhibition of the pathway reduces PTEN and contributes to the rebound in pathway activity in tumors treated with PI3K inhibitors and limits their efficacy. Regulation of PTEN is due to mTOR/4E-BP1-dependent control of its translation and is lost when 4E-BP1 is deleted. Translational regulation of PTEN is therefore a major homeostatic regulator of physiologic PI3K signaling and plays a role in reducing the pathway activation by oncogenic PIK3CA mutants and the antitumor activity of PI3K pathway inhibitors. However, pathway output is hyperactivated in tumor cells with coexistent PI3K mutation and loss of PTEN function.
    Keywords:  4E-BP; BYL-719; PI3K signaling; PTEN regulation; PTEN translation; computational model of PI3K signaling; growth factor signaling; mTOR; negative feedback; resistance to PI3K inhibition
    DOI:  https://doi.org/10.1016/j.molcel.2021.01.033
  2. Acta Pharmacol Sin. 2021 Feb 19.
    Huang XM, Huang JJ, Du JJ, Zhang N, Long Z, Yang Y, Zhong FF, Zheng BW, Shen YF, Huang Z, Qin X, Chen JH, Lin QY, Lin WJ, Ma WZ.
      RAS-driven colorectal cancer relies on glucose metabolism to support uncontrolled growth. However, monotherapy with glycolysis inhibitors like 2-deoxy-D-glucose causes limited effectiveness. Recent studies suggest that anti-tumor effects of glycolysis inhibition could be improved by combination treatment with inhibitors of oxidative phosphorylation. In this study we investigated the effect of a combination of 2-deoxy-D-glucose with lovastatin (a known inhibitor of mevalonate pathway and oxidative phosphorylation) on growth of KRAS-mutant human colorectal cancer cell lines HCT116 and LoVo. A combination of lovastatin (>3.75 μM) and 2-deoxy-D-glucose (>1.25 mM) synergistically reduced cell viability, arrested cells in the G2/M phase, and induced apoptosis. The combined treatment also reduced cellular oxygen consumption and extracellular acidification rate, resulting in decreased production of ATP and lower steady-state ATP levels. Energy depletion markedly activated AMPK, inhibited mTOR and RAS signaling pathways, eventually inducing autophagy, the cellular pro-survival process under metabolic stress, whereas inhibition of autophagy by chloroquine (6.25 μM) enhanced the cytotoxic effect of the combination of lovastatin and 2-deoxy-D-glucose. These in vitro experiment results were reproduced in a nude mouse xenograft model of HCT116 cells. Our findings suggest that concurrently targeting glycolysis, oxidative phosphorylation, and autophagy may be a promising regimen for the management of RAS-driven colorectal cancers.
    Keywords:  2DG; OXPHOS; autophagy; chloroquine; glycolysis; human colorectal cancers; hydroxychloroquine; lovastatin
    DOI:  https://doi.org/10.1038/s41401-021-00612-9
  3. Nat Commun. 2021 Feb 19. 12(1): 1176
    Tran TH, Chan AH, Young LC, Bindu L, Neale C, Messing S, Dharmaiah S, Taylor T, Denson JP, Esposito D, Nissley DV, Stephen AG, McCormick F, Simanshu DK.
      The first step of RAF activation involves binding to active RAS, resulting in the recruitment of RAF to the plasma membrane. To understand the molecular details of RAS-RAF interaction, we present crystal structures of wild-type and oncogenic mutants of KRAS complexed with the RAS-binding domain (RBD) and the membrane-interacting cysteine-rich domain (CRD) from the N-terminal regulatory region of RAF1. Our structures reveal that RBD and CRD interact with each other to form one structural entity in which both RBD and CRD interact extensively with KRAS. Mutations at the KRAS-CRD interface result in a significant reduction in RAF1 activation despite only a modest decrease in binding affinity. Combining our structures and published data, we provide a model of RAS-RAF complexation at the membrane, and molecular insights into RAS-RAF interaction during the process of RAS-mediated RAF activation.
