Gene Summary

Gene:AREG; amphiregulin
Summary:The protein encoded by this gene is a member of the epidermal growth factor family. It is an autocrine growth factor as well as a mitogen for astrocytes, Schwann cells and fibroblasts. It is related to epidermal growth factor (EGF) and transforming growth factor alpha (TGF-alpha). The protein interacts with the EGF/TGF-alpha receptor to promote the growth of normal epithelial cells, and it inhibits the growth of certain aggressive carcinoma cell lines. It also functions in mammary gland, oocyte and bone tissue development. This gene is associated with a psoriasis-like skin phenotype, and is also associated with other pathological disorders, including various types of cancers and inflammatory conditions. [provided by RefSeq, Apr 2014]
Databases:VEGA, OMIM, HGNC, Ensembl, GeneCard, Gene
Source:NCBIAccessed: 16 March, 2017


What does this gene/protein do?
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Cancer Overview

Research Indicators

Publications Per Year (1992-2017)
Graph generated 16 March 2017 using data from PubMed using criteria.

Literature Analysis

Mouse over the terms for more detail; many indicate links which you can click for dedicated pages about the topic.

Tag cloud generated 16 March, 2017 using data from PubMed, MeSH and CancerIndex

Specific Cancers (4)

Data table showing topics related to specific cancers and associated disorders. Scope includes mutations and abnormal protein expression.

Note: list is not exhaustive. Number of papers are based on searches of PubMed (click on topic title for arbitrary criteria used).

Latest Publications: AREG (cancer-related)

Ciccarese C, Massari F, Iacovelli R, et al.
Prostate cancer heterogeneity: Discovering novel molecular targets for therapy.
Cancer Treat Rev. 2017; 54:68-73 [PubMed] Related Publications
Prostate cancer (PCa) shows a broad spectrum of biological and clinical behavior, which represents the epiphenomenon of an extreme genetic heterogeneity. Recent genomic profiling studies have deeply improved the knowledge of the genomic landscape of localized and metastatic PCa. The AR and PI3K/Akt/mTOR signaling pathways are the two most frequently altered, representing therefore interestingly targets for therapy. Moreover, somatic or germline aberrations of DNA repair genes (DRGs) have been observed at high frequency, supporting the potential role of platinum derivatives and PARP inhibitors as effective therapeutic strategies. In the future, the identification of driver mutations present at a specific stage of the disease, the classification PCa based on specific molecular alterations, and the selection of the most appropriate therapy based on biomarkers predictors of response represent the foundations for an increasingly more accurate personalized medicine.

Nakamura Y, Ise K, Yamazaki Y, et al.
Serotonin receptor 4 (5-hydroxytryptamine receptor Type 4) regulates expression of estrogen receptor beta and cell migration in hormone-naive prostate cancer.
Indian J Pathol Microbiol. 2017 Jan-Mar; 60(1):33-37 [PubMed] Related Publications
BACKGROUND: Estrogens are considered to potentially play some roles in the development and progression of prostate cancer through estrogen receptor beta (ERβ). However, additional factors which could influence the clinical outcome of the patients through modulating these steroid signalings have also been proposed. Among these, increased expression of serotonin receptor especially that of 5-hydroxytryptamine receptor Type 4 (5-HTR4) has been recently proposed to be involved in autocrine/paracrine mechanisms of castration-resistant prostate cancer, but the presence and clinical significance of 5-HTR4 in hormone-naive prostate cancer (HNPC) and its interaction with hormonal signaling pathways have remained virtually unknown.
MATERIALS AND METHODS: We evaluated the status of 5-HTR4 in 112 human HNPC cases (acinar adenocarcinoma) using immunohistochemistry and correlated the findings with clinicopathological features of individual patients and the status of androgen receptor (AR) and ERβ. To further elucidate its underlying mechanisms, androgen-dependent human prostate carcinoma cell line, LNCaP, expressing 5-HTR4, was treated by 5-HTR4 agonist.
RESULTS: 5-HTR4 immunoreactivity was detected in 34% of prostate cancer cases examined (38/112) and was significantly correlated with the status of ERβ but not with that of AR and other clinicopathological factors of the patients. Results of in vitro studies demonstrated that 24 h incubation with 5-HTR4 agonist (10 nM) increased the expression level of ERβ messenger RNA compared to controls. 5-HTR4 agonist (100 nM) significantly inhibited LNCaP carcinoma cell migration (P < 0.05).
CONCLUSION: Results of our present study indicated that 5-HTR4 signaling upregulated ERβ expression in HNPCs and could impact on biological processes in HNPC.

Agosto-Arroyo E, Isayeva T, Wei S, et al.
Differential Gene Expression in Ductal Carcinoma In Situ of the Breast Based on ERBB2 Status.
Cancer Control. 2017; 24(1):102-110 [PubMed] Related Publications
BACKGROUND: The molecular signature of ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS) in the breast is not well understood. Erb-b2 receptor tyrosine kinase 2 (ERBB2 [formerly known as HER2/neu]) positivity in DCIS is predictive of coexistent early invasive breast carcinoma. The aim of this study is to identify the gene-expression signature profiles of estrogen receptor (ER)/progesterone receptor (PR)-positive, ERBB2, and triple-negative subtypes of DCIS.
METHODS: Based on ER, PR, and ERBB2 status, a total of 18 high nuclear grade DCIS cases with no evidence of invasive breast carcinoma were selected along with 6 non-neoplastic controls. The 3 study groups were defined as ER/PR-positive, ERBB2, and triple-negative subtypes.
RESULTS: A total of 49 genes were differentially expressed in the ERBB2 subtype compared with the ER/PR-positive and triple-negative groups. PROM1 was overexpressed in the ERBB2 subtype compared with ER/PR-positive and triple-negative subtypes. Other genes differentially expressed included TAOK1, AREG, AGR3, PEG10, and MMP9.
CONCLUSIONS: Our study identified unique gene signatures in ERBB2-positive DCIS, which may be associated with the development of invasive breast carcinoma. The results may enhance our understanding of the progression of breast cancer and become the basis for developing new predictive biomarkers and therapeutic targets for DCIS.

