Gene Summary

Gene:RALGDS; ral guanine nucleotide dissociation stimulator
Aliases: RGF, RGDS, RalGEF
Summary:Guanine nucleotide dissociation stimulators (GDSs, or exchange factors), such as RALGDS, are effectors of Ras-related GTPases (see MIM 190020) that participate in signaling for a variety of cellular processes.[supplied by OMIM, Nov 2010]
Databases:VEGA, OMIM, HGNC, Ensembl, GeneCard, Gene
Protein:ral guanine nucleotide dissociation stimulator
Source:NCBIAccessed: 15 March, 2017


What does this gene/protein do?
Show (8)
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.

  • rho GTP-Binding Proteins
  • Breast Cancer
  • DNA Methylation
  • Cell Movement
  • ral Guanine Nucleotide Exchange Factor
  • Gene Expression Profiling
  • Liver Cancer
  • Monomeric GTP-Binding Proteins
  • Cloning, Molecular
  • Tumor Suppressor Gene
  • Cell Line, Transformed
  • Phosphatidylinositol 3-Kinases
  • Colorectal Cancer
  • Cell Line
  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • Cervical Cancer
  • Mutation
  • Neoplastic Cell Transformation
  • Pancreatic Cancer
  • Apoptosis
  • Hepatocellular Carcinoma
  • Tumor Suppressor Proteins
  • Sequence Homology
  • Signal Transduction
  • Cell Proliferation
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • 3T3 Cells
  • ral GTP-Binding Proteins
  • alpha-Fetoproteins
  • Cancer Gene Expression Regulation
  • RAS Genes
  • Transfection
  • DNA, Complementary
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins p21(ras)
  • raf Kinases
  • Chromosome 9
  • rap GTP-Binding Proteins
  • Base Sequence
  • Messenger RNA
  • Lung Cancer
Tag cloud generated 15 March, 2017 using data from PubMed, MeSH and CancerIndex

Specific Cancers (6)

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

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

Latest Publications: RALGDS (cancer-related)

Dunne PD, Dasgupta S, Blayney JK, et al.
EphA2 Expression Is a Key Driver of Migration and Invasion and a Poor Prognostic Marker in Colorectal Cancer.
Clin Cancer Res. 2016; 22(1):230-42 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
PURPOSE: EphA2, a member of the Eph receptor tyrosine kinases family, is an important regulator of tumor initiation, neovascularization, and metastasis in a wide range of epithelial and mesenchymal cancers; however, its role in colorectal cancer recurrence and progression is unclear.
EXPERIMENTAL DESIGN: EphA2 expression was determined by immunohistochemistry in stage II/III colorectal tumors (N = 338), and findings correlated with clinical outcome. The correlation between EphA2 expression and stem cell markers CD44 and Lgr5 was examined. The role of EphA2 in migration/invasion was assessed using a panel of KRAS wild-type (WT) and mutant (MT) parental and invasive colorectal cancer cell line models.
RESULTS: Colorectal tumors displayed significantly higher expression levels of EphA2 compared with matched normal tissue, which positively correlated with high CD44 and Lgr5 expression levels. Moreover, high EphA2 mRNA and protein expression were found to be associated with poor overall survival in stage II/III colorectal cancer tissues, in both univariate and multivariate analyses. Preclinically, we found that EphA2 was highly expressed in KRASMT colorectal cancer cells and that EphA2 levels are regulated by the KRAS-driven MAPK and RalGDS-RalA pathways. Moreover, EphA2 levels were elevated in several invasive daughter cell lines, and downregulation of EphA2 using RNAi or recombinant EFNA1 suppressed migration and invasion of KRASMT colorectal cancer cells.
CONCLUSIONS: These data show that EpHA2 is a poor prognostic marker in stage II/III colorectal cancer, which may be due to its ability to promote cell migration and invasion, providing support for the further investigation of EphA2 as a novel prognostic biomarker and therapeutic target.

Sehgal M, Gupta R, Moussa A, Singh TR
An Integrative Approach for Mapping Differentially Expressed Genes and Network Components Using Novel Parameters to Elucidate Key Regulatory Genes in Colorectal Cancer.
PLoS One. 2015; 10(7):e0133901 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
For examining the intricate biological processes concerned with colorectal cancer (CRC), a systems biology approach integrating several biological components and other influencing factors is essential to understand. We performed a comprehensive system level analysis for CRC which assisted in unravelling crucial network components and many regulatory elements through a coordinated view. Using this integrative approach, the perceptive of complexity hidden in a biological phenomenon is extensively simplified. The microarray analyses facilitated differential expression of 631 significant genes employed in the progression of disease and supplied interesting associated up and down regulated genes like jun, fos and mapk1. The transcriptional regulation of these genes was deliberated widely by examining transcription factors such as hnf4, nr2f1, znf219 and dr1 which directly influence the expression. Further, interactions of these genes/proteins were evaluated and crucial network motifs were detected to associate with the pathophysiology of CRC. The available standard statistical parameters such as z-score, p-value and significance profile were explored for the identification of key signatures from CRC pathway whereas a few novel parameters representing over-represented structures were also designed in the study. The applied approach revealed 5 key genes i.e. kras, araf, pik3r5, ralgds and akt3 via our novel designed parameters illustrating high statistical significance. These novel parameters can assist in scrutinizing candidate markers for diseases having known biological pathways. Further, investigating and targeting these proposed genes for experimental validations, instead being spellbound by the complicated pathway will certainly endow valuable insight in a well-timed systematic understanding of CRC.

Kanekiyo S, Iizuka N, Tsunedomi R, et al.
Preoperative serum methylation signature as prognostic tool after curative hepatectomy in patients with hepatocellular carcinoma.
Anticancer Res. 2015; 35(2):997-1007 [PubMed] Related Publications
AIM: This study aimed to investigate the relationship between prognosis after curative hepatectomy and serum methylation signature (SMS), defined by methylation levels of six specific genes (cyclin D2, Ras association (RalGDS/AF-6) domain family member 1, serine peptidase inhibitor Kunitz type 2, cystic fibrosis transmembrane conductance regulator, brain abundant membrane attached signal protein 1, and steroid-5-alpha-reductase alpha polypeptide 2).
PATIENTS AND METHODS: Serum samples were collected preoperatively from 125 patients with hepatocellular carcinoma associated with hepatitis C virus infection who underwent curative hepatectomy. We measured the methylation levels of the preceding six genes. We defined the methylation of three genes or more in the serum as SMS-positive in this study. We investigated the prognosis of SMS-positive patients.
RESULTS: SMS-positive patients exhibited significantly shorter disease-free survival (DFS) and overall survival (OS) than SMS-negative patients (p=0.0002 and p<0.0001, respectively). Multivariate analysis showed that SMS positivity was an independent risk factor for shorter DFS (hazard ratio (HR)=2.182; p<0.001) and OS (HR=4.198; p<0.001).
CONCLUSION: SMS is useful as a prognostic predictor in patients with hepatocellular carcinoma after curative hepatectomy.

