bims-tucedo Biomed News
on Tumor cell dormancy
Issue of 2022‒03‒20
28 papers selected by
Isabel Puig Borreil
Vall d’Hebron Institute of Oncology

  1. Nat Cancer. 2022 Mar 17.
      Ligand-dependent corepressor (LCOR) mediates normal and malignant breast stem cell differentiation. Cancer stem cells (CSCs) generate phenotypic heterogeneity and drive therapy resistance, yet their role in immunotherapy is poorly understood. Here we show that immune-checkpoint blockade (ICB) therapy selects for LCORlow CSCs with reduced antigen processing/presentation machinery (APM) driving immune escape and ICB resistance in triple-negative breast cancer (TNBC). We unveil an unexpected function of LCOR as a master transcriptional activator of APM genes binding to IFN-stimulated response elements (ISREs) in an IFN signaling-independent manner. Through genetic modification of LCOR expression, we demonstrate its central role in modulation of tumor immunogenicity and ICB responsiveness. In TNBC, LCOR associates with ICB clinical response. Importantly, extracellular vesicle (EV) Lcor-messenger RNA therapy in combination with anti-PD-L1 overcame resistance and eradicated breast cancer metastasis in preclinical models. Collectively, these data support LCOR as a promising target for enhancement of ICB efficacy in TNBC, by boosting of tumor APM independently of IFN.
  2. J Clin Invest. 2022 Mar 15. pii: e154074. [Epub ahead of print]132(6):
      De novo and acquired resistance are major impediments to the efficacy of conventional and targeted cancer therapy. In unselected gastric cancer (GC) patients with advanced disease, trials combining chemotherapy and an anti-EGFR monoclonal antibody have been largely unsuccessful. In an effort to identify biomarkers of resistance so as to better select patients for such trials, we screened the secretome of chemotherapy-treated human GC cell lines. We found that levels of CGA, the α-subunit of glycoprotein hormones, were markedly increased in the conditioned media of chemoresistant GC cells, and CGA immunoreactivity was enhanced in GC tissues that progressed on chemotherapy. CGA levels in plasma increased in GC patients who received chemotherapy, and this increase was correlated with reduced responsiveness to chemotherapy and poor survival. Mechanistically, secreted CGA was found to bind to EGFR and activate EGFR signaling, thereby conferring a survival advantage to GC cells. N-glycosylation of CGA at Asn52 and Asn78 is required for its stability, secretion, and interaction with EGFR. GATA2 was found to activate CGA transcription, whose increase, in turn, induced the expression and phosphorylation of GATA2 in an EGFR-dependent manner, forming a positive feedback circuit that was initiated by GATA2 autoregulation upon sublethal exposure to chemotherapy. Based on this circuit, combination strategies involving anti-EGFR therapies or targeting CGA with microRNAs (miR-708-3p and miR-761) restored chemotherapy sensitivity. These findings identify a clinically actionable CGA/EGFR/GATA2 circuit and highlight CGA as a predictive biomarker and therapeutic target in chemoresistant GC.
    Keywords:  Gastric cancer; Gastroenterology; Oncogenes; Oncology
  3. Mol Cancer. 2022 Mar 12. 21(1): 74
      BACKGROUND: Epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition (EMT) is a process linked to metastasis and drug resistance with non-coding RNAs (ncRNAs) playing pivotal roles. We previously showed that miR-100 and miR-125b, embedded within the third intron of the ncRNA host gene MIR100HG, confer resistance to cetuximab, an anti-epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) monoclonal antibody, in colorectal cancer (CRC). However, whether the MIR100HG transcript itself has a role in cetuximab resistance or EMT is unknown.METHODS: The correlation between MIR100HG and EMT was analyzed by curating public CRC data repositories. The biological roles of MIR100HG in EMT, metastasis and cetuximab resistance in CRC were determined both in vitro and in vivo. The expression patterns of MIR100HG, hnRNPA2B1 and TCF7L2 in CRC specimens from patients who progressed on cetuximab and patients with metastatic disease were analyzed by RNAscope and immunohistochemical staining.
    RESULTS: The expression of MIR100HG was strongly correlated with EMT markers and acted as a positive regulator of EMT. MIR100HG sustained cetuximab resistance and facilitated invasion and metastasis in CRC cells both in vitro and in vivo. hnRNPA2B1 was identified as a binding partner of MIR100HG. Mechanistically, MIR100HG maintained mRNA stability of TCF7L2, a major transcriptional coactivator of the Wnt/β-catenin signaling, by interacting with hnRNPA2B1. hnRNPA2B1 recognized the N6-methyladenosine (m6A) site of TCF7L2 mRNA in the presence of MIR100HG. TCF7L2, in turn, activated MIR100HG transcription, forming a feed forward regulatory loop. The MIR100HG/hnRNPA2B1/TCF7L2 axis was augmented in specimens from CRC patients who either developed local or distant metastasis or had disease progression that was associated with cetuximab resistance.
