Gene Summary

Gene:HRK; harakiri, BCL2 interacting protein
Aliases: DP5, HARAKIRI
Summary:This gene encodes a member of the BCL-2 protein family. Members of this family are involved in activating or inhibiting apoptosis. The encoded protein localizes to intracellular membranes. This protein promotes apoptosis by interacting with the apoptotic inhibitors BCL-2 and BCL-X(L) via its BH3 domain. Alternate splicing results in multiple transcript variants. [provided by RefSeq, Oct 2012]
Databases:OMIM, HGNC, Ensembl, GeneCard, Gene
Protein:activator of apoptosis harakiri
Source:NCBIAccessed: 31 August, 2019


What does this gene/protein do?
Show (10)

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.

  • Loss of Heterozygosity
  • Signal Transduction
  • Epigenetics
  • Gene Expression Profiling
  • Messenger RNA
  • CpG Islands
  • Lymphoma
  • Oligonucleotide Array Sequence Analysis
  • Polymerase Chain Reaction
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins
  • Gene Silencing
  • Neoplasm Proteins
  • DNA Methylation
  • Intracellular Signaling Peptides and Proteins
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Chromosome 12
  • Promoter Regions
  • Apoptosis
  • BAK1
  • bcl-2-Associated X Protein
  • Diffuse Large B-Cell Lymphoma
  • BCL2 protein
  • Gene Knockdown Techniques
  • Breast Cancer
  • Sulfonamides
  • Drug Resistance
  • p53 Protein
  • BID
  • Prostate Cancer
  • Transfection
  • Apoptosis Regulatory Proteins
  • Glioblastoma
  • Antineoplastic Agents
  • Transcription Factors
  • Ovarian Cancer
  • Survival Rate
  • Biomarkers, Tumor
  • Cell Survival
  • Cancer Gene Expression Regulation
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: HRK (cancer-related)

Mondal G, Stevers M, Goode B, et al.
A requirement for STAG2 in replication fork progression creates a targetable synthetic lethality in cohesin-mutant cancers.
Nat Commun. 2019; 10(1):1686 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Cohesin is a multiprotein ring that is responsible for cohesion of sister chromatids and formation of DNA loops to regulate gene expression. Genomic analyses have identified that the cohesin subunit STAG2 is frequently inactivated by mutations in cancer. However, the reason STAG2 mutations are selected during tumorigenesis and strategies for therapeutically targeting mutant cancer cells are largely unknown. Here we show that STAG2 is essential for DNA replication fork progression, whereby STAG2 inactivation in non-transformed cells leads to replication fork stalling and collapse with disruption of interaction between the cohesin ring and the replication machinery as well as failure to establish SMC3 acetylation. As a consequence, STAG2 mutation confers synthetic lethality with DNA double-strand break repair genes and increased sensitivity to select cytotoxic chemotherapeutic agents and PARP or ATR inhibitors. These studies identify a critical role for STAG2 in replication fork procession and elucidate a potential therapeutic strategy for cohesin-mutant cancers.

Tsui B, Dow M, Skola D, Carter H
Extracting allelic read counts from 250,000 human sequencing runs in Sequence Read Archive.
Pac Symp Biocomput. 2019; 24:196-207 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
The Sequence Read Archive (SRA) contains over one million publicly available sequencing runs from various studies using a variety of sequencing library strategies. These data inherently contain information about underlying genomic sequence variants which we exploit to extract allelic read counts on an unprecedented scale. We reprocessed over 250,000 human sequencing runs (>1000 TB data worth of raw sequence data) into a single unified dataset of allelic read counts for nearly 300,000 variants of biomedical relevance curated by NCBI dbSNP, where germline variants were detected in a median of 912 sequencing runs, and somatic variants were detected in a median of 4,876 sequencing runs, suggesting that this dataset facilitates identification of sequencing runs that harbor variants of interest. Allelic read counts obtained using a targeted alignment were very similar to read counts obtained from whole-genome alignment. Analyzing allelic read count data for matched DNA and RNA samples from tumors, we find that RNA-seq can also recover variants identified by Whole Exome Sequencing (WXS), suggesting that reprocessed allelic read counts can support variant detection across different library strategies in SRA. This study provides a rich database of known human variants across SRA samples that can support future meta-analyses of human sequence variation.

Pyke RM, Genolet R, Harari A, et al.
Computational KIR copy number discovery reveals interaction between inhibitory receptor burden and survival.
Pac Symp Biocomput. 2019; 24:148-159 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Natural killer (NK) cells have increasingly become a target of interest for immunotherapies. NK cells express killer immunoglobulin-like receptors (KIRs), which play a vital role in immune response to tumors by detecting cellular abnormalities. The genomic region encoding the 16 KIR genes displays high polymorphic variability in human populations, making it difficult to resolve individual genotypes based on next generation sequencing data. As a result, the impact of polymorphic KIR variation on cancer phenotypes has been understudied. Currently, labor-intensive, experimental techniques are used to determine an individual's KIR gene copy number profile. Here, we develop an algorithm to determine the germline copy number of KIR genes from whole exome sequencing data and apply it to a cohort of nearly 5000 cancer patients. We use a k-mer based approach to capture sequences unique to specific genes, count their occurrences in the set of reads derived from an individual and compare the individual's k-mer distribution to that of the population. Copy number results demonstrate high concordance with population copy number expectations. Our method reveals that the burden of inhibitory KIR genes is associated with survival in two tumor types, highlighting the potential importance of KIR variation in understanding tumor development and response to immunotherapy.

