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 31 August, 2019 using data from PubMed, MeSH and CancerIndex
Specific Cancers (6)
Data table showing topics related to specific cancers and associated disorders. Scope includes mutations and abnormal protein expression.
Note: list is not exhaustive. Number of papers are based on searches of PubMed (click on topic title for arbitrary criteria used).
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: GRM1 (cancer-related)
Baumhoer D, Amary F, Flanagan AMAn update of molecular pathology of bone tumors. Lessons learned from investigating samples by next generation sequencing.
Genes Chromosomes Cancer. 2019; 58(2):88-99 [PubMed
] Related Publications
The last decade has seen the majority of primary bone tumor subtypes become defined by molecular genetic alteration. Examples include giant cell tumour of bone (H3F3A p.G34W), chondroblastoma (H3F3B p.K36M), mesenchymal chondrosarcoma (HEY1-NCOA2), chondromyxoid fibroma (GRM1 rearrangements), aneurysmal bone cyst (USP6 rearrangements), osteoblastoma/osteoid osteoma (FOS/FOSB rearrangements), and synovial chondromatosis (FN1-ACVR2A and ACVR2A-FN1). All such alterations are mutually exclusive. Many of these have been translated into clinical service using immunohistochemistry or FISH. 60% of central chondrosarcoma is characterised by either isocitrate dehydrogenase (IDH) 1 or IDH2 mutations distinguishing them from other cartilaginous tumours. In contrast, recurrent alterations which are clinically helpful have not been found in high grade osteosarcoma. High throughput next generation sequencing has also proved valuable in identifying germ line alterations in a significant proportion of young patients with primary malignant bone tumors. These findings will play an increasing role in reaching a diagnosis and in patient management.
BACKGROUND: Diffuse intrinsic pontine glioma (DIPG) is the main cause of pediatric brain tumor death. This study was designed to identify key genes associated with DIPG.
METHODS: The gene expression profile GSE50021, which consisted of 35 pediatric DIPG samples and 10 normal brain samples, was downloaded from the Gene Expression Omnibus database. Differentially expressed genes (DEGs) were identified by limma package. Functional and pathway enrichment analyses were performed by the DAVID tool. Protein-protein interaction (PPI) network, and transcription factor (TF)-microRNA (miRNA)-target gene network were constructed using Cytoscape. Moreover, the expression levels of several genes were validated in human glioma cell line U251 and normal glia HEB cells through real-time polymerase chain reaction (PCR).
RESULTS: A total of 378 DEGs were screened (74 up-regulated and 304 down-regulated genes). In the PPI network, GRM1, HTR2A, GRM7 and GRM2 had higher degrees. Besides, GRM1 and HTR2A were significantly enriched in the neuroactive ligand-receptor interaction pathway, and calcium signaling pathway. In addition, TFAP2C was a significant down-regulated functional gene and hsa-miR-26b-5p had a higher degree in the TF-miRNA-target gene network. PCR analysis revealed that GRM7 and HTR2A were significantly downregulated while TFAP2C was upregulated in U251 cells compared with that in HEB cells (p < 0.001). GRM2 was not detected in cells.
CONCLUSIONS: GRM1 and HTR2A might function in DIPG through the neuroactive ligand-receptor interaction pathway and the calcium signaling pathway. Furthermore, the TFAP2C and hsa-miR-26b-5p might play important roles in the development and progression mechanisms of DIPG.
Insulinoma is a rare type tumor and its genetic features remain largely unknown. This study aimed to search for potential key genes and relevant enriched pathways of insulinoma.The gene expression data from GSE73338 were downloaded from Gene Expression Omnibus database. Differentially expressed genes (DEGs) were identified between insulinoma tissues and normal pancreas tissues, followed by pathway enrichment analysis, protein-protein interaction (PPI) network construction, and module analysis. The expressions of candidate key genes were validated by quantitative real-time polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) in insulinoma tissues.A total of 1632 DEGs were obtained, including 1117 upregulated genes and 514 downregulated genes. Pathway enrichment results showed that upregulated DEGs were significantly implicated in insulin secretion, and downregulated DEGs were mainly enriched in pancreatic secretion. PPI network analysis revealed 7 hub genes with degrees more than 10, including GCG (glucagon), GCGR (glucagon receptor), PLCB1 (phospholipase C, beta 1), CASR (calcium sensing receptor), F2R (coagulation factor II thrombin receptor), GRM1 (glutamate metabotropic receptor 1), and GRM5 (glutamate metabotropic receptor 5). DEGs involved in the significant modules were enriched in calcium signaling pathway, protein ubiquitination, and platelet degranulation. Quantitative RT-PCR data confirmed that the expression trends of these hub genes were similar to the results of bioinformatic analysis.The present study demonstrated that candidate DEGs and enriched pathways were the potential critical molecule events involved in the development of insulinoma, and these findings were useful for better understanding of insulinoma genesis.
Tong L, Yi L, Liu P, et al.Tumour cell dormancy as a contributor to the reduced survival of GBM patients who received standard therapy.