Dondoo TO, Fukumori T, Daizumoto K, et al.
Galectin-3 Is Implicated in Tumor Progression and Resistance to Anti-androgen Drug Through Regulation of Androgen Receptor Signaling in Prostate Cancer.
Anticancer Res. 2017; 37(1):125-134 [PubMed] Related Publications
BACKGROUND: Castration-resistant prostate cancer (CRPC)-related deaths are increasing worldwide. Therefore, clarification of the mechanisms of hormone-related tumor progression and resistance to anti-androgen drugs is useful in order to develop strategies for appropriate treatment of CRPC. Galectin-3 has been shown to be correlated with tumor progression in a variety of cancer types through the regulation of tumor proliferation, angiogenesis, and apoptosis.
MATERIALS AND METHODS: We examined tumor cell invasion and migration using the xCELLigence system. Control LNCaP and galectin-3-expressing LNCaP (LNCaP-Gal-3) cells were cultured with androgen-depleted medium with 5% charcoal-stripped serum. Cells were treated for 24 h with or without dihydrotestosterone alone or combined with MDV3100 and bicalutamide; gene profile was then analyzed by microarray analysis and mRNA expression was confirmed by quantitative real-time polymerase chain reaction (qRT-PCR). We evaluated tumor growth using spheroids and xenograft tumor growth in a mouse model.
RESULTS: In vitro, LNCaP-Gal-3 cells promoted both cell migration and invasion in an androgen-independent manner compared to control LNCaP cells. Galectin-3 also enhanced anchorage-independent growth and xenograft tumor growth even after castration. Importantly, galectin-3 greatly enhanced transcriptional activity of the androgen receptor (AR), especially on treatment with dihydrotestosterone. In microarray and qRT-PCR analyses, galectin-3 increased the expression of several AR-target genes, such as kallikrein-related peptidase 3 (KLK3), and transmembrane protease, serine 2 (TMPRSS2). These AR-target genes were not fully suppressed by anti-androgen drugs such as bicalutamide or MDV3100. Galectin-3 significantly inhibited the effect induced by anti-androgen drugs MDV3100 and bicalutamide, suggesting that galectin-3 may be involved in resistance to anti-androgen drug through enhancement of transcriptional activity of AR and expression of AR-related genes.
CONCLUSION: These results suggest that galectin-3 is a potential target molecule for future treatment of anti-androgen drug-resistant prostate cancer.

Shahbazi S, Khorasani M, Mahdian R
Gene expression profile of FVII and AR in primary prostate cancer.
Cancer Biomark. 2016; 17(3):353-358 [PubMed] Related Publications
OBJECTIVES: The ectopic expression of coagulation Factor VII has been shown in various cancers. Recently, F7 gene has been identified as a direct target of the androgen receptor in breast cancer. In this study, we examined the mRNA expression of F7 and AR in clinical sample series of prostate cancer and BPH.
MATERIAL AND METHODS: All the prostate cancer patients were new cases with no medical history of surgery or chemotherapy. The tissue samples were assigned as either prostate cancer tumor (n= 45) harboring at least 80% tumor cell content, or BPH (n= 36). Relative AR and F7 mRNA expression in each tissue sample was normalized to the mean of the Ct values determined for GAPDH and PSA genes.
RESULTS: Mean plasma level of prostate specific antigen (PSA) was 17.82 ± 3.71 ng/ml and 7.71 ± 1.28 ng/ml (Mean ± SEM) in PCa and BPH group, respectively. AR mean expression was up-regulated 22.468 fold in clinical tumor sample cohort (S.E., 0.175-2,916, 95% CI: 0.001-126,764, P= 0.001). The mean expression of F7 gene in tumor tissues relative to PBH samples was 6.981 (S.E., 0.099-413.001, 95% CI: 0.002-34,183, P= 0.012). ANOVA analysis of the gene expression results showed significant correlation between F7 and AR mRNA expression in tumor samples (p< 0.001).
CONCLUSIONS: Our study findings suggest a link between FVII and AR in prostate cancer pathogenesis. F7 gene expression could be up-regulated via various AR mediators affecting the promoter region of the F7 gene. Should this be confirmed by further studies, it may be suggested as a potential contributing factor in prostate cancer.

Mousavian Z, Nowzari-Dalini A, Stam RW, et al.
Network-based expression analysis reveals key genes related to glucocorticoid resistance in infant acute lymphoblastic leukemia.
Cell Oncol (Dordr). 2017; 40(1):33-45 [PubMed] Related Publications
PURPOSE: Despite vast improvements that have been made in the treatment of children with acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL), the majority of infant ALL patients (~80 %, < 1 year of age) that carry a chromosomal translocation involving the mixed lineage leukemia (MLL) gene shows a poor response to chemotherapeutic drugs, especially glucocorticoids (GCs), which are essential components of all current treatment regimens. Although addressed in several studies, the mechanism(s) underlying this phenomenon have remained largely unknown. A major drawback of most previous studies is their primary focus on individual genes, thereby neglecting the putative significance of inter-gene correlations. Here, we aimed at studying GC resistance in MLL-rearranged infant ALL patients by inferring an associated module of genes using co-expression network analysis. The implications of newly identified candidate genes with associations to other well-known relevant genes from the same module, or with associations to known transcription factor or microRNA interactions, were substantiated using literature data.
METHODS: A weighted gene co-expression network was constructed to identify gene modules associated with GC resistance in MLL-rearranged infant ALL patients. Significant gene ontology (GO) terms and signaling pathways enriched in relevant modules were used to provide guidance towards which module(s) consisted of promising candidates suitable for further analysis.
RESULTS: Through gene co-expression network analysis a novel set of genes (module) related to GC-resistance was identified. The presence in this module of the S100 and ANXA genes, both well-known biomarkers for GC resistance in MLL-rearranged infant ALL, supports its validity. Subsequent gene set net correlation analyses of the novel module provided further support for its validity by showing that the S100 and ANXA genes act as 'hub' genes with potentially major regulatory roles in GC sensitivity, but having lost this role in the GC resistant phenotype. The detected module implicates new genes as being candidates for further analysis through associations with known GC resistance-related genes.
CONCLUSIONS: From our data we conclude that available systems biology approaches can be employed to detect new candidate genes that may provide further insights into drug resistance of MLL-rearranged infant ALL cases. Such approaches complement conventional gene-wise approaches by taking putative functional interactions between genes into account.