Smith JC, Sheltzer JM
Systematic identification of mutations and copy number alterations associated with cancer patient prognosis.
Elife. 2018; 7 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Successful treatment decisions in cancer depend on the accurate assessment of patient risk. To improve our understanding of the molecular alterations that underlie deadly malignancies, we analyzed the genomic profiles of 17,879 tumors from patients with known outcomes. We find that mutations in almost all cancer driver genes contain remarkably little information on patient prognosis. However, CNAs in these same driver genes harbor significant prognostic power. Focal CNAs are associated with worse outcomes than broad alterations, and CNAs in many driver genes remain prognostic when controlling for stage, grade,

Dow M, Pyke RM, Tsui BY, et al.
Integrative genomic analysis of mouse and human hepatocellular carcinoma.
Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2018; 115(42):E9879-E9888 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Cancer genomics has enabled the exhaustive molecular characterization of tumors and exposed hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) as among the most complex cancers. This complexity is paralleled by dozens of mouse models that generate histologically similar tumors but have not been systematically validated at the molecular level. Accurate models of the molecular pathogenesis of HCC are essential for biomedical progress; therefore we compared genomic and transcriptomic profiles of four separate mouse models [MUP transgenic, TAK1-knockout, carcinogen-driven diethylnitrosamine (DEN), and Stelic Animal Model (STAM)] with those of 987 HCC patients with distinct etiologies. These four models differed substantially in their mutational load, mutational signatures, affected genes and pathways, and transcriptomes. STAM tumors were most molecularly similar to human HCC, with frequent mutations in

Dixon JR, Xu J, Dileep V, et al.
Integrative detection and analysis of structural variation in cancer genomes.
Nat Genet. 2018; 50(10):1388-1398 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Structural variants (SVs) can contribute to oncogenesis through a variety of mechanisms. Despite their importance, the identification of SVs in cancer genomes remains challenging. Here, we present a framework that integrates optical mapping, high-throughput chromosome conformation capture (Hi-C), and whole-genome sequencing to systematically detect SVs in a variety of normal or cancer samples and cell lines. We identify the unique strengths of each method and demonstrate that only integrative approaches can comprehensively identify SVs in the genome. By combining Hi-C and optical mapping, we resolve complex SVs and phase multiple SV events to a single haplotype. Furthermore, we observe widespread structural variation events affecting the functions of noncoding sequences, including the deletion of distal regulatory sequences, alteration of DNA replication timing, and the creation of novel three-dimensional chromatin structural domains. Our results indicate that noncoding SVs may be underappreciated mutational drivers in cancer genomes.

Phillips JJ, Gong H, Chen K, et al.
The genetic landscape of anaplastic pleomorphic xanthoastrocytoma.
Brain Pathol. 2019; 29(1):85-96 [PubMed] Related Publications
Pleomorphic xanthoastrocytoma (PXA) is an astrocytic neoplasm that is typically well circumscribed and can have a relatively favorable prognosis. Tumor progression to anaplastic PXA (WHO grade III), however, is associated with a more aggressive biologic behavior and worse prognosis. The factors that drive anaplastic progression are largely unknown. We performed comprehensive genomic profiling on a set of 23 PXAs from 19 patients, including 15 with anaplastic PXA. Four patients had tumor tissue from multiple recurrences, including two with anaplastic progression. We find that PXAs are genetically defined by the combination of CDKN2A biallelic inactivation and RAF alterations that were present in all 19 cases, most commonly as CDKN2A homozygous deletion and BRAF p.V600E mutation but also occasionally BRAF or RAF1 fusions or other rearrangements. The third most commonly altered gene in anaplastic PXA was TERT, with 47% (7/15) harboring TERT alterations, either gene amplification (n = 2) or promoter hotspot mutation (n = 5). In tumor pairs analyzed before and after anaplastic progression, two had increased copy number alterations and one had TERT promoter mutation at recurrence. Less commonly altered genes included TP53, BCOR, BCORL1, ARID1A, ATRX, PTEN, and BCL6. All PXA in this cohort were IDH and histone H3 wildtype, and did not contain alterations in EGFR. Genetic profiling performed on six regions from the same tumor identified intratumoral genomic heterogeneity, likely reflecting clonal evolution during tumor progression. Overall, anaplastic PXA is characterized by the combination of CDKN2A biallelic inactivation and oncogenic RAF kinase signaling as well as a relatively small number of additional genetic alterations, with the most common being TERT amplification or promoter mutation. These data define a distinct molecular profile for PXA and suggest additional genetic alterations, including TERT, may be associated with anaplastic progression.

