Gene Summary

Gene:L1CAM; L1 cell adhesion molecule
Aliases: S10, HSAS, MASA, MIC5, SPG1, CAML1, CD171, HSAS1, N-CAML1, NCAM-L1, N-CAM-L1
Summary:The protein encoded by this gene is an axonal glycoprotein belonging to the immunoglobulin supergene family. The ectodomain, consisting of several immunoglobulin-like domains and fibronectin-like repeats (type III), is linked via a single transmembrane sequence to a conserved cytoplasmic domain. This cell adhesion molecule plays an important role in nervous system development, including neuronal migration and differentiation. Mutations in the gene cause X-linked neurological syndromes known as CRASH (corpus callosum hypoplasia, retardation, aphasia, spastic paraplegia and hydrocephalus). Alternative splicing of this gene results in multiple transcript variants, some of which include an alternate exon that is considered to be specific to neurons. [provided by RefSeq, May 2013]
Databases:VEGA, OMIM, HGNC, Ensembl, GeneCard, Gene
Protein:neural cell adhesion molecule L1
Source:NCBIAccessed: 13 March, 2017


What does this gene/protein do?
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Pathways:What pathways are this gene/protein implicaed in?
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Cancer Overview

Research Indicators

Publications Per Year (1992-2017)
Graph generated 13 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.

Tag cloud generated 13 March, 2017 using data from PubMed, MeSH and CancerIndex

Specific Cancers (6)

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

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

Latest Publications: L1CAM (cancer-related)

Monk BJ, Lorusso D, Italiano A, et al.
Trabectedin as a chemotherapy option for patients with BRCA deficiency.
Cancer Treat Rev. 2016; 50:175-182 [PubMed] Related Publications
Trabectedin is a marine-derived product that was originally isolated from the Caribbean sea squirt Ecteinascidia turbinata and the first anticancer marine drug to be approved by the European Union. It is currently used as a single agent for the treatment of patients with soft tissue sarcoma after failure of anthracyclines and ifosfamide, or for those patients who are unsuited to receive these agents, and in patients with relapsed, platinum-sensitive ovarian cancer in combination with pegylated liposomal doxorubicin. Trabectedin has a unique multi-faceted mechanism of action that involves transcription regulation and DNA repair systems, including transcription-coupled nucleotide excision repair and homologous recombination repair (HRR) as the main hallmarks of its antiproliferative activity. In addition, trabectedin has shown the ability to modulate the tumor microenvironment. Indeed, the activity of trabectedin is related to altered function and expression of DNA repair genes, such as BRCA1 (BReast-CAncer susceptibility gene 1) and BRCA2. The particular sensitivity of sarcoma, ovarian and breast cancer cells deficient in HRR, previously observed in preclinical models, now has been confirmed in the clinical setting as well, suggesting that BRCA mutations are associated with improved clinical responses to trabectedin. Current efforts are focused on the evaluation of these unique features of trabectedin and on the identification of predictive factors for patients with an objective to determine whether a deficiency of HRR DNA repair pathway could impact the clinical benefit achieved from trabectedin.

Sykes DB, Kfoury YS, Mercier FE, et al.
Inhibition of Dihydroorotate Dehydrogenase Overcomes Differentiation Blockade in Acute Myeloid Leukemia.
Cell. 2016; 167(1):171-186.e15 [PubMed] Related Publications
While acute myeloid leukemia (AML) comprises many disparate genetic subtypes, one shared hallmark is the arrest of leukemic myeloblasts at an immature and self-renewing stage of development. Therapies that overcome differentiation arrest represent a powerful treatment strategy. We leveraged the observation that the majority of AML, despite their genetically heterogeneity, share in the expression of HoxA9, a gene normally downregulated during myeloid differentiation. Using a conditional HoxA9 model system, we performed a high-throughput phenotypic screen and defined compounds that overcame differentiation blockade. Target identification led to the unanticipated discovery that inhibition of the enzyme dihydroorotate dehydrogenase (DHODH) enables myeloid differentiation in human and mouse AML models. In vivo, DHODH inhibitors reduced leukemic cell burden, decreased levels of leukemia-initiating cells, and improved survival. These data demonstrate the role of DHODH as a metabolic regulator of differentiation and point to its inhibition as a strategy for overcoming differentiation blockade in AML.

Xia J, Hu Z, Yoshihara S, et al.
Modeling Human Leukemia Immunotherapy in Humanized Mice.
EBioMedicine. 2016; 10:101-8 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
The currently available human tumor xenograft models permit modeling of human cancers in vivo, but in immunocompromised hosts. Here we report a humanized mouse (hu-mouse) model made by transplantation of human fetal thymic tissue plus hematopoietic stem cells transduced with a leukemia-associated fusion gene MLL-AF9. In addition to normal human lymphohematopoietic reconstitution as seen in non-leukemic hu-mice, these hu-mice showed spontaneous development of B-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia (B-ALL), which was transplantable to secondary recipients with an autologous human immune system. Using this model, we show that lymphopenia markedly improves the antitumor efficacy of recipient leukocyte infusion (RLI), a GVHD-free immunotherapy that induces antitumor responses in association with rejection of donor chimerism in mixed allogeneic chimeras. Our data demonstrate the potential of this leukemic hu-mouse model in modeling leukemia immunotherapy, and suggest that RLI may offer a safe treatment option for leukemia patients with severe lymphopenia.

