The product of this gene belongs to the family of highly homologous synovial sarcoma X (SSX) breakpoint proteins. These proteins may function as transcriptional repressors. They are also capable of eliciting spontaneous humoral and cellular immune responses in cancer patients, and are potentially useful targets in cancer vaccine-based immunotherapy. This gene, and also the SSX1 and SSX4 family members, have been involved in t(X;18)(p11.2;q11.2) translocations that are characteristically found in all synovial sarcomas. This translocation results in the fusion of the synovial sarcoma translocation gene on chromosome 18 to one of the SSX genes on chromosome X. The encoded hybrid proteins are likely responsible for transforming activity. Alternative splicing of this gene results in multiple transcript variants. This gene also has an identical duplicate, GeneID: 727837, located about 45 kb downstream in the opposite orientation on chromosome X. [provided by RefSeq, Jul 2013]
t(X;18)(p11.2;q11.2) SS18-SSX2 in Synovial Sarcoma A SYT-SSX fusion gene resulting from the chromosomal translocation t(X;18)(p11;q11) is characteristic nearly all synovial sarcomas. This translocation fuses the SS18 (SYT) gene from chromosome 18 to one of three homologous genes at Xp11: SSX1, SSX2 or SSX4.
Note: list is not exhaustive. Number of papers are based on searches of PubMed (click on topic title for arbitrary criteria used).
Atlas of Genetics and Cytogenetics in Oncology and Haematology
SSX2 OMIM, Johns Hopkin University Referenced article focusing on the relationship between phenotype and genotype.
SSX2 International Cancer Genome Consortium. Summary of gene and mutations by cancer type from ICGC
SSX2 Cancer Genome Anatomy Project, NCI Gene Summary
SSX2 COSMIC, Sanger Institute Somatic mutation information and related details
SSX2 TICdb, Universidad de Navarra Search the database of Translocation breakpoints In Cancer for "SSX2"
SSX2 GEO Profiles, NCBI Search the gene expression profiles from curated DataSets in the Gene Expression Omnibus (GEO) repository.
Latest Publications: SSX2 (cancer-related)
Olofson AM, Linos K Primary Intraprostatic Synovial Sarcoma. Arch Pathol Lab Med. 2017; 141(2):301-304 [PubMed] Related Publications
Primary intraprostatic synovial sarcoma is a rare presentation of an otherwise well-studied disease, and it is one of the few primary sarcomas to occur in the prostate. Ancillary diagnostic techniques including immunohistochemistry and molecular genetics are useful to establish a definitive diagnosis. Despite its unorthodox location, it shares histologic and molecular genetic characteristics with tumors found elsewhere in the body. Most notably, the chromosomal translocation t(X;18)(p11;q11) encodes a chimeric transcription-activating protein, SS18-SSX, which has been identified as the primary driver mutation. The SS18-SSX fusion gene provides a consistent and dependable means of establishing a definitive diagnosis via reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction or fluorescence in situ hybridization. Recent studies have continued to provide insight into the oncogenesis of this disease. The goal of this review is to elaborate on the clinicopathologic characteristics and underline those techniques that best facilitate the diagnosis of primary intraprostatic synovial sarcoma.
Machado I, Navarro L, Pellin A, et al. Defining Ewing and Ewing-like small round cell tumors (SRCT): The need for molecular techniques in their categorization and differential diagnosis. A study of 200 cases. Ann Diagn Pathol. 2016; 22:25-32 [PubMed] Related Publications
BACKGROUND: Differentiation of Ewing sarcoma family of tumors (ESFT) and Ewing-like tumors remains problematic. Certain ESFT with morphological and immunohistochemical (IHC) profiles lack the EWSR1-ETS transcript. To improve diagnostic accuracy we investigated the presence of several specific transcripts in 200 small round cell tumors (SRCT) displaying ESFT morphology and immunophenotype in which EWSR1 FISH analysis was non-informative or negative. DESIGN: 200 tumors (formalin-fixed, paraffin-embedded) were analyzed by RT-PCR. All tumors were tested for EWSR1-ETS, EWSR1/WT1, PAX3/7-FOX01 or SYT/SSX transcripts, and the negative tumors were subsequently analyzed for CIC/DUX4, BCOR/CCNB3 and CIC/FOX04 transcripts. RESULTS: 133 (66.5%) ESFT displayed one of the above EWSR1-ETS translocations. Three cases (1.5%) revealed the SYT-SSX transcript for Synovial sarcoma, and one (0.5%) a EWSR1-WT1 transcript for Desmoplastic Small Round Cell tumor. The CIC-DUX4 translocation was found in six Ewing-like tumors (3%) with CD99 positivity. The BCOR-CCNB3 gene fusion was observed in 5 tumors (2.5%) displaying round or spindle cells with strong CCNB3 IHC expression in 3 tumors. Moreover, RT-PCR failed to detect any gene fusion transcripts in 19 tumors (9.5%) and were considered "undifferentiated small round cell sarcoma" (SRCS). Molecular biology results were non-informative in 33 SRCTs (16.5%) due to RNA degradation through inadequate fixation and/or decalcification. CONCLUSION: Our analysis of 200 SRCTs confirms the molecular heterogeneity of neoplasms with ESFT morphology and highlight that molecular studies with RT-PCR including new emerging gene fusion transcripts are mandatory for the diagnosis when EWSR1 FISH is negative or non-informative. The incidence of CIC-DUX4, BCOR-CCNB3 and CIC-FOX04 transcripts was relatively low. A small group of Ewing-like sarcomas or undifferentiated SRCS remains unclassified. Adopting appropriate tissue fixation and processing protocols is important to avoid degradation of fixed/embedded tissue when no frozen tumor is available.
