Gene Summary

Gene:NUP214; nucleoporin 214
Aliases: CAN, CAIN, IIAE9
Summary:The nuclear pore complex is a massive structure that extends across the nuclear envelope, forming a gateway that regulates the flow of macromolecules between the nucleus and the cytoplasm. Nucleoporins are the main components of the nuclear pore complex in eukaryotic cells. This gene is a member of the FG-repeat-containing nucleoporins. The protein encoded by this gene is localized to the cytoplasmic face of the nuclear pore complex where it is required for proper cell cycle progression and nucleocytoplasmic transport. The 3' portion of this gene forms a fusion gene with the DEK gene on chromosome 6 in a t(6,9) translocation associated with acute myeloid leukemia and myelodysplastic syndrome. Alternative splicing of this gene results in multiple transcript variants encoding different isoforms. [provided by RefSeq, Dec 2015]
Databases:OMIM, HGNC, Ensembl, GeneCard, Gene
Protein:nuclear pore complex protein Nup214
Source:NCBIAccessed: 31 August, 2019


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 (1994-2019)
Graph generated 31 August 2019 using data from PubMed using criteria.

Literature Analysis

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

  • Homeodomain Proteins
  • ABL1
  • Sequence Analysis, RNA
  • Spectrometry, Mass, Matrix-Assisted Laser Desorption-Ionization
  • Neoplasm Proteins
  • Protein-Tyrosine Kinases
  • Adolescents
  • Piperazines
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-abl
  • Cancer RNA
  • Imatinib Mesylate
  • Histone Chaperones
  • Oncogene Proteins
  • ZAP-70 Protein-Tyrosine Kinase
  • Childhood Cancer
  • Single Nucleotide Polymorphism
  • Protein Kinase Inhibitors
  • Adult T-Cell Leukemia-Lymphoma
  • Poly-ADP-Ribose Binding Proteins
  • Chromosomal Proteins, Non-Histone
  • Oncogene Fusion Proteins
  • Acute Myeloid Leukaemia
  • Precursor T-Cell Lymphoblastic Leukemia-Lymphoma
  • Acute Lymphocytic Leukaemia
  • Nuclear Pore Complex Proteins
  • Phosphorylation
  • SET
  • Recurrence
  • rac1 GTP-Binding Protein
  • Precursor B-Cell Lymphoblastic Leukemia-Lymphoma
  • NOTCH1 Receptor
  • FISH
  • Gene Expression Profiling
  • Chromosome 9
  • Virus Replication
  • Benzamides
  • Survival Rate
  • Dek
  • Leukemic Gene Expression Regulation
  • Mutation
  • Leukaemia
  • Antineoplastic Agents
Tag cloud generated 31 August, 2019 using data from PubMed, MeSH and CancerIndex

Specific Cancers (3)

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

Entity Topic PubMed Papers
Acute Myeloid Leukaemia (AML)t(6;9)(p23;q34) DEK-NUP214 in Acute Myeloid Leukaemia and Myelodysplastic Syndrome
The recurrent chromosomal translocation t(6;9)(p23;q34) involving the DEK and NUP214 genes occurs in a subset of patients with acute myeloid leukaemia. The DEK-NUP214 fusion protein (cloned by von Lindern et al,1992) consists of almost the whole of the DEK protein fused to the C-terminal two-thirds of the NUP214 protein.
View Publications72
Acute Lymphocytic Leukaemia (ALL)NUP214-ABL1 rearrangements in T-Cell Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia
The NUP214-ABL1 gene is the second most prevalent fusion gene involving ABL1 in malignant hemopathies, with a frequency of 5% in T-cell ALL. (De Braekeleer et al, 2011)
View Publications52
Acute Myeloid Leukaemia (AML)t(9;9)(q34;q34) SET-NUP214 rearrangements in Acute Lyphoblastic Leukaemia
The SET-NUP214 fusion gene resulting from either cryptic t(9;9)(q34;q34) or del(9)(q34.11q34.13)is a relatively rare genetic event in T-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia. Eleven of 196 (6%) T-ALLs enrolled in the French GRAALL-2003 and -2005 clinical trials had a SET-NUP214 transcript (Abdelali, 2014).
View Publications52

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

Latest Publications: NUP214 (cancer-related)

Ferrando A
Can one target T-cell ALL?
Best Pract Res Clin Haematol. 2018; 31(4):361-366 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 01/12/2019 Related Publications
Progress in our understanding of the central genes, pathways, and mechanisms in the pathobiology of T-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia (T-ALL) has identified key drivers of the disease, opening new opportunities for therapy. Drugs targeting highly prevalent genetic alterations in NOTCH1 and CDKN2A are being explored, and multiple other targets with readily available therapeutic agents, and immunotherapies are being investigated. The molecular basis of T-ALL is reviewed here and potential targets and therapeutic targets discussed.

Platzbecker U, Middeke JM, Sockel K, et al.
Measurable residual disease-guided treatment with azacitidine to prevent haematological relapse in patients with myelodysplastic syndrome and acute myeloid leukaemia (RELAZA2): an open-label, multicentre, phase 2 trial.
Lancet Oncol. 2018; 19(12):1668-1679 [PubMed] Related Publications
BACKGROUND: Monitoring of measurable residual disease (MRD) in patients with advanced myelodysplastic syndromes (MDS) or acute myeloid leukaemia (AML) who achieve a morphological complete remission can predict haematological relapse. In this prospective study, we aimed to determine whether MRD-guided pre-emptive treatment with azacitidine could prevent relapse in these patients.
METHODS: The relapse prevention with azacitidine (RELAZA2) study is an open-label, multicentre, phase 2 trial done at nine university health centres in Germany. Patients aged 18 years or older with advanced MDS or AML, who had achieved a complete remission after conventional chemotherapy or allogeneic haemopoietic stem-cell transplantation, were prospectively screened for MRD during 24 months from baseline by either quantitative PCR for mutant NPM1, leukaemia-specific fusion genes (DEK-NUP214, RUNX1-RUNX1T1, CBFb-MYH11), or analysis of donor-chimaerism in flow cytometry-sorted CD34-positive cells in patients who received allogeneic haemopoietic stem-cell transplantation. MRD-positive patients in confirmed complete remission received azacitidine 75 mg/m
FINDINGS: Between Oct 10, 2011, and Aug 20, 2015, we screened 198 patients with advanced MDS (n=26) or AML (n=172), of whom 60 (30%) developed MRD during the 24-month screening period and 53 (88%) were eligible to start study treatment. 6 months after initiation of azacitidine, 31 (58%, 95% CI 44-72) of 53 patients were relapse-free and alive (p<0·0001; one-sided binomial test for null hypothesis p
INTERPRETATION: Pre-emptive therapy with azacitidine can prevent or substantially delay haematological relapse in MRD-positive patients with MDS or AML who are at high risk of relapse. Our study also suggests that continuous MRD negativity during regular MRD monitoring might be prognostic for patient outcomes.
FUNDING: Celgene Pharma, José Carreras Leukaemia Foundation, National Center for Tumor Diseases (NCT), and German Cancer Consortium (DKTK) Foundation.

