Gene Summary

Gene:CTSB; cathepsin B
Aliases: APPS, CPSB
Summary:This gene encodes a member of the C1 family of peptidases. Alternative splicing of this gene results in multiple transcript variants. At least one of these variants encodes a preproprotein that is proteolytically processed to generate multiple protein products. These products include the cathepsin B light and heavy chains, which can dimerize to form the double chain form of the enzyme. This enzyme is a lysosomal cysteine protease with both endopeptidase and exopeptidase activity that may play a role in protein turnover. It is also known as amyloid precursor protein secretase and is involved in the proteolytic processing of amyloid precursor protein (APP). Incomplete proteolytic processing of APP has been suggested to be a causative factor in Alzheimer's disease, the most common cause of dementia. Overexpression of the encoded protein has been associated with esophageal adenocarcinoma and other tumors. Multiple pseudogenes of this gene have been identified. [provided by RefSeq, Nov 2015]
Databases:VEGA, OMIM, HGNC, Ensembl, GeneCard, Gene
Protein:cathepsin B
Source:NCBIAccessed: 15 March, 2017


What does this gene/protein do?
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Pathways:What pathways are this gene/protein implicaed in?
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Cancer Overview

Research Indicators

Publications Per Year (1992-2017)
Graph generated 15 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 15 March, 2017 using data from PubMed, MeSH and CancerIndex

Specific Cancers (6)

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: CTSB (cancer-related)

Slemc L, Kunej T
Transcription factor HIF1A: downstream targets, associated pathways, polymorphic hypoxia response element (HRE) sites, and initiative for standardization of reporting in scientific literature.
Tumour Biol. 2016; 37(11):14851-14861 [PubMed] Related Publications
Hypoxia-inducible factor-1α (HIF-1α) has crucial role in adapting cells to hypoxia through expression regulation of many genes. Identification of HIF-1α target genes (HIF-1α-TGs) is important for understanding the adapting mechanism. The aim of the present study was to collect known HIF-1α-TGs and identify their associated pathways. Targets and associated genomics data were retrieved using PubMed, WoS ( http://apps.webofknowledge.com/ ), HGNC ( http://www.genenames.org/ ), NCBI ( http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/ ), Ensemblv.84 ( http://www.ensembl.org/index.html ), DAVID Bioinformatics Resources ( https://david.ncifcrf.gov /), and Disease Ontology database ( http://disease-ontology.org/ ). From 51 papers, we collected 98 HIF-1α TGs found to be associated with 20 pathways, including metabolism of carbohydrates and pathways in cancer. Reanalysis of genomic coordinates of published HREs (hypoxia response elements) revealed six polymorphisms within HRE sites (HRE-SNPs): ABCG2, ACE, CA9, and CP. Due to large heterogeneity of results presentation in scientific literature, we also propose a first step towards reporting standardization of HIF-1α-target interactions consisting of ten relevant data types. Suggested minimal checklist for reporting will enable faster development of a complete catalog of HIF-1α-TGs, data sharing, bioinformatics analyses, and setting novel more targeted hypotheses. The proposed format for data standardization is not yet complete but presents a baseline for further optimization of the protocol with additional details, for example, regarding the experimental validation.

Cresswell GD, Apps JR, Chagtai T, et al.
Intra-Tumor Genetic Heterogeneity in Wilms Tumor: Clonal Evolution and Clinical Implications.
EBioMedicine. 2016; 9:120-9 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
The evolution of pediatric solid tumors is poorly understood. There is conflicting evidence of intra-tumor genetic homogeneity vs. heterogeneity (ITGH) in a small number of studies in pediatric solid tumors. A number of copy number aberrations (CNA) are proposed as prognostic biomarkers to stratify patients, for example 1q+ in Wilms tumor (WT); current clinical trials use only one sample per tumor to profile this genetic biomarker. We multisampled 20 WT cases and assessed genome-wide allele-specific CNA and loss of heterozygosity, and inferred tumor evolution, using Illumina CytoSNP12v2.1 arrays, a custom analysis pipeline, and the MEDICC algorithm. We found remarkable diversity of ITGH and evolutionary trajectories in WT. 1q+ is heterogeneous in the majority of tumors with this change, with variable evolutionary timing. We estimate that at least three samples per tumor are needed to detect >95% of cases with 1q+. In contrast, somatic 11p15 LOH is uniformly an early event in WT development. We find evidence of two separate tumor origins in unilateral disease with divergent histology, and in bilateral WT. We also show subclonal changes related to differential response to chemotherapy. Rational trial design to include biomarkers in risk stratification requires tumor multisampling and reliable delineation of ITGH and tumor evolution.

Bhullar KS, Jha A, Rupasinghe HP
Novel carbocyclic curcumin analog CUR3d modulates genes involved in multiple apoptosis pathways in human hepatocellular carcinoma cells.
Chem Biol Interact. 2015; 242:107-22 [PubMed] Related Publications
Anticancer activity of a novel curcumin analog (E)-2-(4-hydroxy-3-methoxybenzylidene)-5-((E)-3-(4-hydroxy-3-methoxyphenyl)acryloyl)cyclopentanone (CUR3d) was studied using a human hepatocellular carcinoma cell line (HepG2). The results showed that CUR3d completely inhibits the tumor cell proliferation in a dose- and time-dependent manner. CUR3d at 100 μmol/L activated the pro-apoptotic caspase-3 along with downregulation of anti-apoptotic BIRC5 and Bcl2. CUR3d treatment controlled the cancer cell growth by downregulating the expression of PI3K/Akt (Akt1, Akt2) pathway along with NF-κB. CUR3d down-regulated the members of epidermal growth receptor family (EGFR, ERBB3, ERBB2) and insulin like growth receptors (IGF1, IGF-1R, IGF2). This correlated with the downregulation of G-protein (RHOA, RHOB) and RAS (ATF2, HRAS, KRAS, NRAS) pathway signaling. CUR3d also arrested cell cycle via inhibition of CDK2, CDK4, CDK5, CDK9, MDM2, MDM4 and TERT genes. Cell cycle essential aurora kinases (AURKα, AURKβ) and polo-like kinases (PLK1, PLK2, PLK3) were also modulated by CUR3d. Topoisomerases (TOP2α, TOP2β), important factors in cancer cell immortality, as well as HIF-1α were downregulated following CUR3d treatment. The expression of protein kinase-C family (PRKC-A, PRKC-D, PRKC-E) was also attenuated by CUR3d. The downregulation of histone deacetylases (Class I, II, IV) and PARP I further strengthened the anticancer efficacy of CUR3d. Downregulation of carcinogenic cathepsins (CTSB, CTSD) and heat shock proteins exhibited CUR3d's potency as a potential immunological adjuvant. Finally, the non-toxic manifestation of CUR3d in healthy liver and lung cells along with downregulation of drug resistant gene ABCC1 further warrant need for advance investigations.

