Research IndicatorsGraph generated 01 September 2019 using data from PubMed using criteria.
Mouse over the terms for more detail; many indicate links which you can click for dedicated pages about the topic. Tag cloud generated 01 September, 2019 using data from PubMed, MeSH and CancerIndex
Specific Cancers (3)
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).
OMIM, Johns Hopkin University
Referenced article focusing on the relationship between phenotype and genotype.
International Cancer Genome Consortium.
Summary of gene and mutations by cancer type from ICGC
Cancer Genome Anatomy Project, NCI
COSMIC, Sanger Institute
Somatic mutation information and related details
GEO Profiles, NCBI
Search the gene expression profiles from curated DataSets in the Gene Expression Omnibus (GEO) repository.
Latest Publications: GREB1 (cancer-related)
Estrogen therapy increases the risk of ovarian cancer and exogenous estradiol accelerates the onset of ovarian cancer in mouse models. Both in vivo and in vitro, ovarian surface epithelial (OSE) cells exposed to estradiol develop a subpopulation that loses cell polarity, contact inhibition, and forms multi-layered foci of dysplastic cells with increased susceptibility to transformation. Here, we use single-cell RNA-sequencing to characterize this dysplastic subpopulation and identify the transcriptional dynamics involved in its emergence. Estradiol-treated cells were characterized by up-regulation of genes associated with proliferation, metabolism, and survival pathways. Pseudotemporal ordering revealed that OSE cells occupy a largely linear phenotypic spectrum that, in estradiol-treated cells, diverges towards cell state consistent with the dysplastic population. This divergence is characterized by the activation of various cancer-associated pathways including an increase in Greb1 which was validated in fallopian tube epithelium and human ovarian cancers. Taken together, this work reveals possible mechanisms by which estradiol increases epithelial cell susceptibility to tumour initiation.
Croce S, Lesluyes T, Delespaul L, et al.GREB1-CTNNB1 fusion transcript detected by RNA-sequencing in a uterine tumor resembling ovarian sex cord tumor (UTROSCT): A novel CTNNB1 rearrangement.
Genes Chromosomes Cancer. 2019; 58(3):155-163 [PubMed
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Mutations of CTNNB1 have been implicated in tumorigenesis in many organs. However, tumors harboring a CTNNB1 translocation are extremely rare and this translocation has never been reported in a uterine mesenchymal neoplasm. We report a novel translocation t(2;3)(p25;p22) involving the GREB1 (intron 8) and CTNNB1 (exon 3) in a uterine tumor resembling ovarian sex cord tumor (UTROSCT), which exhibited extrauterine metastasis. The translocation detected by RNA-sequencing was validated by RT-PCR, and resulted in nuclear expression of β-catenin. Juxtapositioning with GREB1, which is overexpressed in response to estrogens, resulted in overexpression of a truncated and hypophosphorylated nuclear β-catenin in the primary and recurrent tumors. This accumulation of nuclear β-catenin results in a constitutive activation of the Wnt/β-catenin signaling pathway with a major oncogenic effect. The CTNNB1 gene fusion, promoted by an estrogen-responsive gene (GREB1), could be a potential driver of tumorigenesis in this case and a therapeutic target with adapted inhibitors. RT-PCR and immunohistochemistry performed on 11 additional UTROSCTs showed no CTNNB1 fusion transcript or nuclear β-catenin immunoreactivity.
Uterine leiomyomas (ULs) are benign tumors that are a major burden to women's health. A genome-wide association study on 15,453 UL cases and 392,628 controls was performed, followed by replication of the genomic risk in six cohorts. Effects of the risk alleles were evaluated in view of molecular and clinical characteristics. 22 loci displayed a genome-wide significant association. The likely predisposition genes could be grouped to two biological processes. Genes involved in genome stability were represented by
Uterine leiomyomas are common benign tumors of the myometrium. We performed a meta-analysis of two genome-wide association studies of leiomyoma in European women (16,595 cases and 523,330 controls), uncovering 21 variants at 16 loci that associate with the disease. Five variants were previously reported to confer risk of various malignant or benign tumors (rs78378222 in TP53, rs10069690 in TERT, rs1800057 and rs1801516 in ATM, and rs7907606 at OBFC1) and four signals are located at established risk loci for hormone-related traits (endometriosis and breast cancer) at 1q36.12 (CDC42/WNT4), 2p25.1 (GREB1), 20p12.3 (MCM8), and 6q26.2 (SYNE1/ESR1). Polygenic score for leiomyoma, computed using UKB data, is significantly correlated with risk of cancer in the Icelandic population. Functional annotation suggests that the non-coding risk variants affect multiple genes, including ESR1. Our results provide insights into the genetic background of leiomyoma that are shared by other benign and malignant tumors and highlight the role of hormones in leiomyoma growth.
Sex hormones play important roles in the onset and progression of several cancers, such as breast, ovarian, and prostate cancer. Although drugs targeting sex hormone function are useful in treating cancer, tumors often develop resistance. Thus, we need to define the downstream effectors of sex hormones in order to develop new treatment strategies for these cancers. Recent studies unearthed one potential mediator of steroid hormone action in tumors: growth regulation by estrogen in breast cancer 1 (GREB1).
Enhancers are thought to activate transcription by physically contacting promoters via looping. However, direct assays demonstrating these contacts are required to mechanistically verify such cellular determinants of enhancer function. Here, we present versatile cell-free assays to further determine the role of enhancer-promoter contacts (EPCs). We demonstrate that EPC is linked to mutually stimulatory transcription at the enhancer and promoter in vitro. SRC-3 was identified as a critical looping determinant for the estradiol-(E2)-regulated GREB1 locus. Surprisingly, the GREB1 enhancer and promoter contact two internal gene body SRC-3 binding sites, GBS1 and GBS2, which stimulate their transcription. Utilizing time-course 3C assays, we uncovered SRC-3-dependent dynamic chromatin interactions involving the enhancer, promoter, GBS1, and GBS2. Collectively, these data suggest that the enhancer and promoter remain "poised" for transcription via their contacts with GBS1 and GBS2. Upon E2 induction, GBS1 and GBS2 disengage from the enhancer, allowing direct EPC for active transcription.