    DOI:  https://doi.org/10.1038/s41467-021-21422-x
  4. Cancer Res. 2021 Feb 18. pii: canres.2976.2020. [Epub ahead of print]
    Assi M, Achouri Y, Loriot A, Dauguet N, Dahou H, Baldan J, Libert M, Fain JS, Guerra C, Bouwens L, Barbacid M, Lemaigre FP, Jacquemin P.
      Pancreatic acinar cells are a cell type of origin for pancreatic cancer that become progressively less sensitive to tumorigenesis induced by oncogenic Kras mutations after birth. This sensitivity is increased when Kras mutations are combined with pancreatitis. Molecular mechanisms underlying these observations are still largely unknown. To identify these mechanisms, we generated the first CRISPR-edited mouse models that enable detection of wild-type and mutant KRAS proteins in vivo. Analysis of these mouse models revealed that more than 75% of adult acinar cells are devoid of detectable KRAS protein. In the 25% of acinar cells expressing KRAS protein, transcriptomic analysis highlighted a slight upregulation of the RAS and MAPK pathways. However, at the protein level, only marginal pancreatic expression of essential KRAS effectors, including C-RAF, was observed. The expression of KRAS and its effectors gradually decreased after birth. The low sensitivity of adult acinar cells to Kras mutations resulted from low expression of KRAS and its effectors and the subsequent lack of activation of RAS/MAPK pathways. Pancreatitis triggered expression of KRAS and its effectors as well as subsequent activation of downstream signaling; this induction required the activity of EGFR. Finally, expression of C-RAF in adult pancreas was required for pancreatic tumorigenesis. In conclusion, our study reveals that control of the expression of KRAS and its effectors regulates the sensitivity of acinar cells to transformation by oncogenic Kras mutations.
    DOI:  https://doi.org/10.1158/0008-5472.CAN-20-2976
  5. Curr Med Sci. 2021 Feb;41(1): 118-126
    Chang XN, Shang FM, Jiang HY, Chen C, Zhao ZY, Deng SH, Fan J, Dong XC, Yang M, Li Y, Cai KL, Liu L, Liu HL, Nie X.
      The incidence of colorectal cancer (CRC) is increasing in China, with high mortality. Here, we aimed to evaluate the latest clinicopathological features and prognostic value of the KRAS/NRAS/BRAF mutation status in CRC patients in Central China. The clinical data of 1549 CRC patients with stage I-IV disease diagnosed at Union Hospital, Tongji Medical College of Huazhong University of Science and Technology from 2015 to 2017 were collected and analyzed retrospectively. KRAS/NRAS/BRAF mutations were detected by real-time quantitative polymerase chain reaction (q-PCR) in 410 CRC patients, with mutation frequencies of KRAS, NRAS and BRAF of 47.56%, 2.93% and 4.15%, respectively. The gene mutation status and clinicopathological characteristics of 410 patients with CRC who underwent qPCR were analyzed. The KRAS and BRAF gene mutations were related to the pathological differentiation and number of metastatic lymph nodes. The BRAF gene mutation was also associated with cancer thrombosis in blood vessels. Cox regression analysis showed that there was no statistically significant difference in the overall survival (OS) between patients with KRAS, NRAS mutants and wild-type CRC patients, while the BRAF gene mutation was negatively correlated with the OS rate of CRC patients. It is suggested that the BRAF gene mutation may be an independent risk factor for the prognosis of CRC.
    Keywords:  BRAF mutation; KRAS mutation; NRAS mutation; colorectal cancer; prognosis
    DOI:  https://doi.org/10.1007/s11596-021-2326-1
  6. Cell Rep. 2021 Feb 16. pii: S2211-1247(21)00063-2. [Epub ahead of print]34(7): 108750
    Kondo H, Ratcliffe CDH, Hooper S, Ellis J, MacRae JI, Hennequart M, Dunsby CW, Anderson KI, Sahai E.
