Gene Summary

Gene:HBEGF; heparin binding EGF like growth factor
Databases:VEGA, OMIM, HGNC, Ensembl, GeneCard, Gene
Protein:proheparin-binding EGF-like growth factor
Source:NCBIAccessed: 16 March, 2017


What does this gene/protein do?
Show (20)
Pathways:What pathways are this gene/protein implicaed in?
Show (3)

Cancer Overview

Research Indicators

Publications Per Year (1992-2017)
Graph generated 16 March 2017 using data from PubMed using criteria.

Literature Analysis

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

  • Biomarkers, Tumor
  • Sialyltransferases
  • Amphiregulin
  • Cell Division
  • Breast Cancer
  • Epidermal Growth Factor
  • Tumor Burden
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins
  • Signal Transduction
  • MMP9
  • siRNA
  • Transfection
  • alpha-Fetoproteins
  • Gene Expression
  • Glycoproteins
  • Prostate Cancer
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • EGF Family of Proteins
  • Transcription Factor RelA
  • Cancer Gene Expression Regulation
  • Transcription
  • Promoter Regions
  • Cell Proliferation
  • Wound Healing
  • Messenger RNA
  • Pancreatic Cancer
  • Protein Kinase Inhibitors
  • Heparin-binding EGF-like Growth Factor
  • Chromosome 5
  • Cell Movement
  • Neoplasm Metastasis
  • Gene Expression Profiling
  • Intercellular Signaling Peptides and Proteins
  • Neoplasm Proteins
  • RNA Interference
  • Stomach Cancer
  • Ovarian Cancer
  • Ligands
  • Phosphorylation
Tag cloud generated 16 March, 2017 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: HBEGF (cancer-related)

Mullapudi N, Ye B, Suzuki M, et al.
Genome Wide Methylome Alterations in Lung Cancer.
PLoS One. 2015; 10(12):e0143826 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Aberrant cytosine 5-methylation underlies many deregulated elements of cancer. Among paired non-small cell lung cancers (NSCLC), we sought to profile DNA 5-methyl-cytosine features which may underlie genome-wide deregulation. In one of the more dense interrogations of the methylome, we sampled 1.2 million CpG sites from twenty-four NSCLC tumor (T)-non-tumor (NT) pairs using a methylation-sensitive restriction enzyme- based HELP-microarray assay. We found 225,350 differentially methylated (DM) sites in adenocarcinomas versus adjacent non-tumor tissue that vary in frequency across genomic compartment, particularly notable in gene bodies (GB; p<2.2E-16). Further, when DM was coupled to differential transcriptome (DE) in the same samples, 37,056 differential loci in adenocarcinoma emerged. Approximately 90% of the DM-DE relationships were non-canonical; for example, promoter DM associated with DE in the same direction. Of the canonical changes noted, promoter (PR) DM loci with reciprocal changes in expression in adenocarcinomas included HBEGF, AGER, PTPRM, DPT, CST1, MELK; DM GB loci with concordant changes in expression included FOXM1, FERMT1, SLC7A5, and FAP genes. IPA analyses showed adenocarcinoma-specific promoter DMxDE overlay identified familiar lung cancer nodes [tP53, Akt] as well as less familiar nodes [HBEGF, NQO1, GRK5, VWF, HPGD, CDH5, CTNNAL1, PTPN13, DACH1, SMAD6, LAMA3, AR]. The unique findings from this study include the discovery of numerous candidate The unique findings from this study include the discovery of numerous candidate methylation sites in both PR and GB regions not previously identified in NSCLC, and many non-canonical relationships to gene expression. These DNA methylation features could potentially be developed as risk or diagnostic biomarkers, or as candidate targets for newer methylation locus-targeted preventive or therapeutic agents.

Wen T, Hou K, Li Z, et al.
Silencing β-linked N-acetylglucosamine transferase induces apoptosis in human gastric cancer cells through PUMA and caspase-3 pathways.
Oncol Rep. 2015; 34(6):3140-6 [PubMed] Related Publications
β-linked N-acetylglucosamine (GlcNAc) is a monosaccharide that is catalyzed by O-GlcNAcylation transferase (OGT) to bind serine or threonine hydroxyl moieties of numerous nuclear and cytoplasmic proteins. Recent studies have shown that O-GlcNAcylation is elevated in various cancer types, which is associated with oncogenesis and tumor progression. However, whether OGT is expressed and/or plays a role in gastric cancer is unknown. In the present study, we used qPCR to determine that OGT mRNA levels are significantly elevated in gastric cancer tissues compared with that in corresponding adjacent tissues. In addition, in vivo silencing of OGT in nude mice suppressed tumor proliferation and decreased tumor burden. Furthermore, in vitro OGT knockdown induced more cell apoptosis through increasing PUMA and caspase-3 expression. We used a glycan-binding protein gene microarray to identify potential downstream target genes of OGT, and found that apoptosis-related genes such as galectin and HBEGF were decreased after OGT suppression, suggesting that OGT silencing induces apoptosis in gastric cancer tissues. We concluded that OGT plays a key role in gastric cancer proliferation and survival, and could be a potential target for therapy.

Figueroa JD, Koutros S, Colt JS, et al.
Modification of Occupational Exposures on Bladder Cancer Risk by Common Genetic Polymorphisms.
J Natl Cancer Inst. 2015; 107(11) [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Few studies have demonstrated gene/environment interactions in cancer research. Using data on high-risk occupations for 2258 case patients and 2410 control patients from two bladder cancer studies, we observed that three of 16 known or candidate bladder cancer susceptibility variants displayed statistically significant and consistent evidence of additive interactions; specifically, the GSTM1 deletion polymorphism (P interaction ≤ .001), rs11892031 (UGT1A, P interaction = .01), and rs798766 (TMEM129-TACC3-FGFR3, P interaction = .03). There was limited evidence for multiplicative interactions. When we examined detailed data on a prevalent occupational exposure associated with increased bladder cancer risk, straight metalworking fluids, we also observed statistically significant additive interaction for rs798766 (TMEM129-TACC3-FGFR3, P interaction = .02), with the interaction more apparent in patients with tumors positive for FGFR3 expression. All statistical tests were two-sided. The interaction we observed for rs798766 (TMEM129-TACC3-FGFR3) with specific exposure to straight metalworking fluids illustrates the value of integrating germline genetic variation, environmental exposures, and tumor marker data to provide insight into the mechanisms of bladder carcinogenesis.

