Gene Summary

Gene:NRG1; neuregulin 1
Summary:The protein encoded by this gene is a membrane glycoprotein that mediates cell-cell signaling and plays a critical role in the growth and development of multiple organ systems. An extraordinary variety of different isoforms are produced from this gene through alternative promoter usage and splicing. These isoforms are expressed in a tissue-specific manner and differ significantly in their structure, and are classified as types I, II, III, IV, V and VI. Dysregulation of this gene has been linked to diseases such as cancer, schizophrenia, and bipolar disorder (BPD). [provided by RefSeq, Apr 2016]
Databases:VEGA, OMIM, HGNC, Ensembl, GeneCard, Gene
Protein:pro-neuregulin-1, membrane-bound isoform
Source:NCBIAccessed: 15 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 15 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.

  • Vestibular Nerve
  • Neuregulin-1
  • TGFA
  • Breast Cancer
  • Bladder Cancer
  • Gene Expression Profiling
  • Adenocarcinoma
  • Oncogene Fusion Proteins
  • Protein Kinase Inhibitors
  • Xenograft Models
  • Epidermal Growth Factor Receptor
  • Drug Resistance
  • Receptor, ErbB-4
  • Signal Transduction
  • Cell Movement
  • Receptor, erbB-2
  • Antineoplastic Agents
  • Triple Negative Breast Cancer
  • Zinc Fingers
  • Tyrosine
  • p21-Activated Kinases
  • Mutation
  • Cancer Gene Expression Regulation
  • Lung Cancer
  • Transcription Initiation Site
  • Gene Expression
  • Genetic Predisposition
  • Oligonucleotide Array Sequence Analysis
  • Chromosome 8
  • Polymerase Chain Reaction
  • Schizophrenia
  • Messenger RNA
  • Paraffin Embedding
  • Cell Proliferation
  • Ligands
  • Genome-Wide Association Study
  • Thyrotropin
  • Receptor, erbB-3
  • Spliceosomes
Tag cloud generated 15 March, 2017 using data from PubMed, MeSH and CancerIndex

Specific Cancers (4)

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: NRG1 (cancer-related)

Li G, Zheng J, Xu B, et al.
Simvastatin inhibits tumor angiogenesis in HER2-overexpressing human colorectal cancer.
Biomed Pharmacother. 2017; 85:418-424 [PubMed] Related Publications
Overexpression of the HER2 oncogene contributes to tumor angiogenesis, which is an essential hallmark of cancer. Simvastatin has been reported to exhibit antitumor activities in several cancers; however, its roles and molecular mechanismsin the regulation of colorectal angiogenesis remain to be clarified. Here, we show that colon cancer cells express high levels of VEGF, total HER2 and phosphorylated HER2, and simvastatin apparently decreased their expression in HER2-overexpressing colon cancer cells. Simvastatin pretreatment reduced endothelial tube formation in vitro and microvessel density in vivo. Furthermore, simvastatin markedly inhibited tumor angiogenesis even in the presence of heregulin (HRG)-β1 (a HER2 co-activator) pretreatment in HER2+ tumor cells. Mechanistic investigation showed that simvastatin significantly abrogated HER2-induced tumor angiogenesis by inhibiting VEGF secretion. Together, these results provide a novel mechanism underlying the simvastatin-induced inhibition of tumor angiogenesis through regulating HER2/VEGF axis.

Colditz J, Rupf B, Maiwald C, Baniahmad A
Androgens induce a distinct response of epithelial-mesenchymal transition factors in human prostate cancer cells.
Mol Cell Biochem. 2016; 421(1-2):139-47 [PubMed] Related Publications
Inhibition of the androgen receptor (AR) is a major target of prostate cancer (PCa) therapy. However, prolonged androgen deprivation results eventually in castration-resistant PCa (CRPC) with metastasis and poor survival. Emerging evidence suggests that epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT) may facilitate castration-resistance and cancer metastasis in PCa. The human androgen-dependent, castration-sensitive prostate cancer (CSPC) cell line LNCaP and the CRPC cell line C4-2 are often used as a model system for human PCa. However, the role of the AR and the effect of AR antagonist (antiandrogen) treatment on the RNA expression of key factors of EMT including the long non-coding RNAs (lncRNAs) DRAIC in PCa cells remain elusive. Although as expected the established AR target genes PSA and FKBP5 are strongly induced by androgens in both cell lines, both E-cadherin and vimentin mRNA levels are upregulated by androgens in LNCaP but not in C4-2 cells by short- and long-term treatments. The mRNA levels of E-cadherin and vimentin remain unchanged by antiandrogen treatment in both cell lines. The expression of transcription factors that regulate EMT including Slug, Snail and ZEB1 and the lncRNA DRAIC were affected by androgen treatment in both cell lines. The mRNA level of Slug is upregulated by androgens and interestingly downregulated by antiandrogens in both cell lines. On the other hand, ZEB1 mRNA levels are strongly upregulated by androgens but remain unchanged by antiandrogens. In contrast, Snail mRNA levels are repressed by androgen treatment similar to DRAIC RNA levels. However, while antiandrogen treatment seems not to change Snail mRNA levels, antiandrogen treatments induce DRAIC RNA levels. Moreover, despite the strong upregulation of Zeb1 mRNA, no significant increase of the ZEB1 protein was observed indicating that despite androgen upregulation, posttranscriptional regulation of EMT controlling transcription factors occurs. SLUG protein was enhanced in both cell lines by androgens and reduced by antiandrogens. Taken together, our data suggest that the ligand-activated AR regulates the expression of several EMT key factors and antiandrogens counteract AR activity only on selected genes.

Kim J, Jang SJ, Choi CM, Ro JY
Correlation of Histologic Subtypes and Molecular Alterations in Pulmonary Adenocarcinoma: Therapeutic and Prognostic Implications.
Adv Anat Pathol. 2016; 23(5):330-8 [PubMed] Related Publications
Major driver mutations of pulmonary adenocarcinomas have been identified and highlighted as actionable targets for precision cancer medicine. As phenotype is largely determined by genotype, genetic changes associated with morphologic features have recently received more attention from both pathologists and clinicians. The morphologic features of adenocarcinomas with mutations in EGFR or KRAS, or translocated ALK, have rarely been described. Pulmonary adenocarcinomas with EGFR mutations, the most common driver mutation encountered in Asian patients with pulmonary adenocarcinoma, show lepidic or papillary organotypic growth patterns. KRAS-mutated adenocarcinomas demonstrate nonorganotypic growth patterns, especially mucin-containing cells. P53 mutations are associated with aggressiveness rather than growth patterns. HER2 mutations are observed in mucinous adenocarcinoma and adenocarcinoma with micropapillary features. The histologic features of BRAF-mutated adenocarcinomas have not yet been established, but papillary, lepidic, solid, and acinar patterns have been observed. Adenocarcinomas with rearrangement of ALK, ROS1, and RET genes share similar histologic features, such as solid signet-ring cells and cribriform formation. However, adenocarcinomas with NRG1 rearrangements frequently show mucinous morphology. The histologic features and related mutations of adenocarcinomas with expression of programmed cell death-1 and programmed cell death ligands-1 may be helpful in guiding immunotherapeutic treatment. This review describes histopathologic features of adenocarcinomas and their correlation with molecular alterations.