Haines CN, Braunreiter KM, Mo XM, Burd CJGREB1 isoforms regulate proliferation independent of ERα co-regulator activities in breast cancer.
Endocr Relat Cancer. 2018; 25(7):735-746 [PubMed
] Related Publications
Activation of the transcription factor estrogen receptor α (ERα) and the subsequent regulation of estrogen-responsive genes play a crucial role in the development and progression of the majority of breast cancers. One gene target of ERα, growth regulation by estrogen in breast cancer 1 (
Magne Nde CB, Casas Gimeno G, Docanto M, et al.Timeless Is a Novel Estrogen Receptor Co-activator Involved in Multiple Signaling Pathways in MCF-7 Cells.
J Mol Biol. 2018; 430(10):1531-1543 [PubMed
] Related Publications
Activation of estrogen receptor α (ERα) stimulates cell division and tumor growth by modulating the expression of ERα target genes. This activation involves the recruitment of specific proteins with activities that are still not fully understood. Timeless, the human homolog of the Drosophila gene involved in circadian rhythm, was previously shown to be a strong predictor of tamoxifen relapse, and is involved in genomic stability and cell cycle control. In this study, we investigated the interplay between Timeless and ERα, and showed that human Timeless is an ERα coactivator. Timeless binds to ERα and enhances its transcriptional activity. Overexpressing Timeless increases PARP1 expression and enhances ERα-induced gene regulation through the proximal LXXLL motif on Timeless protein and ERα PARylation. Finally, Timeless is recruited with ERα on the GREB1 and cMyc promoters. These data, the first to link Timeless to steroid hormone function, provide a mechanistic basis for its clinical association with tamoxifen resistance. Thus, our results identify Timeless as another key regulator of ERα in controlling ERα transactivation.
Brunetti M, Panagopoulos I, Gorunova L, et al.RNA-sequencing identifies novel GREB1-NCOA2 fusion gene in a uterine sarcoma with the chromosomal translocation t(2;8)(p25;q13).
Genes Chromosomes Cancer. 2018; 57(4):176-181 [PubMed
] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Sarcomas account for 3% of all uterine malignancies and many of them are characterized by acquired, specific fusion genes whose detection has increased pathogenetic knowledge and diagnostic precision. We describe a novel fusion gene, GREB1-NCOA2, detected by transcriptome sequencing and validated by reverse transcriptase polymerase chain reaction and Sanger sequencing in an undifferentiated uterine sarcoma. The chimeric transcript was an in-frame fusion between exon 3 of GREB1 and exon 15 of NCOA2. The fusion is reported here for the first time, but it involves the GREB1 gene, an important promoter of tumor growth and progression, and NCOA2 which is known to be involved in transcriptional regulation. The alteration and recombination of these genes played a role in the tumorigenesis and/or progression of this sarcoma.
Resistance to cancer treatment can be driven by epigenetic reprogramming of specific transcriptomes in favor of the refractory phenotypes. Here we discover that tamoxifen resistance in breast cancer is driven by a regulatory axis consisting of a master transcription factor, its cofactor, and an epigenetic regulator. The oncogenic histone methyltransferase EZH2 conferred tamoxifen resistance by silencing the expression of the estrogen receptor α (ERα) cofactor GREB1. In clinical specimens, induction of DNA methylation of a particular CpG-enriched region at the
McDermott MS, Chumanevich AA, Lim CU, et al.Inhibition of CDK8 mediator kinase suppresses estrogen dependent transcription and the growth of estrogen receptor positive breast cancer.
Oncotarget. 2017; 8(8):12558-12575 [PubMed
] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Hormone therapy targeting estrogen receptor (ER) is the principal treatment for ER-positive breast cancers. However, many cancers develop resistance to hormone therapy while retaining ER expression. Identifying new druggable mediators of ER function can help to increase the efficacy of ER-targeting drugs. Cyclin-dependent kinase 8 (CDK8) is a Mediator complex-associated transcriptional regulator with oncogenic activities. Expression of CDK8, its paralog CDK19 and their binding partner Cyclin C are negative prognostic markers in breast cancer. Meta-analysis of transcriptome databases revealed an inverse correlation between CDK8 and ERα expression, suggesting that CDK8 could be functionally associated with ER. We have found that CDK8 inhibition by CDK8/19-selective small-molecule kinase inhibitors, by shRNA knockdown or by CRISPR/CAS9 knockout suppresses estrogen-induced transcription in ER-positive breast cancer cells; this effect was exerted downstream of ER. Estrogen addition stimulated the binding of CDK8 to the ER-responsive GREB1 gene promoter and CDK8/19 inhibition reduced estrogen-stimulated association of an elongation-competent phosphorylated form of RNA Polymerase II with GREB1. CDK8/19 inhibitors abrogated the mitogenic effect of estrogen on ER-positive cells and potentiated the growth-inhibitory effects of ER antagonist fulvestrant. Treatment of estrogen-deprived ER-positive breast cancer cells with CDK8/19 inhibitors strongly impeded the development of estrogen independence. In vivo treatment with a CDK8/19 inhibitor Senexin B suppressed tumor growth and augmented the effects of fulvestrant in ER-positive breast cancer xenografts. These results identify CDK8 as a novel downstream mediator of ER and suggest the utility of CDK8 inhibitors for ER-positive breast cancer therapy.
