Gene Summary

Gene:GZMB; granzyme B
Summary:This gene encodes a member of the granzyme subfamily of proteins, part of the peptidase S1 family of serine proteases. The encoded preproprotein is secreted by natural killer (NK) cells and cytotoxic T lymphocytes (CTLs) and proteolytically processed to generate the active protease, which induces target cell apoptosis. This protein also processes cytokines and degrades extracellular matrix proteins, and these roles are implicated in chronic inflammation and wound healing. Expression of this gene may be elevated in human patients with cardiac fibrosis. [provided by RefSeq, Sep 2016]
Databases:OMIM, HGNC, Ensembl, GeneCard, Gene
Protein:granzyme B
Source:NCBIAccessed: 31 August, 2019


What does this gene/protein do?
Show (13)
Pathways:What pathways are this gene/protein implicaed in?
Show (7)

Cancer Overview

Research Indicators

Publications Per Year (1994-2019)
Graph generated 31 August 2019 using data from PubMed using criteria.

Literature Analysis

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

  • Apoptosis
  • Transfection
  • Gene Expression Profiling
  • RNA-Binding Proteins
  • Serine Endopeptidases
  • CD8-Positive T-Lymphocytes
  • T-Lymphocytes
  • Perforin
  • Lymphocyte Activation
  • Chromosome 14
  • Biomarkers, Tumor
  • Interferon-gamma
  • Cell Proliferation
  • p38 Mitogen-Activated Protein Kinases
  • Neoplasm Proteins
  • Poly(A)-Binding Proteins
  • Cervical Cancer
  • Breast Cancer
  • Membrane Proteins
  • Pore Forming Cytotoxic Proteins
  • Tumor Virus Infections
  • Vincristine
  • Waldenstrom's Macroglobulinemia
  • Gene Expression
  • T-Lymphocytes, Cytotoxic
  • Mice, Transgenic
  • Cancer Gene Expression Regulation
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Tumor Microenvironment
  • Natural Killer Cells
  • Solubility
  • Colorectal Cancer
  • Membrane Glycoproteins
  • Subunit Vaccines
  • Proteins
  • Transforming Growth Factor beta
  • Messenger RNA
  • Phenotype
  • T-Cell Intracellular Antigen-1
  • Signal Transduction
  • Granzymes
Tag cloud generated 31 August, 2019 using data from PubMed, MeSH and CancerIndex

Specific Cancers (5)

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

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

Latest Publications: GZMB (cancer-related)

Kari V, Raul SK, Henck JM, et al.
The histone methyltransferase DOT1L is required for proper DNA damage response, DNA repair, and modulates chemotherapy responsiveness.
Clin Epigenetics. 2019; 11(1):4 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
BACKGROUND: Disruptor of telomeric silencing 1-like (DOT1L) is a non-SET domain containing methyltransferase known to catalyze mono-, di-, and tri-methylation of histone 3 on lysine 79 (H3K79me). DOT1L-mediated H3K79me has been implicated in chromatin-associated functions including gene transcription, heterochromatin formation, and DNA repair. Recent studies have uncovered a role for DOT1L in the initiation and progression of leukemia and other solid tumors. The development and availability of small molecule inhibitors of DOT1L may provide new and unique therapeutic options for certain types or subgroups of cancer.
METHODS: In this study, we examined the role of DOT1L in DNA double-strand break (DSB) response and repair by depleting DOT1L using siRNA or inhibiting its methyltransferase activity using small molecule inhibitors in colorectal cancer cells. Cells were treated with different agents to induce DNA damage in DOT1L-depleted or -inhibited cells and analyzed for DNA repair efficiency and survival. Further, rectal cancer patient samples were analyzed for H3K79me3 levels in order to determine whether it may serve as a potential marker for personalized therapy.
RESULTS: Our results indicate that DOT1L is required for a proper DNA damage response following DNA double-strand breaks by regulating the phosphorylation of the variant histone H2AX (γH2AX) and repair via homologous recombination (HR). Importantly, we show that small molecule inhibitors of DOT1L combined with chemotherapeutic agents that are used to treat colorectal cancers show additive effects. Furthermore, examination of H3K79me3 levels in rectal cancer patients demonstrates that lower levels correlate with a poorer prognosis.
CONCLUSIONS: In this study, we conclude that DOT1L plays an important role in an early DNA damage response and repair of DNA double-strand breaks via the HR pathway. Moreover, DOT1L inhibition leads to increased sensitivity to chemotherapeutic agents and PARP inhibition, which further highlights its potential clinical utility. Our results further suggest that H3K79me3 can be useful as a predictive and or prognostic marker for rectal cancer patients.

De Silva P, Garaud S, Solinas C, et al.
FOXP1 negatively regulates tumor infiltrating lymphocyte migration in human breast cancer.
EBioMedicine. 2019; 39:226-238 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
BACKGROUND: FOXP1, a transcriptional regulator of lymphocyte development, is abnormally expressed in some human tumors. This study investigated FOXP1-mediated regulation of tumor infiltrating lymphocytes (TIL) in untreated primary breast cancer (BC).
METHODS: FOXP1 expression was analyzed in tissues from primary untreated breast tumors, BC cell lines and the METABRIC gene expression BC dataset. Cytokine and chemokine expression and lymphocyte migration in response to primary tumor supernatants (SN) was compared between FOXP1
FINDING: FOXP1 expression was higher in estrogen receptor positive compared to negative BC. FOXP1
INTERPRETATION: These data identify FOXP1 as an important negative regulator of immune responses in BC via its regulation of cytokine and chemokine expression. FUND: Belgian Fund for Scientific Research (FNRS 3.4513.12F) and Opération Télévie (7.4636.13F and 7.4609.15F), Fonds J.C. Heuson and Fonds Lambeau-Marteaux.