Oncol Rep. 2018; 40(1):463-471 [PubMed
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Glioblastoma multiforme (GBM) is a fatal cancer with varying life expectancy, even for patients undergoing the same standard therapy. Identification of differentially expressed genes in GBM patients with different survival rates may benefit the development of effective therapeutic strategies. In the present study, key pathways and genes correlated with survival in GBM patients were screened with bioinformatic analysis. Included in the study were 136 eligible patients who had undertaken surgical resection of GBM followed by temozolomide (TMZ) chemoradiation and long-term therapy with TMZ. A total of 383 differentially expressed genes (DEGs) related to GBM survival were identified. Gene Ontology and pathway enrichment analysis as well as hub gene screening and module analysis were performed. As expected, angiogenesis and migration of GBM cells were closely correlated with a poor prognosis. Importantly, the results also indicated that cell dormancy was an essential contributor to the reduced survival of GBM patients. Given the lack of specific targeted genes and pathways known to be involved in tumour cell dormancy, we proposed enriched candidate genes related to the negative regulation of cell proliferation, signalling pathways regulating pluripotency of stem cells and neuroactive ligand-receptor interaction, and 3 hub genes (FTH1, GRM1 and DDIT3). Maintaining persistent cell dormancy or preventing tumour cells from entering dormancy during chemoradiation should be a promising therapeutic strategy.
Majumdar A, Ahmad F, Sheikh T, et al.miR-217-casein kinase-2 cross talk regulates ERK activation in ganglioglioma.
J Mol Med (Berl). 2017; 95(11):1215-1226 [PubMed
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Gangliogliomas (GGs) are the most commonly diagnosed long-term epilepsy-associated tumors (LEATs). Although molecular characterizations of brain tumors have identified few novel biomarkers among the LEATs, mechanisms of pathogenesis remain poorly understood. In this study, global microarray-based microRNA (miRNA) expression profile on a set of 9 GGs indicated 66 miRNAs to be differentially expressed in GG as compared to normal brain. The differences validated by qRT-PCR indicated microRNA-217 to be the most downregulated. Through insilico analysis, ERK1/2 and casein kinase (CK-2α) were predicted to be miR-217 regulated. As decreased miR-217 expression was concomitant with upregulated ERK1/2 and CK-2α levels in GG; the interplay between these molecules was investigated in primary human neural precursor cells to mimic the glioneuronal characteristics of these tumors. miR-217 over-expression-mediated decrease in pERK, CK-2α, and mGluR1 levels was accompanied with increase in glycogen accumulation. Importantly, increase in miR-217 levels upon CK-2α inhibition indicated inverse correlation between the two. Inhibition of CK-2α also decreased ERK and mGluR1 levels. By demonstrating, for the first time, the existence of miR-217-CK-2 cross talk and its effects on known epileptogenic factors, these findings provide a unique insight into the pathogenesis of ganglioglioma. By highlighting the role of CK-2 in affecting miR-217/ERK/mGluR1 interplay, this study suggests that targeting CK-2 may afford a novel strategy aimed at LEATs.
KEY MESSAGES: Global microarray of ganglioglioma indicates downregulation of miR-217. Decreased miR-217 expression is concomitant with elevated CK-2α and Erk levels. Inverse correlation between miR-217 and CK-2α in primary human neural precursors. miR-217 agomir or CK-2α inhibition decreases pERK and mGluR1 levels. CK-2α affects miR-217/ERK/mGluR1 interplay in long-term epilepsy-associated tumors.
Recent evidence suggests that glutamate signaling plays an important role in cancer. Riluzole is a glutamate release inhibitor and FDA-approved drug for the treatment of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. It has been investigated as an inhibitor of cancer cell growth and tumorigenesis with the intention of repurposing it for the treatment of cancer. Riluzole is thought to act by indirectly inhibiting glutamate signaling. However, the specific effects of riluzole in breast cancer cells are not well understood. In this study, the anti-cancer effects of riluzole were explored in a panel of breast cancer cell lines in comparison to the metabotropic glutamate receptor 1-specific inhibitor BAY 36-7620. While both drugs inhibited breast cancer cell proliferation, there were distinct functional effects suggesting that riluzole action may be metabotropic glutamate receptor 1-independent. Riluzole induced mitotic arrest independent of oxidative stress while BAY 36-7620 had no measurable effect on mitosis. BAY 36-7620 had a more pronounced and significant effect on DNA damage than riluzole. Riluzole altered cellular metabolism as demonstrated by changes in oxidative phosphorylation and cellular metabolite levels. These results provide a better understanding of the functional action of riluzole in the treatment of breast cancer.
Metabotropic glutamate receptors (mGluR) are predominantly involved in maintenance of cellular homeostasis of central nervous system. However, evidences have suggested other roles of mGluR in human tumors. Aberrant mGluR signaling has been shown to participate in transformation and maintenance of various cancer types, including malignant brain tumors. This review intends to summarize recent findings regarding the involvement of mGluR-mediated intracellular signaling pathways in progression, aggressiveness, and recurrence of malignant gliomas, mainly glioblastomas (GBM), highlighting the potential therapeutic applications of mGluR ligands. In addition to the growing number of studies reporting mGluR gene or protein expression in glioma samples (resections, lineages, and primary cultures), pharmacological blockade in vitro of mGluR1 and mGluR3 by selective ligands has been shown to be anti-proliferative and anti-migratory, decreasing activation of MAPK and PI3K pathways. In addition, mGluR3 antagonists promoted astroglial differentiation of GBM cells and also enabled cytotoxic action of temozolomide (TMZ). mGluR3-dependent TMZ toxicity was supported by increasing levels of MGMT transcripts through an intracellular signaling pathway that sequentially involves PI3K and NF-κB. Further, continuous pharmacological blockade of mGluR1 and mGluR3 have been shown to reduced growth of GBM tumor in two independent in vivo xenograft models. In parallel, low levels of mGluR3 mRNA in GBM resections may be a predictor for long survival rate of patients. Since several Phase I, II and III clinical trials are being performed using group I and II mGluR modulators, there is a strong scientifically-based rationale for testing mGluR antagonists as an adjuvant therapy for malignant brain tumors.