Kirouac DC, Du J, Lahdenranta J, et al.
HER2+ Cancer Cell Dependence on PI3K vs. MAPK Signaling Axes Is Determined by Expression of EGFR, ERBB3 and CDKN1B.
PLoS Comput Biol. 2016; 12(4):e1004827 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Understanding the molecular pathways by which oncogenes drive cancerous cell growth, and how dependence on such pathways varies between tumors could be highly valuable for the design of anti-cancer treatment strategies. In this work we study how dependence upon the canonical PI3K and MAPK cascades varies across HER2+ cancers, and define biomarkers predictive of pathway dependencies. A panel of 18 HER2+ (ERBB2-amplified) cell lines representing a variety of indications was used to characterize the functional and molecular diversity within this oncogene-defined cancer. PI3K and MAPK-pathway dependencies were quantified by measuring in vitro cell growth responses to combinations of AKT (MK2206) and MEK (GSK1120212; trametinib) inhibitors, in the presence and absence of the ERBB3 ligand heregulin (NRG1). A combination of three protein measurements comprising the receptors EGFR, ERBB3 (HER3), and the cyclin-dependent kinase inhibitor p27 (CDKN1B) was found to accurately predict dependence on PI3K/AKT vs. MAPK/ERK signaling axes. Notably, this multivariate classifier outperformed the more intuitive and clinically employed metrics, such as expression of phospho-AKT and phospho-ERK, and PI3K pathway mutations (PIK3CA, PTEN, and PIK3R1). In both cell lines and primary patient samples, we observed consistent expression patterns of these biomarkers varies by cancer indication, such that ERBB3 and CDKN1B expression are relatively high in breast tumors while EGFR expression is relatively high in other indications. The predictability of the three protein biomarkers for differentiating PI3K/AKT vs. MAPK dependence in HER2+ cancers was confirmed using external datasets (Project Achilles and GDSC), again out-performing clinically used genetic markers. Measurement of this minimal set of three protein biomarkers could thus inform treatment, and predict mechanisms of drug resistance in HER2+ cancers. More generally, our results show a single oncogenic transformation can have differing effects on cell signaling and growth, contingent upon the molecular and cellular context.

Saito M, Shiraishi K, Kunitoh H, et al.
Gene aberrations for precision medicine against lung adenocarcinoma.
Cancer Sci. 2016; 107(6):713-20 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Lung adenocarcinoma (LADC), the most frequent histological type of lung cancer, is often triggered by an aberration in a driver oncogene in tumor cells. Examples of such aberrations are EGFR mutation and ALK fusion. Lung adenocarcinoma harboring such mutations can be treated with anticancer drugs that target the aberrant gene products. Additional oncogene aberrations, including RET, ROS1, and NRG1 fusions, skipping of exon 14 of MET, and mutations in BRAF, HER2, NF1, and MEK1, were recently added to the list of such "druggable" driver oncogene aberrations, and their responses to targeted therapies are currently being evaluated in clinical trials. However, approximately 30% and 50% of LADCs in patients in Japan and Europe/USA, respectively, lack the driver oncogene aberrations listed above. Therefore, novel therapeutic strategies, such as those that exploit the vulnerabilities of cancer cells with non-oncogene aberrations, are urgently required. This review summarizes the current status of research on precision medicine against LADC and enumerates the research priorities for the near future.

Dong X, Fernandez-Salas E, Li E, Wang S
Elucidation of Resistance Mechanisms to Second-Generation ALK Inhibitors Alectinib and Ceritinib in Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer Cells.
Neoplasia. 2016; 18(3):162-71 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Crizotinib is the first anaplastic lymphoma kinase (ALK) inhibitor to have been approved for the treatment of non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) harboring an ALK fusion gene, but it has been found that, in the clinic, patients develop resistance to it. Alectinib and ceritinib are second-generation ALK inhibitors which show remarkable clinical responses in both crizotinib-naive and crizotinib-resistant NSCLC patients harboring an ALK fusion gene. Despite their impressive activity, clinical resistance to alectinib and ceritinib has also emerged. In the current study, we elucidated the resistance mechanisms to these second-generation ALK inhibitors in the H3122 NSCLC cell line harboring the EML4-ALK variant 1 fusion in vitro. Prolonged treatment of the parental H3122 cells with alectinib and ceritinib led to two cell lines which are 10 times less sensitive to alectinib and ceritinib than the parental H3122 cell line. Although mutations of ALK in its kinase domain are a common resistance mechanism for crizotinib, we did not detect any ALK mutation in these resistant cell lines. Rather, overexpression of phospho-ALK and alternative receptor tyrosine kinases such as phospho-EGFR, phospho-HER3, and phospho-IGFR-1R was observed in both resistant cell lines. Additionally, NRG1, a ligand for HER3, is upregulated and responsible for resistance by activating the EGFR family pathways through the NRG1-HER3-EGFR axis. Combination treatment with EGFR inhibitors, in particular afatinib, was shown to be effective at overcoming resistance. Our study provides new mechanistic insights into adaptive resistance to second-generation ALK inhibitors and suggests a potential clinical strategy to combat resistance to these second-generation ALK inhibitors in NSCLC.

Sunami K, Furuta K, Tsuta K, et al.
Multiplex Diagnosis of Oncogenic Fusion and MET Exon Skipping by Molecular Counting Using Formalin-Fixed Paraffin Embedded Lung Adenocarcinoma Tissues.
J Thorac Oncol. 2016; 11(2):203-12 [PubMed] Related Publications
INTRODUCTION: Fusions of the anaplastic lymphoma receptor tyrosine kinase gene (ALK), ret proto-oncogene (RET), ROS proto-oncogene 1, receptor tyrosine kinase gene (ROS1), B-Raf proto-oncogene, serine/threonine kinase gene (BRAF), and neuregulin 1 gene (NRG1) and intronic MMNG HOS Transforming gene (MET) mutations are druggable oncogene alterations in lung adenocarcinoma that cause expression of aberrant transcripts. Because these aberrant transcripts are both infrequent (incidence <5%) and mutually exclusive, multiplex assays are required to detect them in tumor samples.
METHODS: Aberrant transcripts of the six aforementioned oncogenes (36 transcripts in total) were examined in a molecular counting (MC) assay, which counts RNA molecules by simultaneous hybridization of several probes. Forty-one samples of surgically resected lung adenocarcinoma tissue found to express one of these aberrant oncogenic transcripts upon whole transcriptome sequencing (test cohort: n = 22) or reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (validation cohort: n = 19) analyses were subjected to MC, after which biopsies were performed on tumor tissue samples.
RESULTS: Threshold values for the diagnosis of each of the 36 transcripts were determined in frozen and formalin-fixed paraffin-embedded samples from the test cohort. On the basis of these threshold values, the MC assay diagnosed expression of oncogenic transcripts in the validation cohort samples with 100% accuracy. The assay also accurately detected oncogenic fusions in bronchial lavage fluid and transbronchial biopsy samples.
CONCLUSIONS: The MC assay allows multiplex detection of oncogenic fusion and exon-skipped transcripts in tumor samples, including in formalin-fixed paraffin-embedded samples obtained in the clinic.

