Gene Summary

Gene:FGFR3; fibroblast growth factor receptor 3
Aliases: ACH, CEK2, JTK4, CD333, HSFGFR3EX
Summary:This gene encodes a member of the fibroblast growth factor receptor (FGFR) family, with its amino acid sequence being highly conserved between members and among divergent species. FGFR family members differ from one another in their ligand affinities and tissue distribution. A full-length representative protein would consist of an extracellular region, composed of three immunoglobulin-like domains, a single hydrophobic membrane-spanning segment and a cytoplasmic tyrosine kinase domain. The extracellular portion of the protein interacts with fibroblast growth factors, setting in motion a cascade of downstream signals, ultimately influencing mitogenesis and differentiation. This particular family member binds acidic and basic fibroblast growth hormone and plays a role in bone development and maintenance. Mutations in this gene lead to craniosynostosis and multiple types of skeletal dysplasia. Three alternatively spliced transcript variants that encode different protein isoforms have been described. [provided by RefSeq, Jul 2009]
Databases:VEGA, OMIM, HGNC, Ensembl, GeneCard, Gene
Protein:fibroblast growth factor receptor 3
Source:NCBIAccessed: 16 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 16 March 2017 using data from PubMed using criteria.

Literature Analysis

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

Latest Publications: FGFR3 (cancer-related)

Huang Y, Wan G, Tao J
C1q/TNF-related protein-3 exerts the chondroprotective effects in IL-1β-treated SW1353 cells by regulating the FGFR1 signaling.
Biomed Pharmacother. 2017; 85:41-46 [PubMed] Related Publications
Cartilage degeneration is known as a major cause of osteoarthritis (OA). C1q/TNF-related protein-3 (CTRP3) is an adipokine relative to chondrogenesis in vitro. However, its effect on cartilage degeneration in OA remains unclearly. In the present study, SW1353 cells were treated with IL-1β to imitate the microenvironment of OA for vitro research. Then, an obvious down-regulation of CTRP3 were validated in IL-1β-treated SW1353 cells. In addition, CTRP3 overexpression significantly attenuated the decrease in cell proliferation and increase in cell apoptosis triggered by IL-1β. Moreover, CTRP3 up-regulation significantly inhibited the expression of FGFR1, but with slight decrease in FGFR3 levels. Further analysis corroborated that FGFR1 overexpression markedly ameliorated the pro-proliferation and anti-apoptotic effects of CTRP3 elevation in cells upon IL-1β. Down-regulation of FGFR1 attenuated the increase in Ras-GTP expression caused by IL-1β stimulation. Moreover, EGFR1 elevation also abated the inhibitory effect of CTRP3 on Ras expression and the CRTP3-induced activation of PI3K/AKT in cells upon IL-1β. Furthermore, Ras inhibitor manumycin A antagonized the decrease in phosphorylation of PI3K and Akt caused by IL-1β treatment. Both Manumycin A and PI3K/Akt agonist FGF-1 attenuated the inhibitory effect of IL-1β on cell growth. Together, this research suggested that CTRP3 might protect chondrocytes against IL-1β-induced injury by suppressing the FGFR1- Ras/PI3K/Akt signaling-mediated growth inhibitory pathway, indicating a potential agent against osteoarthritis.

Dadhania V, Zhang M, Zhang L, et al.
Meta-Analysis of the Luminal and Basal Subtypes of Bladder Cancer and the Identification of Signature Immunohistochemical Markers for Clinical Use.
EBioMedicine. 2016; 12:105-117 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
BACKGROUND: It has been suggested that bladder cancer can be divided into two molecular subtypes referred to as luminal and basal with distinct clinical behaviors and sensitivities to chemotherapy. We aimed to validate these subtypes in several clinical cohorts and identify signature immunohistochemical markers that would permit simple and cost-effective classification of the disease in primary care centers.
METHODS: We analyzed genomic expression profiles of bladder cancer in three cohorts of fresh frozen tumor samples: MD Anderson (n=132), Lund (n=308), and The Cancer Genome Atlas (TCGA) (n=408) to validate the expression signatures of luminal and basal subtypes and relate them to clinical follow-up data. We also used an MD Anderson cohort of archival bladder tumor samples (n=89) and a parallel tissue microarray to identify immunohistochemical markers that permitted the molecular classification of bladder cancer.
FINDINGS: Bladder cancers could be assigned to two candidate intrinsic molecular subtypes referred to here as luminal and basal in all of the datasets analyzed. Luminal tumors were characterized by the expression signature similar to the intermediate/superficial layers of normal urothelium. They showed the upregulation of PPARγ target genes and the enrichment for FGFR3, ELF3, CDKN1A, and TSC1 mutations. In addition, luminal tumors were characterized by the overexpression of E-Cadherin, HER2/3, Rab-25, and Src. Basal tumors showed the expression signature similar to the basal layer of normal urothelium. They showed the upregulation of p63 target genes, the enrichment for TP53 and RB1 mutations, and overexpression of CD49, Cyclin B1, and EGFR. Survival analyses showed that the muscle-invasive basal bladder cancers were more aggressive when compared to luminal cancers. The immunohistochemical expressions of only two markers, luminal (GATA3) and basal (KRT5/6), were sufficient to identify the molecular subtypes of bladder cancer with over 90% accuracy.
INTERPRETATION: The molecular subtypes of bladder cancer have distinct clinical behaviors and sensitivities to chemotherapy, and a simple two-marker immunohistochemical classifier can be used for prognostic and therapeutic stratification.
FUNDING: U.S. National Cancer Institute and National Institute of Health.

Hibi M, Kaneda H, Tanizaki J, et al.
FGFR gene alterations in lung squamous cell carcinoma are potential targets for the multikinase inhibitor nintedanib.
Cancer Sci. 2016; 107(11):1667-1676 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Fibroblast growth factor receptor (FGFR) gene alterations are relatively frequent in lung squamous cell carcinoma (LSCC) and are a potential targets for therapy with FGFR inhibitors. However, little is known regarding the clinicopathologic features associated with FGFR alterations. The angiokinase inhibitor nintedanib has shown promising activity in clinical trials for non-small cell lung cancer. We have now applied next-generation sequencing (NGS) to characterize FGFR alterations in LSCC patients as well as examined the antitumor activity of nintedanib in LSCC cell lines positive for FGFR1 copy number gain (CNG). The effects of nintedanib on the proliferation of and FGFR signaling in LSCC cell lines were examined in vitro, and its effects on tumor formation were examined in vivo. A total of 75 clinical LSCC specimens were screened for FGFR alterations by NGS. Nintedanib inhibited the proliferation of FGFR1 CNG-positive LSCC cell lines in association with attenuation of the FGFR1-ERK signaling pathway in vitro and in vivo. FGFR1 CNG (10.7%), FGFR1 mutation (2.7%), FGFR2 mutation (2.7%), FGFR4 mutation (5.3%), and FGFR3 fusion (1.3%) were detected in LSCC specimens by NGS. Clinicopathologic features did not differ between LSCC patients positive or negative for FGFR alterations. However, among the 36 patients with disease recurrence after surgery, prognosis was significantly worse for those harboring FGFR alterations. Screening for FGFR alterations by NGS warrants further study as a means to identify patients with LSCC recurrence after surgery who might benefit from nintedanib therapy.