Yan Y, Liang Z, Du Q, et al.
MicroRNA-23a downregulates the expression of interferon regulatory factor-1 in hepatocellular carcinoma cells.
Oncol Rep. 2016; 36(2):633-40 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Interferon regulatory factor-1 (IRF-1) is a tumor-suppressor gene induced by interferon-γ (IFNγ) and plays an important role in the cell death of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). HCC tumors evade death in part by downregulating IRF-1 expression, yet the molecular mechanisms accounting for IRF-1 suppression in HCC have not yet been characterized. Previous studies have shown that microRNA-23a (miR-23a) can suppress apoptosis by targeting IRF-1. Therefore, we hypothesized that miR-23a promotes HCC growth by downregulating IRF-1. For the in vivo studies, 7 cases of resected HCC and adjacent liver samples were analyzed. For the in vitro studies, IRF-1 mRNA and protein were examined in HepG2 and Huh-7 HCC cells after IFNγ stimulation by real-time PCR and western blotting, respectively. To determine the role of miR-23a in regulating IRF-1, HepG2 cells were transfected with an miR-23a mimic or inhibitor, and IRF-1 expression was examined. Binding of miR-23a was assessed by cloning the 528-bp human IRF-1 3'-untranslated region (3'UTR) into luciferase reporter plasmid pMIR-IRF-1-3'UTR. The results showed that IRF-1 mRNA expression was downregulated in the human HCC tumor tissues compared to that in the adjacent background liver tissues. IFNγ-induced IRF-1 protein was less in the HepG2 tumor cells compared to that in the primary human hepatocytes. miR-23a expression was inversely correlated with IRF-1, and addition of the miR-23a inhibitor increased basal IRF-1 mRNA and protein. Likewise, the miR-23a mimic downregulated IFNγ-induced IRF-1 protein expression, while the miR-23a inhibitor increased IRF-1. Furthermore, the miR-23a mimic repressed IRF-1-3'UTR reporter activity, while the miR-23a inhibitor increased the reporter activity. These results demonstrated that IRF-1 expression is downregulated in human HCC tumors compared to that noted in the background liver. miR-23a downregulates the expression of IRF-1 in HCC cells, and the IRF-1 3'UTR has an miR‑23a binding site that binds miR-23a and decreases reporter activity. These findings suggest that the targeting of IRF-1 by miR-23a may be the molecular basis for IRF-1 downregulation in HCC and provide new insight into the regulation of HCC by miRNAs.

Shkurnikov MY, Knyazev EN, Wicklein D, et al.
Role of L1CAM in the Regulation of the Canonical Wnt Pathway and Class I MAGE Genes.
Bull Exp Biol Med. 2016; 160(6):807-10 [PubMed] Related Publications
Molecule L1CAM is specific for nerve cells and tumors of various localizations. The expression of L1CAM is significantly higher in melanoma in comparison with benign nevi and correlates with the progress of melanoma and transition from radial to vertical growth. Monoclonal antibodies to L1CAM effectively and specifically attenuate melanoma growth, though stimulates the epithelial-mesenchymal transition. shRNA-mediated knock-down of L1CAM showed the involvement of L1CAM in regulation of activity of the canonical Wnt pathway and expression of genes of class I melanoma-associated antigens (MAGE).

Çelik H, Bulut G, Han J, et al.
Ezrin Inhibition Up-regulates Stress Response Gene Expression.
J Biol Chem. 2016; 291(25):13257-70 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 17/06/2017 Related Publications
Ezrin is a member of the ERM (ezrin/radixin/moesin) family of proteins that links cortical cytoskeleton to the plasma membrane. High expression of ezrin correlates with poor prognosis and metastasis in osteosarcoma. In this study, to uncover specific cellular responses evoked by ezrin inhibition that can be used as a specific pharmacodynamic marker(s), we profiled global gene expression in osteosarcoma cells after treatment with small molecule ezrin inhibitors, NSC305787 and NSC668394. We identified and validated several up-regulated integrated stress response genes including PTGS2, ATF3, DDIT3, DDIT4, TRIB3, and ATF4 as novel ezrin-regulated transcripts. Analysis of transcriptional response in skin and peripheral blood mononuclear cells from NSC305787-treated mice compared with a control group revealed that, among those genes, the stress gene DDIT4/REDD1 may be used as a surrogate pharmacodynamic marker of ezrin inhibitor compound activity. In addition, we validated the anti-metastatic effects of NSC305787 in reducing the incidence of lung metastasis in a genetically engineered mouse model of osteosarcoma and evaluated the pharmacokinetics of NSC305787 and NSC668394 in mice. In conclusion, our findings suggest that cytoplasmic ezrin, previously considered a dormant and inactive protein, has important functions in regulating gene expression that may result in down-regulation of stress response genes.

Chowdhury B, Porter EG, Stewart JC, et al.
PBRM1 Regulates the Expression of Genes Involved in Metabolism and Cell Adhesion in Renal Clear Cell Carcinoma.
PLoS One. 2016; 11(4):e0153718 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 17/06/2017 Related Publications
Polybromo-1 (PBRM1) is a component of the PBAF (Polybromo-associated-BRG1- or BRM-associated factors) chromatin remodeling complex and is the second most frequently mutated gene in clear-cell renal cell Carcinoma (ccRCC). Mutation of PBRM1 is believed to be an early event in carcinogenesis, however its function as a tumor suppressor is not understood. In this study, we have employed Next Generation Sequencing to profile the differentially expressed genes upon PBRM1 re-expression in a cellular model of ccRCC. PBRM1 re-expression led to upregulation of genes involved in cellular adhesion, carbohydrate metabolism, apoptotic process and response to hypoxia, and a downregulation of genes involved in different stages of cell division. The decrease in cellular proliferation upon PBRM1 re-expression was confirmed, validating the functional role of PBRM1 as a tumor suppressor in a cell-based model. In addition, we identified a role for PBRM1 in regulating metabolic pathways known to be important for driving ccRCC, including the regulation of hypoxia response genes, PI3K signaling, glucose uptake, and cholesterol homeostasis. Of particular novelty is the identification of cell adhesion as a major downstream process uniquely regulated by PBRM1 expression. Cytoskeletal reorganization was induced upon PBRM1 reexpression as evidenced from the increase in the number of cells displaying cortical actin, a hallmark of epithelial cells. Genes involved in cell adhesion featured prominently in our transcriptional dataset and overlapped with genes uniquely regulated by PBRM1 in clinical specimens of ccRCC. Genes involved in cell adhesion serve as tumor suppressor and maybe involved in inhibiting cell migration. Here we report for the first time genes linked to cell adhesion serve as downstream targets of PBRM1, and hope to lay the foundation of future studies focusing on the role of chromatin remodelers in bringing about these alterations during malignancies.

