Research IndicatorsGraph generated 11 March 2017 using data from PubMed using criteria.
Mouse over the terms for more detail; many indicate links which you can click for dedicated pages about the topic. Tag cloud generated 11 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).
OMIM, Johns Hopkin University
Referenced article focusing on the relationship between phenotype and genotype.
International Cancer Genome Consortium.
Summary of gene and mutations by cancer type from ICGC
Cancer Genome Anatomy Project, NCI
COSMIC, Sanger Institute
Somatic mutation information and related details
GEO Profiles, NCBI
Search the gene expression profiles from curated DataSets in the Gene Expression Omnibus (GEO) repository.
Latest Publications: NFATC1 (cancer-related)
Chen P, Shan Z, Zhao J, et al.NFAT1 promotes cell motility through MMP-3 in esophageal squamous cell carcinoma.
Biomed Pharmacother. 2017; 86:541-546 [PubMed
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Esophageal squamous cell carcinoma (ESCC) is one of the most common malignant tumors and the prognosis of patients remains poor. Increasing evidence suggests that nuclear factor of activated T cell (NFAT1) plays an important role in the development and progression of cancers. Herein, we show that NFAT1 was overexpressed in human ESCC, which was significantly associated with advanced tumor stage and lymph node metastasis. Functional studies found that NFAT1 silencing could suppress cell migration and invasion through MMP-3. The data therefore suggest that NFAT1 plays an important adverse role in the development and progression of ESCC, implicating possible application in clinics as a biomarker and a potential new therapeutic target.
The NFAT (nuclear factor of activated T cells) family of transcription factors consists of four Ca(2+)-regulated members (NFAT1-NFAT4), which were first described in T lymphocytes. In addition to their well-documented role in T lymphocytes, where they control gene expression during cell activation and differentiation, NFAT proteins are also expressed in a wide range of cells and tissue types and regulate genes involved in cell cycle, apoptosis, angiogenesis and metastasis. The NFAT proteins share a highly conserved DNA-binding domain (DBD), which allows all NFAT members to bind to the same DNA sequence in enhancers or promoter regions. The same DNA-binding specificity suggests redundant roles for the NFAT proteins, which is true during the regulation of some genes such as IL-2 and p21. However, it has become increasingly clear that different NFAT proteins and even isoforms can have unique functions. In this review, we address the possible reasons for these distinct roles, particularly regarding N- and C-terminal transactivation regions (TADs) and the partner proteins that interact with these TADs. We also discuss the genes regulated by NFAT during cell cycle regulation and apoptosis and the role of NFAT during tumorigenesis.
Zhao X, Wang Q, Yang S, et al.Quercetin inhibits angiogenesis by targeting calcineurin in the xenograft model of human breast cancer.
Eur J Pharmacol. 2016; 781:60-8 [PubMed
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Vascular endothelial growth factor receptor 2 (VEGFR2) mediated calcineurin/nuclear factor of activated T-cells (NFAT) pathway is crucial in the angiogenesis of human breast cancer. Quercetin (Qu), a flavonoid known to possess anti-angiogenesis and antitumor properties, inhibited calcineurin activity in vitro. Herein, we performed a study in vivo to evaluate the effects of Qu on the angiogenesis in breast cancer. Female BALB/c nude mice were injected with MCF-7 cells into the mammary fat and were randomly divided into four groups. The animals were treated with vehicle solution, tamoxifen (TAM, 5.6mg/kg), tacrolimus (FK506, 3mg/kg), or Qu (34mg/kg) for 21 days, respectively. The results showed that, similar to TAM and FK506, Qu decreased tumor growth, limited oncocyte proliferation and promoted tumor necrosis. Anti-angiogenic actions of Qu were demonstrated as decreased serum VEGF (P<0.01), and sparse microvessel density (P<0.05). Qu significantly inhibited tumor calcineurin activities, and the inhibitory rate was 62.73% in Qu treated animals, compared to that was 72.90% in FK506 group (P>0.05). Effects of Qu on calcineurin/NFAT pathway were confirmed as decreased subcellular located levels of VEGF (P<0.05), VEGFR2 (P<0.05) and NFATc3 (P<0.01), downregulated gene expression of VEGF (P<0.05), VEGFR2 (P<0.05) and NFATc3 (P<0.01), reduced protein levels of VEGF (P<0.05), VEGFR2 (P<0.05), and NFATc3 (P<0.01) in tumor tissues. These findings indicate that Qu inhibit angiogenesis of human breast cancer xenograft in nude mice, which was associated with suppressing calcineurin activity and its regulated pathway activation.
Baumgart S, Chen NM, Zhang JS, et al.GSK-3β Governs Inflammation-Induced NFATc2 Signaling Hubs to Promote Pancreatic Cancer Progression.
Mol Cancer Ther. 2016; 15(3):491-502 [PubMed
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We aimed to investigate the mechanistic, functional, and therapeutic role of glycogen synthase kinase 3β (GSK-3β) in the regulation and activation of the proinflammatory oncogenic transcription factor nuclear factor of activated T cells (NFATc2) in pancreatic cancer. IHC, qPCR, immunoblotting, immunofluorescence microscopy, and proliferation assays were used to analyze mouse and human tissues and cell lines. Protein-protein interactions and promoter regulation were analyzed by coimmunoprecipitation, DNA pulldown, reporter, and ChIP assays. Preclinical assays were performed using a variety of pancreatic cancer cells lines, xenografts, and a genetically engineered mouse model (GEMM). GSK-3β-dependent SP2 phosphorylation mediates NFATc2 protein stability in the nucleus of pancreatic cancer cells stimulating pancreatic cancer growth. In addition to protein stabilization, GSK-3β also maintains NFATc2 activation through a distinct mechanism involving stabilization of NFATc2-STAT3 complexes independent of SP2 phosphorylation. For NFATc2-STAT3 complex formation, GSK-3β-mediated phosphorylation of STAT3 at Y705 is required to stimulate euchromatin formation of NFAT target promoters, such as cyclin-dependent kinase-6, which promotes tumor growth. Finally, preclinical experiments suggest that targeting the NFATc2-STAT3-GSK-3β module inhibits proliferation and tumor growth and interferes with inflammation-induced pancreatic cancer progression in Kras(G12D) mice. In conclusion, we describe a novel mechanism by which GSK-3β fine-tunes NFATc2 and STAT3 transcriptional networks to integrate upstream signaling events that govern pancreatic cancer progression and growth. Furthermore, the therapeutic potential of GSK-3β is demonstrated for the first time in a relevant Kras and inflammation-induced GEMM for pancreatic cancer.