    CONCLUSIONS: MIR100HG and hnRNPA2B1 interact to control the transcriptional activity of Wnt signaling in CRC via regulation of TCF7L2 mRNA stability. Our findings identified MIR100HG as a potent EMT inducer in CRC that may contribute to cetuximab resistance and metastasis by activation of a MIR100HG/hnRNPA2B1/TCF7L2 feedback loop.
    Keywords:  CRC; Cetuximab resistance; EMT; MIR100HG; Metastasis; N6-methyladenosine (m6A); TCF7L2; Wnt/β-catenin signaling; hnRNPA2B1
  4. J Clin Invest. 2022 Mar 15. pii: e143762. [Epub ahead of print]132(6):
      Natural killer (NK) cells are innate immune cells that are critical to the body's antitumor and antimetastatic defense. As such, novel therapies are being developed to utilize NK cells as part of a next generation of immunotherapies to treat patients with metastatic disease. Therefore, it is essential for us to examine how metastatic cancer cells and NK cells interact with each other throughout the metastatic cascade. In this Review, we highlight the recent body of work that has begun to answer these questions. We explore how the unique biology of cancer cells at each stage of metastasis alters fundamental NK cell biology, including how cancer cells can evade immunosurveillance and co-opt NK cells into cells that promote metastasis. We also discuss the translational potential of this knowledge.
  5. Nat Commun. 2022 Mar 16. 13(1): 1381
      Cellular plasticity contributes to intra-tumoral heterogeneity and phenotype switching, which enable adaptation to metastatic microenvironments and resistance to therapies. Mechanisms underlying tumor cell plasticity remain poorly understood. SOX10, a neural crest lineage transcription factor, is heterogeneously expressed in melanomas. Loss of SOX10 reduces proliferation, leads to invasive properties, including the expression of mesenchymal genes and extracellular matrix, and promotes tolerance to BRAF and/or MEK inhibitors. We identify the class of cellular inhibitor of apoptosis protein-1/2 (cIAP1/2) inhibitors as inducing cell death selectively in SOX10-deficient cells. Targeted therapy selects for SOX10 knockout cells underscoring their drug tolerant properties. Combining cIAP1/2 inhibitor with BRAF/MEK inhibitors delays the onset of acquired resistance in melanomas in vivo. These data suggest that SOX10 mediates phenotypic switching in cutaneous melanoma to produce a targeted inhibitor tolerant state that is likely a prelude to the acquisition of resistance. Furthermore, we provide a therapeutic strategy to selectively eliminate SOX10-deficient cells.
  6. Nat Commun. 2022 Mar 18. 13(1): 1473
      Approximately 50% of patients with metastatic HER2-positive (HER2+) breast cancer develop brain metastases (BCBMs). We report that the tumor suppressor p16INK4A is deficient in the majority of HER2+ BCBMs. p16INK4A-deficiency as measured by protein immunohistochemistry predicted response to combined tucatinib and abemaciclib in orthotopic patient-derived xenografts (PDXs) of HER2 + BCBMs. Our findings establish the rationale for a biomarker-driven clinical trial of combined CDK4/6- and HER2-targeted agents for patients with HER2 + BCBM.
  7. J Immunother Cancer. 2022 Mar;pii: e003484. [Epub ahead of print]10(3):
      BACKGROUND: The efficacy of immunotherapies in metastatic melanoma depends on a robust T cell infiltration. Oncogenic alterations of tumor cells have been associated to T cell exclusion. Identifying novel cancer cell-intrinsic non-genetic mechanisms of immune escape, the targeting of which would reinstate T cell recruitment, would allow to restore the response to anti-programmed cell death protein 1 (PD-1) antibody therapy. The epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition (EMT)-inducing transcription factor ZEB1 is a major regulator of melanoma cell plasticity, driving resistance to mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) targeted therapies. We thus wondered whether ZEB1 signaling in melanoma cells may promote immune evasion and resistance to immunotherapy.METHODS: We evaluated the putative correlation between ZEB1 expression in melanoma cells and the composition of the immune infiltrate in a cohort of 60 human melanoma samples by combining transcriptomic (RNA-sequencing) and seven-color spatial multi-immunofluorescence analyses. Algorithm-based spatial reconstitution of tumors allowed the quantification of CD8+, CD4+ T cells number and their activation state (PD-1, Ki67). ZEB1 gain-of-function or loss-of-function approaches were then implemented in syngeneic melanoma mouse models, followed by monitoring of tumor growth, quantification of immune cell populations frequency and function by flow cytometry, cytokines secretion by multiplex analyses. Chromatin-immunoprecipitation was used to demonstrate the direct binding of this transcription factor on the promoters of cytokine-encoding genes. Finally, the sensitivity to anti-PD-1 antibody therapy upon ZEB1 gain-of-function or loss-of-function was evaluated.