Shang H, Braggio D, Lee YJ, et al.
Targeting the Notch pathway: A potential therapeutic approach for desmoid tumors.
Cancer. 2015; 121(22):4088-96 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
BACKGROUND: Desmoid tumors (DTs) are rare mesenchymal lesions that can recur repeatedly. When it is feasible, DTs are surgically resected; however, this often results in high recurrence rates. Recently, treatment with PF-03084014, a potent γ-secretase inhibitor, has been shown to have antitumor activity in several tumor types by affecting the WNT/β-catenin pathway. Consequently, Notch pathway inhibition by PF-03084014 might be a promising approach for DT treatment.
METHODS: The expression of Notch pathway components was analyzed in DT tissues and cell strains with immunohistochemistry and Western blotting, respectively. A panel of DT cell strains was exposed to PF-03084014 and evaluated for cell proliferation. Antitumor effects were assessed via cell cycle, apoptosis, and migration and invasion analysis. Cells treated with PF-03084014 were characterized with a gene array analysis combined with Ingenuity Pathway Analysis.
RESULTS: The results showed that Notch pathway components were expressed at different levels in DTs. Hes1 (Hes Family BHLH Transcription Factor 1) was overexpressed in DT tumors versus dermal scar tissue, and PF-03084014 caused significant decreases in Notch intracellular domain and Hes1 expression in DT cell strains. PF-03084014 decreased DT cell migration and invasion and also caused cell growth inhibition in DT cell strains, most likely through cell cycle arrest. Gene array analysis combined with Ingenuity Pathway Analysis showed that Wnt1-inducible signaling pathway protein 2 possibly regulated Notch and WNT pathways after treatment with PF-03084014 through integrin.
CONCLUSION: Our findings suggest that the Notch pathway is an important DT therapeutic target. Furthermore, PF-03084014 has significant antitumor activity against DTs, and it may be an alternative strategy for DT treatment.

Cursons J, Leuchowius KJ, Waltham M, et al.
Stimulus-dependent differences in signalling regulate epithelial-mesenchymal plasticity and change the effects of drugs in breast cancer cell lines.
Cell Commun Signal. 2015; 13:26 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
INTRODUCTION: The normal process of epithelial mesenchymal transition (EMT) is subverted by carcinoma cells to facilitate metastatic spread. Cancer cells rarely undergo a full conversion to the mesenchymal phenotype, and instead adopt positions along the epithelial-mesenchymal axis, a propensity we refer to as epithelial mesenchymal plasticity (EMP). EMP is associated with increased risk of metastasis in breast cancer and consequent poor prognosis. Drivers towards the mesenchymal state in malignant cells include growth factor stimulation or exposure to hypoxic conditions.
METHODS: We have examined EMP in two cell line models of breast cancer: the PMC42 system (PMC42-ET and PMC42-LA sublines) and MDA-MB-468 cells. Transition to a mesenchymal phenotype was induced across all three cell lines using epidermal growth factor (EGF) stimulation, and in MDA-MB-468 cells by hypoxia. We used RNA sequencing to identify gene expression changes that occur as cells transition to a more-mesenchymal phenotype, and identified the cell signalling pathways regulated across these experimental systems. We then used inhibitors to modulate signalling through these pathways, verifying the conclusions of our transcriptomic analysis.
RESULTS: We found that EGF and hypoxia both drive MDA-MB-468 cells to phenotypically similar mesenchymal states. Comparing the transcriptional response to EGF and hypoxia, we have identified differences in the cellular signalling pathways that mediate, and are influenced by, EMT. Significant differences were observed for a number of important cellular signalling components previously implicated in EMT, such as HBEGF and VEGFA. We have shown that EGF- and hypoxia-induced transitions respond differently to treatment with chemical inhibitors (presented individually and in combinations) in these breast cancer cells. Unexpectedly, MDA-MB-468 cells grown under hypoxic growth conditions became even more mesenchymal following exposure to certain kinase inhibitors that prevent growth-factor induced EMT, including the mTOR inhibitor everolimus and the AKT1/2/3 inhibitor AZD5363.
CONCLUSIONS: While resulting in a common phenotype, EGF and hypoxia induced subtly different signalling systems in breast cancer cells. Our findings have important implications for the use of kinase inhibitor-based therapeutic interventions in breast cancers, where these heterogeneous signalling landscapes will influence the therapeutic response.

Schneider MA, Granzow M, Warth A, et al.
Glycodelin: A New Biomarker with Immunomodulatory Functions in Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer.
Clin Cancer Res. 2015; 21(15):3529-40 [PubMed] Related Publications
PURPOSE: In recent years, immune therapeutic strategies against non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) based on tissue-derived biomarkers, for example PD1/PD-L1 (CD274), have evolved as novel and promising treatment options. However, the crosstalk between tumor and immune cells is poorly understood. Glycodelin (gene name PAEP), initially described in the context of pregnancy and trophoblastic implantation, is a secreted immunosuppressive glycoprotein with an as-of-yet largely unknown function in lung cancer.
EXPERIMENTAL DESIGN: In this study, we characterized the expression and role of glycodelin in NSCLC through mRNA and protein expression analyses, functional knockdown experiments, and correlations with clinicopathologic parameters.
RESULTS: Glycodelin mRNA expression was significantly elevated in tumors (n = 336) compared with matched normal tissue (P < 0.0001). Overall survival (OS) was significantly reduced in NSCLC with high glycodelin mRNA levels in women but not in men. Glycodelin was detected in the sera of patients, and the levels correlated with recurrence and metastatic disease. Knockdown of glycodelin with siRNAs in NSCLC cell lines resulted in significant upregulation of immune system modulatory factors such as PDL1, CXCL5, CXCL16, MICA/B, and CD83 as well as proliferation stimulators EDN1 and HBEGF. Furthermore, decreased migration of tumor cells was observed.
CONCLUSIONS: Altogether, the comprehensive characterization of glycodelin in NSCLC provides strong support for its use as a biomarker with immune modulatory function.

Cushman SM, Jiang C, Hatch AJ, et al.
Gene expression markers of efficacy and resistance to cetuximab treatment in metastatic colorectal cancer: results from CALGB 80203 (Alliance).
Clin Cancer Res. 2015; 21(5):1078-86 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
PURPOSE: Formalin-fixed, paraffin-embedded tumor samples from CALGB 80203 were analyzed for expression of EGFR axis-related genes to identify prognostic or predictive biomarkers for cetuximab treatment.
PATIENTS AND METHODS: Patients (238 total) with first-line metastatic colorectal cancer (mCRC) were randomized to FOLFOX or FOLFIRI chemotherapy ± cetuximab. qRT-PCR analyses were conducted on tissues from 103 patients at baseline to measure gene expression levels of HER-related genes, including amphiregulin (AREG), betacellulin (BTC), NT5E (CD73), DUSP4, EGF, EGFR, epigen (EPGN), epiregulin (EREG), HBEGF, ERBB2 (HER2), ERBB3 (HER3), ERBB4 (HER4), PHLDA1, and TGFA. The interactions between expression levels and treatment with respect to progression-free survival (PFS) and overall survival (OS) were modeled using multiplicative Cox proportional hazards models.
RESULTS: High tumor mRNA levels of HER2 [hazard ratio (HR), 0.64; P = 0.002] and EREG (HR, 0.89; P = 0.016) were prognostic markers associated with longer PFS across all patients. HER3 and CD73 expression levels were identified as potential predictive markers of benefit from cetuximab. In KRAS wild-type (WT) tumors, low HER3 expression was associated with longer OS from cetuximab treatment, whereas high HER3 expression was associated with shorter OS from cetuximab treatment (chemo + cetuximab: HR, 1.15; chemo-only: HR, 0.48; Pinteraction = 0.029). High CD73 expression was associated with longer PFS from cetuximab treatment in patients with KRAS-WT (chemo + cetuximab: HR, 0.91; chemo-only: HR, 1.57; Pinteraction = 0.026) and KRAS-mutant (Mut) tumors (chemo + cetuximab: HR, 0.80; chemo-only: HR, 1.29; P = 0.025).
CONCLUSIONS: Gene expression of HER3 and CD73 was identified as a potential predictive marker for cetuximab. These data implicate HER axis signaling and immune modulation as potential mechanisms of cetuximab action and sensitivity.