Arsenic sulfide (AS) has excellent cytotoxic activity in acute promyelocytic leukemia (APL) but its activity in solid tumors remains to be explored. Here we show that AS and cyclosporine A (CsA) exerted synergistic inhibitory effect on cell growth and c-Myc expression in HCT116 cells. AS inhibited the expression of PML, c-Myc, NFATc1, NFATc3, and NFATc4, while stimulating the expression of p53 and NFATc2. Knockdown of PML reduced NFATc1, NFATc2, NFATc3 and NFATc4 expression while overexpression of p53 stimulated NFATc2-luciferase activity that was further augmented by AS by binding to a set of p53 responsive elements (PREs) on the NFATc2 promoter. Additionally, overexpression of p53 suppressed NFATc3 and NFATc4. Reciprocally, NFATc3 knockdown enhanced p53 while reducing MDM2 expression indicating that NFATc3 is a negative regulator of p53 while a positive regulator of MDM2, consistent with its tumor-promoting property as knockdown of NFATc3 retarded cell growth in vitro and tumor growth in xenograft. In patients with colon cancer, tumor expression of NFATc2 correlated with superior survival, while nuclear NFATc1 with inferior survival. These results indicate that AS differentially regulates NFAT pathway through PML and p53 and reveal an intricate reciprocal regulatory relationship between NFAT proteins and p53 pathway.
Comba A, Almada LL, Tolosa EJ, et al.Nuclear Factor of Activated T Cells-dependent Down-regulation of the Transcription Factor Glioma-associated Protein 1 (GLI1) Underlies the Growth Inhibitory Properties of Arachidonic Acid.
J Biol Chem. 2016; 291(4):1933-47 [PubMed
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Numerous reports have demonstrated a tumor inhibitory effect of polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs). However, the molecular mechanisms modulating this phenomenon are in part poorly understood. Here, we provide evidence of a novel antitumoral mechanism of the PUFA arachidonic acid (AA). In vivo and in vitro experiments showed that AA treatment decreased tumor growth and metastasis and increased apoptosis. Molecular analysis of this effect showed significantly reduced expression of a subset of antiapoptotic proteins, including BCL2, BFL1/A1, and 4-1BB, in AA-treated cells. We demonstrated that down-regulation of the transcription factor glioma-associated protein 1 (GLI1) in AA-treated cells is the underlying mechanism controlling BCL2, BFL1/A1, and 4-1BB expression. Using luciferase reporters, chromatin immunoprecipitation, and expression studies, we found that GLI1 binds to the promoter of these antiapoptotic molecules and regulates their expression and promoter activity. We provide evidence that AA-induced apoptosis and down-regulation of antiapoptotic genes can be inhibited by overexpressing GLI1 in AA-sensitive cells. Conversely, inhibition of GLI1 mimics AA treatments, leading to decreased tumor growth, cell viability, and expression of antiapoptotic molecules. Further characterization showed that AA represses GLI1 expression by stimulating nuclear translocation of NFATc1, which then binds the GLI1 promoter and represses its transcription. AA was shown to increase reactive oxygen species. Treatment with antioxidants impaired the AA-induced apoptosis and down-regulation of GLI1 and NFATc1 activation, indicating that NFATc1 activation and GLI1 repression require the generation of reactive oxygen species. Collectively, these results define a novel mechanism underlying AA antitumoral functions that may serve as a foundation for future PUFA-based therapeutic approaches.
Xu W, Gu J, Ren Q, et al.NFATC1 promotes cell growth and tumorigenesis in ovarian cancer up-regulating c-Myc through ERK1/2/p38 MAPK signal pathway.
Tumour Biol. 2016; 37(4):4493-500 [PubMed
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It has been reported that nuclear factor of activated T cells (NFATC1) was up-regulated in cancers mediating malignant behaviors. However, the role of NFATC1 in ovarian cancer has not been elucidated. In the present study, we undertook to explore the clinicopathological significance of NFATC1 expression and the mechanism by which NFATC1 works in ovarian cancer. Expression status of NFATC1 was examined using immunohistochemistry. Both knockdown and re-expression of NFATC1 on ovarian cancer cells were employed to observe the effect overgrowth. It was found that NFATC1 was significantly overexpressed in ovarian cancer tissues in comparison with paired normal control tissues and that overexpression of NFATC1 was significantly associated with metastasis and poor prognosis on clinical tissue level. In in vitro ovarian cancer cell lines, we found that NFATC1 can promote proliferation up-regulating c-myc through activation of ERK1/2/p38/MAPK signal pathway. Together, the results we obtained demonstrated that NFATC1 played oncogenic role in ovarian cancer. Mechanistically, NFATC1 promoted growth of ovarian cancer cells up-regulating c-myc through activation of ERK1/2/p38/MAPK signal pathway, suggesting that NFATC1 might be used as a therapeutic target for ovarian cancer.
Im JY, Lee KW, Won KJ, et al.DNA damage-induced apoptosis suppressor (DDIAS), a novel target of NFATc1, is associated with cisplatin resistance in lung cancer.