Panaccione A, Chang MT, Carbone BE, et al.
NOTCH1 and SOX10 are Essential for Proliferation and Radiation Resistance of Cancer Stem-Like Cells in Adenoid Cystic Carcinoma.
Clin Cancer Res. 2016; 22(8):2083-95 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 15/04/2017 Related Publications
PURPOSE: Although the existence of cancer stem cells (CSC) in adenoid cystic carcinoma (ACC) has been proposed, lack of assays for their propagation and uncertainty about molecular markers prevented their characterization. Our objective was to isolate CSC from ACC and provide insight into signaling pathways that support their propagation.
EXPERIMENTAL DESIGN: To isolate CSC from ACC and characterize them, we used ROCK inhibitor-supplemented cell culture, immunomagnetic cell sorting, andin vitro/in vivoassays for CSC viability and tumorigenicity.
RESULTS: We identified in ACC CD133-positive CSC that expressed NOTCH1 and SOX10, formed spheroids, and initiated tumors in nude mice. CD133(+)ACC cells produced activated NOTCH1 (N1ICD) and generated CD133(-)cells that expressed JAG1 as well as neural differentiation factors NR2F1, NR2F2, and p27Kip1. Knockdowns ofNOTCH1, SOX10, and their common effectorFABP7had negative effects on each other, inhibited spheroidogenesis, and induced cell death pointing at their essential roles in CSC maintenance. Downstream effects ofFABP7knockdown included suppression of a broad spectrum of genes involved in proliferation, ribosome biogenesis, and metabolism. Among proliferation-linked NOTCH1/FABP7 targets, we identified SKP2 and its substrate p27Kip1. A γ-secretase inhibitor, DAPT, selectively depleted CD133(+)cells, suppressed N1ICD and SKP2, induced p27Kip1, inhibited ACC growthin vivo, and sensitized CD133(+)cells to radiation.
CONCLUSIONS: These results establish in the majority of ACC the presence of a previously uncharacterized population of CD133(+)cells with neural stem properties, which are driven by SOX10, NOTCH1, and FABP7. Sensitivity of these cells to Notch inhibition and their dependence on SKP2 offer new opportunities for targeted ACC therapies.

Furfaro AL, Piras S, Domenicotti C, et al.
Role of Nrf2, HO-1 and GSH in Neuroblastoma Cell Resistance to Bortezomib.
PLoS One. 2016; 11(3):e0152465 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 15/04/2017 Related Publications
The activation of Nrf2 has been demonstrated to play a crucial role in cancer cell resistance to different anticancer therapies. The inhibition of proteasome activity has been proposed as a chemosensitizing therapy but the activation of Nrf2 could reduce its efficacy. Using the highly chemoresistant neuroblastoma cells HTLA-230, here we show that the strong reduction in proteasome activity, obtained by using low concentration of bortezomib (BTZ, 2.5 nM), fails in reducing cell viability. BTZ treatment favours the binding of Nrf2 to the ARE sequences in the promoter regions of target genes such as heme oxygenase 1 (HO-1), the modulatory subunit of γ-glutamylcysteine ligase (GCLM) and the transporter for cysteine (x-CT), enabling their transcription. GSH level is also increased after BTZ treatment. The up-regulation of Nrf2 target genes is responsible for cell resistance since HO-1 silencing and GSH depletion synergistically decrease BTZ-treated cell viability. Moreover, cell exposure to all-trans-Retinoic acid (ATRA, 3 μM) reduces the binding of Nrf2 to the ARE sequences, decreases HO-1 induction and lowers GSH level increasing the efficacy of bortezomib. These data suggest the role of Nrf2, HO-1 and GSH as molecular targets to improve the efficacy of low doses of bortezomib in the treatment of malignant neuroblastoma.

Li L, Grausam KB, Wang J, et al.
Sonic Hedgehog promotes proliferation of Notch-dependent monociliated choroid plexus tumour cells.
Nat Cell Biol. 2016; 18(4):418-30 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 15/04/2017 Related Publications
Aberrant Notch signalling has been linked to many cancers including choroid plexus (CP) tumours, a group of rare and predominantly paediatric brain neoplasms. We developed animal models of CP tumours, by inducing sustained expression of Notch1, that recapitulate properties of human CP tumours with aberrant NOTCH signalling. Whole-transcriptome and functional analyses showed that tumour cell proliferation is associated with Sonic Hedgehog (Shh) in the tumour microenvironment. Unlike CP epithelial cells, which have multiple primary cilia, tumour cells possess a solitary primary cilium as a result of Notch-mediated suppression of multiciliate differentiation. A Shh-driven signalling cascade in the primary cilium occurs in tumour cells but not in epithelial cells. Lineage studies show that CP tumours arise from monociliated progenitors in the roof plate characterized by elevated Notch signalling. Abnormal SHH signalling and distinct ciliogenesis are detected in human CP tumours, suggesting the SHH pathway and cilia differentiation as potential therapeutic avenues.

Feng Z, Yao Y, Zhou C, et al.
Pharmacological inhibition of LSD1 for the treatment of MLL-rearranged leukemia.
J Hematol Oncol. 2016; 9:24 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 15/04/2017 Related Publications
BACKGROUND: Mixed lineage leukemia (MLL) gene translocations are found in ~75% infant and 10% adult acute leukemia, showing a poor prognosis. Lysine-specific demethylase 1 (LSD1) has recently been implicated to be a drug target for this subtype of leukemia. More studies using potent LSD1 inhibitors against MLL-rearranged leukemia are needed.
METHODS: LSD1 inhibitors were examined for their biochemical and biological activities against LSD1 and MLL-rearranged leukemia as well as other cancer cells.
RESULTS: Potent LSD1 inhibitors with biochemical IC50 values of 9.8-77 nM were found to strongly inhibit proliferation of MLL-rearranged leukemia cells with EC50 of 10-320 nM, while these compounds are generally non-cytotoxic to several other tumor cells. LSD1 inhibition increased histone H3 lysine 4 (H3K4) methylation, downregulated expression of several leukemia-relevant genes, induced apoptosis and differentiation, and inhibited self-renewal of stem-like leukemia cells. Moreover, LSD1 inhibitors worked synergistically with inhibition of DOT1L, a histone H3 lysine 79 (H3K79) methyltransferase, against MLL-rearranged leukemia. The most potent LSD1 inhibitor showed significant in vivo activity in a systemic mouse model of MLL-rearranged leukemia without overt toxicities. Mechanistically, LSD1 inhibitors caused significant upregulation of several pathways that promote hematopoietic differentiation and apoptosis.
CONCLUSIONS: LSD1 is a drug target for MLL-rearranged leukemia, and LSD1 inhibitors are potential therapeutics for the malignancy.