Leong TL, Gayevskiy V, Steinfort DP, et al.
Deep multi-region whole-genome sequencing reveals heterogeneity and gene-by-environment interactions in treatment-naive, metastatic lung cancer.
Oncogene. 2019; 38(10):1661-1675 [PubMed] Related Publications
Our understanding of genomic heterogeneity in lung cancer is largely based on the analysis of early-stage surgical specimens. Here we used endoscopic sampling of paired primary and intrathoracic metastatic tumors from 11 lung cancer patients to map genomic heterogeneity inoperable lung cancer with deep whole-genome sequencing. Intra-patient heterogeneity in driver or targetable mutations was predominantly in the form of copy number gain. Private mutation signatures, including patterns consistent with defects in homologous recombination, were highly variable both within and between patients. Irrespective of histotype, we observed a smaller than expected number of private mutations, suggesting that ancestral clones accumulated large mutation burdens immediately prior to metastasis. Single-region whole-genome sequencing of from 20 patients showed that tumors in ever-smokers with the strongest tobacco signatures were associated with germline variants in genes implicated in the repair of cigarette-induced DNA damage. Our results suggest that lung cancer precursors in ever-smokers accumulate large numbers of mutations prior to the formation of frank malignancy followed by rapid metastatic spread. In advanced lung cancer, germline variants in DNA repair genes may interact with the airway environment to influence the pattern of founder mutations, whereas similar interactions with the tumor microenvironment may play a role in the acquisition of mutations following metastasis.

Chen X, Wang F, Zhang Y, et al.
Retrospective analysis of 36 fusion genes in 2479 Chinese patients of de novo acute lymphoblastic leukemia.
Leuk Res. 2018; 72:99-104 [PubMed] Related Publications
Fusion genes are major molecular biological abnormalities in hematological malignancies. To depict the common recurrent gene-fusion landscape in acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL), 36 recurrent fusion genes in hematologic malignancies were assessed using multiplex-nested RT-PCR in 2479 patients with de novo ALL. 17 kinds of distinct fusion genes were detected in 712 (28.72%) cases. Co-occurrence of different fusion genes was observed in 6 (0.24%) patients. Incidence of fusion genes in B-ALL was significantly higher than in T-ALL (31.40% vs. 14.50%, P < 0.001). Pediatric ALL had higher prevalence of ETV6-RUNX1, TCF3-PBX1, and STIL-TAL1, while BCR-ABL1 and SET-NUP214 were more common in adult ALL. BCR-ABL1, TCF3-PBX1, KMT2A-AFF1 and ETV6-RUNX1 were more frequent in B-ALL. On the contrary, KMT2A-MLLT4, SET-NUP214 and STIL-TAL1 were of higher incidence in T-ALL. In comparison with Western cohorts, the incidence of BCR-ABL1 (5.94%) was much higher in our series, while the occurrence of ETV6-RUNX1 (13.19%) was significantly lower in pediatric B-ALL patients in our study than in Western reports. This study provides a genetic landscape of common fusion genes in ALL patients and may serve as a foundation for further improvement of a fusion gene screening panel for clinical applications.

Vanden Bempt M, Demeyer S, Broux M, et al.
Cooperative Enhancer Activation by TLX1 and STAT5 Drives Development of NUP214-ABL1/TLX1-Positive T Cell Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia.
Cancer Cell. 2018; 34(2):271-285.e7 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 01/12/2019 Related Publications
The NUP214-ABL1 fusion is a constitutively activated tyrosine kinase that is significantly associated with overexpression of the TLX1 and TLX3 transcription factors in T cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia (T-ALL). Here we show that NUP214-ABL1 cooperates with TLX1 in driving T-ALL development using a transgenic mouse model and human T-ALL cells. Using integrated ChIP-sequencing, ATAC-sequencing, and RNA-sequencing data, we demonstrate that TLX1 and STAT5, the downstream effector of NUP214-ABL1, co-bind poised enhancer regions, and cooperatively activate the expression of key proto-oncogenes such as MYC and BCL2. Inhibition of STAT5, downregulation of TLX1 or MYC, or interference with enhancer function through BET-inhibitor treatment leads to reduction of target gene expression and induction of leukemia cell death.

Jarzabek MA, Proctor WR, Vogt J, et al.
Interrogation of transcriptomic changes associated with drug-induced hepatic sinusoidal dilatation in colorectal cancer.
PLoS One. 2018; 13(6):e0198099 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 01/12/2019 Related Publications
Drug-related sinusoidal dilatation (SD) is a common form of hepatotoxicity associated with oxaliplatin-based chemotherapy used prior to resection of colorectal liver metastases (CRLM). Recently, hepatic SD has also been associated with anti-delta like 4 (DLL4) cancer therapies targeting the NOTCH pathway. To investigate the hypothesis that NOTCH signaling plays an important role in drug-induced SD, gene expression changes were examined in livers from anti-DLL4 and oxaliplatin-induced SD in non-human primate (NHP) and patients, respectively. Putative mechanistic biomarkers of bevacizumab (bev)-mediated protection against oxaliplatin-induced SD were also investigated. RNA was extracted from whole liver sections or centrilobular regions by laser-capture microdissection (LCM) obtained from NHP administered anti-DLL4 fragment antigen-binding (F(ab')2 or patients with CRLM receiving oxaliplatin-based chemotherapy with or without bev. mRNA expression was quantified using high-throughput real-time quantitative PCR. Significance analysis was used to identify genes with differential expression patterns (false discovery rate (FDR) < 0.05). Eleven (CCL2, CCND1, EFNB2, ERG, ICAM1, IL16, LFNG, NOTCH1, NOTCH4, PRDX1, and TGFB1) and six (CDH5, EFNB2, HES1, IL16, MIK67, HES1 and VWF) candidate genes were differentially expressed in the liver of anti-DLL4- and oxaliplatin-induced SD, respectively. Addition of bev to oxaliplatin-based chemotherapy resulted in differential changes in hepatic CDH5, HEY1, IL16, JAG1, MMP9, NOTCH4 and TIMP1 expression. This work implicates NOTCH and IL16 pathways in the pathogenesis of drug-induced SD and further explains the hepato-protective effect of bev in oxaliplatin-induced SD observed in CRLM patients.