Expression of the SS18/SYT-SSX fusion protein is believed to underlie the pathogenesis of synovial sarcoma (SS). Recent evidence suggests that deregulation of the Wnt pathway may play an important role in SS but the mechanisms whereby SS18-SSX might affect Wnt signaling remain to be elucidated. Here, we show that SS18/SSX tightly regulates the elevated expression of the key Wnt target AXIN2 in primary SS. SS18-SSX is shown to interact with TCF/LEF, TLE and HDAC but not β-catenin in vivo and to induce Wnt target gene expression by forming a complex containing promoter-bound TCF/LEF and HDAC but lacking β-catenin. Our observations provide a tumor-specific mechanistic basis for Wnt target gene induction in SS that can occur in the absence of Wnt ligand stimulation.
Ogino H, Hanibuchi M, Takizawa H, et al. Primary Pulmonary Synovial Sarcoma Showing a Prolonged Survival with Multimodality Therapy. Intern Med. 2016; 55(4):381-7 [PubMed] Related Publications
A 54-year-old man was referred to our hospital due to a mass shadow noted on a chest X-ray. Thoracoscopic lobectomy yielded a diagnosis of primary pulmonary synovial sarcoma according to the histology and SYT-SSX1 gene analyses. Five months after the thoracic surgery, he developed brain metastasis; therefore, we performed resection of the brain metastatic focus followed by radiotherapy. As a local recurrence in the thoracic cavity concurrently emerged, systemic chemotherapy was also administered. These observations indicated that a multidisciplinary approach may be useful against primary pulmonary synovial sarcoma, although there is presently no established therapeutic strategy due to its rarity and highly aggressive nature.
The prevalence and specificity of unique fusion oncogenes are high in a number of soft tissue sarcomas (STSs). The close relationship between fusion genes and clinicopathological features suggests that a correlation may exist between the function of fusion proteins and cellular context of the cell-of-origin of each tumor. However, most STSs are origin-unknown tumors and this issue has not yet been investigated in detail. In the present study, we examined the effects of the cellular context on the function of the synovial sarcoma (SS)-specific fusion protein, SS18-SSX, using human pluripotent stem cells (hPSCs) containing the drug-inducible SS18-SSX gene. We selected the neural crest cell (NCC) lineage for the first trial of this system, induced SS18-SSX at various differentiation stages from PSCs to NCC-derived mesenchymal stromal cells (MSCs), and compared its biological effects on each cell type. We found that the expression of FZD10, identified as an SS-specific gene, was induced by SS18-SSX at the PSC and NCC stages, but not at the MSC stage. This stage-specific induction of FZD10 correlated with stage-specific changes in histone marks associated with the FZD10 locus and also with the loss of the BAF47 protein, a member of the SWI/SNF chromatin-remodeling complex. Furthermore, the global gene expression profile of hPSC-derived NCCs was the closest to that of SS cell lines after the induction of SS18-SSX. These results clearly demonstrated that the cellular context is an important factor in the function of SS18-SSX as an epigenetic modifier.
Ito J, Asano N, Kawai A, Yoshida A The diagnostic utility of reduced immunohistochemical expression of SMARCB1 in synovial sarcomas: a validation study. Hum Pathol. 2016; 47(1):32-7 [PubMed] Related Publications
Synovial sarcoma is a malignant mesenchymal neoplasm of uncertain histogenesis, characterized by a specific SS18-SSX fusion. The diagnosis of synovial sarcoma can be challenging based on morphology and conventional immunohistochemistry alone, and identification of the fusion gene by molecular genetics may be necessary for diagnosis. Several recent studies have demonstrated the diagnostic utility of the reduced expression of SMARCB1 in synovial sarcomas as measured using immunohistochemistry. Therefore, we undertook a validation study using synovial sarcomas and other spindle or round cell tumors that could enter differential diagnosis of monophasic or poorly differentiated synovial sarcomas. Among 36 synovial sarcomas that were successfully evaluated, the expression of SMARCB1 was diffusely reduced in 33 cases (92%) at variable degrees. In contrast, the expression of SMARCB1 was not reduced in any of the 93 evaluable non-synovial sarcoma tumors (5 thymomas, 5 sarcomatoid mesotheliomas, 10 schwannomas, 9 mesenchymal chondrosarcomas, 20 solitary fibrous tumors, 19 Ewing sarcomas, and 25 malignant peripheral nerve sheath tumors). A few schwannomas and malignant peripheral nerve sheath tumors showed mosaic or complete loss of SMARCB1 expression. Reduced expression of SMARCB1 immunoreactivity was therefore found to be highly sensitive and specific for synovial sarcoma, and can be useful for rapidly and accurately confirming the diagnosis of synovial sarcoma. This reduction in SMARCB1 expression likely reflects the BAF47 ejection mechanism of the SS18-SSX fusion product and can therefore be viewed as an indirect visualization of this fusion product.