Lin W, Huang J, Liao X, et al.Neo-tanshinlactone selectively inhibits the proliferation of estrogen receptor positive breast cancer cells through transcriptional down-regulation of estrogen receptor alpha.
Pharmacol Res. 2016; 111:849-858 [PubMed
] Related Publications
Breast cancer, the most frequent cancer in women, is the second leading cause of cancer-related death. Estrogens and estrogen receptors are well recognized to play predominant roles in breast cancer development and growth. Neo-tanshinlactone is a natural product isolated from Salvia miltiorrhiza and showed selective growth inhibition of ER+ breast cancer cell lines as demonstrated by cell proliferation assay and colony formation assay. The selective anti-proliferative effect of neo-tanshinlactone was associated with the induction of apoptosis in ER+ breast cancer cells. We also found that neo-tanshinlactone decreased steady state ESR1 mRNA levels in ER+ breast cancer cells, which was further confirmed by analysis of ER protein levels as well as the mRNA levels of target genes of this transcription factor, such as ESR2, BRCA1, CCND1, GREB1, TFF1, SERPINB9 and ABCA3. Furthermore, analysis of heterogeneous nuclear RNA (hnRNA) demonstrated that neo-tanshinlactone inhibited ESR1 mRNA de novo synthesis. The decrease of steady state ESR1 mRNA upon neo-tanshinlactone treatment was not abolished by protein synthesis inhibitor cycloheximide. And inhibition of mRNA synthesis with actinomycin D revealed no significant effect of neo-tanshinlactone on ESR1 mRNA stability. These results indicated that transcriptional down-regulation of ESR1 mRNA could contribute to the selective activity of neo-tanshinlactone on ER+ breast cancer cells. And as expected, the combination of neo-tanshinlactone and antiestrogen reagent tamoxifen showed a synergistic effect on growth of ER+ MCF7 cells. Our results suggest that neo-tanshinlactone is a promising regimen for ER+ breast tumors.
Zhang W, Chen JH, Aguilera-Barrantes I, et al.Urolithin A suppresses the proliferation of endometrial cancer cells by mediating estrogen receptor-α-dependent gene expression.
Mol Nutr Food Res. 2016; 60(11):2387-2395 [PubMed
] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
SCOPE: Obese and overweight women are at high risk of developing endometrial cancer; indeed, many of endometrial cancer patients are obese. The increased number and size of adipocytes due to obesity elevate levels of circulating estrogens that stimulate cell proliferation in the endometrium. However, black raspberries are a promising approach to preventing endometrial cancer.
METHODS AND RESULTS: We examined 17 black raspberry constituents and metabolites (10 μM or 10 μg/mL, 48 h) for their ability to prevent endometrial cancer cells from proliferating. Urolithin A (UA) was most able to suppress proliferation in a time- and dose-dependent manner (p < 0.05). It arrested the G2/M phase of the cell cycle by upregulating cyclin-B1, cyclin-E2, p21, phospho-cdc2, and CDC25B. UA also acted as an estrogen agonist by modulating estrogen receptor-α (ERα) dependent gene expression in ER-positive endometrial cancer cells. UA enhanced the expression of ERβ, PGR, pS2, GREB1 while inhibiting the expression of ERα and GRIP1. Coincubating UA-treated cells with the estrogen antagonist ICI182,780 abolished UA's estrogenic effects. Knocking down ERα suppressed PGR, pS2, and GREB gene expression but increased GRIP1 expression. Thus, UA's actions appear to be mediated through ERα.
CONCLUSION: This study suggests that UA modulates ERα-dependent gene expression, thereby inhibiting endometrial cancer proliferation.
Simigdala N, Gao Q, Pancholi S, et al.Cholesterol biosynthesis pathway as a novel mechanism of resistance to estrogen deprivation in estrogen receptor-positive breast cancer.
Breast Cancer Res. 2016; 18(1):58 [PubMed
] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
BACKGROUND: Therapies targeting estrogenic stimulation in estrogen receptor-positive (ER+) breast cancer (BC) reduce mortality, but resistance remains a major clinical problem. Molecular studies have shown few high-frequency mutations to be associated with endocrine resistance. In contrast, expression profiling of primary ER+ BC samples has identified several promising signatures/networks for targeting.
METHODS: To identify common adaptive mechanisms associated with resistance to aromatase inhibitors (AIs), we assessed changes in global gene expression during adaptation to long-term estrogen deprivation (LTED) in a panel of ER+ BC cell lines cultured in 2D on plastic (MCF7, T47D, HCC1428, SUM44 and ZR75.1) or in 3D on collagen (MCF7) to model the stromal compartment. Furthermore, dimethyl labelling followed by LC-MS/MS was used to assess global changes in protein abundance. The role of target genes/proteins on proliferation, ER-mediated transcription and recruitment of ER to target gene promoters was analysed.
RESULTS: The cholesterol biosynthesis pathway was the common upregulated pathway in the ER+ LTED but not the ER- LTED cell lines, suggesting a potential mechanism dependent on continued ER expression. Targeting the individual genes of the cholesterol biosynthesis pathway with siRNAs caused a 30-50 % drop in proliferation. Further analysis showed increased expression of 25-hydroxycholesterol (HC) in the MCF7 LTED cells. Exogenous 25-HC or 27-HC increased ER-mediated transcription and expression of the endogenous estrogen-regulated gene TFF1 in ER+ LTED cells but not in the ER- LTED cells. Additionally, recruitment of the ER and CREB-binding protein (CBP) to the TFF1 and GREB1 promoters was increased upon treatment with 25-HC and 27-HC. In-silico analysis of two independent studies of primary ER+ BC patients treated with neoadjuvant AIs showed that increased expression of MSMO1, EBP, LBR and SQLE enzymes, required for cholesterol synthesis and increased in our in-vitro models, was significantly associated with poor response to endocrine therapy.