Wei LQ, Liang HT, Qin DC, et al.
MiR-212 exerts suppressive effect on SKOV3 ovarian cancer cells through targeting HBEGF.
Tumour Biol. 2014; 35(12):12427-34 [PubMed] Related Publications
MicroRNAs (miRNAs) play critical roles in the development and progression of ovarian cancer. We found that miR-212 was significantly downregulated in serum and tissues from epithelial ovarian cancer (EOC) patients. Overexpression of miR-212 in ovarian cancer cells inhibited cell proliferation, migration, and invasion. Luciferase reporter assay confirmed HBEGF as a direct target of miR-212. Overexpression of miR-212 decreased HBEGF expression at both the protein and messenger RNA (mRNA) levels. Knockdown of HBEGF expression in SKOV3 cell line significantly inhibited cell growth, migration, and invasion. HBEGF mRNA level was upregulated in EOC tissues and inversely correlated with miR-212 expression in tissues. Upregulation of HBEGF could attenuate the effect induced by miR-212. These findings indicate that miR-212 displays a tumor-suppressive effect in human ovarian cancer. And miR-212 suppresses cell proliferation, migration, and invasion by targeting the HBEGF transcript, highlighting the therapeutic potential of miR-212 and HBEGF in epithelial ovarian cancer treatment.

Olbryt M, Habryka A, Student S, et al.
Global gene expression profiling in three tumor cell lines subjected to experimental cycling and chronic hypoxia.
PLoS One. 2014; 9(8):e105104 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Hypoxia is one of the most important features of the tumor microenvironment, exerting an adverse effect on tumor aggressiveness and patient prognosis. Two types of hypoxia may occur within the tumor mass, chronic (prolonged) and cycling (transient, intermittent) hypoxia. Cycling hypoxia has been shown to induce aggressive tumor cell phenotype and radioresistance more significantly than chronic hypoxia, though little is known about the molecular mechanisms underlying this phenomenon. The aim of this study was to delineate the molecular response to both types of hypoxia induced experimentally in tumor cells, with a focus on cycling hypoxia. We analyzed in vitro gene expression profile in three human cancer cell lines (melanoma, ovarian cancer, and prostate cancer) exposed to experimental chronic or transient hypoxia conditions. As expected, the cell-type specific variability in response to hypoxia was significant. However, the expression of 240 probe sets was altered in all 3 cell lines. We found that gene expression profiles induced by both types of hypoxia were qualitatively similar and strongly depend on the cell type. Cycling hypoxia altered the expression of fewer genes than chronic hypoxia (6,132 vs. 8,635 probe sets, FDR adjusted p<0.05), and with lower fold changes. However, the expression of some of these genes was significantly more affected by cycling hypoxia than by prolonged hypoxia, such as IL8, PLAU, and epidermal growth factor (EGF) pathway-related genes (AREG, HBEGF, and EPHA2). These transcripts were, in most cases, validated by quantitative reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (qRT-PCR). Our results indicate that experimental cycling hypoxia exerts similar, although less intense effects, on the examined cancer cell lines than its chronic counterpart. Nonetheless, we identified genes and molecular pathways that seem to be preferentially regulated by cyclic hypoxia.

Sheng Z, Murphy SF, Guo S, Green MR
A diphtheria toxin negative selection in RNA interference screening.
Methods Mol Biol. 2014; 1176:59-72 [PubMed] Related Publications
RNA interference (RNAi) screening is a powerful technique for understanding the molecular biology of cancer and searching drug targets. Genes and their upstream activators that are essential for the survival of cancer cells often dictate cancer formation/progression. Hence, they are preferable therapeutic targets. Identifying these genes using RNAi is, however, problematic because knocking them down leads to cell death. Here we describe a diphtheria toxin (DT) negative selection method to circumvent the problem of cell death in RNAi screening. DT fails to kill mouse cells due to the lack of functional DT receptor (DTR). Thus, we first prepare a construct encoding a human functional DTR driven by the promoter of mouse Atf5, a gene essential for the survival of malignant glioma. Then a DT-sensitive mouse malignant glioma cell line is established by over-expressing this DTR. Finally, an RNAi screen is performed in this cell line and genes that activate Atf5 expression are identified. The negative selection approach described here allows RNAi screening to be used for identifying genes controlling cell survival in cancers or perhaps other human diseases with potential in therapeutic intervention.

Okamoto A, Asai T, Kato H, et al.
Antibody-modified lipid nanoparticles for selective delivery of siRNA to tumors expressing membrane-anchored form of HB-EGF.
Biochem Biophys Res Commun. 2014; 449(4):460-5 [PubMed] Related Publications
An Fab' antibody against heparin-binding epidermal growth factor-like growth factor (HB-EGF) was applied to achieve advanced tumor-targeted delivery of siRNA. Lipid nanoparticles (LNP) encapsulating siRNA (LNP-siRNA) were prepared, pegylated, and surface modified with Fab' fragments of anti-HB-EGF antibody (αHB-EGF LNP-siRNA). αHB-EGF LNP-siRNA showed high-binding affinity to recombinant human HB-EGF in a Biacore assay. In addition, αHB-EGF LNP-siRNA selectively associated with cells expressing HB-EGF in vitro. Confocal microscopic images showed that siRNA formulated in αHB-EGF LNP-siRNA was efficiently internalized into MDA-MB-231 human breast cancer cells, on which HB-EGF is highly expressed. In addition, siRNA encapsulated in αHB-EGF LNP induced obvious suppression of both target mRNA and protein levels in MDA-MB-231 cells. These results indicate that αHB-EGF LNP have excellent potential to deliver siRNA to target cancer cells, resulting in effective gene silencing.