Ishimaru D, Gotoh M, Takayama S, et al.
Large-scale mutational analysis in the EXT1 and EXT2 genes for Japanese patients with multiple osteochondromas.
BMC Genet. 2016; 17:52 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 15/04/2017 Related Publications
BACKGROUND: Multiple osteochondroma (MO) is an autosomal dominant skeletal disorder characterized by the formation of multiple osteochondromas, and exostosin-1 (EXT1) and exostosin-2 (EXT2) are major causative genes in MO. In this study, we evaluated the genetic backgrounds and mutational patterns in Japanese families with MO.
RESULTS: We evaluated 112 patients in 71 families with MO. Genomic DNA was isolated from peripheral blood leucocytes. The exons and exon/intron junctions of EXT1 and EXT2 were directly sequenced after PCR amplification. Fifty-two mutations in 47 families with MO in either EXT1 or EXT2, and 42.3% (22/52) of mutations were novel mutations. Twenty-nine families (40.8%) had mutations in EXT1, and 15 families (21.1%) had mutations in EXT2. Interestingly, three families (4.2%) had mutations in both EXT1 and EXT2. Twenty-four families (33.8%) did not exhibit mutations in either EXT1 or EXT2. With regard to the types of mutations identified, 59.6% of mutations were inactivating mutations, and 38.5% of mutations were missense mutations.
CONCLUSIONS: We found that the prevalence of EXT1 mutations was greater than that of EXT2 mutations in Japanese MO families. Additionally, we identified 22 novel EXT1 and EXT2 mutations in this Japanese MO cohort. This study represents the variety of genotype in MO.

Park JH, Vithayathil S, Kumar S, et al.
Fatty Acid Oxidation-Driven Src Links Mitochondrial Energy Reprogramming and Oncogenic Properties in Triple-Negative Breast Cancer.
Cell Rep. 2016; 14(9):2154-65 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 15/04/2017 Related Publications
Transmitochondrial cybrids and multiple OMICs approaches were used to understand mitochondrial reprogramming and mitochondria-regulated cancer pathways in triple-negative breast cancer (TNBC). Analysis of cybrids and established breast cancer (BC) cell lines showed that metastatic TNBC maintains high levels of ATP through fatty acid β oxidation (FAO) and activates Src oncoprotein through autophosphorylation at Y419. Manipulation of FAO including the knocking down of carnitine palmitoyltransferase-1A (CPT1) and 2 (CPT2), the rate-limiting proteins of FAO, and analysis of patient-derived xenograft models confirmed the role of mitochondrial FAO in Src activation and metastasis. Analysis of TCGA and other independent BC clinical data further reaffirmed the role of mitochondrial FAO and CPT genes in Src regulation and their significance in BC metastasis.

Mitton B, Hsu K, Dutta R, et al.
Small molecule screen for inhibitors of expression from canonical CREB response element-containing promoters.
Oncotarget. 2016; 7(8):8653-62 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 15/04/2017 Related Publications
The transcription factor CREB (cAMP Response Element Binding Protein) is an important determinant in the growth of Acute Myeloid Leukemia (AML) cells. CREB overexpression increases AML cell growth by driving the expression of key regulators of apoptosis and the cell cycle. Conversely, CREB knockdown inhibits proliferation and survival of AML cells but not normal hematopoietic cells. Thus, CREB represents a promising drug target for the treatment of AML, which carries a poor prognosis. In this study, we performed a high-throughput small molecule screen to identify compounds that disrupt CREB function in AML cells. We screened ~114,000 candidate compounds from Stanford University's small molecule library, and identified 5 molecules that inhibit CREB function at micromolar concentrations, but are non-toxic to normal hematopoietic cells. This study suggests that targeting CREB function using small molecules could provide alternative approaches to treat AML.

Nikolai BC, Lanz RB, York B, et al.
HER2 Signaling Drives DNA Anabolism and Proliferation through SRC-3 Phosphorylation and E2F1-Regulated Genes.
Cancer Res. 2016; 76(6):1463-75 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 15/03/2017 Related Publications
Approximately 20% of early-stage breast cancers display amplification or overexpression of the ErbB2/HER2 oncogene, conferring poor prognosis and resistance to endocrine therapy. Targeting HER2(+) tumors with trastuzumab or the receptor tyrosine kinase (RTK) inhibitor lapatinib significantly improves survival, yet tumor resistance and progression of metastatic disease still develop over time. Although the mechanisms of cytosolic HER2 signaling are well studied, nuclear signaling components and gene regulatory networks that bestow therapeutic resistance and limitless proliferative potential are incompletely understood. Here, we use biochemical and bioinformatic approaches to identify effectors and targets of HER2 transcriptional signaling in human breast cancer. Phosphorylation and activity of the Steroid Receptor Coactivator-3 (SRC-3) is reduced upon HER2 inhibition, and recruitment of SRC-3 to regulatory elements of endogenous genes is impaired. Transcripts regulated by HER2 signaling are highly enriched with E2F1 binding sites and define a gene signature associated with proliferative breast tumor subtypes, cell-cycle progression, and DNA replication. We show that HER2 signaling promotes breast cancer cell proliferation through regulation of E2F1-driven DNA metabolism and replication genes together with phosphorylation and activity of the transcriptional coactivator SRC-3. Furthermore, our analyses identified a cyclin-dependent kinase (CDK) signaling node that, when targeted using the CDK4/6 inhibitor palbociclib, defines overlap and divergence of adjuvant pharmacologic targeting. Importantly, lapatinib and palbociclib strictly block de novo synthesis of DNA, mostly through disruption of E2F1 and its target genes. These results have implications for rational discovery of pharmacologic combinations in preclinical models of adjuvant treatment and therapeutic resistance.