It is well-known that the conversion of normal colon epithelium to adenoma and then to carcinoma stems from acquired molecular changes in the genome. The genetic basis of colorectal cancer has been elucidated to a certain extent, and much remains to be known about the identity of specific cancer genes that are associated with the advancement of colorectal cancer from one stage to the next. Here in this study we attempted to identify novel cancer genes that could underlie the stage-specific progression and metastasis of colorectal cancer. We conducted a stage-based meta-analysis of the voluminous tumor genome-sequencing data and mined using multiple approaches for novel genes driving the progression to stage-II, stage-III and stage-IV colorectal cancer. The consensus of these driver genes seeded the construction of stage-specific networks, which were then analyzed for the centrality of genes, clustering of subnetworks, and enrichment of gene-ontology processes. Our study identified three novel driver genes as hubs for stage-II progression: DYNC1H1, GRIN2A, GRM1. Four novel driver genes were identified as hubs for stage-III progression: IGF1R, CPS1, SPTA1, DSP. Three novel driver genes were identified as hubs for stage-IV progression: GSK3B, GGT1, EIF2B5. We also identified several non-driver genes that appeared to underscore the progression of colorectal cancer. Our study yielded potential diagnostic biomarkers for colorectal cancer as well as novel stage-specific drug targets for rational intervention. Our methodology is extendable to the analysis of other types of cancer to fill the gaps in our knowledge.
Speyer CL, Nassar MA, Hachem AH, et al.Riluzole mediates anti-tumor properties in breast cancer cells independent of metabotropic glutamate receptor-1.
Breast Cancer Res Treat. 2016; 157(2):217-228 [PubMed
] Related Publications
Riluzole, the only drug approved by the FDA for treating amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, inhibits melanoma proliferation through its inhibitory effect on glutamatergic signaling. We demonstrated that riluzole also inhibits the growth of triple-negative breast cancer (TNBC) and described a role for metabotropic glutamate receptor-1 (GRM1) in regulating TNBC cell growth and progression. However, the role of GRM1 in mediating riluzole's effects in breast cancer has not been fully elucidated. In this study, we seek to determine how much of riluzole's action in breast cancer is mediated through GRM1. We investigated anti-tumor properties of riluzole in TNBC and ER+ cells using cell growth, invasion, and soft-agar assays and compared riluzole activity with GRM1 levels. Using Lentiviral vectors expressing GRM1 or shGRM1, these studies were repeated in cells expressing high or low GRM1 levels where the gene was either silenced or overexpressed. Riluzole inhibited proliferation, invasion, and colony formation in both TNBC and ER+ cells. There was a trend between GRM1 expression in TNBC cells and their response to riluzole in both cell proliferation and invasion assays. However, silencing and overexpression studies had no effect on cell sensitivity to riluzole. Our results clearly suggest a GRM1-independent mechanism through which riluzole mediates its effects on breast cancer cells. Understanding the mechanism by which riluzole mediates breast cancer progression will be useful in identifying new therapeutic targets for treating TNBC and in facilitating stratification of patients in clinical trials using riluzole in conjunction with conventional therapy.
Xia H, Zhao YN, Yu CH, et al.Inhibition of metabotropic glutamate receptor 1 suppresses tumor growth and angiogenesis in experimental non-small cell lung cancer.
Eur J Pharmacol. 2016; 783:103-11 [PubMed
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Metabotropic glutamate receptor 1 (mGlu1 receptor) is expressed in many cancer cell types as compared to normal counterparts underscoring its potential role in tumor behavior. The aim of present study was to test the role of mGlu1 receptor in experimental non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC). First, protein expression of mGlu1 receptor was higher in human NSCLC cell lines, including both adenocarcinoma and squamous carcinoma subtypes, when compared to normal bronchial epithelial cells. Inhibition of mGlu1 receptor by BAY36-7620 (an mGlu1 receptor-specific inhibitor) inhibited tumor growth and prolonged survival of mice with tumors of A549 or H1299. Treatment with BAY36-7620 suppressed AKT phosphorylation in A549 tumors and pre-treatment with BAY36-7620 blocked the L-quisqualate (a potent mGlu1 receptor agonist)-induced AKT phosphorylation in A549 cells. Treatment with BAY36-7620 reduced cellular proliferation of A549 cells. Treatment with BAY36-7620 enhanced cleaved PARP levels and reduced protein expression of bcl-2, HIF-1α, and VEGF. In contrast, treatment with L-quisqualate reduced cleaved PARP levels and enhanced protein expression of bcl-2, HIF-1α, VEGF, and IL-8, which was reversed by co-incubation with MK2206 (an AKT inhibitor). Pre-treatment with BAY36-7620 blocked the VEGF-induced AKT phosphorylation in HUVECs. Treatment of HUVECs with L-quisqualate resulted in enhancement of capillary tube formation, which was reversed by co-incubation with MK2206. Furthermore, mGlu1 receptor knockdown suppressed tumor growth and prolonged survival of mice with tumors of A549 or H1299. Collectively, inhibition of mGlu1 receptor suppressed tumor growth and angiogenesis in experimental NSCLC.
Metabotropic glutamate receptors (mGluRs) are widely known for their roles in synaptic signaling. However, accumulating evidence suggests roles of mGluRs in human malignancies in addition to synaptic transmission. Somatic cell homeostasis presents intriguing possibilities of mGluRs and glutamate signaling as novel targets for human cancers. More recently, aberrant glutamate signaling has been shown to participate in the transformation and maintenance of various cancer types, including glioma, melanoma skin cancer, breast cancer, and prostate cancer, indicating that genes encoding mGluRs, GRMs, can function as oncogenes. Here, we provide a review on the interactions of mGluRs and their ligand, glutamate, in processes that promote the growth of tumors of neuronal and non-neuronal origins. Further, we discuss the evolution of riluzole, a glutamate release inhibitor approved for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), but now fashioned as an mGluR1 inhibitor for melanoma therapy and as a radio-sensitizer for tumors that have metastasized to the brain. With the success of riluzole, it is not far-fetched to believe that other drugs that may act directly or indirectly on other mGluRs can be beneficial for multiple applications. This article is part of the Special Issue entitled 'Metabotropic Glutamate Receptors, 5 years on'.