Villanueva A, Portela A, Sayols S, et al.
DNA methylation-based prognosis and epidrivers in hepatocellular carcinoma.
Hepatology. 2015; 61(6):1945-56 [PubMed] Related Publications
UNLABELLED: Epigenetic deregulation has emerged as a driver in human malignancies. There is no clear understanding of the epigenetic alterations in hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) and of the potential role of DNA methylation markers as prognostic biomarkers. Analysis of tumor tissue from 304 patients with HCC treated with surgical resection allowed us to generate a methylation-based prognostic signature using a training-validation scheme. Methylome profiling was done with the Illumina HumanMethylation450 array (Illumina, Inc., San Diego, CA), which covers 96% of known cytosine-phosphate-guanine (CpG) islands and 485,000 CpG, and transcriptome profiling was performed with Affymetrix Human Genome U219 Plate (Affymetrix, Inc., Santa Clara, CA) and miRNA Chip 2.0. Random survival forests enabled us to generate a methylation signature based on 36 methylation probes. We computed a risk score of mortality for each individual that accurately discriminated patient survival both in the training (221 patients; 47% hepatitis C-related HCC) and validation sets (n = 83; 47% alcohol-related HCC). This signature correlated with known predictors of poor outcome and retained independent prognostic capacity of survival along with multinodularity and platelet count. The subset of patients identified by this signature was enriched in the molecular subclass of proliferation with progenitor cell features. The study confirmed a high prevalence of genes known to be deregulated by aberrant methylation in HCC (e.g., Ras association [RalGDS/AF-6] domain family member 1, insulin-like growth factor 2, and adenomatous polyposis coli) and other solid tumors (e.g., NOTCH3) and describes potential candidate epidrivers (e.g., septin 9 and ephrin B2).
CONCLUSIONS: A validated signature of 36 DNA methylation markers accurately predicts poor survival in patients with HCC. Patients with this methylation profile harbor messenger RNA-based signatures indicating tumors with progenitor cell features.

Tang SC, Chen YC
Novel therapeutic targets for pancreatic cancer.
World J Gastroenterol. 2014; 20(31):10825-44 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Pancreatic cancer has become the fourth leading cause of cancer death in the last two decades. Only 3%-15% of patients diagnosed with pancreatic cancer had 5 year survival rate. Drug resistance, high metastasis, poor prognosis and tumour relapse contributed to the malignancies and difficulties in treating pancreatic cancer. The current standard chemotherapy for pancreatic cancer is gemcitabine, however its efficacy is far from satisfactory, one of the reasons is due to the complex tumour microenvironment which decreases effective drug delivery to target cancer cell. Studies of the molecular pathology of pancreatic cancer have revealed that activation of KRAS, overexpression of cyclooxygenase-2, inactivation of p16(INK4A) and loss of p53 activities occurred in pancreatic cancer. Co-administration of gemcitabine and targeting the molecular pathological events happened in pancreatic cancer has brought an enhanced therapeutic effectiveness of gemcitabine. Therefore, studies looking for novel targets in hindering pancreatic tumour growth are emerging rapidly. In order to give a better understanding of the current findings and to seek the direction in future pancreatic cancer research; in this review we will focus on targets suppressing tumour metastatsis and progression, KRAS activated downstream effectors, the relationship of Notch signaling and Nodal/Activin signaling with pancreatic cancer cells, the current findings of non-coding RNAs in inhibiting pancreatic cancer cell proliferation, brief discussion in transcription remodeling by epigenetic modifiers (e.g., HDAC, BMI1, EZH2) and the plausible therapeutic applications of cancer stem cell and hyaluronan in tumour environment.

Vu HL, Aplin AE
Targeting TBK1 inhibits migration and resistance to MEK inhibitors in mutant NRAS melanoma.
Mol Cancer Res. 2014; 12(10):1509-19 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
UNLABELLED: Melanoma is a devastating form of skin cancer with limited therapeutic options. Fifteen to 20% of patients with melanoma have an activating mutation in the GTPase, NRAS. The major downstream effectors of RAS are RAFs (ARAF, BRAF, and CRAF), phosphoinositide 3-kinase (PI3K), and the Ral guanine exchange factors (RalGEF). TANK-binding kinase 1 (TBK1) is an atypical IκB kinase family member that acts downstream of RalGEFs. Whereas many studies have analyzed RAF and PI3K signaling in mutant NRAS melanoma, the role of RalGEF/Ral is understudied and TBK1 has not been examined. To address this, TBK1 was modulated with knockdown approaches and targeted therapies to determine the role of TBK1 in motility, apoptosis, and signaling. In melanoma, NRAS overexpression increased TBK1 phosphorylation. TBK1 depletion inhibited migration and invasion, whereas its constitutive overexpression led to an increase in invasion. In three-dimensional systems that mimic the dermal microenvironment, TBK1 depletion or inhibition cooperated with MEK inhibitors to promote apoptosis, particularly in the context of MEK-insensitive mutant NRAS. This effect was absent in melanoma cells that are wild-type for NRAS. These results suggest the utility of TBK1 inhibitors as part of a treatment regimen for patients with mutant NRAS melanoma, for whom there are no current effective therapies.
IMPLICATIONS: TBK1 promotes the malignant properties of NRAS-mutant melanoma and its targeting, in combination with MEK, promotes apoptosis, thus providing a potential novel targeted therapeutic option.