Makise M, Nakamura H, Kuniyasu A
The role of vimentin in the tumor marker Nup88-dependent multinucleated phenotype.
BMC Cancer. 2018; 18(1):519 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 01/12/2019 Related Publications
BACKGROUND: Nucleoporin Nup88, a component of nuclear pore complexes, is known to be overexpressed in several types of tumor tissue. The overexpression of Nup88 has been reported to promote the early step of tumorigenesis by inducing multinuclei in both HeLa cells and a mouse model. However, the molecular basis of how Nup88 leads to a multinucleated phenotype remains unclear because of a lack of information concerning its binding partners. In this study, we characterize a novel interaction between Nup88 and vimentin. We also examine the involvement of vimentin in the Nup88-dependent multinucleated phenotype.
METHODS: Cells overexpressing tagged versions of Nup88, vimentin and their truncations were used in this study. Coprecipitation and GST-pulldown assays were carried out to analyze protein-protein interactions. Vimentin knockdown by siRNA was performed to examine the functional role of the Nup88-vimentin interaction in cells. The phosphorylation status of vimentin was analyzed by immunoblotting using an antibody specific for its phosphorylation site.
RESULTS: Vimentin was identified as a Nup88 interacting partner, although it did not bind to other nucleoporins, such as Nup50, Nup214, and Nup358, in HeLa cell lysates. The N-terminal 541 amino acid residues of Nup88 was found to be responsible for its interaction with vimentin. Recombinant GST-tagged Nup88 bound to recombinant vimentin in a GST-pulldown assay. Although overexpression of Nup88 in HeLa cells was observed mainly at the nuclear rim and in the cytoplasm, colocalization with vimentin was only partially detected at or around the nuclear rim. Disruption of the Nup88-vimentin interaction by vimentin specific siRNA transfection suppressed the Nup88-dependent multinucleated phenotype. An excess amount of Nup88 in cell lysates inhibited the dephosphorylation of a serine residue (Ser83) within the vimentin N-terminal region even in the absence and presence of an exogenous phosphatase. The N-terminal 96 amino acid residues of vimentin interacted with both full-length and the N-terminal 541 residues of Nup88.
CONCLUSIONS: Nup88 can affect the phosphorylation status of vimentin, which may contribute to the Nup88-dependent multinucleated phenotype through changing the organization of vimentin.

Bakshi A, Bretz CL, Cain TL, Kim J
Intergenic and intronic DNA hypomethylated regions as putative regulators of imprinted domains.
Epigenomics. 2018; 10(4):445-461 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 01/12/2019 Related Publications
AIM: To investigate the regulatory potential of intergenic/intronic hypomethylated regions (iHMRs) within imprinted domains.
MATERIALS & METHODS: Based on the preliminary results of the histone modification and conservation profiles, we conducted reporter assays on the Peg3 and H19 domain iHMRs. The in vitro results were confirmed by the in vivo deletion of Peg3-iHMR designed to test its function in the Peg3 imprinted domain.
RESULTS & CONCLUSION: Initial bioinformatic analyses suggested that some iHMRs may be noncanonical enhancers for imprinted genes. Consistent with this, Peg3- and H19-iHMRs showed context-dependent promoter and enhancer activity. Further, deletion of Peg3-iHMR resulted in allele- and sex-specific misregulation of several imprinted genes within the domain. Taken together, these results suggest that some iHMRs may function as domain-wide regulators for the associated imprinted domains.

Szczepny A, Carey K, McKenzie L, et al.
The tumor suppressor Hic1 maintains chromosomal stability independent of Tp53.
Oncogene. 2018; 37(14):1939-1948 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 01/12/2019 Related Publications
Hypermethylated-in-Cancer 1 (Hic1) is a tumor suppressor gene frequently inactivated by epigenetic silencing and loss-of-heterozygosity in a broad range of cancers. Loss of HIC1, a sequence-specific zinc finger transcriptional repressor, results in deregulation of genes that promote a malignant phenotype in a lineage-specific manner. In particular, upregulation of the HIC1 target gene SIRT1, a histone deacetylase, can promote tumor growth by inactivating TP53. An alternate line of evidence suggests that HIC1 can promote the repair of DNA double strand breaks through an interaction with MTA1, a component of the nucleosome remodeling and deacetylase (NuRD) complex. Using a conditional knockout mouse model of tumor initiation, we now show that inactivation of Hic1 results in cell cycle arrest, premature senescence, chromosomal instability and spontaneous transformation in vitro. This phenocopies the effects of deleting Brca1, a component of the homologous recombination DNA repair pathway, in mouse embryonic fibroblasts. These effects did not appear to be mediated by deregulation of Hic1 target gene expression or loss of Tp53 function, and rather support a role for Hic1 in maintaining genome integrity during sustained replicative stress. Loss of Hic1 function also cooperated with activation of oncogenic KRas in the adult airway epithelium of mice, resulting in the formation of highly pleomorphic adenocarcinomas with a micropapillary phenotype in vivo. These results suggest that loss of Hic1 expression in the early stages of tumor formation may contribute to malignant transformation through the acquisition of chromosomal instability.

Chen B, Jiang L, Zhong ML, et al.
Identification of fusion genes and characterization of transcriptome features in T-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia.
Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2018; 115(2):373-378 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 01/12/2019 Related Publications
T-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia (T-ALL) is a clonal malignancy of immature T cells. Recently, the next-generation sequencing approach has allowed systematic identification of molecular features in pediatric T-ALL. Here, by performing RNA-sequencing and other genomewide analysis, we investigated the genomic landscape in 61 adult and 69 pediatric T-ALL cases. Thirty-six distinct gene fusion transcripts were identified, with

Tsujimoto SI, Nakano Y, Osumi T, et al.
A Cryptic NUP214-ABL1 Fusion in B-cell Precursor Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia.
J Pediatr Hematol Oncol. 2018; 40(6):e397-e399 [PubMed] Related Publications
Fluorescent in situ hybridization (FISH) analysis is the standard methods for screening ABL1 fusions, which is recurrently translocated in pediatric acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL), and potentially targetable by kinase inhibitors. Here we demonstrated a case of B-cell precursor ALL with NUP214-ABL1 fusion, which break-apart FISH assay for ABL1 failed to detect. The cryptic fusion was generated by small duplication from ABL1 to NUP214, which was detected by copy number analysis using genomic microarray and confirmed by PCR. In the context of precision medicine, we should establish how to screen targetable abnormalities for minimizing risk of false-negative.

