"The intracellular transfer of information (biological activation/inhibition) through a signal pathway. In each signal transduction system, an activation/inhibition signal from a biologically active molecule (hormone, neurotransmitter) is mediated via the coupling of a receptor/enzyme to a second messenger system or to an ion channel. Signal transduction plays an important role in activating cellular functions, cell differentiation, and cell proliferation. Examples of signal transduction systems are the GAMMA-AMINOBUTYRIC ACID-postsynaptic receptor-calcium ion channel system, the receptor-mediated T-cell activation pathway, and the receptor-mediated activation of phospholipases. Those coupled to membrane depolarization or intracellular release of calcium include the receptor-mediated activation of cytotoxic functions in granulocytes and the synaptic potentiation of protein kinase activation. Some signal transduction pathways may be part of larger signal transduction pathways; for example, protein kinase activation is part of the platelet activation signal pathway." (Source: MeSH)
Figure: An overview of major signal transduction pathways
Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Signal_transduction_pathways.svg (License: CC BY-SA 3.0)
Introduction to Cancer Biology (Part 1): Abnormal Signal Transduction
mechanismsinmedicine.com Educational animation which explains the mechanism of abnormal signal transduction resulting in uncontrolled cell proliferation. This animation also provides an overview of the potential targets of anticancer therapies.
This list of publications is regularly updated (Source: PubMed).
Zhang XH, Jin X, Malladi S, et al. Selection of bone metastasis seeds by mesenchymal signals in the primary tumor stroma. Cell. 2013; 154(5):1060-73 [PubMed] Related Publications
How organ-specific metastatic traits arise in primary tumors remains unknown. Here, we show a role of the breast tumor stroma in selecting cancer cells that are primed for metastasis in bone. Cancer-associated fibroblasts (CAFs) in triple-negative (TN) breast tumors skew heterogeneous cancer cell populations toward a predominance of clones that thrive on the CAF-derived factors CXCL12 and IGF1. Limiting concentrations of these factors select for cancer cells with high Src activity, a known clinical predictor of bone relapse and an enhancer of PI3K-Akt pathway activation by CXCL12 and IGF1. Carcinoma clones selected in this manner are primed for metastasis in the CXCL12-rich microenvironment of the bone marrow. The evidence suggests that stromal signals resembling those of a distant organ select for cancer cells that are primed for metastasis in that organ, thus illuminating the evolution of metastatic traits in a primary tumor and its distant metastases.
In order to establish themselves in distal sites, metastatic cancer cells need to acquire organ-specific traits. Zhang et al. provide evidence in breast cancer that a tumor cell's acquisition of properties for successful bone metastasis is influenced by signals from the stroma of the primary tumor.
York AG, Bensinger SJ Subverting sterols: rerouting an oxysterol-signaling pathway to promote tumor growth. J Exp Med. 2013; 210(9):1653-6 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 26/02/2014 Related Publications
Oxysterols are oxidized derivatives of cholesterol that are generated enzymatically or through autoxidation. Initially identified as important lipid signaling molecules in the context of atherosclerosis and inflammation, accumulated evidence indicates that these lipid-signaling molecules can have pleiotropic effects on the fate and function of the immune system. These effects range from the regulation of immune cell survival and proliferation to chemotaxis and antiviral immunity. New studies now indicate that tumor-derived oxysterols can serve to subvert the immune system by recruiting protumorigenic neutrophils into the tumor microenvironment. The consequence of this recruitment is the generation of proangiogenic factors and matrix metalloproteinase proteins that provide a tumor a significant growth and survival advantage. In combination with other recent studies, these data highlight the ongoing cross talk between sterol metabolism and the immune system, and they raise the intriguing possibility that targeting oxysterol pathways could serve as a novel therapeutic approach in the war on cancer.
Konac E, Varol N, Yilmaz A, et al. DNA methyltransferase inhibitor-mediated apoptosis in the Wnt/β-catenin signal pathway in a renal cell carcinoma cell line. Exp Biol Med (Maywood). 2013; 238(9):1009-16 [PubMed] Related Publications
The Wnt signaling pathway is activated in most cancer types when Wnt antagonist genes are inactivated. Glycogen synthase kinase 3 (GSK3β) is an important regulator of the Wnt/β-catenin signaling pathway. The mechanisms underlying GSK3β regulation of neoplastic transformation and tumor development are unclear. Studies have raised the possibility that the Wnt signaling pathway may be implicated in renal cell carcinoma (RCC). Therefore, in the present study, we hypothesize that the expression and methylation status of the secreted frizzled-related protein 2 (sFRP2) gene, one of the secreted antagonists that bind Wnt protein, and re-expression of this gene with the demethylation agent (5-aza-2'-deoxycytidine; DAC) may induce apoptosis in RCC cells. To test this hypothesis, we investigated the relationship among epigenetic inactivation of sFRP2 and p-GSK3β (Ser9) and other Wnt antagonists (sFRP1, DKK3, WIF-1) and apoptotic factors (Bax and Caspase3) as well as the anti-apoptotic factor BCL2. Our results indicate that DAC-mediated inhibition of DNA methylation led to a re-activation of sFRP2 expression and increased expression levels of the Wnt antagonists and apoptotic factors. In contrast, the level of β-catenin (CTNNB1) expression decreased. The p-GSK3β (Ser9) protein level in Caki-2 cells was significantly down-regulated, while the DNA fragmentation rate increased after treatment with 5 μM DAC at 96 h. Our data show that sFRP2 functions as a tumor suppressor gene in RCC and that its restoration may offer a new therapeutic approach for the treatment of RCC. Moreover, our study draws attention to the regulatory features of epigenetic molecules and analyses their underlying molecular mechanisms of action and their potential use in clinical practice.