Lin TY, Ki CS, Lin CC
Manipulating hepatocellular carcinoma cell fate in orthogonally cross-linked hydrogels.
Biomaterials. 2014; 35(25):6898-906 [PubMed] Related Publications
De-differentiation and loss of function in hepatocytes during two-dimensional (2D) tissue culture significantly hinders the progress of liver research. An ideal three-dimensional (3D) in vitro liver parenchymal cell culture platform should restore cell-cell and cell-matrix interactions, as well as normal hepatocyte polarity. Here, we report an orthogonal thiol-ene hydrogel system for culturing liver cell lines (e.g. Huh7 and HepG2). The hydrogels were prepared by a radical-mediated orthogonal thiol-norbornene photo-click chemistry using poly(ethylene glycol)-tetra-norbornene (PEG4NB) macromer and di-thiol containing linker (e.g., dithiothreitol (DTT) or bis-cysteine matrix metalloproteinase (MMP)-sensitive peptide). This system also allows facile incorporation of bioactive peptides (e.g., fibronectin-derived RGDS) to improve cell-matrix interactions. Encapsulated Huh7 and HepG2 cells showed elevated urea secretion and CYP3A4 enzymatic activities, as well as up-regulated mRNA levels of multiple hepatocyte genes (e.g., CYP3A4, BESP, and NTCP). Importantly, this is the first 3D hydrogel system that up-regulates the expression of NCTP in encapsulated Huh7 and HepG2 cell lines without any genetic modification or the addition of growth factors and chemical additives. Furthermore, the encapsulated cells displayed hepatocyte-like polarity distinctively different from the polarity displayed in 2D culture. These characteristics not only allow the study of hepatology in 3D using inexpensive cell lines, but also permit large-scale small-molecule screening. The up-regulation of NTCP expression and restoration of hepatocyte-like polarity in our hydrogels also shed light on future study of hepatitis B virus infection in vitro.

Ezzeldin M, Borrego-Diaz E, Taha M, et al.
RalA signaling pathway as a therapeutic target in hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC).
Mol Oncol. 2014; 8(5):1043-53 [PubMed] Related Publications
Ral (Ras like) leads an important proto-oncogenic signaling pathway down-stream of Ras. In this work, RalA was found to be significantly overactivated in hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) cells and tissues as compared to non-malignant samples. Other elements of RalA pathway such as RalBP1 and RalGDS were also expressed at higher levels in malignant samples. Inhibition of RalA by gene-specific silencing caused a robust decrease in the viability and invasiveness of HCC cells. Additionally, the use of geranyl-geranyl transferase inhibitor (GGTI, an inhibitor of Ral activation) and Aurora kinase inhibitor II resulted in a significant decrease in the proliferation of HCC cells. Furthermore, RalA activation was found to be at a higher level of activation in HCC stem cells that express CD133. Transgenic mouse model for HCC (FXR-Knockout) also revealed an elevated level of RalA-GTP in the liver tumors as compared to background animals. Finally, subcutaneous mouse model for HCC confirmed effectiveness of inhibition of aurora kinase/RalA pathway in reducing the tumorigenesis of HCC cells in vivo. In conclusion, RalA overactivation is an important determinant of malignant phenotype in differentiated and stem cells of HCC and can be considered as a target for therapeutic intervention.

Naushad SM, Hussain T, Al-Attas OS, et al.
Molecular insights into the association of obesity with breast cancer risk: relevance to xenobiotic metabolism and CpG island methylation of tumor suppressor genes.
Mol Cell Biochem. 2014; 392(1-2):273-80 [PubMed] Related Publications
Obesity, genetic polymorphisms of xenobiotic metabolic pathway, hypermethylation of tumor suppressor genes, and hypomethylation of proapoptotic genes are known to be independent risk factors for breast cancer. The objective of this study is to evaluate the combined effect of these environmental, genetic, and epigenetic risk factors on the susceptibility to breast cancer. PCR-RFLP and multiplex PCR were used for the genetic analysis of six variants of xenobiotic metabolic pathway. Methylation-specific PCR was used for the epigenetic analysis of four genetic loci. Multifactor dimensionality reduction analysis revealed a significant interaction between the body mass index (BMI) and catechol-O-methyl transferase H108L variant alone or in combination with cytochrome P450 (CYP) 1A1m1 variant. Women with "Luminal A" breast cancer phenotype had higher BMI compared to other phenotypes and healthy controls. There was no association between the BMI and tumor grade. The post-menopausal obese women exhibited lower glutathione levels. BMI showed a positive association with the methylation of extracellular superoxide dismutase (r = 0.21, p < 0.05), Ras-association (RalGDS/AF-6) domain family member 1 (RASSF1A) (r = 0.31, p < 0.001), and breast cancer type 1 susceptibility protein (r = 0.19, p < 0.05); and inverse association with methylation of BNIP3 (r = -0.48, p < 0.0001). To conclude based on these results, obesity increases the breast cancer susceptibility by two possible mechanisms: (i) by interacting with xenobiotic genetic polymorphisms in inducing increased oxidative DNA damage and (ii) by altering the methylome of several tumor suppressor genes.

Kashatus DF
Ral GTPases in tumorigenesis: emerging from the shadows.
Exp Cell Res. 2013; 319(15):2337-42 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Oncogenic Ras proteins rely on a series of key effector pathways to drive the physiological changes that lead to tumorigenic growth. Of these effector pathways, the RalGEF pathway, which activates the two Ras-related GTPases RalA and RalB, remains the most poorly understood. This review will focus on key developments in our understanding of Ral biology, and will speculate on how aberrant activation of the multiple diverse Ral effector proteins might collectively contribute to oncogenic transformation and other aspects of tumor progression.

Huang C, Wang WM, Gong JP, Yang K
Oncogenesis and the clinical significance of K-ras in pancreatic adenocarcinoma.
Asian Pac J Cancer Prev. 2013; 14(5):2699-701 [PubMed] Related Publications
The RAS family genes encode small GTP-binding cytoplasmic proteins. Activated KRAS engages multiple effector pathways, notably the RAF-mitogen-activated protein kinase, phosphoinositide-3-kinase (PI3K) and RalGDS pathways. In the clinical field, K-ras oncogene activation is frequently found in human cancers and thus may serve as a potential diagnostic marker for cancer cells in circulation. This mini-review aims to summarise information on Ras-induced oncogenesis and the clinical significance of K-ras.