Panagopoulos I, Gorunova L, Torkildsen S, et al.
Cancer Genomics Proteomics. 2017 Nov-Dec; 14(6):437-443 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 01/12/2019 Related Publications
BACKGROUND/AIM: Given the diagnostic, prognostic, biologic, and even therapeutic impact of leukemia-associated translocations and fusion genes, it is important to detect cryptic genomic rearrangements that may exist in hematological malignancies.
CASE REPORT: RNA-sequencing was performed on an acute myeloid leukemia case with the bone marrow karyotype 45,X,-Y,t(9;12) (q34;q15)[16].
RESULTS: The DEK-NUP214 and PRRC2B-DEK fusion genes were found. Reverse transcriptase polymerase chain reaction together with direct sequencing verified the presence of both. Fluorescence in situ hybridization showed that the DEK-NUP214 fusion gene was located on the 6p22 band of a seemingly normal chromosome 6.
CONCLUSION: RNA-sequencing proved to be a valuable tool for the detection of a fusion of genes DEK and NUP214 in a leukemia that showed cryptic cytogenetic rearrangement of chromosome band 9q34.

Vaghjiani V, Cain JE, Lee W, et al.
Modulation of Mitochondrial DNA Copy Number to Induce Hepatocytic Differentiation of Human Amniotic Epithelial Cells.
Stem Cells Dev. 2017; 26(20):1505-1519 [PubMed] Related Publications
Mitochondrial deoxyribonucleic acid (mtDNA) copy number is tightly regulated during pluripotency and differentiation. There is increased demand of cellular adenosine triphosphate (ATP) during differentiation for energy-intensive cell types such as hepatocytes and neurons to meet the cell's functional requirements. During hepatocyte differentiation, mtDNA copy number should be synchronously increased to generate sufficient ATP through oxidative phosphorylation. Unlike bone marrow mesenchymal cells, mtDNA copy number failed to increase by 28 days of differentiation of human amniotic epithelial cells (hAEC) into hepatocyte-like cells (HLC) despite their expression of some end-stage hepatic markers. This was due to higher levels of DNA methylation at exon 2 of POLGA, the mtDNA-specific replication factor. Treatment with a DNA demethylation agent, 5-azacytidine, resulted in increased mtDNA copy number, reduced DNA methylation at exon 2 of POLGA, and reduced hepatic gene expression. Depletion of mtDNA followed by subsequent differentiation did not increase mtDNA copy number, but reduced DNA methylation at exon 2 of POLGA and increased expression of hepatic and pluripotency genes. We encapsulated hAEC in barium alginate microcapsules and subsequently differentiated them into HLC. Encapsulation resulted in no net increase of mtDNA copy number but a significant reduction in DNA methylation of POLGA. RNAseq analysis showed that differentiated HLC express hepatocyte-specific genes but also increased expression of inflammatory interferon genes. Differentiation in encapsulated cells showed suppression of inflammatory genes as well as increased expression of genes associated with hepatocyte function pathways and networks. This study demonstrates that an increase in classical hepatic gene expression can be achieved in HLC through encapsulation, although they fail to effectively regulate mtDNA copy number.

Fleuren EDG, Vlenterie M, van der Graaf WTA, et al.
Phosphoproteomic Profiling Reveals ALK and MET as Novel Actionable Targets across Synovial Sarcoma Subtypes.
Cancer Res. 2017; 77(16):4279-4292 [PubMed] Related Publications
Despite intensive multimodal treatment of sarcomas, a heterogeneous group of malignant tumors arising from connective tissue, survival remains poor. Candidate-based targeted treatments have demonstrated limited clinical success, urging an unbiased and comprehensive analysis of oncogenic signaling networks to reveal therapeutic targets and personalized treatment strategies. Here we applied mass spectrometry-based phosphoproteomic profiling to the largest and most heterogeneous set of sarcoma cell lines characterized to date and identified novel tyrosine phosphorylation patterns, enhanced tyrosine kinases in specific subtypes, and potential driver kinases. ALK was identified as a novel driver in the Aska-SS synovial sarcoma (SS) cell line via expression of an ALK variant with a large extracellular domain deletion (ALK

Busse TM, Roth JJ, Wilmoth D, et al.
Copy number alterations determined by single nucleotide polymorphism array testing in the clinical laboratory are indicative of gene fusions in pediatric cancer patients.
Genes Chromosomes Cancer. 2017; 56(10):730-749 [PubMed] Related Publications
Gene fusions resulting from structural rearrangements are an established mechanism of tumorigenesis in pediatric cancer. In this clinical cohort, 1,350 single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP)-based chromosomal microarrays from 1,211 pediatric cancer patients were evaluated for copy number alterations (CNAs) associated with gene fusions. Karyotype or fluorescence in situ hybridization studies were performed in 42% of the patients. Ten percent of the bone marrow or solid tumor specimens had SNP array-associated CNAs suggestive of a gene fusion. Alterations involving ETV6, ABL1-NUP214, EBF1-PDGFRB, KMT2A(MLL), LMO2-RAG, MYH11-CBFB, NSD1-NUP98, PBX1, STIL-TAL1, ZNF384-TCF3, P2RY8-CRLF2, and RUNX1T1-RUNX1 fusions were detected in the bone marrow samples. The most common alteration among the low-grade gliomas was a 7q34 tandem duplication resulting in a KIAA1549-BRAF fusion. Additional fusions identified in the pediatric brain tumors included FAM131B-BRAF and RAF1-QKI. COL1A1-PDGFB, CRTC1-MAML2, EWSR1, HEY1, PAX3- and PAX7-FOXO1, and PLAG1 fusions were determined in a variety of solid tumors and a novel potential gene fusion, FGFR1-USP6, was detected in an aneurysmal bone cyst. The identification of these gene fusions was instrumental in tumor diagnosis. In contrast to hematologic and solid tumors in adults that are predominantly driven by mutations, the majority of hematologic and solid tumors in children are characterized by CNAs and gene fusions. Chromosomal microarray analysis is therefore a robust platform to identify diagnostic and prognostic markers in the clinical setting.

Alanee S, Delfino K, Wilber A, et al.
Single nucleotide variant in Nucleoporin 107 may be predictive of sensitivity to chemotherapy in patients with ovarian cancer.
Pharmacogenet Genomics. 2017; 27(7):264-269 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 01/12/2019 Related Publications
BACKGROUND: Alterations in nuclear pore complex (NPC) genes have been previously associated with response to chemotherapy. Using agnostic exome sequencing, we envisioned that new alleles in NPC genes, predictive of sensitivity to platinum treatment, could be discovered.
METHODS: Twenty-two platinum-sensitive and six platinum-resistant ovarian cancer patients were tested. Platinum sensitivity was defined as disease-free survival greater than 6 months. Next-generation sequencing of exomes was used to compare platinum-sensitive and platinum-resistant patients. Single nucleotide variants (SNVs) associated with platinum sensitivity in NPC genes (n=30 genes) were identified.
RESULTS: SNVs in three NPC genes were associated with response to platinum on univariate analysis. SNV rs79419059 (10T>C) in Nucleoporin 107 (Nup107) was associated with platinum resistance (P=0.0061), whereas rs2302811 (3662-4A>G) in Nucleoporin 188 (Nup188) and rs77246077 (3420-67T>A) in Nucleoporin 214 (Nup214) were associated with platinum sensitivity (P=0.0483 and 0.0091, respectively). Controlling for other confounders, multivariate age-adjusted Cox proportional hazard analysis showed rs79419059 to be significantly associated with platinum resistance (odds ratio: 4.519, 95% confidence interval: 1.317-15.501, P=0.0457).
CONCLUSION: We identified a variant in the 3'-UTR region Nup107 unique to sensitivity to platinum in ovarian cancer. With validation of this variant, it is possible that a new marker predictive of patient response may be identified.