Di Desidero T, Fioravanti A, Orlandi P, et al. Antiproliferative and proapoptotic activity of sunitinib on endothelial and anaplastic thyroid cancer cells via inhibition of Akt and ERK1/2 phosphorylation and by down-regulation of cyclin-D1. J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2013; 98(9):E1465-73 [PubMed] Related Publications
CONTEXT: Recent experimental evidence suggests a rationale for the use of multitarget tyrosine kinase inhibitors for the treatment of thyroid cancers. Sunitinib showed promising preliminary results against anaplastic thyroid cancer (ATC), and it has been used for some patients who are ineligible for clinical trials. OBJECTIVES: The aims of this study were to investigate the in vitro and in vivo activity of sunitinib on ATC and on microvascular endothelial cells and the molecular mechanism for the observed sunitinib activity. METHODS: Proliferation and apoptotic assays were performed on human dermal microvascular endothelial and on BRAF- or H-ras-mutated ATC cells (8305C and FB3, respectively) after in vitro exposure to sunitinib for 72 hours. Vascular endothelial growth factor receptor-2, epithelial growth factor receptor, ERK1/2, and Akt phosphorylation was quantified by ELISA and Western blot. Cyclin-D1 mRNA expression was evaluated by real-time PCR, and cyclin-D1 intracellular concentrations were measured by ELISA. 8305C tumor xenografts in nude mice were treated with sunitinib at 50 mg/kg/d (i.p.). RESULTS: Antiproliferative and proapoptotic activity of sunitinib was observed in both endothelial and ATC cells. Phospho-vascular endothelial growth factor receptor-2 levels significantly decreased after sunitinib treatment in activated endothelial cells. Phospho-epidermal growth factor receptor, ERK1/2, and Akt phosphorylation was significantly inhibited by sunitinib treatment in endothelial and cancer cells, and cyclin-D1 mRNA and protein expression was inhibited. Sunitinib administration in vivo caused significant inhibition of tumor growth (P < .05). CONCLUSIONS: Sunitinib is active in vitro and in vivo against activated endothelial and ATC cells via the inhibition of Akt and ERK1/2 phosphorylation and through the down-regulation of cyclin-D1.
Chowdhury MA, Peters AA, Roberts-Thomson SJ, Monteith GR Effects of differentiation on purinergic and neurotensin-mediated calcium signaling in human HT-29 colon cancer cells. Biochem Biophys Res Commun. 2013; 439(1):35-9 [PubMed] Related Publications
Calcium signaling is a key regulator of processes important in differentiation. In colon cancer cells differentiation is associated with altered expression of specific isoforms of calcium pumps of the endoplasmic reticulum and the plasma membrane, suggesting that differentiation of colon cancer cells is associated with a major remodeling of calcium homeostasis. Purinergic and neurotensin receptor activation are known regulators of cytosolic free Ca(2+) levels in colon cancer cells. This study aimed to assess changes in cytosolic free Ca(2+) levels in response to ATP and neurotensin with differentiation induced by sodium butyrate or culturing post-confluence. Parameters assessed included peak cytosolic free Ca(2+) level after activation; time to reach peak cytosolic free Ca(2+) and the EC50 of dose response curves. Our results demonstrate that differentiation of HT-29 colon cancer cells is associated with a remodeling of both ATP and neurotensin mediated Ca(2+) signaling. Neurotensin-mediated calcium signaling appeared more sensitive to differentiation than ATP-mediated Ca(2+) signaling.
Worralti C, Nedelcu D, Serly J, et al. Novel mechanisms of regulation of IGF-1R action: functional and therapeutic implications. Pediatr Endocrinol Rev. 2013; 10(4):473-84 [PubMed] Related Publications
The IGF-1R pathway is essential for the initiation and progression of many cancers. In contrast to other receptor tyrosine kinases involved in cancer, it is not frequently mutated or amplified. The classical model of signaling through the IGF-1R centers on ligand initiated kinase activation, allowing binding of adaptor molecules and downstream activation of the MAPK and PI3K pathways. The signaling is terminated through receptor ubiquitination and subsequent degradation. To date, therapies targeting IGF-1R have been designed solely aiming to block phosphorylation mediated signaling by preventing receptor-ligand interaction or by limiting kinase activation. Yet, the classical model is insufficient to explain receptor behavior induced by some IGF-1R inhibitors. This review advocates an updated model of IGF-1R signaling, accommodating the "classical" kinase signaling and the IGF-1R-kinase independent signaling thus providing the theoretical background for receptor downregulation induced by IGF-1R inhibitors. This model should be considered for future design of effective therapies targeting the IGF-1R pathway.
Michifuri Y, Hirohashi Y, Torigoe T, et al. Small proline-rich protein-1B is overexpressed in human oral squamous cell cancer stem-like cells and is related to their growth through activation of MAP kinase signal. Biochem Biophys Res Commun. 2013; 439(1):96-102 [PubMed] Related Publications
Cancer stem-like cells (CSCs)/cancer-initiating cells (CICs) are considered to be essential for tumor maintenance, recurrence and metastasis. Therefore, eradication of CSCs/CICs is essential to cure cancers. However, the molecular mechanisms of CSCs/CICs are still elusive. In this study, we investigated the molecular mechanism of the cell growth of oral CSCs/CICs. Oral CSCs/CICs were isolated as aldehyde dehydrogenase 1 bright (ALDH1(br)) cells by the ALDEFLUOR assay. Small proline-rich protein-1B (SPRR1B) gene was shown to be overexpressed in ALDH1(br) cells by a cDNA microarray and RT-PCR. SPRR1B was shown to have a role in cell growth and maintenance of ALDH1(br) cells by SPRR1B overexpression and knockdown experiments. To elucidate the molecular mechanism by which SPRR1B regulates cell growth, further cDNA microarray analysis was performed using SPRR1B-overexpressed cells and cells with SPRR1B knocked down by siRNA. Expression of the tumor suppressor gene Ras association domain family member 4 (RASSF4) was found to be suppressed in SPRR1B-overexpressed cells. On the other hand, the expression of RASSF4 was enhanced in cells in which SPRR1B expression was knocked down by SPRR1B-specific siRNA. RASSF4 has an RA (Ras association) domain, and we thus hypothesized that RASSF4 modulates the MAP kinase signal downstream of the Ras signal. MAP kinase signal was activated in SPRR1B-overexpressed cells, whereas the signal was suppressed in SPRR1B knocked down cells. Taken together, the results indicate that the expression of SPRR1B is upregulated in oral CSCs/CICs and that SPRR1B has a role in cell growth by suppression of RASSF4.