      Inter-cellular heterogeneity in metabolic state has been proposed to influence many cancer phenotypes, including responses to targeted therapy. Here, we track the transitions and heritability of metabolic states in single PIK3CA mutant breast cancer cells, identify non-genetic glycolytic heterogeneity, and build on observations derived from methods reliant on bulk analyses. Using fluorescent biosensors in vitro and in tumors, we have identified distinct subpopulations of cells whose glycolytic and mitochondrial metabolism are regulated by combinations of phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase (PI3K) signaling, bromodomain activity, and cell crowding effects. The actin severing protein cofilin, as well as PI3K, regulates rapid changes in glucose metabolism, whereas treatment with the bromodomain inhibitor slowly abrogates a subpopulation of cells whose glycolytic activity is PI3K independent. We show how bromodomain function and PI3K signaling, along with actin remodeling, independently modulate glycolysis and how targeting these pathways affects distinct subpopulations of cancer cells.
    Keywords:  FRET imaging; PI3K signaling; breast cancer; cofilin; intra-tumor heterogeneity; intravital imaging; tumor metabolism
    DOI:  https://doi.org/10.1016/j.celrep.2021.108750
  7. Target Oncol. 2021 Feb 18.
    Wong V, Lee M, Wong R, Tie J, Shapiro J, Desai J, Nott L, Steel S, Burge M, Ma B, Khattak A, Hong W, Gibbs P.
      BACKGROUND: B-Raf proto-oncogene (BRAF)-V600E mutations (BRAFmt) in colorectal cancer (CRC) predominantly occur in right-side (RS) primaries. In metastatic CRC (mCRC), there is substantial overlap between the reported features of BRAFmt and of an RS primary.OBJECTIVES: To explore the significance of BRAFmt in a left-side (LS) primary, we analysed data from a multi-site mCRC registry. Tumours distal to the splenic flexure were considered LS.
    RESULTS: Of 3380 patients enrolled from June 2009 to June 2020, 214 (13%) of 1657 with known status were BRAFmt: 127 (24%) of 524 RS and 87 (8%) of 1133 LS. LS versus RS BRAFmt were younger (mean 59.5 vs. 65.1 years; p = 0.01), whereas sex (48 vs. 59% female; p = 0.13), mismatch repair-deficiency (dMMR) (16 vs. 21%; p = 0.47), and overall survival (OS) (median 15.1 vs. 17.7 months; p = 0.98) were similar. LS BRAFmt versus LS BRAF wildtype (wt) were of similar age (59.5 vs. 61.3 years; p = 0.28) with more females (48 vs. 37%; p = 0.04), more dMMR (16 vs. 1%; p < 0.0001), and inferior OS (median 15.1 vs. 36.6 months; p < 0.0001). Initial treatment with chemotherapy plus an epidermal growth factor receptor inhibitor produced median progression-free survival (PFS) of 4.3 versus 12.3 months (p = 0.20) for LS BRAFmt (n = 9) versus LS BRAFwt (n = 104). Initial chemotherapy and bevacizumab produced a median PFS of 7.6 versus 11.6 months (p = 0.02) for LS BRAFmt (n = 36) versus LS BRAFwt (n = 438), respectively.
    CONCLUSION: LS BRAFmt cancers share many features with RS BRAFmt cancers, including poor survival outcomes. Mature data on the activity of BRAF-targeted therapies in the first-line setting are eagerly awaited.
    DOI:  https://doi.org/10.1007/s11523-021-00793-7
  8. Physiol Rev. 2021 Feb 18.
    Szwed A, Kim E, Jacinto E.