Teh JL, Shah R, La Cava S, et al.Metabotropic glutamate receptor 1 disrupts mammary acinar architecture and initiates malignant transformation of mammary epithelial cells.
Breast Cancer Res Treat. 2015; 151(1):57-73 [PubMed
] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Metabotropic glutamate receptor 1 (mGluR1/Grm1) is a member of the G-protein-coupled receptor superfamily, which was once thought to only participate in synaptic transmission and neuronal excitability, but has more recently been implicated in non-neuronal tissue functions. We previously described the oncogenic properties of Grm1 in cultured melanocytes in vitro and in spontaneous melanoma development with 100 % penetrance in vivo. Aberrant mGluR1 expression was detected in 60-80 % of human melanoma cell lines and biopsy samples. As most human cancers are of epithelial origin, we utilized immortalized mouse mammary epithelial cells (iMMECs) as a model system to study the transformative properties of Grm1. We introduced Grm1 into iMMECs and isolated several stable mGluR1-expressing clones. Phenotypic alterations in mammary acinar architecture were assessed using three-dimensional morphogenesis assays. We found that mGluR1-expressing iMMECs exhibited delayed lumen formation in association with decreased central acinar cell death, disrupted cell polarity, and a dramatic increase in the activation of the mitogen-activated protein kinase pathway. Orthotopic implantation of mGluR1-expressing iMMEC clones into mammary fat pads of immunodeficient nude mice resulted in mammary tumor formation in vivo. Persistent mGluR1 expression was required for the maintenance of the tumorigenic phenotypes in vitro and in vivo, as demonstrated by an inducible Grm1-silencing RNA system. Furthermore, mGluR1 was found be expressed in human breast cancer cell lines and breast tumor biopsies. Elevated levels of extracellular glutamate were observed in mGluR1-expressing breast cancer cell lines and concurrent treatment of MCF7 xenografts with glutamate release inhibitor, riluzole, and an AKT inhibitor led to suppression of tumor progression. Our results are likely relevant to human breast cancer, highlighting a putative role of mGluR1 in the pathophysiology of breast cancer and the potential of mGluR1 as a novel therapeutic target.
Metabotropic glutamate receptor 1 (GRM1) signaling has been implicated in benign and malignant disorders including prostate cancer (PCa). To further explore the role of genetic alterations of GRM1 in PCa, we screened the entire human GRM1 gene including coding sequence, exon-intron junctions, and flanking untranslated regions (UTRs) for the presence of mutations and single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in several PCa cell lines and matched tumor-normal tissues from Caucasian Americans (CAs) and African Americans (AAs). We used bidirectional sequencing, allele-specific PCR, and bioinformatics to identify the genetic changes in GRM1 and to predict their functional role. A novel missense mutation identified at C1744T (582 Pro > Ser) position of GRM1 gene in a primary AA-PCa cell line (E006AA) was predicted to affect the protein stability and functions. Another novel mutation identified at exon-intron junction of exon-8 in C4-2B cell line resulted in alteration of the GRM1 splicing donor site. In addition, we found missense SNP at T2977C (993 Ser > Pro) position and multiple non-coding mutations and SNPs in 3'-UTR of GRM1 gene in PCa cell lines and tissues. These novel mutations may contribute to the disease by alterations in GRM1 gene splicing, receptor activation, and post-receptor downstream signaling.
Nord KH, Lilljebjörn H, Vezzi F, et al.GRM1 is upregulated through gene fusion and promoter swapping in chondromyxoid fibroma.
Nat Genet. 2014; 46(5):474-7 [PubMed
] Related Publications
Glutamate receptors are well-known actors in the central and peripheral nervous systems, and altered glutamate signaling is implicated in several neurological and psychiatric disorders. It is increasingly recognized that such receptors may also have a role in tumor growth. Here we provide direct evidence of aberrant glutamate signaling in the development of a locally aggressive bone tumor, chondromyxoid fibroma (CMF). We subjected a series of CMFs to whole-genome mate-pair sequencing and RNA sequencing and found that the glutamate receptor gene GRM1 recombines with several partner genes through promoter swapping and gene fusion events. The GRM1 coding region remains intact, and 18 of 20 CMFs (90%) showed a more than 100-fold and up to 1,400-fold increase in GRM1 expression levels compared to control tissues. Our findings unequivocally demonstrate that direct targeting of GRM1 is a necessary and highly specific driver event for CMF development.
Metabotropic glutamate receptors (mGluRs) are normally expressed in the central nervous system, where they mediate neuronal excitability and neurotransmitter release. Certain cancers, including melanoma and gliomas, express various mGluR subtypes that have been implicated as playing a role in disease progression. Recently, we detected metabotropic glutamate receptor-1 (gene: GRM1; protein: mGluR1) in breast cancer and found that it plays a role in the regulation of cell proliferation and tumor growth. In addition to cancer cells, brain endothelial cells express mGluR1. In light of these studies, and because angiogenesis is both a prognostic indicator in cancer correlating with a poorer prognosis and a potential therapeutic target, we explored a potential role for mGluR1 in mediating endothelial cell (EC) proliferation and tumor-induced angiogenesis. GRM1 and mGluR1 were detected in various types of human ECs and, using mGluR1-specific inhibitors or shRNA silencing, we demonstrated that EC growth and Matrigel tube formation are dependent on mGluR1 signaling. In addition, loss of mGluR1 activity leads to reduced angiogenesis in a murine Matrigel sponge implant model as well as a murine tumor model. These results suggest a role for mGluR1 in breast cancer as a pro-angiogenic factor as well as a mediator of tumor progression. They also suggest mGluR1 as a potential new molecular target for the anti-angiogenic therapy of breast cancer.