Biochim Biophys Acta. 2016; 1863(1):40-9 [PubMed
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In a previous study, we reported that DNA damage induced apoptosis suppressor (DDIAS; hNoxin), a human homolog of mouse Noxin, functions as an anti-apoptotic protein in response to DNA repair. Here we reveal that DDIAS is a target gene of nuclear factor of activated T cells 2 (NFATc1) and is associated with cisplatin resistance in lung cancer cells. In the DDIAS promoter analysis, we found that NFATc1 activated the transcription of DDIAS through binding to NFAT consensus sequences in the DDIAS promoter. In addition, tissue array immunostaining revealed a correlation between DDIAS and NFATc1 expression in human lung tumors. NFATc1 knockdown or treatment with the NFAT inhibitor cyclosporine A induced apoptosis and led to growth inhibition of lung cancer cells, indicating the functional relevance of both the proteins. In contrast, DDIAS overexpression overcame this NFATc1 knockdown-induced growth inhibition, supporting the cancer-specific role of DDIAS as a target gene of NFATc1. NFATc1 or DDIAS inhibition clearly enhanced apoptosis induced by cisplatin in NCI-H1703 and A549 cells. Conversely, DDIAS overexpression rescued NCI-H1703 cells from cisplatin-mediated cell death and caspase-3/7 activation. These results suggest that NFATc1-induced DDIAS expression contributes to cisplatin resistance, and targeting DDIAS or NFATc1 impairs the mechanism regulating cisplatin resistance in lung cancer cells. Taken together, DDIAS is a target of NFATc1 and is associated with cisplatin resistance in lung cancer cells.
The NFAT (nuclear factor of activated T cells) family of transcription factors is composed of four calcium-responsive proteins (NFAT1 to -4). The NFAT2 (also called NFATc1) gene encodes the isoforms NFAT2α and NFAT2β that result mainly from alternative initiation exons that provide two different N-terminal transactivation domains. However, the specific roles of the NFAT2 isoforms in cell physiology remain unclear. Because previous studies have shown oncogenic potential for NFAT2, this study emphasized the role of the NFAT2 isoforms in cell transformation. Here, we show that a constitutively active form of NFAT2α (CA-NFAT2α) and CA-NFAT2β distinctly control death and transformation in NIH 3T3 cells. While CA-NFAT2α strongly induces cell transformation, CA-NFAT2β leads to reduced cell proliferation and intense cell death through the upregulation of tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNF-α). CA-NFAT2β also increases cell death and upregulates Fas ligand (FasL) and TNF-α in CD4(+) T cells. Furthermore, we demonstrate that differential roles of NFAT2 isoforms in NIH 3T3 cells depend on the N-terminal domain, where the NFAT2β-specific N-terminal acidic motif is necessary to induce cell death. Interestingly, the NFAT2α isoform is upregulated in Burkitt lymphomas, suggesting an isoform-specific involvement of NFAT2 in cancer development. Finally, our data suggest that alternative N-terminal domains of NFAT2 could provide differential mechanisms for the control of cellular functions.
Lozano T, Villanueva L, Durántez M, et al.Inhibition of FOXP3/NFAT Interaction Enhances T Cell Function after TCR Stimulation.
J Immunol. 2015; 195(7):3180-9 [PubMed
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Regulatory T cell (Treg) activity is modulated by a cooperative complex between the transcription factor NFAT and FOXP3, a lineage specification factor for Tregs. FOXP3/NFAT interaction is required to repress expression of IL-2, upregulate expression of the Treg markers CTLA4 and CD25, and confer suppressor function to Tregs. However, FOXP3 is expressed transiently in conventional CD4(+) T cells upon TCR stimulation and may lead to T cell hyporesponsiveness. We found that a short synthetic peptide able to inhibit FOXP3/NFAT interaction impaired suppressor activity of conventional Tregs in vitro. Specific inhibition of FOXP3/NFAT interaction with this inhibitory peptide revealed that FOXP3 downregulates NFAT-driven promoter activity of CD40L and IL-17. Inhibition of FOXP3/NFAT interaction upregulated CD40L expression on effector T cells and enhanced T cell proliferation and IL-2, IFN-γ, IL-6, or IL-17 production in response to TCR stimulation. The inhibitory peptide impaired effector T cell conversion into induced Tregs in the presence of TGF-β. Moreover, in vivo peptide administration showed antitumor efficacy in mice bearing Hepa129 or TC1 tumor cells when combined with sorafenib or with an antitumor vaccine, respectively. Our results suggest that inhibition of NFAT/FOXP3 interaction might improve antitumor immunotherapies.
Miyajima C, Itoh Y, Inoue Y, Hayashi HPositive Regulation of Interleukin-2 Expression by a Pseudokinase, Tribbles 1, in Activated T Cells.
Biol Pharm Bull. 2015; 38(8):1126-33 [PubMed
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Tribbles 1 (TRB1), a member of the Tribbles family, is a pseudokinase that is conserved among species and implicated in various human diseases including leukemia, cardiovascular diseases, and metabolic disorders. However, the role of TRB1 in the immune response is not understood. To evaluate this role, we examined regulation of TRB1 expression and the function of TRB1 in interleukin-2 (IL-2) induction in Jurkat cells, a human acute T cell leukemia cell line. We found that TRB1 was strongly induced by phorbol 12-myristate 13-acetate (PMA) and ionomycin in these cells. IL-2 expression was induced in Jurkat cells activated by PMA and ionomycin; however, knockdown of TRB1 resulted in decreased induction of IL-2. TRB1 null Jurkat cells established using the CRISPR/Cas9 system also showed reduction of IL-2 expression on PMA/ionomycin stimulation. TRB1 knockdown also markedly inhibited IL-2 promoter activation. To determine the mechanism of the stimulatory effect on IL-2 induction, we focused on histone deacetylases (HDACs), and found that HDAC1 preferentially interacts with TRB1. TRB1 suppressed the interaction of HDAC1 with nuclear factor of activated T cells 2 (NFAT2), which is a crucial transcription factor for IL-2 induction. These results indicate that TRB1 is a positive regulator of IL-2 induction in activated T cells.