    RESULTS: Combined spatial and transcriptomic analyses of the immune infiltrates in human melanoma samples demonstrated that ZEB1 expression in melanoma cells is associated with decreased CD8+ T cell infiltration, independently of β-catenin pathway activation. ZEB1 ectopic expression in melanoma cells impairs CD8+ T cell recruitment in syngeneic mouse models, resulting in tumor immune evasion and resistance to immune checkpoint blockade. Mechanistically, we demonstrate that ZEB1 directly represses the secretion of T cell-attracting chemokines, including CXCL10. Finally, Zeb1 knock-out, by promoting CD8+ T cell infiltration, synergizes with anti-PD-1 antibody therapy in promoting tumor regression.
    CONCLUSIONS: We identify the ZEB1 transcription factor as a key determinant of melanoma immune escape, highlighting a previously unknown therapeutic target to increase efficacy of immunotherapy in melanoma.
    Keywords:  immunotherapy; lymphocytes; melanoma; tumor escape; tumor microenvironment; tumor-infiltrating
  8. Cancer Res. 2022 Mar 18. pii: canres.4087.2021. [Epub ahead of print]
      Ribosomes are a complex ensemble of ribosomal RNA (rRNA) and ribosomal proteins that function as mRNA translation machines. Ribosome biogenesis is a multi-step process that begins in the nucleolus and concludes in the cytoplasm. The process is tightly controlled by multiple checkpoint and surveillance pathways. Perturbations in these checkpoints and pathways can lead to hyper-activation of ribosome biogenesis. Emerging evidence suggests that cancer cells harbor a specialized class of ribosomes (onco-ribosomes) that facilitates the oncogenic translation program, modulates cellular functions, and promotes metabolic rewiring. Mutations in ribosomal proteins, rRNA processing, and ribosome assembly factors result in ribosomopathies that are associated with an increased risk of developing malignancies. Recent studies have linked mutations in ribosomal proteins and aberrant ribosomes with poor prognosis, highlighting ribosome-targeted therapy as a promising approach for treating cancer patients. Here we summarize various aspects of dysregulation of ribosome biogenesis and the impact of resultant onco-ribosomes on malignant tumor behavior, therapeutic resistance, and clinical outcome. Ribosome biogenesis is a promising therapeutic target, and understanding the important determinants of this process will allow for improved and perhaps selective therapeutic strategies to target ribosome biosynthesis.
  9. Cell Rep. 2022 Mar 15. pii: S2211-1247(22)00247-9. [Epub ahead of print]38(11): 110511
      An epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition (EMT) phenotype with cancer stem cell-like properties is a critical feature of aggressive/metastatic tumors, but the mechanism(s) that promote it and its relation to metabolic stress remain unknown. Here we show that Collapsin Response Mediator Protein 2A (CRMP2A) is unexpectedly and reversibly induced in cancer cells in response to multiple metabolic stresses, including low glucose and hypoxia, and inhibits EMT/stemness. Loss of CRMP2A, when metabolic stress decreases (e.g., around blood vessels in vivo) or by gene deletion, induces extensive microtubule remodeling, increased glutamine utilization toward pyrimidine synthesis, and an EMT/stemness phenotype with increased migration, chemoresistance, tumor initiation capacity/growth, and metastatic potential. In a cohort of 27 prostate cancer patients with biopsies from primary tumors and distant metastases, CRMP2A expression decreases in the metastatic versus primary tumors. CRMP2A is an endogenous molecular brake on cancer EMT/stemness and its loss increases the aggressiveness and metastatic potential of tumors.
    Keywords:  cytoskeleton; metabolism; metastasis; microtubule; mitochondria; stress
  10. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2022 Mar 22. 119(12): e2113535119
      SignificancePreclinical studies of metastatic melanoma treated with targeted therapeutics have suggested that alternating periods of treatment and withdrawal might delay the onset of resistance. This has been attributed to drug addiction, where cells lose fitness upon drug removal due to the resulting hyperactivation of mitogen-activated protein (MAP) kinase signaling. This study presents evidence that the intermittent treatment response can also be explained by the resensitization of cells following drug removal and enhanced cell loss upon drug rechallenge. Resensitization is accompanied by adaptive transcriptomic switching and occurs despite the sustained expression of resistance genes throughout the intermittent treatment.
