TFF1

Gene Summary

Gene:TFF1; trefoil factor 1
Aliases: pS2, BCEI, HPS2, HP1.A, pNR-2, D21S21
Location:21q22.3
Summary:Members of the trefoil family are characterized by having at least one copy of the trefoil motif, a 40-amino acid domain that contains three conserved disulfides. They are stable secretory proteins expressed in gastrointestinal mucosa. Their functions are not defined, but they may protect the mucosa from insults, stabilize the mucus layer, and affect healing of the epithelium. This gene, which is expressed in the gastric mucosa, has also been studied because of its expression in human tumors. This gene and two other related trefoil family member genes are found in a cluster on chromosome 21. [provided by RefSeq, Jul 2008]
Databases:VEGA, OMIM, HGNC, Ensembl, GeneCard, Gene
Protein:trefoil factor 1
Source:NCBIAccessed: 13 March, 2017

Ontology:

What does this gene/protein do?
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Pathways:What pathways are this gene/protein implicaed in?
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Cancer Overview

Research Indicators

Publications Per Year (1992-2017)
Graph generated 13 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.

  • Promoter Regions
  • Proteins
  • Base Sequence
  • Cell Division
  • Transcription Factors
  • Biomarkers, Tumor
  • Transfection
  • Estrogen Receptor alpha
  • Estrogen Receptors
  • Tunisia
  • Hormone-Dependent Cancers
  • Gene Expression
  • Neoplasm Proteins
  • Stomach Cancer
  • Transcription
  • Uteroglobin
  • RTPCR
  • Adenocarcinoma
  • Sensitivity and Specificity
  • beta Catenin
  • Oligonucleotide Array Sequence Analysis
  • Wound Healing
  • Messenger RNA
  • Peptides
  • Mucins
  • Estrogen Antagonists
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • TFF1
  • Cancer RNA
  • Chromosome 21
  • Thiamine
  • Gene Expression Profiling
  • Cancer Gene Expression Regulation
  • Estrogens
  • Estradiol
  • Trefoil Factor-1
  • Cell Proliferation
  • Receptors, Progesterone
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Cancer DNA
  • DNA Methylation
  • Breast Cancer
Tag cloud generated 13 March, 2017 using data from PubMed, MeSH and CancerIndex

Specific Cancers (2)

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: TFF1 (cancer-related)

Maguire JA, Lu L, Mills JA, et al.
Generation of Hermansky Pudlak syndrome type 2 (HPS2) induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs).
Stem Cell Res. 2016; 16(2):287-9 [PubMed] Related Publications
Hermansky-Pudlak syndrome type 2 (HPS2) is a rare autosomal recessive disorder resulting from functional mutations in the adaptor-related protein complex 3, beta 1 subunit (AP3B1) gene. This gene plays a role in organelle biogenesis associated with melanosomes, platelet dense granules, and lysosomes. Here we describe the generation of an HPS2 iPS cell line (CHOPHPS2) using a Cre-excisable polycistronic STEMCCA lentivirus. This line was derived from human fibroblasts isolated from a patient carrying two mutations in the AP3B1 gene. The patient presented with severe neutropenia, ocular albinism, interstitial pulmonary fibrosis, hemorrhagic diathesis, and an absence of platelet-dense granules.