Eiro N, Fernandez-Gomez J, Sacristán R, et al.
Stromal factors involved in human prostate cancer development, progression and castration resistance.
J Cancer Res Clin Oncol. 2017; 143(2):351-359 [PubMed] Related Publications
PURPOSE: To detect new predictive markers from the prostate cancer tissue, to study the expression by cultured cancer-associated fibroblasts (CAFs) of stromal factors implicated in prostate carcinogenesis, and to compare their expressions in localized, metastatic, castration-sensitive (CSCP), castration-resistant prostate tumors (CRCP) as well as in fibroblasts from benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH).
MATERIALS AND METHODS: The genomic expression of 20 stroma-derived factors, including the androgen receptor (AR), growth factors (FGF2, FGF7, FGF10, HGF, TGFβ, PDGFB), protein implicated in invasion (MMP-2, MMP-9 and MMP-11), inflammation (IL-6, IL-17, STAT-3 and NFκB), stroma/epithelium interaction (CDH11, FAP, CXCL12 and CXCL14) and chaperones (HPA1A and HSF1), was evaluated in cultured fibroblasts both from BHP and prostate carcinomas (PCa). After isolation and culture of fibroblasts by biopsy specimens, RNA was isolated and genomic studies performed.
RESULTS: Finally, 5 BPH and 37 PCa specimens were selected: clinically localized (19), metastatic (5), CSCP (7) and CRPC (6). Interleukin-17 receptor (IL-17RB) was highly expressed in CAFs compared with fibroblasts from BPH. However, metalloproteinase-2 and chemokine ligand 14 (CXCL14) were expressed at higher levels by fibroblasts from BPH. The fibroblastic growth factor-7 was highly expressed by CAFs from localized tumors, but metalloproteinase-11 in metastatic tumors. MMP-11, androgen receptor (AR) and heat-shock-70kda-protein-1A (HSPA1A) expressions were significantly higher in CAFs from CRPC.
CONCLUSIONS: These results demonstrate a CAFs heterogeneity among prostate carcinomas with regard to some molecular profile expressions that may be relevant in tumor development (IL-17RB), progression (MMP-11) and castration resistance (AR, MMP-11 and HSPA1A).

Bubendorf L, Büttner R, Al-Dayel F, et al.
Testing for ROS1 in non-small cell lung cancer: a review with recommendations.
Virchows Arch. 2016; 469(5):489-503 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Rearrangements of the ROS1 gene occur in 1-2 % of non-small cell lung cancers (NSCLCs). Crizotinib, a highly effective inhibitor of ROS1 kinase activity, is now FDA-approved for the treatment of patients with advanced ROS1-positive NSCLC. Consequently, focus on ROS1 testing is growing. Most laboratories currently rely on fluorescence in situ hybridisation (FISH) assays using a dual-colour break-apart probe to detect ROS1 rearrangements. Given the rarity of these rearrangements in NSCLC, detection of elevated ROS1 protein levels by immunohistochemistry may provide cost-effective screening prior to confirmatory FISH testing. Non-in situ testing approaches also hold potential as stand-alone methods or complementary tests, including multiplex real-time PCR assays and next-generation sequencing (NGS) platforms which include commercial test kits covering a range of fusion genes. In order to ensure high-quality biomarker testing, appropriate tissue handling, adequate control materials and participation in external quality assessment programmes are essential, irrespective of the testing technique employed. ROS1 testing is often only considered after negative tests for EGFR mutation and ALK gene rearrangement, based on the assumption that these oncogenic driver events tend to be exclusive. However, as the use of ROS1 inhibitors becomes routine, accurate and timely detection of ROS1 gene rearrangements will be critical for the optimal treatment of patients with NSCLC. As NGS techniques are introduced into routine diagnostic practice, ROS1 fusion gene testing will be provided as part of the initial testing package.

Taniguchi H, Takeuchi S, Fukuda K, et al.
Amphiregulin triggered epidermal growth factor receptor activation confers in vivo crizotinib-resistance of EML4-ALK lung cancer and circumvention by epidermal growth factor receptor inhibitors.
Cancer Sci. 2017; 108(1):53-60 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Crizotinib, a first-generation anaplastic lymphoma kinase (ALK) tyrosine-kinase inhibitor, is known to be effective against echinoderm microtubule-associated protein-like 4 (EML4)-ALK-positive non-small cell lung cancers. Nonetheless, the tumors subsequently become resistant to crizotinib and recur in almost every case. The mechanism of the acquired resistance needs to be deciphered. In this study, we established crizotinib-resistant cells (A925LPE3-CR) via long-term administration of crizotinib to a mouse model of pleural carcinomatous effusions; this model involved implantation of the A925LPE3 cell line, which harbors the EML4-ALK gene rearrangement. The resistant cells did not have the secondary ALK mutations frequently occurring in crizotinib-resistant cells, and these cells were cross-resistant to alectinib and ceritinib as well. In cell clone #2, which is one of the clones of A925LPE3-CR, crizotinib sensitivity was restored via the inhibition of epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) by means of an EGFR tyrosine-kinase inhibitor (erlotinib) or an anti-EGFR antibody (cetuximab) in vitro and in the murine xenograft model. Cell clone #2 did not have an EGFR mutation, but the expression of amphiregulin (AREG), one of EGFR ligands, was significantly increased. A knockdown of AREG with small interfering RNAs restored the sensitivity to crizotinib. These data suggest that overexpression of EGFR ligands such as AREG can cause resistance to crizotinib, and that inhibition of EGFR signaling may be a promising strategy to overcome crizotinib resistance in EML4-ALK lung cancer.

Xu J, Lin H, Li G, et al.
The miR-367-3p Increases Sorafenib Chemotherapy Efficacy to Suppress Hepatocellular Carcinoma Metastasis through Altering the Androgen Receptor Signals.
EBioMedicine. 2016; 12:55-67 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
The androgen receptor (AR) was found to suppress hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) metastasis at late stages. Due to this discovery, we searched for some AR enhancers to increase the efficacy of Sorafenib chemotherapy, and identified the microRNA (miR)-367-3p, whose expression is positively correlated with AR expression in advanced HCC, as an HCC metastasis suppressor. Combining miR-367-3p with Sorafenib showed better efficacy to suppress HCC cell invasion in vitro and in vivo. Mechanism dissection revealed that miR-367-3p could increase AR expression via directly targeting the 3'UTR of MDM2 to decrease MDM2 protein expression. The resultant increase of AR expression might then promote the expression of FKBP5 and PHLPP, thus dephosphorylating and inactivating AKT and ERK, to suppress the HCC cell invasion. Interestingly, the suppression of pAKT by miR-367-3p could subsequently attenuate the phosphorylation of AR and MDM2, giving rise to additional enhancement of AR protein expression, effectively forming a positive feedback loop. Together, these results suggest that miR-367-3p may function as an AR enhancer to increase Sorafenib chemotherapy efficacy via altering the MDM2/AR/FKBP5/PHLPP/(pAKT and pERK) signals to better suppress HCC metastasis. Successful development of this newly combined chemotherapy in the future may help us to better suppress the HCC metastasis at late stages.