Reardon ES, Hong JA, Straughan DM, et al. Pulmonary Metastases Exhibit Epigenetic Clonality: Implications for Precision Cancer Therapy. Ann Thorac Surg. 2015; 100(5):1839-48; discussion 1848 [PubMed] Related Publications
BACKGROUND: Development of effective cancer therapies may be limited by intratumoral heterogeneity, which facilitates outgrowth and organ-specific dissemination of treatment resistant clones. At present, limited information is available regarding epigenetic landscapes of pulmonary metastases. This study was undertaken to characterize epigenetic signatures of pulmonary metastases and to identify potential therapeutic targets. METHODS: RNA and DNA were extracted from 65 pulmonary metastases resected from 12 patients (5 with sarcoma, 7 with adrenocortical carcinoma). Quantitative reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction techniques were used to evaluate expression levels of cancer-testis (CT) genes (NY-ESO-1, MAGE-A3, MAGE-A9, MAGE-A12, GAGE1, CT-45, SSX-1, and SSX-2), tumor suppressor (TS) genes (p16 and RASSF1A), and genes encoding epigenetic modifiers (DNMT1, DNMT3A, DNMT3B, EZH2, EED, and SUZ12), aberrantly expressed in human malignant diseases. Pyrosequencing techniques were used to quantitate DNA methylation levels in LINE1, NBL2, and D4Z4 repetitive sequences and promoter methylation status of differentially regulated genes. Results of these analyses were compared with a standardized panel of normal lung tissues. RESULTS: Pulmonary metastases exhibited histologically related and patient-specific global DNA demethylation. Significant interpatient heterogeneity of gene expression was observed even among patients with similar tumor histologic features. Epigenetic signatures appeared consistent among metastases from the same patient, irrespective of the time of resection (synchronous/metachronous) or the anatomic location. EZH2, EED, and SUZ12 (core components of Polycomb repressive complex-2 [PRC-2]) were upregulated in the majority of metastases. CONCLUSIONS: Pulmonary metastases exhibit patient-specific epigenetic clonality, which may be exploited for precision therapies targeting aberrant CT or TS gene expression. PRC-2 may be a shared target for epigenetic therapy of pulmonary metastases.
β-catenin is a master regulator in the cellular biology of development and neoplasia. Its dysregulation is implicated as a driver of colorectal carcinogenesis and the epithelial-mesenchymal transition in other cancers. Nuclear β-catenin staining is a poor prognostic sign in synovial sarcoma, the most common soft-tissue sarcoma in adolescents and young adults. We show through genetic experiments in a mouse model that expression of a stabilized form of β-catenin greatly enhances synovial sarcomagenesis. Stabilization of β-catenin enables a stem-cell phenotype in synovial sarcoma cells, specifically blocking epithelial differentiation and driving invasion. β-catenin achieves its reprogramming in part by upregulating transcription of TCF/LEF target genes. Even though synovial sarcoma is primarily a mesenchymal neoplasm, its progression towards a more aggressive and invasive phenotype parallels the epithelial-mesenchymal transition observed in epithelial cancers, where β-catenin's transcriptional contribution includes blocking epithelial differentiation.
BACKGROUND: Synovial sarcoma account for approximately 10 % of all soft-tissue tumors and occur most frequently in young adults. A specific translocation in this sarcoma induces fusion of the SYT gene on chromosome 18 to the SSX genes on chromosome X, leading to proliferation of the tumor cells. The need for non-invasive biomarkers indicating recurrence and activity of this disease has sparked research into short non-coding RNA known as microRNA (miRNA). METHODS: Blood samples of patients with active synovial sarcoma and of synovial sarcoma patients in complete remission as well as of healthy donors and patients with active leiomyosarcoma, MPNST, Ewing sarcoma and liposarcoma were collected. Whole blood RNA was extracted and samples of patients with active synovial sarcoma and of healthy donors were analyzed using an Affymetrix GeneChip miRNA Array v. 4.0. qRT-PCR was carried out to confirm a panel of miRNAs which where differentially expressed in the miRNA array. This miRNA-panel was further evaluated in patients with synovial sarcoma in complete remission and patients with active leiomyosarcoma, MPNST, Ewing sarcoma and liposarcoma as well as in an independent cohort of synovial sarcoma patients. RESULTS: Unsupervised hierarchical clustering of the miRNA arrays separated patients with active synovial sarcoma from healthy controls. A panel of seven miRNAs (miR-99a-5p, miR-146b-5p, miR-148b-3p, miR-195-5p, miR-223-3p, miR-500b-3p and miR-505-3p) was further validated by qRT-PCR to be significantly upregulated in synovial sarcoma patients. Moreover, most of the analyzed miRNAs were shown to be significantly upregulated in synovial sarcoma patients compared to leiomyosarcoma, MPNST, Ewing sarcoma and liposarcoma patients. Validation of the miRNA panel in an independent cohort of synovial sarcoma patients confirmed higher expression levels compared to healthy controls and patients in complete remission. CONCLUSION: Our results have identified a specific whole blood miRNA signature that may serve as an independent biomarker for the diagnosis of local recurrence or distant metastasis of synovial sarcoma. It even distinguishes synovial sarcoma from other sarcoma subtypes, thus potentially serving as a specific biomarker for synovial sarcoma.
Ito J, Suzuki S, Yoshida A, Mori T Primary intraocular synovial sarcoma in the post retinal detachment operative state. BMJ Case Rep. 2015; 2015 [PubMed] Related Publications
Synovial sarcoma generally arises in the deep soft tissue, although it has been described at virtually every anatomic site except in the eyeball. We report the case of a 48-year-old woman who had a history of retinal detachment surgery and who had undergone vitrectomy and the insertion of a solid silicon explant 24 years previously. She reported a visual field defect. Funduscopy and MRI revealed a tumour just behind the iris in the left eyeball, and enucleation was performed. Microscopic examination of the tumour revealed uniform spindle cells in a fascicular arrangement with frequent mitotic figures. Immunohistochemistry showed that the tumour was positive for TLE1 and epithelial membrane antigen and fluorescent in situ hybridisation revealed that the tumour had a rearrangement of the SYT gene. Reverse transcription (RT)-PCR confirmed the presence of a SYT-SSX2 fusion transcript. On the basis of these histomorphological and molecular features, the diagnosis of poorly differentiated synovial sarcoma was rendered.