Qu Y, Dang S, Hou P
Gene methylation in gastric cancer.
Clin Chim Acta. 2013; 424:53-65 [PubMed] Related Publications
Gastric cancer is one of the most common malignancies and remains the second leading cause of cancer-related death worldwide. Over 70% of new cases and deaths occur in developing countries. In the early years of the molecular biology revolution, cancer research mainly focuses on genetic alterations, including gastric cancer. Epigenetic mechanisms are essential for normal development and maintenance of tissue-specific gene expression patterns in mammals. Disruption of epigenetic processes can lead to altered gene function and malignant cellular transformation. Recent advancements in the rapidly evolving field of cancer epigenetics have shown extensive reprogramming of every component of the epigenetic machinery in cancer, including DNA methylation, histone modifications, nucleosome positioning, noncoding RNAs, and microRNAs. Aberrant DNA methylation in the promoter regions of gene, which leads to inactivation of tumor suppressor and other cancer-related genes in cancer cells, is the most well-defined epigenetic hallmark in gastric cancer. The advantages of gene methylation as a target for detection and diagnosis of cancer in biopsy specimens and non-invasive body fluids such as serum and gastric washes have led to many studies of application in gastric cancer. This review focuses on the most common and important phenomenon of epigenetics, DNA methylation, in gastric cancer and illustrates the impact epigenetics has had on this field.

Guerrero-Setas D, Pérez-Janices N, Blanco-Fernandez L, et al.
RASSF2 hypermethylation is present and related to shorter survival in squamous cervical cancer.
Mod Pathol. 2013; 26(8):1111-22 [PubMed] Related Publications
Ras association (RalGDS/AF-6) domain family member 2 (RASSF2) is a gene involved in the progression of several human cancers, including breast, colorectal and lung cancer. The aims of this study were to determine the hypermethylation of the gene in squamous cervical cancer and precursor lesions, along with that of RASSF1 and the recently described EPB41L3, and to analyze the potential prognostic role of these genes. Methylation-specific PCR and bisulfite sequencing were used to analyze the methylation status of RASSF2 and EPB41L3 gene in 60 squamous cervical cancer, 76 cervical intraepithelial neoplasias grade III, 16 grade II, 14 grade I and 13 cases of normal tissue adjacent to cervical intraepithelial neoplasia. RASSF2 expression was evaluated by immunohistochemistry and the re-expression of RASSF2 and EPB41L3 was analyzed by quantitative reverse-transcription PCR in HeLa, SiHa, C33A and A431 cell lines treated with 5-aza-2'-deoxycytidine and/or trichostatin. RASSF1 hypermethylation and human papillomavirus type were also analyzed in all the cases by methylation-specific PCR and reverse line blot, respectively. RASSF2 hypermethylation was predominant in squamous cervical cancer (60.9%) compared with cervical intraepithelial neoplasias (4.2%) and was associated with a lower level of RASSF2 expression and vascular invasion in squamous cervical cancer. EPB41L3 and RASSF1 hypermethylations were also more frequent in cancer than in precursor lesions. Patients with RASSF2 hypermethylation had shorter survival time, independent of tumor stage (hazard ratio: 6.0; 95% confidence interval: 1.5-24.5). Finally, the expressions of RASSF2 and EPB41L3 were restored in several cell lines treated with 5-aza-2'-deoxycytidine. Taken together, our results suggest that RASSF2 potentially functions as a new tumor-suppressor gene that is inactivated through hypermethylation in cervical cancer and is related to the bad prognosis of these patients.

Monica V, Familiari U, Chiusa L, et al.
Messenger RNA and protein expression of thymidylate synthase and DNA repair genes in thymic tumors.
Lung Cancer. 2013; 79(3):228-35 [PubMed] Related Publications
BACKGROUND: Thymic epithelial tumors include several entities with different biologic behavior. Chemotherapy is indicated in advanced disease, but limited data exist on gene expression correlation with the response to chemotherapeutic agents.
PATIENTS AND METHODS: A series of 69 thymic neoplasms (7 A-, 6 AB-, 6 B1-, 10 B2-, 14 B3-thymomas, 22 carcinomas and 4 combined tumors) was collected to assess gene expression of thymidylate synthase (TS), excision repair cross complementing-1 (ERCC1), ribonucleotide reductase subunit 1 (RRM1), topoisomerase 2α (TOP2A) and mTOR.
RESULTS: A strong linear correlation between TS gene and protein expression was observed (P<0.0001, R=0.40). TS expression was significantly lower in pure A-thymomas and thymic carcinomas (P<0.0001) and progressively decreasing from B1-type to thymic carcinomas (B1>B2>B3>C; P<0.0001). RRM1 and TOP2A mRNA expression levels were significantly correlated with TS levels (both P=0.03) with a similar trend of expression among histotypes. RRM1 and TOP2A high levels were significantly correlated with high TS (P=0.03) and low tumor stages (I-II) (P<0.0001 and P<0.01, respectively). No relevant changes of ERCC1 and mTOR were detected.
CONCLUSIONS: Low TS and, to a minor extent, RRM1 and TOP2A expression were detected in aggressive thymic tumors. These findings should be prospectively considered in selecting the most appropriate chemotherapy.

Miranda E, Bianchi P, Destro A, et al.
Genetic and epigenetic alterations in primary colorectal cancers and related lymph node and liver metastases.
Cancer. 2013; 119(2):266-76 [PubMed] Related Publications
BACKGROUND: Colorectal cancer (CRC) prognosis and survival are strictly related to the development of distant metastases. New targeted therapies have increased patient survival, but the objective response rate is still very limited, partially because of a traditional focus on designing treatment according to the molecular profile of the primary tumor regardless the diversity between the primary tumor and metastases. The objective of this study was to evaluate the presence of molecular heterogeneity during metastatic progression and its potential impact on clinical treatment.
METHODS: The authors analyzed v-Ki-ras2 Kirsten rat sarcoma viral oncogene homolog (KRAS) codon 12 mutations, the v-Raf murine sarcoma viral oncogene homolog B1 (BRAF) thymine to adenine substitution at codon 1788, and tumor protein 53 (p53) mutations and investigated promoter methylation of Ras association (RalGDS/AF-6) domain family member 1 protein (RASSF1a), E-cadherin, and cyclin-dependent kinase inhibitor 2A (p16INK4a) in 101 primary CRCs (67 stage III and 34 stage IV) and related lymph node and liver metastases.
RESULTS: Lymph node metastases were characterized by fewer alterations compared with primary tumors and liver metastases, especially KRAS (P = .03) and p16INK4a (P = .05). Genetic changes, when detectable in metastases, mostly were retained from the primary tumor, whereas epigenetic changes more frequently were acquired de novo. Overall, 31 distinct CRC molecular profiles were detected, none of which characterized a particular tumor stage. When the metastatic lesions also were included in the profiles, there were 53 distinct molecular profiles in 67 patients with stage III disease and 34 distinct molecular profiles in 34 patients with stage IV disease.
CONCLUSIONS: Lymph node and liver metastases appear to originate in clonally different processes, with more molecular alterations occurring in distant metastases than in lymph node metastases and with elevated heterogeneity of the primary tumor. Thus, potential prognostic targets should be carefully evaluated for their heterogeneity in both primary tumors and distant metastases to avoid erroneous misclassification.