BACKGROUND: Compounds targeting somatostatin-receptor-type-2 (SSTR2) are useful for small bowel neuroendocrine tumor (SBNET) and pancreatic neuroendocrine tumor (PNET) imaging and treatment. We recently characterized expression of 13 cell surface receptor genes in SBNETs and PNETs, identifying three drug targets (GIPR, OXTR, and OPRK1). This study set out to characterize expression of this gene panel in the less common neuroendocrine tumors of the stomach and duodenum (gastric and duodenal neuroendocrine tumors [GDNETs]).
METHODS: Primary tumors and adjacent normal tissue were collected at surgery, RNA was extracted, and expression of 13 target genes was determined by quantitative polymerase chain reaction. Expression was normalized to GAPDH and POLR2A internal control genes. Expression relative to normal tissue (ddCT) and absolute expression (dCT) were calculated. Wilcoxon tests compared median expression with false discovery rate correction for multiple comparisons.
RESULTS: Gene expression was similar in two gastric and seven duodenal tumors, and these were analyzed together. Like SBNETs (n = 63) and PNETs (n = 51), GDNETs showed significant overexpression compared with normal tissue of BRS3, GIPR, GRM1, GPR113, OPRK1, and SSTR2 (P < 0.05 for all). Of these, SSTR2 had the highest absolute expression in GDNETs (median dCT 4.0). Absolute expression of BRS3, GRM1, GPR113, and OPRK1 was significantly lower than SSTR2 in GDNETs (P < 0.05 for all), whereas expression of GIPR was similar to SSTR2 (median 4.3, P = 0.4).
CONCLUSIONS: As in SBNETs and PNETs, GIPR shows absolute expression close to SSTR2 but has greater overexpression relative to normal tissue (21.1 versus 3.5-fold overexpression). We conclude that GIPR could provide an improved signal-to-noise ratio for imaging versus SSTR2 and represents a promising novel therapeutic target in GDNETs.
TNBC is an aggressive breast cancer subtype that does not express hormone receptors (estrogen and progesterone receptors, ER and PR) or amplified human epidermal growth factor receptor type 2 (HER2), and there currently exist no targeted therapies effective against it. Consequently, finding new molecular targets in triple negative breast cancer (TNBC) is critical to improving patient outcomes. Previously, we have detected the expression of metabotropic glutamate receptor-1 (gene: GRM1; protein: mGluR1) in TNBC and observed that targeting glutamatergic signaling inhibits TNBC growth both in vitro and in vivo. In this study, we explored how mGluR1 contributes to TNBC progression, using the isogenic MCF10 progression series, which models breast carcinogenesis from nontransformed epithelium to malignant basal-like breast cancer. We observed that mGluR1 is expressed in human breast cancer and that in MCF10A cells, which model nontransformed mammary epithelium, but not in MCF10AT1 cells, which model atypical ductal hyperplasia, mGluR1 overexpression results in increased proliferation, anchorage-independent growth, and invasiveness. In contrast, mGluR1 knockdown results in a decrease in these activities in malignant MCF10CA1d cells. Similarly, pharmacologic inhibition of glutamatergic signaling in MCF10CA1d cells results in a decrease in proliferation and anchorage-independent growth. Finally, transduction of MCF10AT1 cells, which express c-Ha-ras, using a lentiviral construct expressing GRM1 results in transformation to carcinoma in 90% of resultant xenografts. We conclude that mGluR1 cooperates with other factors in hyperplastic mammary epithelium to contribute to TNBC progression and therefore propose that glutamatergic signaling represents a promising new molecular target for TNBC therapy.
Yang W, Maolin H, Jinmin Z, Zhe WHigh expression of metabotropic glutamate receptor 4: correlation with clinicopathologic characteristics and prognosis of osteosarcoma.
J Cancer Res Clin Oncol. 2014; 140(3):419-26 [PubMed
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PURPOSE: Analyze protein and gene expression of mGluRs (mGluR1, mGluR5, mGluR4) in osteosarcoma tissues and discuss the relation between expression level and clinical characteristics of osteosarcoma, and study the clinical significance.
METHODS: Detect protein and mRNA expression level of mGluRs (mGluR1, mGluR5, mGluR4) in 40 osteosarcoma tissues and the corresponding adjacent normal tissues by Western blot and RT-PCR accordingly. Immunohistochemistry was adopted to detect the expression of mGluRs (mGluR1, mGluR5, mGluR4) in 118 paraffin embedded osteosarcoma tissues and eight normal bone tissues. Then, the correlation between the expression and clinical characteristics of patients was analyzed. Furthermore, survival analysis of osteosarcoma was performed to study the relation between expression level of mGluRs and patient prognosis.
RESULTS: No correlation of mGluR1 and mGluR5 with clinicopathologic characteristics of osteosarcoma was found. Statistical analysis demonstrated that the expression level of mGluR4 shared no significant correlation with gender, age, histologic type and tumor location of patient, but was related to Enneking stage and tumor metastasis (P < 0.05). High mGluR4 expression is more frequently noted in the osteosarcoma tissues with higher Enneking stage and metastasis. The results of Western blot and RT-PCR indicated a significantly increased expression level of mGluR4 gene and protein in osteosarcoma tissues compared with normal tissues. Though higher gene and protein expression of mGluR5 and mGluR1 were also indicated in osteosarcoma tissues compared with normal tissues, no statistical significance was noted for the difference (P > 0.05). According to the survival analysis of 118 osteosarcoma patients, cases in the mGluR4 high-expression group showed inferior disease-free survival rate and poorer overall survival rate.