BACKGROUND: Identification of tumour antigens is crucial for the development of vaccination strategies against hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). Most studies come from eastern-Asia, where hepatitis-B is the main cause of HCC. However, tumour antigen expression is poorly studied in low-endemic, western areas where the aetiology of HCC differs. METHODS: We constructed tissue microarrays from resected HCC tissue of 133 patients. Expression of a comprehensive panel of cancer-testis (MAGE-A1, MAGE-A3/4, MAGE-A10, MAGE-C1, MAGE-C2, NY-ESO-1, SSX-2, sperm protein 17), onco-fetal (AFP, Glypican-3) and overexpressed tumour antigens (Annexin-A2, Wilms tumor-1, Survivin, Midkine, MUC-1) was determined by immunohistochemistry. RESULTS: A higher prevalence of MAGE antigens was observed in patients with hepatitis-B. Patients with expression of more tumour antigens in general had better HCC-specific survival (P=0.022). The four tumour antigens with high expression in HCC and no, or weak, expression in surrounding tumour-free-liver tissue, were Annexin-A2, GPC-3, MAGE-C1 and MAGE-C2, expressed in 90, 39, 17 and 20% of HCCs, respectively. Ninety-five percent of HCCs expressed at least one of these four tumour antigens. Interestingly, GPC-3 was associated with SALL-4 expression (P=0.001), an oncofetal transcription factor highly expressed in embryonal stem cells. SALL-4 and GPC-3 expression levels were correlated with vascular invasion, poor differentiation and higher AFP levels before surgery. Moreover, patients who co-expressed higher levels of both GPC-3 and SALL-4 had worse HCC-specific survival (P=0.018). CONCLUSIONS: We describe a panel of four tumour antigens with excellent coverage and good tumour specificity in a western area, low-endemic for hepatitis-B. The association between GPC-3 and SALL-4 is a novel finding and suggests that GPC-3 targeting may specifically attack the tumour stem-cell compartment.
Tajima S, Takahashi T, Itaya T, et al. Cystic synovial sarcoma of the pleura mimicking a cystic thymoma: a case report illustrating the role of decreased INI-1 expression in differential diagnosis. Int J Clin Exp Pathol. 2015; 8(3):3262-9 [PubMed] Free Access to Full ArticleRelated Publications
Less than 40 cases of primary pleural synovial sarcoma (SS) have been reported to date. Furthermore, only three cases of cystic SS have been documented in the English literature, including cases originating from sites other than the pleura. Herein, we present an exceedingly rare case of cystic SS originating from the mediastinal side of the visceral pleura in an asymptomatic 47-year-old man, which was detected during a checkup. On contrast-enhanced computed tomography, distinguishing between cystic SS and cystic thymoma was difficult because the tumor was attached to the anterior mediastinum where the latter type of malignancy is more often detected. Histopathological examination showed tumor cells with spindled morphology showing hypercellularity and moderate nuclear atypia, with less than one mitotic figure per high-power field. As these features are associated with both monophasic fibrous SS and type A thymoma, more data was required to determine proper diagnosis, and therefore, immunohistochemistry was performed. Along with a conventional panel of markers, the SS-specific marker integrase interactor 1 (INI-1) was applied and found to be decreased; decreased expression of INI-1 is characteristic of SS. A diagnosis of SS was confirmed by detection of the SYT-SSX fusion gene via fluorescence in situ hybridization. Given the relatively common availability of INI-1 testing in departments of pathology, this protein would be helpful incorporated into the standard panel of markers for diagnosing SS.
DNA vaccines have demonstrated antitumor efficacy in multiple preclinical models, but low immunogenicity has been observed in several human clinical trials. This has led to many approaches seeking to improve the immunogenicity of DNA vaccines. We previously reported that a DNA vaccine encoding the cancer-testis antigen SSX2, modified to encode altered epitopes with increased MHC class I affinity, elicited a greater frequency of cytolytic, multifunctional CD8(+) T cells in non-tumor-bearing mice. We sought to test whether this optimized vaccine resulted in increased antitumor activity in mice bearing an HLA-A2-expressing tumor engineered to express SSX2. We found that immunization of tumor-bearing mice with the optimized vaccine elicited a surprisingly inferior antitumor effect relative to the native vaccine. Both native and optimized vaccines led to increased expression of PD-L1 on tumor cells, but antigen-specific CD8(+) T cells from mice immunized with the optimized construct expressed higher PD-1. Splenocytes from immunized animals induced PD-L1 expression on tumor cells in vitro. Antitumor activity of the optimized vaccine could be increased when combined with antibodies blocking PD-1 or PD-L1, or by targeting a tumor line not expressing PD-L1. These findings suggest that vaccines aimed at eliciting effector CD8(+) T cells, and DNA vaccines in particular, might best be combined with PD-1 pathway inhibitors in clinical trials. This strategy may be particularly advantageous for vaccines targeting prostate cancer, a disease for which antitumor vaccines have demonstrated clinical benefit and yet PD-1 pathway inhibitors alone have shown little efficacy to date.
Maekura T, Shimizu S, Kawaguchi T, et al. Intravascular synovial sarcoma of the pulmonary artery with massive pleural effusion: report of a case with a favorable response to Ifosfamide chemotherapy and palliative radiation therapy. Intern Med. 2015; 54(9):1095-8 [PubMed] Related Publications
Synovial sarcoma (SS) commonly arises in the para-articular soft tissue; however, very few cases of intravascular SS have so far been reported. We herein describe a case of pulmonary artery SS with massive pleural effusion. A biopsy of the pleural lesions showed uniform short spindle cell proliferation, while the SYT-SSX fusion gene, which is preceded by chromosomal translocation t(X;18)(p11;q11), was detected using reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction. Treatment with ifosfamide chemotherapy and palliative radiation therapy was effective in reducing the growth of the tumor in the pulmonary artery and pleural lesions, indicating that this regimen may be useful for the treatment of unresectable SS in the pulmonary artery.