Murayama T, Nakaoku T, Enari M, et al.
Oncogenic Fusion Gene CD74-NRG1 Confers Cancer Stem Cell-like Properties in Lung Cancer through a IGF2 Autocrine/Paracrine Circuit.
Cancer Res. 2016; 76(4):974-83 [PubMed] Related Publications
The CD74-Neuregulin1 (NRG1) fusion gene was recently identified as novel driver of invasive mucinous adenocarcinoma, a malignant form of lung cancer. However, the function of the CD74-NRG1 fusion gene in adenocarcinoma pathogenesis and the mechanisms by which it may impart protumorigenic characteristics to cancer stem cells (CSC) is still unclear. In this study, we found that the expression of the CD74-NRG1 fusion gene increased the population of lung cancer cells with CSC-like properties. CD74-NRG1 expression facilitated sphere formation not only of cancer cells, but also of nonmalignant lung epithelial cells. Using a limiting dilution assay in a xenograft model, we further show that the CD74-NRG1 fusion gene enhanced tumor initiation. Mechanistically, we found that CD74-NRG1 expression promoted the phosphorylation of ErbB2/3 and activated the PI3K/Akt/NF-κB signaling pathway. Furthermore, the expression of the secreted insulin-like growth factor 2 (IGF2) and phosphorylation of its receptor, IGF1R, were enhanced in an NF-κB-dependent manner in cells expressing CD74-NRG1. These findings suggest that CD74-NRG1-induced NF-κB activity promotes the IGF2 autocrine/paracrine circuit. Moreover, inhibition of ErbB2, PI3K, NF-κB, or IGF2 suppressed CD74-NRG1-induced tumor sphere formation. Therefore, our study provides a preclinical rationale for developing treatment approaches based on these identified pathways to suppress CSC properties that promote tumor progression and recurrence.

Okazaki S, Nakatani F, Masuko K, et al.
Development of an ErbB4 monoclonal antibody that blocks neuregulin-1-induced ErbB4 activation in cancer cells.
Biochem Biophys Res Commun. 2016; 470(1):239-44 [PubMed] Related Publications
The use of monoclonal antibodies (mAbs) for cancer therapy is one of the most important strategies for current cancer treatment. The epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) family of receptor tyrosine kinases, which regulates cancer cell proliferation, survival, and migration, is a major molecular target for antibody-based therapy. ErbB4/HER4, which contains a ligand-binding extracellular region, is activated by several ligands, including neuregulins (NRGs), heparin-binding EGF-like growth factor, betacellulin and epiregulin. Although there are clinically approved antibodies for ErbB1 and ErbB2, there are no available therapeutic mAbs for ErbB4, and it is not known whether ErbB4 is a useful target for antibody-based cancer therapy. In this study, we developed an anti-ErbB4 mAb (clone P6-1) that suppresses NRG-dependent activation of ErbB4 and examined its effect on breast cancer cell proliferation in the extracellular matrix.

Robles AI, Traverso G, Zhang M, et al.
Whole-Exome Sequencing Analyses of Inflammatory Bowel Disease-Associated Colorectal Cancers.
Gastroenterology. 2016; 150(4):931-43 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 01/04/2017 Related Publications
BACKGROUND & AIMS: A long duration of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) increases the risk for colorectal cancer. Mutation analysis of limited numbers of genes has indicated that colorectal tumors that develop in patients with IBD differ from those of patients without IBD. We performed whole-exome sequencing analyses to characterize the genetic landscape of these tumors.
METHODS: We collected colorectal tumor and non-neoplastic tissues from 31 patients with IBD and colorectal cancer (15 with ulcerative colitis, 14 with Crohn's disease, and 2 with indeterminate colitis) and performed whole-exome sequencing analyses of the microdissected tumor and matched nontumor tissues. We identified somatic alterations by comparing matched specimens. The prevalence of mutations in sporadic colorectal tumors was obtained from previously published exome-sequencing studies.
RESULTS: Two specimens had somatic mutations in the DNA proofreading or mismatch repair genes POLE, MLH1, and MSH6 and the tumor cells had a hypermutable phenotype. The remaining tumors had, on average, 71 alterations per sample. TP53 was the most commonly mutated gene, with prevalence similar to that of sporadic colorectal tumors (63% of cases). However, tumors from the patients with IBD had a different mutation spectrum. APC and KRAS were mutated at significantly lower rates in tumors from patients with IBD than in sporadic colorectal tumors (13% and 20% of cases, respectively). Several genes were mutated more frequently or uniquely in tumors from patients with IBD, including SOX9 and EP300 (which encode proteins in the WNT pathway), NRG1 (which encodes an ERBB ligand), and IL16 (which encodes a cytokine). Our study also revealed recurrent mutations in components of the Rho and Rac GTPase network, indicating a role for noncanonical WNT signaling in development of colorectal tumors in patients with IBD.
CONCLUSIONS: Colorectal tumors that develop in patients with IBD have distinct genetic features from sporadic colorectal tumors. These findings could be used to develop disease-specific markers for diagnosis and treatment of patients with IBD and colorectal cancer.