CONCLUSION: High expression of mGluR4 in osteosarcoma tissues is related to poor prognosis, thus holding certain reference value for estimating prognosis of osteosarcoma patients.
Gain of function of the neuronal receptor, metabotropic glutamate receptor 1 (Grm1), was sufficient to induce melanocytic transformation in vitro and spontaneous melanoma development in vivo when ectopically expressed in melanocytes. The human form of this receptor, GRM1, has been shown to be ectopically expressed in a subset of human melanomas but not benign nevi or normal melanocytes, suggesting that misregulation of GRM1 is involved in the pathogenesis of certain human melanomas. Sustained stimulation of Grm1 by the ligand, glutamate, is required for the maintenance of transformed phenotypes in vitro and tumorigenicity in vivo. In this study, we investigate the mechanism of an inhibitor of glutamate release, riluzole, on human melanoma cells that express metabotropic glutamate receptor 1 (GRM1). Various in vitro assays conducted show that inhibition of glutamate release in several human melanoma cell lines resulted in an increase of oxidative stress and DNA damage response markers.
BACKGROUND: Ligands binding the somatostatin receptor type 2 (SSTR2) are useful for imaging and treatment of neuroendocrine tumors (NETs), but not all tumors express high levels of these receptors. The aim of this study was to evaluate gene expression of new therapeutic targets in NETs relative to SSTR2.
METHODS: RNA was extracted from 103 primary small bowel and pancreatic NETs, matched normal tissue, and 123 metastases. Expression of 12 candidate genes was measured by quantitative polymerase chain reaction normalized to internal controls; candidate gene expression was compared with SSTR2.
RESULTS: Relative to normal tissue, primary NET expression of SSTR2, GPR98, BRS3, GIPR, GRM1, and OPRK1 were increased by 3, 8, 13, 13, 17, and 20-fold, respectively. Similar changes were found in metastases. Although most candidate genes showed lesser absolute expressions than SSTR2, absolute GIPR expression was closest to SSTR2 (mean dCT 3.6 vs. 2.7, P = .01). Absolute OPRK1 and OXTR expression varied greatly by primary tumor type and was close to SSTR2 in small bowel NETs but not pancreatic NETs.
CONCLUSION: Compared with the current treatment standard SSTR2, GIPR has only somewhat lesser absolute gene expression in tumor tissue but much lesser expression in normal tissue, making it a promising new target for NET imaging and therapy.
Several epidemiological studies have suggested a link between melanoma and breast cancer. Metabotropic glutamate receptor 1 (GRM1), which is involved in many cellular processes including proliferation and differentiation, has been implicated in melanomagenesis, with ectopic expression of GRM1 causing malignant transformation of melanocytes. This study was undertaken to evaluate GRM1 expression and polymorphic variants in GRM1 for associations with breast cancer phenotypes. Three single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in GRM1 were evaluated for associations with breast cancer clinicopathologic variables. GRM1 expression was evaluated in human normal and cancerous breast tissue and for in vitro response to hormonal manipulation. Genotyping was performed on genomic DNA from over 1,000 breast cancer patients. Rs6923492 and rs362962 genotypes associated with age at diagnosis that was highly dependent upon the breast cancer molecular phenotype. The rs362962 TT genotype also associated with risk of estrogen receptor or progesterone receptor positive breast cancer. In vitro analysis showed increased GRM1 expression in breast cancer cells treated with estrogen or the combination of estrogen and progesterone, but reduced GRM1 expression with tamoxifen treatment. Evaluation of GRM1 expression in human breast tumor specimens demonstrated significant correlations between GRM1 staining with tissue type and molecular features. Furthermore, analysis of gene expression data from primary breast tumors showed that high GRM1 expression correlated with a shorter distant metastasis-free survival as compared to low GRM1 expression in tamoxifen-treated patients. Additionally, induced knockdown of GRM1 in an estrogen receptor positive breast cancer cell line correlated with reduced cell proliferation. Taken together, these findings suggest a functional role for GRM1 in breast cancer.
To date, five human metabotropic glutamate (mGlu) 1 receptor splice variants (1a, 1b, 1d, 1f, and 1g) have been described, all of which involve alternative C-terminal splicing. mGlu1a receptor contains a long C-terminal domain (341 amino acids), which has been shown to scaffold with several proteins and contribute to the structure of the post-synaptic density. However, several shorter mGlu1 receptor splice variants lack the sequence required for these interactions, and no major functional differences between these short splice variants have been described. By using RT-PCR we have shown that two human melanoma cell lines express both mGlu1a and mGlu1b receptors. In addition, using 3'RACE, we identified three previously unknown mGlu1 receptor mRNAs. Two differ in the length of their 3' untranslated region (UTR), and encode the same predicted protein as mGlu1g receptor-the shortest of all mGlu1 receptor splice variants. The third mRNA, named mGlu1h, encodes a predicted C-terminal splice variant of 10 additional amino acids. mGlu1h mRNA was observed in two different melanoma cell lines and is overexpressed, compared with melanoma precursor cells, melanocytes. Most importantly, this new splice variant, mGlu1h receptor, is encoded by two previously unidentified exons located within the human GRM1 gene. Additionally, these new exons are found exclusively within the GRM1 genes of higher primates and are highly conserved. Therefore, we hypothesize that mGlu1h receptors play a distinct role in primate glutamatergic signaling.