di Martino E, Tomlinson DC, Williams SV, Knowles MA
A place for precision medicine in bladder cancer: targeting the FGFRs.
Future Oncol. 2016; 12(19):2243-63 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 01/10/2017 Related Publications
Bladder tumors show diverse molecular features and clinical outcome. Muscle-invasive bladder cancer has poor prognosis and novel approaches to systemic therapy are urgently required. Non-muscle-invasive bladder cancer has good prognosis, but high recurrence rate and the requirement for life-long disease monitoring places a major burden on patients and healthcare providers. Studies of tumor tissues from both disease groups have identified frequent alterations of FGFRs, including mutations of FGFR3 and dysregulated expression of FGFR1 and FGFR3 that suggest that these may be valid therapeutic targets. We summarize current understanding of the molecular alterations affecting these receptors in bladder tumors, preclinical studies validating them as therapeutic targets, available FGFR-targeted agents and results from early clinical trials in bladder cancer patients.

Pandith AA, Hussain A, Khan MS, et al.
Oncogenic Activation of Fibroblast Growth Factor Receptor-3 and RAS Genes as Non-Overlapping Mutual Exclusive Events in Urinary Bladder Cancer.
Asian Pac J Cancer Prev. 2016; 17(6):2787-93 [PubMed] Related Publications
BACKGROUND: Urinary bladder cancer is a common malignancy in the West and ranks as the 7th most common cancer in our region of Kashmir, India. FGFR3 mutations are frequent in superficial urothelial carcinoma (UC) differing from the RAS gene mutational pattern. The aim of this study was to analyze the frequency and association of FGFR3 and RAS gene mutations in UC cases.
MATERIALS AND METHODS: Paired tumor and adjacent normal tissue specimens of 65 consecutive UC patients were examined. DNA preparations were evaluated for the occurrence of FGFR3 and RAS gene mutations by PCR-SCCP and DNA sequencing.
RESULTS: Somatic point mutations of FGFR3 were identified in 32.3% (21 of 65). The pattern and distribution were significantly associated with low grade/stage (<0.05). The overall mutations in exon 1 and 2 in all the forms of RAS genes aggregated to 21.5% and showed no association with any clinic-pathological parameters. In total, 53.8% (35 of 65) of the tumors studied had mutations in either a RAS or FGFR3 gene, but these were totally mutually exclusive in and none of the samples showed both the mutational events in mutually exclusive RAS and FGFR3.
CONCLUSIONS: We conclude that RAS and FGFR3 mutations in UC are mutually exclusive and non-overlapping events which reflect activation of oncogenic pathways through different elements.

Zhang X, Zhang Y
Bladder Cancer and Genetic Mutations.
Cell Biochem Biophys. 2015; 73(1):65-9 [PubMed] Related Publications
The most common type of urinary bladder cancer is called as transitional cell carcinoma. The major risk factors for bladder cancer are environmental, tobacco smoking, exposure to toxic industrial chemicals and gases, bladder inflammation due to microbial and parasitic infections, as well as some adverse side-effects of medications. The genetic mutations in some chromosomal genes, such as FGFR3, RB1, HRAS, TP53, TSC1, and others, occur which form tumors in the urinary bladder. These genes play an important role in the regulation of cell division which prevents cells from dividing too quickly. The changes in the genes of human chromosome 9 are usually responsible for tumor in bladder cancer, but the genetic mutation of chromosome 22 can also result in bladder cancer. The identification of p53 gene mutation has been studied at NIH, Washington, DC, USA, in urine samples of bladder cancer patients. The invasive bladder cancers were determined for the presence of gene mutations on p53 suppressor gene. The 18 different bladder tumors were evaluated, and 11 (61 %) had genetic mutations of p53 gene. The bladder cancer studies have suggested that 70 % of bladder cancers involve a specific mutation in a particular gene, namely telomerase reverse transcriptase (TERT) gene. The TERT gene is involved in DNA protection, cellular aging processes, and cancer. The Urothelial carcinomas of the bladder have been described in Atlas of genetics and cytogenetics in oncology and hematology. HRAS is a proto-oncogene and has potential to cause cancer in several organs including the bladder. The TSC1 c. 1907 1908 del (E636fs) mutation in bladder cancer suggests that the location of the mutation is Exon 15 with frequency of TSC1 mutation of 11.7 %. The recent findings of BAP1 mutations have shown that it contributes to BRCA pathway alterations in bladder cancer. The discoveries of more gene mutations and new biomarkers and polymerase chain reaction bioassays for gene mutations in bladder cancer need further research.

Katoh M
FGFR inhibitors: Effects on cancer cells, tumor microenvironment and whole-body homeostasis (Review).
Int J Mol Med. 2016; 38(1):3-15 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 01/10/2017 Related Publications
Fibroblast growth factor (FGF)2, FGF4, FGF7 and FGF20 are representative paracrine FGFs binding to heparan-sulfate proteoglycan and fibroblast growth factor receptors (FGFRs), whereas FGF19, FGF21 and FGF23 are endocrine FGFs binding to Klotho and FGFRs. FGFR1 is relatively frequently amplified and overexpressed in breast and lung cancer, and FGFR2 in gastric cancer. BCR-FGFR1, CNTRL-FGFR1, CUX1-FGFR1, FGFR1OP-FGFR1, MYO18A-FGFR1 and ZMYM2-FGFR1 fusions in myeloproliferative neoplasms are non-receptor-type FGFR kinases, whereas FGFR1-TACC1, FGFR2-AFF3, FGFR2-BICC1, FGFR2-PPHLN1, FGFR3-BAIAP2L1 and FGFR3-TACC3 fusions in solid tumors are transmembrane-type FGFRs with C-terminal alterations. AZD4547, BGJ398 (infigratinib), Debio-1347 and dovitinib are FGFR1/2/3 inhibitors; BLU9931 is a selective FGFR4 inhibitor; FIIN-2, JNJ-42756493, LY2874455 and ponatinib are pan-FGFR inhibitors. AZD4547, dovitinib and ponatinib are multi-kinase inhibitors targeting FGFRs, colony stimulating factor 1 receptor (CSF1R), vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF)R2, and others. The tumor microenvironment consists of cancer cells and stromal/immune cells, such as cancer-associated fibroblasts (CAFs), endothelial cells, M2-type tumor-associating macrophages (M2-TAMs), myeloid-derived suppressor cells (MDSCs) and regulatory T cells. FGFR inhibitors elicit antitumor effects directly on cancer cells, as well as indirectly through the blockade of paracrine signaling. The dual inhibition of FGF and CSF1 or VEGF signaling is expected to enhance the antitumor effects through the targeting of immune evasion and angiogenesis in the tumor microenvironment. Combination therapy using tyrosine kinase inhibitors (FGFR or CSF1R inhibitors) and immune checkpoint blockers (anti-PD-1 or anti-CTLA-4 monoclonal antibodies) may be a promising choice for cancer patients. The inhibition of FGF19-FGFR4 signaling is associated with a risk of liver toxicity, whereas the activation of FGF23-FGFR4 signaling is associated with a risk of heart toxicity. Endocrine FGF signaling affects the pathophysiology of cancer patients who are prescribed FGFR inhibitors. Whole-genome sequencing is necessary for the detection of promoter/enhancer alterations of FGFR genes and rare alterations of other genes causing FGFR overexpression. To sustain the health care system in an aging society, a benefit-cost analysis should be performed with a focus on disease-free survival and the total medical cost before implementing genome-based precision medicine for cancer patients.