You L, Wang Z, Li H, et al.
The role of STAT3 in autophagy.
Autophagy. 2015; 11(5):729-39 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Autophagy is an evolutionarily conserved process in eukaryotes that eliminates harmful components and maintains cellular homeostasis in response to a series of extracellular insults. However, these insults may trigger the downstream signaling of another prominent stress responsive pathway, the STAT3 signaling pathway, which has been implicated in multiple aspects of the autophagic process. Recent reports further indicate that different subcellular localization patterns of STAT3 affect autophagy in various ways. For example, nuclear STAT3 fine-tunes autophagy via the transcriptional regulation of several autophagy-related genes such as BCL2 family members, BECN1, PIK3C3, CTSB, CTSL, PIK3R1, HIF1A, BNIP3, and microRNAs with targets of autophagy modulators. Cytoplasmic STAT3 constitutively inhibits autophagy by sequestering EIF2AK2 as well as by interacting with other autophagy-related signaling molecules such as FOXO1 and FOXO3. Additionally, the mitochondrial translocation of STAT3 suppresses autophagy induced by oxidative stress and may effectively preserve mitochondria from being degraded by mitophagy. Understanding the role of STAT3 signaling in the regulation of autophagy may provide insight into the classic autophagy model and also into cancer therapy, especially for the emerging targeted therapy, because a series of targeted agents execute antitumor activities via blocking STAT3 signaling, which inevitably affects the autophagy pathway. Here, we review several of the representative studies and the current understanding in this particular field.

Imrichová H, Hulselmans G, Atak ZK, et al.
i-cisTarget 2015 update: generalized cis-regulatory enrichment analysis in human, mouse and fly.
Nucleic Acids Res. 2015; 43(W1):W57-64 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
i-cisTarget is a web tool to predict regulators of a set of genomic regions, such as ChIP-seq peaks or co-regulated/similar enhancers. i-cisTarget can also be used to identify upstream regulators and their target enhancers starting from a set of co-expressed genes. Whereas the original version of i-cisTarget was focused on Drosophila data, the 2015 update also provides support for human and mouse data. i-cisTarget detects transcription factor motifs (position weight matrices) and experimental data tracks (e.g. from ENCODE, Roadmap Epigenomics) that are enriched in the input set of regions. As experimental data tracks we include transcription factor ChIP-seq data, histone modification ChIP-seq data and open chromatin data. The underlying processing method is based on a ranking-and-recovery procedure, allowing accurate determination of enrichment across heterogeneous datasets, while also discriminating direct from indirect target regions through a 'leading edge' analysis. We illustrate i-cisTarget on various Ewing sarcoma datasets to identify EWS-FLI1 targets starting from ChIP-seq, differential ATAC-seq, differential H3K27ac and differential gene expression data. Use of i-cisTarget is free and open to all, and there is no login requirement. Address: http://gbiomed.kuleuven.be/apps/lcb/i-cisTarget.

Lin L, Zheng Y, Tu Y, et al.
MicroRNA-144 suppresses tumorigenesis and tumor progression of astrocytoma by targeting EZH2.
Hum Pathol. 2015; 46(7):971-80 [PubMed] Related Publications
Our previous study demonstrated that enhancer of zeste homolog 2 (EZH2) overexpression may be associated with aggressive tumor progression and poor prognosis in human astrocytoma. The aim of this study was to investigate the underlying mechanisms of EZH2 on astrocytoma tumorigenesis. An online program miRWalk (http://www.umm.uni-heidelberg.de/apps/zmf/mirwalk/) was used to predict possible microRNAs (miRNAs) that might target EZH2 messenger RNA (mRNA). Then the functions of the miRNA-EZH2 mRNA axis in astrocytoma cell proliferation, invasion, and migration were also assessed. We further evaluated the clinical value of the miRNA-EZH2 mRNA axis in astrocytomas. As a result, we identified EZH2 as a target gene of miR-144. In addition, forced expression of miR-144 suppressed astrocytoma cell proliferation, invasion, and migration by down-regulating EZH2. Moreover, miR-144 down-regulation and EZH2 mRNA up-regulation were both significantly associated with advanced World Health Organization grades and low Karnofsky performance status score of astrocytoma patients. Importantly, survival analysis identified the combined expression of miR-144 and EZH2 (miR-144/EZH2) as an independent prognostic factor for overall survival in astrocytoma patients. In conclusion, miR-144 may function as a tumor suppressor by regulating EZH2 expression, and miR-144/EZH2 expression may be a highly sensitive marker for the prognosis in astrocytoma patients.

Bian B, Mongrain S, Cagnol S, et al.
Cathepsin B promotes colorectal tumorigenesis, cell invasion, and metastasis.
Mol Carcinog. 2016; 55(5):671-87 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Cathepsin B is a cysteine proteinase that primarily functions as an endopeptidase within endolysosomal compartments in normal cells. However, during tumoral expansion, the regulation of cathepsin B can be altered at multiple levels, thereby resulting in its overexpression and export outside of the cell. This may suggest a possible role of cathepsin B in alterations leading to cancer progression. The aim of this study was to determine the contribution of intracellular and extracellular cathepsin B in growth, tumorigenesis, and invasion of colorectal cancer (CRC) cells. Results show that mRNA and activated levels of cathepsin B were both increased in human adenomas and in CRCs of all stages. Treatment of CRC cells with the highly selective and non-permeant cathepsin B inhibitor Ca074 revealed that extracellular cathepsin B actively contributed to the invasiveness of human CRC cells while not essential for their growth in soft agar. Cathepsin B silencing by RNAi in human CRC cells inhibited their growth in soft agar, as well as their invasion capacity, tumoral expansion, and metastatic spread in immunodeficient mice. Higher levels of the cell cycle inhibitor p27(Kip1) were observed in cathepsin B-deficient tumors as well as an increase in cyclin B1. Finally, cathepsin B colocalized with p27(Kip1) within the lysosomes and efficiently degraded the inhibitor. In conclusion, the present data demonstrate that cathepsin B is a significant factor in colorectal tumor development, invasion, and metastatic spreading and may, therefore, represent a potential pharmacological target for colorectal tumor therapy.