Large-scale cancer genome sequencing has uncovered thousands of gene mutations, but distinguishing tumor driver genes from functionally neutral passenger mutations is a major challenge. We analyzed 800 cancer genomes of eight types to find single-nucleotide variants (SNVs) that precisely target phosphorylation machinery, important in cancer development and drug targeting. Assuming that cancer-related biological systems involve unexpectedly frequent mutations, we used novel algorithms to identify genes with significant phosphorylation-associated SNVs (pSNVs), phospho-mutated pathways, kinase networks, drug targets, and clinically correlated signaling modules. We highlight increased survival of patients with TP53 pSNVs, hierarchically organized cancer kinase modules, a novel pSNV in EGFR, and an immune-related network of pSNVs that correlates with prolonged survival in ovarian cancer. Our findings include multiple actionable cancer gene candidates (FLNB, GRM1, POU2F1), protein complexes (HCF1, ASF1), and kinases (PRKCZ). This study demonstrates new ways of interpreting cancer genomes and presents new leads for cancer research.
Non-neuronal expression of components of the glutamatergic system has been increasingly observed, and our laboratory previously had demonstrated the etiological role of ectopically expressed metabotropic glutamate receptor 1 (Grm1/mGluR1) in mouse models of melanoma. We hypothesize that inappropriate glutamatergic signaling in other cell types can dysregulate growth leading to transformation and tumorigenesis. As most cancers are carcinomas, we selected an immortalized primary baby mouse kidney (iBMK) cell model to assess whether Grm1 can transform epithelial cells. These iBMK cells, engineered to be immortal yet nontumorigenic and retaining normal epithelial characteristics, were used as recipients for exogenous Grm1 cDNA. Several stable Grm1-expressing clones were isolated and the Grm1-receptors were shown to be functional, as evidenced by the accumulation of second messengers in response to Grm1 agonist. Additionally activated by agonist were mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) and AKT/protein kinase B signaling cascades, the major intracellular pathways shown by many investigators to be critical in melanomagenesis and other neoplasms. These Grm1-iBMK cells exhibited enhanced cell proliferation in in vitro methylthiazolyldiphenyl-tetrazolium bromide (MTT) assays and significant tumorigenicity in in vivo allografts. Persistent Grm1 expression was required for the maintenance of the in vivo tumorigenic phenotype as demonstrated by an inducible Grm1-silencing RNA. These are the first results that indicate that Grm1 can be an oncogene in epithelial cells. In addition, relevance to human disease in the corresponding tumor type of renal cell carcinoma (RCC) may be suggested by observed expression of GRM1/mGluR1 in a number of RCC tumor biopsy samples and cell lines, and the effects of GRM1 modulation on tumorigenicity therein. Moreover, RCC cell lines exhibited elevated levels of extracellular glutamate, and some lines responded to drugs, which modulate the glutamatergic system. These findings imply a possible role for glutamate signaling apparatus in RCC cell growth, and that the glutamatergic system may be a therapeutic target in RCC.
Riluzole, an inhibitor of glutamate release, has shown the ability to inhibit melanoma cell xenograft growth. A phase 0 clinical trial of riluzole as a single agent in patients with melanoma resulted in involution of tumors associated with inhibition of both the mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) and phophoinositide-3-kinase/AKT (PI3K/AKT) pathways in 34% of patients. In the present study, we demonstrate that riluzole inhibits AKT-mediated glycogen synthase kinase 3 (GSK3) phosphorylation in melanoma cell lines. Because we have demonstrated that GSK3 is involved in the phosphorylation of two downstream effectors of transforming growth factor beta (TGFβ), Smad2 and Smad3, at their linker domain, our aim was to determine whether riluzole could induce GSK3β-mediated linker phosphorylation of Smad2 and Smad3. We present evidence that riluzole increases Smad2 and Smad3 linker phosphorylation at the cluster of serines 245/250/255 and serine 204 respectively. Using GSK3 inhibitors and siRNA knock-down, we demonstrate that the mechanism of riluzole-induced Smad phosphorylation involved GSK3β. In addition, GSK3β could phosphorylate the same linker sites in vitro. The riluzole-induced Smad linker phosphorylation is mechanistically different from the Smad linker phosphorylation induced by TGFβ. We also demonstrate that riluzole-induced Smad linker phosphorylation is independent of the expression of the metabotropic glutamate receptor 1 (GRM1), which is one of the glutamate receptors whose involvement in human melanoma has been documented. We further show that riluzole upregulates the expression of INHBB and PLAU, two genes associated with the TGFβ signaling pathway. The non-canonical increase in Smad linker phosphorylation induced by riluzole could contribute to the modulation of the pro-oncogenic functions of Smads in late stage melanomas.
Ectopic expression of a neuronal receptor, metabotropic glutamate receptor 1 (Grm1), in melanocytes has been implicated in melanoma development in mouse models. The human relevance of this receptor's involvement in melanoma pathogenesis was shown by detecting GRM1 expression in subsets of human melanomas, an observation lacking in benign nevi or normal melanocytes. Grm1-transformed mouse melanocytes and a conditional Grm1 transgenic mouse model confirmed a requirement for sustained expression of Grm1 for the maintenance of transformed phenotypes in vitro and tumorigenicity in vivo. Here, we investigate if continued GRM1 expression is also required in human melanoma cell lines by using two inducible, silencing RNA systems: the ecdysone/Ponasterone A and tetracycline on/off approaches to regulate GRM1 expression in the presence of each inducer. Various in vitro assays were conducted to assess the consequences of a reduction in GRM1 expression on cell proliferation, apoptosis, downstream targeted signaling pathways, and in vivo tumorigenesis. We showed that suppression of GRM1 expression in several human melanoma cell lines resulted in a reduction in the number of viable cells and a decrease in stimulated mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) and PI3K/AKT and suppressed tumor progression in vivo. These results reinforce earlier observations where a reduction in cell growth in vitro and tumorigenesis in vivo were correlated with decreased GRM1 activities by pharmacologic inhibitors of the receptor, supporting the notion that GRM1 plays a role in the maintenance of transformed phenotypes in human melanoma cells in vitro and in vivo and could be a potential therapeutic target for the treatment of melanoma.