Cervigne NK, Machado J, Goswami RS, et al.
Recurrent genomic alterations in sequential progressive leukoplakia and oral cancer: drivers of oral tumorigenesis?
Hum Mol Genet. 2014; 23(10):2618-28 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
A significant proportion (up to 62%) of oral squamous cell carcinomas (OSCCs) may arise from oral potential malignant lesions (OPMLs), such as leukoplakia. Patient outcomes may thus be improved through detection of lesions at a risk for malignant transformation, by identifying and categorizing genetic changes in sequential, progressive OPMLs. We conducted array comparative genomic hybridization analysis of 25 sequential, progressive OPMLs and same-site OSCCs from five patients. Recurrent DNA copy number gains were identified on 1p in 20/25 cases (80%) with minimal, high-level amplification regions on 1p35 and 1p36. Other regions of gains were frequently observed: 11q13.4 (68%), 9q34.13 (64%), 21q22.3 (60%), 6p21 and 6q25 (56%) and 10q24, 19q13.2, 22q12, 5q31.2, 7p13, 10q24 and 14q22 (48%). DNA losses were observed in >20% of samples and mainly detected on 5q31.2 (35%), 16p13.2 (30%), 9q33.1 and 9q33.29 (25%) and 17q11.2, 3p26.2, 18q21.1, 4q34.1 and 8p23.2 (20%). Such copy number alterations (CNAs) were mapped in all grades of dysplasia that progressed, and their corresponding OSCCs, in 70% of patients, indicating that these CNAs may be associated with disease progression. Amplified genes mapping within recurrent CNAs (KHDRBS1, PARP1, RAB1A, HBEGF, PAIP2, BTBD7) were selected for validation, by quantitative real-time PCR, in an independent set of 32 progressive leukoplakia, 32 OSSCs and 21 non-progressive leukoplakia samples. Amplification of BTBD7, KHDRBS1, PARP1 and RAB1A was exclusively detected in progressive leukoplakia and corresponding OSCC. BTBD7, KHDRBS1, PARP1 and RAB1A may be associated with OSCC progression. Protein-protein interaction networks were created to identify possible pathways associated with OSCC progression.

LaPorta E, Welsh J
Modeling vitamin D actions in triple negative/basal-like breast cancer.
J Steroid Biochem Mol Biol. 2014; 144 Pt A:65-73 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Breast cancer is a heterogeneous disease with six molecularly defined subtypes, the most aggressive of which are triple negative breast cancers that lack expression of estrogen receptor (ER) and progesterone receptor (PR) and do not exhibit amplification of the growth factor receptor HER2. Triple negative breast cancers often exhibit basal-like gene signatures and are enriched for CD44+ cancer stem cells. In this report we have characterized the molecular actions of the VDR in a model of triple negative breast cancer. Estrogen independent, invasive mammary tumor cell lines established from wild-type (WT) and VDR knockout (VDRKO) mice were used to demonstrate that VDR is necessary for 1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D3 (1,25D) mediated anti-cancer actions in vitro and to identify novel targets of this receptor. Western blotting confirmed differential VDR expression and demonstrated the lack of ER, PR and Her2 in these cell lines. Re-introduction of human VDR (hVDR) into VDRKO cells restored the anti-proliferative actions of 1,25D. Genomic profiling demonstrated that 1,25D failed to alter gene expression in KO240 cells whereas major changes were observed in WT145 cells and in KO clones stably expressing hVDR (KO(hVDR) cells). With a 2-fold cutoff, 117 transcripts in WT145 cells and 197 transcripts in the KO(hVDR) clones were significantly altered by 1,25D. Thirty-five genes were found to be commonly regulated by 1,25D in all VDR-positive cell lines. Of these, we identified a cohort of four genes (Plau, Hbegf, Postn, Has2) that are known to drive breast cancer invasion and metastasis whose expression was markedly down regulated by 1,25D. These data support a model whereby 1,25D coordinately suppresses multiple proteins that are required for survival of triple-negative/basal-like breast cancer cells. Since studies have demonstrated a high prevalence of vitamin D deficiency in women with basal-like breast cancer, correction of vitamin D deficiency in these women represents a reasonable, but as yet untested, strategy to delay recurrence and extend survival. This article is part of a Special Issue entitled '16th Vitamin D Workshop'.

Seuter S, Pehkonen P, Heikkinen S, Carlberg C
Dynamics of 1α,25-dihydroxyvitamin D3-dependent chromatin accessibility of early vitamin D receptor target genes.
Biochim Biophys Acta. 2013; 1829(12):1266-75 [PubMed] Related Publications
The signaling cascade of the transcription factor vitamin D receptor (VDR) is triggered by its specific ligand 1α,25-dihydroxyvitamin D3 (1α,25(OH)2D3). In this study we demonstrate that in THP-1 human monocytic leukemia cells 87.4% of the 1034 most prominent genome-wide VDR binding sites co-localize with loci of open chromatin. At 165 of them 1α,25(OH)2D3 strongly increases chromatin accessibility and has at further 217 sites weaker effects. Interestingly, VDR binding sites in 1α,25(OH)2D3-responsive chromatin regions are far more often composed of direct repeats with 3 intervening nucleotides (DR3s) than those in ligand insensitive regions. DR3-containing VDR sites are enriched in the neighborhood of genes that are involved in controling cellular growth, while non-DR3 VDR binding is often found close to genes related to immunity. At the example of six early VDR target genes we show that the slope of their 1α,25(OH)2D3-induced transcription correlates with the basal chromatin accessibility of their major VDR binding regions. However, the chromatin loci controlling these genes are indistinguishable in their VDR association kinetics. Taken together, ligand responsive chromatin loci represent dynamically regulated contact points of VDR with the genome, from where it controls early 1α,25(OH)2D3 target genes.

Zhou Z, Darwal MA, Cheng EA, et al.
Cellular reprogramming into a brown adipose tissue-like phenotype by co-expression of HB-EGF and ADAM 12S.
Growth Factors. 2013; 31(6):185-98 [PubMed] Related Publications
Abnormal adipogenesis leads to excessive fat accumulation and several health disorders. Mouse fibroblasts (MLC) transfected with ADAM 12S and HB-EGF promoted lipid accumulation. Addition of KBR-7785, an ADAM 12S inhibitor, to HB-EGF/ADAM 12S expressing cells suppressed adipogenesis. BrdU incorporation was attenuated and enhanced mitotracker staining was observed in HB-EGF/ADAM 12S cells. Quantitative real time RT-PCR resulted in elevated levels of expression of three brown adipose tissue (BAT) genes (PRDM16, PGC-1α, and UCP-1), while expression levels of the three white adipose tissue (WAT) genes (PPARγ, C/EBPα, and AKT-1) were unaltered in HB-EGF/ADAM 12S cells. Amino- or carboxy-terminal deletions of HB-EGF (HB-EGFΔN and HB-EGFΔC) co-expressed with ADAM 12S stimulated lipid accumulation. Human epidermoid carcinoma cells (A431) also exhibited lipid accumulation by HB-EGF/ADAM 12S co-expression. These studies suggest ADAM 12S and HB-EGF are involved in cellular plasticity resulting in the production of BAT-like cells and offers insight into novel therapeutic approaches for fighting obesity.