Asparaginase is used to treat acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL); however, hypersensitivity reactions can lead to suboptimal asparaginase exposure. Our objective was to use a genome-wide approach to identify loci associated with asparaginase hypersensitivity in children with ALL enrolled on St. Jude Children's Research Hospital (SJCRH) protocols Total XIIIA (n = 154), Total XV (n = 498), and Total XVI (n = 271), or Children's Oncology Group protocols POG 9906 (n = 222) and AALL0232 (n = 2163). Germline DNA was genotyped using the Affymetrix 500K, Affymetrix 6.0, or the Illumina Exome BeadChip array. In multivariate logistic regression, the intronic rs6021191 variant in nuclear factor of activated T cells 2 (NFATC2) had the strongest association with hypersensitivity (P = 4.1 × 10(-8); odds ratio [OR] = 3.11). RNA-seq data available from 65 SJCRH ALL tumor samples and 52 Yoruba HapMap samples showed that samples carrying the rs6021191 variant had higher NFATC2 expression compared with noncarriers (P = 1.1 × 10(-3) and 0.03, respectively). The top ranked nonsynonymous polymorphism was rs17885382 in HLA-DRB1 (P = 3.2 × 10(-6); OR = 1.63), which is in near complete linkage disequilibrium with the HLA-DRB1*07:01 allele we previously observed in a candidate gene study. The strongest risk factors for asparaginase allergy are variants within genes regulating the immune response.
Metzelder SK, Michel C, von Bonin M, et al.NFATc1 as a therapeutic target in FLT3-ITD-positive AML.
Leukemia. 2015; 29(7):1470-7 [PubMed
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Internal tandem duplications (ITD) in the Fms-related tyrosine kinase 3 receptor (FLT3) are associated with a dismal prognosis in acute myeloid leukemia (AML). FLT3 inhibitors such as sorafenib may improve outcome, but only few patients display long-term responses, prompting the search for underlying resistance mechanisms and therapeutic strategies to overcome them. Here we identified that the nuclear factor of activated T cells, NFATc1, is frequently overexpressed in FLT3-ITD-positive (FLT3-ITD+) AML. NFATc1 knockdown using inducible short hairpin RNA or pharmacological NFAT inhibition with cyclosporine A (CsA) or VIVIT significantly augmented sorafenib-induced apoptosis of FLT3-ITD+ cells. CsA also potently overcame sorafenib resistance in FLT3-ITD+ cell lines and primary AML. Vice versa, de novo expression of a constitutively nuclear NFATc1-mutant mediated instant and robust sorafenib resistance in vitro. Intriguingly, FLT3-ITD+ AML patients (n=26) who received CsA as part of their rescue chemotherapy displayed a superior outcome when compared with wild-type FLT3 (FLT3-WT) AML patients. Our data unveil NFATc1 as a novel mediator of sorafenib resistance in FLT3-ITD+ AML. CsA counteracts sorafenib resistance and may improve treatment outcome in AML by means of inhibiting NFAT.
Martínez-Høyer S, Solé-Sánchez S, Aguado F, et al.A novel role for an RCAN3-derived peptide as a tumor suppressor in breast cancer.
Carcinogenesis. 2015; 36(7):792-9 [PubMed
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The members of the human regulators of calcineurin (RCAN) protein family are endogenous regulators of the calcineurin (CN)-cytosolic nuclear factor of activated T-cells (NFATc) pathway activation. This function is explained by the presence of a highly conserved calcipressin inhibitor of calcineurin (CIC) motif in RCAN proteins, which has been shown to compete with NFATc for the binding to CN and therefore are able to inhibit NFATc dephosphorylation and activation by CN. Very recently, emerging roles for NFATc proteins in transformation, tumor angiogenesis and metastasis have been described in different cancer cell types. In this work, we report that the overexpression of RCAN3 dramatically inhibits tumor growth and tumor angiogenesis in an orthotopic human breast cancer model. We suggest that RCAN3 exerts these effects in a CN-dependent manner, as mutation of the CIC motif in RCAN3 abolishes the tumor suppressor effect. Moreover, the expression of the EGFP-R3(178-210) peptide, spanning the CIC motif of RCAN3, is able to reproduce all the antitumor effects of RCAN3 full-length protein. Finally, we show that RCAN3 and the EGFP-R3(178-210) peptide inhibit the CN-NFATc signaling pathway and the induction of the NFATc-dependent gene cyclooxygenase-2. Our work suggests that the EGFP-R3(178-210) peptide possess potent tumor suppressor properties and therefore constitutes a novel lead for the development of potent and specific antitumoral agents. Moreover, we propose the targeting of the CN-NFATc pathway in the tumor cells constitutes an effective way to hamper tumor progression by impairing the paracrine network among tumor, endothelial and polymorphonucleated cells.
Schoolmeester JK, Greipp PT, Keeney GL, Soslow RAOvarian Hemangiomas Do Not Harbor EWSR1 Rearrangements: Clinicopathologic Characterization of 10 Cases.
Int J Gynecol Pathol. 2015; 34(5):437-44 [PubMed
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Hemangiomas of the ovary are rare with a majority described as individual reports of unusual clinical presentations or morphologic findings. Both the expected and unexpected pathologic features of these tumors in the ovary are not well detailed. Therefore, we collected the largest series of ovarian hemangiomas to comprehensively define their clinicopathologic associations and examine the significance of hormone receptors in their pathogenesis. In addition, a novel EWSR1-NFATC1 fusion has recently been described in a case of hemangioma of bone. To our knowledge, EWSR1 rearrangement has not been evaluated in hemangiomas of other sites or in a case series. Accordingly, we used fluorescence in situ hybridization to investigate EWSR1 status in a majority of our cases. Clinical presentation was variable and dependent on tumor size. Patient age ranged 48 to 87 yr (median 63 yr). Tumors involved the right (n=6) and left (n=3) ovaries with laterality unknown in 1 case, and size ranged from 0.2 to 5.0 cm (median 1.0 cm). Three of 4 radiologic reports were either equivocal or could not exclude malignancy. Seven cases were of the cavernous type and 3 were mixed cavernous and capillary type. All lesions formed a single discrete, circumscribed mass that displaced the surrounding cortical stroma. The cavernous type showed dilated, thin-walled vessels and vascular thrombi, some of which were associated with dystrophic calcification. In addition to cavernous morphology, the mixed form exhibited features of capillary hemangioma such as lobulated growth of capillary-sized vascular spaces that lacked atypia or multilayering and were linked to a larger feeding vessel. Each tumor expressed CD31, CD34, FLI-1, ERG, but not D240. The hemangioma stromal cells, but not endothelium, expressed estrogen and progesterone receptors in every case. Stromal luteinization was seen in 2 cases. Follow-up ranged 1 to 139 mo and all patients were disease free. All cases were negative for EWSR1 rearrangement; however, 2 cases demonstrated additional intact copies of EWSR1 indicating aneusomy 22 or a structural abnormality of chromosome 22 resulting in apparent duplication of the EWSR1 gene region (at 22q12). Although an uncommon entity, awareness of ovarian hemangioma's unique and diverse clinical presentation as well as its potential to radiologically imitate malignant ovarian neoplasms are important.
G protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs) constitute the largest family of proteins that transmit signal to regulate an array of fundamental biological processes. Viruses deploy diverse tactics to hijack and harness intracellular signaling events induced by GPCR. Herpesviruses encode multiple GPCR homologues that are implicated in viral pathogenesis. Cellular GPCRs are primarily regulated by their cognate ligands, while herpesviral GPCRs constitutively activate downstream signaling cascades, including the nuclear factor of activated T cells (NFAT) pathway. However, the roles of NFAT activation and mechanism thereof in viral GPCR tumorigenesis remain unknown. Here we report that GPCRs of human Kaposi's sarcoma-associated herpesvirus (kGPCR) and cytomegalovirus (US28) shortcut NFAT activation by inhibiting the sarcoplasmic reticulum calcium ATPase (SERCA), which is necessary for viral GPCR tumorigenesis. Biochemical approaches, entailing pharmacological inhibitors and protein purification, demonstrate that viral GPCRs target SERCA2 to increase cytosolic calcium concentration. As such, NFAT activation induced by vGPCRs was exceedingly sensitive to cyclosporine A that targets calcineurin, but resistant to inhibition upstream of ER calcium release. Gene expression profiling identified a signature of NFAT activation in endothelial cells expressing viral GPCRs. The expression of NFAT-dependent genes was up-regulated in tumors derived from tva-kGPCR mouse and human KS. Employing recombinant kGPCR-deficient KSHV, we showed that kGPCR was critical for NFAT-dependent gene expression in KSHV lytic replication. Finally, cyclosporine A treatment diminished NFAT-dependent gene expression and tumor formation induced by viral GPCRs. These findings reveal essential roles of NFAT activation in viral GPCR tumorigenesis and a mechanism of "constitutive" NFAT activation by viral GPCRs.
The poor efficacy of the in vivo anti-tumor immune response has been partially attributed to ineffective T-cell responses mounted against the tumor. Fas-FasL-dependent activation-induced cell death (AICD) of T cells is believed to be a major contributor to compromised anti-tumor immunity. The molecular mechanisms of AICD are well-investigated, yet the possibility of regulating AICD for cancer therapy remains to be explored. In this study, we show that histone deacetylase inhibitors (HDACIs) can inhibit apoptosis of CD4(+) T cells within the tumor, thereby enhancing anti-tumor immune responses and suppressing melanoma growth. This inhibitory effect is specific for AICD through suppressing NFAT1-regulated FasL expression on activated CD4(+) T cells. In gld/gld mice with mutation in FasL, the beneficial effect of HDACIs on AICD of infiltrating CD4(+) T cells is not seen, confirming the critical role of FasL regulation in the anti-tumor effect of HDACIs. Importantly, we found that the co-administration of HDACIs and anti-CTLA4 could further enhance the infiltration of CD4(+) T cells and achieve a synergistic therapeutic effect on tumor. Therefore, our study demonstrates that the modulation of AICD of tumor-infiltrating CD4(+) T cells using HDACIs can enhance anti-tumor immune responses, uncovering a novel mechanism underlying the anti-tumor effect of HDACIs.
Wang L, Wang Z, Li J, et al.NFATc1 activation promotes the invasion of U251 human glioblastoma multiforme cells through COX-2.
Int J Mol Med. 2015; 35(5):1333-40 [PubMed
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Recent studies have revealed that the nuclear factor of activated T-cells (NFAT) is a transcription factor that is highly expressed in aggressive cancer cells and tissues, and mediates invasion through the transcriptional induction of pro-invasion and pro-migration genes. However, the mechanisms through which nuclear factor of activated T-cells, cytoplasmic 1 (NFATc1), in particular, translocates to the nucleus and regulates the invasion of human glioblastoma multiforme (GBM) cells have not yet been fully elucidated. In the present study, to investigate the role of NFATc1 in GBM cells, we established a U251 cell line expressing a constitutively active form of NFATc1 (CA-NFATc1). On the other hand, RNA interference was used to knock down NFATc1 expression in the U251 cell line. Our results demonstrated that the expression of CA-NFATc1 promoted cancer cell invasion, while small interfering RNA (siRNA) against NFATc1 successfully inhibited the invasion ability of the U251 cell line. Moreover, we demonstrated that NFATc1 promoted U251 cell invasion through the induction of cyclooxygenase-2 (COX‑2). NFAT transcriptionally regulates the induction of COX-2 induction in U251 cells and binds to the promoter. We also demonstrated that a large proportion of GBM specimens expressed NFATc1. NFATc1 expression increased according to the histopathological grade of the glioma. However, no NFATc1 staining was observed in the non-neoplastic brain tissues. These findings suggest that the inhibition of the activation of the NFATc1 pathway is an effective therapeutic strategy for the clinical management of GBM.
NFAT transcription factors are key regulators of gene expression in immune cells. In addition, NFAT1-induced genes play diverse roles in mediating the progression of various solid tumors. Here we show that NFAT1 induces the expression of the IL8 gene by binding to its promoter and leading to IL8 secretion. Thapsigargin stimulation of breast cancer cells induces IL8 expression in an NFAT-dependent manner. Moreover, we show that NFAT1-mediated IL8 production promotes the migration of primary human neutrophils in vitro and also promotes neutrophil infiltration in tumor xenografts. Furthermore, expression of active NFAT1 effectively suppresses the growth of nascent and established tumors by a non cell-autonomous mechanism. Evaluation of breast tumor tissue reveals that while the levels of NFAT1 are similar in tumor cells and normal breast epithelium, cells in the tumor stroma express higher levels of NFAT1 compared to normal stroma. Elevated levels of NFAT1 also correlate with increased neutrophil infiltrate in breast tumors. These data point to a mechanism by which NFAT1 orchestrates the communication between breast cancer cells and host neutrophils during breast cancer progression.