Schäfer N, Gielen GH, Kebir S, et al.
Phase I trial of dovitinib (TKI258) in recurrent glioblastoma.
J Cancer Res Clin Oncol. 2016; 142(7):1581-9 [PubMed] Related Publications
PURPOSE: Dovitinib (TKI258) is an oral multi-tyrosine kinase inhibitor of FGFR, VEGFR, PDGFR β, and c-Kit. Since dovitinib is able to cross the blood-brain barrier and targets brain tumor-relevant pathways, we conducted a phase I trial to demonstrate its safety in recurrent glioblastoma (GBM).
PATIENTS AND METHODS: Patients with first or second GBM recurrence started treatment with the maximal tolerated dose (MTD) previously established in systemic cancer patients (500 mg/d, 5 days on/2 days off). A modified 3 + 3 design in three cohorts (500, 400, 300 mg) was used.
RESULTS: Twelve patients were enrolled. Seventy-two adverse events (AEs) occurred and 16.7 % of AEs were classified as ≥CTC grade 3 toxicity, mainly including hepatotoxicity and hematotoxicity. Only one out of six patients of the 300-mg cohort showed grade 3 toxicity. The PFS-6 rate was 16.7 %, and it was not associated with detection of the FGFR-TACC gene fusion in the tumor.
CONCLUSION: Dovitinib is safe in patients with recurrent GBM and showed efficacy in only some patients unselected for target expression. The recommended phase II dose of 300 mg would be substantially lower than the recently established MTD in systemic cancer patients. Further personalized trials are recommended.

Liu X, Jing X, Cheng X, et al.
FGFR3 promotes angiogenesis-dependent metastasis of hepatocellular carcinoma via facilitating MCP-1-mediated vascular formation.
Med Oncol. 2016; 33(5):46 [PubMed] Related Publications
The biological role of fibroblast growth factor receptor 3 (FGFR3) in tumor angiogenesis of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) has not been discussed before. Our previous work had indicated FGFR3 was overexpressed in HCC, and silencing FGFR3 in Hu7 cells could regulate tumorigenesis via down-regulating the phosphorylation level of key members of classic signaling pathways including ERK and AKT. In the present work, we explored the role of FGFR3 in angiogenesis-dependent metastasis by using SMMC-7721 and QGY-7703 stable cell lines. Our results indicated FGFR3 could regulate in vitro cell migration ability and in vivo lung metastasis ability of HCC, which was in accordance with increased angiogenesis ability in vitro and in vivo. Using the supernatant from SMMC-7721/FGFR3 cells, we conducted a human angiogenesis protein microarray including 43 angiogenesis factors and found that FGFR3 modulated angiogenesis and metastasis of HCC mainly by promoting the protein level of monocyte chemotactic protein 1 (MCP-1). Silencing FGFR3 by short hairpin RNA (shRNA) could reduce MCP-1 level in lysates and supernatant of QGY-7703 cells and SMMC-7721 cells. Silencing MCP-1 in QGY-7703 or SMMC-7721 cells could induce similar phenotypes compared with silencing FGFR3. Our results suggested FGFR3 promoted metastasis potential of HCC, at least partially if not all, via facilitating MCP-1-mediated angiogenesis, in addition to previously found cell growth and metastasis. MCP-1, a key medium between HCC cells and HUVECs, might be a novel anti-vascular target in HCC.

Sun J, Wang X, Fu C, et al.
Long noncoding RNA FGFR3-AS1 promotes osteosarcoma growth through regulating its natural antisense transcript FGFR3.
Mol Biol Rep. 2016; 43(5):427-36 [PubMed] Related Publications
Long noncoding RNAs (lncRNAs), a new class of RNAs with no protein-coding potential, have been reported to have crucial roles in the regulation of a variety of tumors. However, the functions and molecular mechanisms of lncRNAs to osteosarcoma are still largely unknown. The purpose of this study is to examine the expression, functions and molecular mechanisms of a new lncRNA FGFR3 antisense transcript 1 (FGFR3-AS1) in osteosarcoma. The expression of FGFR3-AS1 was examined by real-time quantitative PCR. The regulation of FGFR3 by FGFR3-AS1 was examined by RNase protection assay, real-time quantitative PCR, western blotting, and luciferase reporter assay. The effects of FGFR3-AS1 on osteosarcoma cell proliferation and cell cycle were determined by Cell Counting Kit-8, Ethynyl deoxyuridine incorporation assay and flow cytometry. FGFR3-AS1 was upregulated in osteosarcoma. Increased FGFR3-AS1 expression correlates with large tumor size, advanced Enneking stage, metastasis and poor survival. Through antisense pairing with FGFR3 3'UTR, FGFR3-AS1 increases FGFR3 mRNA stability and upregulates FGFR3 expression. The expression of FGFR3-AS1 and FGFR3 is positively correlated in osteosarcoma tissues. Knockdown of FGFR3-AS1 inhibits the proliferation and cell cycle progression of osteosarcoma cells in vitro. Moreover, knockdown of FGFR3-AS1 inhibits xenograft tumor growth of osteosarcoma cells in vivo. These data demonstrate the mechanisms of how antisense noncoding RNA regulate the expression of sense genes, and show the pivotal functions of FGFR3-AS1 in osteosarcoma.