Tanaka K, Kanesaka Y, Takami M, et al.
Role of leukotriene B4 12-hydroxydehydrogenase in α-galactosylceramide-pulsed dendritic cell therapy for non-small cell lung cancer.
Biochem Biophys Res Commun. 2018; 506(1):27-32 [PubMed] Related Publications
Invariant natural killer T (iNKT) cells exhibit potent antitumor effects upon activation by recognizing a specific glycolipid antigen. We previously performed phase I-II clinical studies to utilize iNKT cells using α-galactosylceramide-pulsed dendritic cells and identified leukotriene B4 12-hydroxydehydrogenase (LTB4DH) as a biomarker highly expressed in T cells derived from non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) patients who showed prolonged survival in respond to the iNKT cell immunotherapy. Because LTB4DH expression correlated with prolonged survival of NSCLC patients, we considered LTB4DH to play a role in iNKT cell immunotherapy. We herein demonstrate that the overexpression of LTB4DH in CD4

Ping W, Senyan H, Li G, et al.
Increased Lactate in Gastric Cancer Tumor-Infiltrating Lymphocytes Is Related to Impaired T Cell Function Due to miR-34a Deregulated Lactate Dehydrogenase A.
Cell Physiol Biochem. 2018; 49(2):828-836 [PubMed] Related Publications
BACKGROUND/AIMS: Lactate is one of the products of glycolysis and is a hallmark of the Warburg effect. Glycolysis is found in tumor as well as immune cells. However, the effects of lactate on the function of tumor-infiltrating T cells (TILs) are rarely reported.
METHODS: In the present study, we investigated lactate and other glycolysis-related metabolites within TILs of human gastric cancer (GC). Lactate concentration was determined by liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry. The functional effects and clinical relevance of excessive lactate on T cells were investigated in clinical samples, and the mechanism of increased lactate was explored.
RESULTS: Lactate was significantly increased in GC TILs and related to decreased T helper (Th)1 cells and cytotoxic T lymphocytes (CTLs). Increased lactate within GC TILs was positively correlated with increased lactate dehydrogenase A (LDH)A. Expression of LDHA in GC TILs was also negatively correlated with percentages of Th1 cells and CTLs. Decreased miR-34a expression in GC TILs was responsible for increased expression of LDHA. A hypoxic tumor environment was responsible for decreased miR-34a and lactate-induced impaired immune function.
CONCLUSION: We found that hypoxia decreases miR-34a expression and lose miR-34a regulation on LDHA, thus increasing lactate level within GC TILs and impairing immune function in GC.

Hiew MSY, Cheng HP, Huang CJ, et al.
Incomplete cellular reprogramming of colorectal cancer cells elicits an epithelial/mesenchymal hybrid phenotype.
J Biomed Sci. 2018; 25(1):57 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
BACKGROUND: Induced pluripotency in cancer cells by ectopic expression of pluripotency-regulating factors may be used for disease modeling of cancers. MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are negative regulators of gene expression that play important role in reprogramming somatic cells. However, studies on the miRNA expression profile and the expression patterns of the mesenchymal-epithelial transition (MET)/epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT) genes in induced pluripotent cancer (iPC) cells are lacking.
METHODS: iPC clones were generated from two colorectal cancer (CRC) cell lines by retroviral transduction of the Yamanaka factors. The iPC clones obtained were characterized by morphology, expression of pluripotency markers and the ability to undergo in vitro tri-lineage differentiation. Genome-wide miRNA profiles of the iPC cells were obtained by microarray analysis and bioinformatics interrogation. Gene expression was done by real-time RT-PCR and immuno-staining; MET/EMT protein levels were determined by western blot analysis.
RESULTS: The CRC-iPC cells showed embryonic stem cell-like features and tri-lineage differentiation abilities. The spontaneously-differentiated post-iPC cells obtained were highly similar to the parental CRC cells. However, down-regulated pluripotency gene expression and failure to form teratoma indicated that the CRC-iPC cells had only attained partial pluripotency. The CRC-iPC cells shared similarities in the genome-wide miRNA expression profiles of both cancer and pluripotent embryonic stem cells. One hundred and two differentially-expressed miRNAs were identified in the CRC-iPC cells, which were predicted by bioinformatics analysis be closely involved in regulating cellular pluripotency and the expression of the MET/EMT genes, possibly via the phosphatidylinositol-3 kinases-protein kinase B (PI3K-Akt) and transforming growth factor beta (TGF-β) signaling pathways. Irregular and inconsistent expression patterns of the EMT vimentin and Snai1 and MET E-cadherin and occludin proteins were observed in the four CRC-iPC clones analyzed, which suggested an epithelial/mesenchymal hybrid phenotype in the partially reprogrammed CRC cells. MET/EMT gene expression was also generally reversed on re-differentiation, also suggesting epigenetic regulation.
CONCLUSIONS: Our data support the elite model for cancer cell-reprogramming in which only a selected subset of cancer may be fully reprogrammed; partial cancer cell reprogramming may also elicit an epithelial-mesenchymal mixed phenotype, and highlight opportunities and challenges in cancer cell-reprogramming.