BACKGROUND: The most common pediatric renal neoplasm is Wilms tumor, but clear cell sarcoma of the kidney or synovial sarcoma of the kidney are also sometimes encountered. Accurate pathological diagnosis is important, because adjuvant therapies including chemotherapy and radiotherapy differ according to the pathological type. CASE PRESENTATION: A 9-year-old boy presented with a headache, and ultrasonography, computed tomography, and magnetic resonance imaging revealed a heterogeneous enhancement of soft tissue originating from the upper pole of the left kidney, measuring approximately 11.0 × 10.0 × 8.0 cm. A left radical nephrectomy was performed using an intraperitoneal approach through an anterior subcostal incision. Pathological examination suggested clear cell sarcoma of the kidney or synovial sarcoma of the kidney based on morphological and immunohistological features. Using genetic analysis, a final diagnosis of spindle cell pattern clear cell sarcoma of the kidney was made based on the absence of the SYT-SSX fusion gene. After adjuvant chemo-radiotherapy was administered, no recurrence or metastasis has been identified as of 60 months postoperatively. CONCLUSION: In this case, it was difficult to discriminate clear cell sarcoma of the kidney from synovial sarcoma of the kidney based on histopathological examination alone, and genetic analysis was required. Accurate pathological diagnosis of pediatric renal tumor is important for determining optimal treatment and preventing recurrence and metastasis.
Al-Hussain T, Bakshi N, Akhtar M Intratubular germ cell neoplasia of the testis: a brief review. Adv Anat Pathol. 2015; 22(3):202-12 [PubMed] Related Publications
Germ cell tumors of the testis may be divided into 3 broad categories according to age at presentation. The tumors in the pediatric age group include teratoma and yolk sac tumor. These tumors are generally not associated with convincing intratubular neoplasia. The second group consists of tumors presenting in third and fourth decade of life and include seminoma, embryonal carcinoma, yolk sac tumor, choriocarcinoma, and teratoma as well as mixed germ cell tumors. The precursor cell for these tumors is an abnormal gonocyte that fails to differentiate completely into spermatogonia. These abnormal cells stay dormant in the gonad during intrauterine life as well as infancy and childhood, but undergo proliferation during puberty and can be identified as intratubular germ cell neoplasia unclassified (IGCNU). These tumor cells continue to manifest protein expression pattern that resembles primitive germ cells (PLAP, c-KIT, OCT3/4). After a variable interval following puberty, IGCNU cells may acquire ability to penetrate the seminiferous tubules and present as an overt germ cell tumor. Acquisition of isochrome 12 and other genetic abnormalities are usually associated with this transition. The level of DNA methylation generally determines the phenotype of the germ cell tumor. The third type of germ cell tumors is spermatocytic seminoma, which is a rare tumor encountered later in life usually in fifth and sixth decade. The cell of origin of this tumor is probably postpubertal mature spermatogonia which acquire abnormal proliferative capability probably due to gain of chromosome 9 resulting in activation and amplification of genes such as DMRT1. The tumor cells manifest many of the proteins normally expressed by mature sperms such as VASA, SSX2, and occasionally OCT2. Although spermatocytic seminoma may also have an intratubular growth phase, it completely lacks features of IGCNU.
UNLABELLED: Oncogenesis in synovial sarcoma is driven by the chromosomal translocation t(X,18; p11,q11), which generates an in-frame fusion of the SWI/SNF subunit SS18 to the C-terminal repression domains of SSX1 or SSX2. Proteomic studies have identified an integral role of SS18-SSX in the SWI/SNF complex, and provide new evidence for mistargeting of polycomb repression in synovial sarcoma. Two recent in vivo studies are highlighted, providing additional support for the importance of WNT signaling in synovial sarcoma: One used a conditional mouse model in which knockout of β-catenin prevents tumor formation, and the other used a small-molecule inhibitor of β-catenin in xenograft models. SIGNIFICANCE: Synovial sarcoma appears to arise from still poorly characterized immature mesenchymal progenitor cells through the action of its primary oncogenic driver, the SS18-SSX fusion gene, which encodes a multifaceted disruptor of epigenetic control. The effects of SS18-SSX on polycomb-mediated gene repression and SWI/SNF chromatin remodeling have recently come into focus and may offer new insights into the basic function of these processes. A central role for deregulation of WNT-β-catenin signaling in synovial sarcoma has also been strengthened by recent in vivo studies. These new insights into the the biology of synovial sarcoma are guiding novel preclinical and clinical studies in this aggressive cancer.
Palmerini E, Benassi MS, Quattrini I, et al. Prognostic and predictive role of CXCR4, IGF-1R and Ezrin expression in localized synovial sarcoma: is chemotaxis important to tumor response? Orphanet J Rare Dis. 2015; 10:6 [PubMed] Free Access to Full ArticleRelated Publications
BACKGROUND: Synovial sarcoma (SS) is a rare tumor, with dismal survival when metastatic. The role of adjuvant chemotherapy is debated. New prognostic and predictive factors are needed. METHODS: We reviewed patients with localized SS; SS18-SSX fusion transcript presence was confirmed by FISH and RT-PCR. Expression of CXCR4, IGF-1R and Ezrin were evaluated by immunohistochemistry. RESULTS: Tumor samples from 88 SS patients (45 female; 43 male) with median age 37 years (range 11-63) were selected. The size of the lesion was > 5 cm in 68% of patients and 34% of cases presented biphasic histotype. All patients underwent surgery, 56% adjuvant radiotherapy (RT), 65% adjuvant chemotherapy. A positive stain for IGF-1R was detected in 55 patients, with nucleus expression in 21 patients. CXCR4 was expressed in 74 patients, nuclear pattern in 31 patients. 80 SS were positive to Ezrin, 48 had cytoplasmatic location, 32 membrane location. With a median follow-up of 6 years (1-30 years), the 5-year overall survival (OS) was 70% (95% CI 60-81). 5-year OS was 63% (95% CI 41-85%) for patients with positive IGF-1R/nuclear expression, and 73% (95% CI 61-85%; P = 0.05) in negative patients. 5-year OS was 47% (95% CI 27-66%) in patients with positive CXCR4/nuclear staining, and 86% (95% CI 76-96%, P = 0.0003) in negative cases. No survival difference was found according to Ezrin expression. By multivariate analysis, nuclear expression of CXCR4 and IGF-1R was confirmed independent adverse prognostic factor for SS patient survival linked to the use of chemotherapy. CONCLUSIONS: Our findings have important potential implications demonstrating that together with clinical prognostic factors such as radiotherapy and age, CXCR4 and IGF-1R negatively influences survival in patients with localized SS. We believe that further studies addressed to the effects of CXCR4 and IGF-1R inhibitors on cell viability and function are needed to plan new and more appropriate SS treatments.