      Cells metabolize nutrients for biosynthetic and bioenergetic needs to fuel growth and proliferation. The uptake of nutrients from the environment and their intracellular metabolism is a highly controlled process that involves crosstalk between growth signaling and metabolic pathways. Despite constant fluctuations in nutrient availability and environmental signals, normal cells restore metabolic homeostasis to maintain cellular functions and prevent disease. A central signaling molecule that integrates growth with metabolism is the mechanistic target of rapamycin (mTOR). mTOR is a protein kinase that responds to levels of nutrients and growth signals. mTOR forms two protein complexes, mTORC1, which is sensitive to rapamycin and mTORC2, which is not directly inhibited by this drug. Rapamycin has facilitated the discovery of the various functions of mTORC1 in metabolism. Genetic models that disrupt either mTORC1 or mTORC2 have expanded our knowledge on their cellular, tissue as well as systemic functions in metabolism. Nevertheless, our knowledge on the regulation and functions of mTORC2, particularly in metabolism, has lagged behind. Since mTOR is an important target for cancer, aging and other metabolism-related pathologies, understanding the distinct and overlapping regulation and functions of the two mTOR complexes is vital for the development of more effective therapeutic strategies. This review will discuss the key discoveries and recent findings on the regulation and metabolic functions of the mTOR complexes. We highlight findings from cancer models, but also discuss other examples of the mTOR-mediated metabolic reprogramming occurring in stem and immune cells, type 2 diabetes/obesity, neurodegenerative disorders and aging.
    Keywords:  cancer metabolism; mTOR; mTORC; metabolic reprogramming; metabolism
    DOI:  https://doi.org/10.1152/physrev.00026.2020
  9. Cancer Res. 2021 Feb 15. pii: canres.2370.2020. [Epub ahead of print]
    Yang B, Li X, Fu Y, Guo E, Ye Y, Li F, Liu S, Xiao R, Liu C, Lu F, Huang J, Qin T, Han L, Peng G, Mills GB, Sun C, Chen G.
      Mutant KRAS tumors are associated with poor outcomes at least in part due to decreased therapeutic sensitivity. Here we show that KRAS mutations are associated with resistance to monotherapy and combination therapy with Poly-(ADP-ribose) polymerase inhibitors (PARPi) and immune checkpoint blockade with anti-PD-L1 antibodies. In mutant KRAS tumors, inhibition of KRAS signaling with MEK inhibitors (MEKi) triggered and amplified PARPi-induced DNA damage, cytosolic double-stranded DNA accumulation, STING pathway activation and CD8+ T cell recruitment. Moreover, MEKi decreased myeloid-derived suppressor cell infiltration in part by inhibiting IL-6 and GM-CSF production. Importantly, addition of MEKi to PARPi and anti-PD-L1 resulted in marked tumor inhibition in immunocompetent mutant KRAS tumor models. These studies provide the underlying mechanistic data to support evaluation of PARPi, MEKi, and anti-PD-L1 combination in clinical trials of mutant KRAS tumors.
    DOI:  https://doi.org/10.1158/0008-5472.CAN-20-2370
  10. Cell Death Dis. 2021 Feb 16. 12(2): 189
    Liu M, Wang D, Luo Y, Hu L, Bi Y, Ji J, Huang H, Wang G, Zhu L, Ma J, Kim E, Luo CK, Abbruzzese JL, Li X, Yang VW, Li Z, Lu W.
      Oncogenic RAS is a critical driver for the initiation and progression of several types of cancers. However, effective therapeutic strategies by targeting RAS, in particular RASG12D and RASG12V, and associated downstream pathways have been so far unsuccessful. Treatment of oncogenic RAS-ravaged cancer patients remains a currently unmet clinical need. Consistent with a major role in cancer metabolism, oncogenic RAS activation elevates both reactive oxygen species (ROS)-generating NADPH oxidase (NOX) activity and ROS-scavenging glutathione biosynthesis. At a certain threshold, the heightened oxidative stress and antioxidant capability achieve a higher level of redox balance, on which cancer cells depend to gain a selective advantage on survival and proliferation. However, this prominent metabolic feature may irrevocably render cancer cells vulnerable to concurrent inhibition of both NOX activity and glutathione biosynthesis, which may be exploited as a novel therapeutic strategy. In this report, we test this hypothesis by treating the HRASG12V-transformed ovarian epithelial cells, mutant KRAS-harboring pancreatic and colon cancer cells of mouse and human origins, as well as cancer xenografts, with diphenyleneiodonium (DPI) and buthionine sulfoximine (BSO) combination, which inhibit NOX activity and glutathione biosynthesis, respectively. Our results demonstrate that concomitant targeting of NOX and glutathione biosynthesis induces a highly potent lethality to cancer cells harboring oncogenic RAS. Therefore, our studies provide a novel strategy against RAS-bearing cancers that warrants further mechanistic and translational investigation.