Wang J, Li G, Wang Y, et al.
Suppression of tumor angiogenesis by metformin treatment via a mechanism linked to targeting of HER2/HIF-1α/VEGF secretion axis.
Oncotarget. 2015; 6(42):44579-92 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 01/04/2017 Related Publications
Anti-angiogenesis is currently considered as one of the major antitumor strategies for its protective effects against tumor emergency and later progression. The anti-diabetic drug metformin has been demonstrated to significantly inhibit tumor angiogenesis based on recent studies. However, the mechanism underlying this anti-angiogenic effect still remains an enigma. In this study, we investigated metformin-induced inhibitory effect on tumor angiogenesis in vitro and in vivo. Metformin pretreatment significantly suppressed tumor paracrine signaling-induced angiogenic promotion even in the presence of heregulin (HRG)-β1 (a co-activator of HER2) pretreatment of HER2+ tumor cells. Similar to that of AG825, a specific inhibitor of HER2 phosphorylation, metformin treatment decreased both total and phosphorylation (Tyr 1221/1222) levels of HER2 protein and significantly reduced microvessel density and the amount of Fitc-conjugated Dextran leaking outside the vessel. Furthermore, our results of VEGF-neutralizing and -rescuing tests showed that metformin markedly abrogated HER2 signaling-induced tumor angiogenesis by inhibiting VEGF secretion. Inhibition of HIF-1α signaling by using RNAi or YC-1, a specific inhibitor of HIF-1α synthesis, both completely diminished mRNA level of VEGF and greatly inhibited endothelial cell proliferation promoted by HER2+ tumor cell-conditioned medium in both the absence and presence of HRG-β1 pretreatment. Importantly, metformin treatment decreased the number of HIF-1α nucleus positive cells in 4T1 tumors, accompanied by decreased microvessel density. Our data thus provides novel insight into the mechanism underlying the metformin-induced inhibition of tumor angiogenesis and indicates possibilities of HIF-1α-VEGF signaling axis in mediating HER2-induced tumor angiogenesis.

Kim J, Lee J, Kim C, et al.
Anti-cancer effect of metformin by suppressing signaling pathway of HER2 and HER3 in tamoxifen-resistant breast cancer cells.
Tumour Biol. 2016; 37(5):5811-9 [PubMed] Related Publications
Development of new therapeutic strategies is becoming increasingly important to overcome tamoxifen resistance. Recently, much interest has been focused on anti-tumor effects of metformin commonly used to treat type II diabetes. Increased protein expression and signaling of epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) family is a possible mechanism involved in tamoxifen resistance. Since HER2/HER3 heterodimers are able to induce strong downstream signaling and activate various biological responses such as cellular proliferation and growth, we investigated the anti-cancer effect of metformin by inhibition of signaling pathway via downregulation of HER2 and HER3 using tamoxifen-resistant MCF-7 (TR MCF-7) cells. Compared to MCF-7 cells, TR MCF-7 cells showed increased expression of EGFR, HER2, and HER3, and metformin inhibited the expression of these proteins in a dose- and time-dependent manner. Metformin inhibited activation of HER2 (Tyr1248)/HER3 (Tyr1289)/Akt (Ser473) as well as cell proliferation and colony formation by estrogenic promotion in MCF-7 and TR MCF-7 cells. Known as a HER3 ligand, heregulin (HRG)-β1-induced phosphorylation of HER2, HER3 and Akt, and protein interaction of HER2/HER3 and colony formation were inhibited by metformin in both cells. Consistent with the results in the two cell lines, we identified that metformin inhibited HER2/HER3/Akt signaling axis activated by HRG-β1 using the HER2 and HER3-overexpressing breast cancer cell line SK-BR-3. Lastly, lapatinib-induced HER3 upregulation was significantly inhibited by treatment of metformin in HER3 siRNA-transfected TR MCF-7 cells. These data suggest that metformin might overcome tamoxifen resistance through the inhibition of expression and signaling of receptor tyrosine kinase HER2 and HER3.

Burnett JP, Korkaya H, Ouzounova MD, et al.
Trastuzumab resistance induces EMT to transform HER2(+) PTEN(-) to a triple negative breast cancer that requires unique treatment options.
Sci Rep. 2015; 5:15821 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 01/04/2017 Related Publications
Although trastuzumab is an effective treatment in early stage HER2(+) breast cancer the majority of advanced HER2(+) breast cancers develop trastuzumab resistance, especially in the 40% of breast cancers with loss of PTEN. However, HER2(+) breast cancer patients continue to receive trastuzumab regardless PTEN status and the consequence of therapy in these patients is unknown. We demonstrate that continued use of trastuzumab in HER2(+) cells with loss of PTEN induces the epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT) and transform HER2(+) to a triple negative breast cancer. These transformed cells exhibited mesenchymal morphology and gene expression markers, while parent HER2(+) cells showed epithelial morphology and markers. The transformed cells exhibited loss of dependence on ERBB family signaling (such as HER2, HER3, HER4, BTC, HRG, EGF) and reduced estrogen and progesterone receptors. Continued use of trastuzumab in HER2(+) PTEN(-) cells increased the frequency of cancer stem cells (CSCs) and metastasis potential. Strikingly, parental HER2(+) cells and transformed resistant cells respond to treatment differently. Transformed resistant cells were sensitive to chemical probe (sulforaphane) through inhibition of IL-6/STAT3/NF-κB positive feedback loop whereas parental HER2(+) cells did not respond. This data suggests that trastuzumab resistance in HER2(+) PTEN- breast cancer induces EMT and subtype switching, which requires unique treatment options.

Momeny M, Ghasemi R, Valenti G, et al.
Effects of silibinin on growth and invasive properties of human ovarian carcinoma cells through suppression of heregulin/HER3 pathway.
Tumour Biol. 2016; 37(3):3913-23 [PubMed] Related Publications
Epithelial ovarian cancer (EOC) is the most fatal gynecological malignancy due to its high proliferative and invasive capacities. A heregulin (HRG)/HER3 autocrine loop increases proliferative and metastatic properties of EOC cells, suggesting that modulators of this signaling pathway may prove effective to trammel growth and motility of these cells. This study aimed to evaluate the effects of multi-tyrosine kinase inhibitor silibinin on proliferative and invasive characteristics of EOC cell lines OVCAR8 and SKOV3 through suppression of the HRG/HER3 pathway. To achieve this, the effects of silibinin on proliferation, DNA synthesis, clonogenicity, cell cycle progression, cathepsin B enzymatic activity, and migration and invasion were explored in vitro. Silibinin suppressed proliferation, DNA synthesis, and clonogenic abilities of OVCAR8 and SKOV3 cells through inhibition of the autocrine HRG/HER3 circuit. Silibinin-mediated attenuation of the HER3 signaling disabled the HER3/AKT/survivin axis and thereby, induced G1/S cell cycle arrest. Furthermore, silibinin reduced invasive potentials of the EOC cells through quelling the HRG/HER3 pathway and suppression of cathepsin B activity. Altogether, these results suggest that silibinin is a potential anti-cancer drug to inhibit proliferative and invasive characteristics of the EOC cells that exhibit an autocrine HRG/HER3 pathway.