Dziegielewska B, Casarez EV, Yang WZ, et al.
T-Type Ca2+ Channel Inhibition Sensitizes Ovarian Cancer to Carboplatin.
Mol Cancer Ther. 2016; 15(3):460-70 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Ovarian cancer is the deadliest gynecologic cancer, due in large part to the diagnosis of advanced stage disease, the development of platinum resistance, and inadequate treatment alternatives. Recent studies by our group and others have shown that T-type calcium (Ca(2+)) channels play a reinforcing role in cancer cell proliferation, cell-cycle progression, and apoptosis evasion. Therefore, we investigated whether T-type Ca(2+) channels affect ovarian tumor growth and response to platinum agents. Inhibition of T-type Ca(2+) channels with mibefradil or by silencing expression resulted in growth suppression in ovarian cancer cells with a simultaneous increase in apoptosis, which was accompanied by decreased expression of the antiapoptotic gene survivin (BIRC5). Analysis of intracellular signaling revealed mibefradil reduced AKT phosphorylation, increased the levels and nuclear retention of FOXO transcription factors that repress BIRC5 expression, and decreased the expression of FOXM1, which promotes BIRC5 expression. Combining carboplatin with mibefradil synergistically increased apoptosis in vitro. Importantly, mibefradil rendered platinum-resistant ovarian tumors sensitive to carboplatin in a mouse model of peritoneal metastasis. Together, the data provide rationale for future use of T-type channel antagonists together with platinum agents for the treatment of ovarian cancer.

Lim B, Kim C, Kim JH, et al.
Genetic alterations and their clinical implications in gastric cancer peritoneal carcinomatosis revealed by whole-exome sequencing of malignant ascites.
Oncotarget. 2016; 7(7):8055-66 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Peritoneal carcinomatosis accompanied by malignant ascites is a major cause of death of advanced gastric cancer (GC). To comprehensively characterize the underlying genomic events involved in GC peritoneal carcinomatosis, we analyzed whole-exome sequences of normal gastric tissues, primary tumors, and malignant ascites from eight GC patients. We identified a unique mutational signature biased toward C-to-A substitutions in malignant ascites. In contrast, the patients who received treatment of adjuvant chemotherapy showed a high rate of C-to-T substitutions along with hypermutation in malignant ascites. Comparative analysis revealed several candidate mutations for GC peritoneal carcinomatosis: recurrent mutations in COL4A6, INTS2, and PTPN13; mutations in druggable genes including TEP1, PRKCD, BRAF, ERBB4, PIK3CA, HDAC9, FYN, FASN, BIRC2, FLT3, ROCK1, CD22, and PIK3C2B; and mutations in metastasis-associated genes including TNFSF12, L1CAM, DIAPH3, ROCK1, TGFBR1, MYO9B, NR4A1, and RHOA. Notably, gene ontology analysis revealed the significant enrichment of mutations in the Rho-ROCK signaling pathway-associated biological processes in malignant ascites. At least four of the eight patients acquired somatic mutations in the Rho-ROCK pathway components, suggesting the possible relevance of this pathway to GC peritoneal carcinomatosis. These results provide a genome-wide molecular understanding of GC peritoneal carcinomatosis and its clinical implications, thereby facilitating the development of effective therapeutics.

Andricovich J, Kai Y, Peng W, et al.
Histone demethylase KDM2B regulates lineage commitment in normal and malignant hematopoiesis.
J Clin Invest. 2016; 126(3):905-20 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
The development of the hematopoietic system is a dynamic process that is controlled by the interplay between transcriptional and epigenetic networks to determine cellular identity. These networks are critical for lineage specification and are frequently dysregulated in leukemias. Here, we identified histone demethylase KDM2B as a critical regulator of definitive hematopoiesis and lineage commitment of murine hematopoietic stem and progenitor cells (HSPCs). RNA sequencing of Kdm2b-null HSPCs and genome-wide ChIP studies in human leukemias revealed that KDM2B cooperates with polycomb and trithorax complexes to regulate differentiation, lineage choice, cytokine signaling, and cell cycle. Furthermore, we demonstrated that KDM2B exhibits a dichotomous role in hematopoietic malignancies. Specifically, we determined that KDM2B maintains lymphoid leukemias, but restrains RAS-driven myeloid transformation. Our study reveals that KDM2B is an important mediator of hematopoietic cell development and has opposing roles in tumor progression that are dependent on cellular context.

Hong H, Brown CE, Ostberg JR, et al.
L1 Cell Adhesion Molecule-Specific Chimeric Antigen Receptor-Redirected Human T Cells Exhibit Specific and Efficient Antitumor Activity against Human Ovarian Cancer in Mice.
PLoS One. 2016; 11(1):e0146885 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
New therapeutic modalities are needed for ovarian cancer, the most lethal gynecologic malignancy. Recent clinical trials have demonstrated the impressive therapeutic potential of adoptive therapy using chimeric antigen receptor (CAR)-redirected T cells to target hematological cancers, and emerging studies suggest a similar impact may be achieved for solid cancers. We sought determine whether genetically-modified T cells targeting the CE7-epitope of L1-CAM, a cell adhesion molecule aberrantly expressed in several cancers, have promise as an immunotherapy for ovarian cancer, first demonstrating that L1-CAM was highly over-expressed on a panel of ovarian cancer cell lines, primary ovarian tumor tissue specimens, and ascites-derived primary cancer cells. Human central memory derived T cells (TCM) were then genetically modified to express an anti-L1-CAM CAR (CE7R), which directed effector function upon tumor antigen stimulation as assessed by in vitro cytokine secretion and cytotoxicity assays. We also found that CE7R+ T cells were able to target primary ovarian cancer cells. Intraperitoneal (i.p.) administration of CE7R+ TCM induced a significant regression of i.p. established SK-OV-3 xenograft tumors in mice, inhibited ascites formation, and conferred a significant survival advantage compared with control-treated animals. Taken together, these studies indicate that adoptive transfer of L1-CAM-specific CE7R+ T cells may offer a novel and effective immunotherapy strategy for advanced ovarian cancer.