CONCLUSION: Taken together, these data provide support for the role of cholesterol biosynthesis enzymes and the cholesterol metabolites, 25-HC and 27-HC, in a novel mechanism of resistance to endocrine therapy in ER+ BC that has potential as a therapeutic target.
Capper CP, Larios JM, Sikora MJ, et al.The CYP17A1 inhibitor abiraterone exhibits estrogen receptor agonist activity in breast cancer.
Breast Cancer Res Treat. 2016; 157(1):23-30 [PubMed
] Related Publications
Cytochrome P450 17A1 (CYP17A1) is the requisite enzyme for synthesis of sex steroids, including estrogens and androgens. As such, inhibition of CYP17A1 is a target for inhibiting the growth of hormone-dependent cancers including prostate and breast cancer. Abiraterone, is a first in class potent and selective CYP17A1 inhibitor that has been approved for the treatment of castration-resistant prostate cancer. Given that, androgens are the precursors for estrogen production, it has been proposed that abiraterone could be an effective form of treatment for estrogen receptor (ER)-positive breast cancer, though its utility in this context has yet to be established. Abiraterone has a core steroid-like chemical structure, and so we hypothesized that it may bind to nuclear steroid receptors including ER and have estrogenic activity. We tested this hypothesis by investigating abiraterone's ability to directly modulate ER signaling in breast cancer cell line models. We show that abiraterone directly activates ER, induces ER-target gene expression, and elicits estrogen-response-element reporter activity in the ER-positive cell lines MCF-7 and T47D. Abiraterone also induced cell proliferation by ~2.5-fold over vehicle in both MCF-7 and T47D cells. Importantly, abiraterone-induced cell proliferation and ER-activity was blocked by the selective estrogen receptor downregulator (SERD) fulvestrant, confirming that abiraterone directly acts at the ER. These data suggest that abiraterone should be combined with other ER antagonists when used for the clinical management of ER-positive breast cancer.
Monahan DA, Wang J, Lee O, et al.Cytologic atypia in the contralateral unaffected breast is related to parity and estrogen-related genes.
Surg Oncol. 2016; 25(4):449-456 [PubMed
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PURPOSE: The contralateral unaffected breast (CUB) of women with unilateral breast cancer provides a model for the study of breast tissue-based risk factors. Using random fine needle aspiration (rFNA), we have investigated hormonal and gene expression patterns related to atypia in the CUBs of newly diagnosed breast cancer patients.
METHODS: 83 women underwent rFNA of the CUB. Cytologic analysis was performed using the Masood Score (MS), atypia was defined as MS > 14. RNA was extracted using 80% of the sample. The expression of 20 hormone related genes was quantified using Taqman Low Density Arrays. Statistical analysis was performed using 2-tailed t tests and linear regression.
RESULTS: Cytological atypia was more frequent in multiparous women (P = 0.0392), and was not associated with any tumor-related features in the affected breast. Masood Score was higher with shorter interval since last pregnancy (R = 0.204, P = 0.0417), higher number of births (R = 0.369, P = 0.0006), and estrogen receptor (ER) negativity of the index cancer (R = -0.203, P = 0.065). Individual cytologic features were associated with aspects of parity. Specifically, anisonucleosis was correlated with shorter interval since last pregnancy (R = 0.318, P = 0.0201), higher number of births (R = 0.382, P = 0.0004), and ER status (R = -0.314, P = 0.0038). Eight estrogen-regulated genes were increased in atypical samples (P < 0.005), including TFF1, AGT, PDZK1, PGR, GREB1, PRLR, CAMK2B, and CCND1.
CONCLUSIONS: Cytologic atypia, and particularly anisonucleosis, is associated with recent and multiple births and ER negative status of the index tumor. Atypical samples showed increased expression of estrogen-related genes, consistent with the role of estrogen exposure in breast cancer development.
Candelaria NR, Weldon R, Muthusamy S, et al.Alcohol Regulates Genes that Are Associated with Response to Endocrine Therapy and Attenuates the Actions of Tamoxifen in Breast Cancer Cells.
PLoS One. 2015; 10(12):e0145061 [PubMed
] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Hereditary, hormonal, and behavioral factors contribute to the development of breast cancer. Alcohol consumption is a modifiable behavior that is linked to increased breast cancer risks and is associated with the development of hormone-dependent breast cancers as well as disease progression and recurrence following endocrine treatment. In this study we examined the molecular mechanisms of action of alcohol by applying molecular, genetic, and genomic approaches in characterizing its effects on estrogen receptor (ER)-positive breast cancer cells. Treatments with alcohol promoted cell proliferation, increased growth factor signaling, and up-regulated the transcription of the ER target gene GREB1 but not the canonical target TFF1/pS2. Microarray analysis following alcohol treatment identified a large number of alcohol-responsive genes, including those which function in apoptotic and cell proliferation pathways. Furthermore, expression profiles of the responsive gene sets in tumors were strongly associated with clinical outcomes in patients who received endocrine therapy. Correspondingly, alcohol treatment attenuated the anti-proliferative effects of the endocrine therapeutic drug tamoxifen in ER-positive breast cancer cells. To determine the contribution and functions of responsive genes, their differential expression in tumors were assessed between outcome groups. The proto-oncogene BRAF was identified as a novel alcohol- and estrogen-induced gene that showed higher expression in patients with poor outcomes. Knock-down of BRAF, moreover, prevented the proliferation of breast cancer cells. These findings not only highlight the mechanistic basis of the effects of alcohol on breast cancer cells and increased risks for disease incidents and recurrence, but may facilitate the discovery and characterization of novel oncogenic pathways and markers in breast cancer research and therapeutics.