Sunakawa Y, Stintzing S, Cao S, et al.
Variations in genes regulating tumor-associated macrophages (TAMs) to predict outcomes of bevacizumab-based treatment in patients with metastatic colorectal cancer: results from TRIBE and FIRE3 trials.
Ann Oncol. 2015; 26(12):2450-6 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 01/04/2017 Related Publications
BACKGROUND: Tumor-associated macrophages (TAMs) with the M2-like phenotype are regulated by mainly NF-kB pathway including TBK1, which can influence tumor progression by secretion of proangiogenic factors such as vascular endothelial growth factor. The CCL2/CCR2 axis, histidine-rich glycoprotein (HRG), and placenta growth factor (PIGF) play a critical role in the polarization of M1/M2 phenotypes and the recruitment of TAMs to tumor microenvironment. We therefore hypothesized that variations in genes involved in regulating TAMs may predict clinical outcomes of bevacizumab treatment in patients with metastatic colorectal cancer (mCRC).
PATIENTS AND METHODS: We analyzed genomic DNA extracted from samples of patients receiving bevacizumab plus FOLFIRI as a first-line treatment using PCR-based direct sequencing. Twelve functional single-nucleotide polymorphisms in eight genes (CCL2, CCR2, HRG, PIGF, NFKB1, TBK1, CCL18, and IRF3) were tested for associations with clinical outcomes in a discovery cohort of 228 participants in TRIBE trial (NCT00719797), then validated in 248 KRAS exon2 (KRAS) wild-type participants in FIRE3 trial (NCT00433927). FIRE3-cetuximab cohort served as a negative control.
RESULTS: TBK1 rs7486100 was significantly associated with overall survival in 95 KRAS wild-type patients of TRIBE cohort in univariate analysis and had a strong trend in multivariable analysis; furthermore, the association of the T allele was observed for progression-free survival (PFS) in both univariate and multivariable analyses in FIRE3-bevacizumab but not cetuximab cohort. CCL2 rs4586, CCL18 rs14304, and IRF3 rs2304205 had univariate and multivariable correlations with PFS in KRAS mutant patients of the TRIBE cohort, whereas they had no correlations in KRAS wild-type patients of the TRIBE cohort. No association was seen in control cohort.
CONCLUSIONS: Our study demonstrates for the first time that variations in genes regulating TAMs-related functions are significantly associated with clinical outcomes in mCRC patients treated with bevacizumab-containing chemotherapy. These results also suggest that some TAM-related gene variations may predict outcomes of bevacizumab treatment in KRAS status-dependent manner.

Li HG, Liu FF, Zhu HQ, et al.
Common Variants of the Prostaglandin-Endoperoxide Synthase 2 Gene and Hepatocellular Carcinoma Susceptibility.
Medicine (Baltimore). 2015; 94(35):e1116 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 01/04/2017 Related Publications
Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) is a heterogeneous disease with substantial genetic constitution. Previous work has evaluated the effect of prostaglandin-endoperoxide synthase 2 (PTGS2) variants (-765G/C, -1195A/G, and +8473T/C) on the development of HCC, but the conclusions are inconsistent. We conducted a meta-analysis in this work. Data from 7 case-control studies were combined to assess the association between PTGS2 variants and HCC. The risk of HCC (OR and 95% CI) was estimated using either the fixed- or the random-effects model according to the Q test. No significant association was identified for -765G/C and +8473T/C. However, we identified a significantly decreased risk in relation to the GG genotype of -1195A/G (OR = 0.70, 95% CI = 0.50-0.98 for GG versus AA). We also observed a similar decrease (OR = 0.47, 95% CI = 0.23-0.95 for GG versus AA) in Caucasian samples. Variant -1195A/G in the promoter PTGS2 may protect against the malignant progression of HCC. This significant association suggests that -1195A/G could be used as a biomarker of HCC.

Vistain LF, Yamamoto N, Rathore R, et al.
Targeted Inhibition of Snail Activity in Breast Cancer Cells by Using a Co(III) -Ebox Conjugate.
Chembiochem. 2015; 16(14):2065-72 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 01/04/2017 Related Publications
The transition from a non-invasive to an invasive phenotype is an essential step in tumor metastasis. The Snail family of transcription factors (TFs) is known to play a significant role in this transition. These TFs are zinc fingers that bind to the CAGGTG Ebox consensus sequence. Co(III) -Ebox is a cobalt(III) complex attached to an Ebox oligonucleotide that confers specificity towards Snail TFs. Co(III) -Ebox has been shown to inhibit Snail-mediated embryonic neural crest development in Xenopus laevis, but its efficacy in inhibiting Snail-induced cancer cell invasiveness has not been explored. Here, we describe the efficacy of Co(III) -Ebox in inhibiting the invasive aspects of heregulin-β1(HRG)-treated breast cancer cells. Co(III) -Ebox was found to inhibit the capacity of Snail to repress target genes after HRG induction. Snail inhibition by Co(III) -Ebox reduced the invasive propensity of cells in 2D and 3D, thereby demonstrating promise in inhibiting metastasis.

Capparelli C, Rosenbaum S, Berger AC, Aplin AE
Fibroblast-derived neuregulin 1 promotes compensatory ErbB3 receptor signaling in mutant BRAF melanoma.
J Biol Chem. 2015; 290(40):24267-77 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 01/04/2017 Related Publications
Rapidly accelerated fibrosarcoma (RAF) inhibitors are first-line treatments for patients harboring V600E/K mutant BRAF melanoma. Although RAF inhibitors produce high response rates, the degree of tumor regression is heterogeneous. Compensatory/adaptive responses to targeted inhibitors are frequently initiated by the activation of growth factor receptor tyrosine kinases, including ErbB3, and factors from the tumor microenvironment may play an important role. We have shown previously that mutant v-raf murine sarcoma viral oncogene homolog B1 (BRAF) melanoma cells have enhanced activation of ErbB3 following RAF inhibition. However, the source of neuregulin 1 (NRG1), the ligand for ErbB3, is unknown. In this study, we demonstrate that NRG1 is highly expressed by dermal fibroblasts and cancer-associated fibroblasts (CAFs) isolated from mutant BRAF melanomas. Conditioned medium from fibroblasts and CAFs enhanced ErbB3 pathway activation and limited RAF inhibitor cytotoxicity in V600 mutant BRAF-harboring melanomas. Targeting the ErbB3/ErbB2 pathway partially reversed the protective effects of fibroblast/CAF-derived NRG1 on cell growth properties of RAF inhibitor-treated melanoma cells. These findings support the idea that NRG1, acting in a paracrine manner, promotes resistance to RAF inhibitors and emphasize that targeting the ErbB3/ErbB2 pathway will likely improve the efficacy of RAF inhibitors for mutant BRAF melanoma patients.