Soragni A, Janzen DM, Johnson LM, et al.
A Designed Inhibitor of p53 Aggregation Rescues p53 Tumor Suppression in Ovarian Carcinomas.
Cancer Cell. 2016; 29(1):90-103 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Half of all human cancers lose p53 function by missense mutations, with an unknown fraction of these containing p53 in a self-aggregated amyloid-like state. Here we show that a cell-penetrating peptide, ReACp53, designed to inhibit p53 amyloid formation, rescues p53 function in cancer cell lines and in organoids derived from high-grade serous ovarian carcinomas (HGSOC), an aggressive cancer characterized by ubiquitous p53 mutations. Rescued p53 behaves similarly to its wild-type counterpart in regulating target genes, reducing cell proliferation and increasing cell death. Intraperitoneal administration decreases tumor proliferation and shrinks xenografts in vivo. Our data show the effectiveness of targeting a specific aggregation defect of p53 and its potential applicability to HGSOCs.

Doran MG, Carnazza KE, Steckler JM, et al.
Applying ⁸⁹Zr-Transferrin To Study the Pharmacology of Inhibitors to BET Bromodomain Containing Proteins.
Mol Pharm. 2016; 13(2):683-8 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Chromatin modifying proteins are attractive drug targets in oncology, given the fundamental reliance of cancer on altered transcriptional activity. Multiple transcription factors can be impacted downstream of primary target inhibition, thus making it challenging to understand the driving mechanism of action of pharmacologic inhibition of chromatin modifying proteins. This in turn makes it difficult to identify biomarkers predictive of response and pharmacodynamic tools to optimize drug dosing. In this report, we show that (89)Zr-transferrin, an imaging tool we developed to measure MYC activity in cancer, can be used to identify cancer models that respond to broad spectrum inhibitors of transcription primarily due to MYC inhibition. As a proof of concept, we studied inhibitors of BET bromodomain containing proteins, as they can impart antitumor effects in a MYC dependent or independent fashion. In vitro, we show that transferrin receptor biology is inhibited in multiple MYC positive models of prostate cancer and double hit lymphoma when MYC biology is impacted. Moreover, we show that bromodomain inhibition in one lymphoma model results in transferrin receptor expression changes large enough to be quantified with (89)Zr-transferrin and positron emission tomography (PET) in vivo. Collectively, these data further underscore the diagnostic utility of the relationship between MYC and transferrin in oncology, and provide the rationale to incorporate transferrin-based PET into early clinical trials with bromodomain inhibitors for the treatment of solid tumors.

Crommentuijn MH, Maguire CA, Niers JM, et al.
Intracranial AAV-sTRAIL combined with lanatoside C prolongs survival in an orthotopic xenograft mouse model of invasive glioblastoma.
Mol Oncol. 2016; 10(4):625-34 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 01/04/2017 Related Publications
Glioblastoma (GBM) is the most common malignant brain tumor in adults. We designed an adeno-associated virus (AAV) vector for intracranial delivery of secreted, soluble tumor necrosis factor-related apoptosis-inducing ligand (sTRAIL) to GBM tumors in mice and combined it with the TRAIL-sensitizing cardiac glycoside, lanatoside C (lan C). We applied this combined therapy to two different GBM models using human U87 glioma cells and primary patient-derived GBM neural spheres in culture and in orthotopic GBM xenograft models in mice. In U87 cells, conditioned medium from AAV2-sTRAIL expressing cells combined with lan C induced 80% cell death. Similarly, lan C sensitized primary GBM spheres to sTRAIL causing over 90% cell death. In mice bearing intracranial U87 tumors treated with AAVrh.8-sTRAIL, administration of lan C caused a decrease in tumor-associated Fluc signal, while tumor size increased within days of stopping the treatment. Another round of lan C treatment re-sensitized GBM tumor to sTRAIL-induced cell death. AAVrh.8-sTRAIL treatment alone and combined with lanatoside C resulted in a significant decrease in tumor growth and longer survival of mice bearing orthotopic invasive GBM brain tumors. In summary, AAV-sTRAIL combined with lanatoside C induced cell death in U87 glioma cells and patient-derived GBM neural spheres in culture and in vivo leading to an increased in overall mice survival.

Asim M, Massie CE, Orafidiya F, et al.
Choline Kinase Alpha as an Androgen Receptor Chaperone and Prostate Cancer Therapeutic Target.
J Natl Cancer Inst. 2016; 108(5) [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 01/04/2017 Related Publications
BACKGROUND: The androgen receptor (AR) is a major drug target in prostate cancer (PCa). We profiled the AR-regulated kinome to identify clinically relevant and druggable effectors of AR signaling.
METHODS: Using genome-wide approaches, we interrogated all AR regulated kinases. Among these, choline kinase alpha (CHKA) expression was evaluated in benign (n = 195), prostatic intraepithelial neoplasia (PIN) (n = 153) and prostate cancer (PCa) lesions (n = 359). We interrogated how CHKA regulates AR signaling using biochemical assays and investigated androgen regulation of CHKA expression in men with PCa, both untreated (n = 20) and treated with an androgen biosynthesis inhibitor degarelix (n = 27). We studied the effect of CHKA inhibition on the PCa transcriptome using RNA sequencing and tested the effect of CHKA inhibition on cell growth, clonogenic survival and invasion. Tumor xenografts (n = 6 per group) were generated in mice using genetically engineered prostate cancer cells with inducible CHKA knockdown. Data were analyzed with χ(2) tests, Cox regression analysis, and Kaplan-Meier methods. All statistical tests were two-sided.
RESULTS: CHKA expression was shown to be androgen regulated in cell lines, xenografts, and human tissue (log fold change from 6.75 to 6.59, P = .002) and was positively associated with tumor stage. CHKA binds directly to the ligand-binding domain (LBD) of AR, enhancing its stability. As such, CHKA is the first kinase identified as an AR chaperone. Inhibition of CHKA repressed the AR transcriptional program including pathways enriched for regulation of protein folding, decreased AR protein levels, and inhibited the growth of PCa cell lines, human PCa explants, and tumor xenografts.
CONCLUSIONS: CHKA can act as an AR chaperone, providing, to our knowledge, the first evidence for kinases as molecular chaperones, making CHKA both a marker of tumor progression and a potential therapeutic target for PCa.