Sun M, Hong S, Li W, et al.
MiR-99a regulates ROS-mediated invasion and migration of lung adenocarcinoma cells by targeting NOX4.
Oncol Rep. 2016; 35(5):2755-66 [PubMed] Related Publications
miR-99a is frequently downregulated in various types of human malignancies including lung adenocarcinoma. Recent studies have reported that miR-99a regulates cell growth and cell cycle progression by targeting mTOR, AKT1 and FGFR3. However, the underlying mechanisms involved in the modulation of invasion and migration by miR-99a remain elusive. In this study, we analyzed the relationship between the expression of miR-99a and clinical stage or metastasis in 90 matched lung adenocarcinoma and adjacent non-tumor lung tissues. Downregulation of miR-99a was significantly associated with advanced stage and tumor metastasis in lung adenocarcinoma patients, and it was found to be a poor prognostic factor in lung adenocarcinoma. Furthermore, functional experiments found that overexpression of miR-99a inhibited the proliferation, migration and invasion of lung adenocarcinoma A549 and Calu3 cells in vitro. We then identified NOX4 as a target gene of miR-99a and NOX4 mediated the inhibition of invasion and migration of lung adenocarcinoma cells by miR-99a. By targeting NOX4-mediated ROS production, miR-99a regulated the invasion and migration of lung adenocarcinoma cells. Moreover, overexpression of miR-99a significantly inhibited tumor growth in vivo. Immunohistochemical staining analysis of the mouse tumor tissues revealed that NOX4 levels were downregulated in the miR-99a treatment group, confirming the in vitro data of NOX4 as a direct target gene of miR-99a. Taken together, these data indicate for the first time that miR-99a directly regulates the invasion and migration in lung adenocarcinoma by targeting NOX4 and that overexpression of miR-99a may become a therapeutic strategy for lung adenocarcinoma.

Nagata M, Muto S, Horie S
Molecular Biomarkers in Bladder Cancer: Novel Potential Indicators of Prognosis and Treatment Outcomes.
Dis Markers. 2016; 2016:8205836 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 01/10/2017 Related Publications
Although many clinical and molecular markers for predicting outcomes in bladder cancer (BC) have been reported, their application in clinical practice remains unclear. Bladder carcinogenesis has two distinct molecular pathways that direct the development of BC. FGFR3 mutations are common in low-grade BC, while TP53 mutation or loss of RB1 is associated with muscle-invasive BC. However, no tissue-based gene markers confirmed by prospective large-scale trials in BC have been used in clinical practice. Micro-RNA analyses of BC tissue revealed that miR-145 and miR-29c* function as tumor suppressors, whereas miR-183 and miR-17-5p function as oncogenic miRNAs. In liquid biopsy, circulating tumor cells (CTC), exosomes, or cell-free RNA is extracted from the peripheral blood samples of cancer patients to analyze cancer prognosis. It was reported that detection of CTC was associated with poor prognostic factors. However, application of liquid biopsy in BC treatment is yet to be explored. Although several cell-free RNAs, such as miR-497 in plasma or miR-214 in urine, could be promising novel circulating biomarkers, they are used only for diagnosing BC as the case that now stands. Here, we discuss the application of novel biomarkers in evaluating and measuring BC outcomes.

Yang T, He W, Cui F, et al.
MACC1 mediates acetylcholine-induced invasion and migration by human gastric cancer cells.
Oncotarget. 2016; 7(14):18085-94 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 01/10/2017 Related Publications
The neurotransmitter acetylcholine (ACh) promotes the growth and metastasis of several cancers via its M3 muscarinic receptor (M3R). Metastasis-associated in colon cancer-1 (MACC1) is an oncogene that is overexpressed in gastric cancer (GC) and plays an important role in GC progression, though it is unclear how MACC1 activity is regulated in GC. In this study, we demonstrated that ACh acts via M3Rs to promote GC cell invasion and migration as well as expression of several markers of epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT). The M3R antagonist darifenacin inhibited GC cell activity in both the presence and absence of exogenous ACh, suggesting GC cells secrete endogenous ACh, which then acts in an autocrine fashion to promote GC cell migration/invasion. ACh up-regulated MACC1 in GC cells, and MACC1 knockdown using siRNA attenuated the effects of ACh on GC cells. AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK) served as an intermediate signal between ACh and MACC1. These findings suggest that ACh acts via a M3R/AMPK/MACC1 signaling pathway to promote GC cell invasion/migration, which provides insight into the mechanisms underlying GC growth and metastasis and may shed light on new targets for GC treatment.

Ward DG, Baxter L, Gordon NS, et al.
Multiplex PCR and Next Generation Sequencing for the Non-Invasive Detection of Bladder Cancer.
PLoS One. 2016; 11(2):e0149756 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 01/10/2017 Related Publications
BACKGROUND: Highly sensitive and specific urine-based tests to detect either primary or recurrent bladder cancer have proved elusive to date. Our ever increasing knowledge of the genomic aberrations in bladder cancer should enable the development of such tests based on urinary DNA.
METHODS: DNA was extracted from urine cell pellets and PCR used to amplify the regions of the TERT promoter and coding regions of FGFR3, PIK3CA, TP53, HRAS, KDM6A and RXRA which are frequently mutated in bladder cancer. The PCR products were barcoded, pooled and paired-end 2 x 250 bp sequencing performed on an Illumina MiSeq. Urinary DNA was analysed from 20 non-cancer controls, 120 primary bladder cancer patients (41 pTa, 40 pT1, 39 pT2+) and 91 bladder cancer patients post-TURBT (89 cancer-free).
RESULTS: Despite the small quantities of DNA extracted from some urine cell pellets, 96% of the samples yielded mean read depths >500. Analysing only previously reported point mutations, TERT mutations were found in 55% of patients with bladder cancer (independent of stage), FGFR3 mutations in 30% of patients with bladder cancer, PIK3CA in 14% and TP53 mutations in 12% of patients with bladder cancer. Overall, these previously reported bladder cancer mutations were detected in 86 out of 122 bladder cancer patients (70% sensitivity) and in only 3 out of 109 patients with no detectable bladder cancer (97% specificity).
CONCLUSION: This simple, cost-effective approach could be used for the non-invasive surveillance of patients with non-muscle-invasive bladder cancers harbouring these mutations. The method has a low DNA input requirement and can detect low levels of mutant DNA in a large excess of normal DNA. These genes represent a minimal biomarker panel to which extra markers could be added to develop a highly sensitive diagnostic test for bladder cancer.

Jiang Y, Han Y, Sun C, et al.
Rab23 is overexpressed in human bladder cancer and promotes cancer cell proliferation and invasion.
Tumour Biol. 2016; 37(6):8131-8 [PubMed] Related Publications
Rab23 overexpression has been implicated in several human cancers. However, its expression pattern and biological roles in human bladder cancer have not been elucidated. In this study, we examined Rab23 expression in 93 bladder cancer specimens and analyzed its correlation with clinicopathological parameters. We found that Rab23 was overexpressed in 45 of 93 (48.3 %) cancer specimens. Significant association was found between Rab23 overexpression and tumor invasion depth (p = 0.0027). Rab23 overexpression also negatively correlated with FGFR3 protein expression (p = 0.021). We found that Rab23 expression was lower in normal bladder transitional cell line SV-HUC-1 than in bladder cancer cell lines BIU-87, 5637, and T24. We knocked down Rab23 expression in T24 cancer cells and transfected a Rab23 plasmid in the BIU-87 cell line. Rab23 depletion inhibited cell growth rate and invasion, while its overexpression resulted in increased cell growth and invasion. In addition, we demonstrated that Rab23 depletion decreased and its transfection upregulated expression of cyclin E, c-myc, and MMP-9. Furthermore, we showed that Rab23 knockdown inhibited NF-κB signaling and its overexpression upregulated NF-κB signaling. BAY 11-7082 (NF-κB inhibitor) partly inhibited the effect of Rab23 on cyclin E and MMP-9 expression. In conclusion, the present study demonstrated that Rab23 overexpression facilitates malignant cell growth and invasion in bladder cancer through the NF-κB pathway.