Aragona M, Panciera T, Manfrin A, et al. A mechanical checkpoint controls multicellular growth through YAP/TAZ regulation by actin-processing factors. Cell. 2013; 154(5):1047-59 [PubMed] Related Publications
Key cellular decisions, such as proliferation or growth arrest, typically occur at spatially defined locations within tissues. Loss of this spatial control is a hallmark of many diseases, including cancer. Yet, how these patterns are established is incompletely understood. Here, we report that physical and architectural features of a multicellular sheet inform cells about their proliferative capacity through mechanical regulation of YAP and TAZ, known mediators of Hippo signaling and organ growth. YAP/TAZ activity is confined to cells exposed to mechanical stresses, such as stretching, location at edges/curvatures contouring an epithelial sheet, or stiffness of the surrounding extracellular matrix. We identify the F-actin-capping/severing proteins Cofilin, CapZ, and Gelsolin as essential gatekeepers that limit YAP/TAZ activity in cells experiencing low mechanical stresses, including contact inhibition of proliferation. We propose that mechanical forces are overarching regulators of YAP/TAZ in multicellular contexts, setting responsiveness to Hippo, WNT, and GPCR signaling.
Hua X, Xu H, Yang Y, et al. DrGaP: a powerful tool for identifying driver genes and pathways in cancer sequencing studies. Am J Hum Genet. 2013; 93(3):439-51 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 05/03/2014 Related Publications
Cancers are caused by the accumulation of genomic alterations. Driver mutations are required for the cancer phenotype, whereas passenger mutations are irrelevant to tumor development and accumulate through DNA replication. A major challenge facing the field of cancer genome sequencing is to identify cancer-associated genes with mutations that drive the cancer phenotype. Here, we describe a powerful and flexible statistical framework for identifying driver genes and driver signaling pathways in cancer genome-sequencing studies. Biological knowledge of the mutational process in tumors is fully integrated into our statistical models and includes such variables as the length of protein-coding regions, transcript isoforms, variation in mutation types, differences in background mutation rates, the redundancy of genetic code, and multiple mutations in one gene. This framework provides several significant features that are not addressed or naively obtained by previous methods. In particular, on the observation of low prevalence of somatic mutations in individual tumors, we propose a heuristic strategy to estimate the mixture proportion of chi-square distribution of likelihood ratio test (LRT) statistics. This provides significantly increased statistical power compared to regular LRT. Through a combination of simulation and analysis of TCGA cancer sequencing study data, we demonstrate high accuracy and sensitivity in our methods. Our statistical methods and several auxiliary bioinformatics tools have been incorporated into a computational tool, DrGaP. The newly developed tool is immediately applicable to cancer genome-sequencing studies and will lead to a more complete identification of altered driver genes and driver signaling pathways in cancer.
Zhang Q, Jiang Y, Toutounchian J, et al. Novel quinic acid derivative KZ-41 prevents retinal endothelial cell apoptosis without inhibiting retinoblastoma cell death through p38 signaling. Invest Ophthalmol Vis Sci. 2013; 54(9):5937-43 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 01/03/2014 Related Publications
PURPOSE: To determine whether a novel NF-κB inhibitor, KZ-41, can inhibit melphalan's actions on retinal endothelial cell (REC) inflammation and apoptosis, without eliminating the chemotherapeutic efficacy of melphalan on cell death of retinoblastoma cells (Y79). METHODS: RECs were cultured in M131 medium supplemented with growth factors and antibiotics. Once cells reached confluence, they were treated with or without 10 μM KZ-41, following treatment with 4 μg/mL melphalan. Cell proteins were extracted and analyzed for intracellular adhesion molecule 1 (ICAM-1) levels and Cell Death ELISA. RECs were also transfected with or without NF-κB siRNA or treated with SB202190 (p38 [mitogen activated protein kinase] MAPK inhibitor) before melphalan treatment to determine the involvement of NF-κB and p38 MAPK in REC apoptosis and ICAM-1 levels. We also cultured retinoblastoma cells (Y79) in RMPI-1640 medium supplemented with 20% fetal bovine serum and performed a Cell Death ELISA after melphalan + KZ-41 treatment to determine if the treatments altered melphalan's ability to promote cell death of Y79 cells. RESULTS: KZ-41 inhibited melphalan-stimulation of ICAM-1 levels and REC apoptosis, whereas KZ-41 did not alter melphalan's effects on Y79 cells. KZ-41's protective effects on REC were mediated through p38 MAPK activation. Although KZ-41 blocked both NF-κB- and p38 MAPK-dependent ICAM-1 stimulation; the p38 MAPK/ICAM-1 pathway appears to be the primary pathway involved in melphalan-induced REC apoptosis. CONCLUSIONS: KZ-41 protects REC against melphalan-induced upregulation of ICAM-1 and apoptosis through p38 MAPK-dependent pathways.
Cobler L, Mejías-Luque R, Garrido M, et al. Activation of the NF-kB pathway downregulates TFF-1 in gastric carcinogenesis. Virchows Arch. 2013; 463(4):497-507 [PubMed] Related Publications
Trefoil factor 1 (TFF1) is expressed in the normal superficial epithelium of the stomach and is implicated in the maintenance of gastric epithelial structure and function. During gastric carcinogenesis, in which pro-inflammatory cytokines play a crucial role, its expression level decreases suggesting a role as tumor suppressor factor. We have compared expression of TFF1 in gastric mucosa from cancer patients, in which several degrees of inflammatory infiltrate are present, with that in normal mucosa from non-cancer patients without infiltrating inflammatory cells. TFF1 is less expressed in the superficial gastric epithelium from cancer patients than in that from normal individuals in which the nuclear factor (NF)-κB pathway is not activated. We analyzed TFF1 expression in ex vivo samples of gastric mucosa from cancer patients, and in MKN45 gastric cancer cell line after exposure to proinflammatory cytokines interleukin (IL)-1β or tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-α, that activate the NF-κB pathway. We found that IL-1β and TNF-α activate the NF-κB pathway, as reflected in the nuclear expression of p65 and the activation of p-IκBα, and downregulate TFF1 expression after 1 or 2 h of exposure. Moreover, cells in the superficial gastric epithelium in ex vivo samples co-expressed TFF1/p65 at cellular level, whereas tumor cells did not. In summary, downregulation of TFF1 expression during gastric neoplastic transformation is associated with activation of the NF-κB pathway through IL-1β or TNF-α, but other regulatory mechanisms might also be involved.