Munguía-Moreno JA, Díaz-Chavéz J, García-Villa E, et al.
Early synergistic interactions between the HPV16‑E7 oncoprotein and 17β-oestradiol for repressing the expression of Granzyme B in a cervical cancer model.
Int J Oncol. 2018; 53(2):579-591 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Although high-risk human papillomavirus (HR‑HPV) infection has a prominent role in the aetiology of cervical cancer (CC), sex steroid hormones may also be involved in this process; however, the cooperation between oestrogen and HR‑HPV in the early stages of cervical carcinogenesis is poorly understood. Since 17β-oestradiol (E2) and the HPV type 16‑E7 oncoprotein induce CC in transgenic mice, a microarray analysis was performed in the present study to generate global gene expression profiles from 2‑month‑old FVB (non‑transgenic) and K14E7 (transgenic) mice who were left untreated or were treated for 1 month with E2. Upregulation of cancer-related genes that have not been previously reported in the context of CC, including glycerophosphodiester phosphodiesterase domain containing 3, interleukin 1 receptor type II, natriuretic peptide type C, MGAT4 family member C, lecithin-retinol acyltransferase (phosphatidylcholine-retinol-O-acyltransferase) and glucoside xylosyltransferase 2, was observed. Notably, upregulation of the serine (or cysteine) peptidase inhibitor clade B member 9 gene and downregulation of the Granzyme gene family were observed; the repression of the Granzyme B pathway may be a novel mechanism of immune evasion by cancer cells. The present results provide the basis for further studies on early biomarkers of CC risk and synergistic interactions between HR‑HPV and oestrogen.

Shergalis A, Bankhead A, Luesakul U, et al.
Current Challenges and Opportunities in Treating Glioblastoma.
Pharmacol Rev. 2018; 70(3):412-445 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Glioblastoma multiforme (GBM), the most common and aggressive primary brain tumor, has a high mortality rate despite extensive efforts to develop new treatments. GBM exhibits both intra- and intertumor heterogeneity, lending to resistance and eventual tumor recurrence. Large-scale genomic and proteomic analysis of GBM tumors has uncovered potential drug targets. Effective and "druggable" targets must be validated to embark on a robust medicinal chemistry campaign culminating in the discovery of clinical candidates. Here, we review recent developments in GBM drug discovery and delivery. To identify GBM drug targets, we performed extensive bioinformatics analysis using data from The Cancer Genome Atlas project. We discovered 20 genes,

Cheong JH, Yang HK, Kim H, et al.
Predictive test for chemotherapy response in resectable gastric cancer: a multi-cohort, retrospective analysis.
Lancet Oncol. 2018; 19(5):629-638 [PubMed] Related Publications
BACKGROUND: Adjuvant chemotherapy after surgery improves survival of patients with stage II-III, resectable gastric cancer. However, the overall survival benefit observed after adjuvant chemotherapy is moderate, suggesting that not all patients with resectable gastric cancer treated with adjuvant chemotherapy benefit from it. We aimed to develop and validate a predictive test for adjuvant chemotherapy response in patients with resectable, stage II-III gastric cancer.
METHODS: In this multi-cohort, retrospective study, we developed through a multi-step strategy a predictive test consisting of two rule-based classifier algorithms with predictive value for adjuvant chemotherapy response and prognosis. Exploratory bioinformatics analyses identified biologically relevant candidate genes in gastric cancer transcriptome datasets. In the discovery analysis, a four-gene, real-time RT-PCR assay was developed and analytically validated in formalin-fixed, paraffin-embedded (FFPE) tumour tissues from an internal cohort of 307 patients with stage II-III gastric cancer treated at the Yonsei Cancer Center with D2 gastrectomy plus adjuvant fluorouracil-based chemotherapy (n=193) or surgery alone (n=114). The same internal cohort was used to evaluate the prognostic and chemotherapy response predictive value of the single patient classifier genes using associations with 5-year overall survival. The results were validated with a subset (n=625) of FFPE tumour samples from an independent cohort of patients treated in the CLASSIC trial (NCT00411229), who received D2 gastrectomy plus capecitabine and oxaliplatin chemotherapy (n=323) or surgery alone (n=302). The primary endpoint was 5-year overall survival.
FINDINGS: We identified four classifier genes related to relevant gastric cancer features (GZMB, WARS, SFRP4, and CDX1) that formed the single patient classifier assay. In the validation cohort, the prognostic single patient classifier (based on the expression of GZMB, WARS, and SFRP4) identified 79 (13%) of 625 patients as low risk, 296 (47%) as intermediate risk, and 250 (40%) as high risk, and 5-year overall survival for these groups was 83·2% (95% CI 75·2-92·0), 74·8% (69·9-80·1), and 66·0% (60·1-72·4), respectively (p=0·012). The predictive single patient classifier (based on the expression of GZMB, WARS, and CDX1) assigned 281 (45%) of 625 patients in the validation cohort to the chemotherapy-benefit group and 344 (55%) to the no-benefit group. In the predicted chemotherapy-benefit group, 5-year overall survival was significantly improved in those patients who had received adjuvant chemotherapy after surgery compared with those who received surgery only (80% [95% CI 73·5-87·1] vs 64·5% [56·8-73·3]; univariate hazard ratio 0·47 [95% CI 0·30-0·75], p=0·0015), whereas no such improvement in 5-year overall survival was observed in the no-benefit group (72·9% [66·5-79·9] in patients who received chemotherapy plus surgery vs 72·5% [65·8-79·9] in patients who only had surgery; 0·93 [0·62-1·38], p=0·71). The predictive single patient classifier groups (chemotherapy benefit vs no-benefit) could predict adjuvant chemotherapy benefit in terms of 5-year overall survival in the validation cohort (p
INTERPRETATION: The single patient classifiers validated in this study provide clinically important prognostic information independent of standard risk-stratification methods and predicted chemotherapy response after surgery in two independent cohorts of patients with resectable, stage II-III gastric cancer. The single patient classifiers could complement TNM staging to optimise decision making in patients with resectable gastric cancer who are eligible for adjuvant chemotherapy after surgery. Further validation of these results in prospective studies is warranted.
FUNDING: Ministry of ICT and Future Planning; Ministry of Trade, Industry, and Energy; and Ministry of Health and Welfare.