Samakoglu S, Deevi DS, Li H, et al.
Preclinical rationale for combining an EGFR antibody with cisplatin/gemcitabine for the treatment of NSCLC.
Cancer Genomics Proteomics. 2012 Mar-Apr; 9(2):77-92 [PubMed] Related Publications
BACKGROUND: Although the addition of epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) antibodies to various platinum-based chemotherapy regimens for non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) is being actively pursued in the clinic, rationale for the prioritization of specific regimens is lacking.
MATERIALS AND METHODS: We evaluated the antitumor effects of necitumumab, a recombinant human IgG1 antibody targeting EGFR, in combination with cisplatin plus gemcitabine, pemetrexed, or paclitaxel in a panel of 9 subcutaneous tumor models of NSCLC established in nu/nu athymic mice.
RESULTS: Necitumumab in combination with cisplatin/gemcitabine was particularly effective, although interestingly, the mechanisms underlying these benefits were model dependent. For example, increased tumor cell apoptosis contributed towards combination efficacy in the A549 model, in association with increased expression of hsa-miR-29b and reduced expression of antiapoptotic genes including DNA methyltransferase DNMT3B, commonly up-regulated in patients with NSCLC. Such inverse effects of combination therapy on DNMT3B and hsa-miR-29b expression were found in multiple models. Importantly, in the A549 model, hsa-miR-29b down-regulation of DMNT3b reduced promoter methylation of tumor suppressor genes such as Cell adhesion molecule 1 (CADM1), Ras associated (RalGDS/AF-6) domain family member 1 (RASSF1), and Fragile histidine triad gene (FHIT), increasing their expression.
CONCLUSION: These results offer a preclinical rationale for combining an EGFR antibody with cisplatin/gemcitabine for patients with NSCLC, and provide potential molecular biomarkers for tailoring therapy.

Gus-Brautbar Y, Johnson D, Zhang L, et al.
The anti-inflammatory TIPE2 is an inhibitor of the oncogenic Ras.
Mol Cell. 2012; 45(5):610-8 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
The connection between cancer and inflammation is widely recognized, yet the underlying molecular mechanisms are poorly understood. We report here that TIPE2 provides a molecular bridge from inflammation to cancer by targeting the Ras signaling pathway. TIPE2 binds the Ras-interacting domain of the RalGDS family of proteins, which are essential effectors of activated Ras. This binding prevented Ras from forming an active complex, thereby inhibiting the activation of the downstream signaling molecules Ral and AKT. Consequently, TIPE2 deficiency led to heightened activation of Ral and AKT, resistance to cell death, increased migration, and dysregulation of exocyst complex formation. Conversely, TIPE2 overexpression induced cell death and significantly inhibited Ras-induced tumorigenesis in mice. Importantly, TIPE2 expression was either completely lost or significantly downregulated in human hepatic cancer. Thus, TIPE2 is an inhibitor of both inflammation and cancer, and a potential drug target for inflammatory and neoplastic diseases.

Buhmeida A, Merdad A, Al-Maghrabi J, et al.
RASSF1A methylation is predictive of poor prognosis in female breast cancer in a background of overall low methylation frequency.
Anticancer Res. 2011; 31(9):2975-81 [PubMed] Related Publications
Breast cancer (BC) is the most common cancer worldwide. The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is no exception, with ever increasing incidence rates. An interesting feature of this disease is the relatively young age of the affected women. The average age in the present cohort of 100 sporadic cases of invasive ductal carcinomas was 45 years, with a median of 46 years (range between 19-81 years). In an effort to understand the molecular signature of BC in the Saudi population, we undertook this study to profile the methylation events in a series of key genes including Ras association (RalGDS/AF-6) domain family member 1 isoform a (RASSF1A), hypermethylated in cancer 1 (HIC1), cyclin-dependent kinase inhibitor 2A (CDKN2A), retinoic acid receptor beta (RARB2), estrogen receptor 1 (ESR1), progesterone receptor (PGR), paired-like homeodomain 2 (PITX2), secreted frizzled-related protein 1 (SFRP1), myogenic differentiation 1 (MYOD1), and slit homolog 2 (SLIT2), using MethyLight analysis in archival tumour samples. Interestingly, the overall methylation levels were low in this cohort, with only 84% of the cases displaying methylation in one or more of the analysed genes. The frequency of RASSF1A methylation was the highest (65%), while there was almost complete absence of methylation of the ESR1 and the CDH1 genes (1% and 3%, respectively). Several statistically significant correlations were identified between specific methylation events and clinical parameters which gained more significance when analysis was limited to the estrogen receptor positive samples. Although there was no significant correlations between any methylation event and disease-specific survival, methylation of MYOD1 or RASSF1A was associated with lower disease-free survival and increased chance of disease recurrence. Furthermore, multivariate (Cox) regression analysis identified RASSF1A as an independent predictor of poor prognosis in terms of disease-free survival in this cohort. Our findings provide further evidence on the usefulness of RASSF1A methylation status as an informative prognostic biomarker in BC in a Saudi population.