Li L, Chakraborty S, Yang CR, et al.
An EGFR wild type-EGFRvIII-HB-EGF feed-forward loop regulates the activation of EGFRvIII.
Oncogene. 2014; 33(33):4253-64 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
EGFRvIII is a key oncogene in glioblastoma (GBM). EGFRvIII results from an in-frame deletion in the extracellular domain of EGFR, does not bind ligand and is thought to be constitutively active. Although EGFRvIII dimerization is known to activate EGFRvIII, the factors that drive EGFRvIII dimerization and activation are not well understood. Here we present a new model of EGFRvIII activation and propose that oncogenic activation of EGFRvIII in glioma cells is driven by co-expressed activated EGFR wild type (EGFRwt). Increasing EGFRwt leads to a striking increase in EGFRvIII tyrosine phosphorylation and activation while silencing EGFRwt inhibits EGFRvIII activation. Both the dimerization arm and the kinase activity of EGFRwt are required for EGFRvIII activation. EGFRwt activates EGFRvIII by facilitating EGFRvIII dimerization. We have previously identified HB-EGF, a ligand for EGFRwt, as a gene induced specifically by EGFRvIII. In this study, we show that HB-EGF is induced by EGFRvIII only when EGFRwt is present. Remarkably, altering HB-EGF recapitulates the effect of EGFRwt on EGFRvIII activation. Thus, increasing HB-EGF leads to a striking increase in EGFRvIII tyrosine phosphorylation while silencing HB-EGF attenuates EGFRvIII phosphorylation, suggesting that an EGFRvIII-HB-EGF-EGFRwt feed-forward loop regulates EGFRvIII activation. Silencing EGFRwt or HB-EGF leads to a striking inhibition of EGFRvIII-induced tumorigenicity, while increasing EGFRwt or HB-EGF levels resulted in accelerated EGFRvIII-mediated oncogenicity in an orthotopic mouse model. Furthermore, we demonstrate the existence of this loop in human GBM. Thus, our data demonstrate that oncogenic activation of EGFRvIII in GBM is likely maintained by a continuous EGFRwt-EGFRvIII-HB-EGF loop, potentially an attractive target for therapeutic intervention.

Zhou ZN, Sharma VP, Beaty BT, et al.
Autocrine HBEGF expression promotes breast cancer intravasation, metastasis and macrophage-independent invasion in vivo.
Oncogene. 2014; 33(29):3784-93 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Increased expression of HBEGF in estrogen receptor-negative breast tumors is correlated with enhanced metastasis to distant organ sites and more rapid disease recurrence upon removal of the primary tumor. Our previous work has demonstrated a paracrine loop between breast cancer cells and macrophages in which the tumor cells are capable of stimulating macrophages through the secretion of colony-stimulating factor-1 while the tumor-associated macrophages (TAMs), in turn, aid in tumor cell invasion by secreting epidermal growth factor. To determine how the autocrine expression of epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) ligands by carcinoma cells would affect this paracrine loop mechanism, and in particular whether tumor cell invasion depends on spatial ligand gradients generated by TAMs, we generated cell lines with increased HBEGF expression. We found that autocrine HBEGF expression enhanced in vivo intravasation and metastasis and resulted in a novel phenomenon in which macrophages were no longer required for in vivo invasion of breast cancer cells. In vitro studies revealed that expression of HBEGF enhanced invadopodium formation, thus providing a mechanism for cell autonomous invasion. The increased invadopodium formation was directly dependent on EGFR signaling, as demonstrated by a rapid decrease in invadopodia upon inhibition of autocrine HBEGF/EGFR signaling as well as inhibition of signaling downstream of EGFR activation. HBEGF expression also resulted in enhanced invadopodium function via upregulation of matrix metalloprotease 2 (MMP2) and MMP9 expression levels. We conclude that high levels of HBEGF expression can short-circuit the tumor cell/macrophage paracrine invasion loop, resulting in enhanced tumor invasion that is independent of macrophage signaling.

Colombo C, Miceli R, Lazar AJ, et al.
CTNNB1 45F mutation is a molecular prognosticator of increased postoperative primary desmoid tumor recurrence: an independent, multicenter validation study.
Cancer. 2013; 119(20):3696-702 [PubMed] Related Publications
BACKGROUND: A role for the serine to phenylalanine substitution at codon 45 (the S45F mutation) in the catenin (cadherin-associated protein) β-1 (CTNNB1) gene as a molecular predictor of local recurrence in patients with primary, sporadic desmoid tumor (DT) has been reported. To confirm the previous data, the authors evaluated the correlation between CTNNB1 mutation type and local recurrence in this multi-institutional, retrospective study.
METHODS: Patients with primary, sporadic DT who underwent macroscopic complete surgical resection were included. Recurrence-free survival (RFS) analyses were conducted using the Kaplan-Meier method and log-rank tests to compare strata.
RESULTS: In total, 179 patients were identified, including 65% females and 35% males (median age, 39 years; median tumor size, 7 cm). Most DTs were located in the abdominal/chest wall (42%) followed by extra-abdominal sites (40%) and intra-abdominal sites (18%). All patients underwent either R0 resection (62%) or R1 resection (38%), and most underwent surgery alone (80%). The tyrosine to alanine substitution at codon 41 (T41A) was the most frequent mutation (45%), but the S45F mutation was more prevalent in extra-abdominal DTs compared with other sites (P< .001). At a median follow-up of 50 months, 86% of patients remained alive without disease. The estimated 3-year and 5-year RFS rates were 0.49 and 0.45, respectively, for patients who had tumors with the S45F mutation; 0.91 and 0.91, respectively, for patients who had wild-type tumors; and 0.70 and 0.66, respectively, for all others (P< .001). A similar trend was observed for patients who underwent surgery alone (P< .001). On multivariable analysis, mutation remained the only factor that was prognostic for local recurrence.
CONCLUSIONS: This series confirmed that primary, completely resected, sporadic DTs with the S45F mutation have a greater tendency for local recurrence. With increasing implementation of "watchful-waiting" for DT management, it will be important to determine whether mutation type predicts outcome for these patients.