Yang P, Huo Z, Liao H, Zhou Q Cancer/testis antigens trigger epithelial-mesenchymal transition and genesis of cancer stem-like cells. Curr Pharm Des. 2015; 21(10):1292-300 [PubMed] Related Publications
Malignant tumors aberrantly overexpress various embryonic genes and proto-oncogenes, including a variety of cancer-testis antigens (CTAs). CTAs belong to a class of testis-derived proteins which are only expressed in germ cells in the male testis, and the expression of CTA genes is entirely silenced in the adult somatic tissues. They are, however, aberrantly overexpressed in a variety of malignant tumor tissues. Emerging evidence shows that a number of CTAs promote epithelialmesenchymal transition (EMT) and genesis of cancer stem like cells, escalating tumorigenesis, invasion, and metastasis. The can cer-testis antigens, such as SSX, MAGE-D4B, CAGE, piwil2, and CT45A1, upregulate EMT and metastatic genes, promoting EMT and tumor dissemination. In addition, certain members of CTAs, including Piwil2, DNAJB8, CT45A1, MAGE-A, GAGE, and SPANX, are implicated in the initiation or maintenance, of cancer stem-like cells, promoting tumorigenesis and malignant progression. Clinically CTAs are closely associated with poor prognosis in cancer patients. Intriguely, CTAs are strongly immunogenic and normally restricted to the male testis after birth, however, these proteins are aberrantly overexpressed in cancer stem-like cells and in a variety of cancers, suggesting their target potential for cancer immunotherapy, as diagnostic biomarkers, and as targets for novel anticancer drug discovery. Thus, the targeting of tumorigenic CTAs is a promising strategy to eradicate cancer stem-like cells and inhibit tumorigenesis for effective cancer treatment.
Vaccines targeting pathogens are generally effective and protective because based on foreign non-self antigens which are extremely potent in eliciting an immune response. On the contrary, efficacy of therapeutic cancer vaccines is still disappointing. One of the major reasons for such poor outcome, among others, is the difficulty of identifying tumor-specific target antigens which should be unique to the tumors or, at least, overexpressed on the tumors as compared to normal cells. Indeed, this is the only option to overcome the peripheral immune tolerance and elicit a non toxic immune response. New and more potent strategies are now available to identify specific tumor-associated antigens for development of cancer vaccine approaches aiming at eliciting targeted anti-tumor cellular responses. In the last years this aspect has been addressed and many therapeutic vaccination strategies based on either whole tumor cells or specific antigens have been and are being currently evaluated in clinical trials. This review summarizes the current state of cancer vaccines, mainly focusing on antigen-specific approaches.
Greve KB, Lindgreen JN, Terp MG, et al. Ectopic expression of cancer/testis antigen SSX2 induces DNA damage and promotes genomic instability. Mol Oncol. 2015; 9(2):437-49 [PubMed] Related Publications
SSX cancer/testis antigens are frequently expressed in melanoma tumors and represent attractive targets for immunotherapy, but their role in melanoma tumorigenesis has remained elusive. Here, we investigated the cellular effects of SSX2 expression. In A375 melanoma cells, SSX2 expression resulted in an increased DNA content and enlargement of cell nuclei, suggestive of replication aberrations. The cells further displayed signs of DNA damage and genomic instability, associated with p53-mediated G1 cell cycle arrest and a late apoptotic response. These results suggest a model wherein SSX2-mediated replication stress translates into mitotic defects and genomic instability. Arrest of cell growth and induction of DNA double-strand breaks was also observed in MCF7 breast cancer cells in response to SSX2 expression. Additionally, MCF7 cells with ectopic SSX2 expression demonstrated typical signs of senescence (i.e. an irregular and enlarged cell shape, enhanced β-galactosidase activity and DNA double-strand breaks). Since replication defects, DNA damage and senescence are interconnected and well-documented effects of oncogene expression, we tested the oncogenic potential of SSX2. Importantly, knockdown of SSX2 expression in melanoma cell lines demonstrated that SSX2 supports the growth of melanoma cells. Our results reveal two important phenotypes of ectopic SSX2 expression that may drive/support tumorigenesis: First, immediate induction of genomic instability, and second, long-term support of tumor cell growth.
BACKGROUND: The identification of fusion genes such as SYT-SSX1/SSX2, PAX3-FOXO1, TPM3/TPM4-ALK and EWS-FLI1 in human sarcomas has provided important insight into the diagnosis and targeted therapy of sarcomas. No recurrent fusion has been reported in human osteosarcoma. METHODS: Transcriptome sequencing was used to characterize the gene fusions and mutations in 11 human osteosarcomas. RESULTS: Nine of 11 samples were found to harbor genetic inactivating alterations in the TP53 pathway. Two recurrent fusion genes associated with the 12q locus, LRP1-SNRNP25 and KCNMB4-CCND3, were identified and validated by RT-PCR, Sanger sequencing and fluorescence in situ hybridization, and were found to be osteosarcoma specific in a validation cohort of 240 other sarcomas. Expression of LRP1-SNRNP25 fusion gene promoted SAOS-2 osteosarcoma cell migration and invasion. Expression of KCNMB4-CCND3 fusion gene promoted SAOS-2 cell migration. CONCLUSIONS: Our study represents the first whole transcriptome analysis of untreated human osteosarcoma. Our discovery of two osteosarcoma specific fusion genes associated with osteosarcoma cellular motility highlights the heterogeneity of osteosarcoma and provides opportunities for new treatment modalities.