Lim JS, Ibaseta A, Fischer MM, et al.
Intratumoural heterogeneity generated by Notch signalling promotes small-cell lung cancer.
Nature. 2017; 545(7654):360-364 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 01/12/2019 Related Publications
The Notch signalling pathway mediates cell fate decisions and is tumour suppressive or oncogenic depending on the context. During lung development, Notch pathway activation inhibits the differentiation of precursor cells to a neuroendocrine fate. In small-cell lung cancer, an aggressive neuroendocrine lung cancer, loss-of-function mutations in NOTCH genes and the inhibitory effects of ectopic Notch activation indicate that Notch signalling is tumour suppressive. Here we show that Notch signalling can be both tumour suppressive and pro-tumorigenic in small-cell lung cancer. Endogenous activation of the Notch pathway results in a neuroendocrine to non-neuroendocrine fate switch in 10-50% of tumour cells in a mouse model of small-cell lung cancer and in human tumours. This switch is mediated in part by Rest (also known as Nrsf), a transcriptional repressor that inhibits neuroendocrine gene expression. Non-neuroendocrine Notch-active small-cell lung cancer cells are slow growing, consistent with a tumour-suppressive role for Notch, but these cells are also relatively chemoresistant and provide trophic support to neuroendocrine tumour cells, consistent with a pro-tumorigenic role. Importantly, Notch blockade in combination with chemotherapy suppresses tumour growth and delays relapse in pre-clinical models. Thus, small-cell lung cancer tumours generate their own microenvironment via activation of Notch signalling in a subset of tumour cells, and the presence of these cells may serve as a biomarker for the use of Notch pathway inhibitors in combination with chemotherapy in select patients with small-cell lung cancer.

Visconte V, Shetty S, Przychodzen B, et al.
Clinicopathologic and molecular characterization of myeloid neoplasms with isolated t(6;9)(p23;q34).
Int J Lab Hematol. 2017; 39(4):409-417 [PubMed] Related Publications
INTRODUCTION: The t(6;9)(p23;q34);DEK-NUP214 [t(6;9)] abnormality is found in 0.7-1.8% of patients with acute myeloid leukemia (AML) or myelodysplastic syndromes (MDS). FLT3-ITD mutations are detected in t(6;9) patients. The t(6;9) abnormality is associated with poor outcomes. We studied the clinicopathologic and molecular profiles of patients with AML/MDS carrying t(6;9).
METHODS: We collected clinical data of nine patients with AML/MDS with isolated t(6;9) (median age = 41 years; male/female = 4/5) and genotyped DNAs using whole exome, Sanger, and targeted sequencing.
RESULTS: Our cohort was characterized by frequent multilineage dysplasia (56%), absence of phospho-STAT3/STAT5 expression, presence of myeloid markers (CD13, CD33, CD34, CD117, HLA-DR) with an aberrant expression of CD7, and poor outcome (median survival of 20 months). Although basophilia has been described in association with t(6;9), we observed lack of marrow basophilia in our cohort. Molecularly, 83% (5/6) of patients with AML/MDS with t(6;9) were characterized by at least one somatic mutation. Among them, four patients showed multiple mutations. FLT3-ITD mutations were detected in 33% of patients (2/6); 80% (4/5) of mutant patients died even after hematopoietic stem cell transplantation.
CONCLUSION: Our data demonstrated that AML/MDS patients with t(6;9) have diverse molecular mutations regardless of the presence of FLT3 mutations, which may contribute to their poor survival outcomes.

Dilly SJ, Clark AJ, Marsh A, et al.
A chemical genomics approach to drug reprofiling in oncology: Antipsychotic drug risperidone as a potential adenocarcinoma treatment.
Cancer Lett. 2017; 393:16-21 [PubMed] Related Publications
Drug reprofiling is emerging as an effective paradigm for discovery of cancer treatments. Herein, an antipsychotic drug is immobilised using the Magic Tag

Simioni C, Ultimo S, Martelli AM, et al.
Synergistic effects of selective inhibitors targeting the PI3K/AKT/mTOR pathway or NUP214-ABL1 fusion protein in human Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia.
Oncotarget. 2016; 7(48):79842-79853 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 01/12/2019 Related Publications
Philadelphia chromosome-positive (Ph+) Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia (ALL) accounts for 25-30% of adult ALL and its incidence increases with age in adults >40 years old. Irrespective of age, the ABL1 fusion genes are markers of poor prognosis and amplification of the NUP214-ABL1 oncogene can be detected mainly in patients with T-ALL. T cell malignancies harboring the ABL1 fusion genes are sensitive to many cytotoxic agents, but up to date complete remissions have not been achieved. The PI3K/Akt/mTOR signaling pathway is often activated in leukemias and plays a crucial role in leukemogenesis.We analyzed the effects of three BCR-ABL1 tyrosine kinase inhibitors (TKIs), alone and in combination with a panel of selective PI3K/Akt/mTOR inhibitors, on three NUP214-ABL1 positive T-ALL cell lines that also displayed PI3K/Akt/mTOR activation. Cells were sensitive to anti BCR-ABL1 TKIs Imatinib, Nilotinib and GZD824, that specifically targeted the ABL1 fusion protein, but not the PI3K/Akt/mTOR axis. Four drugs against the PI3K/Akt/mTOR cascade, GSK690693, NVP-BGT226, ZSTK474 and Torin-2, showed marked cytotoxic effects on T-leukemic cells, without affecting the NUP214-ABL1 kinase and related pathway. Dephosphorylation of pAkt and pS6 showed the cytotoxicity of these compounds. Either single or combined administration of drugs against the different targets displayed inhibition of cellular viability associated with a concentration-dependent induction of apoptosis, cell cycle arrest in G0/G1 phase and autophagy, having the combined treatments a significant synergistic cytotoxic effect. Co-targeting NUP214-ABL1 fusion gene and PI3K/Akt/mTOR signaling pathway could represent a new and effective pharmacological strategy to improve the outcome in NUP214-ABL1 positive T-ALL.