    DOI:  https://doi.org/10.1038/s41419-021-03473-6
  11. Cancer Cell Int. 2021 Feb 16. 21(1): 108
    Liu C, Xing W, Yu H, Zhang W, Si T.
      BACKGROUND: Overexpression of ABC transporters is a big challenge on cancer therapy which will lead cancer cells resistance to a series of anticancer drugs. Gedatolisib is a dual PI3K and mTOR inhibitor which is under clinical evaluation for multiple types of malignancies, including colorectal cancer. The growth inhibitory effects of gedatolisib on colorectal cancer cells have been specifically studied. However, the role of ABC transporters on gedatolisib resistance remained unclear. In present study, we illustrated the role of ABC transporters on gedatolisib resistance in colorectal cancer cells.METHODS: Cell viability investigations of gedatolisib on colorectal cancer cells were determined by MTT assays. The verapamil and Ko143 reversal studies were determined by MTT assays as well. ABCB1 and/or ABCG2 siRNA interference assays were conducted to verify the role of ABCB1- and ABCG2-overexpression on gedatolisib resistance. The accumulation assays of gedatolisib were conducted using tritium-labeled paclitaxel and mitoxantrone. The effects of gedatolisib on ATPase activity of ABCB1 or ABCG2 were conducted using PREDEASY ATPase Kits. The expression level of ABCB1 and ABCG2 after gedatolisib treatment were conducted by Western blotting and immunofluorescence assays. The well-docked position of gedatolisib with crystal structure of ABCB1 and ABCG2 were simulated by Autodock vina software. One-way ANOVA was used for the statistics analysis.
    RESULTS: Gedatolisib competitively increased the accumulation of tritium-labeled substrate-drugs in both ABCB1- and ABCG2-overexpression colorectal cancer cells. Moreover, gedatolisib significantly increased the protein expression level of ABCB1 and ABCG2 in colorectal cancer cells. In addition, gedatolisib remarkably simulated the ATPase activity of both ABCB1 and ABCG2, suggesting that gedatolisib is a substrate drug of both ABCB1 and ABCG2 transporters. Furthermore, a gedatolisib-resistance colorectal cancer cell line, SW620/GEDA, was selected by increasingly treatment with gedatolisib to SW620 cells. The SW620/GEDA cell line was proved to resistant to gedatolisib and a series of chemotherapeutic drugs, except cisplatin. The ABCB1 and ABCG2 were observed overexpression in SW620/GEDA cell line.
    CONCLUSIONS: These findings suggest that overexpression of ABCB1 and ABCG2 may restrict the efficacy of gedatolisib in colorectal cancer cells, while co-administration with ABC transporter inhibitors may improve the potency of gedatolisib.
    Keywords:  ABCB1; ABCG2; Colorectal cancer (CRC); Drug resistance; Gedatolisib; Substrates
    DOI:  https://doi.org/10.1186/s12935-021-01800-7
  12. Front Oncol. 2020 ;10 604772
    Kim JS, Bae GE, Kim SH, Choi MK, Yeo MK.
      Background: Cell-free DNA (cfDNA) has arisen as an alternative target for evaluating somatic mutations in cancer. KRAS mutation status is critical for targeted therapy in colorectal adenocarcinoma (CRAC). We evaluated KRASG12/G13 mutations in cfDNA extracted from serum and compared the results with KRASG12/G13 mutations detected in tissue samples. We assessed the clinical significance of KRASG12/G13 mutation in serum in regard to recurrence and metastasis of CRAC.Methods: A total of 146 CRAC patients were enrolled, and KRASG12/G13 mutations were evaluated in 146 pairs of serum and tissue samples. In addition, 35 pairs of primary and metastatic CRAC tissue samples were evaluated for KRASG12/G13 mutational status.