We demonstrated that ectopic expression of metabotropic glutamate receptor 1 (mGluR1/Grm1) in mouse melanocytes was sufficient to induce melanoma development in vivo with 100% penetrance. We also showed that about 60% of human melanoma biopsies and cell lines, but not benign nevi or normal human melanocytes expressed mGluR1, suggesting that GRM1 may be involved in melanomagenesis. mGluR1 is expressed primarily in neurons. In various non-neuronal cells, mGluR1 expression is regulated via binding of Neuron-Restrictive-Silencer-Factor (NRSF) to a Neuron-Restrictive-Silencer-Element (NRSE). Here, we report on the possibility that aberrant mGluR1 expression in melanoma is due to alterations in NRSF and/or NRSE. We show that in human melanocytes, binding of NRSF to NRSE in the GRM1 promoter region is necessary for the suppression of mGluR1 expression. We also show that inhibiting the expression of the transcription factor Sp1 or interference with its ability to bind DNA can result in increased mGluR1 expression perhaps via its function as a negative regulator. In addition, we also provide evidence that demethylation within the promoter region of GRM1 may also be a mechanism for the derepression of mGluR1 expression in melanocytes that progress to cell transformation and tumor formation.
Teh JL, Chen SGlutamatergic signaling in cellular transformation.
Pigment Cell Melanoma Res. 2012; 25(3):331-42 [PubMed
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The role of the glutamatergic system in cancer cell homeostasis has expanded exponentially over the last decade. Once thought to participate only in synaptic transmission and neuronal excitability, the presence of functional glutamate receptors has since been demonstrated in peripheral tissues. Most notable is the implication of glutamate receptors in the pathophysiology of various human malignancies. We previously described the oncogenic properties of metabotropic glutamate receptor 1 (Grm1), a G-protein-coupled receptor in melanoma development in vivo. TG-3, a transgenic mouse line, developed spontaneous melanoma with 100% penetrance in the absence of any known stimuli. Stable Grm1-mouse melanocytic clones display transformed phenotypes in vitro and were aggressively tumorigenic in vivo. Recent reports from other groups implicate two additional members of the metabotropic glutamate receptor family in melanomagenesis, overexpression of mGluR5 and activating mutations in GRM3. These findings highlight a previously underappreciated link between the glutamate signaling pathway and oncogenesis in melanoma biology, raising exciting possibilities in elucidating mechanisms in melanocyte transformation and exploring glutamate receptors as novel therapeutic targets. Here we further consider the potential mechanisms by which glutamate receptors can function as an oncogene leading to malignant transformation.
Metabotropic glutamate receptors are G-protein-coupled receptors normally expressed in the central nervous system where they mediate neuronal excitability, synaptic plasticity, and feedback inhibition of neurotransmitter release. However, recent data suggest that these receptors are also expressed and functional in some cancers, most notably melanoma. We detected the expression of metabotropic glutamate receptor-1 (gene: GRM1; protein: mGluR1) in triple negative breast cancer cells and evaluated its role in regulating the pro-proliferative phenotype of these cells. mGluR1 inhibitors (Riluzole or BAY36-7620) inhibited the proliferation of triple negative breast cancer cells in a time- and dose-dependent manner and this inhibition correlated with increased apoptosis as demonstrated by increase in PARP cleavage products and Annexin V staining. mGluR1 knockdown using Lentiviral constructs expressing shRNA targeting GRM1 also inhibited proliferation compared to non-silencing controls. In addition, treatment of mice bearing MDA-MB-231 xenografts with Riluzole or BAY36-7620, by intraperitoneal injection, resulted in a significant reduction in tumor volume of up to 80%. Moreover, Riluzole was effective against triple negative breast cancer xenografts in mice at doses equivalent to those currently being used in humans for the treatment of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. Our observations implicate mGluR1 and glutamate signaling as a promising new molecular target for the treatment of breast cancer. Even more promising, Riluzole, because it is an oral drug that can be administered with low toxicity, represents a promising approach in the treatment of triple negative breast cancer.
We reported earlier on the oncogenic properties of Grm1 by demonstrating that stable Grm1-mouse-melanocytic clones proliferate in the absence of growth supplement and anchorage in vitro. In addition, these clones also exhibit aggressive tumorigenic phenotypes in vivo with short latency in tumor formation in both immunodeficient and syngeneic mice. We also detected strong activation of AKT in allograft tumors specifically AKT2 as the predominant isoform involved. In parallel, we assessed several human melanoma biopsy samples and found again that AKT2 was the predominantly activated AKT in these human melanoma biopsies. In cultured stable Grm1-mouse-melanocytic clones, as well as an metabotropic glutamate receptor 1 (Grm1) expressing human melanoma cell line, C8161, stimulation of Grm1 by its agonist led to the activation of AKT, while preincubation with Grm1-antagonist abolished Grm1-agonist-induced AKT activation. In addition, a reduction in tumor volume of Grm1-mouse-melanocytic-allografts was detected in the presence of small interfering AKT2 RNA (siAKT2). Taken together, these results showed that, in addition to the MAPK pathway previously reported being a downstream target of stimulated Grm1, AKT2 is another downstream target in Grm1 mediated melanocyte transformation.