Jochmanová I, Yang C, Zhuang Z, Pacak K Hypoxia-inducible factor signaling in pheochromocytoma: turning the rudder in the right direction. J Natl Cancer Inst. 2013; 105(17):1270-83 [PubMed] Related Publications
Many solid tumors, including pheochromocytoma (PHEO) and paraganglioma (PGL), are characterized by a (pseudo)hypoxic signature. (Pseudo)hypoxia has been shown to promote both tumor progression and resistance to therapy. The major mediators of the transcriptional hypoxic response are hypoxia-inducible factors (HIFs). High levels of HIFs lead to transcription of hypoxia-responsive genes, which are involved in tumorigenesis. PHEOs and PGLs are catecholamine-producing tumors arising from sympathetic- or parasympathetic-derived chromaffin tissue. In recent years, substantial progress has been made in understanding the metabolic disturbances present in PHEO and PGL, especially because of the identification of some disease-susceptibility genes. To date, fifteen PHEO and PGL susceptibility genes have been identified. Based on the main transcription signatures of the mutated genes, PHEOs and PGLs have been divided into two clusters, pseudohypoxic cluster 1 and cluster 2, rich in kinase receptor signaling and protein translation pathways. Although these two clusters seem to show distinct signaling pathways, recent data suggest that both clusters are interconnected by HIF signaling as the important driver in their tumorigenesis, and mutations in most PHEO and PGL susceptibility genes seem to affect HIF-α regulation and its downstream signaling pathways. HIF signaling appears to play an important role in the development and growth of PHEOs and PGLs, which could suggest new therapeutic approaches for the treatment of these tumors.
Tan M, Wu J, Cai Y Suppression of Wnt signaling by the miR-29 family is mediated by demethylation of WIF-1 in non-small-cell lung cancer. Biochem Biophys Res Commun. 2013; 438(4):673-9 [PubMed] Related Publications
Wnt inhibitory factor-1 (WIF-1) silencing induced by promoter hypermethylation is a common mechanism of aberrant activation of the Wnt signaling pathway in non-small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC). However, the activity of regulators associated with the methylation of the WIF-1 gene remains unclear. Here, we investigated the role of three DNA methyltransferases (DNMT1, DNMT3A and DNMT3B) in the expression of WIF-1. The three DNMTs were up-regulated in NSCLC tumor tissues and suppression of DNMT3A and DNMT3B restored the expression of WIF-1 in NSCLC cells. The miR-29 family (miR-29a, -29b, and -29c), which negatively regulates DNMT3A and DNMT3B, was examined in association with the Wnt/β-catenin signaling pathway. A positive correlation between the expression of WIF-1 and that of MiR-29s was observed in NSCLC tissues. Methylation-specific PCR and Western blotting indicated that miR-29s positively regulate WIF-1 expression by inhibiting the methylation of its promoter. Furthermore, miR-29 overexpression downregulated β-catenin expression, inhibited cell proliferation and induced apoptosis. The expression of miR-29a and miR-29b was partially regulated by DNMT3A and DNMT3B in a positive feedback loop. Taken together, our findings show that miR-29s suppress the Wnt signaling pathway through demethylation of WIF-1 in NSCLC.
Neumann J, Wehweck L, Maatz S, et al. Alterations in the EGFR pathway coincide in colorectal cancer and impact on prognosis. Virchows Arch. 2013; 463(4):509-23 [PubMed] Related Publications
Alterations of the downstream effectors of the epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) are common events in colorectal cancer (CRC) carcinogenesis. Since EGFR serves as a target for therapy and some downstream effectors of EGFR have predictive and prognostic impact, reliable information on the frequency and concordance of alterations in the signaling pathway has become clinically significant. We, therefore, determined the frequency and coincidence of mutations in the EGFR pathway. We also analyzed the concordance of these alterations between primary tumor and distant metastases. Furthermore, we assessed their prognostic relevance for the development of metastasis. Mutations of KRAS exon 2, BRAF exons 11 and 15, AKT exon 3, and PIK3CA exons 9 and 20 were analyzed by pyrosequencing in 171 primary CRC samples as well as in 63 corresponding metastases. Furthermore, the expression of PTEN and EGFR was assessed by immunohistochemistry. Of the 171 tumors investigated, 60.2 % showed mutations in one or more genes of pathways downstream of EGFR. KRAS exon 2 and BRAF exon 15 mutations were detected in 40.9 and 11.1 % of cases, respectively, and were mutually exclusive. Mutations in exons 9 and 20 of the PIK3CA gene (18.7 %) largely overlapped with exon 2 KRAS mutations (16 of 32 cases; 50.0 %) and, to a lesser extent, with exon 15 mutations of BRAF (2 of 32 cases; 6.3 %). Only one case had simultaneous mutations of AKT exon 3 (0.6 %) and BRAF exon 15. Mutation analysis for KRAS exon 2, BRAF exon 15, PIK3CA exon 20, and AKT exon 3 in primary tumors and in their corresponding metastases revealed 100 % concordance. In one case, a PIK3CA exon 9 mutation in the primary tumor could not be detected in the matched distant metastases (κ = 0.9). Three different scores were applied for the evaluation of EGFR immunohistochemistry, and the range of positive cases varied between 8.8 and 52.6 %. Loss of PTEN expression was detected in 38.6 %. Although the expression of both markers does coincide with KRAS exon 2, BRAF exon 15, AKT exon 3, and PIK3CA exons 9 and 20 mutations, high discordance rates were found. The presence of at least one alteration in downstream effectors of the EGFR pathway was associated with a higher rate of distant metastases (p = 0.002). PIK3CA exons 9 and 20 mutations overlap with KRAS exon 2 and BRAF exon 15 mutations, and BRAF exon 15 and AKT exon 3 mutations co-occur in a single tumor, whereas KRAS exon 2 and BRAF exon 15 mutations are mutually exclusive. This suggests that mutations in the PIK3CA/PTEN/AKT branch of the EGFR pathway are less important than those of the RAS/RAF/MAPK branch for the progression of CRC. We found no difference in the mutational status of KRAS exon 2, BRAF exon 15, and AKT exon 3 between primary tumor and distant metastasis, validating both for diagnostic purposes. PIK3CA exons 9 and 20 mutations can be discordant between primary tumor and distant metastasis, and therefore, the lesion which is targeted for therapy should be tested. Protein expression of PTEN and EGFR using current protocols yields highly discordant results, and better standardization is needed before these markers can be used for diagnostic purposes.