    Results: Detection of KRASG12/13 mutation from serum and tissue had a 55% concordance rate, and serum detection had a sensitivity of 39.8%. Detection of the KRASG12/13 mutation yielded a 14% discordance rate between primary and metastatic tissue. CRAC patients with mutant KRASG12/13 mutation in serum but wild-type KRASG12/13 in tissue had concurrent KRASG12/13-mutant metastatic tumors, indicating spatial genetic heterogeneity. Changes in serum KRASG12/G13 mutation status during postoperative follow-up were associated with recurrence. Conclusion: Although serum detection of the KRASG12/13 mutation cannot substitute for detection in tissue, serum testing can support the interpretation of a CRAC patient's status in regard to concurrent metastasis. Dynamic changes in serum KRASG12/13 mutation status during follow-up indicated that cfDNA from serum represents a potential source for monitoring recurrence in CRAC patients.
    Keywords:  KRAS; cell free DNA; colorectal adenocarcinoma; heterogeneity; serum
    DOI:  https://doi.org/10.3389/fonc.2020.604772
  13. Nat Commun. 2021 02 16. 12(1): 1055
    Li T, Wang X, Ju E, da Silva SR, Chen L, Zhang X, Wei S, Gao SJ.
      mTORC1, a central controller of cell proliferation in response to growth factors and nutrients, is dysregulated in cancer. Whereas arginine activates mTORC1, it is overridden by high expression of cytosolic arginine sensor for mTORC1 subunit 1 (CASTOR1). Because cancer cells often encounter low levels of nutrients, an alternative mechanism might exist to regulate CASTOR1 expression. Here we show K29-linked polyubiquitination and degradation of CASTOR1 by E3 ubiquitin ligase RNF167. Furthermore, AKT phosphorylates CASTOR1 at S14, significantly increasing its binding to RNF167, and hence its ubiquitination and degradation, while simultaneously decreasing its affinity to MIOS, leading to mTORC1 activation. Therefore, AKT activates mTORC1 through both TSC2- and CASTOR1-dependent pathways. Several cell types with high CASTOR1 expression are insensitive to arginine regulation. Significantly, AKT and RNF167-mediated CASTOR1 degradation activates mTORC1 independent of arginine and promotes breast cancer progression. These results illustrate a mTORC1 regulating mechanism and identify RNF167 as a therapeutic target for mTORC1-dysregulated diseases.
    DOI:  https://doi.org/10.1038/s41467-021-21206-3
  14. Sci Rep. 2021 Feb 17. 11(1): 3980
    Yamazaki D, Hashizume O, Taniguchi S, Funato Y, Miki H.
      Adenomatous polyposis coli (APC) is a tumor-suppressing protein whose inactivation triggers the formation of colorectal polyps. Numerous studies using cell lines or genetically engineered mice have revealed its role in suppressing Wnt/β-catenin signaling pathway and regulating cell proliferation and differentiation. Here, we performed genetic analyses of APC using a three-dimensional organoid culture of mouse colon epithelia, which enables the detailed examination of epithelial properties. Analyses of Apc-knockout colon organoids not only confirmed the importance of APC in suppressing Wnt/β-catenin signaling and regulating cell differentiation, but also revealed several novel features: a significant decrease in proliferating speed and an increase in cross-sectional area of cells. Moreover, we found a significant number of lysozyme-positive Paneth-like cells, which were never observed in wild-type colon tissues or organoids, but have been reported to emerge in colon cancers. Therefore, APC autonomously suppresses ectopic differentiation into lysozyme-positive cells, specifically in the colon epithelia. Colon organoids would be an ideal material to investigate the molecular mechanism and biological importance of the ectopic differentiation associated with cancer development.
    DOI:  https://doi.org/10.1038/s41598-021-83590-6
  15. Curr Oncol Rep. 2021 Feb 13. 23(3): 28
    Wang C, Fakih M.