Yoshikawa Y, Sato A, Tsujimura T, et al.
Frequent deletion of 3p21.1 region carrying semaphorin 3G and aberrant expression of the genes participating in semaphorin signaling in the epithelioid type of malignant mesothelioma cells.
Int J Oncol. 2011; 39(6):1365-74 [PubMed] Related Publications
Array-based comparative genomic hybridization analysis was performed on 21 malignant mesothelioma (MM) samples (16 primary cell cultures and 5 cell lines) and two reactive mesothelial hyperplasia (RM) primary cell cultures. The RM samples did not have any genomic losses or gains. In MM samples, deletions in 1p, 3p21, 4q, 9p21, 16p13 and 22q were detected frequently. We focused on 3p21 because this deletion was specific to the epithelioid type. Especially, a deletion in 3p21.1 region carrying seven genes including SEMA3G was found in 52% of MM samples (11 of 14 epithelioid samples). The allele loss of 3p21.1 might be a good marker for the epithelioid MM. A homozygous deletion in this region was detected in two MM primary cell cultures. A heterozygous deletion detected in nine samples contained the 3p21.1 region and 3p21.31 one carrying the candidate tumor suppressor genes such as semaphorin 3F (SEMA3F), SEMA3B and Ras association (RalGDS/AF-6) domain family member 1 (RASSF1A). SEMA3B, 3F and 3G are class 3 semaphorins and inhibit growth by competing with vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) through binding to neuropilin. All MM samples downregulated the expression of more than one gene for SEMA3B, 3F and 3G when compared with Met5a, a normal pleura-derived cell line. Moreover, in 12 of 14 epithelioid MM samples the expression level of SEMA3A was lower than that in Met5a and the two RM samples. An augmented expression of VEGFA was detected in half of the MM samples. The expression ratio of VEGFA/SEMA3A was significantly higher in the epithelioid MMs than in Met5a, RMs and the non-epithelioid MMs. Our data suggest that the downregulated expression of SEMA3A and several SEMA3s results in a loss of inhibitory activities in tumor angiogenesis and tumor growth of VEGFA; therefore, it may play an important role on the pathogenesis of the epithelioid type of MM.

Osei-Sarfo K, Martello L, Ibrahim S, Pellicer A
The human Rgr oncogene is overexpressed in T-cell malignancies and induces transformation by acting as a GEF for Ras and Ral.
Oncogene. 2011; 30(34):3661-71 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
The Ras superfamily of GTPases is involved in the modification of many cellular processes including cellular motility, proliferation and differentiation. Our laboratory has previously identified the RalGDS-related (Rgr) oncogene in a DMBA (7,12-dimethylbenz[α]anthracene)-induced rabbit squamous cell carcinoma and its human orthologue, hRgr. In this study, we analyzed the expression levels of the human hRgr transcript in a panel of human hematopoietic malignancies and found that a truncated form (diseased-truncated (Dtr-hrgr)) was significantly overexpressed in many T-cell-derived neoplasms. Although the Rgr proto-oncogene belongs to the RalGDS family of guanine nucleotide exchange factors (GEFs), we show that upon the introduction of hRgr into fibroblast cell lines, it is able to elicit the activation of both Ral and Ras GTPases. Moreover, in vitro guanine nucleotide exchange assays confirm that hRgr promotes Ral and Ras activation through GDP dissociation, which is a critical characteristic of GEF proteins. hRgr has guanine nucleotide exchange activity for both small GTPases and this activity was reduced when a point mutation within the catalytic domain (CDC25) of the protein, (cd) Dtr-hRgr, was utilized. These observations prompted the analysis of the biological effects of hRgr and (cd) hRgr expression in cultured cells. Here, we show that hRgr increases proliferation in low serum, increases invasion, reduces anchorage dependence and promotes the progression into the S phase of the cell cycle; properties that are abolished or severely reduced in the presence of the catalytic dead mutant. We conclude that the ability of hRgr to activate both Ral and Ras is responsible for its transformation-inducing phenotype and it could be an important contributor in the development of some T-cell malignancies.

Martin TD, Samuel JC, Routh ED, et al.
Activation and involvement of Ral GTPases in colorectal cancer.
Cancer Res. 2011; 71(1):206-15 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Current approaches to block KRAS oncogene function focus on inhibition of K-Ras downstream effector signaling. We evaluated the antitumor activity of selumetinib (AZD6244, ARRY-142886), a potent and selective MEK1/2 inhibitor, on a panel of colorectal carcinoma (CRC) cells and found no inhibition of KRAS mutant CRC cell anchorage-independent growth. Although AKT activity was elevated in KRAS mutant cells, and PI3K inhibition did impair the growth of MEK inhibitor-insensitive CRC cell lines, concurrent treatment with selumetinib did not provide additional antitumor activity. Therefore, we speculated that inhibition of the Ral guanine exchange factor (RalGEF) effector pathway may be a more effective approach for blocking CRC growth. RalGEFs are activators of the related RalA and RalB small GTPases and we found activation of both in CRC cell lines and patient tumors. Interfering RNA stable suppression of RalA expression reduced CRC tumor cell anchorage-independent growth, but surprisingly, stable suppression of RalB greatly enhanced soft agar colony size and formation frequency. Despite their opposing activities, both RalA and RalB regulation of anchorage-independent growth required interaction with RalBP1/RLIP76 and components of the exocyst complex. Interestingly, RalA interaction with the Exo84 but not Sec5 exocyst component was necessary for supporting anchorage-independent growth, whereas RalB interaction with Sec5 but not Exo84 was necessary for inhibition of anchorage-independent growth. We suggest that anti-RalA-selective therapies may provide an effective approach for KRAS mutant CRC.

Vigil D, Martin TD, Williams F, et al.
Aberrant overexpression of the Rgl2 Ral small GTPase-specific guanine nucleotide exchange factor promotes pancreatic cancer growth through Ral-dependent and Ral-independent mechanisms.
J Biol Chem. 2010; 285(45):34729-40 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Our recent studies established essential and distinct roles for RalA and RalB small GTPase activation in K-Ras mutant pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC) cell line tumorigencity, invasion, and metastasis. However, the mechanism of Ral GTPase activation in PDAC has not been determined. There are four highly related mammalian RalGEFs (RalGDS, Rgl1, Rgl2, and Rgl3) that can serve as Ras effectors. Whether or not they share distinct or overlapping functions in K-Ras-mediated growth transformation has not been explored. We found that plasma membrane targeting to mimic persistent Ras activation enhanced the growth-transforming activities of RalGEFs. Unexpectedly, transforming activity did not correlate directly with total cell steady-state levels of Ral activation. Next, we observed elevated Rgl2 expression in PDAC tumor tissue and cell lines. Expression of dominant negative Ral, which blocks RalGEF function, as well as interfering RNA suppression of Rgl2, reduced PDAC cell line steady-state Ral activity, growth in soft agar, and Matrigel invasion. Surprisingly, the effect of Rgl2 on anchorage-independent growth could not be rescued by constitutively activated RalA, suggesting a novel Ral-independent function for Rgl2 in transformation. Finally, we determined that Rgl2 and RalB both localized to the leading edge, and this localization of RalB was dependent on endogenous Rgl2 expression. In summary, our observations support nonredundant roles for RalGEFs in Ras-mediated oncogenesis and a key role for Rgl2 in Ral activation and Ral-independent PDAC growth.