Kim J, Lee J, Jang SY, et al.
Anticancer effect of metformin on estrogen receptor-positive and tamoxifen-resistant breast cancer cell lines.
Oncol Rep. 2016; 35(5):2553-60 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Acquisition of tamoxifen resistance (TR) during anti-estrogenic therapy using tamoxifen is a major obstacle in the treatment of estrogen receptor (ER)-positive breast cancer. As a biguanide derivative, metformin is commonly used to treat type II diabetes. It has recently emerged as a potential anticancer agent. The objective of the present study was to investigate the anticancer activity of metformin in relation to ERα expression and its signaling pathway in ERα-positive MCF-7 and MDA-MB-361 breast cancer cells as well as TR MCF-7 breast cancer cells. Metformin inhibited both protein and mRNA levels of ERα in the presence or absence of estrogen (E2) in the MCF-7, TR MCF-7 and MDA-MB-361 cells. Metformin repressed E2-inducible estrogen response element (ERE) luciferase activity, protein levels and mRNA levels of E2/ERα-regulated genes [including c-Myc, cyclin D1, progesterone receptor (PR) and pS2] to a greater degree than tamoxifen, resulting in inhibition of cell proliferation of MCF-7, TR MCF-7 and MDA-MB-361 cells. Collectively, our results suggest that one of the anticancer mechanisms of metformin could be attributable to the repression of expression and transcriptional activity of ERα. Metformin may be a good therapeutic agent for treating ERα-positive breast cancer by inhibiting the expression and function of ERα. In addition, metformin may be useful to treat tamoxifen-resistant breast cancer.

Vini R, Juberiya AM, Sreeja S
Evidence of pomegranate methanolic extract in antagonizing the endogenous SERM, 27-hydroxycholesterol.
IUBMB Life. 2016; 68(2):116-21 [PubMed] Related Publications
The direct relationship between obesity and breast cancer has been elucidated recently with the identification of a cholesterol derivative 27-hydroxycholesterol (27HC), an endogenous SERM that can act through estrogen receptor (ER)-mediated mechanisms. Our recent research shed light on the possible SERM-like property of methanol extract of pericarp of pomegranate (PME) by using human breast (MCF-7, MDA-MB-231), endometrial (HEC-1A), cervical (SiHa, HeLa), ovarian (SKOV3) cancer cell lines, normal breast fibroblasts (MCF-10A) and also by in vivo models (ovariectomized Swiss albino mice). Our findings demonstrated that PME binds to ER and downregulates the Estrogen response elements (ERE)-mediated transcription in breast cancer cells without being agonistic in the uterine endometrium and has cardioprotective effects comparable to that of 17-β-estradiol. This preliminary work indicates the ability of PME to antagonize the activity of 27HC. We hypothesize that PME can compete with 27HC for ERα and reduce 27HC-induced proliferation of MCF-7 cells. Relevant estrogen-regulated genes such as pS2, PR and ERα were checked to evaluate the ability of PME to abrogate 27HC-induced genes. This study is significant, being the first report describing that bioactive components of the methanolic extract of pericarp of PME, a proven SERM could plausibly compete for 27HC.

Lara PN, Moon J, Hesketh PJ, et al.
SWOG S0709: Randomized Phase II Trial of Erlotinib versus Erlotinib Plus Carboplatin/Paclitaxel in Patients with Advanced Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer and Impaired Performance Status as Selected by a Serum Proteomics Assay.
J Thorac Oncol. 2016; 11(3):420-5 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
INTRODUCTION: Patients with advanced-stage non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) and borderline performance status (performance status 2 [PS2]) are often excluded from clinical trials and platinum-based therapy. In light of the potential role for serum proteomics in predicting the benefit of erlotinib beyond that of epidermal growth factor receptor gene (EGFR) mutational status, we conducted a trial in which the Veristrat proteomics assay was used for data enrichment when selecting a cohort of patients with NSCLC and PS2 to receive erlotinib with and without chemotherapy.
METHODS: Patients with metastatic NSCLC, PS2, acceptable end-organ function, and Veristrat-good status were randomly assigned to receive either 150 mg of erlotinib orally daily (arm 1) or 150 mg of erlotinib orally daily on days 2 through16 plus four cycles of carboplatin (area under the curve = 5 on day 1) and paclitaxel (200 mg/m(2) intravenously on day 1) followed by 150 mg of erlotinib orally (arm 2). The arm 2 agents were pharmacodynamically separated to mitigate potential antagonism. The arm with superior observed median progression-free survival (PFS) would be selected for further evaluation, but only if PFS lasted for at least 3 months.
RESULTS: The trial terminated before the planned accrual of 98 patients for regulatory reasons. A total of 156 patients were screened. Of the 83 (59%) who were classified as Veristrat good, 59 met the trial eligibility criteria and were randomly assigned to one of two arms (33 patients in arm 1 and 26 in arm 2). The patients in arm 2 patients had a higher response rate (23% versus 6%, p = 0.06), disease control rate (77% versus 41%, p = 0.0046), median PFS (4.6 versus 1.6 months, p = 0.06), and median overall survival (11 versus 6 months, p = 0.27). Treatment-related grade 4 adverse events were seen in two patients in arm 1 (thrombosis and hypomagnesemia) and in five patients in arm 2 (neutropenia in five, febrile neutropenia in one, and leukopenia in one).
CONCLUSIONS: In a proteomics-enriched cohort of patients with NSCLC and PS2, pharmacodynamically separated erlotinib plus chemotherapy had better efficacy than did erlotinib alone and surpassed the protocol-specified benchmark of PFS of at least 3 months required for further study.