E J, Yan F, Kang Z, et al.
Hum Immunol. 2018; 79(6):446-452 [PubMed] Related Publications
Tumor-draining lymph nodes (TDLNs) are the primary sites of tumor antigen presentation, as well as the origin of metastasis in most cases. Hence, the type and function of immune cells in TDLNs are critical to the microenvironment and potentially affect the clinical outcome of the malignancy. CD8

Maeda T, Hiraki M, Jin C, et al.
MUC1-C Induces PD-L1 and Immune Evasion in Triple-Negative Breast Cancer.
Cancer Res. 2018; 78(1):205-215 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
The immune checkpoint ligand PD-L1 and the transmembrane mucin MUC1 are upregulated in triple-negative breast cancer (TNBC), where they contribute to its aggressive pathogenesis. Here, we report that genetic or pharmacological targeting of the oncogenic MUC1 subunit MUC1-C is sufficient to suppress PD-L1 expression in TNBC cells. Mechanistic investigations showed that MUC1-C acted to elevate

Sivakumar S, Lucas FAS, McDowell TL, et al.
Genomic Landscape of Atypical Adenomatous Hyperplasia Reveals Divergent Modes to Lung Adenocarcinoma.
Cancer Res. 2017; 77(22):6119-6130 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
There is a dearth of knowledge about the pathogenesis of premalignant lung lesions, especially for atypical adenomatous hyperplasia (AAH), the only known precursor for the major lung cancer subtype adenocarcinoma (LUAD). In this study, we performed deep DNA and RNA sequencing analyses of a set of AAH, LUAD, and normal tissues. Somatic

Nowakowska P, Romanski A, Miller N, et al.
Clinical grade manufacturing of genetically modified, CAR-expressing NK-92 cells for the treatment of ErbB2-positive malignancies.
Cancer Immunol Immunother. 2018; 67(1):25-38 [PubMed] Related Publications
BACKGROUND: The NK-92/5.28.z cell line (also referred to as HER2.taNK) represents a stable, lentiviral-transduced clone of ErbB2 (HER2)-specific, second-generation CAR-expressing derivative of clinically applicable NK-92 cells. This study addresses manufacturing-related issues and aimed to develop a GMP-compliant protocol for the generation of NK-92/5.28.z therapeutic doses starting from a well-characterized GMP-compliant master cell bank.
MATERIALS AND METHODS: Commercially available GMP-grade culture media and supplements (fresh frozen plasma, platelet lysate) were evaluated for their ability to support expansion of NK-92/5.28.z. Irradiation sensitivity and cytokine release were also investigated.
RESULTS: NK-92/5.28.z cells can be grown to clinically applicable cell doses of 5 × 10
CONCLUSION: Our concept suggests NK-92/5.28.z maintenance culture from which therapeutic doses up to 5 × 10

Kah J, Koh S, Volz T, et al.
Lymphocytes transiently expressing virus-specific T cell receptors reduce hepatitis B virus infection.
J Clin Invest. 2017; 127(8):3177-3188 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Adoptive transfer of T cells engineered to express a hepatitis B virus-specific (HBV-specific) T cell receptor (TCR) may supplement HBV-specific immune responses in chronic HBV patients and facilitate HBV control. However, the risk of triggering unrestrained proliferation of permanently engineered T cells raises safety concerns that have hampered testing of this approach in patients. The aim of the present study was to generate T cells that transiently express HBV-specific TCRs using mRNA electroporation and to assess their antiviral and pathogenetic activity in vitro and in HBV-infected human liver chimeric mice. We assessed virological and gene-expression changes using quantitative reverse-transcriptase PCR (qRT-PCR), immunofluorescence, and Luminex technology. HBV-specific T cells lysed HBV-producing hepatoma cells in vitro. In vivo, 3 injections of HBV-specific T cells caused progressive viremia reduction within 12 days of treatment in animals reconstituted with haplotype-matched hepatocytes, whereas viremia remained stable in mice receiving irrelevant T cells redirected toward hepatitis C virus-specific TCRs. Notably, increases in alanine aminotransferase levels, apoptotic markers, and human inflammatory cytokines returned to pretreatment levels within 9 days after the last injection. T cell transfer did not trigger inflammation in uninfected mice. These data support the feasibility of using mRNA electroporation to engineer HBV TCR-redirected T cells in patients with chronic HBV infection.

Souza BMB, De Vito FB, Calado ML, et al.
Evaluation of the cytotoxic response mediated by perforin and granzyme B in patients with non-Hodgkin lymphoma.
Leuk Lymphoma. 2018; 59(1):214-220 [PubMed] Related Publications
This study quantified the perforin and granzyme B in patients with non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL) at the time of diagnosis. Protein quantification was performed by flow cytometry. NHL patients had a higher number of cytotoxic T lymphocytes (CTLs) expressing perforin as well as a greater number of activated CTLs than the control group. However, intracellular perforin levels in natural killer cells were lower in the NHL patients compared to the control group. Quantitative real time PCR showed that patients had more expression of perforin and granzyme B transcripts compared to the control group. In addition, patients who had expression of both genes below the median found for the NHL group had lower survival rates. Considering this, we believe that perforin and granzyme B are potential prognostic markers in NHL and thus it is fundamental to pay attention to their expressions in these patients.