Zeng H, Jorapur A, Shain AH, et al.
Bi-allelic Loss of CDKN2A Initiates Melanoma Invasion via BRN2 Activation.
Cancer Cell. 2018; 34(1):56-68.e9 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Loss of the CDKN2A tumor suppressor is associated with melanoma metastasis, but the mechanisms connecting the phenomena are unknown. Using CRISPR-Cas9 to engineer a cellular model of melanoma initiation from primary human melanocytes, we discovered that a lineage-restricted transcription factor, BRN2, is downstream of CDKN2A and directly regulated by E2F1. In a cohort of melanocytic tumors that capture distinct progression stages, we observed that CDKN2A loss coincides with both the onset of invasive behavior and increased BRN2 expression. Loss of the CDKN2A protein product p16

Pekmezci M, Villanueva-Meyer JE, Goode B, et al.
The genetic landscape of ganglioglioma.
Acta Neuropathol Commun. 2018; 6(1):47 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Ganglioglioma is the most common epilepsy-associated neoplasm that accounts for approximately 2% of all primary brain tumors. While a subset of gangliogliomas are known to harbor the activating p.V600E mutation in the BRAF oncogene, the genetic alterations responsible for the remainder are largely unknown, as is the spectrum of any additional cooperating gene mutations or copy number alterations. We performed targeted next-generation sequencing that provides comprehensive assessment of mutations, gene fusions, and copy number alterations on a cohort of 40 gangliogliomas. Thirty-six harbored mutations predicted to activate the MAP kinase signaling pathway, including 18 with BRAF p.V600E mutation, 5 with variant BRAF mutation (including 4 cases with novel in-frame insertions at p.R506 in the β3-αC loop of the kinase domain), 4 with BRAF fusion, 2 with KRAS mutation, 1 with RAF1 fusion, 1 with biallelic NF1 mutation, and 5 with FGFR1/2 alterations. Three gangliogliomas with BRAF p.V600E mutation had concurrent CDKN2A homozygous deletion and one additionally harbored a subclonal mutation in PTEN. Otherwise, no additional pathogenic mutations, fusions, amplifications, or deletions were identified in any of the other tumors. Amongst the 4 gangliogliomas without canonical MAP kinase pathway alterations identified, one epilepsy-associated tumor in the temporal lobe of a young child was found to harbor a novel ABL2-GAB2 gene fusion. The underlying genetic alterations did not show significant association with patient age or disease progression/recurrence in this cohort. Together, this study highlights that ganglioglioma is characterized by genetic alterations that activate the MAP kinase pathway, with only a small subset of cases that harbor additional pathogenic alterations such as CDKN2A deletion.

Zhang Y, Pitchiaya S, Cieślik M, et al.
Analysis of the androgen receptor-regulated lncRNA landscape identifies a role for ARLNC1 in prostate cancer progression.
Nat Genet. 2018; 50(6):814-824 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
The androgen receptor (AR) plays a critical role in the development of the normal prostate as well as prostate cancer. Using an integrative transcriptomic analysis of prostate cancer cell lines and tissues, we identified ARLNC1 (AR-regulated long noncoding RNA 1) as an important long noncoding RNA that is strongly associated with AR signaling in prostate cancer progression. Not only was ARLNC1 induced by the AR protein, but ARLNC1 stabilized the AR transcript via RNA-RNA interaction. ARLNC1 knockdown suppressed AR expression, global AR signaling and prostate cancer growth in vitro and in vivo. Taken together, these data support a role for ARLNC1 in maintaining a positive feedback loop that potentiates AR signaling during prostate cancer progression and identify ARLNC1 as a novel therapeutic target.

Zhang W, Bojorquez-Gomez A, Velez DO, et al.
A global transcriptional network connecting noncoding mutations to changes in tumor gene expression.
Nat Genet. 2018; 50(4):613-620 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Although cancer genomes are replete with noncoding mutations, the effects of these mutations remain poorly characterized. Here we perform an integrative analysis of 930 tumor whole genomes and matched transcriptomes, identifying a network of 193 noncoding loci in which mutations disrupt target gene expression. These 'somatic eQTLs' (expression quantitative trait loci) are frequently mutated in specific cancer tissues, and the majority can be validated in an independent cohort of 3,382 tumors. Among these, we find that the effects of noncoding mutations on DAAM1, MTG2 and HYI transcription are recapitulated in multiple cancer cell lines and that increasing DAAM1 expression leads to invasive cell migration. Collectively, the noncoding loci converge on a set of core pathways, permitting a classification of tumors into pathway-based subtypes. The somatic eQTL network is disrupted in 88% of tumors, suggesting widespread impact of noncoding mutations in cancer.