Capparelli C, Rosenbaum S, Berman-Booty LD, et al.
ErbB3-ErbB2 Complexes as a Therapeutic Target in a Subset of Wild-type BRAF/NRAS Cutaneous Melanomas.
Cancer Res. 2015; 75(17):3554-67 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 01/04/2017 Related Publications
The treatment options remain limited for patients with melanoma who are wild-type for both BRAF and NRAS (WT/WT). We demonstrate that a subgroup of WT/WT melanomas display high basal phosphorylation of ErbB3 that is associated with autocrine production of the ErbB3 ligand neuregulin-1 (NRG1). In WT/WT melanoma cells displaying high levels of phospho-ErbB3, knockdown of NRG1 reduced cell viability and was associated with decreased phosphorylation of ErbB3, its coreceptor ErbB2, and its downstream target, AKT. Similar effects were observed by targeting ErbB3 with either siRNAs or the neutralizing ErbB3 monoclonal antibodies huHER3-8 and NG33. In addition, pertuzumab-mediated inhibition of ErbB2 heterodimerization decreased AKT phosphorylation, cell growth in vitro, and xenograft growth in vivo. Pertuzumab also potentiated the effects of MEK inhibitor on WT/WT melanoma growth in vitro and in vivo. These findings demonstrate that targeting ErbB3-ErbB2 signaling in a cohort of WT/WT melanomas leads to tumor growth reduction. Together, these studies support the rationale to target the NRG1-ErbB3-ErbB2 axis as a novel treatment strategy in a subset of cutaneous melanomas.

Shim HS, Kenudson M, Zheng Z, et al.
Unique Genetic and Survival Characteristics of Invasive Mucinous Adenocarcinoma of the Lung.
J Thorac Oncol. 2015; 10(8):1156-62 [PubMed] Related Publications
INTRODUCTION: Invasive mucinous adenocarcinoma is a unique histologic subtype of lung cancer, and our knowledge of its genetic and clinical characteristics is rapidly evolving. Here, we present next- generation sequencing analysis of nucleotide variant and fusion events along with clinical follow-up in a series of lung mucinous adenocarcinoma.
METHODS: We collected 72 mucinous adenocarcinomas from the United States and Korea. All had been previously assessed for KRAS and EGFR mutations. For KRAS wild-type cases (n = 30), we performed deep targeted next-generation sequencing for gene fusions and nucleotide variants and correlated survival and other clinical features.
RESULTS: As expected, KRAS mutations were the most common alteration found (63% of cases); however, the distribution of nucleotide position alterations was more similar to that observed in gastrointestinal tumors than other lung tumors. Within the KRAS-negative cases, we found numerous potentially targetable gene fusions and mutations, including CD74-NRG1, VAMP2-NRG1, TRIM4-BRAF, TPM3-NTRK1, and EML4-ALK gene fusions and ERBB2, BRAF, and PIK3CA mutations. Unexpectedly, we found only two cases with TP53 mutation, which is much lower than observed in lung adenocarcinomas in general. The overall mutation burden was low in histologically confirmed mucinous adenocarcinomas from the public The Cancer Genome Atlas exome data set, regardless of smoking history, suggesting a link between TP53 status and mutation burden in mucinous tumors. There was no significant difference for recurrence-free survival between stage-matched mucinous and nonmucinous adenocarcinomas. It was notable that all recurrence sites were in the lungs for completely resected cases.
CONCLUSIONS: Our data suggest that mucinous adenocarcinoma is typified by (1) frequent KRAS mutations and a growing list of gene fusions, but rare TP53 mutations, (2) a low mutation burden overall, and (3) a recurrence-free survival similar to stage-matched nonmucinous tumors, with recurrences limited to the lungs.

Mina M, Magi S, Jurman G, et al.
Promoter-level expression clustering identifies time development of transcriptional regulatory cascades initiated by ErbB receptors in breast cancer cells.
Sci Rep. 2015; 5:11999 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 01/04/2017 Related Publications
The analysis of CAGE (Cap Analysis of Gene Expression) time-course has been proposed by the FANTOM5 Consortium to extend the understanding of the sequence of events facilitating cell state transition at the level of promoter regulation. To identify the most prominent transcriptional regulations induced by growth factors in human breast cancer, we apply here the Complexity Invariant Dynamic Time Warping motif EnRichment (CIDER) analysis approach to the CAGE time-course datasets of MCF-7 cells stimulated by epidermal growth factor (EGF) or heregulin (HRG). We identify a multi-level cascade of regulations rooted by the Serum Response Factor (SRF) transcription factor, connecting the MAPK-mediated transduction of the HRG stimulus to the negative regulation of the MAPK pathway by the members of the DUSP family phosphatases. The finding confirms the known primary role of FOS and FOSL1, members of AP-1 family, in shaping gene expression in response to HRG induction. Moreover, we identify a new potential regulation of DUSP5 and RARA (known to antagonize the transcriptional regulation induced by the estrogen receptors) by the activity of the AP-1 complex, specific to HRG response. The results indicate that a divergence in AP-1 regulation determines cellular changes of breast cancer cells stimulated by ErbB receptors.

Saunus JM, Quinn MC, Patch AM, et al.
Integrated genomic and transcriptomic analysis of human brain metastases identifies alterations of potential clinical significance.
J Pathol. 2015; 237(3):363-78 [PubMed] Related Publications
Treatment options for patients with brain metastases (BMs) have limited efficacy and the mortality rate is virtually 100%. Targeted therapy is critically under-utilized, and our understanding of mechanisms underpinning metastatic outgrowth in the brain is limited. To address these deficiencies, we investigated the genomic and transcriptomic landscapes of 36 BMs from breast, lung, melanoma and oesophageal cancers, using DNA copy-number analysis and exome- and RNA-sequencing. The key findings were as follows. (a) Identification of novel candidates with possible roles in BM development, including the significantly mutated genes DSC2, ST7, PIK3R1 and SMC5, and the DNA repair, ERBB-HER signalling, axon guidance and protein kinase-A signalling pathways. (b) Mutational signature analysis was applied to successfully identify the primary cancer type for two BMs with unknown origins. (c) Actionable genomic alterations were identified in 31/36 BMs (86%); in one case we retrospectively identified ERBB2 amplification representing apparent HER2 status conversion, then confirmed progressive enrichment for HER2-positivity across four consecutive metastatic deposits by IHC and SISH, resulting in the deployment of HER2-targeted therapy for the patient. (d) In the ERBB/HER pathway, ERBB2 expression correlated with ERBB3 (r(2)  = 0.496; p < 0.0001) and HER3 and HER4 were frequently activated in an independent cohort of 167 archival BM from seven primary cancer types: 57.6% and 52.6% of cases were phospho-HER3(Y1222) or phospho-HER4(Y1162) membrane-positive, respectively. The HER3 ligands NRG1/2 were barely detectable by RNAseq, with NRG1 (8p12) genomic loss in 63.6% breast cancer-BMs, suggesting a microenvironmental source of ligand. In summary, this is the first study to characterize the genomic landscapes of BM. The data revealed novel candidates, potential clinical applications for genomic profiling of resectable BMs, and highlighted the possibility of therapeutically targeting HER3, which is broadly over-expressed and activated in BMs, independent of primary site and systemic therapy.