Gil Del Alcazar CR, Huh SJ, Ekram MB, et al.
Immune Escape in Breast Cancer During
Cancer Discov. 2017; 7(10):1098-1115 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
To investigate immune escape during breast tumor progression, we analyzed the composition of leukocytes in normal breast tissues, ductal carcinoma

Klusmann I, Rodewald S, Müller L, et al.
p53 Activity Results in DNA Replication Fork Processivity.
Cell Rep. 2016; 17(7):1845-1857 [PubMed] Related Publications
p53 induces cell death upon DNA damage, but this may not confer all of its tumor suppressor activity. We report that p53 activation enhances the processivity of DNA replication, as monitored by multi-label fiber assays, whereas removal of p53 reduces fork progression. This is observed in tumor-derived U2OS cells but also in murine embryonic fibroblasts with heterozygous or homozygous p53 deletion and in freshly isolated thymocytes from mice with differential p53 status. Mdm2, a p53-inducible gene product, similarly supports DNA replication even in p53-deficient cells, suggesting that sustained Mdm2-expression is at least one of the mechanisms allowing p53 to prevent replicative stress. Thus, p53 helps to protect the genome during S phase, by preventing the occurrence of stalled or collapsed replication forks. These results expand p53's tumor-suppressive functions, adding to the ex-post model (elimination of damaged cells) an ex-ante activity; i.e., the prevention of DNA damage during replication.

Frick M, Mouchacca P, Verdeil G, et al.
Distinct patterns of cytolytic T-cell activation by different tumour cells revealed by Ca
Immunology. 2017; 150(2):199-212 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Cancer-germline genes in both humans and mice have been shown to encode antigens susceptible to targeting by cytotoxic CD8 T effector cells (CTL). We analysed the ability of CTL to kill different tumour cell lines expressing the same cancer-germline gene P1A (Trap1a). We previously demonstrated that CTL expressing a T-cell receptor specific for the P1A

du Toit T, Bloem LM, Quanson JL, et al.
Profiling adrenal 11β-hydroxyandrostenedione metabolites in prostate cancer cells, tissue and plasma: UPC
J Steroid Biochem Mol Biol. 2017; 166:54-67 [PubMed] Related Publications
Adrenal C

Holmes B, Lee J, Landon KA, et al.
Mechanistic Target of Rapamycin (mTOR) Inhibition Synergizes with Reduced Internal Ribosome Entry Site (IRES)-mediated Translation of Cyclin D1 and c-MYC mRNAs to Treat Glioblastoma.
J Biol Chem. 2016; 291(27):14146-59 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Our previous work has demonstrated an intrinsic mRNA-specific protein synthesis salvage pathway operative in glioblastoma (GBM) tumor cells that is resistant to mechanistic target of rapamycin (mTOR) inhibitors. The activation of this internal ribosome entry site (IRES)-dependent mRNA translation initiation pathway results in continued translation of critical transcripts involved in cell cycle progression in the face of global eIF-4E-mediated translation inhibition. Recently we identified compound 11 (C11), a small molecule capable of inhibiting c-MYC IRES translation as a consequence of blocking the interaction of a requisite c-MYC IRES trans-acting factor, heterogeneous nuclear ribonucleoprotein A1, with its IRES. Here we demonstrate that C11 also blocks cyclin D1 IRES-dependent initiation and demonstrates synergistic anti-GBM properties when combined with the mechanistic target of rapamycin kinase inhibitor PP242. The structure-activity relationship of C11 was investigated and resulted in the identification of IRES-J007, which displayed improved IRES-dependent initiation blockade and synergistic anti-GBM effects with PP242. Mechanistic studies with C11 and IRES-J007 revealed binding of the inhibitors within the UP1 fragment of heterogeneous nuclear ribonucleoprotein A1, and docking analysis suggested a small pocket within close proximity to RRM2 as the potential binding site. We further demonstrate that co-therapy with IRES-J007 and PP242 significantly reduces tumor growth of GBM xenografts in mice and that combined inhibitor treatments markedly reduce the mRNA translational state of cyclin D1 and c-MYC transcripts in these tumors. These data support the combined use of IRES-J007 and PP242 to achieve synergistic antitumor responses in GBM.

Sriraman A, Radovanovic M, Wienken M, et al.
Cooperation of Nutlin-3a and a Wip1 inhibitor to induce p53 activity.
Oncotarget. 2016; 7(22):31623-38 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Targeting the Mdm2 oncoprotein by drugs has the potential of re-establishing p53 function and tumor suppression. However, Mdm2-antagonizing drug candidates, e. g. Nutlin-3a, often fail to abolish cancer cell growth sustainably. To overcome these limitations, we inhibited Mdm2 and simultaneously a second negative regulator of p53, the phosphatase Wip1/PPM1D. When combining Nutlin-3a with the Wip1 inhibitor GSK2830371 in the treatment of p53-proficient but not p53-deficient cells, we observed enhanced phosphorylation (Ser 15) and acetylation (Lys 382) of p53, increased expression of p53 target gene products, and synergistic inhibition of cell proliferation. Surprisingly, when testing the two compounds individually, largely distinct sets of genes were induced, as revealed by deep sequencing analysis of RNA. In contrast, the combination of both drugs led to an expression signature that largely comprised that of Nutlin-3a alone. Moreover, the combination of drugs, or the combination of Nutlin-3a with Wip1-depletion by siRNA, activated p53-responsive genes to a greater extent than either of the compounds alone. Simultaneous inhibition of Mdm2 and Wip1 enhanced cell senescence and G2/M accumulation. Taken together, the inhibition of Wip1 might fortify p53-mediated tumor suppression by Mdm2 antagonists.