Williams RD, Chagtai T, Alcaide-German M, et al.
Multiple mechanisms of MYCN dysregulation in Wilms tumour.
Oncotarget. 2015; 6(9):7232-43 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Genomic gain of the proto-oncogene transcription factor gene MYCN is associated with poor prognosis in several childhood cancers. Here we present a comprehensive copy number analysis of MYCN in Wilms tumour (WT), demonstrating that gain of this gene is associated with anaplasia and with poorer relapse-free and overall survival, independent of histology. Using whole exome and gene-specific sequencing, together with methylation and expression profiling, we show that MYCN is targeted by other mechanisms, including a recurrent somatic mutation, P44L, and specific DNA hypomethylation events associated with MYCN overexpression in tumours with high risk histologies. We describe parallel evolution of genomic copy number gain and point mutation of MYCN in the contralateral tumours of a remarkable bilateral case in which independent contralateral mutations of TP53 also evolve over time. We report a second bilateral case in which MYCN gain is a germline aberration. Our results suggest a significant role for MYCN dysregulation in the molecular biology of Wilms tumour. We conclude that MYCN gain is prognostically significant, and suggest that the novel P44L somatic variant is likely to be an activating mutation.

Zubor P, Hatok J, Moricova P, et al.
Gene expression abnormalities in histologically normal breast epithelium from patients with luminal type of breast cancer.
Mol Biol Rep. 2015; 42(5):977-88 [PubMed] Related Publications
The gene expression profile of breast cancer has been described as a great breakthrough on the way to comprehend differences in cancer origin, behavior and therapy. However, gene expression profile in histologically normal epithelium (HNEpi) which could harbor genetic abnormalities predisposing breast tissue to develop malignancy was minor scope for scientists in the past. Thus, we aimed to analyze gene expressions in HNEpi and breast cancer tissue (BCTis) in order to establish its value as potential diagnostic marker for cancer development. We evaluated a panel of disease-specific genes in luminal type (A/B) of breast cancer and tumor surrounding HNEpi by qRT-PCR Array in 32 microdissected samples. There was 20.2 and 2.4% deregulation rate in genes with at least 2-fold or 5-fold over-expression between luminal (A/B) type breast carcinomas and tumor surrounding HNEpi, respectively. The high-grade luminal carcinomas showed higher number of deregulated genes compared to low-grade cases (50.6 vs. 23.8% with at least 2-fold deregulation rate). The main overexpressed genes in HNEpi were KLK5, SCGB1D2, GSN, EGFR and NGFR. The significant differences in gene expression between BCTis and HNEpi samples were revealed for BAG1, C3, CCNA2, CD44, FGF1, FOSL1, ID2, IL6R, NGFB, NGFR, PAPPA, PLAU, SERPINB5, THBS1 and TP53 gene (p < 0.05) and BCL2L2, CTSB, ITGB4, JUN, KIT, KLF5, SCGB1D2, SCGB2A1, SERPINE1 (p < 0.01), and EGFR, GABRP, GSN, MAP2K7 and THBS2 (p < 0.001), and GSN, KLK5 (p < 0.0001). The ontological gene analyses revealed high deregulations in gene group directly associated with breast cancer prognosis and origin.

Petersdorf EW, Gooley TA, Malkki M, et al.
HLA-C expression levels define permissible mismatches in hematopoietic cell transplantation.
Blood. 2014; 124(26):3996-4003 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Life-threatening graft-versus-host disease (GVHD) limits the use of HLA-C-mismatched unrelated donors in transplantation. Clinicians lack criteria for donor selection when HLA-C-mismatched donors are a patient's only option for cure. We examined the role for HLA-C expression levels to identify permissible HLA-C mismatches. The median fluorescence intensity, a proxy of HLA-C expression, was assigned to each HLA-C allotype in 1975 patients and their HLA-C-mismatched unrelated transplant donors. The association of outcome with the level of expression of patients' and donors' HLA-C allotypes was evaluated in multivariable models. Increasing expression level of the patient's mismatched HLA-C allotype was associated with increased risks of grades III to IV acute GVHD, nonrelapse mortality, and mortality. Increasing expression level among HLA-C mismatches with residue 116 or residue 77/80 mismatching was associated with increased nonrelapse mortality. The immunogenicity of HLA-C mismatches in unrelated donor transplantation is influenced by the expression level of the patient's mismatched HLA-C allotype. HLA-C expression levels provide new information on mismatches that should be avoided and extend understanding of HLA-C-mediated immune responses in human disease.

Chen TP, Yang SF, Lin CW, et al.
A4383C and C76G SNP in Cathepsin B is respectively associated with the high risk and tumor size of hepatocarcinoma.
Tumour Biol. 2014; 35(11):11193-8 [PubMed] Related Publications
Single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) in some genes is a candidate for having or developing a cancer. Cathepsin B (CTSB) is considered to be the biomarker of cancers. The study aimed to evaluate the impacts of three SNPs in CTSB gene on the risk and progress of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). The SNPs of CTSB C76G (rs12338), CTSB A4383C (rs13332), and CTSB A8422G (rs8898) from 135 patients with HCC and 520 control participants in Taiwan were determined by real-time PCR. Through analyzing by statistics, we found that the polymorphism of rs13332 was significantly associated to the risk of HCC cancer; a significantly high frequent tumor size development was observed in HCC patients carrying rs12338 polymorphic genotype than those carrying ancestral genotype. The SNPs of rs12338, rs13332, and rs8898 were irrelevant to the frequencies of HCC clinical status and the levels of HCC clinicopathological markers. In conclusions, CTSB A4383C SNP is observed modestly more often in patients who developed HCC than in healthy controls and might be associated with the risk of HCC. The association between CTSB C76G SNP and greater tumor size may warrant further study in regards to the biology of HCC.