Romano RC, Gardner JM, Shalin SC, et al.
High Relative Expression of Pannexin 3 (PANX3) in an Axillary Sweat Gland Carcinoma With Osteosarcomatous Transformation.
Am J Dermatopathol. 2016; 38(11):846-851 [PubMed] Related Publications
Primary cutaneous sweat gland carcinomas (SGCs) are rare tumors that commonly involve axillae, have a high local recurrence rate, and rarely show sarcomatoid transformation. A 68-year-old man presented with rapid enlargement of a previously stable, asymptomatic pea-sized nodule in the left axilla. Initial excision (with positive surgical margins) at another institution showed characteristic histologic features of a high-grade osteosarcoma and molecular analysis using a 92-gene real-time quantitative reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction assay confirmed a diagnosis of osteosarcoma with 96% certainty. Notably, the molecular assay demonstrated consistently high relative expression of pannexin 3 (PANX3), a gene involved in normal osteoblast differentiation which, when highly expressed, strongly predicts osteosarcoma per the assay's algorithm. However, on further histologic review, the tumor also contained focal cystic areas, nests, and ducts composed of malignant epithelial cells reminiscent of SGC; these areas directly transitioned into the osteosarcomatous component and were strongly positive for pancytokeratin, CK7, and p63. Within 2 weeks, the lesion recurred and grew rapidly, prompting complete resection, histologic sections of which showed high-grade osteosarcoma without residual epithelial elements. This is the fifth report, to our knowledge, of osteosarcomatous transformation in a SGC, and the only report to date including molecular data. This case demonstrates that osteosarcoma arising from a SGC has a similar molecular profile to de novo primary osteosarcoma of bone. It also emphasizes the importance of histopathologic findings as the established diagnostic gold standard and the need to interpret molecular results within the clinical context.

Choi HE, Shin JS, Leem DG, et al.
6-(3,4-Dihydro-1H-isoquinoline-2-yl)-N-(6-methoxypyridine-2-yl) nicotinamide-26 (DIMN-26) decreases cell proliferation by induction of apoptosis and downregulation of androgen receptor signaling in human prostate cancer cells.
Chem Biol Interact. 2016; 260:196-207 [PubMed] Related Publications
Previously, we reported that 6-(3,4-dihydro-1H-isoquinolin-2-yl)-N-(6-methylpyridin-2-yl) nicotinamide (DIMN) analogues inhibited the growth of prostate cancer cells as an anti-androgenic compound. In the present study, we evaluated cytotoxic effects of these DIMN derivatives and found that DIMN-26 most potently inhibited the proliferation of the LNCap-LN3 androgen-dependent and DU145 androgen-independent prostate cancer cells through induction of G2/M phase cell cycle arrest and subsequent apoptosis. The G2/M phase arrest was found due to increases in the activation of cdc2 (also known as cyclin-dependent kinase 1, CDK1)/cyclin B1 complex. DIMN-26 also induced apoptosis in LNCap-LN3 and DU145 prostate cancer cells through activation of caspase-3, -8, and -9, and cleavage of poly(ADP-ribose) polymerase-1 (PARP-1). In addition, DIMN-26 caused the dephosphorylation and mitochondrial accumulation of Bad protein and induced the loss of mitochondria membrane potential, consequently releasing cytochrome c into the cytosol of the cell. Furthermore, overexpression of AKT protein significantly reduced DIMN-26-induced PARP-1 cleavage and p-Bad decrease and cdc2 activation. In addition, DIMN-26 inhibited the 5α-dihydrotestosterone (DHT)-induced cell growth and proliferation and nuclear translocation and transcriptional activities of androgen receptor (AR) in LNCap-LN3 prostate cancer cells. Consistent with these findings, DIMN-26 significantly inhibited the DHT-induced expression of AR-response genes (ARGs), such as prostate-specific antigen (PSA), AR, β2-microglobulin (B2M), selenoprotein P (SEPP1), and ste20-related proline-alanine-rich kinase (SPAK) in LNCap-LN3 prostate cancer cells. Taken together, these results suggest that DIMN-26 plays a therapeutic role not only in induction of G2/M arrest and apoptosis but also in suppression of androgen receptor signaling in androgen-dependent and androgen-independent prostate cancer cells.

Díaz P, Cardenas H, Orihuela PA
Red Maca (Lepidium meyenii) did not affect cell viability despite increased androgen receptor and prostate-specific antigen gene expression in the human prostate cancer cell line LNCaP.
Andrologia. 2016; 48(8):922-6 [PubMed] Related Publications
We examined whether aqueous extract of Lepidium meyenii (red Maca) could inhibit growth, potentiate apoptotic activity of two anticancer drugs Taxol and 2-methoxyestradiol (2ME) or change mRNA expression for the androgen target genes, androgen receptor (Ar) and prostate-specific antigen (Psa) in the human prostate cancer cell line LNCaP. Red Maca aqueous extract at 0, 10, 20, 40 or 80 μg/ml was added to LNCaP cells, and viability was evaluated by the MTS assay at 24 or 48 hr after treatment. Furthermore, LNCaP cells were treated with 80 μg/ml of red Maca plus Taxol or 2ME 5 μM and viability was assessed 48 hr later. Finally, LNCaP cells were treated with red Maca 0, 20, 40 or 80 μg/ml, and 12 hr later, mRNA level for Ar or Psa was assessed by real-time PCR. Treatment with red Maca did not affect viability of LNCaP cells. Apoptotic activity induced by Taxol and 2ME in LNCaP cells was not altered with red Maca treatment. Relative expression of the mRNA for Ar and Psa increased with red Maca 20 and 40 μg/ml, but not at 80 μg/ml. We conclude that red Maca aqueous extract does not have toxic effects, but stimulates androgen signalling in LNCaP cells.

Xu H, Cao H, Xiao G
Signaling via PINCH: Functions, binding partners and implications in human diseases.
Gene. 2016; 594(1):10-15 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 05/12/2017 Related Publications
Particularly interesting new cysteine-histidine-rich protein (PINCH) is a LIM-domain-only adaptor that plays important roles in cytoskeletal organization and extracellular matrix adhesion, migration, proliferation and survival. Mammalian cells have two functional PINCH proteins, PINCH1 and PINCH2. PINCH not only binds to Nck2 and engages in the signaling of growth factor receptors, but also forms a ternary complex with ILK and parvin (IPP complex). Normally, the IPP complex locates to focal adhesions participating in the signaling of integrins and mediating the interaction of cytoskeleton and extracellular matrix (ECM). Accumulative evidence indicates that abnormalities in PINCH signaling are involved in the pathogenesis of important diseases, such as cancers, renal diseases, cardiomyopathy, and HIV. Therefore, clarifying the functions of PINCH and its interactions with key factors is important for better understanding of signaling events both in health and disease.