Candelaria NR, Weldon R, Muthusamy S, et al.
Alcohol Regulates Genes that Are Associated with Response to Endocrine Therapy and Attenuates the Actions of Tamoxifen in Breast Cancer Cells.
PLoS One. 2015; 10(12):e0145061 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Hereditary, hormonal, and behavioral factors contribute to the development of breast cancer. Alcohol consumption is a modifiable behavior that is linked to increased breast cancer risks and is associated with the development of hormone-dependent breast cancers as well as disease progression and recurrence following endocrine treatment. In this study we examined the molecular mechanisms of action of alcohol by applying molecular, genetic, and genomic approaches in characterizing its effects on estrogen receptor (ER)-positive breast cancer cells. Treatments with alcohol promoted cell proliferation, increased growth factor signaling, and up-regulated the transcription of the ER target gene GREB1 but not the canonical target TFF1/pS2. Microarray analysis following alcohol treatment identified a large number of alcohol-responsive genes, including those which function in apoptotic and cell proliferation pathways. Furthermore, expression profiles of the responsive gene sets in tumors were strongly associated with clinical outcomes in patients who received endocrine therapy. Correspondingly, alcohol treatment attenuated the anti-proliferative effects of the endocrine therapeutic drug tamoxifen in ER-positive breast cancer cells. To determine the contribution and functions of responsive genes, their differential expression in tumors were assessed between outcome groups. The proto-oncogene BRAF was identified as a novel alcohol- and estrogen-induced gene that showed higher expression in patients with poor outcomes. Knock-down of BRAF, moreover, prevented the proliferation of breast cancer cells. These findings not only highlight the mechanistic basis of the effects of alcohol on breast cancer cells and increased risks for disease incidents and recurrence, but may facilitate the discovery and characterization of novel oncogenic pathways and markers in breast cancer research and therapeutics.

Oh SM, Kim HR, Park YJ, et al.
Ethanolic extract of dandelion (Taraxacum mongolicum) induces estrogenic activity in MCF-7 cells and immature rats.
Chin J Nat Med. 2015; 13(11):808-14 [PubMed] Related Publications
Plants of the genus Taraxacum, commonly known as dandelions, are used to treat breast cancer in traditional folk medicine. However, their use has mainly been based on empirical findings without sufficient scientific evidence. Therefore, we hypothesized that dandelions would behave as a Selective estrogen receptor modulator (SERM) and be effective as hormone replacement therapy (HRT) in the postmenopausal women. In the present study, in vitro assay systems, including cell proliferation assay, reporter gene assay, and RT-PCR to evaluate the mRNA expression of estrogen-related genes (pS2 and progesterone receptor, PR), were performed in human breast cancer cells. Dandelion ethanol extract (DEE) significantly increased cell proliferation and estrogen response element (ERE)-driven luciferase activity. DEE significantly induced the expression of estrogen related genes such as pS2 and PR, which was inhibited by tamoxifen at 1 μmol·L(-1). These results indicated that DEE could induce estrogenic activities mediated by a classical estrogen receptor pathway. In addition, immature rat uterotrophic assay was carried out to identify estrogenic activity of DEE in vivo. The lowest concentration of DEE slightly increased the uterine wet weight, but there was no significant effect with the highest concentration of DEE. The results demonstrate the potential estrogenic activities of DEE, providing scientific evidence supporting their use in traditional medicine.