Koole K, van Kempen PM, Swartz JE, et al.
Fibroblast growth factor receptor 3 protein is overexpressed in oral and oropharyngeal squamous cell carcinoma.
Cancer Med. 2016; 5(2):275-84 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 01/10/2017 Related Publications
Fibroblast growth factor receptor 3 (FGFR3) is a member of the fibroblast growth factor receptor tyrosine kinase family. It has been identified as a promising therapeutic target in multiple types of cancer. We have investigated FGFR3 protein expression and FGFR3 gene copy-numbers in a single well-documented cohort of oral and oropharyngeal squamous cell carcinoma. Tissue microarray sets containing 452 formalin-fixed paraffin-embedded tissues were immunohistochemically stained with an anti-FGFR3 antibody and hybridized with a FGFR3 fluorescence in situ hybridization probe. FGFR3 protein expression was correlated with clinicopathological and survival data, which were retrieved from electronic medical records. FGFR3 mRNA data of 522 head and neck squamous cell carcinoma (HNSCC) were retrieved from The Cancer Genome Atlas (TCGA). Fibroblast growth factor receptor 3 (FGFR3) protein was overexpressed in 48% (89/185) of oral and 59% (124/211) of oropharyngeal squamous cell carcinoma. Overexpression of FGFR3 protein was not related to overall survival or disease-free survival in oral (HR[hazard ratio]: 0.94; 95% CI: 0.64-1.39; P = 0.77, HR: 0.94; 95% CI: 0.65-1.36; P = 0.75) and oropharyngeal squamous cell carcinoma (HR: 1.21; 95% CI: 0.81-1.80; P = 0.36, HR: 0.42; 95% CI: 0.79-1.77; P = 0.42). FGFR3 mRNA was upregulated in 3% (18/522) of HNSCC from the TCGA. The FGFR3 gene was gained in 0.6% (1/179) of oral squamous cell carcinoma but no amplification was found in oral and oropharyngeal squamous cell carcinoma. In conclusion, FGFR3 protein is frequently overexpressed in oral and oropharyngeal squamous cell carcinoma. Therefore, it may serve as a potential therapeutic target for FGFR3-directed therapies in oral and oropharyngeal squamous cell carcinoma.

Yang D, Liang T, Gu Y, et al.
Protein N-arginine methyltransferase 5 promotes the tumor progression and radioresistance of nasopharyngeal carcinoma.
Oncol Rep. 2016; 35(3):1703-10 [PubMed] Related Publications
Radiotherapy resistance is the main cause of the the poor prognosis of some nasopharyngeal carcinoma (NPC) patients. Yet, the exact mechanism is still elusive. In the present study, we explored the clinical and biological role of protein arginine methyltransferase 5 (PRMT5) in NPC. Our results revealed that PRMT5 was overexpressed in NPC tissues when compared with that in adjacent non-tumor tissues by quantitative RT-PCR and immunoblotting. High expression of PRMT5 was correlated with adverse outcomes of NPC patients as determined by the scoring of a tissue microarray. Silencing of PRMT5 promoted the radiosensitivity of 5-8F and CNE2 cells as determined by cell proliferation and colony formation assays. Furthermore, fibroblast growth factor receptor 3 (FGFR3) was identified as one of the downstream targets of PRMT5, and the silencing of PRMT5 decreased the mRNA and protein levels of FGFR3 in the 5-8F and CNE2 cells. Silencing of FGFR3 induced similar phenotypes as the inhibition of PRMT5, and re-expression of FGFR3 in 5-8F/shPRMT5 and CNE2/shPRMT5 cells restored the proliferation and colony formation ability induced by irradiation exposure. Our results indicate that PRMT5 is a marker of poor prognosis in NPC patients. PRMT5 promoted the radioresistance of NPC cells via targeting FGFR3, at least partly if not totally. PRMT5 and its downstream effector FGFR3 may be potential targets for anticancer strategy.

Saichaemchan S, Ariyawutyakorn W, Varella-Garcia M
Fibroblast Growth Factor Receptors: From the Oncogenic Pathway to Targeted Therapy.
Curr Mol Med. 2016; 16(1):40-62 [PubMed] Related Publications
The family of fibroblast growth factor (FGFs) and their receptors (FGFRs) regulates vital roles in many biological processes affecting cell proliferation, migration, differentiation and survival. Deregulation of the FGF/FGFR signaling pathway in cancers has been better understood and the main molecular mechanisms responsible for the activation of this pathway are gene mutations, gene fusions and gene amplification. DNA and RNA-based technologies have been used to detect these abnormalities, especially in FGFR1, FGFR2 and FGFR3 and tests have been developed for their detection, but no assay has been proved ideal for molecular diagnosis. Interestingly, the increase in the molecular biology knowledge has supported and assisted the development of therapeutic drugs targeting the most important components of this pathway. Multi- and selective tyrosine kinase inhibitors (TKIs) as well as monoclonal antibodies anti-FGFR are under investigation in preclinical and clinical trials. In this article, we reviewed those aspects with special emphasis on the pathway genomic alterations related to solid tumors, and the molecular diagnostic assays potentially able to stratify patients for the treatment with FGFR TKIs.

Nikiforova MN, Wald AI, Melan MA, et al.
Targeted next-generation sequencing panel (GlioSeq) provides comprehensive genetic profiling of central nervous system tumors.
Neuro Oncol. 2016; 18(3):379-87 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
BACKGROUND: Identification of genetic changes in CNS tumors is important for the appropriate clinical management of patients. Our objective was to develop a next-generation sequencing (NGS) assay for simultaneously detecting the various types of genetic alterations characteristic for adult and pediatric CNS tumors that can be applied to small brain biopsies.
METHODS: We report an amplification-based targeted NGS assay (GlioSeq) that analyzes 30 genes for single nucleotide variants (SNVs) and indels, 24 genes for copy number variations (CNVs), and 14 types of structural alterations in BRAF, EGFR, and FGFR3 genes in a single workflow. GlioSeq performance was evaluated in 54 adult and pediatric CNS tumors, and the results were compared with fluorescence in-situ hybridization, Sanger sequencing, and reverse transcription PCR.
RESULTS: GlioSeq correctly identified 71/71 (100%) genetic alterations known to be present by conventional techniques, including 56 SNVs/indels, 9 CNVs, 3 EGFRvIII, and 3 KIAA1549-BRAF fusions. Only 20 ng of DNA and 10 ng of RNA were required for successful sequencing of 100% frozen and 96% formalin-fixed, paraffin-embedded tissue specimens. The assay sensitivity was 3%-5% of mutant alleles for SNVs and 1%-5% for gene fusions. The most commonly detected alterations were IDH1, TP53, TERT, ATRX. CDKN2A, and PTEN in high-grade gliomas, followed by BRAF fusions in low-grade gliomas and H3F3A mutations in pediatric gliomas.
CONCLUSIONS: GlioSeq NGS assay offers accurate and sensitive detection of a wide range of genetic alterations in a single workflow. It allows rapid and cost-effective profiling of brain tumor specimens and thus provides valuable information for patient management.