BACKGROUND & AIMS: Oncogenic mutations in KRAS contribute to the development of pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma, but are not sufficient to initiate carcinogenesis. Secondary events, such as inflammation-induced signaling via the epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) and expression of the SOX9 gene, are required for tumor formation. Herein we sought to identify the mechanisms that link EGFR signaling with activation of SOX9 during acinar-ductal metaplasia, a transdifferentiation process that precedes pancreatic carcinogenesis.
METHODS: We analyzed pancreatic tissues from Kras(G12D);pdx1-Cre and Kras(G12D);NFATc1(Δ/Δ);pdx1-Cre mice after intraperitoneal administration of caerulein, vs cyclosporin A or dimethyl sulfoxide (controls). Induction of EGFR signaling and its effects on the expression of Nuclear factor of activated T cells c1 (NFATc1) or SOX9 were investigated by quantitative reverse-transcription polymerase chain reaction, immunoblot, and immunohistochemical analyses of mouse and human tissues and acinar cell explants. Interactions between NFATc1 and partner proteins and effects on DNA binding or chromatin modifications were studied using co-immunoprecipitation and chromatin immunoprecipitation assays in acinar cell explants and mouse tissue.
RESULTS: EGFR activation induced expression of NFATc1 in metaplastic areas from patients with chronic pancreatitis and in pancreatic tissue from Kras(G12D) mice. EGFR signaling also promoted formation of a complex between NFATc1 and C-JUN in dedifferentiating mouse acinar cells, leading to activation of Sox9 transcription and induction of acinar-ductal metaplasia. Pharmacologic inhibition of NFATc1 or disruption of the Nfatc1 gene inhibited EGFR-mediated induction of Sox9 transcription and blocked acinar-ductal transdifferentiation and pancreatic cancer initiation in mice.
CONCLUSIONS: EGFR signaling induces expression of NFATc1 and Sox9, leading to acinar cell transdifferentiation and initiation of pancreatic cancer. Strategies designed to disrupt this pathway might be developed to prevent pancreatic cancer initiation in high-risk patients with chronic pancreatitis.
Kawahara T, Kashiwagi E, Li Y, et al.Cyclosporine A and tacrolimus inhibit urothelial tumorigenesis.
Mol Carcinog. 2016; 55(2):161-9 [PubMed
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The functional role of nuclear factor of activated T-cells (NFAT), while it has been extensively investigated in the immune system, remains uncertain in bladder cancer development. We here aim to assess the effects of cyclosporine A (CsA) and tacrolimus (FK506), immunosuppressants known to specifically inactivate the NFAT pathway in immune cells, on neoplastic transformation of urothelial cells. Immunohistochemistry revealed that the expression levels of NFATc1, a NFAT isoform shown to function as an oncogene in a sarcoma model, were elevated in urothelial neoplasms, compared with non-neoplastic urothelial tissues, and in low-grade and high-grade papillary urothelial carcinomas, compared with papillary urothelial neoplasms of low malignant potential. In an immortalized normal urothelial cell line SVHUC, CsA and FK506 reduced NFATc1 expression, NFAT transcriptional activity, and the expression of c-myc, a downstream target of NFATc1 signals. Treatment with CsA or FK506 in the SVHUC cells undergoing neoplastic transformation induced by exposure to a chemical carcinogen 3-methylcholanthrene resulted in strong inhibition in colony formation in vitro as well as tumor formation in NOD-SCID mice. CsA and FK506 were additionally found to up-regulate the expression of several molecules that play a protective role in bladder tumorigenesis, including p53, p21, and p27, and down-regulate that of oncogenic genes, such as cyclin D1, cyclin D3, and cyclin E, in SVHUC cells with the carcinogen challenge. Thus, CsA and FK506 likely inhibit urothelial tumorigenesis. These findings offer a potential chemopreventive approach for urothelial tumors using NFAT inhibitors.
Caballero FJ, Soler-Torronteras R, Lara-Chica M, et al.AM404 inhibits NFAT and NF-κB signaling pathways and impairs migration and invasiveness of neuroblastoma cells.
Eur J Pharmacol. 2015; 746:221-32 [PubMed
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N-Arachidonoylphenolamine (AM404), a paracetamol lipid metabolite, is a modulator of the endocannabinoid system endowed with pleiotropic activities. AM404 is a dual agonist of the Transient Receptor Potential Vanilloid type 1 (TRPV1) and the Cannabinoid Receptor type 1 (CB₁) and inhibits anandamide (AEA) transport and degradation. In addition, it has been shown that AM404 also exerts biological activities through TRPV1- and CB₁ -independent pathways. In the present study we have investigated the effect of AM404 in the NFAT and NF-κB signaling pathways in SK-N-SH neuroblastoma cells. AM404 inhibited NFAT transcriptional activity through a CB₁- and TRPV1-independent mechanism. Moreover, AM404 inhibited both the expression of COX-2 at transcriptional and post-transcriptional levels and the synthesis of PGE₂. AM404 also inhibited NF-κB activation induced by PMA/Ionomycin in SK-N-SH cells by targeting IKKβ phosphorylation and activation. We found that Cot/Tlp-2 induced NFAT and COX-2 transcriptional activities were inhibited by AM404. NFAT inhibition paralleled with the ability of AM404 to inhibit MMP-1, -3 and -7 expression, cell migration and invasion in a cell-type specific dependent manner. Taken together, these data reveal that paracetamol, the precursor of AM404, can be explored not only as an antipyretic and painkiller drug but also as a co-adjuvant therapy in inflammatory and cancer diseases.
Mou W, Xu Y, Ye Y, et al.Expression of Sox2 in breast cancer cells promotes the recruitment of M2 macrophages to tumor microenvironment.