Polycomb group (PcG) complexes regulate cellular identity through epigenetic programming of chromatin. Here, we show that SSX2, a germline-specific protein ectopically expressed in melanoma and other types of human cancers, is a chromatin-associated protein that antagonizes BMI1 and EZH2 PcG body formation and derepresses PcG target genes. SSX2 further negatively regulates the level of the PcG-associated histone mark H3K27me3 in melanoma cells, and there is a clear inverse correlation between SSX2/3 expression and H3K27me3 in spermatogenesis. However, SSX2 does not affect the overall composition and stability of PcG complexes, and there is no direct concordance between SSX2 and BMI1/H3K27me3 presence at regulated genes. This suggests that SSX2 antagonizes PcG function through an indirect mechanism, such as modulation of chromatin structure. SSX2 binds double-stranded DNA in a sequence non-specific manner in agreement with the observed widespread association with chromatin. Our results implicate SSX2 in regulation of chromatin structure and function.
Luetkens T, Kobold S, Cao Y, et al. Functional autoantibodies against SSX-2 and NY-ESO-1 in multiple myeloma patients after allogeneic stem cell transplantation. Cancer Immunol Immunother. 2014; 63(11):1151-62 [PubMed] Related Publications
BACKGROUND: Multiple myeloma (MM) is the malignancy with the most frequent expression of the highly immunogenic cancer-testis antigens (CTA), and we have performed the first analysis of longitudinal expression, immunological properties, and fine specificity of CTA-specific antibody responses in MM. METHODS: Frequency and characteristics of antibody responses against cancer-testis antigens MAGE-A3, NY-ESO-1, PRAME, and SSX-2 were analyzed using peripheral blood (N = 1094) and bone marrow (N = 200) plasma samples from 194 MM patients. RESULTS: We found that antibody responses against CTA were surprisingly rare, only 2.6 and 3.1 % of patients evidenced NY-ESO-1- and SSX-2-specific antibodies, respectively. NY-ESO-1-specific responses were observed during disease progression, while anti-SSX-2 antibodies appeared after allogeneic stem cell transplantation and persisted during clinical remission. We found that NY-ESO-1- and SSX-2-specific antibodies were both capable of activating complement and increasing CTA uptake by antigen-presenting cells. SSX-2-specific antibodies were restricted to IgG3, NY-ESO-1 responses to IgG1 and IgG3. Remarkably, NY-ESO-1-positive sera recognized various non-contiguous regions, while SSX-2-specific responses were directed against a single 6mer epitope, SSX-2(85-90). CONCLUSIONS: We conclude that primary autoantibodies against intracellular MM-specific tumor antigens SSX-2 and NY-ESO-1 are rare but functional. While their contribution to disease control still remains unclear, our data demonstrate their theoretic ability to affect cellular anti-tumor immunity by formation and uptake of mono- and polyvalent immune complexes.
MicroRNA (miRNA) can function as tumor suppressors or oncogenes, and also as potential specific cancer biomarkers; however, there are few published studies on miRNA in synovial sarcomas, and their function remains unclear. We transfected the OncomiR miRNA Precursor Virus Library into synovial sarcoma Fuji cells followed by a colony formation assay to identify miRNAs to confer an aggressive tumorigenicity, and identified miR-17-5p from the large colonies. MiR-17 was found to be induced by a chimeric oncoprotein SS18-SSX specific for synovial sarcoma, and all examined cases of human synovial sarcoma expressed miR-17, even at high levels in several cases. Overexpression of miR-17 in synovial sarcoma cells, Fuji and HS-SYII, increased colony forming ability in addition to cell growth, but not cell motility and invasion. Tumor volume formed in mice in vivo was significantly increased by miR-17 overexpression with a marked increase of MIB-1 index. According to PicTar and Miranda algorithms, which predicted CDKN1A (p21) as a putative target of miR-17, a luciferase assay was performed and revealed that miR-17 directly targets the 3'-UTR of p21 mRNA. Indeed, p21 protein level was remarkably decreased by miR-17 overexpression in a p53-independent manner. It is noteworthy that miR-17 succeeded in suppressing doxorubicin-evoked higher expression of p21 and conferred the drug resistance. Meanwhile, introduction of anti-miR-17 in Fuji and HS-SYII cells significantly decreased cell growth, consistent with rescued expression of p21. Taken together, miR-17 promotes the tumor growth of synovial sarcomas by post-transcriptional suppression of p21, which may be amenable to innovative therapeutic targeting in synovial sarcoma.
Wakamatsu T, Naka N, Sasagawa S, et al. Deflection of vascular endothelial growth factor action by SS18-SSX and composite vascular endothelial growth factor- and chemokine (C-X-C motif) receptor 4-targeted therapy in synovial sarcoma. Cancer Sci. 2014; 105(9):1124-34 [PubMed] Free Access to Full ArticleRelated Publications
Synovial sarcoma (SS) is a malignant soft-tissue tumor characterized by the recurrent chromosomal translocation SS18-SSX. Vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF)-targeting anti-angiogenic therapy has been approved for soft-tissue sarcoma, including SS; however, the mechanism underlying the VEGF signal for sarcomagenesis in SS is unclear. Here, we show that SS18-SSX directs the VEGF signal outcome to cellular growth from differentiation. Synovial sarcoma cells secrete large amounts of VEGF under spheroid culture conditions in autocrine fashion. SS18-SSX knockdown altered the VEGF signaling outcome, from proliferation to tubular differentiation, without affecting VEGF secretion, suggesting that VEGF signaling promoted cell growth in the presence of SS18-SSX. Thus, VEGF inhibitors blocked both host angiogenesis and spheroid growth. Simultaneous treatment with VEGF and chemokine (C-X-C motif) (CXC) ligand 12 and CXC receptor 4 inhibitors and/or ifosfamide effectively suppressed tumor growth both in vitro and in vivo. SS18-SSX directs the VEGF signal outcome from endothelial differentiation to spheroid growth, and VEGF and CXC receptor 4 are critical therapeutic targets for SS.