Györffy B, Schäfer R
Biomarkers downstream of RAS: a search for robust transcriptional targets.
Curr Cancer Drug Targets. 2010; 10(8):858-68 [PubMed] Related Publications
The small GTP-binding proteins HRAS, KRAS and NRAS belong to a family of oncoproteins associated with many types of human cancer. Signal transduction processes initiated at receptor tyrosine kinases converge on RAS proteins which serve as molecular switches linking upstream signals with the transcriptional machinery. RAS proteins interact with a number of effector proteins that in turn activate the Raf/MEK/ERK pathway, the PI3K/PKB/Akt pathway, the RalGDS/Ral pathway and other downstream pathways. Mutations in RAS lock the protein in its active form. Chronic activation of the KRAS isoform is the basis for resistance toward antibody therapies targeting receptor tyrosine kinases, as an upstream stimulus through growth factor receptor-mediated activation is no longer required. However, the complexity of the RAS signaling system necessitates the search for additional activating mechanisms as well as biomarkers associated with pathway activation. During recent years, several RAS pathway-related gene signatures were identified, mostly by microarray-based gene expression profiling of normal versus RAS-transformed cells. The signatures can serve as a source of common biomarkers indicating functionally relevant downstream effects of the RAS signaling system. In searching for new markers, we compared the gene expression signatures compiled in 24 independent studies. We analyzed differentially regulated genes recovered in microarray studies on human specimens to discriminate paired normal and tumor tissues. Although the overlap between individual studies was low, this meta-analysis revealed Kruppel-like factor 5 (KLF5), the CD44 antigen and members of the epidermal growth factor (EGR)-family as common downstream effectors of RAS.

Zipfel PA, Brady DC, Kashatus DF, et al.
Ral activation promotes melanomagenesis.
Oncogene. 2010; 29(34):4859-64 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Up to one-third of human melanomas are characterized by an oncogenic mutation in the gene encoding the small guanosine triphosphatase (GTPase) NRAS. Ras proteins activate three primary classes of effectors, namely, Rafs, phosphatidyl-inositol-3-kinases (PI3Ks) and Ral guanine exchange factors (RalGEFs). In melanomas lacking NRAS mutations, the first two effectors can still be activated through an oncogenic BRAF mutation coupled with a loss of the PI3K negative regulator PTEN. This suggests that Ras effectors promote melanoma, regardless of whether they are activated by oncogenic NRas. The only major Ras effector pathway not explored for its role in melanoma is the RalGEF-Ral pathway, in which Ras activation of RalGEFs converts the small GTPases RalA and RalB to an active guanosine triphosphate-bound state. We report that RalA is activated in several human melanoma cancer cell lines harboring an oncogenic NRAS allele, an oncogenic BRAF allele or wild-type NRAS and BRAF alleles. Furthermore, short hairpin RNA (shRNA)-mediated knockdown of RalA, and to a lesser extent of RalB, variably inhibited the tumorigenic growth of melanoma cell lines having these three genotypes. Thus, as is the case for Raf and PI3 K signaling, Rals also contribute to melanoma tumorigenesis.

Bedó G, Pascual A, Aranda A
Early thyroid hormone-induced gene expression changes in N2a-β neuroblastoma cells.
J Mol Neurosci. 2011; 45(2):76-86 [PubMed] Related Publications
Thyroid hormone has long been known to regulate neural development. Hypothyroidism during pregnancy and early postnatal period has severe neurological consequences including even mental retardation. The purpose of this study was to characterize gene expression pattern during thyroid hormone-induced differentiation of neuro-2a β cells in order to select "direct response genes" for further analysis. In this neuroblastoma cell line, thyroid hormone blocks proliferation and induces differentiation. Changes in gene expression level were examined after a T3 treatment of 3 and 24 h using cDNA arrays. Sixteen genes were significantly up-regulated and 79 down-regulated by T3 treatment. Five up-regulated genes not previously described as regulated by thyroid hormone and selected for their putative significance to understand T3 action on cell differentiation, were verified by RT-PCR analysis. The transcription factors Phox2a and basic helix-loop-helix domain containing, class B2 mRNAs exhibited a clear increase after 3- and 24-h treatment. The guanine-nucleotide exchange factor RalGDS was greatly up-regulated after 3-h treatment but not 24 h after. The results suggest an early involvement of these genes in T3 action during neuroblastoma cell differentiation probably mediating later changes in gene expression pattern.

Liedtke M, Ayton PM, Somervaille TC, et al.
Self-association mediated by the Ras association 1 domain of AF6 activates the oncogenic potential of MLL-AF6.
Blood. 2010; 116(1):63-70 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
MLL is a common target for chromosomal translocations associated with acute leukemia resulting in its fusion with a large variety of nuclear or cytoplasmic proteins that may activate its oncogenic properties by distinct but poorly understood mechanisms. The MLL-AF6 fusion gene represents the most common leukemogenic fusion of mixed lineage leukemia (MLL) to a cytoplasmic partner protein. Here, we identified a highly conserved Ras association (RA1) domain at the amino-terminus of AF6 as the minimal region sufficient for MLL-AF6 mediated myeloid progenitor immortalization in vitro and short latency leukemogenesis in vivo. Moreover, the ability of RA1 to activate MLL oncogenesis is conserved with its Drosophila ortholog, Canoe. Although the AF6 RA1 domain has previously been defined as an interaction surface for guanosine triphosphate-bound Ras, single amino acid substitutions known to abolish the AF6-Ras interaction did not abrogate MLL-AF6-mediated oncogenesis. Furthermore, fusion of MLL to heterologous RA domains of c-Raf1 or RalGDS, or direct fusion of MLL to constitutively active K-RAS, H-RAS, or RAP1 was not sufficient for oncogenic activation of MLL. Rather, the AF6 RA1 domain efficiently mediated self-association, suggesting that constitutive MLL self-association is a more common pathogenic mechanism for MLL oncogenesis than indicated by previous studies of rare MLL fusion partners.