Pinciroli P, Alberti C, Sensi M, et al.
An IL6-correlated signature in serous epithelial ovarian cancer associates with growth factor response.
BMC Genomics. 2013; 14:508 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
BACKGROUND: Epithelial ovarian cancer (EOC) is one of the most lethal gynecological cancers; the majority of EOC is the serous histotype and diagnosed at advanced stage. IL6 is the cytokine that has been found most frequently associated with carcinogenesis and progression of serous EOCs. IL6 is a growth-promoting and anti-apoptotic factor, and high plasma levels of IL6 in advanced stage EOCs correlate with poor prognosis. The objective of the present study was to identify IL6 co-regulated genes and gene network/s in EOCs.
RESULTS: We applied bioinformatics tools on 7 publicly available data sets containing the gene expression profiles of 1262 EOC samples. By Pearson's correlation analysis we identified, in EOCs, an IL6-correlated gene signature containing 40 genes mainly associated with proliferation. 33 of 40 genes were also significantly correlated in low malignant potential (LMP) EOCs, while 7 genes, named C5AR1, FPR1, G0S2, IL8, KLF2, MMP19, and THBD were IL6-correlated only in advanced stage EOCs. Among the 40-gene signature EGFR ligand HBEGF, genes of the EGR family members and genes encoding for negative feedback regulators of growth factor signaling were included. The results obtained by Gene Set Enrichment and Ingenuity Pathway Analyses enabled the identification, respectively, of gene sets associated with 'early growth factor response' for the 40-gene signature, and a biological network related to 'thrombosis and cardiovascular disease' for the 7-gene signature. In agreement with these results, selected genes from the identified signatures were validated in vitro by real time RT-PCR in serous EOC cell lines upon stimulation with EGF.
CONCLUSIONS: Serous EOCs, independently of their aggressiveness, co-regulate IL6 expression together with that of genes associated to growth factor signaling, arguing for the hypothesis that common mechanism/s driven by EGFR ligands characterize both advanced-stage and LMP EOCs. Only advanced-stage EOCs appeared to be characterized by a scenario that involves genes which are so far associated with thrombosis and cardiovascular disease, thus suggesting that this pathway is implicated in the growth and/or spread of more aggressive tumors. We have discovered novel activated signaling pathways that drive the expression of IL6 and of co-regulated genes and are possibly involved in the pathobiology of EOCs.

Nickerson NK, Mill CP, Wu HJ, et al.
Autocrine-derived epidermal growth factor receptor ligands contribute to recruitment of tumor-associated macrophage and growth of basal breast cancer cells in vivo.
Oncol Res. 2013; 20(7):303-17 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) expression has been linked to progression of basal breast cancers. Many breast cancer cells harbor the EGFR and produce its family of ligands, suggesting they may participate in autocrine and paracrine signaling with cells of the tumor microenvironment. EGFR ligand expression was profiled in the basal breast cancer cell line MDA-231 where AREG, TGF-alpha, and HBEGF were the three ligands most highly expressed. Autocrine signaling was modulated through silencing or overexpression of these three ligands using lentiviral constructs and the impact measured using motility, proliferation, and cytokine expression assays. Changes in receptor phosphorylation and receptor turnover were examined. Knockdown of AREG or TGF-alpha in vitro resulted in decreased motility (p < 0.05) and decreased expression of macrophage chemoattractants. Overexpression of TGF-alpha increased motility and chemoattractant expression, whereas AREG did not. HBEGF modulation had no effect on any cellular behaviors. All the cells with altered ligand production were inoculated into female athymic nude mice to form mammary fat pad tumors, followed by immunohistochemical analysis for necrosis, angiogenesis, and macrophage recruitment. In vivo, knockdown of AREG or TGF-alpha increased survival (p < 0.001) while decreasing angiogenesis (p < 0.001), tumor growth (p < 0.001), and macrophage attraction (p < 0.001). Overexpression of AREG appeared to elicit a greater effect than TGF-alpha on mammary fat pad tumor growth by increasing angiogenesis (p < 0.001) and macrophage attraction to the tumor (p < 0.01). We propose these changes in mammary tumor growth were the result of increased recruitment of macrophages to the tumor by cells with altered autocrine EGFR signaling. We conclude that AREG and TGF-alpha were somewhat interchangeable in their effects on EGFR signaling; however, TGF-alpha had a greater effect in vitro and AREG had a greater effect in vivo.

Halasz M, Polgar B, Berta G, et al.
Progesterone-induced blocking factor differentially regulates trophoblast and tumor invasion by altering matrix metalloproteinase activity.
Cell Mol Life Sci. 2013; 70(23):4617-30 [PubMed] Related Publications
Invasiveness is a common feature of trophoblast and tumors; however, while tumor invasion is uncontrolled, trophoblast invasion is strictly regulated. Both trophoblast and tumor cells express high levels of the immunomodulatory progesterone-induced blocking factor (PIBF), therefore, we aimed to test the possibility that PIBF might be involved in invasion. To this aim, we used PIBF-silenced or PIBF-treated trophoblast (HTR8/Svneo, and primary trophoblast) and tumor (HT-1080, A549, HCT116, PC3) cell lines. Silencing of PIBF increased invasiveness as well as MMP-2,-9 secretion of HTR8/SVneo, and decreased those of HT-1080 cells. PIBF induced immediate STAT6 activation in both cell lines. Silencing of IL-4Rα abrogated all the above effects of PIBF, suggesting that invasion-related signaling by PIBF is initiated through the IL-4Rα/PIBF-receptor complex. In HTR-8/SVneo, PIBF induced fast, but transient Akt and ERK phosphorylation, whereas in tumor cells, PIBF triggered sustained Akt, ERK, and late STAT3 activation. The late signaling events might be due to indirect action of PIBF. PIBF induced the expression of EGF and HB-EGF in HT-1080 cells. The STAT3-activating effect of PIBF was reduced in HB-EGF-deficient HT-1080 cells, suggesting that PIBF-induced HB-EGF contributes to late STAT3 activation. PIBF binds to the promoters of IL-6, EGF, and HB-EGF; however, the protein profile of the protein/DNA complex is different in the two cell lines. We conclude that in tumor cells, PIBF induces proteins, which activate invasion signaling, while-based on our previous data-PIBF might control trophoblast invasion by suppressing proinvasive genes.

Zhang X, Diaz MR, Yee D
Fulvestrant regulates epidermal growth factor (EGF) family ligands to activate EGF receptor (EGFR) signaling in breast cancer cells.
Breast Cancer Res Treat. 2013; 139(2):351-60 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Estrogen receptor-α (ER) targeted therapies are routinely used to treat breast cancer. However, patient responses are limited by resistance to endocrine therapy. Breast cancer cells resistant to the pure steroidal ER antagonist fulvestrant (fulv) demonstrate increased activation of epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) family members and downstream ERK signaling. In this study, we investigated the effects of fulv on EGFR signaling and ligand regulation in several breast cancer cell lines. EGFR/HER2/HER3 phosphorylation and ERK1,2 activation were seen after 24-48 h after fulvestrant treatment in ER-positive breast cancer cell lines. 4-Hydroxy-tamoxifen and estradiol did not cause EGFR activation. Fulvestrant did not affect EGFR expression. Cycloheximide abolished the ability of fulv to activate EGFR suggesting the autocrine production of EGFR ligands might be responsible for fulvestrant induced EGFR signaling. qRT-PCR results showed fulv differentially regulated EGFR ligands; HB-EGF mRNA was increased, while amphiregulin and epiregulin mRNAs were decreased. Fulvestrant induced EGFR activation and upregulation of EGFR ligands were ER dependent since fulv treatment in C4-12, an ER-negative cell line derivative of MCF-7 cells, did not result in EGFR activation or change in ligand mRNA levels. ER downregulation by siRNA induced similar EGFR activation and regulation of EGFR ligands as fulvestrant. Neutralizing HB-EGF antibody blocked fulv-induced EGFR activation. Combination of fulv and EGFR family tyrosine kinase inhibitors (erlotinib and lapatinib) significantly decreased EGFR signaling and cell survival. In conclusion, fulvestrant-activated EGFR family members accompanied by ER dependent upregulation of HB-EGF within 48 h. EGF receptor or ligand inhibition might enhance or prolong the therapeutic effects of targeting ER by fulvestrant in breast cancer.