Giuliano CJ, Lin A, Smith JC, et al.
MELK expression correlates with tumor mitotic activity but is not required for cancer growth.
Elife. 2018; 7 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
The Maternal Embryonic Leucine Zipper Kinase (MELK) has been identified as a promising therapeutic target in multiple cancer types. MELK over-expression is associated with aggressive disease, and MELK has been implicated in numerous cancer-related processes, including chemotherapy resistance, stem cell renewal, and tumor growth. Previously, we established that triple-negative breast cancer cell lines harboring CRISPR/Cas9-induced null mutations in MELK proliferate at wild-type levels in vitro (Lin et al., 2017). Here, we generate several additional knockout clones of MELK and demonstrate that across cancer types, cells lacking MELK exhibit wild-type growth in vitro, under environmental stress, in the presence of cytotoxic chemotherapies, and in vivo. By combining our MELK-knockout clones with a recently described, highly specific MELK inhibitor, we further demonstrate that the acute inhibition of MELK results in no specific anti-proliferative phenotype. Analysis of gene expression data from cohorts of cancer patients identifies MELK expression as a correlate of tumor mitotic activity, explaining its association with poor clinical prognosis. In total, our results demonstrate the power of CRISPR/Cas9-based genetic approaches to investigate cancer drug targets, and call into question the rationale for treating patients with anti-MELK monotherapies.

Velez DO, Tsui B, Goshia T, et al.
3D collagen architecture induces a conserved migratory and transcriptional response linked to vasculogenic mimicry.
Nat Commun. 2017; 8(1):1651 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
The topographical organization of collagen within the tumor microenvironment has been implicated in modulating cancer cell migration and independently predicts progression to metastasis. Here, we show that collagen matrices with small pores and short fibers, but not Matrigel, trigger a conserved transcriptional response and subsequent motility switch in cancer cells resulting in the formation of multicellular network structures. The response is not mediated by hypoxia, matrix stiffness, or bulk matrix density, but rather by matrix architecture-induced β1-integrin upregulation. The transcriptional module associated with network formation is enriched for migration and vasculogenesis-associated genes that predict survival in patient data across nine distinct tumor types. Evidence of this gene module at the protein level is found in patient tumor slices displaying a vasculogenic mimicry (VM) phenotype. Our findings link a collagen-induced migration program to VM and suggest that this process may be broadly relevant to metastatic progression in solid human cancers.

Goode B, Joseph NM, Stevers M, et al.
Adenomatoid tumors of the male and female genital tract are defined by TRAF7 mutations that drive aberrant NF-kB pathway activation.
Mod Pathol. 2018; 31(4):660-673 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Adenomatoid tumors are the most common neoplasm of the epididymis, and histologically similar adenomatoid tumors also commonly arise in the uterus and fallopian tube. To investigate the molecular pathogenesis of these tumors, we performed genomic profiling on a cohort of 31 adenomatoid tumors of the male and female genital tracts. We identified that all tumors harbored somatic missense mutations in the TRAF7 gene, which encodes an E3 ubiquitin ligase belonging to the family of tumor necrosis factor receptor-associated factors (TRAFs). These mutations all clustered into one of five recurrent hotspots within the WD40 repeat domains at the C-terminus of the protein. Functional studies in vitro revealed that expression of mutant but not wild-type TRAF7 led to increased phosphorylation of nuclear factor-kappa B (NF-kB) and increased expression of L1 cell adhesion molecule (L1CAM), a marker of NF-kB pathway activation. Immunohistochemistry demonstrated robust L1CAM expression in adenomatoid tumors that was absent in normal mesothelial cells, malignant peritoneal mesotheliomas and multilocular peritoneal inclusion cysts. Together, these studies demonstrate that adenomatoid tumors of the male and female genital tract are genetically defined by TRAF7 mutation that drives aberrant NF-kB pathway activation.

Wood MD, Tihan T, Perry A, et al.
Multimodal molecular analysis of astroblastoma enables reclassification of most cases into more specific molecular entities.
Brain Pathol. 2018; 28(2):192-202 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Astroblastoma is a rare and controversial glioma with variable clinical behavior. The diagnosis currently rests on histologic findings of a circumscribed glioma with astroblastomatous pseudorosettes and vascular hyalinization. Immunohistochemical studies have suggested different oncogenic drivers, such as BRAF p.V600E, but very few cases have been studied using genome-wide methodologies. Recent genomic profiling identified a subset of CNS embryonal tumors with astroblastoma-like morphology that harbored MN1 gene fusions, termed "CNS high-grade neuroepithelial tumors with MN1 alteration" (CNS-HGNET-MN1). To further characterize the genetic alterations that drive astroblastomas, we performed targeted next-generation sequencing (NGS) of 500 cancer-associated genes in a series of eight cases. We correlated these findings with break-apart fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH) analysis of the MN1 locus and genome-wide DNA methylation profiling. Four cases showed MN1 alteration by FISH, including two pediatric cases that lacked other pathogenic alterations, and two adult cases that harbored other cancer-associated gene mutations or copy number alterations (eg, CDKN2A/B homozygous deletion, TP53, ATM and TERT promoter mutations). Three of these cases grouped with the CNS-HGNET-MN1 entity by methylation profiling. Two of four MN1 intact cases by FISH showed genetic features of either anaplastic pleomorphic xanthoastrocytoma (BRAF p.V600E mutation, CDKN2A/B homozygous deletion and TERT promoter mutation) or IDH-wildtype glioblastoma (trisomy 7, monosomy 10, CDK4 amplification and TP53, NRAS and TERT promoter mutations) and these cases had an aggressive clinical course. Two clinically indolent cases remained unclassifiable despite multimodal molecular analysis. We conclude that astroblastoma histology is not specific for any entity including CNS-HGNET-MN1, and that additional genetic characterization should be considered for astroblastomas, as a number of these tumors likely contain a methylation profile or genetic alterations that suggest classification as other tumor entities. Our heterogeneous molecular findings help to explain the clinical unpredictability of astroblastoma.