Qin H, Malek S, Cowell JK, Ren M
Transformation of human CD34+ hematopoietic progenitor cells with DEK-NUP214 induces AML in an immunocompromised mouse model.
Oncogene. 2016; 35(43):5686-5691 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 01/12/2019 Related Publications
Acute myeloid leukemia (AML) is a heterogeneous disease comprising a large number of subtypes defined by specific chromosome abnormalities. One such subtype carries the t(6;9)(p22;q34) chromosome rearrangement, which leads to expression of the DEK-NUP214 chimeric gene, and has a particularly poor outcome. To provide a better understanding of the molecular etiology of these relatively rare individual AML variants, it is necessary to generate in vivo models, which can also serve as a means to evaluate targeted therapies based on their specific genetic abnormalities. Here, we describe the development of a human cell AML, generated in CD34+ human hematopoietic progenitor cells xenografted into immunocompromised mice that express human myeloid cell growth factors. Within 6 months, these mice develop a human cell AML with phenotypic characteristics of the primary t(6;9) disease and a CD45+CD13+CD34+CD38+ immunophenotype. Gene expression studies show that members of the HOX family of genes (HOXA9, 10, B3, B4 and PBX3) are highly upregulated in the AML from this mouse model as well as from primary human t(6;9) AML. Gene expression analysis also identified several other significantly disregulated pathways involving KRAS, BRCA1 and ALK, for example. This is the first report of a humanized model of the DEK-NUP214 disease and provides a means to study the development and treatment of this particular subtype of AML.

Zhao J, Li X, Yao Q, et al.
RWCFusion: identifying phenotype-specific cancer driver gene fusions based on fusion pair random walk scoring method.
Oncotarget. 2016; 7(38):61054-61068 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 01/12/2019 Related Publications
While gene fusions have been increasingly detected by next-generation sequencing (NGS) technologies based methods in human cancers, these methods have limitations in identifying driver fusions. In addition, the existing methods to identify driver gene fusions ignored the specificity among different cancers or only considered their local rather than global topology features in networks. Here, we proposed a novel network-based method, called RWCFusion, to identify phenotype-specific cancer driver gene fusions. To evaluate its performance, we used leave-one-out cross-validation in 35 cancers and achieved a high AUC value 0.925 for overall cancers and an average 0.929 for signal cancer. Furthermore, we classified 35 cancers into two classes: haematological and solid, of which the haematological got a highly AUC which is up to 0.968. Finally, we applied RWCFusion to breast cancer and found that top 13 gene fusions, such as BCAS3-BCAS4, NOTCH-NUP214, MED13-BCAS3 and CARM-SMARCA4, have been previously proved to be drivers for breast cancer. Additionally, 8 among the top 10 of the remaining candidate gene fusions, such as SULF2-ZNF217, MED1-ACSF2, and ACACA-STAC2, were inferred to be potential driver gene fusions of breast cancer by us.

Klener P, Fronkova E, Berkova A, et al.
Mantle cell lymphoma-variant Richter syndrome: Detailed molecular-cytogenetic and backtracking analysis reveals slow evolution of a pre-MCL clone in parallel with CLL over several years.
Int J Cancer. 2016; 139(10):2252-60 [PubMed] Related Publications
Richter syndrome represents the transformation of the chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) into an aggressive lymphoma, most frequently the diffuse large B-cell lymphoma (DLBCL). In this report we describe a patient with CLL, who developed a clonally-related pleomorphic highly-aggressive mantle cell lymphoma (MCL) after five cycles of a fludarabine-based second-line therapy for the first relapse of CLL. Molecular cytogenetic methods together with whole-exome sequencing revealed numerous gene alterations restricted to the MCL clone (apart from the canonical t(11;14)(q13;q32) translocation) including gain of one copy of ATM gene or emergence of TP53, CREBBP, NUP214, FUBP1 and SF3B1 gene mutations. Similarly, gene expression analysis revealed vast differences between the MCL and CLL transcriptome, including overexpression of cyclin D1, downregulation of cyclins D2 and D3, or downregulation of IL4R in the MCL clone. Backtracking analysis using quantitative PCR specifically detecting an MCL-restricted focal deletion of TP53 revealed that the pre-MCL clone appeared in the bone marrow and peripheral blood of the patient approximately 4 years before the clinical manifestation of MCL. Both molecular cytogenetic and sequencing data support the hypothesis of a slow development of the pre-MCL clone in parallel to CLL over several years, and thereby exclude the possibility that the transformation event occurred at the stage of the CLL relapse clone by mere t(11;14)(q13;q32) acquisition.

Somers K, Chudakova DA, Middlemiss SM, et al.
CCI-007, a novel small molecule with cytotoxic activity against infant leukemia with MLL rearrangements.
Oncotarget. 2016; 7(29):46067-46087 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 01/12/2019 Related Publications
There is an urgent need for the development of less toxic, more selective and targeted therapies for infants with leukemia characterized by translocation of the mixed lineage leukemia (MLL) gene. In this study, we performed a cell-based small molecule library screen on an infant MLL-rearranged (MLL-r) cell line, PER-485, in order to identify selective inhibitors for MLL-r leukemia. After screening initial hits for a cytotoxic effect against a panel of 30 cell lines including MLL-r and MLL wild-type (MLL-wt) leukemia, solid tumours and control cells, small molecule CCI-007 was identified as a compound that selectively and significantly decreased the viability of a subset of MLL-r and related leukemia cell lines with CALM-AF10 and SET-NUP214 translocation. CCI-007 induced a rapid caspase-dependent apoptosis with mitochondrial depolarization within twenty-four hours of treatment. CCI-007 altered the characteristic MLL-r gene expression signature in sensitive cells with downregulation of the expression of HOXA9, MEIS1, CMYC and BCL2, important drivers in MLL-r leukemia, within a few hours of treatment. MLL-r leukemia cells that were resistant to the compound were characterised by significantly higher baseline gene expression levels of MEIS1 and BCL2 in comparison to CCI-007 sensitive MLL-r leukemia cells.In conclusion, we have identified CCI-007 as a novel small molecule that displays rapid toxicity towards a subset of MLL-r, CALM-AF10 and SET-NUP214 leukemia cell lines. Our findings suggest an important new avenue in the development of targeted therapies for these deadly diseases and indicate that different therapeutic strategies might be needed for different subtypes of MLL-r leukemia.