Qian Z, Zhu G, Tang L, et al.
Whole genome gene copy number profiling of gastric cancer identifies PAK1 and KRAS gene amplification as therapy targets.
Genes Chromosomes Cancer. 2014; 53(11):883-94 [PubMed] Related Publications
Gastric cancer is the second leading cause of death from cancer worldwide, with an approximately 20% 5-year survival rate. To identify molecular subtypes associated with the clinical prognosis, in addition to genetic aberrations for potential targeted therapeutics, we conducted a comprehensive whole-genome analysis of 131 Chinese gastric cancer tissue specimens using whole-genome array comparative genomic hybridization. The analyses revealed gene focal amplifications, including CTSB, PRKCI, PAK1, STARD13, KRAS, and ABCC4, in addition to ERBB2, FGFR2, and MET. The growth of PAK1-amplified gastric cancer cells in vitro and in vivo was inhibited when the corresponding mRNA was knocked down. Furthermore, both KRAS amplification and KRAS mutation were identified in the gastric cancer specimens. KRAS amplification was associated with worse clinical outcomes, and the KRAS gene mutation predicted sensitivity to the MEK1/2 inhibitor AZD6244 in gastric cancer cell lines. In summary, amplified PAK1, as well as KRAS amplification/mutation, may represent unique opportunities for developing targeted therapeutics for the treatment of gastric cancer.

Fischer S, Ronellenfitsch MW, Thiepold AL, et al.
Hypoxia enhances the antiglioma cytotoxicity of B10, a glycosylated derivative of betulinic acid.
PLoS One. 2014; 9(4):e94921 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
B10 is a glycosylated derivative of betulinic acid with promising activity against glioma cells. Lysosomal cell death pathways appear to be essential for its cytotoxicity. We investigated the influence of hypoxia, nutrient deprivation and current standard therapies on B10 cytotoxicity. The human glioma cell lines LN-308 and LNT-229 were exposed to B10 alone or together with irradiation, temozolomide, nutrient deprivation or hypoxia. Cell growth and viability were evaluated by crystal violet staining, clonogenicity assays, propidium iodide uptake and LDH release assays. Cell death was examined using an inhibitor of lysosomal acidification (bafilomycin A1), a cathepsin inhibitor (CA074-Me) and a short-hairpin RNA targeting cathepsin B. Hypoxia substantially enhanced B10-induced cell death. This effect was sensitive to bafilomycin A1 and thus dependent on hypoxia-induced lysosomal acidification. Cathepsin B appeared to mediate cell death because either the inhibitor CA074-Me or cathepsin B gene silencing rescued glioma cells from B10 toxicity under hypoxia. B10 is a novel antitumor agent with substantially enhanced cytotoxicity under hypoxia conferred by increased lysosomal cell death pathway activation. Given the importance of hypoxia for therapy resistance, malignant progression, and as a result of antiangiogenic therapies, B10 might be a promising strategy for hypoxic tumors like malignant glioma.

Dautzenberg IJ, van den Wollenberg DJ, van den Hengel SK, et al.
Mammalian orthoreovirus T3D infects U-118 MG cell spheroids independent of junction adhesion molecule-A.
Gene Ther. 2014; 21(6):609-17 [PubMed] Related Publications
In the canonical pathway, infection of cells by the wild-type mammalian orthoreovirus Type 3 Dearing (T3D) is dependent on the interaction of the viral spike protein σ1 with the high-affinity cellular receptor junction adhesion molecule-A (JAM-A). We previously demonstrated that the human glioblastoma cell line U-118 MG does not express JAM-A and resists reovirus T3D infection in standard cell culture conditions (SCCC). Heterologous JAM-A expression sensitises U-118 MG cells to reovirus T3D. Here we studied reovirus infection in U-118 MG cells grown in spheroid cultures with the premise that cells in such cultures resemble cells in tumours more than those grown under standard adherent cell culture conditions on a plastic surface. Although the U-118 MG cells in spheroids do not express JAM-A, they are susceptible to reovirus T3D infection. We show that this can be attributed to factors secreted by cells in the spheroids. The concentration of active extracellular proteases cathepsin B and L in the medium of spheroid cultures was increased 19- and 24-fold, respectively, as compared with SCCC. These enzymes can convert the reovirus particles into a form that can infect the U-118 MG cells independent of JAM-A. Taken together, these data demonstrate that infection of tumour cells by wild-type reovirus T3D is not strictly dependent on the expression of JAM-A on the cell surface.

Gong F, Peng X, Luo C, et al.
Cathepsin B as a potential prognostic and therapeutic marker for human lung squamous cell carcinoma.
Mol Cancer. 2013; 12(1):125 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
BACKGROUND: The lung squamous cell carcinoma survival rate is very poor despite multimodal treatment. It is urgent to discover novel candidate biomarkers for prognostic assessment and therapeutic targets to lung squamous cell carcinoma (SCC).
RESULTS: Herein a two-dimensional gel electrophoresis and ESI-Q-TOF MS/MS-based proteomic approach was used to identify differentially expressed proteins between lung SCC and adjacent normal tissues. 31 proteins with significant alteration were identified. These proteins were mainly involved in metabolism, calcium ion binding, signal transduction and so on. Cathepsin B (CTSB) was one of the most significantly altered proteins and was confirmed by western blotting. Immunohistochemistry showed the correlation between higher CTSB expression and lower survival rate. No statistically significant difference between CTSB-shRNA treated group and the controls was observed in tumor volume, tumor weight, proliferation and apoptosis. However, the CTSB-shRNA significantly inhibited tumor metastases and prolonged survival in LL/2 metastatic model. Moreover, CTSB, Shh and Ptch were up-regulated in patients with metastatic lung SCC, suggesting that hedgehog signaling might be activated in metastatic lung SCC which could affect the expression of CTSB that influence the invasive activity of lung SCC.
CONCLUSIONS: These data suggested that CTSB might serve as a prognostic and therapeutic marker for lung SCC.