Zweemer AJM, French CB, Mesfin J, et al.
Apoptotic Bodies Elicit Gas6-Mediated Migration of AXL-Expressing Tumor Cells.
Mol Cancer Res. 2017; 15(12):1656-1666 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Metastases are a major cause of cancer mortality. AXL, a receptor tyrosine kinase aberrantly expressed in many tumors, is a potent oncogenic driver of metastatic cell motility and has been identified as broadly relevant in cancer drug resistance. Despite its frequent association with changes in cancer phenotypes, the precise mechanism leading to AXL activation is incompletely understood. In addition to its ligand growth arrest specific-6 (Gas6), activation of AXL requires the lipid moiety phosphatidylserine (PS). Phosphatidylserine is only available to mediate AXL activation when it is externalized on cell membranes, an event that occurs during certain physiologic processes such as apoptosis. Here, it is reported that exposure of cancer cells to phosphatidylserine-containing vesicles, including synthetic liposomes and apoptotic bodies, contributes to enhanced migration of tumor cells via a PS-Gas6-AXL signaling axis. These findings suggest that anticancer treatments that induce fractional cell killing enhance the motility of surviving cells in AXL-expressing tumors, which may explain the widespread role of AXL in limiting therapeutic efficacy.

Werner LR, Kler JS, Gressett MM, et al.
Transcriptional-mediated effects of radiation on the expression of immune susceptibility markers in melanoma.
Radiother Oncol. 2017; 124(3):418-426 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE: We recently reported a time-sensitive, cooperative, anti-tumor effect elicited by radiation (RT) and intra-tumoral-immunocytokine injection in vivo. We hypothesized that RT triggers transcriptional-mediated changes in tumor expression of immune susceptibility markers at delayed time points, which may explain these previously observed time-dependent effects.
MATERIALS AND METHODS: We examined the time course of changes in expression of immune susceptibility markers following in vitro or in vivo RT in B78 murine melanoma and A375 human melanoma using flow cytometry, immunoblotting, and qPCR.
RESULTS: Flow cytometry and immunoblot revealed time-dependent increases in expression of death receptors and T cell co-stimulatory/co-inhibitory ligands following RT in murine and human melanoma. Using high-throughput qPCR, we observed comparable time courses of RT-induced transcriptional upregulation for multiple immune susceptibility markers. We confirmed analogous changes in B78 tumors irradiated in vivo. We observed upregulated expression of DNA damage response markers days prior to changes in immune markers, whereas phosphorylation of the STAT1 transcription factor occurred concurrently with changes following RT.
CONCLUSION: This study highlights time-dependent, transcription-mediated changes in tumor immune susceptibility marker expression following RT. These findings may help in the design of strategies to optimize sequencing of RT and immunotherapy in translational and clinical studies.

Chan AK, Han SJ, Choy W, et al.
Familial melanoma-astrocytoma syndrome: synchronous diffuse astrocytoma and pleomorphic xanthoastrocytoma in a patient with germline CDKN2A/B deletion and a significant family history.
Clin Neuropathol. 2017 Sep/Oct; 36(5):213-221 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Familial melanoma-astrocytoma syndrome is a tumor predisposition syndrome caused by inactivating germline alteration of the CDKN2A tumor suppressor gene on chromosome 9p21. While some families with germline CDKN2A mutations are prone to development of just melanomas, other families develop both melanomas, astrocytomas, and occasionally other nervous-system neoplasms including peripheral nerve sheath tumors and meningiomas. The histologic spectrum of the astrocytomas that arise as part of this syndrome is not well described, nor are the additional genetic alterations that drive these astrocytomas apart from the germline CDKN2A inactivation. Herein, we report the case of a young man with synchronous development of a pleomorphic xanthoastrocytoma, diffuse astrocytoma, and paraspinal mass radiographically consistent with a peripheral nerve sheath tumor. His paternal family history is significant for melanoma, glioblastoma, and oral squamous cell carcinoma. Genomic profiling revealed that he harbors a heterozygous deletion in the germline of chromosome 9p21.3 encompassing the CDKN2A and CDKN2B tumor suppressor genes. Both the pleomorphic xanthoastrocytoma and diffuse astrocytoma were found to have homozygous deletion of CDKN2A/B due to somatic loss of the other copy of chromosome 9p containing the remaining intact alleles. Additional somatic alterations included BRAF p.V600E mutation in the pleomorphic xanthoastrocytoma and PTPN11, ATRX, and NF1 mutations in the diffuse astrocytoma. The presence of germline CDKN2A/B inactivation together with the presence of multiple anatomically, histologically, and genetically distinct astrocytic neoplasms, both with accompanying somatic loss of heterozygosity for the CDKN2A/B deletion, led to a diagnosis of familial melanoma-astrocytoma syndrome. This remarkable case illustrates the histologic and genetic diversity that astrocytomas arising as part of this rare glioma predisposition syndrome can demonstrate.