Caspar A, Mostertz J, Leymann M, et al.
In Vitro Cultivation of Primary Prostate Cancer Cells Alters the Molecular Biomarker Pattern.
In Vivo. 2016 09-10; 30(5):573-9 [PubMed] Related Publications
BACKGROUND/AIM: The high variability of primary cells propagated in vitro led us to study the expression patterns of 11 most commonly accepted and widely used biomarkers specific for prostate cancer (PC) cells in primary cell models.
MATERIALS AND METHODS: Primary PC cells from five PC patients were partially subjected to RNA preparation immediately and remaining cells were propagated up to 84 days followed by RNA preparation. Subsequently, biomarker mRNA quantification was performed by quantitative reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) and biomarker transcript concentrations before and after cultivation of primary PC cells were compared.
RESULTS: Evaluation of androgen receptor, prostate-specific antigen, acid phosphatase, prostate-specific membrane antigen, fatty acid synthase, cytokeratin types 5/8/19, E-cadherin, epithelial cell adhesion molecule and fibroblast-specific protein 1 demonstrated temporal changes, as well as individual differences in expression, during primary PC cell propagation.
CONCLUSION: Experimental design, as well as data evaluation, may need to take under consideration the high variability of biomarker expression in primary PC cells.

Colditz J, Rupf B, Maiwald C, Baniahmad A
Androgens induce a distinct response of epithelial-mesenchymal transition factors in human prostate cancer cells.
Mol Cell Biochem. 2016; 421(1-2):139-47 [PubMed] Related Publications
Inhibition of the androgen receptor (AR) is a major target of prostate cancer (PCa) therapy. However, prolonged androgen deprivation results eventually in castration-resistant PCa (CRPC) with metastasis and poor survival. Emerging evidence suggests that epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT) may facilitate castration-resistance and cancer metastasis in PCa. The human androgen-dependent, castration-sensitive prostate cancer (CSPC) cell line LNCaP and the CRPC cell line C4-2 are often used as a model system for human PCa. However, the role of the AR and the effect of AR antagonist (antiandrogen) treatment on the RNA expression of key factors of EMT including the long non-coding RNAs (lncRNAs) DRAIC in PCa cells remain elusive. Although as expected the established AR target genes PSA and FKBP5 are strongly induced by androgens in both cell lines, both E-cadherin and vimentin mRNA levels are upregulated by androgens in LNCaP but not in C4-2 cells by short- and long-term treatments. The mRNA levels of E-cadherin and vimentin remain unchanged by antiandrogen treatment in both cell lines. The expression of transcription factors that regulate EMT including Slug, Snail and ZEB1 and the lncRNA DRAIC were affected by androgen treatment in both cell lines. The mRNA level of Slug is upregulated by androgens and interestingly downregulated by antiandrogens in both cell lines. On the other hand, ZEB1 mRNA levels are strongly upregulated by androgens but remain unchanged by antiandrogens. In contrast, Snail mRNA levels are repressed by androgen treatment similar to DRAIC RNA levels. However, while antiandrogen treatment seems not to change Snail mRNA levels, antiandrogen treatments induce DRAIC RNA levels. Moreover, despite the strong upregulation of Zeb1 mRNA, no significant increase of the ZEB1 protein was observed indicating that despite androgen upregulation, posttranscriptional regulation of EMT controlling transcription factors occurs. SLUG protein was enhanced in both cell lines by androgens and reduced by antiandrogens. Taken together, our data suggest that the ligand-activated AR regulates the expression of several EMT key factors and antiandrogens counteract AR activity only on selected genes.

Fialova B, Luzna P, Gursky J, et al.
Epigenetic modulation of AR gene expression in prostate cancer DU145 cells with the combination of sodium butyrate and 5'-Aza-2'-deoxycytidine.
Oncol Rep. 2016; 36(4):2365-74 [PubMed] Related Publications
The androgen receptor (AR) plays an essential role in the development and progression of prostate cancer. Castration-resistant prostate cancer (CRPC) is a consequence of androgen deprivation therapy. Unchecked CRPC followed by metastasis is lethal. Some CRPCs show decreased AR gene expression due to epigenetic mechanisms such as DNA methylation and histone deacetylation. The aim of this study was to epigenetically modulate the methylated state of the AR gene leading to targeted demethylation and AR gene expression in androgen-independent human prostate cancer DU145 cell line, representing the CRPC model with very low or undetectable AR levels. The cell treatment was based on single and combined applications of two epigenetic inhibitors, sodium butyrate (NaB) as histone deacetylases inhibitor and 5'-Aza-2'-deoxycytidine (Aza-dC) as DNA methyltransferases inhibitor. We found that the Aza-dC in combination with NaB may help reduce the toxicity of higher NaB concentrations in cancer cells. In normal RWPE-1 cells and even stronger in cancer DU145 cells, the combined treatment induced both AR gene expression on the mRNA level and increased histone H4 acetylation in AR gene promoter. Also activation and maintenance of G2/M cell cycle arrest and better survival in normal RWPE-1 cells compared to cancer DU145 cells were observed after the treatments. These results imply the selective toxicity effect of both inhibitors used and their potentially more effective combined use in the epigenetic therapy of prostate cancer patients.