Krönung SK, Beyer U, Chiaramonte ML, et al.
LTR12 promoter activation in a broad range of human tumor cells by HDAC inhibition.
Oncotarget. 2016; 7(23):33484-97 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
A considerable proportion of the human genome consists of transposable elements, including the long terminal repeats (LTRs) of endogenous retroviruses. During evolution, such LTRs were occasionally inserted upstream of protein-coding genes, contributing to their regulation. We previously identified the LTR12 from endogenous retrovirus 9 (ERV9) as a regulator of proapoptotic genes such as TP63 or TNFRSF10B. The promoter activity of LTR12 is largely confined to the testes, silenced in testicular carcinoma, but reactivated in testicular cancer cells by broad-range histone deacetylase (HDAC) inhibitors. Here we show that inhibition of HDAC1-3 is sufficient for LTR12 activation. Importantly, HDAC inhibitors induce LTR12 activity not only in testicular cancer cells, but also in cells derived from many additional tumor species. Finally, we characterize the transcription factor NF-Y as a mediator of LTR12 promoter activity and HDAC inhibitor-induced apoptosis, in the context of widespread genomic binding of NF-Y to specific LTR12 sequences. Thus, HDAC inhibitor-driven LTR12 activation represents a generally applicable means to induce proapoptotic genes in human cancer cells.

Schrader A, Meyer K, Walther N, et al.
Identification of a new gene regulatory circuit involving B cell receptor activated signaling using a combined analysis of experimental, clinical and global gene expression data.
Oncotarget. 2016; 7(30):47061-47081 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
To discover new regulatory pathways in B lymphoma cells, we performed a combined analysis of experimental, clinical and global gene expression data. We identified a specific cluster of genes that was coherently expressed in primary lymphoma samples and suppressed by activation of the B cell receptor (BCR) through αIgM treatment of lymphoma cells in vitro. This gene cluster, which we called BCR.1, includes numerous cell cycle regulators. A reduced expression of BCR.1 genes after BCR activation was observed in different cell lines and also in CD10+ germinal center B cells. We found that BCR activation led to a delayed entry to and progression of mitosis and defects in metaphase. Cytogenetic changes were detected upon long-term αIgM treatment. Furthermore, an inverse correlation of BCR.1 genes with c-Myc co-regulated genes in distinct groups of lymphoma patients was observed. Finally, we showed that the BCR.1 index discriminates activated B cell-like and germinal centre B cell-like diffuse large B cell lymphoma supporting the functional relevance of this new regulatory circuit and the power of guided clustering for biomarker discovery.

Lauricella M, Carlisi D, Giuliano M, et al.
The analysis of estrogen receptor-α positive breast cancer stem-like cells unveils a high expression of the serpin proteinase inhibitor PI-9: Possible regulatory mechanisms.
Int J Oncol. 2016; 49(1):352-60 [PubMed] Related Publications
Breast cancer stem cells seem to play important roles in breast tumor recurrence and endocrine therapy resistance, although the underlying mechanisms have not been well established. Moreover, in some tumor systems the immunosurveillance failure against cancer cells has been related to the presence of the granzyme B inhibitor PI-9. This study explored the status of PI-9 in tumorspheres isolated from estrogen receptor-α positive (ERα+) breast cancer MCF7 cells. Studies were performed in tertiary tumorspheres which possess high levels of stemness markers (Nanog, Oct3/4 and Sox2) and self-renewal ability. The exposure to estrogens (17-β estradiol and genistein) increased the number and sizes of tumorspheres, promoting cell proliferation as demonstrated by the increase in the proliferating cell nuclear antigen (PCNA). The study of the three isoforms (66, 46 and 36 kDa) of ERα disclosed that tertiary tumorspheres exhibit a marked increase in ERα36, while the level of ERα66, which is highly expressed in MCF7 cells, declines. Although it is known that PI-9 is a transcriptional target of ERα66, surprisingly in tertiary tumorspheres, despite the reduced level of ERα66, the protein and mRNA content of PI-9 is higher than in MCF7 cells. Treatment with estrogens further increased PI-9 level while decreased that of ERα66 isoform thus excluding the involvement of this receptor isoform in the event. Moreover, our studies also provided evidence that tertiary tumorspheres express elevated levels of CXCR4 and phospho-p38, suggesting that the high PI-9 content might be ascribed to the activation of the proliferative CXCR4/phospho-p38 axis. Taken together, these events could supply a selective advantage to breast cancer stem cells by interfering with immunosurveillance systems and open up the avenue to new possible targets for breast cancer treatment.