Kurt IC, Sur I, Kaya E, et al.
KDM2B, an H3K36-specific demethylase, regulates apoptotic response of GBM cells to TRAIL.
Cell Death Dis. 2017; 8(6):e2897 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Tumor necrosis factor-related apoptosis-inducing ligand (TRAIL) can selectively kill tumor cells. TRAIL resistance in cancers is associated with aberrant expression of the key components of the apoptotic program. However, how these components are regulated at the epigenetic level is not understood. In this study, we investigated novel epigenetic mechanisms regulating TRAIL response in glioblastoma multiforme (GBM) cells by a short-hairpin RNA loss-of-function screen. We interrogated 48 genes in DNA and histone modification pathways and identified KDM2B, an H3K36-specific demethylase, as a novel regulator of TRAIL response. Accordingly, silencing of KDM2B significantly enhanced TRAIL sensitivity, the activation of caspase-8, -3 and -7 and PARP cleavage. KDM2B knockdown also accelerated the apoptosis, as revealed by live-cell imaging experiments. To decipher the downstream molecular pathways regulated by KDM2B, levels of apoptosis-related genes were examined by RNA-sequencing upon KDM2B loss, which revealed derepression of proapoptotic genes Harakiri (HRK), caspase-7 and death receptor 4 (DR4) and repression of antiapoptotic genes. The apoptosis phenotype was partly dependent on HRK upregulation, as HRK knockdown significantly abrogated the sensitization. KDM2B-silenced tumors exhibited slower growth in vivo. Taken together, our findings suggest a novel mechanism, where the key apoptosis components are under epigenetic control of KDM2B in GBM cells.

McDonald JT, Gao X, Steber C, et al.
Host mediated inflammatory influence on glioblastoma multiforme recurrence following high-dose ionizing radiation.
PLoS One. 2017; 12(5):e0178155 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Despite optimal clinical treatment, glioblastoma multiforme (GBM) inevitably recurs. Standard treatment of GBM, exposes patients to radiation which kills tumor cells, but also modulates the molecular fingerprint of any surviving tumor cells and the cross-talk between those cells and the host. Considerable investigation of short-term (hours to days) post-irradiation tumor cell response has been undertaken, yet long-term responses (weeks to months) which are potentially even more informative of recurrence, have been largely overlooked. To better understand the potential of these processes to reshape tumor regrowth, molecular studies in conjunction with in silico modeling were used to examine short- and long-term growth dynamics. Despite survival of 2.55% and 0.009% following 8 or 16Gy, GBM cell populations in vitro showed a robust escape from cellular extinction and a return to pre-irradiated growth rates with no changes in long-term population doublings. In contrast, these same irradiated GBM cell populations injected in vivo elicited tumors which displayed significantly suppressed growth rates compared to their pre-irradiated counterparts. Transcriptome analysis days to weeks after irradiation revealed, 281 differentially expressed genes with a robust increase for cytokines, histones and C-C or C-X-C motif chemokines in irradiated cells. Strikingly, this same inflammatory signature in vivo for IL1A, CXCL1, IL6 and IL8 was increased in xenografts months after irradiation. Computational modeling of tumor cell dynamics indicated a host-mediated negative pressure on the surviving cells was a source of inhibition consistent with the findings resulting in suppressed tumor growth. Thus, tumor cells surviving irradiation may shift the landscape of population doubling through inflammatory mediators interacting with the host in a way that impacts tumor recurrence and affects the efficacy of subsequent therapies. Clues to more effective therapies may lie in the development and use of pre-clinical models of post-treatment response to target the source of inflammatory mediators that significantly alter cellular dynamics and molecular pathways in the early stages of tumor recurrence.

Lee B, Sahoo A, Marchica J, et al.
The long noncoding RNA
Sci Adv. 2017; 3(5):e1602505 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Molecular mechanisms by which long noncoding RNA (lncRNA) molecules may influence cancerous condition are poorly understood. The aberrant expression of