Cancer Lett. 2015; 358(2):115-23 [PubMed
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Transcriptional factor Sox2 promotes tumor metastasis; however its regulatory effect on tumor-associated macrophages (TAMs, M2 phenotype) has not been defined. This study disclosed concomitant expression of TAMs marker-CD163 with SOX2 in human breast cancer and showed that Sox2 in breast cancer cells promotes recruitment of TAMs with altered expression of multiple chemokines, including MIP-1α, ICAM-1 etc. and activation of Stat3 and NF-κB signalings. In addition, TAMs rescued the compromised lung metastasis induced by Sox2 silencing in breast cancer cells. Together, this study documented that Sox2 plays an important role in recruiting TAMs and promotes tumor metastasis in a TAMs dependent manner.
Metastatic recurrence is the leading cause of cancer-related deaths in patients with colorectal carcinoma. To capture the molecular underpinnings for metastasis and tumor progression, we performed integrative network analysis on 11 independent human colorectal cancer gene expression datasets and applied expression data from an immunocompetent mouse model of metastasis as an additional filter for this biologic process. In silico analysis of one metastasis-related coexpression module predicted nuclear factor of activated T-cell (NFAT) transcription factors as potential regulators for the module. Cells selected for invasiveness and metastatic capability expressed higher levels of NFATc1 as compared with poorly metastatic and less invasive parental cells. We found that inhibition of NFATc1 in human and mouse colon cancer cells resulted in decreased invasiveness in culture and downregulation of metastasis-related network genes. Overexpression of NFATc1 significantly increased the metastatic potential of colon cancer cells, whereas inhibition of NFATc1 reduced metastasis growth in an immunocompetent mouse model. Finally, we found that an 8-gene signature comprising genes upregulated by NFATc1 significantly correlated with worse clinical outcomes in stage II and III colorectal cancer patients. Thus, NFATc1 regulates colon cancer cell behavior and its transcriptional targets constitute a novel, biologically anchored gene expression signature for the identification of colon cancers with high risk of metastatic recurrence.
Pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC) represents one of the deadliest malignancies with an overall life expectancy of 6 months despite current therapies. NF-κB signalling has been shown to be critical for this profound cell-autonomous resistance against chemotherapeutic drugs and death receptor-induced apoptosis, but little is known about the role of the c-Rel subunit in solid cancer and PDAC apoptosis control. In the present study, by analysis of genome-wide patterns of c-Rel-dependent gene expression, we were able to establish c-Rel as a critical regulator of tumour necrosis factor-related apoptosis-inducing ligand (TRAIL)-induced apoptosis in PDAC. TRAIL-resistant cells exhibited a strong TRAIL-inducible NF-κB activity, whereas TRAIL-sensitive cells displayed only a small increase in NF-κB-binding activity. Transfection with siRNA against c-Rel sensitized the TRAIL-resistant cells in a manner comparable to siRNA targeting the p65/RelA subunit. Gel-shift analysis revealed that c-Rel is part of the TRAIL-inducible NF-κB complex in PDAC. Array analysis identified NFATc2 as a c-Rel target gene among the 12 strongest TRAIL-inducible genes in apoptosis-resistant cells. In line, siRNA targeting c-Rel strongly reduced TRAIL-induced NFATc2 activity in TRAIL-resistant PDAC cells. Furthermore, siRNA targeting NFATc2 sensitized these PDAC cells against TRAIL-induced apoptosis. Finally, TRAIL-induced expression of COX-2 was diminished through siRNA targeting c-Rel or NFATc2 and pharmacologic inhibition of COX-2 with celecoxib or siRNA targeting COX-2, enhanced TRAIL apoptosis. In conclusion, we were able to delineate a novel c-Rel-, NFATc2- and COX-2-dependent antiapoptotic signalling pathway in PDAC with broad clinical implications for pharmaceutical intervention strategies.
The P2X7 receptor (P2X7R) is attracting increasing attention for its involvement in cancer. Several recent studies have shown a crucial role of P2X7R in tumour cell growth, angiogenesis and invasiveness. In this study, we investigated the role of the two known human P2X7R functional splice variants, the full length P2X7RA and the truncated P2X7RB, in osteosarcoma cell growth. Immunohistochemical analysis of a tissue array of human osteosarcomas showed that forty-four, of a total fifty-four tumours (81.4%), stained positive for both P2X7RA and B, thirty-one (57.4%) were positive using an anti-P2X7RA antibody, whereas fifteen of the total number (27.7%) expressed only P2X7RB. P2X7RB positive tumours showed increased cell density, at the expense of extracellular matrix. The human osteosarcoma cell line Te85, which lacks endogenous P2X7R expression, was stably transfected with either P2X7RA, P2X7RB, or both. Receptor expression was a powerful stimulus for cell growth, the most efficient growth-promoting isoform being P2X7RB alone. Growth stimulation was matched by increased Ca(2+) mobilization and enhanced NFATc1 activity. Te85 P2X7RA+B cells presented pore formation as well as spontaneous extracellular ATP release. The ATP release was sustained in all clones by P2X7R agonist (BzATP) and reduced following P2X7R antagonist (A740003) application. BzATP also increased cell growth and activated NFATc1 levels. On the other hand cyclosporin A (CSA) affected both NFATc1 activation and cell growth, definitively linking P2X7R stimulation to NFATc1 and cell proliferation. All transfected clones also showed reduced RANK-L expression, and an overall decreased RANK-L/OPG ratio. Mineralization was increased in Te85 P2X7RA+B cells while it was significantly diminished in Te85 P2X7RB clones, in agreement with immunohistochemical results. In summary, our data show that the majority of human osteosarcomas express P2X7RA and B and suggest that expression of either isoform is differently coupled to cell growth or activity.
He DX, Gu XT, Jiang L, et al.A methylation-based regulatory network for microRNA 320a in chemoresistant breast cancer.