Ribas R, Pancholi S, Guest SK, et al.AKT Antagonist AZD5363 Influences Estrogen Receptor Function in Endocrine-Resistant Breast Cancer and Synergizes with Fulvestrant (ICI182780) In Vivo.
Mol Cancer Ther. 2015; 14(9):2035-48 [PubMed
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PI3K/AKT/mTOR signaling plays an important role in breast cancer. Its interaction with estrogen receptor (ER) signaling becomes more complex and interdependent with acquired endocrine resistance. Targeting mTOR combined with endocrine therapy has shown clinical utility; however, a negative feedback loop exists downstream of PI3K/AKT/mTOR. Direct blockade of AKT together with endocrine therapy may improve breast cancer treatment. AZD5363, a novel pan-AKT kinase catalytic inhibitor, was examined in a panel of ER(+) breast cancer cell lines (MCF7, HCC1428, T47D, ZR75.1) adapted to long-term estrogen deprivation (LTED) or tamoxifen (TamR). AZD5363 caused a dose-dependent decrease in proliferation in all cell lines tested (GI50 < 500 nmol/L) except HCC1428 and HCC1428-LTED. T47D-LTED and ZR75-LTED were the most sensitive of the lines (GI50 ∼ 100 nmol/L). AZD5363 resensitized TamR cells to tamoxifen and acted synergistically with fulvestrant. AZD5363 decreased p-AKT/mTOR targets leading to a reduction in ERα-mediated transcription in a context-specific manner and concomitant decrease in recruitment of ER and CREB-binding protein (CBP) to estrogen response elements located on the TFF1, PGR, and GREB1 promoters. Furthermore, AZD5363 reduced expression of cell-cycle-regulatory proteins. Global gene expression highlighted ERBB2-ERBB3, ERK5, and IGFI signaling pathways driven by MYC as potential feedback-loops. Combined treatment with AZD5363 and fulvestrant showed synergy in an ER(+) patient-derived xenograft and delayed tumor progression after cessation of therapy. These data support the combination of AZD5363 with fulvestrant as a potential therapy for breast cancer that is sensitive or resistant to E-deprivation or tamoxifen and that activated AKT is a determinant of response, supporting the need for clinical evaluation.
Kim HI, Kim T, Kim JE, et al.NJK14013, a novel synthetic estrogen receptor-α agonist, exhibits estrogen receptor-independent, tumor cell-specific cytotoxicity.
Int J Oncol. 2015; 47(1):280-6 [PubMed
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Estrogens act through interactions with estrogen receptors (ERs) to play diverse roles in various pathophysiological conditions. A number of synthetic selective estrogen receptor modulators (SERMs), such as tamoxifen and raloxifene, have been developed and used to treat ER-related diseases, including breast cancer and osteoporosis. Here, we identified a novel compound, bis(4-hydroxyphenyl)methanone-O-isopentyl oxime, designated NJK14013, as an ER agonist. NJK14013 activated ER-dependent transcription in a concentration-dependent manner, while suppressing androgen receptor-dependent transcriptional activity. It induced the activation-related phosphorylation of ER and enhanced the transcription of growth regulation by estrogen in breast cancer 1 (GREB1), further supporting its ER-stimulating activity. NJK14013 exerted anti-proliferative effects on various cancer cell lines, including an ER-negative breast cancer cell line, suggesting that it is capable of suppressing the growth of cancer cells independent of its ER-modulating activity. In addition, NJK14013 treatment resulted in significant apoptotic death of MCF7 and Ishikawa cancer cells, but did not induce apoptosis in non-cancer human umbilical vein endothelial cells. Collectively, our findings demonstrate that NJK14013 is a novel SERM that can activate ER-mediated transcription in MCF7 cells and suppress the proliferation of various cancer cells, including breast cancer cells and endometrial cancer cells. These results suggest that NJK14013 has potential as a novel SERM for anticancer or hormone-replacement therapy with reduced risk of carcinogenesis.
Intrinsic and acquired resistance to the monoclonal antibody drug trastuzumab is a major problem in the treatment of HER2-positive breast cancer. A deeper understanding of the underlying mechanisms could help to develop new agents. Our intention was to detect genes and single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) affecting trastuzumab efficiency in cell culture. Three HER2-positive breast cancer cell lines with different resistance phenotypes were analyzed. We chose BT474 as model of trastuzumab sensitivity, HCC1954 as model of intrinsic resistance, and BTR50, derived from BT474, as model of acquired resistance. Based on RNA-Seq data, we performed differential expression analyses on these cell lines with and without trastuzumab treatment. Differentially expressed genes between the resistant cell lines and BT474 are expected to contribute to resistance. Differentially expressed genes between untreated and trastuzumab treated BT474 are expected to contribute to drug efficacy. To exclude false positives from the candidate gene set, we removed genes that were also differentially expressed between untreated and trastuzumab treated BTR50. We further searched for SNPs in the untreated cell lines which could contribute to trastuzumab resistance. The analysis resulted in 54 differentially expressed candidate genes that might be connected to trastuzumab efficiency. 90% of 40 selected candidates were validated by RT-qPCR. ALPP, CALCOCO1, CAV1, CYP1A2 and IGFBP3 were significantly higher expressed in the trastuzumab treated than in the untreated BT474 cell line. GDF15, IL8, LCN2, PTGS2 and 20 other genes were significantly higher expressed in HCC1954 than in BT474, while NCAM2, COLEC12, AFF3, TFF3, NRCAM, GREB1 and TFF1 were significantly lower expressed. Additionally, we inferred SNPs in HCC1954 for CAV1, PTGS2, IL8 and IGFBP3. The latter also had a variation in BTR50. 20% of the validated subset have already been mentioned in literature. For half of them we called and analyzed SNPs. These results contribute to a better understanding of trastuzumab action and resistance mechanisms.