Kline CN, Joseph NM, Grenert JP, et al.
Targeted next-generation sequencing of pediatric neuro-oncology patients improves diagnosis, identifies pathogenic germline mutations, and directs targeted therapy.
Neuro Oncol. 2017; 19(5):699-709 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Background: Molecular profiling is revolutionizing cancer diagnostics and leading to personalized therapeutic approaches. Herein we describe our clinical experience performing targeted sequencing for 31 pediatric neuro-oncology patients.
Methods: We sequenced 510 cancer-associated genes from tumor and peripheral blood to identify germline and somatic mutations, structural variants, and copy number changes.
Results: Genomic profiling was performed on 31 patients with tumors including 11 high-grade gliomas, 8 medulloblastomas, 6 low-grade gliomas, 1 embryonal tumor with multilayered rosettes, 1 pineoblastoma, 1 uveal ganglioneuroma, 1 choroid plexus carcinoma, 1 chordoma, and 1 high-grade neuroepithelial tumor. In 25 cases (81%), results impacted patient management by: (i) clarifying diagnosis, (ii) identifying pathogenic germline mutations, or (iii) detecting potentially targetable alterations. The pathologic diagnosis was amended after genomic profiling for 6 patients (19%), including a high-grade glioma to pilocytic astrocytoma, medulloblastoma to pineoblastoma, ependymoma to high-grade glioma, and medulloblastoma to CNS high-grade neuroepithelial tumor with BCOR alteration. Multiple patients had pathogenic germline mutations, many of which were previously unsuspected. Potentially targetable alterations were identified in 19 patients (61%). Additionally, novel likely pathogenic alterations were identified in 3 cases: an in-frame RAF1 fusion in a BRAF wild-type pleomorphic xanthoastrocytoma, an inactivating ASXL1 mutation in a histone H3 wild-type diffuse pontine glioma, and an in-frame deletion within exon 2 of MAP2K1 in a low-grade astrocytic neoplasm.
Conclusions: Our experience demonstrates the significant impact of molecular profiling on diagnosis and treatment of pediatric brain tumors and confirms its feasibility for use at the time of diagnosis or recurrence.

Carter H, Marty R, Hofree M, et al.
Interaction Landscape of Inherited Polymorphisms with Somatic Events in Cancer.
Cancer Discov. 2017; 7(4):410-423 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Recent studies have characterized the extensive somatic alterations that arise during cancer. However, the somatic evolution of a tumor may be significantly affected by inherited polymorphisms carried in the germline. Here, we analyze genomic data for 5,954 tumors to reveal and systematically validate 412 genetic interactions between germline polymorphisms and major somatic events, including tumor formation in specific tissues and alteration of specific cancer genes. Among germline-somatic interactions, we found germline variants in

Tunc D, Dere E, Karakas D, et al.
Cytotoxic and apoptotic effects of the combination of palladium (II) 5,5-diethylbarbiturate complex with bis(2-pyridylmethyl)amine and curcumin on non small lung cancer cell lines.
Bioorg Med Chem. 2017; 25(5):1717-1723 [PubMed] Related Publications
Metal-based chemotherapeutics such as cisplatin are widely used treatment of lung cancer which is the major cause of cancer-related mortality worldwide. Recent studies demonstrated that novel metal-based compounds have strong cytotoxic activity in a similar way as cisplatin. Therefore, metal-based compounds have been synthesized and investigated in order to determine their cytotoxic activities. It has been also reported curcumin, which has been derived from turmeric plant, has powerful cytotoxic effect on various cancer cell lines. In the light of these data, it has been investigated the cytotoxic effects of combination of curcumin (0.78-100μM) and palladium (II) 5,5-diethylbarbiturate complex with bis(2-pyridylmethyl)amine [Pd(II) complex] (0.39-50μM) against non small lung cancer cell lines, A549 and H1299. It has been found that combination of Pd(II) complex and curcumin enhanced the cytotoxic activity and apoptotic cell death at 48h, compared to single use of each agent, only in H1299 cell line (combination index <1). Apoptosis was evident by annexin v staining positivity, increased caspase 3/7 activity and the presence of pyknotic nuclei. Pro-apoptotic genes of TNFRSF10A and HRK were found to be involved in apoptotic cell death. In conclusion, the application of this combination may be regarded as a novel and effective approach for the treatment of lung cancer due to its promising cytotoxic and apoptotic effect.

Adiguzel Z, Ozalp-Yaman S, Celik G, et al.
A platinum blue complex exerts its cytotoxic activity via DNA damage and induces apoptosis in cancer cells.
Chem Biol Drug Des. 2017; 90(2):210-224 [PubMed] Related Publications
Here, we describe the characteristics of a Pt-blue complex [Pt

Lee J, Solomon DA, Tihan T
The role of histone modifications and telomere alterations in the pathogenesis of diffuse gliomas in adults and children.
J Neurooncol. 2017; 132(1):1-11 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Genetic profiling is an increasingly useful tool for sub-classification of gliomas in adults and children. Specific gene mutations, structural rearrangements, DNA methylation patterns, and gene expression profiles are now recognized to define molecular subgroups of gliomas that arise in distinct anatomic locations and patient age groups, and also provide a better prediction of clinical outcomes for glioma patients compared to histologic assessment alone. Understanding the role of these distinctive genetic alterations in gliomagenesis is also important for the development of potential targeted therapeutic interventions. Mutations including K27M and G34R/V that affect critical amino acids within the N-terminal tail of the histone H3 variants, H3.3 and H3.1 (encoded by H3F3A and HIST1H3B genes), are prime examples of mutations in diffuse gliomas with characteristic clinical associations that can help diagnostic classification and guide effective patient management. These histone H3 mutations frequently co-occur with inactivating mutations in ATRX in association with alternative lengthening of telomeres. Telomere length can also be maintained through upregulation of telomerase reverse transcriptase (TERT) expression driven by mutation within the TERT gene promoter region, an alteration most commonly found in oligodendrogliomas and primary glioblastomas arising in adults. Interestingly, the genetic alterations perturbing histone and telomere function in pediatric gliomas tend to be different from those present in adult tumors. We present a review of these mutations affecting the histone code and telomere length, highlighting their importance in prognosis and as targets for novel therapeutics in the treatment of diffuse gliomas.