    Keywords:  cancer; drug resistance; encorafenib; intermittent treatment; melanoma
  11. Nat Commun. 2022 Mar 16. 13(1): 1371
      Cancer cells display phenotypic equilibrium between the stem-like and differentiated states during neoplastic homeostasis. The functional and mechanistic implications of this subpopulation plasticity remain largely unknown. Herein, it is demonstrated that the breast cancer stem cell (BCSC) secretome autonomously compresses the stem cell population. Co-implantation with BCSCs decreases the tumor-initiating capacity yet increases metastasis of accompanying cancer cells, wherein DKK1 is identified as a pivotal factor secreted by BCSCs for such functions. DKK1-promotes differentiation is indispensable for disseminated tumor cell metastatic outgrowth. In contrast, DKK1 inhibitors substantially relieve the metastatic burden by restraining metastatic cells in the dormant state. DKK1 increases the expression of SLC7A11 to protect metastasizing cancer cells from lipid peroxidation and ferroptosis. Combined treatment with a ferroptosis inducer and a DKK1 inhibitor exhibits synergistic effects in diminishing metastasis. Hence, this study deciphers the contribution of CSC-regulated phenotypic plasticity in metastatic colonization and provides therapeutic approaches to limit metastatic outgrowth.
  12. EMBO Mol Med. 2022 Mar 14. e15707
      Standard-of-care regimens for pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC) include a combination of chemotherapies, which are associated with toxicity and eventually tumor resistance. The lack of relevant tool to identify and evaluate new therapies in PDAC necessitates the search for a model, especially for cases with treatment resistance to standard of care. In the study from Peschke et al (2022), they describe a longitudinal platform to identify drug-induced vulnerabilities following standard-of-care chemotherapy treatment using patient-derived organoids (PDOs) providing an opportunity to predict therapeutic response and define new treatment vulnerability induced by standard of care. Previously, tumor resistance to chemotherapy has typically been described as selection for resistant tumor cell populations. However, Peschke et al (2022) demonstrated that PDAC cells seemed to acquire resistance not only through genetic changes, but also through modifications in cellular plasticity leading to gene expression and metabolism changes. Thus, the study supports this type of platform for the identification of new therapeutic targets following standard-of-care treatments in PDAC.
  13. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2022 Mar 22. 119(12): e2100670119
      SignificanceCisplatin is the first line therapy for patients with head and neck cancer. However, resistance to cisplatin remains a major concern. High expression of the calcium-activated chloride channel TMEM16A in tumors portends poor survival in these patients, possibly because of drug resistance. Here, we show that TMEM16A drives the sequestration of cisplatin into lysosomes. Subsequently, cisplatin is expelled via the delivery of lysosomes to the cell surface. We show that TMEM16A enhances this process, thereby promoting cisplatin resistance. We also show that lysosomal inhibition synergizes with cisplatin to induce tumor cell death. Our data uncovers a new fundamental feature of both lysosomal physiology and cancer cell biology that can potentially impact the treatment of patients with head and neck cancer.
    Keywords:  MITF; TMEM16A; cisplatin; hydroxychloroquine; lysosomal flux
  14. Mol Cancer. 2022 Mar 12. 21(1): 73
      BACKGROUND: Circulating tumor cells (CTCs) are liquid biopsies that represent micrometastatic disease and may offer unique insights into future recurrences in non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC). Due to CTC rarity and limited stability, no stable CTC-derived xenograft (CDX) models have ever been generated from non-metastatic NSCLC patients directly. Alternative strategies are needed to molecularly characterize CTCs and means of potential future metastases in this potentially curable patient group.METHODS: Surgically resected NSCLC primary tumor tissues from non-metastatic patients were implanted subcutaneously in immunodeficient mice to establish primary tumor patient-derived xenograft (ptPDX) models. CTCs were isolated as liquid biopsies from the blood of ptPDX mice and re-implanted subcutaneously into naïve immunodeficient mice to generate liquid biopsy CTC-derived xenograft (CDX) tumor models. Single cell RNA sequencing was performed and validated in an external dataset of non-xenografted human NSCLC primary tumor and metastases tissues. Drug response testing in CDX models was performed with standard of care chemotherapy (carboplatin/paclitaxel). Blockade of MYC, which has a known role in drug resistance, was performed with a MYC/MAX dimerization inhibitor (10058-F4).