Sooraj D, Xu D, Cain JE, et al.
Activating Transcription Factor 3 Expression as a Marker of Response to the Histone Deacetylase Inhibitor Pracinostat.
Mol Cancer Ther. 2016; 15(7):1726-39 [PubMed] Related Publications
Improved treatment strategies are required for bladder cancer due to frequent recurrence of low-grade tumors and poor survival rate from high-grade tumors with current therapies. Histone deacetylase inhibitors (HDACi), approved as single agents for specific lymphomas, have shown promising preclinical results in solid tumors but could benefit from identification of biomarkers for response. Loss of activating transcription factor 3 (ATF3) expression is a feature of bladder tumor progression and correlates with poor survival. We investigated the utility of measuring ATF3 expression as a marker of response to the HDACi pracinostat in bladder cancer models. Pracinostat treatment of bladder cancer cell lines reactivated the expression of ATF3, correlating with significant alteration in proliferative, migratory, and anchorage-dependent growth capacities. Pracinostat also induced growth arrest at the G0-G1 cell-cycle phase, coincident with the activation of tumor suppressor genes. In mouse xenograft bladder cancer models, pracinostat treatment significantly reduced tumor volumes compared with controls, accompanied by reexpression of ATF3 in nonproliferating cells from early to late stage of therapy and in parallel induced antiangiogenesis and apoptosis. Importantly, cells in which ATF3 expression was depleted were less sensitive to pracinostat treatment in vitro, exhibiting significantly higher proliferative and migratory properties. In vivo, control xenograft tumors were significantly more responsive to treatment than ATF3 knockdown xenografts. Thus, reactivation of ATF3 is an important factor in determining sensitivity to pracinostat treatment, both in vitro and in vivo, and could serve as a potential biomarker of response and provide a rationale for therapeutic utility in HDACi-mediated treatments for bladder cancer. Mol Cancer Ther; 15(7); 1726-39. ©2016 AACR.

Wang Y, Miller S, Roulston D, et al.
Genome-Wide Single-Nucleotide Polymorphism Array Analysis Improves Prognostication of Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia/Lymphoma.
J Mol Diagn. 2016; 18(4):595-603 [PubMed] Related Publications
Chromosomal abnormalities are important for the risk stratification of acute lymphoblastic leukemia/lymphoma (ALL). However, approximately 30% of pediatric and 50% of adult patients lack abnormalities with clinical relevance by traditional cytogenetic analysis. We integrated cytogenetic, fluorescence in situ hybridization, and whole-genome single-nucleotide polymorphism array results from 60 consecutive clinical ALL cases. By cytogenetic and/or fluorescence in situ hybridization analyses, recurring abnormalities with clinical relevance were observed in 33 B-cell ALL (B-ALL), including t(9;22), hyperdiploidy, KMT2A translocation, ETV6-RUNX1, intrachromosomal amplification of chromosome 21, near haploidy or low hypodiploidy, and t(8;22). Single-nucleotide polymorphism array analysis found additional aberrations with prognostic or therapeutic implication in 21 B-ALL and two T-cell ALL, including IKZF1 deletion, intrachromosomal amplification of chromosome 21 (one case with a normal karyotype), low hypodiploidy (two cases with a normal karyotype), and one case each with fusion genes ETV6-NTRK3, CRLF2-P2RY8, NUP214-ABL1, and SET-NUP214. IKZF1 deletion was noted in nine B-ALL with t(9;22), one B-ALL with t(4;11), five B-ALL with a normal karyotype, and three B-ALL with nonrecurring karyotypic abnormalities. Combining single-nucleotide polymorphism array with chromosome and fluorescence in situ hybridization assays, the detection rate for clinically significant abnormal results increased from 56% to 75%. Whole-genome single-nucleotide polymorphism array analysis detects cytogenetically undetectable clinically significant aberrations and should be routinely applied at diagnosis of ALL.

Muscat A, Popovski D, Jayasekara WS, et al.
Low-Dose Histone Deacetylase Inhibitor Treatment Leads to Tumor Growth Arrest and Multi-Lineage Differentiation of Malignant Rhabdoid Tumors.
Clin Cancer Res. 2016; 22(14):3560-70 [PubMed] Related Publications
PURPOSE: Malignant rhabdoid tumor (MRT) and atypical teratoid rhabdoid tumors (ATRT) are rare aggressive undifferentiated tumors primarily affecting the kidney and CNS of infants and young children. MRT are almost exclusively characterized by homozygous deletion or inactivation of the chromatin remodeling gene SMARCB1 SMARCB1 protein loss leads to direct impairment of chromatin remodeling and we have previously reported a role for this protein in histone acetylation. This provided the rationale for investigating the therapeutic potential of histone deactylase inhibitors (HDACi) in MRT.
EXPERIMENTAL DESIGN: Whereas previously HDACis have been used at doses and schedules that induce cytotoxicity, in the current studies we have tested the hypothesis, both in vitro and in vivo, that sustained treatment of human MRT with low-dose HDACi can lead to sustained cell growth arrest and differentiation.
RESULTS: Sustained low-dose panobinostat (LBH589) treatment led to changes in cellular morphology associated with a marked increase in the induction of neural, renal, and osteoblast differentiation pathways. Genome-wide transcriptional profiling highlighted differential gene expression supporting multilineage differentiation. Using mouse xenograft models, sustained low-dose LBH589 treatment caused tumor growth arrest associated with tumor calcification detectable by X-ray imaging. Histological analysis of LBH589-treated tumors revealed significant regions of ossification, confirmed by Alizarin Red staining. Immunohistochemical analysis showed increased TUJ1 and PAX2 staining suggestive of neuronal and renal differentiation, respectively.
CONCLUSIONS: Low-dose HDACi treatment can terminally differentiate MRT tumor cells and reduce their ability to self-renew. The use of low-dose HDACi as a novel therapeutic approach warrants further investigation. Clin Cancer Res; 22(14); 3560-70. ©2016 AACR.

Chernova T, Sun XM, Powley IR, et al.
Molecular profiling reveals primary mesothelioma cell lines recapitulate human disease.
Cell Death Differ. 2016; 23(7):1152-64 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 01/12/2019 Related Publications
Malignant mesothelioma (MM) is an aggressive, fatal tumor strongly associated with asbestos exposure. There is an urgent need to improve MM patient outcomes and this requires functionally validated pre-clinical models. Mesothelioma-derived cell lines provide an essential and relatively robust tool and remain among the most widely used systems for candidate drug evaluation. Although a number of cell lines are commercially available, a detailed comparison of these commercial lines with freshly derived primary tumor cells to validate their suitability as pre-clinical models is lacking. To address this, patient-derived primary mesothelioma cell lines were established and characterized using complementary multidisciplinary approaches and bioinformatic analysis. Clinical markers of mesothelioma, transcriptional and metabolic profiles, as well as the status of p53 and the tumor suppressor genes CDKN2A and NF2, were examined in primary cell lines and in two widely used commercial lines. Expression of MM-associated markers, as well as the status of CDKN2A, NF2, the 'gatekeeper' in MM development, and their products demonstrated that primary cell lines are more representative of the tumor close to its native state and show a degree of molecular diversity, thus capturing the disease heterogeneity in a patient cohort. Molecular profiling revealed a significantly different transcriptome and marked metabolic shift towards a greater glycolytic phenotype in commercial compared with primary cell lines. Our results highlight that multiple, appropriately characterised, patient-derived tumor cell lines are required to enable concurrent evaluation of molecular profiles versus drug response. Furthermore, application of this approach to other difficult-to-treat tumors would generate improved cellular models for pre-clinical evaluation of novel targeted therapies.