Jung Y, Yong S, Kim P, et al.
VAMP2-NRG1 Fusion Gene is a Novel Oncogenic Driver of Non-Small-Cell Lung Adenocarcinoma.
J Thorac Oncol. 2015; 10(7):1107-11 [PubMed] Related Publications
INTRODUCTION: Neuregulin 1 (NRG1) has been discovered as the tail moiety of fusion genes with several distinct partner head genes in lung cancers. These fusion genes activate ERBB2/ERBB3 receptor-mediated cell signaling and thereby function as oncogenic drivers.
METHODS: We have carried out whole-transcriptome sequencing of 100 non-small-cell lung carcinoma tumors and isolated a novel fusion gene consisting of vesicle-associated membrane protein 2 (VAMP2) and NRG1. Reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction and genomic DNA analysis were used to demonstrate interchromosomal translocation. Immunoblotting and soft agar assays were used to examine stimulating activity of the fusion gene through ERBB2/ERBB3 signaling pathway.
RESULTS: The most highly expressed splice variant of VAMP2-NRG1 fusion gene was shown to be membrane bound and display EGF-like domain of NRG1 extracellularly. VAMP2-NRG1 promotes anchorage-independent colony formation of H1568 lung adenocarcinoma cells. Ectopic expression of the fusion gene stimulates phosphorylation of ERBB2 and ERBB3 as well as downstream targets, AKT and ERK, confirming activation of the signaling pathway.
CONCLUSION: VAMP2-NRG1 is a novel oncogenic fusion gene representing a new addition to the list of NRG1 fusion genes, which together may form an important diagnostic and clinical category of lung adenocarcinoma cases.

Yarar D, Lahdenranta J, Kubasek W, et al.
Heregulin-ErbB3-Driven Tumor Growth Persists in PI3 Kinase Mutant Cancer Cells.
Mol Cancer Ther. 2015; 14(9):2072-80 [PubMed] Related Publications
PI3K is frequently mutated in cancer and plays an important role in cell growth and survival. Heregulin (HRG)-mediated autocrine or paracrine signaling through the receptor tyrosine kinase ErbB3 potently activates the PI3K/AKT pathway and has been shown to mediate resistance to a wide variety of anticancer agents. Although PI3K functions downstream of HRG-ErbB3, it is unknown whether activating mutations in PI3K render HRG ineffective. If so, patients with PI3K mutations would not be expected to benefit from ErbB3-directed therapies. Here, we find that a subset of cell lines harboring activating PI3K mutations can be further growth-stimulated by HRG, and this effect is blocked by incubation with seribantumab (MM-121), a monoclonal anti-ErbB3 antibody. Although expression of mutant PI3K in wild-type PI3K cells frequently results in loss of HRG-stimulated growth, some cell lines continue to respond to HRG. In cell lines where HRG-stimulated growth is lost, this loss is invariably accompanied by a reduction in ErbB3 levels, a corresponding increase in basal phosphorylation levels of FOXO-family transcription factors, and a reduction in HRG-induced downstream signaling. Importantly, HRG-stimulated growth is partially rescued by re-expressing ErbB3. This response is blocked by seribantumab, indicating that ErbB3 levels rather than downstream signaling proteins limit HRG-stimulated growth in PI3K mutant cells. Overall, these results suggest that activating mutations in PI3K do not preclude potential benefit from ErbB3-directed therapy, but that it may be important to measure ErbB3 levels in patients with PI3K mutant cancers to determine if they would benefit.

Lim B, Mun J, Kim JH, et al.
Genome-wide mutation profiles of colorectal tumors and associated liver metastases at the exome and transcriptome levels.
Oncotarget. 2015; 6(26):22179-90 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 01/04/2017 Related Publications
To characterize the mutation profiles of colorectal cancer (CRC) primary tumors (PTs) and liver metastases (CLMs), we performed both whole-exome and RNA sequencing. Ten significantly mutated genes, including BMI1, CARD11, and NRG1, were found in 34 CRCs with CLMs. We defined three mutation classes (Class 1 to 3) based on the absence or presence of mutations during liver metastasis. Most mutations were classified into Class 1 (shared between PTs and CLMs), suggesting the common clonal origin of PTs and CLMs. Class 1 was more strongly associated with the clinical characteristics of advanced cancer and was more frequently superimposed with chromosomal deletions in CLMs than Class 2 (PT-specific). The integration of exome and RNA sequencing revealed that variant-allele frequencies (VAFs) of mutations in the transcriptome tended to have stronger functional implications than those in the exome. For instance, VAFs of the TP53 and APC mutations in the transcriptome significantly correlated with the expression level of their target genes. Additionally, mutations with high functional impact were enriched with high VAFs in the CLM transcriptomes. We identified 11 mutation-associated splicing events in the CRC transcriptomes. Thus, the integration of the exome and the transcriptome may elucidate the underlying molecular events responsible for CLMs.

Selitrennik M, Lev S
PYK2 integrates growth factor and cytokine receptors signaling and potentiates breast cancer invasion via a positive feedback loop.
Oncotarget. 2015; 6(26):22214-26 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 01/04/2017 Related Publications
The involvement of ErbB family members in breast cancer progression and metastasis has been demonstrated by many studies. However, the downstream effectors that mediate their migratory and invasive responses have not been fully explored. In this study, we show that the non-receptor tyrosine kinase PYK2 is a key effector of EGFR and HER2 signaling in human breast carcinoma. We found that PYK2 is activated by both EGF and heregulin (HRG) in breast cancer cells, and positively regulates EGF/HRG-induced cell spreading, migration and invasion. PYK2 depletion markedly affects ERK1/2 and STAT3 phosphorylation in response to EGF/HRG as well as to IL8 treatment. Importantly, PYK2 depletion also reduced EGF/HRG-induced MMP9 and IL8 transcription, while IL8 inhibition abrogated EGF-induced MMP9 transcription and attenuated cell invasion. IL8, which is transcriptionally regulated by STAT3 and induces PYK2 activation, prolonged EGF-induced PYK2, STAT3 and ERK1/2 phosphorylation suggesting that IL8 acts through an autocrine loop to reinforce EGF-induced signals. Collectively our studies suggest that PYK2 is a common downstream effector of ErbB and IL8 receptors, and that PYK2 integrates their signaling pathways through a positive feedback loop to potentiate breast cancer invasion. Hence, PYK2 could be a potential therapeutic target for a subset of breast cancer patients.