    RESULTS: Out of ten ptPDX, two (20%) stable liquid biopsy CDX mouse models were generated. Single cell RNA sequencing analysis revealed an additional regenerative alveolar epithelial type II (AT2)-like cell population in CDX tumors that was also identified in non-xenografted NSCLC patients' metastases tissues. Drug testing using these CDX models revealed different treatment responses to carboplatin/paclitaxel. MYC target genes and c-MYC protein were upregulated in the chemoresistant CDX model, while MYC/MAX dimerization blocking could overcome chemoresistance to carboplatin/paclitaxel.
    CONCLUSIONS: To overcome the lack of liquid biopsy CDX models from non-metastatic NSCLC patients, CDX models can be generated with CTCs from ptPDX models that were originally established from patients' primary tumors. Single cell analyses can identify distinct drug responses and cell heterogeneities in CDX tumors that can be validated in NSCLC metastases tissues. CDX models deserve further development and study to discover personalized strategies against micrometastases in non-metastatic NSCLC patients.
  15. Cancer Res. 2022 Mar 15. pii: canres.3038.2021. [Epub ahead of print]
      RNA helicases are dysregulated in tumors. Here, we identified DHX37 as one of the top RNA helicase genes with upregulated expression in hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). DHX37 promoted proliferation of liver cancer cells in vitro and in vivo. Epigenomic profiling of DHX37-knockdown and control HCC cells revealed that DHX37 is associated with super enhancer activity. Mechanistically, DHX37 interacted with pleiotropic regulator 1 (PLRG1) to transcriptionally activate cyclin D1 (CCND1) expression via co-occupation of its promoter and super enhancer elements. DHX37 and PLRG1 promoted liver cancer cell proliferation and contributed to the poor prognosis of HCC patients. Importantly, CCND1 inhibitors were effective as antiproliferative agents for liver cancer. These results together demonstrate a cooperative mechanistic interaction between DHX37 and PLRG1 that regulates CCND1 expression and promotes liver cancer progression, advancing our understanding of the epigenetic and transcriptional dysregulations mediated by RNA helicases and super enhancers in HCC.
  16. Mol Ther. 2022 Mar 09. pii: S1525-0016(22)00160-5. [Epub ahead of print]
      Cancer cells respond to various stressful conditions through the dynamic regulation of RNA m6A modification. Doxorubicin is a widely used chemotherapeutic drug that induces DNA damage. It is interesting to know whether cancer cells regulate the DNA damage response and doxorubicin sensitivity through RNA m6A modification. Here, we found that doxorubicin treatment significantly induced RNA m6A methylation in breast cancer cells in both a dose- and time-dependent manner. However, protein arginine methyltransferase 5 (PRMT5) inhibited RNA m6A modification under doxorubicin treatment by enhancing the nuclear translocation of the RNA demethylase AlkB Homolog 5 (ALKBH5), which was previously believed to be exclusively localized in the nucleus. Then, ALKBH5 removed the m6A methylation of BRCA1 for mRNA stabilization and further enhanced DNA repair competency to decrease doxorubicin efficacy in breast cancer cells. Importantly, we identified the approved drug tadalafil as a novel PRMT5 inhibitor that could decrease RNA m6A methylation and increase doxorubicin sensitivity in breast cancer. The strategy that targeting PRMT5 with tadalafil is a promising approach to promote breast cancer sensitivity to doxorubicin through RNA methylation regulation.
  17. Oncogene. 2022 Mar 15.
      The tumor micro-environment often contains stiff and irregular-bundled collagen fibers that are used by tumor cells to disseminate. It is still unclear how and to what extent, extracellular matrix (ECM) stiffness versus ECM bundle size and alignment dictate cancer cell invasion. Here, we have uncoupled Collagen-I bundling from stiffness by introducing inter-collagen crosslinks, combined with temperature induced aggregation of collagen bundling. Using organotypic models from mouse invasive ductal and invasive lobular breast cancers, we show that increased collagen bundling in 3D induces a generic increase in breast cancer invasion that is independent of migration mode. However, systemic collagen stiffening using advanced glycation end product (AGE) crosslinking prevents collective invasion, while leaving single cell invasion unaffected. Collective invasion into collagen matrices by ductal breast cancer cells depends on Lysyl oxidase-like 3 (Loxl3), a factor produced by tumor cells that reinforces local collagen stiffness. Finally, we present clinical evidence that collectively invading cancer cells at the invasive front of ductal breast carcinoma upregulate LOXL3. By uncoupling the mechanical, chemical, and structural cues that control invasion of breast cancer in three dimensions, our data reveal that spatial control over stiffness and bundling underlie collective dissemination of ductal-type breast cancers.