Archer TC, Fertig EJ, Gosline SJ, et al.
Systems Approaches to Cancer Biology.
Cancer Res. 2016; 76(23):6774-6777 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Cancer systems biology aims to understand cancer as an integrated system of genes, proteins, networks, and interactions rather than an entity of isolated molecular and cellular components. The inaugural Systems Approaches to Cancer Biology Conference, cosponsored by the Association of Early Career Cancer Systems Biologists and the National Cancer Institute of the NIH, focused on the interdisciplinary field of cancer systems biology and the challenging cancer questions that are best addressed through the combination of experimental and computational analyses. Attendees found that elucidating the many molecular features of cancer inevitably reveals new forms of complexity and concluded that ensuring the reproducibility and impact of cancer systems biology studies will require widespread method and data sharing and, ultimately, the translation of important findings to the clinic. Cancer Res; 76(23); 6774-7. ©2016 AACR.

Aztopal N, Karakas D, Cevatemre B, et al.
A trans-platinum(II) complex induces apoptosis in cancer stem cells of breast cancer.
Bioorg Med Chem. 2017; 25(1):269-276 [PubMed] Related Publications
Recent accumulating evidence has supported the notion that tumors have hierarchically organized heterogeneous cell populations and a small subpopulation of cells, termed cancer stem cells (CSCs), are responsible for tumor initiation, maintenance as well as drug resistance. Therefore, targeting the CSCs along with the other cancer cells has been the most important topic during the last decade. In the present study, we evaluated the cytotoxic activity of trans-[PtCl

Joseph NM, Chen YY, Nasr A, et al.
Genomic profiling of malignant peritoneal mesothelioma reveals recurrent alterations in epigenetic regulatory genes BAP1, SETD2, and DDX3X.
Mod Pathol. 2017; 30(2):246-254 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Malignant mesothelioma is a rare cancer that arises from the mesothelial cells that line the pleural cavity and less commonly from the peritoneal lining of the abdomen and pelvis. Most pleural mesotheliomas arise in patients with a history of asbestos exposure, whereas the association of peritoneal mesotheliomas with exposure to asbestos and other potential carcinogens is less clear, suggesting that the genetic alterations that drive malignant peritoneal mesothelioma may be unique from those in pleural mesothelioma. Treatment options for all malignant mesotheliomas are currently limited, with no known targeted therapies available. To better understand the molecular pathogenesis of malignant peritoneal mesothelioma, we sequenced 510 cancer-related genes in 13 patients with malignant mesothelioma arising in the peritoneal cavity. The most frequent genetic alteration was biallelic inactivation of the BAP1 gene, which occurred in 9/13 cases, with an additional two cases demonstrating monoallelic loss of BAP1. All 11 of these cases demonstrated loss of BAP1 nuclear staining by immunohistochemistry, whereas two tumors without BAP1 alteration and all 42 cases of histologic mimics in peritoneum (8 multilocular peritoneal inclusion cyst, 6 well-differentiated papillary mesothelioma of the peritoneum, 16 adenomatoid tumor, and 12 low-grade serous carcinoma of the ovary) demonstrated intact BAP1 nuclear staining. Additional recurrently mutated genes in this cohort of malignant peritoneal mesotheliomas included NF2 (3/13), SETD2 (2/13), and DDX3X (2/13). While these genes are known to be recurrently mutated in pleural mesotheliomas, the frequencies are distinct in peritoneal mesotheliomas, with nearly 85% of peritoneal tumors harboring BAP1 alterations versus only 20-30% of pleural tumors. Together, these findings demonstrate the importance of epigenetic modifiers including BAP1, SETD2, and DDX3X in mesothelial tumorigenesis and suggest opportunities for targeted therapies.

Levy E, Marty R, Gárate Calderón V, et al.
Immune DNA signature of T-cell infiltration in breast tumor exomes.
Sci Rep. 2016; 6:30064 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Tumor infiltrating lymphocytes (TILs) have been associated with favorable prognosis in multiple tumor types. The Cancer Genome Atlas (TCGA) represents the largest collection of cancer molecular data, but lacks detailed information about the immune environment. Here, we show that exome reads mapping to the complementarity-determining-region 3 (CDR3) of mature T-cell receptor beta (TCRB) can be used as an immune DNA (iDNA) signature. Specifically, we propose a method to identify CDR3 reads in a breast tumor exome and validate it using deep TCRB sequencing. In 1,078 TCGA breast cancer exomes, the fraction of CDR3 reads was associated with TILs fraction, tumor purity, adaptive immunity gene expression signatures and improved survival in Her2+ patients. Only 2/839 TCRB clonotypes were shared between patients and none associated with a specific HLA allele or somatic driver mutations. The iDNA biomarker enriches the comprehensive dataset collected through TCGA, revealing associations with other molecular features and clinical outcomes.

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