Ock CY, Son B, Keam B, et al.
Identification of genomic mutations associated with clinical outcomes of induction chemotherapy in patients with head and neck squamous cell carcinoma.
J Cancer Res Clin Oncol. 2016; 142(4):873-83 [PubMed] Related Publications
PURPOSE: We performed deep sequencing of target genes in head and neck squamous cell carcinoma (HNSCC) tumors to identify somatic mutations that are associated with induction chemotherapy (IC) response.
METHODS: Patients who were diagnosed with HNSCC were retrospectively identified. Patients who were treated with IC were divided into two groups: good responders and poor responders by tumor response and progression-free survival. Targeted gene sequencing for 2404 somatic mutations of 44 genes was performed on HNSCC tissues. Mutations with total coverage of <500 were excluded, and the cutoff for altered allele frequency was >10 %.
RESULTS: Of the 71 patients, 45 were treated upfront with IC. Mean total coverage was 1941 per locus, and 42.2 % of tumors had TP53 mutations. Thirty-three mutations in TP53, NOTCH3, FGFR2, FGFR3, ATM, EGFR, MET, PTEN, FBXW7, SYNE1, and SUFU were frequently altered in poor responders. Among the patients who were treated with IC, those with unfavorable genomic profiles had significantly poorer overall survival than those without unfavorable genomic profiles (hazard ratio 6.45, 95 % confidence interval 2.07-20.10, P < 0.001).
CONCLUSIONS: Comprehensive analysis of mutation frequencies identified unfavorable genomic profiles, and the patients without unfavorable genomic profiles can obtain clinical benefits from IC in patients with HNSCC.

Ross JS, Wang K, Khaira D, et al.
Comprehensive genomic profiling of 295 cases of clinically advanced urothelial carcinoma of the urinary bladder reveals a high frequency of clinically relevant genomic alterations.
Cancer. 2016; 122(5):702-11 [PubMed] Related Publications
BACKGROUND: In the current study, the authors present a comprehensive genomic profile (CGP)-based study of advanced urothelial carcinoma (UC) designed to detect clinically relevant genomic alterations (CRGAs).
METHODS: DNA was extracted from 40 µm of formalin-fixed, paraffin-embedded sections from 295 consecutive cases of recurrent/metastatic UC. CGP was performed on hybridization-captured, adaptor ligation-based libraries to a mean coverage depth of 688X for all coding exons of 236 cancer-related genes plus 47 introns from 19 genes frequently rearranged in cancer, using process-matched normal control samples as a reference. CRGAs were defined as GAs linked to drugs on the market or currently under evaluation in mechanism-driven clinical trials.
RESULTS: All 295 patients assessed were classified with high-grade (International Society of Urological Pathology classification) and advanced stage (stage III/IV American Joint Committee on Cancer) disease, and 294 of 295 patients (99.7%) had at least 1 GA on CGP with a mean of 6.4 GAs per UC (61% substitutions/insertions/deletions, 37% copy number alterations, and 2% fusions). Furthermore, 275 patients (93%) had at least 1 CRGA involving 75 individual genes with a mean of 2.6 CRGAs per UC. The most common CRGAs involved cyclin-dependent kinase inhibitor 2A (CDKN2A) (34%), fibroblast growth factor receptor 3 (FGFR3) (21%), phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase catalytic subunit alpha (PIK3CA) (20%), and ERBB2 (17%). FGFR3 GAs were diverse types and included 10% fusions. ERBB2 GAs were equally divided between amplifications and substitutions. ERBB2 substitutions were predominantly within the extracellular domain and were highly enriched in patients with micropapillary UC (38% of 32 cases vs 5% of 263 nonmicropapillary UC cases; P<.0001).
CONCLUSIONS: Using a CGP assay capable of detecting all classes of GA simultaneously, an extraordinarily high frequency of CRGA was identified in a large series of patients with advanced UC. Cancer 2016;122:702-711. © 2015 American Cancer Society.

Postel-Vinay S, Boursin Y, Massard C, et al.
Seeking the driver in tumours with apparent normal molecular profile on comparative genomic hybridization and targeted gene panel sequencing: what is the added value of whole exome sequencing?
Ann Oncol. 2016; 27(2):344-52 [PubMed] Related Publications
BACKGROUND: Molecular tumour profiling technologies have become increasingly important in the era of precision medicine, but their routine use is limited by their accessibility, cost, and tumour material availability. It is therefore crucial to assess their relative added value to optimize the sequence and combination of such technologies.
PATIENTS AND METHODS: Within the MOSCATO-01 trial, we investigated the added value of whole exome sequencing (WES) in patients that did not present any molecular abnormality on array comparative genomic hybridization (aCGH) and targeted gene panel sequencing (TGPS) using cancer specific panels. The pathogenicity potential and actionability of mutations detected on WES was assessed.
RESULTS: Among 420 patients enrolled between December 2011 and December 2013, 283 (67%) patients were analysed for both TGPS and aCGH. The tumour sample of 25 (8.8%) of them presented a flat (or low-dynamic) aCGH profile and no pathogenic mutation on TGPS. We selected the first eligible 10 samples-corresponding to a heterogeneous cohort of different tumour types-to perform WES. This allowed identifying eight mutations of interest in two patients: FGFR3, PDGFRB, and CREBBP missense single-nucleotide variants (SNVs) in an urothelial carcinoma; FGFR2, FBXW7, TP53, and MLH1 missense SNVs as well as an ATM frameshift mutation in a squamous cell carcinoma of the tongue. The FGFR3 alteration had been previously described as an actionable activating mutation and might have resulted in treatment by an FGFR inhibitor. CREBBP and ATM alterations might also have suggested a therapeutic orientation towards epigenetic modifiers and ataxia-telangectasia and Rad3-related inhibitors, respectively.
CONCLUSION: The therapeutic added value of performing WES on tumour samples that do not harbour any genetic abnormality on TGPS and aCGH might be limited and variable according to the histotype. Alternative techniques, including RNASeq and methylome analysis, might be more informative in selected cases.