Crabtree D, Dodson M, Ouyang X, et al.
Over-expression of an inactive mutant cathepsin D increases endogenous alpha-synuclein and cathepsin B activity in SH-SY5Y cells.
J Neurochem. 2014; 128(6):950-61 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Parkinson's disease is a neurodegenerative movement disorder. The histopathology of Parkinson's disease comprises proteinaceous inclusions known as Lewy bodies, which contains aggregated α-synuclein. Cathepsin D (CD) is a lysosomal protease previously demonstrated to cleave α-synuclein and decrease its toxicity in both cell lines and mouse brains in vivo. Here, we show that pharmacological inhibition of CD, or introduction of catalytically inactive mutant CD, resulted in decreased CD activity and increased cathepsin B activity, suggesting a possible compensatory response to inhibition of CD activity. However, this increased cathepsin B activity was not sufficient to maintain α-synuclein degradation, as evidenced by the accumulation of endogenous α-synuclein. Interestingly, the levels of LC3, LAMP1, and LAMP2, proteins involved in autophagy-lysosomal activities, as well as total lysosomal mass as assessed by LysoTracker flow cytometry, were unchanged. Neither autophagic flux nor proteasomal activities differs between cells over-expressing wild-type versus mutant CD. These observations point to a critical regulatory role for that endogenous CD activity in dopaminergic cells in α-synuclein homeostasis which cannot be compensated for by increased Cathepsin B. These data support the potential need to enhance CD function in order to attenuate α-synuclein accumulation as a therapeutic strategy against development of synucleinopathy.

Qiao S, Tao S, Rojo de la Vega M, et al.
The antimalarial amodiaquine causes autophagic-lysosomal and proliferative blockade sensitizing human melanoma cells to starvation- and chemotherapy-induced cell death.
Autophagy. 2013; 9(12):2087-102 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Pharmacological inhibition of autophagic-lysosomal function has recently emerged as a promising strategy for chemotherapeutic intervention targeting cancer cells. Repurposing approved and abandoned non-oncological drugs is an alternative approach to the identification and development of anticancer therapeutics, and antimalarials that target autophagic-lysosomal functions have recently attracted considerable attention as candidates for oncological repurposing. Since cumulative research suggests that dependence on autophagy represents a specific vulnerability of malignant melanoma cells, we screened a focused compound library of antimalarials for antimelanoma activity. Here we report for the first time that amodiaquine (AQ), a clinical 4-aminoquinoline antimalarial with unexplored cancer-directed chemotherapeutic potential, causes autophagic-lysosomal and proliferative blockade in melanoma cells that surpasses that of its parent compound chloroquine. Monitoring an established set of protein markers (LAMP1, LC3-II, SQSTM1) and cell ultrastructural changes detected by electron microscopy, we observed that AQ treatment caused autophagic-lysosomal blockade in malignant A375 melanoma cells, a finding substantiated by detection of rapid inactivation of lysosomal cathepsins (CTSB, CTSL, CTSD). AQ-treatment was associated with early induction of energy crisis (ATP depletion) and sensitized melanoma cells to either starvation- or chemotherapeutic agent-induced cell death. AQ displayed potent antiproliferative effects, and gene expression array analysis revealed changes at the mRNA (CDKN1A, E2F1) and protein level (TP53, CDKN1A, CCND1, phospho-RB1 [Ser 780]/[Ser 807/811], E2F1) consistent with the observed proliferative blockade in S-phase. Taken together, our data suggest that the clinical antimalarial AQ is a promising candidate for repurposing efforts that aim at targeting autophagic-lysosomal function and proliferative control in malignant melanoma cells.

Bengsch F, Buck A, Günther SC, et al.
Cell type-dependent pathogenic functions of overexpressed human cathepsin B in murine breast cancer progression.
Oncogene. 2014; 33(36):4474-84 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
The cysteine protease cathepsin B (CTSB) is frequently overexpressed in human breast cancer and correlated with a poor prognosis. Genetic deficiency or pharmacological inhibition of CTSB attenuates tumor growth, invasion and metastasis in mouse models of human cancers. CTSB is expressed in both cancer cells and cells of the tumor stroma, in particular in tumor-associated macrophages (TAM). In order to evaluate the impact of tumor- or stromal cell-derived CTSB on Polyoma Middle T (PyMT)-induced breast cancer progression, we used in vivo and in vitro approaches to induce human CTSB overexpression in PyMT cancer cells or stromal cells alone or in combination. Orthotopic transplantation experiments revealed that CTSB overexpression in cancer cells rather than in the stroma affects PyMT tumor progression. In 3D cultures, primary PyMT tumor cells showed higher extracellular matrix proteolysis and enhanced collective cell invasion when CTSB was overexpressed and proteolytically active. Coculture of PyMT cells with bone marrow-derived macrophages induced a TAM-like macrophage phenotype in vitro, and the presence of such M2-polarized macrophages in 3D cultures enhanced sprouting of tumor spheroids. We employed a doxycycline (DOX)-inducible CTSB expression system to selectively overexpress human CTSB either in cancer cells or in macrophages in 3D cocultures. Tumor spheroid invasiveness was only enhanced when CTSB was overexpressed in cancer cells, whereas CTSB expression in macrophages alone did not further promote invasiveness of tumor spheroids. We conclude that CTSB overexpression in the PyMT mouse model promotes tumor progression not by a stromal effect, but by a direct, cancer cell-inherent mode of action: CTSB overexpression renders the PyMT cancers more invasive by increasing proteolytic extracellular matrix protein degradation fostering collective cell invasion into adjacent tissue.

Ruffell B, Affara NI, Cottone L, et al.
Cathepsin C is a tissue-specific regulator of squamous carcinogenesis.
Genes Dev. 2013; 27(19):2086-98 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Serine and cysteine cathepsin (Cts) proteases are an important class of intracellular and pericellular enzymes mediating multiple aspects of tumor development. Emblematic of these is CtsB, reported to play functionally significant roles during pancreatic islet and mammary carcinogenesis. CtsC, on the other hand, while up-regulated during pancreatic islet carcinogenesis, lacks functional significance in mediating neoplastic progression in that organ. Given that protein expression and enzymatic activity of both CtsB and CtsC are increased in numerous tumors, we sought to understand how tissue specificity might factor into their functional significance. Thus, whereas others have reported that CtsB regulates metastasis of mammary carcinomas, we found that development of squamous carcinomas occurs independently of CtsB. In contrast to these findings, our studies found no significant role for CtsC during mammary carcinogenesis but revealed squamous carcinogenesis to be functionally dependent on CtsC. In this context, dermal/stromal fibroblasts and bone marrow-derived cells expressed increased levels of enzymatically active CtsC that regulated the complexity of infiltrating immune cells in neoplastic skin, development of angiogenic vasculature, and overt squamous cell carcinoma growth. These studies highlight the important contribution of tissue/microenvironment context to solid tumor development and indicate that tissue specificity defines functional significance for these two members of the cysteine protease family.