Mol Pharmacol. 2014; 86(5):536-47 [PubMed
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We previously demonstrated that the overexpression of transient receptor potential channel C5 (TRPC5) and nuclear factor of activated T-cells isoform c3 (NFATC3) are essential for cancer chemoresistance, but how TRPC5 and NFATC3 are regulated was still unclear. In this study, microRNA 320a (miR-320a) was found to be down-regulated in chemoresistant cancer cells. MiR-320a directly targeted TRPC5 and NFATC3, and down-regulation of miR-320a triggered TRPC5 and NFATC3 overexpression. In chemoresistant cells, down-regulation of miR-320a was associated with regulation by methylation, which implicated promoter methylation of the miR-320a coding sequence. Furthermore, the transcription factor v-ets erythroblastosis virus E26 oncogene homolog 1 (ETS-1), which inhibited miR-320a expression, was activated in chemoresistant cancer cells; such activation was associated with hypomethylation of the ETS-1 promoter. Lastly, the down-regulation of miR-320a and high expression of TRPC5, NFATC3, and ETS-1 were verified in clinically chemoresistant samples. Low expression of MiR-320a was also found to be a significant unfavorable predictor for clinic outcome. In conclusion, miR-320a is a mediator of chemoresistance by targeting TRPC5 and NFATC3. Expression of miR-320a is regulated by methylation of its promoter and that of ETS-1.
The goal of this study was to identify cancer-associated differentially expressed genes (DEGs), analyze their biological functions and investigate the mechanism(s) of cancer occurrence and development, which may provide a theoretical foundation for bladder cancer (BCa) therapy. We downloaded the mRNA expression profiling dataset GSE13507 from the Gene Expression Omnibus database; the dataset includes 165 BCa and 68 control samples. T‑tests were used to identify DEGs. To further study the biological functions of the identified DEGs, we performed a Kyoto Encyclopedia of Genes and Genomes (KEGG) pathway enrichment analysis. Next, we built a network of potentially interacting pathways to study the synergistic relationships among DEGs. A total of 12,105 genes were identified as DEGs, of which 5,239 were upregulated and 6,866 were downregulated in BCa. The DEGs encoding activator protein 1 (AP-1), nuclear factor of activated T-cells (NFAT) proteins, nuclear factor κ-light-chain-enhancer of activated B cells (NF-κB) and interleukin (IL)-10 were revealed to participate in the significantly enriched immune pathways that were downregulated in BCa. KEGG enrichment analysis revealed 7 significantly upregulated and 47 significantly downregulated pathways enriched among the DEGs. We found a crosstalk interaction among a total of 44 pathways in the network of BCa-affected pathways. In conclusion, our results show that BCa involves dysfunctions in multiple systems. Our study is expected to pave ways for immune and inflammatory research and provide molecular insights for cancer therapy.
Sadri N, Barroeta J, Pack SD, et al.Malignant round cell tumor of bone with EWSR1-NFATC2 gene fusion.
Virchows Arch. 2014; 465(2):233-9 [PubMed
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Gene rearrangements involving the Ewing sarcoma breakpoint region 1 (EWSR1) gene are seen in a broad range of sarcomas and some nonmesenchymal neoplasms. Ewing sarcoma is molecularly defined by a fusion of the EWSR1 gene (or rarely the related FUS gene) to a member of the E26 transformation-specific (ETS) family of transcription factors, frequently the EWSR1-FLI1 fusion. More recently, EWSR1 gene fusion to non-ETS family members, including the nuclear factor of activated T cells, cytoplasmic, calcineurin-dependent 2 (NFATC2) gene, has been reported in a histological variant of Ewing sarcoma. Here, we report a malignant round cell tumor of bone with an EWSR1-NFATC2 fusion gene. This report builds upon the unusual morphological and clinical presentation of bone neoplasms containing an EWSR1-NFATC2 fusion gene.
Aya-Bonilla C, Camilleri E, Haupt LM, et al.In silico analyses reveal common cellular pathways affected by loss of heterozygosity (LOH) events in the lymphomagenesis of Non-Hodgkin's lymphoma (NHL).
BMC Genomics. 2014; 15:390 [PubMed
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BACKGROUND: The analysis of cellular networks and pathways involved in oncogenesis has increased our knowledge about the pathogenic mechanisms that underlie tumour biology and has unmasked new molecular targets that may lead to the design of better anti-cancer therapies. Recently, using a high resolution loss of heterozygosity (LOH) analysis, we identified a number of potential tumour suppressor genes (TSGs) within common LOH regions across cases suffering from two of the most common forms of Non-Hodgkin's lymphoma (NHL), Follicular Lymphoma (FL) and Diffuse Large B-cell Lymphoma (DLBCL). From these studies LOH of the protein tyrosine phosphatase receptor type J (PTPRJ) gene was identified as a common event in the lymphomagenesis of these B-cell lymphomas. The present study aimed to determine the cellular pathways affected by the inactivation of these TSGs including PTPRJ in FL and DLBCL tumourigenesis.
RESULTS: Pathway analytical approaches identified that candidate TSGs located within common LOH regions participate within cellular pathways, which may play a crucial role in FL and DLBCL lymphomagenesis (i.e., metabolic pathways). These analyses also identified genes within the interactome of PTPRJ (i.e. PTPN11 and B2M) that when inactivated in NHL may play an important role in tumourigenesis. We also detected genes that are differentially expressed in cases with and without LOH of PTPRJ, such as NFATC3 (nuclear factor of activated T-cells, cytoplasmic, calcineurin-dependent 3). Moreover, upregulation of the VEGF, MAPK and ERBB signalling pathways was also observed in NHL cases with LOH of PTPRJ, indicating that LOH-driving events causing inactivation of PTPRJ, apart from possibly inducing a constitutive activation of these pathways by reduction or abrogation of its dephosphorylation activity, may also induce upregulation of these pathways when inactivated. This finding implicates these pathways in the lymphomagenesis and progression of FL and DLBCL.
CONCLUSIONS: The evidence obtained in this research supports findings suggesting that FL and DLBCL share common pathogenic mechanisms. Also, it indicates that PTPRJ can play a crucial role in the pathogenesis of these B-cell tumours and suggests that activation of PTPRJ might be an interesting novel chemotherapeutic target for the treatment of these B-cell tumours.