Sinha AA, Pomroy FE, Wilson MJ
Concurrent Androgen and Estrogen Ablation and Inhibition of Steroid Biosynthetic Enzyme Treatment for Castration-resistant Prostate Cancer.
Anticancer Res. 2016; 36(8):3847-54 [PubMed] Related Publications
BACKGROUND/AIM: About 80 to 90% of prostate cancer (PCa) is androgen-dependent at diagnosis, but patients ultimately develop castration-resistant prostate cancer (CRPC), which is usually not amenable to androgen deprivation (ablation) therapy (ADT). Patients with CRPC usually succumb to death in less than 5 years and there is no cure. Here, we investigated reasons for ADT failure.
MATERIALS AND METHODS: Biopsy specimens from untreated and diethylstilbestrol (DES)-treated patients were assessed for localization of antibody IgGs against androgen (AR) and estrogen (ER) receptors.
RESULTS: In untreated and DES-treated sections, methylene blue stained basic proteins in dark basal (undifferentiated) PCa cells, whereas light basal cells were not stained. AR localized to light basal cells which showed widespread degeneration in sections from DES-treated patients, indicating their dependence on androgen. In contrast, dark basal cells did not show widespread degeneration in DES-treated patients; ER was usually localized in dark cells. The number of dark cells progressively increased in DES-treated patients indicating their androgen-independence. The localization of AR and ER in some light and dark basal cells indicated that the supply of androgen/estrogen was not inhibited during ADT. Dark basal cells had emerged prior to treatment and proliferated during DES treatment, that also indicated their androgen-independence.
CONCLUSION: PCa has at least two populations of cells: androgen-dependent light basal and estrogen-dependent dark basal cells. ADT did not destroy estrogen-dependent cells which may have given rise to CRPC tumors. Therefore, ADT is an incomplete treatment. For a more complete treatment of PCa, we recommend concurrent androgen and estrogen ablation, together with the inhibition of selected steroid biosynthetic enzymes.

Crisp RL, Maltaneri RE, Vittori DC, et al.
Red blood cell aquaporin-1 expression is decreased in hereditary spherocytosis.
Ann Hematol. 2016; 95(10):1595-601 [PubMed] Related Publications
Aquaporin-1 (AQP1) is the membrane water channel responsible for changes in erythrocyte volume in response to the tonicity of the medium. As the aberrant distribution of proteins in hereditary spherocytosis (HS) generates deficiencies of proteins other than those codified by the mutated gene, we postulated that AQP1 expression might be impaired in spherocytes. AQP1 expression was evaluated through flow cytometry in 5 normal controls, 1 autoimmune hemolytic anemia, 10 HS (2 mild, 3 moderate, 2 severe, and 3 splenectomized), and 3 silent carriers. The effect of AQP1 inhibitors was evaluated through water flow-based tests: osmotic fragility and hypertonic cryohemolysis. Serum osmolality was measured in 20 normal controls and 13 HS. The effect of erythropoietin (Epo) on AQP1 expression was determined in cultures of erythroleukemia UT-7 cells, dependent on Epo to survive. Independent of erythrocyte size, HS patients showed a lower content of AQP1 in erythrocyte membranes which correlated with the severity of the disease. Accordingly, red blood cells from HS subjects were less sensitive to cryohemolysis than normal erythrocytes after inhibition of the AQP1 water channel. A lower serum osmolality in HS with respect to normal controls suggests alterations during reticulocyte remodeling. The decreased AQP1 expression could contribute to explain variable degrees of anemia in hereditary spherocytosis. The finding of AQP1 expression induced by Epo in a model of erythroid cells may be interpreted as a mechanism to restore the balance of red cell water fluxes.

Zaretsky JM, Garcia-Diaz A, Shin DS, et al.
Mutations Associated with Acquired Resistance to PD-1 Blockade in Melanoma.
N Engl J Med. 2016; 375(9):819-29 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 01/04/2017 Related Publications
BACKGROUND: Approximately 75% of objective responses to anti-programmed death 1 (PD-1) therapy in patients with melanoma are durable, lasting for years, but delayed relapses have been noted long after initial objective tumor regression despite continuous therapy. Mechanisms of immune escape in this context are unknown.
METHODS: We analyzed biopsy samples from paired baseline and relapsing lesions in four patients with metastatic melanoma who had had an initial objective tumor regression in response to anti-PD-1 therapy (pembrolizumab) followed by disease progression months to years later.
RESULTS: Whole-exome sequencing detected clonal selection and outgrowth of the acquired resistant tumors and, in two of the four patients, revealed resistance-associated loss-of-function mutations in the genes encoding interferon-receptor-associated Janus kinase 1 (JAK1) or Janus kinase 2 (JAK2), concurrent with deletion of the wild-type allele. A truncating mutation in the gene encoding the antigen-presenting protein beta-2-microglobulin (B2M) was identified in a third patient. JAK1 and JAK2 truncating mutations resulted in a lack of response to interferon gamma, including insensitivity to its antiproliferative effects on cancer cells. The B2M truncating mutation led to loss of surface expression of major histocompatibility complex class I.
CONCLUSIONS: In this study, acquired resistance to PD-1 blockade immunotherapy in patients with melanoma was associated with defects in the pathways involved in interferon-receptor signaling and in antigen presentation. (Funded by the National Institutes of Health and others.).

Curigliano G, Gómez Pardo P, Meric-Bernstam F, et al.
Ribociclib plus letrozole in early breast cancer: A presurgical, window-of-opportunity study.
Breast. 2016; 28:191-8 [PubMed] Related Publications
OBJECTIVES: Cyclin D-cyclin-dependent kinase (CDK) 4/6-inhibitor of CDK4/6-retinoblastoma (Rb) pathway hyperactivation is associated with hormone receptor-positive (HR+) breast cancer (BC). This study assessed the biological activity of ribociclib (LEE011; CDK4/6 inhibitor) plus letrozole compared with single-agent letrozole in the presurgical setting.
MATERIALS AND METHODS: Postmenopausal women (N = 14) with resectable, HR+, human epidermal growth factor receptor 2-negative (HER2-) early BC were randomized 1:1:1 to receive 2.5 mg/day letrozole alone (Arm 1), or with 400 or 600 mg/day ribociclib (Arm 2 or 3). Circulating tumor DNA and tumor biopsies were collected at baseline and, following 14 days of treatment, prior to or during surgery. The primary objective was to assess antiproliferative response per Ki67 levels in Arms 2 and 3 compared with Arm 1. Additional assessments included safety, pharmacokinetics, and genetic profiling.
RESULTS: Mean decreases in the Ki67-positive cell fraction from baseline were: Arm 1 69% (range 38-100%; n = 2), Arm 2 96% (range 78-100%; n = 6), Arm 3 92% (range 75-100%; n = 3). Decreased phosphorylated Rb levels and CDK4, CDK6, CCND2, CCND3, and CCNE1 gene expression were observed following ribociclib treatment. Ribociclib and letrozole pharmacokinetic parameters were consistent with single-agent data. The ribociclib plus letrozole combination was well tolerated, with no Grade 3/4 adverse events over the treatment.
CONCLUSION: The results suggest absence of a drug-drug interaction between ribociclib and letrozole and indicate ribociclib plus letrozole may reduce Ki67 expression in HR+, HER2- BC (NCT01919229).