Yang J, Du X
Genomic and molecular aberrations in malignant peripheral nerve sheath tumor and their roles in personalized target therapy.
Surg Oncol. 2013; 22(3):e53-7 [PubMed] Related Publications
Malignant peripheral nerve sheath tumors (MPNSTs) are malignant tumors with a high rate of local recurrence and a significant tendency to metastasize. Its dismal outcome points to the urgent need to establish better therapeutic strategies for patients harboring MPNSTs. The investigations of genomic and molecular aberrations in MPNSTs which detect many chromosomal aberrations, pathway abnormalities, and specific molecular aberrant events would supply multiple potential therapy targets and contribute to achievement of personalized medicine. The involved genes in the significant gains aberrations include BIRC5, CCNE2, DAB2, DDX15, EGFR, DAB2, MSH2, CDK6, HGF, ITGB4, KCNK12, LAMA3, LOXL2, MET, and PDGFRA. The involved genes in the significant deletion aberrations include CDH1, GLTSCR2, EGR1, CTSB, GATA3, SULT2A1, GLTSCR2, HMMR/RHAMM, LICAM2, MMP13, p16/INK4a, RASSF2, NM-23H1, and TP53. These genetic aberrations involve in several important signaling pathways such as TFF, EGFR, ARF, IGF1R signaling pathways. The genomic and molecular aberrations of EGFR, IGF1R, SOX9, EYA4, TOP2A, ETV4, and BIRC5 exhibit great promise as personalized therapeutic targets for MPNST patients.

Liu C, Ma J, Chang CJ, Zhou X
FusionQ: a novel approach for gene fusion detection and quantification from paired-end RNA-Seq.
BMC Bioinformatics. 2013; 14:193 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
BACKGROUND: Gene fusions, which result from abnormal chromosome rearrangements, are a pathogenic factor in cancer development. The emerging RNA-Seq technology enables us to detect gene fusions and profile their features.
RESULTS: In this paper, we proposed a novel fusion detection tool, FusionQ, based on paired-end RNA-Seq data. This tool can detect gene fusions, construct the structures of chimerical transcripts, and estimate their abundances. To confirm the read alignment on both sides of a fusion point, we employed a new approach, "residual sequence extension", which extended the short segments of the reads by aggregating their overlapping reads. We also proposed a list of filters to control the false-positive rate. In addition, we estimated fusion abundance using the Expectation-Maximization algorithm with sparse optimization, and further adopted it to improve the detection accuracy of the fusion transcripts. Simulation was performed by FusionQ and another two stated-of-art fusion detection tools. FusionQ exceeded the other two in both sensitivity and specificity, especially in low coverage fusion detection. Using paired-end RNA-Seq data from breast cancer cell lines, FusionQ detected both the previously reported and new fusions. FusionQ reported the structures of these fusions and provided their expressions. Some highly expressed fusion genes detected by FusionQ are important biomarkers in breast cancer. The performances of FusionQ on cancel line data still showed better specificity and sensitivity in the comparison with another two tools.
CONCLUSIONS: FusionQ is a novel tool for fusion detection and quantification based on RNA-Seq data. It has both good specificity and sensitivity performance. FusionQ is free and available at http://www.wakehealth.edu/CTSB/Software/Software.htm.

Yang Y, Li H, Hou S, et al.
The noncoding RNA expression profile and the effect of lncRNA AK126698 on cisplatin resistance in non-small-cell lung cancer cell.
PLoS One. 2013; 8(5):e65309 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
BACKGROUND: The efficacy of cisplatin-based chemotherapy in non-small-cell lung cancer is limited by the acquired drug resistance. Identification the RNAs related to the cisplatin resistance may help to improve clinical response rates.
METHODS: Microarray expression profiling of mRNAs, lncRNA and miRNA was undertaken in A549 cells and cisplatin resistant A549/CDDP cells. Differentially expressed mRNAs, lncRNAs and miRNAs, verified by realtime RT-PCR, were subjected to pathway analysis. Expression of NKD2 and β-catenin was assessed by realtime RT-PCR and western blot analysis. The effect of lncRNA AK126698 on cisplatin induced apoptosis was investigated by annexin-V/PI flow cytometry.
RESULTS: In total, 1471 mRNAs, 1380 lncRNAs and 25 miRNAs differentially expressed in A549/CDDP and A549 cells. Among them, 8 mRNAs, 8 lncRNAs and 5 miRNAs differentially expressed in gene chip analysis were validated. High-enrichment pathway analysis identified that some classical pathways participated in proliferation, differentiation, avoidance of apoptosis, and drug metabolism were differently expressed in these cells lines. Gene co-expression network identified many genes like FN1, CTSB, EGFR, and NKD2; lncRNAs including BX648420, ENST00000366408, and AK126698; and miRNAs such as miR-26a and let-7i potentially played a key role in cisplatin resistance. Among which, the canonical Wnt pathway was investigated because it was demonstrated to be targeted by both lncRNAs and miRNAs including lncRNA AK126698. Knockdown lncRNA AK126698 not only greatly decreased NKD2 which can negatively regulate Wnt/β-catenin signaling but also increased the accumulation and nuclear translocation of β-catenin, and significantly depressed apoptosis rate induced by cisplatin in A549 cells.
CONCLUSION: Cisplatin resistance in non-small-cell lung cancer cells may relate to the changes in noncoding RNAs. Among these, AK126698 appears to confer cisplatin resistance by targeting the Wnt pathway.