Nejatollahi F, Ranjbar R, Younesi V, Asgharpour M Deregulation of HER2 downstream signaling in breast cancer cells by a cocktail of anti-HER2 scFvs. Oncol Res. 2013; 20(8):333-40 [PubMed] Related Publications
Human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 (HER2) is overexpressed in 30% of patients with breast cancer. HER2 targeting is the mainstay of targeted therapy for the treatment of invasive breast cancers. Due to biological and therapeutic advantages, single chain fragment variable (scFv) antibodies have emerged as promising alternative therapeutics. In this study, we assessed the capability of three scFvs against HER2 extracellular domains (II, III, IV) in deregulation of some key signaling mediators that have important roles in growth, survival, angiogenesis, and cell migration of breast tumor cells. Downregulation of activated Akt (p-Akt), increase of p27 protein levels, and downregulation of HER1, HER2, HER3 and epidermal growth factor (EGF), CXCR3, CXCL10, and MMP2 were observed following treatment of breast cancer cells (SKBR3 cell line) with the scFvs and their combination. Our results suggest that the combination of the three scFvs could be considered as an effective cocktail on HER2 tumorgenic signaling pathways that leads to tumor growth suppression and death.
Hoesel B, Schmid JA The complexity of NF-κB signaling in inflammation and cancer. Mol Cancer. 2013; 12:86 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 01/03/2014 Related Publications
The NF-κB family of transcription factors has an essential role in inflammation and innate immunity. Furthermore, NF-κB is increasingly recognized as a crucial player in many steps of cancer initiation and progression. During these latter processes NF-κB cooperates with multiple other signaling molecules and pathways. Prominent nodes of crosstalk are mediated by other transcription factors such as STAT3 and p53 or the ETS related gene ERG. These transcription factors either directly interact with NF-κB subunits or affect NF-κB target genes. Crosstalk can also occur through different kinases, such as GSK3-β, p38, or PI3K, which modulate NF-κB transcriptional activity or affect upstream signaling pathways. Other classes of molecules that act as nodes of crosstalk are reactive oxygen species and miRNAs. In this review, we provide an overview of the most relevant modes of crosstalk and cooperativity between NF-κB and other signaling molecules during inflammation and cancer.
Roszak J, Smok-Pieniążek A, Nocuń M, Stępnik M Characterization of arsenic trioxide resistant clones derived from Jurkat leukemia T cell line: focus on PI3K/Akt signaling pathway. Chem Biol Interact. 2013; 205(3):198-211 [PubMed] Related Publications
In this study the role of PI3K/Akt signaling pathway in arsenic trioxide (ATO)-treated parental Jurkat cells and also in derived ATO-resistant clones grown in the presence of given ATO concentration was investigated. ATO-resistant clones (cultured for 8-12weeks in the presence of 1, 2.5 and 5μM ATO) were characterized by high viability in the presence of ATO but slower growth rate compared to the parental cells. Morphological and functional characterization of derived ATO-resistant clones revealed that they did not differ fundamentally from parental Jurkat cells in terms of cell size, level of GSH, the lysosomal fluorescence or CD95/Fas surface antigen expression. However, a slight increase in the mitochondrial potential (JC-1 staining) was detected in the clones compared to parental Jurkat cells. Side population analysis (Vybrant DyeCycle Violet™ staining) in ATO resistant clones did not indicate any enrichment withcancer stem cells. Akt1/2, AktV or wortmannin inhibitors decreased viability of ATO-resistant clones grown in the presence of ATO, with no effect on ATO-treated parental cells. Flow cytometry analysis showed that ATO decreased the level of p-Akt in ATO-treated parental cells, while the resistant clones exhibited higher levels of p-Akt immunostaining than parental Jurkat cells. Expression analysis of 84 genes involved in the PI3K/Akt pathway revealed that this pathway was predominantly active in ATO-resistant clones. c-JUN seems to play a key role in the induction of cell death in ATO-treated parental Jurkat cells, as dose-dependent strong up-regulation of JUN was specific for the ATO-treated parental Jurkat cells. On the other hand, changes in expression of cyclin D1 (CCND1), insulin receptor substrate 1 (IRS1) and protein kinase C isoforms (PRKCZ,PRKCB and PRKCA) may be responsible for the induction of resistance to ATO. The changes in expression of growth factor receptor-bound protein 10 (GRB10) observed in ATO-resistant clones suggest a possibility of induction of different mechanisms in development of resistance to ATO depending on the drug concentration and thus involvement of different signaling mediators.
Hirabayashi S, Baranski TJ, Cagan RL Transformed Drosophila cells evade diet-mediated insulin resistance through wingless signaling. Cell. 2013; 154(3):664-75 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 01/08/2014 Related Publications
The risk of specific cancers increases in patients with metabolic dysfunction, including obesity and diabetes. Here, we use Drosophila as a model to explore the effects of diet on tumor progression. Feeding Drosophila a diet high in carbohydrates was previously demonstrated to direct metabolic dysfunction, including hyperglycemia, hyperinsulinemia, and insulin resistance. We demonstrate that high dietary sugar also converts Ras/Src-transformed tissue from localized growths to aggressive tumors with emergent metastases. Whereas most tissues displayed insulin resistance, Ras/Src tumors retained insulin pathway sensitivity, increased the ability to import glucose, and resisted apoptosis. High dietary sugar increased canonical Wingless/Wnt pathway activity, which upregulated insulin receptor gene expression to promote insulin sensitivity. The result is a feed-forward circuit that amplified diet-mediated malignant phenotypes within Ras/Src-transformed tumors. By targeting multiple steps in this circuit with rationally applied drug combinations, we demonstrate the potential of combinatorial drug intervention to treat diet-enhanced malignant tumors.