      PURPOSE OF REVIEW: Mutations in kirsten rat sarcoma viral oncogene homolog (KRAS) are the most frequently observed genomic alterations in human cancers. No KRAS targeting therapy has been approved despite more than three decades of efforts. Encouraging progress has been made in targeting KRASG12C with KRASG12C specific covalent inhibitors in the past few years. Herein, we review the recent breakthroughs in KRAS targeting.RECENT FINDINGS: KRASG12C mutation was found in 14% of non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) and 3% of colorectal cancer. Recently, highly potent KRASG12C specific inhibitors have been developed and demonstrated potent activity in preclinical models. Early results from phase 1 clinical trials with sotorasib and MRTX849 show promising antitumor activity in NSCLC, colorectal cancer and other solid tumors harboring KRASG12C mutation. For the first time, the preclinical success of targeting KRAS has translated into clinical benefits, which holds the potential of transforming clinical management of KRAS mutated solid tumors. Additional efforts are needed to identify biomarkers that predict response to KRAS inhibition in patients with KRASG12C as well as to develop strategies to overcome resistance.
    Keywords:  Colorectal cancer; KRAS; Targeting therapy
    DOI:  https://doi.org/10.1007/s11912-021-01022-0
  16. Sci Adv. 2021 Feb;pii: eabd6927. [Epub ahead of print]7(8):
    Dong L, Mao Y, Zhou A, Liu XM, Zhou J, Wan J, Qian SB.
      Translation is a crucial process in cancer development and progression. Many oncogenic signaling pathways target the translation initiation stage to satisfy the increased anabolic demands of cancer cells. Using quantitative profiling of initiating ribosomes, we found that ribosomal pausing at the start codon serves as a "brake" to restrain the translational output. In response to oncogenic RAS signaling, the initiation pausing relaxes and contributes to the increased translational flux. Intriguingly, messenger RNA (mRNA) m6A modification in the vicinity of start codons influences the behavior of initiating ribosomes. Under oncogenic RAS signaling, the reduced mRNA methylation leads to relaxed initiation pausing, thereby promoting malignant transformation and tumor growth. Restored initiation pausing by inhibiting m6A demethylases suppresses RAS-mediated oncogenic translation and subsequent tumorigenesis. Our findings unveil a paradigm of translational control that is co-opted by RAS mutant cancer cells to drive malignant phenotypes.
    DOI:  https://doi.org/10.1126/sciadv.abd6927
  17. J Clin Oncol. 2021 Feb 01. 39(4): 273-284
    Tabernero J, Grothey A, Van Cutsem E, Yaeger R, Wasan H, Yoshino T, Desai J, Ciardiello F, Loupakis F, Hong YS, Steeghs N, Guren TK, Arkenau HT, Garcia-Alfonso P, Elez E, Gollerkeri A, Maharry K, Christy-Bittel J, Kopetz S.
      PURPOSE: BEACON CRC evaluated encorafenib plus cetuximab with or without binimetinib versus investigators' choice of irinotecan or FOLFIRI plus cetuximab in patients with BRAFV600E-mutant metastatic colorectal cancer (mCRC), after progression on 1-2 prior regimens. In the previously reported primary analysis, encorafenib, binimetinib plus cetuximab (ENCO/BINI/CETUX; triplet) and encorafenib plus cetuximab (ENCO/CETUX; doublet) regimens improved overall survival (OS) and objective response rate (ORR; by blinded central review) versus standard of care. The purpose of this analysis was to report updated efficacy and safety data.METHODS: In this open-label, phase III trial, 665 patients with BRAF V600E-mutant mCRC were randomly assigned 1:1:1 to receive triplet, doublet, or control. Primary end points were OS and independently reviewed ORR comparing triplet to control. OS for doublet versus control was a key secondary end point. Updated analyses include 6 months of additional follow-up and ORR for all randomized patients.