Musumeci G, Travali S, Di Rosa M, et al.
Immunolocalization of heparin-binding EGF-like growth factor (HB-EGF) as a possible immunotarget in diagnosis of some soft tissue sarcomas.
Acta Histochem. 2013; 115(7):719-27 [PubMed] Related Publications
Heparin-binding EGF-like growth factor (HB-EGF), a member of the family of epidermal growth factors (EGFs), is involved in several biological processes and tumor formation. Several lines of evidence show that HB-EGF plays a key role in the acquisition of malignant phenotype. Studies show that HB-EGF expression is essential in oncogenesis of cancer-derived cell lines. HB-EGF is a promising target for cancer therapy. The aim of this study was to find new insights on the biological features of the soft tissue sarcomas, in order to consider the possibility to use HB-EGF as an immuno-target in histotype characterization and to facilitate therapeutic intervention. In our study we did HB-EGF-immunostaining on tissue samples collected from 43 human soft tissue sarcomas. We analyzed HB-EGF immunoexpression in some types of tumors such as clear cell sarcomas, leiomyosarcomas, phyllodes sarcomas, chondrosarcomas and liposarcomas. In relation to the different histotypes, we detected different immunostaining localization. From our results it was evident that pleomorphic cells, a signal of tumor progression, were HB-EGF immunostained, and this was accompanied by an extracellular matrix immunostaining. Moreover statistical analysis showed a correlation between HB-EGF immunostaining and the different types of analyzed soft tissue sarcomas. In conclusion, in some types of soft tissue sarcoma HB-EGF could be considered a useful diagnostic marker for their characterization.

Kobayashi H, Kumagai K, Gotoh A, et al.
Upregulation of epidermal growth factor receptor 4 in oral leukoplakia.
Int J Oral Sci. 2013; 5(1):14-20 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
In the present study, we investigate the expression profile of the epidermal growth factor receptor family, which comprises EGFR/ErbB1, HER2/ErbB2, HER3/ErbB3 and HER4/ErbB4 in oral leukoplakia (LP). The expression of four epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) family genes and their ligands were measured in LP tissues from 14 patients and compared with levels in 10 patients with oral lichen planus (OLP) and normal oral mucosa (NOM) from 14 healthy donors by real-time polymerase chain reaction (PCR) and immunohistochemistry. Synchronous mRNA coexpression of ErbB1, ErbB2, ErbB3 and ErbB4 was detected in LP lesions. Out of the receptors, only ErbB4 mRNA and protein was more highly expressed in LP compared with NOM tissues. These were strongly expressed by epithelial keratinocytes in LP lesions, as shown by immunohistochemistry. Regarding the ligands, the mRNA of Neuregulin2 and 4 were more highly expressed in OLP compared with NOM tissues. Therefore, enhanced ErbB4 on the keratinocytes and synchronous modulation of EGFR family genes may contribute to the pathogenesis and carcinogenesis of LP.

Yotsumoto F, Tokunaga E, Oki E, et al.
Molecular hierarchy of heparin-binding EGF-like growth factor-regulated angiogenesis in triple-negative breast cancer.
Mol Cancer Res. 2013; 11(5):506-17 [PubMed] Related Publications
Heparin-binding EGF-like growth factor (HB-EGF) is one of several proangiogenic factors and represents a possible therapeutic target for patients with triple-negative breast cancer (TNBC). However, the role of HB-EGF in promoting tumor aggressiveness in TNBC remains unclear. To investigate specific genes and pathways involved in TNBC tumorigenesis, we profiled gene expression changes in two TNBC cell lines under two-dimensional culture (2DC) and three-dimensional culture (3DC) and in a tumor xenograft model. We identified simultaneous upregulation of HB-EGF, VEGFA, and angiopoietin-like 4 (ANGPTL4) in 3DC and tumor xenografts, compared with 2DC. We show that HB-EGF regulates the expression of VEGFA or ANGPTL4 via transcriptional regulation of hypoxia-inducible factor-1α and NF-κB. Furthermore, suppression of VEGFA or ANGPTL4 expression enhanced HB-EGF expression, highlighting a unique regulatory loop underlying this angiogenesis network. Targeted knockdown of HB-EGF significantly suppressed tumor formation in a TNBC xenograft model, compared with individual knockdown of either VEGFA or ANGPTL4, by reducing the expression of both VEGFA and ANGPTL4. In patients with TNBC, VEGFA or ANGPTL4 expression was also significantly correlated with HB-EGF expression. Low concentrations of exogenously added HB-EGF strongly activated the proliferation of endothelial cells, tube formation, and vascular permeability in blood vessels, in a similar fashion to high doses of VEGFA and ANGPTL4. Taken together, these results suggest that HB-EGF plays a pivotal role in the acquisition of tumor aggressiveness in TNBC by orchestrating a molecular hierarchy regulating tumor angiogenesis.

Felli N, Felicetti F, Lustri AM, et al.
miR-126&126* restored expressions play a tumor suppressor role by directly regulating ADAM9 and MMP7 in melanoma.
PLoS One. 2013; 8(2):e56824 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
The abnormal expression of several microRNAs has a causal role in tumorigenesis with either antineoplastic or oncogenic functions. Here we demonstrated that miR-126 and miR-126* play a tumor suppressor role in human melanoma through the direct or indirect repression of several key oncogenic molecules. The expression levels of miR-126&126* were elevated in normal melanocytes and primary melanoma cell lines, whereas they markedly declined in metastatic cells. Indeed, the restored expression of miR-126&126* in two advanced melanoma cell lines was accompanied by a significant reduction of proliferation, invasion and chemotaxis in vitro as well as of growth and dissemination in vivo. In accordance, the reverse functional effects were obtained by knocking down miR-126&126* by transfecting antisense LNA oligonucleotides in melanoma cells. Looking for the effectors of these antineoplastic functions, we identified ADAM9 and MMP7, two metalloproteases playing a pivotal role in melanoma progression, as direct targets of miR-126&126*. In addition, as ADAM9 and MMP7 share a role in the proteolytic cleavage of the HB-EGF precursor, we looked for the effectiveness of this regulatory pathway in melanoma, confirming the decrease of HB-EGF activation as a consequence of miR-126&126*-dependent downmodulation of ADAM9 and MMP7. Finally, gene profile analyses showed that miR-126&126* reexpression was sufficient to inactivate other key signaling pathways involved in the oncogenic transformation, as PI3K/AKT and MAPK, and to restore melanogenesis, as indicated by KIT/MITF/TYR induction. In view of this miR-126&126* wide-ranging action, we believe that the replacement of these microRNAs might be considered a promising therapeutic approach.