Breast cancer is the leading cause of cancer related death in women. Quercetin is a flavonol shown to have anti-carcinogenic actions. However, few studies have investigated the dose-dependent effects of quercetin on tumorigenesis and none have used the C3(1)/SV40 Tag breast cancer mouse model. At 4 weeks of age female C3(1)/SV40 Tag mice were randomized to one of four dietary treatments (n = 15-16/group): control (no quercetin), low-dose quercetin (0.02% diet), moderate-dose quercetin (0.2% diet), or high-dose quercetin (2% diet). Tumor number and volume was assessed twice a week and at sacrifice (20 wks). Results showed an inverted 'U' dose-dependent effect of dietary quercetin on tumor number and volume; at sacrifice the moderate dose was most efficacious and reduced tumor number 20% and tumor volume 78% compared to control mice (C3-Con: 9.0 ± 0.9; C3-0.2%: 7.3 ± 0.9) and (C3-Con: 2061.8 ± 977.0 mm(3); and C3-0.2%: 462.9 ± 75.9 mm(3)). Tumor volume at sacrifice was also reduced by the moderate dose compared to the high and low doses (C3-2%: 1163.2 ± 305.9 mm(3); C3-0.02%: 1401.5 ± 555.6 mm(3)), as was tumor number (C3-2%: 10.7 ± 1.3 mm(3); C3-0.02%: 8.1 ± 1.1 mm(3)). Gene expression microarray analysis performed on mammary glands from C3-Con and C3-0.2% mice determined that 31 genes were down-regulated and 9 genes were up-regulated more than 2-fold (P < 0.05) by quercetin treatment. We report the novel finding that there is a distinct dose-dependent effect of quercetin on tumor number and volume in a transgenic mouse model of human breast cancer, which is associated with a specific gene expression signature related to quercetin treatment.
Haynes BP, Viale G, Galimberti V, et al.Differences in expression of proliferation-associated genes and RANKL across the menstrual cycle in estrogen receptor-positive primary breast cancer.
Breast Cancer Res Treat. 2014; 148(2):327-35 [PubMed
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The purpose of this study is to determine if there are differences in the expression of estrogen-regulated genes (ERGs), proliferation-associated genes and the progesterone effector RANKL, in premenopausal ER+ breast cancer as a result of the major changes in hormone levels that occur through the menstrual cycle. Primary ER+ tumours from 174 patients were assigned to one of three menstrual cycle windows: W1 (days 27-35 + 1-6), W2 (days 7-16) and W3 (days 17-26). RNA expression of 42 genes, including 24 putative genes associated with plasma E2 levels, seven proliferation genes and RANKL was measured. Expression of PGR, TFF1, GREB1 and PDZK1 followed the previously reported pattern: a higher level in W2 compared to W1 while W3 had an intermediate value, mirroring changes in plasma estradiol. Of the other 20 ERGs, four (RUNX1, AGR2, SERPINA3 and SERPINA5) showed significant differences (p = 0.009-0.049) in expression across the menstrual cycle. The expression of six of seven proliferation-associated genes varied across the cycle but differently from the ERGs, being 20-35 % lower in W3 compared to W1 and W2 (p = 0.004-0.031). Expression of RANKL was 2.5 to 3-fold highest in W3 (p = 0.0001) and negatively correlated to the expression of the proliferation-associated genes (r = -0.37; p < 0.0001). Expression of proliferation-associated genes and RANKL in ER+ breast tumours varies across the menstrual cycle showing a different rhythm to that of ERGs. This may affect the interpretation of gene expression profiles but may be exploitable as an endogenous test of endocrine responsiveness.
Kim HI, Quan FS, Kim JE, et al.Inhibition of estrogen signaling through depletion of estrogen receptor alpha by ursolic acid and betulinic acid from Prunella vulgaris var. lilacina.
Biochem Biophys Res Commun. 2014; 451(2):282-7 [PubMed
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Extracts of Prunella vulgaris have been shown to exert antiestrogenic effects. To identify the compounds responsible for these actions, we isolated the constituents of P. vulgaris and tested their individual antiestrogenic effects. Rosmarinic acid, caffeic acid, ursolic acid (UA), oleanolic acid, hyperoside, rutin and betulinic acid (BA) were isolated from the flower stalks of P. vulgaris var. lilacina Nakai (Labiatae). Among these constituents, UA and BA showed significant antiestrogenic effects, measured as a decrease in the mRNA level of GREB1, an estrogen-responsive protein; the effects of BA were stronger than those of UA. UA and BA were capable of suppressing estrogen response element (ERE)-dependent luciferase activity and expression of estrogen-responsive genes in response to exposure to estradiol, further supporting the suppressive role of these compounds in estrogen-induced signaling. However, neither UA nor BA was capable of suppressing estrogen signaling in cells ectopically overexpressing estrogen receptor α (ERα). Furthermore, both mRNA and protein levels of ERα were reduced by treatment with UA or BA, suggesting that UA and BA inhibit estrogen signaling by suppressing the expression of ERα. Interestingly, both compounds enhanced prostate-specific antigen promoter activity. Collectively, these findings demonstrate that UA and BA are responsible for the antiestrogenic effects of P. vulgaris and suggest their potential use as therapeutic agents against estrogen-dependent tumors.
BACKGROUND: 3,3'-diindolylmethane (DIM) is an acid-catalyzed dimer of idole-3-carbinol (I3C), a phytochemical found in cruciferous vegetables that include broccoli, Brussels sprouts and cabbage. DIM is an aryl hydrocarbon receptor (AhR) ligand and a potential anticancer agent, namely for the treatment of breast cancer. It is also advertised as a compound that regulates sex hormone homeostasis.