Sengupta D, Byrum SD, Avaritt NL, et al.
Quantitative Histone Mass Spectrometry Identifies Elevated Histone H3 Lysine 27 (Lys27) Trimethylation in Melanoma.
Mol Cell Proteomics. 2016; 15(3):765-75 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Normal cell growth is characterized by a regulated epigenetic program that drives cellular activities such as gene transcription, DNA replication, and DNA damage repair. Perturbation of this epigenetic program can lead to events such as mis-regulation of gene transcription and diseases such as cancer. To begin to understand the epigenetic program correlated to the development of melanoma, we performed a novel quantitative mass spectrometric analysis of histone post-translational modifications mis-regulated in melanoma cell culture as well as patient tumors. Aggressive melanoma cell lines as well as metastatic melanoma were found to have elevated histone H3 Lys(27) trimethylation (H3K27me3) accompanied by overexpressed methyltransferase EZH2 that adds the specific modification. The altered epigenetic program that led to elevated H3K27me3 in melanoma cell culture was found to directly silence transcription of the tumor suppressor genes RUNX3 and E-cadherin. The EZH2-mediated silencing of RUNX3 and E-cadherin transcription was also validated in advanced stage human melanoma tissues. This is the first study focusing on the detailed epigenetic mechanisms leading to EZH2-mediated silencing of RUNX3 and E-cadherin tumor suppressors in melanoma. This study underscores the utility of using high resolution mass spectrometry to identify mis-regulated epigenetic programs in diseases such as cancer, which could ultimately lead to the identification of biological markers for diagnostic and prognostic applications.

Arora A, Abdel-Fatah TM, Agarwal D, et al.
Clinicopathological and prognostic significance of RECQL5 helicase expression in breast cancers.
Carcinogenesis. 2016; 37(1):63-71 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
RECQL5 is a member of the RecQ family of DNA helicases and has key roles in homologous recombination, base excision repair, replication and transcription. The clinicopathological significance of RECQL5 expression in breast cancer is unknown. In this study, we have evaluated RECQL5 mRNA expression in 1977 breast cancers, and RECQL5 protein level in 1902 breast cancers [Nottingham Tenovus series (n = 1650) and ER- cohort (n = 252)]. Expression levels were correlated to aggressive phenotypes and survival outcomes. High RECQL5 mRNA expression was significantly associated with high histological grade (P = 0.007), HER2 overexpression (P = 0.032), ER+/HER2-/high proliferation genefu subtype (P < 0.0001), integrative molecular clusters (intClust 1and 9) (P < 0.0001) and poor survival (P < 0.0001). In subgroup analysis, high RECQL5 mRNA level remains significantly associated with poor BCSS in ER+ cohort (P < 0.0001) but not in ER- cohort (P = 0.116). At the protein level, in tumours with low RAD51, high RECQL5 level was significantly associated with high histological grade (P < 0.0001), higher mitotic index (P = 0.008), dedifferentiation (P = 0.025), pleomorphism (P = 0.027) and poor survival (P = 0.003). In subgroup analysis, high RECQL5/low RAD51 remains significantly associated with poor BCSS in ER+ cohort (P = 0.010), but not in ER- cohort (P = 0.628). In multivariate analysis, high RECQL5 mRNA and high RECQL5/low RAD51 nuclear protein coexpression independently influenced survival (P = 0.022) in whole cohort and in the ER+ subgroup. Preclinically, we show that exogenous expression of RECQL5 in MCF10A cells can drive proliferation supporting an oncogenic function for RECQL5 in breast cancer. We conclude that RECQL5 is a promising biomarker in breast cancer.

Choudhary A, Zachek B, Lera RF, et al.
Identification of Selective Lead Compounds for Treatment of High-Ploidy Breast Cancer.
Mol Cancer Ther. 2016; 15(1):48-59 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Increased ploidy is common in tumors but treatments for tumors with excess chromosome sets are not available. Here, we characterize high-ploidy breast cancers and identify potential anticancer compounds selective for the high-ploidy state. Among 354 human breast cancers, 10% have mean chromosome copy number exceeding 3, and this is most common in triple-negative and HER2-positive types. Women with high-ploidy breast cancers have higher risk of recurrence and death in two patient cohorts, demonstrating that it represents an important group for improved treatment. Because high-ploidy cancers are aneuploid, rather than triploid or tetraploid, we devised a two-step screen to identify selective compounds. The screen was designed to assure both external validity on diverse karyotypic backgrounds and specificity for high-ploidy cell types. This screen identified novel therapies specific to high-ploidy cells. First, we discovered 8-azaguanine, an antimetabolite that is activated by hypoxanthine phosphoribosyltransferase 1 (HPRT1), suggesting an elevated gene-dosage of HPRT1 in high-ploidy tumors can control sensitivity to this drug. Second, we discovered a novel compound, 2,3-diphenylbenzo[g]quinoxaline-5,10-dione (DPBQ). DPBQ activates p53 and triggers apoptosis in a polyploid-specific manner, but does not inhibit topoisomerase or bind DNA. Mechanistic analysis demonstrates that DPBQ elicits a hypoxia gene signature and its effect is replicated, in part, by enhancing oxidative stress. Structure-function analysis defines the core benzo[g]quinoxaline-5,10 dione as being necessary for the polyploid-specific effects of DPBQ. We conclude that polyploid breast cancers represent a high-risk subgroup and that DPBQ provides a functional core to develop polyploid-selective therapy. Mol Cancer Ther; 15(1); 48-59. ©2015 AACR.