Hadj Khodabakhshi A, Fejes AP, Birol I, Jones SJ
Identifying cancer mutation targets across thousands of samples: MuteProc, a high throughput mutation analysis pipeline.
BMC Bioinformatics. 2013; 14:167 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
BACKGROUND: In the past decade, bioinformatics tools have matured enough to reliably perform sophisticated primary data analysis on Next Generation Sequencing (NGS) data, such as mapping, assemblies and variant calling, however, there is still a dire need for improvements in the higher level analysis such as NGS data organization, analysis of mutation patterns and Genome Wide Association Studies (GWAS).
RESULTS: We present a high throughput pipeline for identifying cancer mutation targets, capable of processing billions of variations across thousands of samples. This pipeline is coupled with our Human Variation Database to provide more complex down stream analysis on the variations hosted in the database. Most notably, these analysis include finding significantly mutated regions across multiple genomes and regions with mutational preferences within certain types of cancers. The results of the analysis is presented in HTML summary reports that incorporate gene annotations from various resources for the reported regions.
CONCLUSION: MuteProc is available for download through the Vancouver Short Read Analysis Package on Sourceforge: http://vancouvershortr.sourceforge.net. Instructions for use and a tutorial are provided on the accompanying wiki pages at https://sourceforge.net/apps/mediawiki/vancouvershortr/index.php?title=Pipeline_introduction.

Bao W, Fan Q, Luo X, et al.
Silencing of Cathepsin B suppresses the proliferation and invasion of endometrial cancer.
Oncol Rep. 2013; 30(2):723-30 [PubMed] Related Publications
The molecular mechanism involved in the metastasis of endometrial cancer (EC) remains unclear. The lysosomal cysteine protease Cathepsin B has been implicated in the progression of various human tumors. In the present study, we assessed the expression of Cathepsin B and its functions in EC. Immunohistochemistry was used to examine Cathepsin B expression in 76 paraffin-embedded endometrial tumor tissues. Lentiviral packing short hairpin RNA (shRNA) was transfected into HEC-1A cells to build a stable Cathepsin B knockdown cell line. The cellular levels of Cathepsin B mRNA and protein were detected by real-time PCR and western immunoblotting. The functions of Cathepsin B in EC cells were measured by MTT, migration and invasion assays. In additon, tumorigenicity assays were established in nude mice to study tumor growth in vivo. The results of our study showed that Cathepsin B was overexpressed in EC tissues compared with normal endometrium and endometrial atypical hyperplasia. Depletion of Cathepsin B in vitro inhibited cell proliferation, migration and invasion. Tumor formation assays confirmed that suppression of Cathepsin B inhibited the proliferation potential of HEC-1A cells in vivo, demonstrated by lower proliferation rates. These results suggest that Cathepsin B may act as an oncogene in EC, with the potential to provide a new therapeutic target for treating endometrial malignancy.

Gopinath S, Malla R, Alapati K, et al.
Cathepsin B and uPAR regulate self-renewal of glioma-initiating cells through GLI-regulated Sox2 and Bmi1 expression.
Carcinogenesis. 2013; 34(3):550-9 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Cancer-initiating cells comprise a heterogeneous population of undifferentiated cells with the capacity for self-renewal and high proliferative potential. We investigated the role of uPAR and cathepsin B in the maintenance of stem cell nature in glioma-initiating cells (GICs). Simultaneous knockdown of uPAR and cathepsin B significantly reduced the expression of CD133, Nestin, Sox2 and Bmi1 at the protein level and GLI1 and GLI2 at the messenger RNA level. Also, knockdown of uPAR and cathepsin B resulted in a reduction in the number of GICs as well as sphere size. These changes are mediated by Sox2 and Bmi1, downstream of hedgehog signaling. Addition of cyclopamine reduced the expression of Sox2 and Bmi1 along with GLI1 and GLI2 expression, induced differentiation and reduced subsphere formation of GICs thereby indicating that hedgehog signaling acts upstream of Sox2 and Bmi1. Further confirmation was obtained from increased luciferase expression under the control of a GLI-bound Sox2 and Bmi1 luciferase promoter. Simultaneous knockdown of uPAR and cathepsin B also reduced the expression of Nestin Sox2 and Bmi1 in vivo. Thus, our study highlights the importance of uPAR and cathepsin B in the regulation of malignant stem cell self-renewal through hedgehog components, Bmi1 and Sox2.

Venkataraman S, Birks DK, Balakrishnan I, et al.
MicroRNA 218 acts as a tumor suppressor by targeting multiple cancer phenotype-associated genes in medulloblastoma.
J Biol Chem. 2013; 288(3):1918-28 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Aberrant expression of microRNAs has been implicated in many cancers. We recently demonstrated differential expression of several microRNAs in medulloblastoma. In this study, the regulation and function of microRNA 218 (miR-218), which is significantly underexpressed in medulloblastoma, was evaluated. Re-expression of miR-218 resulted in a significant decrease in medulloblastoma cell growth, cell colony formation, cell migration, invasion, and tumor sphere size. We used C17.2 neural stem cells as a model to show that increased miR-218 expression results in increased cell differentiation and also decreased malignant transformation when transfected with the oncogene REST. These results suggest that miR-218 acts as a tumor suppressor in medulloblastoma. MicroRNAs function by down-regulating translation of target mRNAs. Targets are determined by imperfect base pairing of the microRNA to the 3'-UTR of the mRNA. To comprehensively identify actual miR-218 targets, medulloblastoma cells overexpressing miR-218 and control cells were subjected to high throughput sequencing of RNA isolated by cross-linking immunoprecipitation, a technique that identifies the mRNAs bound to the RNA-induced silencing complex component protein Argonaute 2. High throughput sequencing of mRNAs identified 618 genes as targets of miR-218 and included both previously validated targets and many targets not predicted computationally. Additional work further confirmed CDK6, RICTOR, and CTSB (cathepsin B) as targets of miR-218 and examined the functional role of one of these targets, CDK6, in medulloblastoma.

Yin M, Soikkeli J, Jahkola T, et al.
TGF-β signaling, activated stromal fibroblasts, and cysteine cathepsins B and L drive the invasive growth of human melanoma cells.
Am J Pathol. 2012; 181(6):2202-16 [PubMed] Related Publications
Accumulating evidence indicates that interactions between cancer cells and stromal cells are important for the development/progression of many cancers. Herein, we found that the invasive growth of melanoma cells in three-dimensional-Matrigel/collagen-I matrices is dramatically increased on their co-culture with embryonic or adult skin fibroblasts. Studies with fluorescent-labeled cells revealed that the melanoma cells first activate the fibroblasts, which then take the lead in invasion. To identify the physiologically relevant invasion-related proteases involved, we performed genome-wide microarray analyses of invasive human melanomas and benign nevi; we found up-regulation of cysteine cathepsins B and L, matrix metalloproteinase (MMP)-1 and -9, and urokinase- and tissue-type plasminogen activators. The mRNA levels of cathepsins B/L and plasminogen activators, but not MMPs, correlated with metastasis. The invasiveness/growth of the melanoma cells with fibroblasts was inhibited by cell membrane-permeable inhibitors of cathepsins B/L, but not by wide-spectrum inhibitors of MMPs. The IHC analysis of primary melanomas and benign nevi revealed cathepsin B to be predominantly expressed by melanoma cells and cathepsin L to be predominantly expressed by the tumor-associated fibroblasts surrounding the invading melanoma cells. Finally, cathepsin B regulated TGF-β production/signaling, which was required for the activation of fibroblasts and their promotion of the invasive growth of melanoma cells. These data provide a basis for testing inhibitors of TGF-β signaling and cathepsins B/L in the therapy of invasive/metastatic melanomas.