METHODS: Here we make use of RNA expression assays coupled to Chromatin Immunoprecipitation (ChIP) in breast cancer cell lines to study the effect of DIM on estrogen signaling. We further make use of growth assays, as well as fluorescence-activated cell sorting (FACS) assays, to monitor cell growth.
RESULTS: In this study, we report that 'physiologically obtainable' concentrations of DIM (10 μM) activate the estrogen receptor α (ERα) signaling pathway in the human breast cancer cell lines MCF7 and T47D, in a 17β-estradiol (E2)-independent manner. Accordingly, we observe induction of ERα target genes such as GREB1 and TFF1, and an increase in cellular proliferation after treatment with 10 μM DIM in the absence of E2. By using an ERα specific inhibitor (ICI 182 780), we confirm that the transcriptional and proliferative effects of DIM treatment are mediated by ERα. We further show that the protein kinase A signaling pathway participates in DIM-mediated activation of ERα. In contrast, higher concentrations of DIM (e.g. 50 μM) have an opposite and expected effect on cells, which is to inhibit proliferation.
CONCLUSIONS: We document an unexpected effect of DIM on cell proliferation, which is to stimulate growth by inducing the ERα signaling pathway. Importantly, this proliferative effect of DIM happens with potentially physiological concentrations that can be provided by the diet or by taking caplet supplements.
Hodgkinson KM, Vanderhyden BCConsideration of GREB1 as a potential therapeutic target for hormone-responsive or endocrine-resistant cancers.
Expert Opin Ther Targets. 2014; 18(9):1065-76 [PubMed
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INTRODUCTION: Steroid hormones increase the incidence and promote the progression of many types of cancer. Exogenous estrogens increase the risk of developing breast, ovarian and endometrial cancer and many breast cancers initially respond to estrogen deprivation. Although steroid hormone signaling has been extensively studied, the mechanisms of hormone-stimulated cancer growth have not yet been fully elucidated, limiting opportunities for novel approaches to therapeutic intervention.
AREAS COVERED: This review examines growing evidence for the important role played by the steroid hormone-induced gene called GREB1, or growth regulation by estrogen in breast cancer 1. GREB1 is a critical mediator of both the estrogen-stimulated proliferation of breast cancer cells and the androgen-stimulated proliferation of prostate cancer cells.
EXPERT OPINION: Although its exact function in the cascade of hormone action remains unclear, the ability of GREB1 to modulate tumor progression in models of breast, ovarian and prostate cancer renders this gene an excellent candidate for further consideration as a potential therapeutic target. Research examining the mechanism of GREB1 action will help to elucidate its role in proliferation and its potential contribution to endocrine resistance and will determine whether GREB1 interference may have therapeutic efficacy.
We aimed at highlighting the role of ZNF217, a Krüppel-like finger protein, in Estrogen Receptor-α (ERα)-positive (ER+) and luminal breast cancers. Here we report for the first time that ZNF217 and ERα proteins bind to each other in both breast cancer cells and breast tumour samples, via the ERα hinge domain and the ZNF217 C-terminal domain. ZNF217 enhances the recruitment of ERα to its estrogen response elements (ERE) and the ERα-dependent transcription of the GREB1 estrogen-regulated gene. The prognostic power of ZNF217 mRNA expression levels is most discriminatory in breast cancers classified with a "good prognosis", particularly the Luminal-A subclass. A new immunohistochemistry ZNF217 index, based on nuclear and cytoplasmic ZNF217 staining, also allowed the identification of intermediate/poor relapse-free survivors in the Luminal-A subgroup. ZNF217 confers tamoxifen resistance in ER+ breast cancer cells and is a predictor of relapse under endocrine therapy in patients with ER+ breast cancer. ZNF217 thus allows the re-stratification of patients with ER+ breast cancers considered as cancers with good prognosis where no other biomarkers are currently available and widely used. Here we propose a model in ER+ breast cancer where ZNF217-driven aggressiveness incorporates ZNF217 as a positive enhancer of ERα direct genomic activity and where ZNF217 possesses its highest discriminatory prognostic value.
INTRODUCTION: Estrogen signaling is pivotal in the progression of estrogen receptor positive breast cancer primarily by the regulation of cell survival and proliferation. Micro (mi)RNAs have been demonstrated to be regulated by estrogen to mediate estrogenic effects. Herein, we determined the role of estrogen regulated miR-26 and its underlying molecular mechanisms associated with estrogen receptor (ER)+ breast cancer proliferation.
METHODS: The expression of miR-26a and miR-26b was evaluated by real-time quantitative (RT)-PCR. The expression of miR-26a or miR-26b was modulated in ER+ breast cancer cells (MCF-7 and T47D) and tumor cell growth in vitro and an in vivo xenograft model was determined. Bioinformatics analyses were utilized to screen for estrogen responsive genes, which were also predicted to be targeted by miR-26. Luciferase reporter assays were performed to confirm miR-26 regulation of the 3' UTR of target genes. The levels of miR-26 target genes (CHD1, GREB1 and KPNA2) were evaluated by western blotting and immunohistochemistry.
RESULTS: Estrogen reduced the expression of miR-26a and miR-26b in ER+ breast cancer cells. Forced expression of miR-26a or miR-26b significantly inhibited the estrogen stimulated growth of ER+ breast cancer cells and tumor growth in xenograft models, whereas miR-26a/b depletion increased the growth of ER+ breast cancer cells in the absence of estrogen treatment. Screening of estrogen responsive genes, which were also predicted to be targeted by miR-26, identified GREB1 and nine other genes (AGPAT5, AMMECR1, CHD1, ERLIN1, HSPA8, KPNA2, MREG, NARG1, and PLOD2). Further verification has identified nine genes (AGPAT5, CHD1, ERLIN1, GREB1, HSPA8, KPNA2, MREG, NARG1 and PLOD2) which were directly targeted by miR-26 via their 3' UTR. Functional screening suggested only three estrogen regulated miR-26 target genes (CHD1, GREB1 and KPNA2) were involved in the regulation of estrogen promoted cell proliferation. Depletion of either CHD1, GREB1 or KPNA2 significantly abrogated the enhanced growth of ER+ breast cancer cells due to miR-26 depletion. We further demonstrated that estrogen stimulated c-MYC expression was both sufficient and necessary for the diminished expression of miR-26a and miR-26b.