He L, Lu N, Dai Q, et al. Wogonin induced G1 cell cycle arrest by regulating Wnt/β-catenin signaling pathway and inactivating CDK8 in human colorectal cancer carcinoma cells. Toxicology. 2013; 312:36-47 [PubMed] Related Publications
Wogonin, a naturally occurring mono-flavonoid, has been reported to have tumor therapeutic potential and good selectivity both in vitro and in vivo. Herein, we investigated the anti-proliferation effects and associated mechanisms of wogonin in human colorectal cancer in vitro. The flow-cytometric analysis showed that wogonin induced a G1 phase cell cycle arrest in HCT116 cells in a concentration- and time-dependent manner. Meanwhile, the cell cycle-related proteins, such as cyclin A, E, D1, and CDK2, 4 were down-regulated in wogonin-induced G1 cell cycle arrest. Furthermore, we showed that the anti-proliferation and G1 arrest effect of wogonin on HCT116 cells was associated with deregulation of Wnt/β-catenin signaling pathway. Wogonin-treated cells showed decreased intracellular levels of Wnt proteins, and activated degradation complex to phosphorylated and targeted β-catenin for proteasomal degradation. Wogonin inhibited β-catenin-mediated transcription by interfering in the transcriptional activity of TCF/Lef, and repressing the kinase activity of CDK8 which has been considered as an oncogene involving in the development of colorectal cancers. Moreover, CDK8 siRNA-transfected HCT116 cells showed similar results to wogonin treated cells. Thus, our data suggested that wogonin induced anti-proliferation and G1 arrest via Wnt/β-catenin signaling pathway and it can be developed as a therapeutic agent against human colorectal cancer.
Vidal AP, Andrade BM, Vaisman F, et al. AMP-activated protein kinase signaling is upregulated in papillary thyroid cancer. Eur J Endocrinol. 2013; 169(4):521-8 [PubMed] Related Publications
UNLABELLED: AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK) is activated by the depletion in cellular energy levels and allows adaptive changes in cell metabolism and cell survival. Recently, our group described that AMPK plays an important role in the regulation of iodide and glucose uptake in thyroid cells. However, AMPK signaling pathway in human thyroid carcinomas has not been investigated so far. OBJECTIVE: To evaluate the expression and activity of AMPK in papillary thyroid carcinomas. METHODS: We examined total and phosphorylated AMPK (tAMPK and pAMPK) and phosphorylated acetyl-CoA-carboxylase (pACC) expressions through imunohistochemistry, using a tissue microarray block composed of 73 papillary thyroid carcinomas (PAP CA) or microcarcinomas (PAP MCA) and six adenoma (AD) samples from patients followed at the Federal University Hospital. The expression levels were compared with the non-neoplastic tissues from the same patient. Two different pathologists analyzed the samples and attributed scores of staining intensity and the proportion of stained cells. A total index was obtained by multiplying the values of intensity and the proportion of stained cells (INTxPROP). RESULTS: tAMPK, pAMPK, and pACC showed a predominant cytoplasmic staining in papillary carcinomas, adenomas, and non-neoplastic thyroid tissues. However, the intensity and the proportion of stained cells were higher in carcinomas, so that a significant increase was found in the INTxPROP score both in PAP CA and PAP MCA, when compared with their respective controls. CONCLUSION: Our results show unequivocally that AMPK pathway is highly activated in papillary thyroid carcinomas; however, more studies are necessary to understand the pathophysiological significance of AMPK activation in thyroid carcinogenesis.
Jia W, Sanders AJ, Jia G, et al. Expression of the mTOR pathway regulators in human pituitary adenomas indicates the clinical course. Anticancer Res. 2013; 33(8):3123-31 [PubMed] Related Publications
Pituitary ademonas are benign tumours with different biological behaviour, especially with regard to tumour size, invasion, endocrine function, intratumour cystic lesion and apoplexy. There is little understanding of the growth and the control of progression of pituitary tumours. In the present study, we investigated the expression of mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR) pathway regulators, in clinical pituitary adenomas. Pituitary adenomas from 95 patients were included in the study. Fresh pituitary tumours were obtained immediately after surgery and processed for histological, immunohistological and molecular based analyses. Histolopathological and clinical information including tumour stage, invasion characteristic and endocrine status were analysed against the gene transcript expression of mTOR, RAPTOR and RICTOR. There was a stepwise and significantly increased relation-ship between RICTOR expression and tumour size, namely p=0.0012 and p=0.0055 for tumours 1-2 cm and tumours >3 cm compared with tumours <1 cm respectively. Significantly higher levels of mTOR were seen in tumours with cystic lesions (p=0.044). There was no significant correlation between mTOR, RAPTOR and RICTOR and tumour apoplexy, nor a correlation between mTOR, RAPTOR and RICTOR with suprasephanous spread and sella floor destruction. However, pituitary tumours with cavernous sinus invasion, namely Knosp stage 3-4 had significantly lower levels of RAPTOR than those of Knosp stage 1-2 (p=0.01). A similar but statistically insignificant trend was seen with RICTOR. Using modified Hardy's staging, it was found that there was a significant correlation between tumour stage and RAPTOR and RICTOR expression. mTOR and RAPTOR levels differed in tumours with different endocrine functions, although no statistical difference was observed. However, Growth Hormone (GH) -, Follicle-Stimulating Hormone (FSH)-, Thyroid Stimulating Hormone (TSH)-secreting tumours had significantly lower levels of RICTOR compared with nonfunctional tumours. Finally, levels of mTOR were found to be significantly correlated with levels of both RAPTOR and RICTOR. It is noteworthy that RAPTOR and RICTOR levels were also significantly correlated. In conclusion, mTOR pathway regulators, mTOR, RAPTOR and RICTOR are significantly correlated with the invasion, staging, and tumour growth of pituitary adenomas and thus have an important predictive and prognostic value in patients with pituitary adenoma.