Dasgupta Y, Koptyra M, Hoser G, et al.
Normal ABL1 is a tumor suppressor and therapeutic target in human and mouse leukemias expressing oncogenic ABL1 kinases.
Blood. 2016; 127(17):2131-43 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 01/12/2019 Related Publications
Leukemias expressing constitutively activated mutants of ABL1 tyrosine kinase (BCR-ABL1, TEL-ABL1, NUP214-ABL1) usually contain at least 1 normal ABL1 allele. Because oncogenic and normal ABL1 kinases may exert opposite effects on cell behavior, we examined the role of normal ABL1 in leukemias induced by oncogenic ABL1 kinases. BCR-ABL1-Abl1(-/-) cells generated highly aggressive chronic myeloid leukemia (CML)-blast phase-like disease in mice compared with less malignant CML-chronic phase-like disease from BCR-ABL1-Abl1(+/+) cells. Additionally, loss of ABL1 stimulated proliferation and expansion of BCR-ABL1 murine leukemia stem cells, arrested myeloid differentiation, inhibited genotoxic stress-induced apoptosis, and facilitated accumulation of chromosomal aberrations. Conversely, allosteric stimulation of ABL1 kinase activity enhanced the antileukemia effect of ABL1 tyrosine kinase inhibitors (imatinib and ponatinib) in human and murine leukemias expressing BCR-ABL1, TEL-ABL1, and NUP214-ABL1. Therefore, we postulate that normal ABL1 kinase behaves like a tumor suppressor and therapeutic target in leukemias expressing oncogenic forms of the kinase.

Chartier C, Raval J, Axelrod F, et al.
Therapeutic Targeting of Tumor-Derived R-Spondin Attenuates β-Catenin Signaling and Tumorigenesis in Multiple Cancer Types.
Cancer Res. 2016; 76(3):713-23 [PubMed] Related Publications
Deregulation of the β-catenin signaling has long been associated with cancer. Intracellular components of this pathway, including axin, APC, and β-catenin, are frequently mutated in a range of human tumors, but the contribution of specific extracellular ligands that promote cancer development through this signaling axis remains unclear. We conducted a reporter-based screen in a panel of human tumors to identify secreted factors that stimulate β-catenin signaling. Through this screen and further molecular characterization, we found that R-spondin (RSPO) proteins collaborate with Wnt proteins to activate β-catenin. RSPO family members were expressed in several human tumors representing multiple malignancies, including ovarian, pancreatic, colon, breast, and lung cancer. We generated specific monoclonal antibody antagonists of RSPO family members and found that anti-RSPO treatment markedly inhibited tumor growth in human patient-derived tumor xenograft models, either as single agents or in combination with chemotherapy. Furthermore, blocking RSPO signaling reduced the tumorigenicity of cancer cells based on serial transplantation studies. Moreover, gene-expression analyses revealed that anti-RSPO treatment in responsive tumors strongly inhibited β-catenin target genes known to be associated with cancer and normal stem cells. Collectively, our results suggest that the RSPO family is an important stimulator of β-catenin activity in many human tumors and highlight a new effective approach for therapeutically modulating this fundamental signaling axis.

De Braekeleer E, Douet-Guilbert N, Rowe D, et al.
ABL1 fusion genes in hematological malignancies: a review.
Eur J Haematol. 2011; 86(5):361-71 [PubMed] Related Publications
Chromosomal rearrangements involving the ABL1 gene, leading to a BCR-ABL1 fusion gene, have been mainly associated with chronic myeloid leukemia and B-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL). At present, six other genes have been shown to fuse to ABL1. The kinase domain of ABL1 is retained in all chimeric proteins that are also composed of the N-terminal part of the partner protein that often includes a coiled-coil or a helix-loop-helix domain. These latter domains allow oligomerization of the protein that is required for tyrosine kinase activation, cytoskeletal localization, and neoplastic transformation. Fusion genes that have a break in intron 1 or 2 (BCR-ABL1, ETV6-ABL1, ZMIZ1-ABL1, EML1-ABL1, and NUP214-ABL1) have transforming activity, although NUP214-ABL1 requires amplification to be efficient. The NUP214-ABL1 gene is the second most prevalent fusion gene involving ABL1 in malignant hemopathies, with a frequency of 5% in T-cell ALL. Both fusion genes (SFPQ-ABL1 and RCSD1-ABL1) characterized by a break in intron 4 of ABL1 are associated with B-cell ALL, as the chimeric proteins lacked the SH2 domain of ABL1. Screening for ABL1 chimeric genes could be performed in patients with ALL, more particularly in those with T-cell ALL because ABL1 modulates T-cell development and plays a role in cytoskeletal remodeling processes in T cells.

Ben Abdelali R, Roggy A, Leguay T, et al.
SET-NUP214 is a recurrent γδ lineage-specific fusion transcript associated with corticosteroid/chemotherapy resistance in adult T-ALL.
Blood. 2014; 123(12):1860-3 [PubMed] Related Publications
The SET-NUP214 (TAF1/CAN) fusion gene is a rare genetic event in T-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia (T-ALL). Eleven (6%) of 196 T-ALL patients enrolled in the French Group for Research on Adult Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia (GRAALL) 2003 and 2005 trials harbored a SET-NUP214 transcript. SET-NUP214-positive patients were predominantly (10 [91%] of 11) T-cell receptor (TCR)-negative and strikingly associated with TCRγδ lineage T-ALLs, as defined by expression of TCRγδ, TCRδ and/or TCRγ rearrangements but no complete TCRβ variable diversity joining rearrangement in surface CD3/TCR-negative cases. When compared with SET-NUP214-negative patients, SET-NUP214-positive patients showed a significantly higher rate of corticosteroid resistance (91% vs 44%; P = .003) and chemotherapy resistance (100% vs 44%; P = .0001). All SET-NUP214-positive patients but one achieved complete remission, and 9 were allografted. Despite the poor early-treatment sensitivity, the outcome of SET-NUP214-positive patients was similar to that of SET-NUP214-negative patients.

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