Leonard B, Starrett GJ, Maurer MJ, et al.
APOBEC3G Expression Correlates with T-Cell Infiltration and Improved Clinical Outcomes in High-grade Serous Ovarian Carcinoma.
Clin Cancer Res. 2016; 22(18):4746-55 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
PURPOSE: APOBEC3 DNA cytosine deaminase family members normally defend against viruses and transposons. However, deregulated APOBEC3 activity causes mutations in cancer. Because of broad expression profiles and varying mixtures of normal and cancer cells in tumors, including immune cell infiltration, it is difficult to determine where different APOBEC3s are expressed. Here, we ask whether correlations exist between APOBEC3 expression and T-cell infiltration in high-grade serous ovarian cancer (HGSOC), and assess whether these correlations have prognostic value.
EXPERIMENTAL DESIGN: Transcripts for APOBEC3G, APOBEC3B, and the T-cell markers, CD3D, CD4, CD8A, GZMB, PRF1, and RNF128 were quantified by RT-qPCR for a cohort of 354 HGSOC patients. Expression values were correlated with each other and clinical parameters. Two additional cohorts were used to extend HGSOC clinical results. Immunoimaging was used to colocalize APOBEC3G and the T-cell marker CD3. TCGA data extended expression analyses to additional cancer types.
RESULTS: A surprising positive correlation was found for expression of APOBEC3G and several T cell genes in HGSOC. Immunohistochemistry and immunofluorescent imaging showed protein colocalization in tumor-infiltrating T lymphocytes. High APOBEC3G expression correlated with improved outcomes in multiple HGSOC cohorts. TCGA data analyses revealed that expression of APOBEC3D and APOBEC3H also correlates with CD3D across multiple cancer types.
CONCLUSIONS: Our results identify APOBEC3G as a new candidate biomarker for tumor-infiltrating T lymphocytes and favorable prognoses for HGSOC. Our data also highlight the complexity of the tumor environment with respect to differential APOBEC family gene expression in both tumor and surrounding normal cell types. Clin Cancer Res; 22(18); 4746-55. ©2016 AACR.

D'Eliseo D, Di Rocco G, Loria R, et al.
Epitelial-to-mesenchimal transition and invasion are upmodulated by tumor-expressed granzyme B and inhibited by docosahexaenoic acid in human colorectal cancer cells.
J Exp Clin Cancer Res. 2016; 35:24 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
BACKGROUND: Granzyme B (GrB) is a serine protease, traditionally known as expressed by cytotoxic lymphocytes to induce target cell apoptosis. However, it is emerging that GrB, being also produced by a variety of normal and neoplastic cells and potentially acting on multiple targets, might represent a powerful regulator of a wide range of fundamental biological processes. We have previously shown that GrB is expressed in urothelial carcinoma tissues and its expression is associated to both pathological tumor spreading and EMT. We have also shown that docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), a dietary ω-3 polyunsaturated fatty acid with anti-tumor activity, while inhibiting urothelial and pancreatic carcinoma cell invasion also inhibited their GrB expression in vitro. In this study, we characterized a panel of colorectal carcinoma (CRC) cells, with different invasive capabilities, for GrB expression and for the contribution of GrB to their EMT and invasive phenotype. In addition, we investigated the effect of DHA on CRC cell-associated GrB expression, EMT and invasion.
METHODS: The expression levels of GrB and EMT-related markers were evaluated by Western blotting. GrB knockdown was performed by Stealth RNAi small interfering RNA silencing and ectopic GrB expression by transfection of human GrB vector. Cell invasion was determined by the BioCoat Matrigel invasion chamber test.
RESULTS: GrB was produced in 57.1% CRC cell lines and 100% CRC-derived Cancer Stem Cells. Although GrB was constitutive expressed in both invasive and noninvasive CRC cells, GrB depletion in invasive CRC cells downmodulated their invasion in vitro, suggesting a contribution of GrB to CRC invasiveness. GrB loss or gain of function downmodulated or upmodulated EMT, respectively, according to the analysis of cancer cell expression of three EMT biomarkers (Snail1, E-cadherin, N-cadherin). Moreover, TGF-β1-driven EMT was associated to the enhancement of GrB expression in CRC cell lines, and GrB depletion led to downmodulation of TGF-β1-driven EMT. In addition, DHA inhibited GrB expression, EMT and invasion in CRC cells in vitro.
CONCLUSIONS: These findings present a novel role for GrB as upmodulator of EMT in CRC cells. Moreover, these results support the use of DHA, a dietary compound without toxic effects, as adjuvant in CRC therapy.

Sun H, Liu D
IL-15/sIL-15Rα gene transfer suppresses Lewis lung cancer growth in the lungs, liver and kidneys.
Cancer Gene Ther. 2016 Feb-Mar; 23(2-3):54-60 [PubMed] Related Publications
Nearly 40% of people with lung cancer have tumor growth in other organs at the time of diagnosis. Current treatment strategies for patients with late-stage lung cancer are primarily palliative and only showed modest efficacy. The current study takes advantage of the hydrodynamic gene delivery technique to evaluate the antitumor activity of interleukin (IL)-15/sIL-15Rα on lung tumors growing in the lungs, liver and kidneys. We demonstrate that hydrodynamic tail vein injection of 2 μg of AG209 DP muIL-15sRα+IL-15 plasmid resulted in serum IL-15/sIL-15Rα reaching a peak level of ~10 μg ml(-1) 1 day after the injection and gradually declined to ~5 ng ml(-1) within 3 days. Quantitative PCR analysis revealed that overexpression of IL-15/sIL-15Rα induced the activation of natural killer and T cells, evidenced by increased mRNA levels of marker genes including granzyme B, perforin, Ifn-γ, T-bet and Cd8 in the lungs, liver and kidneys. Importantly, transfer of the Il-15/sIl-15Rα gene alone, or in combination with gemcitabine chemotherapy, significantly inhibited the tumor growth in these three organs and prolonged median survival time of treated mice by 1.7- and 3.3-fold, respectively. The therapeutic benefits are principally blockade and elimination of tumor growth in the liver and kidneys. Taken together, these results suggest that IL-15/sIL-15Rα-based gene therapy could be an effective approach to treat late-stage lung cancer with metastases in other organs.