  18. Trends Cancer. 2022 Mar 14. pii: S2405-8033(22)00043-7. [Epub ahead of print]
      The 3D architecture of tissues bearing tumors impacts on the mechanical microenvironment of cancer, the accessibility of stromal cells, and the routes of invasion. A myriad of intrinsic and extrinsic forces exerted by the cancer cells, the host tissue, and the molecular and cellular microenvironment modulate the morphology of the tumor and its malignant potential through mechanical, biochemical, genetic, and epigenetic cues. Recent studies have investigated how tissue architecture influences cancer biology from tumor initiation and progression to distant metastatic seeding and response to therapy. With a focus on carcinoma, the most common type of cancer, this review discusses the latest discoveries on how tumor architecture is built and how tissue morphology affects the biology and progression of cancer cells.
    Keywords:  mechanics; tissue architecture; tumor progression; tumorigenesis
  19. Mol Cancer. 2022 Mar 18. 21(1): 77
      BACKGROUND: The use of epidermal growth factor receptor tyrosine kinase inhibitors (EGFR-TKIs) brings remarkable benefits for the survival of patients with advanced NSCLC harboring EGFR mutations. Unfortunately, acquired resistance seems to be inevitable and limits the application of EGFR-TKIs in clinical practice. This study reported a common molecular mechanism sustaining resistance and potential treatment options to overcome EGFR-TKIs resistance.METHODS: EGFR-TKIs resistant NSCLC cells were established and confirmed by MTT assay. Cholesterol content was detected and the promotional function of cholesterol on NSCLC growth was determined in vivo. Then, we identified ERRα expression as the downstream factor of cholesterol-mediated drug resistance. To dissect the regulatory mechanism, we conducted experiments, including immunofluorescence, co-immunoprecipitation, luciferase reporter assay and chromatin immunoprecipitation assay.
    RESULTS: Long-term exposure to EGFR-TKIs generate drug resistance with the characteristic of cholesterol accumulation in lipid rafts, which promotes EGFR and Src to interact and lead EGFR/Src/Erk signaling reactivation-mediated SP1 nuclear translocation and ERRα re-expression. Further investigation identifies ERRα as a target gene of SP1. Functionally, re-expression of ERRα sustains cell proliferation by regulating ROS detoxification process. Lovastatin, a drug used to decrease cholesterol level, and XCT790, an inverse agonist of ERRα, overcome gefitinib and osimertinib resistance both in vitro and in vivo.
    CONCLUSIONS: Our study indicates that cholesterol/EGFR/Src/Erk/SP1 axis-induced ERRα re-expression promotes survival of gefitinib and osimertinib-resistant cancer cells. Besides, we demonstrate the potential of lowing cholesterol and downregulation of ERRα as effective adjuvant treatment of NSCLC.
    Keywords:  Cholesterol; EGFR-TKIs resistance; Non-small cell lung cancer
  20. Nat Commun. 2022 Mar 18. 13(1): 1481
      Immune checkpoint blockade (ICB) is a powerful approach for cancer therapy although good responses are only observed in a fraction of cancer patients. Breast cancers caused by deficiency of breast cancer-associated gene 1 (BRCA1) do not have an improved response to the treatment. To investigate this, here we analyze BRCA1 mutant mammary tissues and tumors derived from both BRCA1 mutant mouse models and human xenograft models to identify intrinsic determinants governing tumor progression and ICB responses. We show that BRCA1 deficiency activates S100A9-CXCL12 signaling for cancer progression and triggers the expansion and accumulation of myeloid-derived suppressor cells (MDSCs), creating a tumor-permissive microenvironment and rendering cancers insensitive to ICB. These oncogenic actions can be effectively suppressed by the combinatory treatment of inhibitors for S100A9-CXCL12 signaling with αPD-1 antibody. This study provides a selective strategy for effective immunotherapy in patients with elevated S100A9 and/or CXCL12 protein levels.
  21. Nat Commun. 2022 Mar 18. 13(1): 1450
      The efficacy of the highly selective RET inhibitor selpercatinib is now established in RET-driven cancers, and we sought to characterize the molecular determinants of response and resistance. We find that the pre-treatment genomic landscape does not shape the variability of treatment response except for rare instances of RAS-mediated primary resistance. By contrast, acquired selpercatinib resistance is driven by MAPK pathway reactivation by one of two distinct routes. In some patients, on- and off-target pathway reactivation via secondary RET solvent front mutations or MET amplifications are evident. In other patients, rare RET-wildtype tumor cell populations driven by an alternative mitogenic driver are selected for by treatment. Multiple distinct mechanisms are often observed in the same patient, suggesting polyclonal resistance may be common. Consequently, sequential RET-directed therapy may require combination treatment with inhibitors targeting alternative MAPK effectors, emphasizing the need for prospective characterization of selpercatinib-treated tumors at the time of monotherapy progression.