Kiselyov A, Bunimovich-Mendrazitsky S, Startsev V
Key signaling pathways in the muscle-invasive bladder carcinoma: Clinical markers for disease modeling and optimized treatment.
Int J Cancer. 2016; 138(11):2562-9 [PubMed] Related Publications
In this review, we evaluate key molecular pathways and markers of muscle-invasive bladder cancer (MIBC). Overexpression and activation of EGFR, p63, and EMT genes are suggestive of basal MIBC subtype generally responsive to chemotherapy. Alterations in PPARγ, ERBB2/3, and FGFR3 gene products and their signaling along with deregulated p53, cytokeratins KRT5/6/14 in combination with the cellular proliferation (Ki-67), and cell cycle markers (p16) indicate the need for more radical treatment protocols. Similarly, the "bell-shape" dynamics of Shh expression levels may suggest aggressive MIBC. A panel of diverse biological markers may be suitable for simulation studies of MIBC and development of an optimized treatment protocol. We conducted a critical evaluation of PubMed/Medline and SciFinder databases related to MIBC covering the period 2009-2015. The free-text search was extended by adding the following keywords and phrases: bladder cancer, metastatic, muscle-invasive, basal, luminal, epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition, cancer stem cell, mutations, immune response, signaling, biological markers, molecular markers, mathematical models, simulation, epigenetics, transmembrane, transcription factor, kinase, predictor, prognosis. The resulting selection of ca 500 abstracts was further analyzed in order to select the latest publications relevant to MIBC molecular markers of immediate clinical significance.

Wang QY, Zhao Y, Zhang R
The role of mutations and overexpression of the fibroblast growth factor receptor-3 in bladder cancer.
Minerva Med. 2015; 106(6):333-7 [PubMed] Related Publications
Bladder cancer (BC) is the seventh most common cancer worldwide. Throughout the last decade, several studies demonstrated that the fibroblast growth factor (FGF) signalling is altered in a significant proportion of patients with BC. FGF receptor (FGFR) 3 may thus serve as a promising biomarker for BC. Mutations of this gene are prevalent in BC (e.g., found in 74% of non-invasive papillary tumours), suggesting that FGFR3 status is an important event in BC. The aim of this review was to overview the outcomes of different mutations in FGFR3 receptor in the context of BC. We first described FGFR3 receptor and continue with mutations of FGFR3 gene, including activating mutations and overexpression of this gene. Finally, we addressed the clinical relevance of mutated FGFR3 gene.

Castillo-Martin M, Collazo Lorduy A, Gladoun N, et al.
H-RAS mutation is a key molecular feature of pediatric urothelial bladder cancer. A detailed report of three cases.
J Pediatr Urol. 2016; 12(2):91.e1-7 [PubMed] Related Publications
INTRODUCTION: Urothelial carcinoma (UC) of the bladder is a rare entity in the pediatric population, with an incidence of less than 0.4% in patients younger than 20 years. These patients overwhelmingly present with non-muscle-invasive low-grade disease and an indolent behavior.
OBJECTIVE: The aim was to determine the source of the different natural history between pediatric population and adults; we hypothesized that pediatric bladder cancer may stem from different molecular pathways. Our objective with this descriptive case series was to study the main genes involved in pediatric urothelial bladder carcinoma using immunohistochemical (IHC) and mutational analysis. By studying the genetic alterations and immunophenotype of the most commonly altered genes in bladder urothelial cancer in three pediatric tumors we could gain better understanding of the molecular pathogenesis in this rare disease.
STUDY DESIGN: Formalin-fixed paraffin-embedded (FFPE) tissue slides of urothelial bladder tumors from three pediatric patients were retrospectively identified at Columbia University pathology archives (1990-2011) and re-evaluated. FGFR3, H-RAS, and PI3K hotspots mutational analyses were conducted by polymerase chain reaction amplification and Sanger sequencing from the FFPE tissue blocks. IHC analysis was conducted using antibodies against p53, PTEN, RB, EGFR, and HER2. Proliferative rate was assessed by Ki-67 expression.
RESULTS: Two patients had low-grade Ta disease, whereas the other tumor was classified as a papillary urothelial neoplasm of low malignant potential. None of the lesions recurred. Notably, all specimens showed H-RAS G12V mutation, whereas they were characterized by wild-type FGFR3 and PI3K. Nuclear p53 was not detected, whereas PTEN and RB expression were maintained. EGFR was expressed in the three cases and HER2 was negative. The proliferation rate was very low in all cases.
DISCUSSION: It is difficult to draw strong conclusions from the study of three tumors treated at the same institution and from the same referral population, and a multicentric study should be performed to confirm these preliminary results. However, we propose that H-RAS mutation analysis could be performed on urothelial bladder tumors of pediatric patients. The knowledge in the molecular basis of urothelial bladder tumors in children opens a promising field which could lead us to establish different guidelines for surveillance and follow-up of pediatric urothelial bladder cancer patients.
CONCLUSION: Pediatric tumors are characterized by a consistent H-RAS mutation status, whereas FGFR3 and p53 pathways are not involved in this tumor initiation. These results may explain the few recurrences seen in this population.

Lee H, Wang K, Johnson A, et al.
Comprehensive genomic profiling of extrahepatic cholangiocarcinoma reveals a long tail of therapeutic targets.
J Clin Pathol. 2016; 69(5):403-8 [PubMed] Related Publications
AIM: We queried whether extrahepatic cholangiocarcinoma featured clinically relevant genomic alterations that could lead to targeted therapy.
METHODS: Comprehensive genomic profiling by hybridisation capture of up to 315 genes was performed on 99 clinically advanced extrahepatic cholangiocarcinoma.
RESULTS: There were 60 male and 39 female patients with a median age of 60.5 years. A total of 400 alterations were identified (mean 4.0; range 0-13) in 84 genes. Eighty-two (83%) of extrahepatic cholangiocarcinoma patients featured at least one clinically relevant genomic alterations including KRAS (43%); ERBB2 (9%), PTEN (7%); ATM and NF1 (6%) and CCND1, FBXW7, GNAS, MDM2 and NRAS (all at 5%). BRAF, BRCA2, CDK4, CDK6, FGFR1, FGFR3, PTCH1, RAF1 and STK11 were each altered in a single patient. No IDH1/2 mutations or FGFR2 gene fusions were identified.
CONCLUSIONS: Comprehensive genomic profiling of extrahepatic cholangiocarcinoma differs significantly from intrahepatic cholangiocarcinoma and pancreatic adenocarcinoma, and reveals diverse opportunities for the use of targeted therapies.