    RESULTS: Patients received triplet (n = 224), doublet (n = 220), or control (n = 221). Median OS was 9.3 months (95% CI, 8.2 to 10.8) for triplet and 5.9 months (95% CI, 5.1 to 7.1) for control (hazard ratio [HR], 0.60 [95% CI, 0.47 to 0.75]). Median OS for doublet was 9.3 months (95% CI, 8.0 to 11.3) (HR v control, 0.61 [95% CI, 0.48 to 0.77]). Confirmed ORR was 26.8% (95% CI, 21.1% to 33.1%) for triplet, 19.5% (95% CI, 14.5% to 25.4%) for doublet, and 1.8% (95% CI, 0.5% to 4.6%) for control. Adverse events were consistent with the prior primary analysis, with grade ≥ 3 adverse events in 65.8%, 57.4%, and 64.2% for triplet, doublet, and control, respectively.
    CONCLUSION: In the BEACON CRC study, encorafenib plus cetuximab improved OS, ORR, and progression-free survival in previously treated patients in the metastatic setting compared with standard chemotherapy. Based on the primary and updated analyses, encorafenib plus cetuximab is a new standard care regimen for previously treated patients with BRAF V600E mCRC.
    DOI:  https://doi.org/10.1200/JCO.20.02088
  18. Cell Death Dis. 2021 Feb 15. 12(2): 183
    Zhang N, Tian YN, Zhou LN, Li MZ, Chen HD, Song SS, Huan XJ, Bao XB, Zhang A, Miao ZH, He JX.
      Monotherapy with poly ADP-ribose polymerase (PARP) inhibitors results in a limited objective response rate (≤60% in most cases) in patients with homologous recombination repair (HRR)-deficient cancer, which suggests a high rate of resistance in this subset of patients to PARP inhibitors (PARPi). To overcome resistance to PARPi and to broaden their clinical use, we performed high-throughput screening of 99 anticancer drugs in combination with PARPi to identify potential therapeutic combinations. Here, we found that GSK3 inhibitors (GSK3i) exhibited a strong synergistic effect with PARPi in a panel of colorectal cancer (CRC) cell lines with diverse genetic backgrounds. The combination of GSK3β and PARP inhibition causes replication stress and DNA double-strand breaks, resulting in increased anaphase bridges and abnormal spindles. Mechanistically, inhibition or genetic depletion of GSK3β was found to impair the HRR of DNA and reduce the mRNA and protein level of BRCA1. Finally, we demonstrated that inhibition or depletion of GSK3β could enhance the in vivo sensitivity to simmiparib without toxicity. Our results provide a mechanistic understanding of the combination of PARP and GSK3 inhibition, and support the clinical development of this combination therapy for CRC patients.
    DOI:  https://doi.org/10.1038/s41419-021-03475-4
  19. Cell Rep. 2021 Feb 16. pii: S2211-1247(21)00057-7. [Epub ahead of print]34(7): 108744
    Wu D, Yan Y, Wei T, Ye Z, Xiao Y, Pan Y, Orme JJ, Wang D, Wang L, Ren S, Huang H.
      Acquisition of resistance to phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase (PI3K)/AKT-targeted monotherapy implies the existence of common resistance mechanisms independent of cancer type. Here, we demonstrate that PI3K/AKT inhibitors cause glycolytic crisis, acetyl-coenzyme A (CoA) shortage, and a global decrease in histone acetylation. In addition, PI3K/AKT inhibitors induce drug resistance by selectively augmenting histone H3 lysine 27 acetylation (H3K27ac) and binding of CBP/p300 and BRD4 proteins at a subset of growth factor and receptor (GF/R) gene loci. BRD4 occupation at these loci and drug-resistant cell growth are vulnerable to both bromodomain and histone deacetylase (HDAC) inhibitors. Little or no occupation of HDAC proteins at the GF/R gene loci underscores the paradox that cells respond equivalently to the two classes of inhibitors with opposite modes of action. Targeting this unique acetyl-histone-related vulnerability offers two clinically viable strategies to overcome PI3K/AKT inhibitor resistance in different cancers.
    DOI:  https://doi.org/10.1016/j.celrep.2021.108744