  22. Elife. 2022 Mar 14. pii: e68481. [Epub ahead of print]11
      Background: Integrin family are known as key gears in focal adhesion for triple-negative breast cancer (TNBC) metastasis. However, the integrin independent factor TLN1 remains vague in TNBC.Methods: Bioinformatics analysis was performed based on TCGA database and Shengjing Hospital cohort. Western blot and RT-PCR were used to detect the expression of TLN1 and integrin pathway in cells. A small-molecule C67399 was screened for blocking TLN1 and integrin β1 through a novel computational screening approach by targeting the protein-protein binding interface. Drug pharmacodynamics were determined through xenograft assay.
    Results: Upregulation of TLN1 in TNBC samples correlates with metastasis and worse prognosis. Silencing TLN1 in TNBC cells significantly attenuated the migration of tumour cells through interfering the dynamic formation of focal adhesion with integrin β1, thus regulating FAK-AKT signal pathway and epithelial-mesenchymal transformation. Targeting the binding between TLN1 and integrin β1 by C67399 could repress metastasis of TNBC.
    Conclusions: TLN1 overexpression contributes to TNBC metastasis and C67399 targeting TLN1 may hold promise for TNBC treatment.
    Funding: This study was supported by grants from the National Natural Science Foundation of China (No. 81872159, 81902607, 81874301), Liaoning Colleges Innovative Talent Support Program (Name: Cancer Stem Cell Origin and Biological Behaviour), Outstanding Scientific Fund of Shengjing Hospital (201803) and Outstanding Young Scholars of Liaoning Province (2019-YQ-10).
    Keywords:  human; medicine; mouse
  23. Cancer Cell. 2022 Mar 10. pii: S1535-6108(22)00065-4. [Epub ahead of print]
      The tumor microenvironment (TME) is connected to immunotherapy responses, but it remains unclear how cancer cells and host tissues differentially influence the immune composition within TME. Here, we performed single-cell analyses for autologous samples from liver metastasized colorectal cancer to disentangle factors shaping TME. By aligning CD45+ cells across different tissues, we classified exhausted CD8+ T cells (Texs) and activated regulatory T cells as M-type, whose phenotypes were associated with the malignancy, while natural killer and mucosal-associated invariant T cells were defined as N-type, whose phenotypes were associated with the niche. T cell receptor sharing between Texs in primary and metastatic tumors implicated the presence of common peripheral non-exhausted precursors. For myeloid cells, a subset of dendritic cells (DC3s) and SPP1+ macrophages were M-type, and the latter were predominant in liver metastasis, indicating its pro-metastasis role. Our analyses bridge immune phenotypes of primary and metastatic tumors, thereby helping to understand the tumor-specific contexture and identify the pro-metastasis components.
    Keywords:  CRC liver metastasis; scRNA-seq; tumor infiltrating; tumor microenvironment
  24. Sci Adv. 2022 Mar 18. 8(11): eabk1538
      RAF kinases are highly conserved serine/threonine kinases, and among the three RAF isoforms (ARAF, BRAF, and CRAF), the pathophysiological relevance of ARAF is not well defined. Here, we show that patients with lung cancer exhibit low expression of ARAF, which is associated with lymph node metastasis and poor patient survival. We uncover that depletion of ARAF promotes anchorage-independent growth and metastasis through activation of AKT signaling in a subset of lung cancer cells. We identified that loss of ARAF was associated with an increase in ERBB3 expression in a kinase-independent manner. ARAF suppressed the promoter activity of ERBB3, and reconstitution of ARAF in ARAF-depleted cells led to the reversal of enhanced ERBB3-AKT signaling. Furthermore, ARAF inhibited neuregulin 1 (hNRG1)-mediated AKT activation through controlling ERBB3 expression via the transcription factor KLF5. Our results disclose a critical dual role for ARAF kinase in the negative regulation of ERBB3-AKT signaling, thereby suppressing tumor metastasis.