Rodriguez-Vida A, Saggese M, Hughes S, et al.
Complexity of FGFR signalling in metastatic urothelial cancer.
J Hematol Oncol. 2015; 8:119 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
BACKGROUND: Urothelial cancers (UC) are the fourth most common tumours worldwide after prostate (or breast), lung and colorectal cancer. Despite recent improvements in their management, UC remain an aggressive disease associated with a poor outcome. Following disease progression on first-line platinum-based chemotherapy, very few effective treatment options are available and none of them have shown significant improvement in overall survival. Alterations of the fibroblast growth factor receptor (FGFR) pathway including amplification, mutations and overexpression are common in UC. Pre-clinical data suggest that the presence of such dysregulations may confer sensitivity to FGFR inhibitors.
MATERIALS AND METHODS: We present here the case of a patient with a metastatic UC of the renal pelvis with lymph node metastases treated with the selective FGFR inhibitor AZD4547.
RESULTS: To date, the patient has been on a study drug for 32 months with acceptable tolerance and maintained radiological partial response as per RECIST 1.1 criteria. Exploratory biomarker analysis showed FGFR3, FGFR1, FGF-ligand and fibroblast growth factor receptor substrate 2 (FRS2) expression in the patient's tumour, together with the presence of a germ-line mutation in the FGFR3 extracellular binding domain. This is not a known hotspot mutation, and the functional significance remains unclear.
CONCLUSIONS: The FGFR inhibitor AZD4547 exhibits antitumour activity in a metastatic urothelial cancer displaying FGFR1, FGFR3, FGF-ligand and FRS2 expression. This lends support to the further exploration of FGFR inhibitors in urothelial cancer. Further studies are required to determinate the most effective way to select those patients most likely to respond.

Ueno N, Shimizu A, Kanai M, et al.
Enhanced Expression of Fibroblast Growth Factor Receptor 3 IIIc Promotes Human Esophageal Carcinoma Cell Proliferation.
J Histochem Cytochem. 2016; 64(1):7-17 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Deregulated expression of fibroblast growth factor receptors (FGFRs) and their ligands plays critical roles in tumorigenesis. The gene expression of an alternatively spliced isoforms of FGFR3, FGFR3IIIc, was analyzed by RT-PCR in samples from patients with esophageal carcinoma (EC), including esophageal squamous cell carcinoma (ESCC) and adenocarcinoma (EAC). The incidence of FGFR3IIIc was higher in EC [12/16 (75%); p=0.073] than in non-cancerous mucosa (NCM) [6/16 (38%)]. Indeed, an immunohistochemical analysis of early-stage ESCC showed that carcinoma cells expressing FGFR3IIIc stained positively with SCC-112, a tumor marker, and Ki67, a cell proliferation marker, suggesting that the expression of FGFR3IIIc promotes cell proliferation. We used EC-GI-10 cells endogenously expressing FGFR3IIIc as a model of ESCC to provide mechanistic insight into the role of FGFR3IIIc in ESCC. The knockdown of endogenous FGFR3 using siRNA treatment significantly abrogated cell proliferation and the overexpression of FGFR3IIIc in cells with enhanced cell proliferation. EC-GI-10 cells and ESCC from patients with EC showed endogenous expression of FGF2, a specific ligand for FGFR3IIIc, suggesting that the upregulated expression of FGFR3IIIc may create autocrine FGF signaling in ESCC. Taken together, FGFR3IIIc may have the potential to be an early-stage tumor marker and a molecular target for ESCC therapy.

Schmidt B, Wei L, DePeralta DK, et al.
Molecular subclasses of hepatocellular carcinoma predict sensitivity to fibroblast growth factor receptor inhibition.
Int J Cancer. 2016; 138(6):1494-505 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
A recent gene expression classification of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) includes a poor survival subclass termed S2 representing about one-third of all HCC in clinical series. S2 cells express E-cadherin and c-myc and secrete AFP. As the expression of fibroblast growth factor receptors (FGFRs) differs between S2 and non-S2 HCC, this study investigated whether molecular subclasses of HCC predict sensitivity to FGFR inhibition. S2 cell lines were significantly more sensitive (p < 0.001) to the FGFR inhibitors BGJ398 and AZD4547. BGJ398 decreased MAPK signaling in S2 but not in non-S2 cell lines. All cell lines expressed FGFR1 and FGFR2, but only S2 cell lines expressed FGFR3 and FGFR4. FGFR4 siRNA decreased proliferation by 44% or more in all five S2 cell lines (p < 0.05 for each cell line), a significantly greater decrease than seen with knockdown of FGFR1-3 with siRNA transfection. FGFR4 knockdown decreased MAPK signaling in S2 cell lines, but little effect was seen with knockdown of FGFR1-3. In conclusion, the S2 molecular subclass of HCC is sensitive to FGFR inhibition. FGFR4-MAPK signaling plays an important role in driving proliferation of a molecular subclass of HCC. This classification system may help to identify those patients who are most likely to benefit from inhibition of this pathway.

Nayak S, Goel MM, Makker A, et al.
Fibroblast Growth Factor (FGF-2) and Its Receptors FGFR-2 and FGFR-3 May Be Putative Biomarkers of Malignant Transformation of Potentially Malignant Oral Lesions into Oral Squamous Cell Carcinoma.
PLoS One. 2015; 10(10):e0138801 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
There are several factors like angiogenesis, lymphangiogenesis, genetic alterations, mutational factors that are involved in malignant transformation of potentially malignant oral lesions (PMOLs) to oral squamous cell carcinoma (OSCC). Fibroblast growth factor-2 (FGF-2) is one of the prototypes of the large family of growth factors that bind heparin. FGF-2 induces angiogenesis and its receptors may play a role in synthesis of collagen. FGFs are involved in transmission of signals between the epithelium and connective tissue, and influence growth and differentiation of a wide variety of tissue including epithelia. The present study was undertaken to analyze expression of FGF-2 and its receptors FGFR-2 and FGFR-3 in 72 PMOLs, 108 OSCC and 52 healthy controls, and their role in risk assessment for malignant transformation of Leukoplakia (LKP) and Oral submucous fibrosis (OSMF) to OSCC. Immunohistochemistry was performed using antibodies against FGF-2, FGFR-2 and FGFR-3. IHC results were validated by Real Time PCR. Expression of FGF-2, FGFR-2 and FGFR-3 was upregulated from PMOLs to OSCC. While 90% (9/10) of PMOLs which showed malignant transformation (transformed) expressed FGF-2, only 24.19% cases (15/62) of PMOLs which were not transformed (untransformed) to OSCC expressed FGF-2. Similarly, FGFR-2 expression was seen in 16/62 (25.81%) of untransformed PMOLs and 8/10 (80%) cases of transformed PMOLs. FGFR-3 expression was observed in 23/62 (37.10%) cases of untransformed PMOLs and 6/10 (60%) cases of transformed PMOLs. A significant association of FGF-2 and FGFR-2 expression with malignant transformation from PMOLs to OSCC was observed both at phenotypic and molecular level. The results suggest that FGF-2 and FGFR-2 may be useful as biomarkers of malignant transformation in patients with OSMF and LKP.

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