Issaq SH, Lim KH, Counter CM
Sec5 and Exo84 foster oncogenic ras-mediated tumorigenesis.
Mol Cancer Res. 2010; 8(2):223-31 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
The genes encoding the Ras family of small GTPases are mutated to yield constitutively active GTP-bound oncogenic proteins in one third of all human cancers. Oncogenic Ras binds to and activates a number of proteins that promote tumorigenic phenotypes, including the family of Ral guanine nucleotide exchange factors (RalGEF). Activated RalGEFs convert the Ral family of small GTPases, composed of RalA and RalB, from an inactive GDP-bound state to an active GTP-bound state. As both RalA and RalB have been implicated in a variety of tumorigenic phenotypes, we sought to determine which proteins downstream of Rals promote transformation and tumorigenesis. Here, we report that shRNA-mediated knockdown of the Ral effector proteins Sec5 and Exo84, but less so in the case of RalBP1, reduced oncogenic RalGEF-mediated transformation and oncogenic Ras-driven tumorigenic growth of human cells. These results suggest that Rals promote oncogenic Ras-mediated tumorigenesis through, at least in part, Sec5 and Exo84.

Sato K, Ozawa S, Izukuri K, et al.
Expression of tumour-suppressing chemokine BRAK/CXCL14 reduces cell migration rate of HSC-3 tongue carcinoma cells and stimulates attachment to collagen and formation of elongated focal adhesions in vitro.
Cell Biol Int. 2010; 34(5):513-22 [PubMed] Related Publications
BRAK/CXCL14 (breast- and kidney-expressed chemokine/CXC chemokine ligand 14) is a chemokine that is expressed in many normal cells and tissues but is absent from or expressed at very low levels in transformed cells and cancerous tissues, including HNSCC (head and neck squamous cell carcinoma). We reported previously that the forced expression of BRAK/CXCL14 in HNSCC (HSC-3 BRAK) cells decreased the rate of tumour formation and size of tumour xenografts compared with mock-vector-introduced (HSC-3 Mock) cells in athymic nude mice, even though the growth rates of these cells were the same under in vitro culture conditions, suggesting that high-level expression of the gene is important for the suppression of tumour establishment in vivo. For the first step to study the mechanisms of BRAK-dependent tumour suppression, we compared characteristics between HSC-3 BRAK and HSC-3 Mock cells under in vitro culture conditions. The cell migration rate was lower in HSC-3 BRAK cells than in HSC-3 Mock cells. Also, HSC-3 BRAK cells showed more rapid adhesion than HSC-3 Mock cells when cultured on type I collagen-coated dishes but not on fibronectin or laminin 1-coated ones. This adhesion was mediated by alpha2beta1 integrin. Immunofluorescent analysis of the cells cultured on type I collagen showed that HSC-3 BRAK cells formed much more elongated focal adhesions co-localized with paxillin and actin stress fibres than did HSC-3 Mock cells. Treatment of parental HSC-3 cells with recombinant BRAK stimulated the activation of Rap1, which is a ras family small GTPase, and formation of elongated focal adhesions, indicating that the difference in cell character observed between HSC-3 Mock and HSC-3 BRAK was not due to selection of clones of different character but due to expression of BRAK in the cells. The characteristic morphology of focal adhesions in HSC-3 BRAK cells was perturbed by the introduction of an expression vector of the Rap-binding domain of the Ral guanine nucleotide dissociation stimulator, a target of Rap1, into HSC-3 BRAK cells, suggesting that Rap1 regulated the formation of the morphology of the focal adhesions. These data indicate that the expression of BRAK stimulated the formation of elongated focal adhesions of the HSC-3 cells in an autocrine or paracrine fashion, in which stimulation may be responsible for the reduced migration of the cells.

Jacquemart IC, Springs AE, Chen WY
Rassf3 is responsible in part for resistance to mammary tumor development in neu transgenic mice.
Int J Oncol. 2009; 34(2):517-28 [PubMed] Related Publications
MMTV/neu transgenic mouse line is a well-documented model for studying HER2/neu-related breast cancer. Approximately 80% of these mice develop mammary tumors by 11 months of age, whereas a small percentage appears to have naturally acquired resistance to HER2/neu tumorigenesis. To identify factors responsible for tumor resistance in these transgenic mice, comparative genetic profiling was used to screen alterations in gene expression in the mammary gland. A novel gene, the RAS association domain (RalGDS/AF-6) family 3 (Rassf3), which belongs to a family of RAS effectors and tumor suppressor genes, was identified. Data indicated 1) that Rassf3 is overexpressed in mammary gland of tumor-resistant MMTV/neu mice compared to tumor-susceptible MMTV/neu littermates or non-transgenic mice, and 2) Rassf3 is significantly up-regulated in neu-specific mouse mammary tumors compared to adjacent normal tissues. In vitro overexpression of RASSF3 inhibited cell proliferation in HER2/neu positive human and mouse breast cancer cell lines, possibly through induction of apoptosis. A novel MMTV/Rassf3-neu bi-transgenic mouse line, overexpressing Rassf3 and neu genes in mammary glands, was established. Mammary tumor incidence in bi-transgenic mice was delayed compared to their MMTV/neu+/- littermates. These data suggest that Rassf3 may influence mammary tumor incidence in MMTV/neu transgenic mice.

Ihle NT, Lemos R, Wipf P, et al.
Mutations in the phosphatidylinositol-3-kinase pathway predict for antitumor activity of the inhibitor PX-866 whereas oncogenic Ras is a dominant predictor for resistance.
Cancer Res. 2009; 69(1):143-50 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
The novel phosphatidylinositol-3-kinase (PI3K) inhibitor PX-866 was tested against 13 experimental human tumor xenografts derived from cell lines of various tissue origins. Mutant PI3K (PIK3CA) and loss of PTEN activity were sufficient, but not necessary, as predictors of sensitivity to the antitumor activity of the PI3K inhibitor PX-866 in the presence of wild-type Ras, whereas mutant oncogenic Ras was a dominant determinant of resistance, even in tumors with coexisting mutations in PIK3CA. The level of activation of PI3K signaling measured by tumor phosphorylated Ser(473)-Akt was insufficient to predict in vivo antitumor response to PX-866. Reverse-phase protein array revealed that the Ras-dependent downstream targets c-Myc and cyclin B were elevated in cell lines resistant to PX-866 in vivo. Studies using an H-Ras construct to constitutively and preferentially activate the three best-defined downstream targets of Ras, i.e., Raf, RalGDS, and PI3K, showed that mutant Ras mediates resistance through its ability to use multiple pathways for tumorigenesis. The identification of Ras and downstream signaling pathways driving resistance to PI3K inhibition might serve as an important guide for patient selection as inhibitors enter clinical trials and for the development of rational combinations with other molecularly targeted agents.

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