Yonekura S, Itoh M, Okuhashi Y, et al. Effects of the HIF1 inhibitor, echinomycin, on growth and NOTCH signalling in leukaemia cells. Anticancer Res. 2013; 33(8):3099-103 [PubMed] Related Publications
UNLABELLED: Aim: To examine the effects of echinomycin, a compound that inhibits DNA-binding activity of hypoxia-inducible factor-1 (HIF1), on leukaemia cell growth. MATERIALS AND METHODS: Three acute myeloid leukaemia cell lines and three T-lymphoblastic leukaemia cell lines were cultured with echinomycin. Cell growth, mRNA and protein expression levels were examined by WST-1 assay, reverse-transcription polymerase chain reaction and immunoblotting, respectively. RESULTS: HIF1α protein was expressed in all cell lines under normoxia. Treatment with echinomycin suppressed cell growth and induced apoptosis in association with decreased mRNA expression of HIF1 targets, glucose transporter-1 (GLUT1) and B-cell CLL/lymphoma-2 (BCL2). Echinomycin also suppressed the protein expression of NOTCH1, cleaved NOTCH1, v-myc myelocytomatosis viral oncogene homolog (MYC), v-akt murine thymoma viral oncogene homolog-1 (AKT), phosphorylated AKT, mechanistic target of rapamycin (mTOR), and phosphorylated mTOR and increased that of cleaved caspase-3 in some cell lines. CONCLUSION: Echinomycin suppresses leukaemia cell growth in association with reduced NOTCH1 expression. This is the first report to show that HIF inhibitor treatment suppresses NOTCH1 signalling. HIF inhibitors could be novel candidates for a molecular-targeted therapy against leukaemia.
Raccosta L, Fontana R, Maggioni D, et al. The oxysterol-CXCR2 axis plays a key role in the recruitment of tumor-promoting neutrophils. J Exp Med. 2013; 210(9):1711-28 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 26/02/2014 Related Publications
Tumor-infiltrating immune cells can be conditioned by molecules released within the microenvironment to thwart antitumor immune responses, thereby facilitating tumor growth. Among immune cells, neutrophils play an important protumorigenic role by favoring neoangiogenesis and/or by suppressing antitumor immune responses. Tumor-derived oxysterols have recently been shown to favor tumor growth by inhibiting dendritic cell migration toward lymphoid organs. We report that tumor-derived oxysterols recruit protumor neutrophils in a liver X receptor (LXR)-independent, CXCR2-dependent manner, thus favoring tumor growth by promoting neoangiogenesis and immunosuppression. We demonstrate that interfering with the oxysterol-CXCR2 axis delays tumor growth and prolongs the overall survival of tumor-bearing mice. These results identify an unanticipated protumor function of the oxysterol-CXCR2 axis and a possible target for cancer therapy.
Jeong JB, Choi J, Baek SJ, Lee SH Reactive oxygen species mediate tolfenamic acid-induced apoptosis in human colorectal cancer cells. Arch Biochem Biophys. 2013; 537(2):168-75 [PubMed] Related Publications
Several studies have shown substantial evidences that non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) exert anticancer effects by generating reactive oxygen species (ROS). Tolfenamic acid (TA) is one of the traditional NSAIDs widely used for treatment of migraine. TA has anti-cancer activities in several human cancer models. In this study, we report that generation of ROS by TA leads to apoptosis through modulation of several pathways in human colorectal cancer cells. TA induced rapid generation of intracellular ROS and led to an increase of phosphorylation of H2AX, a tail moment of comet and distribution of fragmented genomic DNA traces. Treatment of N-acetyl-l-cysteine (NAC) abolished TA-induced phosphorylation of H2AX and apoptosis. Treatment of TA resulted in an increase of nuclear factor-kappaB (NF-κB) transcriptional activity through inhibitor of kappa B (IκB-α) degradation and subsequent p65 nuclear translocation. In addition, TA increased apoptosis-inducing activating transcription factor 3 (ATF3) expression. However, the treatment of NAC abolished TA-mediated NF-κB activation and ATF3 expression and chemical inhibition of NF-κB or knockdown of p65 significantly attenuated TA-induced ATF3 expression. Our finding indicates that ROS-mediated DNA damage and subsequent activation of NF-κB and ATF3 expression plays a significant role in TA-induced apoptosis in human colorectal cancer cells.
Li NY, Weber CE, Wai PY, et al. An MAPK-dependent pathway induces epithelial-mesenchymal transition via Twist activation in human breast cancer cell lines. Surgery. 2013; 154(2):404-10 [PubMed] Related Publications
BACKGROUND: Twist is an epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT) transcription factor that instigates cell invasion. Our research has shown that osteopontin (OPN) regulates the EMT factor Twist. The underlying signaling pathway is unknown. We hypothesized that OPN activates Twist to induce EMT in human breast cancer. METHODS: Potential kinases for Twist were identified using NetPhosK. Inhibitors of MEK1/2, JNK, p38 MAPK, and PI3K were applied to human breast cancer cells MDA-MB231 (OPN high). After 24 h, Twist was immunoprecipitated and incubated with phosphoserine. Expression of the Twist target protein, Bmi-1, was determined following 24-h osteopontin aptamer (APT) treatment; mutant aptamer (MuAPT) was used as the control. Scratch-wound assay was imaged 12, 24, and 48 h after APT and MuAPT treatment. RESULTS: MEK1/2 inhibition caused ≈ twofold decrease in Twist serine phosphorylation (P < .05). APT blockade of OPN in MB231 decreased Bmi1 protein twofold (P < .05). Aptamer-treated cells were significantly decreased in cell migration and wound closure in the scratch wound-assay (P < .001). CONCLUSION: We demonstrate that OPN extracellular binding to MB231 activates an autocrine MAPK intracellular signaling pathway resulting in Twist activation and promoting Bmi1 expression to further EMT initiation and cellular migration. Our results elucidate a previously undescribed role for OPN as a prime regulator of EMT in human breast cancer cells.