Sakai K, Takeda H, Nishijima N, et al.
Targeted DNA and RNA sequencing of fine-needle biopsy FFPE specimens in patients with unresectable hepatocellular carcinoma treated with sorafenib.
Oncotarget. 2015; 6(25):21636-44 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 01/04/2017 Related Publications
The multi-kinase inhibitor sorafenib is now used as standard therapy for advanced hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). Predictive biomarkers of response to sorafenib are thus necessary. The purpose of this study was to assess the feasibility of using targeted DNA and RNA sequencing to elucidate candidate biomarkers of sorafenib response using fine-needle biopsy, formalin-fixed paraffin-embedded (FFPE) specimens in patients with HCC. Targeted DNA and RNA deep sequencing were feasible for the evaluation of fine-needle biopsy FFPE specimens obtained from 46 patients with HCC treated with sorafenib. Frequent mutations of suppressor genes, such as CTNNB1 (34.8%) and TP53 (26.1%), were detected in the HCC tumors. After excluding these suppressor genes, the average numbers of detected oncogene mutations differed significantly between the non-PD and PD groups (P = 0.0446). This result suggests that the oncogene mutational burden in the tumor might be associated with the clinical response to sorafenib. We have identified candidate gene expression (TGFa, PECAM1, and NRG1) in tumor for the prediction of sorafenib response and PFS by RNA sequencing. Our findings provide new insights into biomarkers for sorafenib therapy and allow us to discuss future therapeutic strategies.

Duvall-Noelle N, Karwandyar A, Richmond A, Raman D
LASP-1: a nuclear hub for the UHRF1-DNMT1-G9a-Snail1 complex.
Oncogene. 2016; 35(9):1122-33 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 01/04/2017 Related Publications
Nuclear LASP-1 (LIM and SH3 protein-1) has a direct correlation with overall survival of breast cancer patients. In this study, immunohistochemical analysis of a human breast TMA showed that LASP-1 is absent in normal human breast epithelium but the expression increases with malignancy and is highly nuclear in aggressive breast cancer. We investigated whether the chemokines and growth factors present in the tumor microenvironment could trigger nuclear translocation of LASP-1.Treatment of human breast cancer cells with CXCL12, EGF and HRG, and HMEC-CXCR2 cells with CXCL8 facilitated nuclear shuttling of LASP-1. Data from the biochemical analysis of the nuclear and cytosolic fractions further confirmed the nuclear translocation of LASP-1 upon chemokine and growth factor treatment. CXCL12-dependent nuclear import of LASP-1 could be blocked by CXCR4 antagonist, AMD-3100. Knock down of LASP-1 resulted in alterations in gene expression leading to an increased level of cell-junction and extracellular matrix proteins and an altered cytokine secretory profile. Three-dimensional cultures of human breast cancer cells on Matrigel revealed an altered colony growth, morphology and arborization pattern in LASP-1 knockdown cells. Functional analysis of the LASP-1 knockdown cells revealed increased adhesion to collagen IV and decreased invasion through the Matrigel. Proteomic analysis of immunoprecipitates of LASP-1 and subsequent validation approaches revealed that LASP-1 associated with the epigenetic machinery especially UHRF1, DNMT1, G9a and the transcription factor Snail1. Interestingly, LASP-1 associated with UHRF1, G9a, Snail1 and di- and tri-methylated histoneH3 in a CXCL12-dependent manner based on immunoprecipitation and proximity ligation assays. LASP-1 also directly bound to Snail1 which may stabilize Snail1. Thus, nuclear LASP-1 appears to functionally serve as a hub for the epigenetic machinery.

Kimura M, Endo H, Inoue T, et al.
Analysis of ERBB ligand-induced resistance mechanism to crizotinib by primary culture of lung adenocarcinoma with EML4-ALK fusion gene.
J Thorac Oncol. 2015; 10(3):527-30 [PubMed] Related Publications
INTRODUCTION: Using cell line-based assays, the secretion of erythroblastic leukemia viral oncogene homologue (ERBB) ligands has been reported to contribute to resistance against crizotinib in lung cancer with the echinoderm microtubule-associated protein-like 4 and anaplastic lymphoma kinase fusion gene. However, it is difficult to predict the role of the ligands in each patient. Here, we report an analysis of the mechanism of resistance behind crizotinib resistance using a primary culture of cancer cells from pleural effusion of an anaplastic lymphoma kinase-positive lung cancer patient who was clinically resistant to crizotinib.
METHODS: Primary cancer cells were prepared as cancer tissue-originated spheroids (CTOSs) according to previously described methods. CTOSs were maintained in StemPro medium, and a sensitivity assay was performed under growth factor-free conditions, or under stimulation with epidermal growth factor (EGF) or neuregulin-1/heregulin. The effect of treatment with crizotinib alone or a combination of crizotinib and erlotinib was examined.
RESULTS: Cancer cells (LB53) were established to be CTOSs from a patient who was clinically resistant to crizotinib. The CTOSs were sensitive to crizotinib under growth factor-free conditions in vitro, whereas resistant under stimulation with EGF or neuregulin-1. These ligands rescued the inhibition of intracellular signaling by crizotinib. Pleural effusion from the patient also activated EGF receptor signaling to the similar extent of EGF stimulation. The resistance to crizotinib by EGF was reversed by blocking EGF receptor signaling by erlotinib in vitro.
CONCLUSION: Stimulation by ERBB ligands is suggested to be responsible for resistance to crizotinib in this patient. The CTOS method may enable analysis of resistance mechanism for targeted therapy in individual patients.

Bischoff A, Bayerlová M, Strotbek M, et al.
A global microRNA screen identifies regulators of the ErbB receptor signaling network.
Cell Commun Signal. 2015; 13:5 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 01/04/2017 Related Publications
BACKGROUND: The growth factor heregulin (HRG) potently stimulates epithelial cell survival and proliferation through the binding of its cognate receptor ErbB3 (also known as HER3). ErbB3-dependent signal transmission relies on the dimerization partner ErbB2, a receptor tyrosine kinase that is frequently overexpressed and/or amplified in breast cancer cells. Substantial evidence suggests that deregulated ErbB3 expression also contributes to the transformed phenotype of breast cancer cells.
RESULTS: By genome-wide screening, we identify 43 microRNAs (miRNAs) that specifically impact HRG-induced activation of the PI3K-Akt pathway. Bioinformatic analysis combined with experimental validation reveals a highly connected molecular miRNA-gene interaction network particularly for the negative screen hits. For selected miRNAs, namely miR-149, miR-148b, miR-326, and miR-520a-3p, we demonstrate the simultaneous downregulation of the ErbB3 receptor and multiple downstream signaling molecules, explaining their efficient dampening of HRG responses and ascribing to these miRNAs potential context-dependent tumor suppressive functions.
CONCLUSIONS: Given the contribution of HRG signaling and the PI3K-Akt pathway in particular to tumorigenesis, this study not only provides mechanistic insight into the function of miRNAs but also has implications for future clinical applications.

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