Vega-Benedetti AF, Saucedo C, Zavattari P, et al.
PLAGL1: an important player in diverse pathological processes.
J Appl Genet. 2017; 58(1):71-78 [PubMed] Related Publications
The PLAGL1 gene encodes a homonymous zinc finger protein that promotes cell cycle arrest and apoptosis through multiple pathways. The protein has been implicated in metabolic, genetic, and neoplastic illnesses, but the molecular mechanisms by which the protein PLAGL1 participates in such diverse processes remains to be elucidated. In this review, we focus mainly on the molecular biology of PLAGL1 and the relevance of its abnormalities to several pathological processes.

Liu C, Wu HT, Zhu N, et al.
Steroid receptor RNA activator: Biologic function and role in disease.
Clin Chim Acta. 2016; 459:137-46 [PubMed] Related Publications
Steroid receptor RNA activator (SRA) is a type of long noncoding RNA (lncRNA) which coordinates the functions of various transcription factors, enhances steroid receptor-dependent gene expression, and also serves as a distinct scaffold. The novel, profound and expanded roles of SRA are emerging in critical aspects of coactivation of nuclear receptors (NRs). As a nuclear receptor coactivator, SRA can coactivate androgen receptor (AR), estrogen receptor α (ERα), ERβ, progesterone receptor (PR), glucocorticoid receptor (GR), thyroid hormone receptor and retinoic acid receptor (RAR). Although SRA is one of the least well-understood molecules, increasing studies have revealed that SRA plays a key role in both biological processes, such as myogenesis and steroidogenesis, and pathological changes, including obesity, cardiomyopathy, and tumorigenesis. Furthermore, the SRA-related signaling pathways, such as the mitogen-activated protein kinase (p38 MAPK), Notch and tumor necrosis factor α (TNFα) pathways, play critical roles in the pathogenesis of estrogen-dependent breast cancers. In addition, the most recent data demonstrates that SRA expression may serve as a new prognostic marker in patients with ER-positive breast cancer. Thus, elucidating the molecular mechanisms underlying SRA-mediated functions is important to develop proper novel strategies to target SRA in the diagnosis and treatment of human diseases.

Disciglio V, Devecchi A, Palumbo O, et al.
Whole exome sequencing and single nucleotide polymorphism array analyses to identify germline alterations in genes associated with testosterone metabolism in a patient with androgen insensitivity syndrome and early-onset colorectal cancer.
Chin J Cancer. 2016; 35(1):51 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 01/04/2017 Related Publications
BACKGROUND: Androgen insensitivity syndrome (AIS), a disorder of sexual development in 46, XY individuals, is caused by loss-of-function mutations in the androgen receptor (AR) gene. A variety of tumors have been reported in association with AIS, but no cases with colorectal cancer (CRC) have been described.
CASE PRESENTATION: Here, we present a male patient with AIS who developed multiple early-onset CRCs and his pedigree. His first cousin was diagnosed with AIS and harbored the same AR gene mutation, but with no signs of CRC. The difference in clinical management for the two patients was that testosterone treatment was given to the proband for a much longer time compared with the cousin. The CRC family history was negative, and no germline mutations in well-known CRC-related genes were identified. A single nucleotide polymorphism array revealed a microduplication on chromosome 22q11.22 that encompassed a microRNA potentially related to CRC pathogenesis. In the proband, whole exome sequencing identified a polymorphism in an oncogene and 13 rare loss-of-function variants, of which two were in CRC-related genes and four were in genes associated with other human cancers.
CONCLUSIONS: By pathway analysis, all inherited germline genetic events were connected in a unique network whose alteration in the proband, together with continuous testosterone stimulation, may have played a role in CRC pathogenesis.

Šemeláková M, Jendželovský R, Fedoročko P
Drug membrane transporters and CYP3A4 are affected by hypericin, hyperforin or aristoforin in colon adenocarcinoma cells.
Biomed Pharmacother. 2016; 81:38-47 [PubMed] Related Publications
Our previous results have shown that the combination of hypericin-mediated photodynamic therapy (HY-PDT) at sub-optimal dose with hyperforin (HP) (compounds of Hypericum sp.), or its stable derivative aristoforin (AR) stimulates generation of reactive oxygen species (ROS) leading to antitumour activity. This enhanced oxidative stress evoked the need for an explanation for HY accumulation in colon cancer cells pretreated with HP or AR. Generally, the therapeutic efficacy of chemotherapeutics is limited by drug resistance related to the overexpression of drug efflux transporters in tumour cells. Therefore, the impact of non-activated hypericin (HY), HY-PDT, HP and AR on cell membrane transporter systems (Multidrug resistance-associated protein 1-MRP1/ABCC1, Multidrug resistance-associated protein 2-MRP2/ABCC2, Breast cancer resistance protein - BCRP/ABCG2, P-glycoprotein-P-gp/ABCC1) and cytochrome P450 3A4 (CYP3A4) was evaluated. The different effects of the three compounds on their expression, protein level and activity was determined under specific PDT light (T0+, T6+) or dark conditions (T0- T6-). We found that HP or AR treatment affected the protein levels of MRP2 and P-gp, whereas HP decreased MRP2 and P-gp expression mostly in the T0+ and T6+ conditions, while AR decreased MRP2 in T0- and T6+. Moreover, HY-PDT treatment induced the expression of MRP1. Our data demonstrate that HP or AR treatment in light or dark PDT conditions had an inhibitory effect on the activity of individual membrane transport proteins and significantly decreased CYP3A4 activity in HT-29 cells. We found that HP or AR significantly affected intracellular accumulation of HY in HT-29 colon adenocarcinoma cells. These results suggest that HY, HP and AR might affect the efficiency of anti-cancer drugs, through interaction with membrane transporters and CYP3A4.