Pu F, Qiao J, Xue S, et al.
GRPR-targeted Protein Contrast Agents for Molecular Imaging of Receptor Expression in Cancers by MRI.
Sci Rep. 2015; 5:16214 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Gastrin-releasing peptide receptor (GRPR) is differentially expressed on the surfaces of various diseased cells, including prostate and lung cancer. However, monitoring temporal and spatial expression of GRPR in vivo by clinical MRI is severely hampered by the lack of contrast agents with high relaxivity, targeting capability and tumor penetration. Here, we report the development of a GRPR-targeted MRI contrast agent by grafting the GRPR targeting moiety into a scaffold protein with a designed Gd(3+) binding site (ProCA1.GRPR). In addition to its strong binding affinity for GRPR (Kd = 2.7 nM), ProCA1.GRPR has high relaxivity (r1 = 42.0 mM(-1)s(-1) at 1.5 T and 25 °C) and strong Gd(3+) selectivity over physiological metal ions. ProCA1.GRPR enables in vivo detection of GRPR expression and spatial distribution in both PC3 and H441 tumors in mice using MRI. ProCA1.GRPR is expected to have important preclinical and clinical implications for the early detection of cancer and for monitoring treatment effects.

Liang L, Aiken C, McClelland R, et al.
Characterization of novel biomarkers in selecting for subtype specific medulloblastoma phenotypes.
Oncotarget. 2015; 6(36):38881-900 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Major research efforts have focused on defining cell surface marker profiles for characterization and selection of brain tumor stem/progenitor cells. Medulloblastoma is the most common primary malignant pediatric brain cancer and consists of 4 molecular subgroups: WNT, SHH, Group 3 and Group 4. Given the heterogeneity within and between medulloblastoma variants, surface marker profiles may be subtype-specific. Here, we employed a high throughput flow cytometry screen to identify differentially expressed cell surface markers in self-renewing vs. non-self-renewing SHH medulloblastoma cells. The top 25 markers were reduced to 4, CD271/p75NTR/NGFR, CD106/VCAM1, EGFR and CD171/NCAM-L1, by evaluating transcript levels in SHH tumors relative to samples representing the other variants. However, only CD271/p75NTR/NGFR and CD171/NCAM-L1 maintain differential expression between variants at the protein level. Functional characterization of CD271, a low affinity neurotrophin receptor, in cell lines and primary cultures suggested that CD271 selects for lower self-renewing progenitors or stem cells. Moreover, CD271 levels were negatively correlated with expression of SHH pathway genes. Our study reveals a novel role for CD271 in SHH medulloblastoma and suggests that targeting CD271 pathways could lead to the design of more selective therapies that lessen the broad impact of current treatments on developing nervous systems.

DeNicola GM, Chen PH, Mullarky E, et al.
NRF2 regulates serine biosynthesis in non-small cell lung cancer.
Nat Genet. 2015; 47(12):1475-81 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Tumors have high energetic and anabolic needs for rapid cell growth and proliferation, and the serine biosynthetic pathway was recently identified as an important source of metabolic intermediates for these processes. We integrated metabolic tracing and transcriptional profiling of a large panel of non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) cell lines to characterize the activity and regulation of the serine/glycine biosynthetic pathway in NSCLC. Here we show that the activity of this pathway is highly heterogeneous and is regulated by NRF2, a transcription factor frequently deregulated in NSCLC. We found that NRF2 controls the expression of the key serine/glycine biosynthesis enzyme genes PHGDH, PSAT1 and SHMT2 via ATF4 to support glutathione and nucleotide production. Moreover, we show that expression of these genes confers poor prognosis in human NSCLC. Thus, a substantial fraction of human NSCLCs activates an NRF2-dependent transcriptional program that regulates serine and glycine metabolism and is linked to clinical aggressiveness.

Singh R, Parveen M, Basgen JM, et al.
Increased Expression of Beige/Brown Adipose Markers from Host and Breast Cancer Cells Influence Xenograft Formation in Mice.
Mol Cancer Res. 2016; 14(1):78-92 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
UNLABELLED: The initiation and progression of breast cancer is a complex process that is influenced by heterogeneous cell populations within the tumor microenvironment. Although adipocytes have been shown to promote breast cancer development, adipocyte characteristics involved in this process remain poorly understood. In this study, we demonstrate enrichment of beige/brown adipose markers, contributed from the host as well as tumor cells, in the xenografts from breast cancer cell lines. In addition to uncoupling protein-1 (UCP1) that is exclusively expressed in beige/brown adipocytes, gene expression for classical brown (MYF5, EVA1, and OPLAH) as well as beige (CD137/TNFRSF9 and TBX1) adipocyte markers was also elevated in the xenografts. Enrichment of beige/brown characteristics in the xenografts was independent of the site of implantation of the breast tumor cells. Early stages of xenografts showed an expansion of a subset of mammary cancer stem cells that expressed PRDM16, a master regulator of brown adipocyte differentiation. Depletion of UCP1(+) or Myf5(+) cells significantly reduced tumor development. There was increased COX2 (MT-CO2) expression, which is known to stimulate formation of beige adipocytes in early xenografts and treatment with a COX2 inhibitor (SC236) reduced tumor growth. In contrast, treatment with factors that induce brown adipocyte differentiation in vitro led to larger tumors in vivo. A panel of xenografts derived from established breast tumor cells as well as patient tumor tissues were generated that expressed key brown adipose tissue-related markers and contained cells that morphologically resembled brown adipocytes.
IMPLICATIONS: This is the first report demonstrating that beige/brown adipocyte characteristics could play an important role in breast tumor development and suggest a potential target for therapeutic drug design.

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