Ray KC, Moss ME, Franklin JL, et al.
Heparin-binding epidermal growth factor-like growth factor eliminates constraints on activated Kras to promote rapid onset of pancreatic neoplasia.
Oncogene. 2014; 33(7):823-31 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Pancreatic cancer remains as one of the most deadly cancers with few treatment options at late stages and little information about how it develops through earlier stages. Activating mutation of the Kras gene has been implicated in, but is not sufficient for, tumorigenesis. In mouse models of pancreatic cancer, loss of tumor suppressor genes in conjunction with Kras mutation leads to gradual stochastic acquisition of neoplastic precursors and carcinomas, whereas many cells remain phenotypically unaltered in younger mice. Here, we demonstrate that two oncogenic events, mutation of Kras and production of the growth factor heparin-binding epidermal growth factor-like growth factor (HB-EGF), are sufficient for rapid and complete neoplastic transformation of the exocrine pancreas. We found that macrophages are the major source of HB-EGF production in pancreatic cancer tissue samples, and that macrophages are present in high density and in close association with human pancreatic cancer lesions. In a mouse model, high macrophage density was observed at the earliest stages of neoplastic transformation. The consequence of elevated HB-EGF signaling was investigated without the confounding effects of other macrophage-produced factors via transgenic overexpression of the active form of HB-EGF. In this model, HB-EGF was sufficient to promote Kras-initiated tumorigenesis, inducing rapid and complete neoplastic transformation of the entire exocrine pancreas shortly after birth. HB-EGF overexpression and Kras(G12D) together, but neither alone, increased proliferation with increased cyclinD1 and decreased Cdkn2a/2d (p16/p19(Ink4A/Arf)). These findings establish the importance of oncogenic synergy in cancer initiation and promotion, and establish a molecular link between inflammation and the earliest stages of tumor induction.

Di K, Linskey ME, Bota DA
TRIM11 is overexpressed in high-grade gliomas and promotes proliferation, invasion, migration and glial tumor growth.
Oncogene. 2013; 32(42):5038-47 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
TRIM11 (tripartite motif-containing protein 11), an E3 ubiquitin ligase, is known to be involved in the development of the central nervous system. However, very little is known regarding the role of TRIM11 in cancer biology. Here, we examined the expression profile of TRIM11, along with two stem cell markers CD133 and nestin, in multiple glioma patient specimens, glioma primary cultures derived from tumors taken at surgery and normal neural stem/progenitor cells (NSCs). The oncogenic function of TRIM11 in glioma biology was investigated by knockdown and/or overexpression in vitro and in vivo experiments. Our results showed that TRIM11 expression levels were upregulated in malignant glioma specimens and in high-grade glioma-derived primary cultures, whereas remaining low in glioblastoma multiforme (GBM) stable cell lines, low-grade glioma-derived primary cultures and NSCs. The expression pattern of TRIM11 strongly correlated with that of CD133 and nestin and differentiation status of malignant glioma cells. Knock down of TRIM11 inhibited proliferation, migration and invasion of GBM cells, significantly decreased epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) levels and mitogen-activated protein kinase activity, and downregulated HB-EGF (heparin-binding EGF-like growth factor) mRNA levels. Meanwhile, TRIM11 overexpression promoted a stem-like phenotype in vitro (tumorsphere formation) and enhanced glial tumor growth in immunocompromised mice. These findings suggest that TRIM11 might be an indicator of glioma malignancy and has an oncogenic function mediated through the EGFR signaling pathway. TRIM11 overexpression potentially leads to a more aggressive glioma phenotype, along with increased malignant tumor growth and poor survival. Taken together, clarification of the biological function of TRIM11 and pathways it affects may provide novel therapeutic strategies for treating malignant glioma patients.

Khan JA, Bellance C, Guiochon-Mantel A, et al.
Differential regulation of breast cancer-associated genes by progesterone receptor isoforms PRA and PRB in a new bi-inducible breast cancer cell line.
PLoS One. 2012; 7(9):e45993 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Progesterone receptor isoforms (PRA and PRB) are expressed at equal levels in normal mammary cells. However, alteration in PRA/PRB expression is often observed in aggressive breast cancer suggesting differential contribution of PR isoforms in carcinogenesis. The mechanisms underlying such processes remain to be established mainly due to paucity of appropriate cellular models. To investigate the role of PR isoforms and the impact of imbalanced PRA/PRB ratio in transcriptional regulation, we have generated an original human breast cancer cell line conditionally expressing PRA and/or PRB in dose-dependence of non-steroid inducers. We first focused on PR-dependent transcriptional regulation of the paracrine growth factor gene amphiregulin (AREG) playing important role in cancer. Interestingly, unliganded PRA increases AREG expression, independently of estrogen receptor, yet inhibitable by antiprogestins. We show that functional outcome of epidermal growth factor (EGF) on such regulation is highly dependent on PRA/PRB ratio. Using this valuable model, genome-wide transcriptomic studies allowed us to determine the differential effects of PRA and PRB as a function of hormonal status. We identified a large number of novel PR-regulated genes notably implicated in breast cancer and metastasis and demonstrated that imbalanced PRA/PRB ratio strongly impact their expression predicting poor outcome in breast cancer. In sum, our unique cell-based system strongly suggests that PRA/PRB ratio is a critical determinant of PR target gene selectivity and responses to hormonal/growth factor stimuli. These findings provide molecular support for the aggressive phenotype of breast cancers with impaired expression of PRA or PRB.

Cramer F, Christensen CL, Poulsen TT, et al.
Insertion of a nuclear factor kappa B DNA nuclear-targeting sequence potentiates suicide gene therapy efficacy in lung cancer cell lines.
Cancer Gene Ther. 2012; 19(10):675-83 [PubMed] Related Publications
Lung cancer currently causes the majority of cancer-related deaths worldwide and new treatments are in high demand. Gene therapy could be a promising treatment but currently lacks sufficient efficiency for clinical use, primarily due to limited cellular and nuclear DNA delivery. In the present study, we investigated whether it was possible to exploit the endogenous nuclear-shuttling activity by the nuclear factor kappa B (NFκB) system, which is highly prominent in many cancers as well as lung cancer. We observed that insertion of a DNA nuclear-targeting sequence (DTS) recognized by NFκB could improve plasmid nuclear delivery and enhance the therapeutic effect of a validated transcriptionally cancer-targeted suicide gene therapy system. A clear correlation between the number of inserted NFκB-binding sites and the therapeutic effect of the suicide system was observed in both small cell lung cancer (SCLC) and non-SCLC cell lines. The effect was observed to be due to elevated nuclear translocation of the suicide gene-encoding plasmids. The results show that a significant improvement of gene therapeutic efficiency can be obtained by increasing the intracellular trafficking of therapeutic DNA. This is to our knowledge the first time a DTS strategy has been implemented for suicide gene therapy.

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