Beltran H, Antonarakis ES, Morris MJ, Attard G
Emerging Molecular Biomarkers in Advanced Prostate Cancer: Translation to the Clinic.
Am Soc Clin Oncol Educ Book. 2016; 35:131-41 [PubMed] Related Publications
Recent clinical and preclinical studies focused on understanding the molecular landscape of castration-resistant prostate cancer (CRPC) have provided insights into mechanisms of treatment resistance, disease heterogeneity, and potential therapeutic targets. This work has served as a framework for several ongoing clinical studies focused on bringing novel observations into the clinic in the form of tissue, liquid, and imaging biomarkers. Resistance in CRPC typically is driven through reactivation of androgen receptor (AR) signaling, which can occur through AR-activating point mutations, amplification, splice variants (such as AR-V7), or other bypass mechanisms. Detection of AR aberrations in the circulation negatively impacts response to subsequent AR-directed therapies such as abiraterone and enzalutamide. Other potentially clinically relevant alterations in CRPC include defects in DNA damage repair (at either the somatic or germline level) in up to 20% of patients (with implications for PARP1 inhibitor therapy), PI3K/PTEN/Akt pathway activation, WNT signaling pathway alterations, cell cycle gene alterations, and less common but potentially targetable alterations involving RAF and FGFR2. Imaging biomarkers that include those focused on incorporating overexpressed androgen-regulated genes/proteins, such as prostate-specific membrane antigen (PSMA) and dihydrotestosterone (DHT) in combination with CT, can noninvasively identify patterns of AR-driven distribution of CRPC tumor cells, monitor early metastatic lesions, and potentially capture heterogeneity of response to AR-directed therapies and other therapeutics. This article focuses on the current state of clinical biomarker development and future directions for how they might be implemented into the clinic in the near term to improve risk stratification and treatment selection for patients.

Aurelian L, Bollino D, Colunga A
The oncolytic virus ΔPK has multimodal anti-tumor activity.
Pathog Dis. 2016; 74(5) [PubMed] Related Publications
Oncolytic viruses (OVs) are an emerging cancer therapeutic, with a near complete absence of serious adverse effects. However, clinical efficacy is relatively modest, related to poor tumor penetration, failure to lyse cancer stem cells (CSCs) and blockade of immunogenic cell death by the immunosuppressive tumor microenvironment. To overcome such limitations, we developed an OV (known as ΔPK) with multimodal anti-tumor activity. ΔPK has potent anti-tumor activity both in melanoma cell lines and xenograft animal models, associated with virus replication and the induction of multiple independent programmed cell death pathways. It lyses CSCs through autophagy modulation and it reverses the immunosuppressive tumor microenvironment by altering the balance of cytokines secreted by the tumor cells. This includes decreased tumor cell secretion of the immunosuppressive and procancerous cytokines IL-10 and IL-18 and concomitant increased secretion of the proinflammatory cytokines TNF-α, GM-CSF, IL-6 and IL-1β. ΔPK also upregulates the NKG2D ligand, MICA expressed by cytotoxic NK and T cells, and downregulates the negative immune checkpoint regulator cytotoxic T-lymphocyte antigen-4 (CTLA-4). ΔPK is well tolerated in human patients in whom it also alters the Th1/Th2 balance. Further studies are designed to elucidate the role of these contributions in different tumor types.

Fernández-Blanco C, Frizzell C, Shannon M, et al.
An in vitro investigation on the cytotoxic and nuclear receptor transcriptional activity of the mycotoxins fumonisin B1 and beauvericin.
Toxicol Lett. 2016; 257:1-10 [PubMed] Related Publications
Fumonisin B1 (FB1) and beauvericin (BEA) are secondary metabolites of filamentous fungi, which under appropriate temperature and humidity conditions may develop on various foods and feeds. To date few studies have been performed to evaluate the toxicological and endocrine disrupting effects of FB1 and BEA. The present study makes use of various in vitro bioassays including; oestrogen, androgen, progestagen and glucocorticoid reporter gene assays (RGAs) for the study of nuclear receptor transcriptional activity, the thiazolyl blue tetrazolium bromide (MTT) assay to monitor cytotoxicity and high content analysis (HCA) for the detection of pre-lethal toxicity in the RGA and Caco-2 human colon adenocarcinoma cells. At the receptor level, 0.001-10μM BEA or FB1 did not induce any agonist responses in the RGAs. However at non-cytotoxic concentrations, an antagonistic effect was exhibited by FB1 on the androgen nuclear receptor transcriptional activity at 10μM and BEA on the progestagen and glucocorticoid receptors at 1μM. MTT analysis showed no decrease in cell viability at any concentration of FB1, whereas BEA showed a significant decrease in viability at 10μM. HCA analysis confirmed that the reduction in the progestagen receptor transcriptional activity at 1μM BEA was not due to pre-lethal toxicity. In addition, BEA (10μM) induced significant toxicity in both the TM-Luc (progestagen responsive) and Caco-2 cells.

Fang D, Gan H, Lee JH, et al.
The histone H3.3K36M mutation reprograms the epigenome of chondroblastomas.
Science. 2016; 352(6291):1344-8 [PubMed] Related Publications
More than 90% of chondroblastomas contain a heterozygous mutation replacing lysine-36 with methionine-36 (K36M) in the histone H3 variant H3.3. Here we show that H3K36 methylation is reduced globally in human chondroblastomas and in chondrocytes harboring the same genetic mutation, due to inhibition of at least two H3K36 methyltransferases, MMSET and SETD2, by the H3.3K36M mutant proteins. Genes with altered expression as well as H3K36 di- and trimethylation in H3.3K36M cells are enriched in cancer pathways. In addition, H3.3K36M chondrocytes exhibit several hallmarks of cancer cells, including increased ability to form colonies, resistance to apoptosis, and defects in differentiation. Thus, H3.3K36M proteins reprogram the H3K36 methylation landscape and contribute to tumorigenesis, in part through altering the expression of cancer-associated genes.

Monaghan AE, McEwan IJ
A sting in the tail: the N-terminal domain of the androgen receptor as a drug target.
Asian J Androl. 2016 Sep-Oct; 18(5):687-94 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 01/04/2017 Related Publications
The role of androgen receptor (AR) in the initiation and progression of prostate cancer (PCa) is well established. Competitive inhibition of the AR ligand-binding domain (LBD) has been the staple of antiandrogen therapies employed to combat the disease in recent years. However, their efficacy has often been limited by the emergence of resistance, mediated through point mutations, and receptor truncations. As a result, the prognosis for patients with malignant castrate resistant disease remains poor. The amino-terminal domain (NTD) of the AR has been shown to be critical for AR function. Its modular activation function (AF-1) is important for both gene regulation and participation in protein-protein interactions. However, due to the intrinsically disordered structure of the domain, its potential as a candidate for therapeutic intervention has been dismissed in the past. The recent emergence of the small molecule EPI-001 has provided evidence that AR-NTD can be targeted therapeutically, independent of the LBD. Targeting of AR-NTD has the potential to disrupt multiple intermolecular interactions between AR and its coregulatory binding partners, in addition to intramolecular cross-talk between the domains of the AR. Therapeutics targeting these protein-protein interactions or NTD directly should also have efficacy against emerging AR splice variants which may play a role in PCa progression. This review will discuss the role of intrinsic disorder in AR function and illustrate how emerging therapies might target NTD in PCa.

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