Vella S, Penna I, Longo L, et al.
Perhexiline maleate enhances antitumor efficacy of cisplatin in neuroblastoma by inducing over-expression of NDM29 ncRNA.
Sci Rep. 2015; 5:18144 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
High Risk Neuroblastoma (HR-NB) is a pediatric cancer characterized by high malignancy and remarkable cell heterogeneity within the tumour nodules. In a recent study, we demonstrated that in vitro and in vivo over-expression of the non-coding RNA NDM29 (neuroblastoma differentiation marker 29) induces NB cell differentiation, dramatically reducing their malignancy. Among gene expression changes, differentiated phenotype induced by NDM29 is characterized by decrease of the expression of ABC transporters responsible for anticancer drug resistance. Thus, the pharmacological induction of NDM29, in principle, might represent a possible novel strategy to increase cytotoxic drug responses. In this work, we identify a small molecule able to induce the expression of NDM29 in NB cells, conferring to malignant cells increased susceptibility to cisplatin cytotoxic effects. We demonstrate that the pharmacological induction of NDM29 expression in vivo enhances the antitumoral effects of chemotherapy specifically on tumour initiating/cancer stem cells sub-population, usually refractory to therapies and responsible for tumour relapse. In summary, we suggest a novel therapeutical approach possibly useful to treat very aggressive NB cases with poor prognosis. This novel pharmacological strategy aims to promote differentiation of "stem-like" cells to render them more susceptible to the killing action of cytotoxic anticancer drugs.

Tanaka Y, Aoyagi K, Minashi K, et al.
Discovery of a Good Responder Subtype of Esophageal Squamous Cell Carcinoma with Cytotoxic T-Lymphocyte Signatures Activated by Chemoradiotherapy.
PLoS One. 2015; 10(12):e0143804 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Definitive chemoradiotherapy (CRT) is a less invasive therapy for esophageal squamous cell carcinoma (ESCC). Five-year survival rate of locally advanced ESCC patients by definitive CRT were 37%. We previously reported that tumor-specific cytotoxic T-lymphocyte (CTL) activation signatures were preferentially found in long-term survivors. However, it is unknown whether the CTL activation is actually driven by CRT. We compared gene expression profiles among pre- and post-treatment biopsy specimens of 30 ESCC patients and 121 pre-treatment ESCC biopsy specimens. In the complete response (CR) cases, 999 overexpressed genes including at least 234 tumor-specific CTL-activation associated genes such as IFNG, PRF1, and GZMB, were found in post-treatment biopsy specimens. Clustering analysis using expression profiles of these 234 genes allowed us to distinguish the immune-activated cases, designating them as I-type, from other cases. However, despite the better CR rate in the I-type, overall survival was not significantly better in both these 30 cases and another 121 cases. Further comparative study identified a series of epithelial to mesenchymal transition-related genes overexpressed in the early relapse cases. Importantly, the clinical outcome of CDH2-negative cases in the I-type was significantly better than that of the CDH2-positive cases in the I-type. Furthermore, NK cells, which were activated by neutrophils-producing S100A8/S100A9, and CTLs were suggested to cooperatively enhance the effect of CRT in the CDH2-negative I-type. These results suggested that CTL gene activation may provide a prognostic advantage in ESCCs with epithelial characteristics.

Loskog A
Immunostimulatory Gene Therapy Using Oncolytic Viruses as Vehicles.
Viruses. 2015; 7(11):5780-91 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Immunostimulatory gene therapy has been developed during the past twenty years. The aim of immunostimulatory gene therapy is to tilt the suppressive tumor microenvironment to promote anti-tumor immunity. Hence, like a Trojan horse, the gene vehicle can carry warriors and weapons into enemy territory to combat the tumor from within. The most promising immune stimulators are those activating and sustaining Th1 responses, but even if potent effects were seen in preclinical models, many clinical trials failed to show objective responses in cancer patients. However, with new tools to control ongoing immunosuppression in cancer patients, immunostimulatory gene therapy is now emerging as an interesting option. In parallel, oncolytic viruses have been shown to be safe in patients. To prolong immune stimulation and to increase efficacy, these two fields are now merging and oncolytic viruses are armed with immunostimulatory transgenes. These novel agents are racing towards approval as established cancer immunotherapeutics.

Tseng JS, Wang CL, Yang TY, et al.
Divergent epidermal growth factor receptor mutation patterns between smokers and non-smokers with lung adenocarcinoma.
Lung Cancer. 2015; 90(3):472-6 [PubMed] Related Publications
INTRODUCTION: Smoking status is an important determinant of the prevalence of epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) mutations in lung cancer patients. However, it is unclear whether smoking status could also influence the spectrum of EGFR mutations.
METHODS: We enrolled patients with lung adenocarcinoma from three medical centers in Taiwan. EGFR mutations were assessed by Sanger direct sequencing. The objective of this study was to evaluate the influence of smoking status on both the frequency and patterns of EGFR mutations.
RESULTS: From 2001 to 2013, a total of 1175 patients with lung adenocarcinoma were enrolled for EGFR mutation analysis. The overall EGFR mutation rate was 59.6%, which was significantly higher in females than males (69.1% vs. 49.8%) and in non-smokers than current/former smokers (73.8% vs. 29.8%) (both P<0.001). Among patients harboring EGFR mutations, smokers expressed L858R mutation less frequently (35.2% vs. 50.2%, P=0.005) and exon 19 deletions more frequently (52.8% vs 38.8%, P=0.008) than non-smokers. Smokers and non-smokers also had divergent exon 19 deletions subtypes (Del E746-A750 82.5% vs. 57.6%, respectively, P<0.001). Among subgroup patients harboring the L858R mutation, smokers were associated with a higher rate of complex mutations than non-smokers (34.2% vs. 8.4%, P<0.001).
CONCLUSIONS: Our results suggested that smoking status could influence not only the frequency but also the spectrum of EGFR mutations. These findings provide a clue for further investigation of EGFR mutagenesis.

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