Goussetis DJ, Gounaris E, Wu EJ, et al.
Autophagic degradation of the BCR-ABL oncoprotein and generation of antileukemic responses by arsenic trioxide.
Blood. 2012; 120(17):3555-62 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
We provide evidence that arsenic trioxide (As(2)O(3)) targets the BCR-ABL oncoprotein via a novel mechanism involving p62/SQSTM1-mediated localization of the oncoprotein to the autolysosomes and subsequent degradation mediated by the protease cathepsin B. Our studies demonstrate that inhibitors of autophagy or cathepsin B activity and/or molecular targeting of p62/SQSTM1, Atg7, or cathepsin B result in partial reversal of the suppressive effects of AS(2)O(3) on BCR-ABL expressing leukemic progenitors, including primitive leukemic precursors from chronic myelogenous leukemia (CML) patients. Altogether, these findings indicate that autophagic degradation of BCR-ABL is critical for the induction of the antileukemic effects of As(2)O(3) and raise the potential for future therapeutic approaches to target BCR-ABL expressing cells by modulating elements of the autophagic machinery to promote BCR-ABL degradation.

Chen MK, Su SC, Lin CW, et al.
Cathepsin B SNPs elevate the pathological development of oral cancer and raise the susceptibility to carcinogen-mediated oral cancer.
Hum Genet. 2012; 131(12):1861-8 [PubMed] Related Publications
Oral cancer is causally associated with environmental carcinogens, and the susceptibility to carcinogen-mediated tumorigenesis is proposed to be genotype-dependent. Cathepsin B (CTSB) is a lysosomal cysteine protease and may serve as a candidate biomarker of oral cancer. The current study aimed to explore the influences of three single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in CTSB gene, combined with environmental carcinogens on the risk and clinicopathological development of oral cancer. Three SNPs of CTSB, CTSB C76G (rs12338), CTSB A4383C (rs13332), and CTSB A8422G (rs8898), from 444 male patients with oral cancer and 426 control participants (males not diagnosed with cancer) in Taiwan were analyzed. These three CTSB SNPs all exhibited insignificant (P > 0.05) effects on the risk of oral cancer. However, the risk for developing the poor clinical stage of moderately or poorly differentiated cells was significantly (P < 0.001) increased to 3.325-fold in patients with oral cancer carrying the polymorphic genotype of rs8898 compared to patients with the ancestral genotype. Additionally, while considering the exposure of environmental carcinogens, the presence of these three CTSB SNPs, combined with betel quid chewing [adjusted odds ratio (AOR) was 36.570, 21.772, and 43.962 for rs12338, rs13332, and rs8898, respectively] and/or tobacco use (AOR was 3.794, and 8.972 for rs12338 and rs13332, respectively), robustly elevated the susceptibility to oral cancer. These results suggest that the genetic polymorphism of CTSB A8422G (rs8898) was associated with a high risk for the clinicopathological development of oral cancer and CTSB gene polymorphisms may increase the susceptibility to environmental carcinogens-mediated oral cancer.

Capparelli C, Guido C, Whitaker-Menezes D, et al.
Autophagy and senescence in cancer-associated fibroblasts metabolically supports tumor growth and metastasis via glycolysis and ketone production.
Cell Cycle. 2012; 11(12):2285-302 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Senescent fibroblasts are known to promote tumor growth. However, the exact mechanism remains largely unknown. An important clue comes from recent studies linking autophagy with the onset of senescence. Thus, autophagy and senescence may be part of the same physiological process, known as the autophagy-senescence transition (AST). To test this hypothesis, human fibroblasts immortalized with telomerase (hTERT-BJ1) were stably transfected with autophagy genes (BNIP3, CTSB or ATG16L1). Their overexpression was sufficient to induce a constitutive autophagic phenotype, with features of mitophagy, mitochondrial dysfunction and a shift toward aerobic glycolysis, resulting in L-lactate and ketone body production. Autophagic fibroblasts also showed features of senescence, with increased p21(WAF1/CIP1), a CDK inhibitor, cellular hypertrophy and increased β-galactosidase activity. Thus, we genetically validated the existence of the autophagy-senescence transition. Importantly, autophagic-senescent fibroblasts promoted tumor growth and metastasis, when co-injected with human breast cancer cells, independently of angiogenesis. Autophagic-senescent fibroblasts stimulated mitochondrial metabolism in adjacent cancer cells, when the two cell types were co-cultured, as visualized by MitoTracker staining. In particular, autophagic ATG16L1 fibroblasts, which produced large amounts of ketone bodies (3-hydroxy-butyrate), had the strongest effects and promoted metastasis by up to 11-fold. Conversely, expression of ATG16L1 in epithelial cancer cells inhibited tumor growth, indicating that the effects of autophagy are compartment-specific. Thus, autophagic-senescent fibroblasts metabolically promote tumor growth and metastasis, by paracrine production of high-energy mitochondrial fuels. Our current studies provide genetic support for the importance of "two-compartment tumor metabolism" in driving tumor growth and metastasis via a simple energy transfer mechanism. Finally, β-galactosidase, a known lysosomal enzyme and biomarker of senescence, was localized to the tumor stroma in human breast cancer tissues, providing in vivo support for our hypothesis. Bioinformatic analysis of genome-wide transcriptional profiles from tumor stroma, isolated from human breast cancers, also validated the onset of an autophagy-senescence transition. Taken together, these studies establish a new functional link between host aging, autophagy, the tumor microenvironment and cancer metabolism.

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