SSX is a transcription factor with elusive oncogenic functions expressed in a variety of human tumors of epithelial and mesenchymal origin. It has raised substantial interest as a target for cancer therapy since it elicits humoral responses and displays restricted expression to cancer, spermatogonia and mesenchymal stem cells. Here, we investigated the oncogenic properties of SSX by employing a RNA interference to knock-down the endogenous expression of SSX in melanoma and osteosarcoma cell lines. Depletion of SSX expression resulted in reduced proliferation with cells accumulating in the G1 phase of the cell cycle. We found that the growth promoting and survival properties of SSX are mediated in part though modulation of MAPK/Erk and Wnt signaling pathways, since SSX silencing inhibited Erk-mediated signaling and transcription of cMYC and Akt-1. We also found that SSX forms a transient complex with β-catenin at the G1-S phase boundary resulting in the altered expression of β-catenin target genes such as E-cadherin, snail-2 and vimentin, involved in epithelial-mesenchymal transitions. Importantly the silencing of SSX expression in in vivo significantly impaired the growth of melanoma tumor xenografts. Tumor biopsies from SSX silenced tumors displayed reduced cyclin A staining, indicative of low proliferation and predominantly cycloplasmic β-catenin compared to SSX expressing tumors. The present study demonstrates a previously unknown function of SSX, that as an oncogene and as a tumor target for the development of novel anti-cancer drugs.
He L, Ji JN, Liu SQ, et al. Expression of cancer-testis antigen in multiple myeloma. J Huazhong Univ Sci Technolog Med Sci. 2014; 34(2):181-5 [PubMed] Related Publications
Recently, the immunotherapy has been highlighted among cancer treatments. Cancer-testis antigen (CTA) has been studied in a variety of solid tumors because of its specific expression in tumors, and testis, ovary and placenta tissues, but not in other normal tissues. In order to provide a new approach for multiple myeloma (MM) immunotherapy, we examined the CTA expression in MM cell lines, and primary myeloma cells in patients with MM. Reverse transcriptase-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) was used to detect the mRNA expression of MAGE-C1/CT7, SSX1, SSX2 and SSX4 in MM cell lines of RPMI-8226 and U266, and bone marrow (BM) cells of 25 MM patients and 18 healthy volunteers. The results showed that the 4 CTAs were expressed in RPMI-8226 and U266 cell lines. The positive expression rate of MAGE-C1/CT7, SSX1, SSX2 and SSX4 in the BM cells of 25 MM patients was 28% (7/25), 80% (20/25), 40% (10/25) and 68% (17/25), respectively. In contrast, the expression of any member of the CTAs was not detected in BM cells of 18 healthy volunteers. The expression of two or more CTAs was detected in 80% (20/25) MM patients, and that of at least one CTA in 88% (22/25). The mRNA expression levels of SSX1 and SSX4 were significantly higher in patients with MM at stage III than in those at stage I and II (P<0.05). No statistically significant differences were observed in the mRNA expression levels of MAGE-C1/CT7 and SSX2 in further stratified analyses by age, gender, MM types and percentage of MM cells in BM (P>0.05). In conclusion, our present study showed that MAGE-C1/CT7, SSX1, SSX2 and SSX4 were co-expressed in MM cell lines and the primary myeloma cells in MM patients, but not expressed in BM cells of healthy subjects. The mRNA levels of SSX1 and SSX4 are associated with MM clinical stage. This work may provide a new insight into MM immunotherapy in the future.
Greve KB, Pøhl M, Olsen KE, et al. SSX2-4 expression in early-stage non-small cell lung cancer. Tissue Antigens. 2014; 83(5):344-9 [PubMed] Related Publications
The expression of cancer/testis antigens SSX2, SSX3, and SSX4 in non-small cell lung cancers (NSCLC) was examined, since they are considered promising targets for cancer immunotherapy due to their immunogenicity and testis-restricted normal tissue expression. We characterized three SSX antibodies and performed immunohistochemical staining of 25 different normal tissues and 143 NSCLCs. The antibodies differed in binding to two distinctive splice variants of SSX2 that exhibited different subcellular staining patterns, suggesting that the two splice variants display different functions. SSX2-4 expression was only detected in 5 of 143 early-stage NSCLCs, which is rare compared to other cancer/testis antigens (e.g. MAGE-A and GAGE). However, further studies are needed to determine whether SSX can be used as a prognostic or predictive biomarker in NSCLC.
Silverstein D, Klein P Large monophasic synovial sarcoma: a case report and review of the literature. Cutis. 2014; 93(1):13-6 [PubMed] Related Publications
Synovial sarcomas account for approximately 8% of all soft tissue tumors. The hallmark tumor marker is the t(X;18) translocation, which results in fusion of the SYT gene of chromosome 18 to the SSX gene of the X chromosome, creating most frequently either an SYT-SSX1 or SYT-SSX2 transfusion transcript. Clinically, synovial sarcomas most often present on the extremities and average roughly 7 cm in diameter. Metastatic spread to regional lymph nodes and/or the lungs is common. Because the incidence of this tumor is low, most studies have been retrospective; therefore, management and prognostic interpretation has remained controversial. We report a case of a patient who presented with a slowly growing, unusually large mass on the left forearm of 10 years' duration. A diagnosis of monophasic synovial sarcoma was confirmed by biopsy. We also review the literature regarding management strategies for synovial sarcomas.