CONCLUSIONS: We have identified a novel estrogen/MYC/miR-26 axis that mediates estrogen stimulated cell growth via CHD1, GREB1 and KPNA2.
Bisphenol AF (BPAF)-induced transcriptional activity has been evaluated by luciferase reporter assay. However, the molecular mechanism of BPAF-induced endogenous transcription in human breast cancer cells has not been fully elucidated. In the present study, we investigated the effect and mechanism of BPAF-induced endogenous transcription detected by real-time PCR in human breast cancer cells. We found that BPAF stimulated transcription of estrogen responsive genes, such as trefoil factor 1 (TFF1), growth regulation by estrogen in breast cancer 1 (GREB1) and cathepsin D (CTSD), through dose-dependent and time-dependent manners in T47D and MCF7 cells. Gene-silencing of ERα, ERβ and G protein-coupled estrogen receptor 1 (GPER) by small interfering RNA revealed that BPAF-induced endogenous transcription was dependent on ERα and GPER, implying both genomic and nongenomic pathways might be involved in the endogenous transcription induced by BPAF. ERα-mediated gene transcription was further confirmed by inhibition of ER activity using ICI 182780 in ERα-positive T47D and MCF7 cells as well as overexpression of ERα in ERα-negative MDA-MB-231 breast cancer cells. Moreover, we utilized Src tyrosine kinase inhibitor PP2 and two MEK inhibitors PD98059 and U0126 to elucidate the rapid nongenomic activation of Src/MEK/ERK1/2 cascade on endogenous transcription. Our data showed that BPAF-induced transcription could be significantly blocked by PP2, PD98059 and U0126, suggesting activation of ERK1/2 was also required to regulate endogenous transcription. Taken together, these results indicate that BPAF-induced endogenous transcription of estrogen responsive genes is mediated through both genomic and nongenomic pathways involving the ERα and ERK1/2 activation in human breast cancer cells.
Exogenous 17β-estradiol (E2) accelerates the progression of ovarian cancer in the transgenic tgCAG-LS-TAg mouse model of the disease. We hypothesized that E2 has direct effects on ovarian cancer cells and this study was designed to determine the molecular mechanisms by which E2 accelerates ovarian tumor progression. Mouse ovarian cancer ascites (MAS) cell lines were derived from tgCAG-LS-TAg mice. Following intraperitoneal engraftment of two MAS cell lines, MASC1 and MASE2, into SCID mice, exogenous E2 significantly decreased the survival time and increased the tumor burden. Microarray analysis performed on MASE2-derived tumors treated with E2 or placebo showed that E2 treatment caused the upregulation of 197 genes and the downregulation of 55 genes. The expression of gene regulated by estrogen in breast cancer 1 (Greb1) was upregulated in mouse tumors treated with E2 and was overexpressed in human ovarian cancers relative to human ovarian surface epithelium, suggesting a role for GREB1 in human ovarian tumor progression. RNA interference-mediated knockdown of GREB1 in MASE2 cells decreased their proliferation rate in vitro and increased survival time in mice engrafted with the cells. These results emphasize the importance of E2 in ovarian tumor progression and identify Greb1 as a novel gene target for therapeutic intervention.
Huang Y, Ju B, Tian J, et al.Ovarian cancer stem cell-specific gene expression profiling and targeted drug prescreening.
Oncol Rep. 2014; 31(3):1235-48 [PubMed
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Cancer stem cells, with unlimited self-renewal potential and other stem cell characteristics, occur in several types of cancer, including ovarian cancer (OvC). Although CSCs can cause tumor initiation, malignant proliferation, relapse and multi-drug resistance, ways to eliminate them remain unknown. In the present study, we compared ovarian cancer stem cell (OVCSC) expression profiles in normal ovarian surface epithelium and ovarian cells from patients with advanced disease to identify key pathways and specific molecular signatures involved in OVC progression and to prescreen candidate small-molecule compounds with anti-OVCSC activity. Comparison of genome-wide expression profiles of OvC stemness groups with non-stemness controls revealed 6495, 1347 and 509 differentially expressed genes in SDC, SP1 and SP2 groups, respectively, with a cut-off of fold-change set at >1.5 and P<0.05. NAB1 and NPIPL1 were commonly upregulated whereas PROS1, GREB1, KLF9 and MTUS1 were commonly downregulated in all 3 groups. Most differentially expressed genes consistently clustered with molecular functions such as protein receptor binding, kinase activity and chemo-repellent activity. These genes regulate cellular components such as centrosome, plasma membrane receptors, and basal lamina, and may participate in biological processes such as cell cycle regulation, chemoresistance and stemness induction. Key Kyoto Encyclopedia of Genes and Genomes (KEGG) pathways such as ECM receptor, ErbB signaling, endocytosis and adherens junction pathways were enriched. Gene co-expression extrapolation screening by the Connectivity Map revealed several small-molecule compounds (such as SC-560, disulfiram, thapsigargin, esculetin and cinchonine) with potential anti-OVCSC properties targeting OVCSC signature genes. We identified several key CSC features and specific regulation networks in OVCSCs and predicted several small molecules with potential anti-OVCSC pharmacological properties, which may aid the development of OVCSC-specific drugs.