  25. Cancer Res. 2022 Mar 18. pii: canres.2106.2021. [Epub ahead of print]
      Osteosarcoma is the most common malignancy of the bone, yet the survival for osteosarcoma patients is virtually unchanged over the past 30 years. This is principally because development of new therapies is hampered by a lack of recurrent mutations that can be targeted in osteosarcoma. Here, we report that epigenetic changes via mRNA methylation holds great promise to better understand the mechanisms of osteosarcoma growth and to develop targeted therapeutics. In osteosarcoma patients, the RNA demethylase ALKBH5 was amplified and higher expression correlated with copy number changes. ALKBH5 was critical for promoting osteosarcoma growth and metastasis, yet it was dispensable for normal cell survival. Me-RIP-seq analysis and functional studies showed that ALKBH5 mediates its pro-tumorigenic function by regulating m6A levels of histone deubiquitinase USP22 and the ubiquitin ligase RNF40. ALKBH5-mediated m6A deficiency in osteosarcoma led to increased expression of USP22 and RNF40 that resulted in inhibition of histone H2A monoubiquitination and induction of key pro-tumorigenic genes, consequently driving unchecked cell cycle progression, incessant replication and DNA repair. RNF40, which is historically known to ubiquitinate H2B, inhibited H2A ubiquitination in cancer by interacting with and affecting the stability of DDB1-CUL4-based ubiquitin E3 ligase complex. Taken together, this study directly links increased activity of ALKBH5 with dysregulation of USP22/RNF40 and histone ubiquitination in cancers. More broadly, these results suggest that m6A RNA methylation works in concert with other epigenetic mechanisms to control cancer growth.
  26. Sci Adv. 2022 Mar 18. 8(11): eabj6526
      Heat shock factor 1 (HSF1) is well known for its role in the heat shock response (HSR), where it drives a transcriptional program comprising heat shock protein (HSP) genes, and in tumorigenesis, where it drives a program comprising HSPs and many noncanonical target genes that support malignancy. Here, we find that HSF2, an HSF1 paralog with no substantial role in the HSR, physically and functionally interacts with HSF1 across diverse types of cancer. HSF1 and HSF2 have notably similar chromatin occupancy and regulate a common set of genes that include both HSPs and noncanonical transcriptional targets with roles critical in supporting malignancy. Loss of either HSF1 or HSF2 results in a dysregulated response to nutrient stresses in vitro and reduced tumor progression in cancer cell line xenografts. Together, these findings establish HSF2 as a critical cofactor of HSF1 in driving a cancer cell transcriptional program to support the anabolic malignant state.
  27. Nat Commun. 2022 Mar 17. 13(1): 1421
      Gpr125 is an orphan G-protein coupled receptor, with homology to cell adhesion and axonal guidance factors, that is implicated in planar polarity and control of cell movements. By lineage tracing we demonstrate that Gpr125 is a highly specific marker of bipotent mammary stem cells in the embryo and of multiple long-lived unipotent basal mammary progenitors in perinatal and postnatal glands. Nipple-proximal Gpr125+ cells express a transcriptomic profile indicative of chemo-repulsion and cell movement, whereas Gpr125+ cells concentrated at invasive ductal tips display a hybrid epithelial-mesenchymal phenotype and are equipped to bind chemokine and growth factors and secrete a promigratory matrix. Gpr125 progenitors acquire bipotency in the context of transplantation and cancer and are greatly expanded and massed at the pushing margins of short latency MMTV-Wnt1 tumors. High Gpr125 expression identifies patients with particularly poor outcome within the basal breast cancer subtype highlighting its potential utility as a factor to stratify risk.
  28. Sci Transl Med. 2022 Mar 16. 14(636): eabe8195
      Most patients with non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) do not achieve durable clinical responses from immune checkpoint inhibitors, suggesting the existence of additional resistance mechanisms. Nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (NAD)-induced cell death (NICD) of P2X7 receptor (P2X7R)-expressing T cells regulates immune homeostasis in inflamed tissues. This process is mediated by mono-adenosine 5'-diphosphate (ADP)-ribosyltransferases (ARTs). We found an association between membranous expression of ART1 on tumor cells and reduced CD8 T cell infiltration. Specifically, we observed a reduction in the P2X7R+ CD8 T cell subset in human lung adenocarcinomas. In vitro, P2X7R+ CD8 T cells were susceptible to ART1-mediated ADP-ribosylation and NICD, which was exacerbated upon blockade of the NAD+-degrading ADP-ribosyl cyclase CD38. Last, in murine NSCLC and melanoma models, we demonstrate that genetic and antibody-mediated ART1 inhibition slowed tumor growth in a CD8 T cell-dependent manner. This was associated with increased infiltration of activated P2X7R+CD8 T cells into tumors. In conclusion, we describe ART1-mediated NICD as a mechanism of immune resistance in NSCLC and provide preclinical evidence that antibody-mediated targeting of ART1 can improve tumor control, supporting pursuit of this approach in clinical studies.