Long T, Su J, Tang W, et al. A novel interaction between calcium-modulating cyclophilin ligand and Basigin regulates calcium signaling and matrix metalloproteinase activities in human melanoma cells. Cancer Lett. 2013; 339(1):93-101 [PubMed] Related Publications
Intracellular free calcium is a ubiquitous second messenger regulating a multitude of normal and pathogenic cellular responses, including the development of melanoma. Upstream signaling pathways regulating the intracellular free calcium concentration ([Ca2+]i) may therefore have a significant impact on melanoma growth and metastasis. In this study, we demonstrate that the endoplasmic reticulum (ER)-associated protein calcium-modulating cyclophilin ligand (CAML) is bound to Basigin, a widely expressed integral plasma membrane glycoprotein and extracellular matrix metalloproteinase inducer (EMMPRIN, or CD147) implicated in melanoma proliferation, invasiveness, and metastasis. This interaction between CAML and Basigin was first identified using yeast two-hybrid screening and further confirmed by co-immunoprecipitation. In human A375 melanoma cells, CAML and Basigin were co-localized to the ER. Knockdown of Basigin in melanoma cells by siRNA significantly decreased resting [Ca2+]i and the [Ca2+]i increase induced by the sarco/endoplasmic reticulum Ca(2+)-ATPase (SERCA) inhibitor thapsigargin (TG), indicating that the interaction between CAML and Basigin regulates ER-dependent [Ca2+]i signaling. Meanwhile upregulating the [Ca2+]i either by TG or phorbol myristate acetate (PMA) could stimulate the production of MMP-9 in A375 cells with the expression of Basigin. Our study has revealed a previously uncharacterized [Ca2+]i signaling pathway that may control melanoma invasion, and metastasis. Disruption of this pathway may be a novel therapeutic strategy for melanoma treatment.
Goudarzi H, Iizasa H, Furuhashi M, et al. Enhancement of in vitro cell motility and invasiveness of human malignant pleural mesothelioma cells through the HIF-1α-MUC1 pathway. Cancer Lett. 2013; 339(1):82-92 [PubMed] Related Publications
In this study, we examined the effects of hypoxia on the malignancy of human malignant pleural mesothelioma (MPM) cell lines, and found (1) hypoxia enhanced motility and invasiveness of human malignant pleural mesothelioma (MPM) cells; (2) this phenomenon resulted from increased expression of sialylated MUC1 through the activation of HIF-1 pathway; (3) two HIF-binding sites located in the promoter region of MUC1 were important for MUC1 transactivation under hypoxia. These findings are useful for better understanding molecular mechanisms of aggressive behavior of MPM cells and for targeting them in the clinical therapies for MPM patients.
Wang Y, Zhang Y, Qian C, et al. GSK3β/β-catenin signaling is correlated with the differentiation of glioma cells induced by wogonin. Toxicol Lett. 2013; 222(2):212-23 [PubMed] Related Publications
Malignant gliomas are the most common and most aggressive primary brain tumor, and for which differentiation therapy has emerged as a promising candidate strategy. In this study, we used in vitro and in vivo assays to examine the differentiation effects of wogonin, a major active constituent of Scutellaria baicalensis, on glioma C6 and U251 cells. We found that wogonin can suppress cell proliferation and induce G0/G1 arrest under a concentration-dependent manner. Wogonin also triggered significant reduction in the G1 cell-cycle regulatory proteins cyclin D1, cyclin-dependent kinase 2 and 4 along with overexpression of cell-cycle inhibitory proteins p27. Immunofluorescence and western blot analysis indicated that wogonin increased the expression of lineage-specific differentiation marker glial fibrillary acidic protein (GFAP). In mechanisms, we verified that wogonin significantly diminished the phosphorylated level of protein kinase B (AKT), and maintenance of low β-catenin expression level was dependent on glycogen synthase kinase 3β (GSK3β) activation at Ser9. Blocking GSK3β/β-catenin pathway was required for wogonin-induced proliferation inhibition and terminal differentiation by using canonical activator lithium chloride (LiCl) and inhibitor dickkopf-1 (Dkk1). Moreover, intravenous administration of wogonin delayed the growth of C6 glioma in the intracranial tumor model. These findings provide the evidence and mechanistic support for wogonin-based differentiation therapies for malignant glioblastoma. Furthermore, inhibition of GSK3β/β-catenin pathway may be a key and requisite factor in glioma differentiation.
Kang YS, Jeong da E, Lee EK, et al. p130Cas controls the susceptibility of cancer cells to TGF-β-induced growth inhibition. Biochem Biophys Res Commun. 2013; 438(1):116-21 [PubMed] Related Publications
Transforming growth factor-beta (TGF-β) suppresses the initiation of tumorigenesis by causing arrest at the G1 phase of the cell cycle. The loss of the antiproliferative function of TGF-β is a hallmark of many cancers. Here we report that p130Cas plays a role in determining the cellular responsiveness to TGF-β-induced growth inhibition in some cancer cells. An analysis of the tyrosine phosphorylation levels of p130Cas revealed higher levels of phosphorylation in cancer cell lines (MCF7 and A375) than in corresponding normal cell lines (MCF10A and MEL-STV). In contrast to normal cells, the cancer cells showed resistance to not only TGF-β-induced Smad3 phosphorylation and p21 expression, but also growth inhibition. However, silencing p130Cas using siRNA was sufficient to restore Smad3 phosphorylation and p21 expression, as well as the susceptibility to TGF-β-induced growth inhibition. Interestingly, the stable overexpression of p130Cas accelerated TGF-β-induced epithelial-mesenchymal transition. Our results suggest that elevated expression and tyrosine phosphorylation of p130Cas contributes to the resistance to TGF-β-induced growth inhibition, and thus to the initiation and progression of human cancers that harbor an active integrin signal.