Rauscher GH, Kresovich JK, Poulin M, et al.
Exploring DNA methylation changes in promoter, intragenic, and intergenic regions as early and late events in breast cancer formation.
BMC Cancer. 2015; 15:816 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
BACKGROUND: Breast cancer formation is associated with frequent changes in DNA methylation but the extent of very early alterations in DNA methylation and the biological significance of cancer-associated epigenetic changes need further elucidation.
METHODS: Pyrosequencing was done on bisulfite-treated DNA from formalin-fixed, paraffin-embedded sections containing invasive tumor and paired samples of histologically normal tissue adjacent to the cancers as well as control reduction mammoplasty samples from unaffected women. The DNA regions studied were promoters (BRCA1, CD44, ESR1, GSTM2, GSTP1, MAGEA1, MSI1, NFE2L3, RASSF1A, RUNX3, SIX3 and TFF1), far-upstream regions (EN1, PAX3, PITX2, and SGK1), introns (APC, EGFR, LHX2, RFX1 and SOX9) and the LINE-1 and satellite 2 DNA repeats. These choices were based upon previous literature or publicly available DNA methylome profiles. The percent methylation was averaged across neighboring CpG sites.
RESULTS: Most of the assayed gene regions displayed hypermethylation in cancer vs. adjacent tissue but the TFF1 and MAGEA1 regions were significantly hypomethylated (p ≤0.001). Importantly, six of the 16 regions examined in a large collection of patients (105 - 129) and in 15-18 reduction mammoplasty samples were already aberrantly methylated in adjacent, histologically normal tissue vs. non-cancerous mammoplasty samples (p ≤0.01). In addition, examination of transcriptome and DNA methylation databases indicated that methylation at three non-promoter regions (far-upstream EN1 and PITX2 and intronic LHX2) was associated with higher gene expression, unlike the inverse associations between cancer DNA hypermethylation and cancer-altered gene expression usually reported. These three non-promoter regions also exhibited normal tissue-specific hypermethylation positively associated with differentiation-related gene expression (in muscle progenitor cells vs. many other types of normal cells). The importance of considering the exact DNA region analyzed and the gene structure was further illustrated by bioinformatic analysis of an alternative promoter/intron gene region for APC.
CONCLUSIONS: We confirmed the frequent DNA methylation changes in invasive breast cancer at a variety of genome locations and found evidence for an extensive field effect in breast cancer. In addition, we illustrate the power of combining publicly available whole-genome databases with a candidate gene approach to study cancer epigenetics.

Du P, Yuan B, Cao J, et al.
Methyltransferase-like 17 physically and functionally interacts with estrogen receptors.
IUBMB Life. 2015; 67(11):861-8 [PubMed] Related Publications
Estrogen exerts its physiological and pathological functions through two estrogen receptors (ERs), ERα and ERβ, which act as transcription factors. Coregulators, including coactivators and corepressors, have been shown to be crucial for regulation of ER transcriptional activity. Although many coregulators have been identified to regulate activities of ERs, novel coregulators are still needed to be investigated. Here, we show that human methyltransferase-like 17 (METTL17), whose function is unknown, physically interacts with ERα and ERβ, and functionally acts as a coactivator for ERs. METTL17 interacts with ER in vitro and in yeast and mammalian cells. Activation function-1 (AF1) and AF2 domains of ERs are responsible for the interaction between METTL17 and ERs. Knockdown of METTL17 reduces transcriptional activities of ERα and ERβ in breast cancer cells, whereas METTL17 overexpression increases ERα and ERβ transcriptional activities. Inhibition of METTL17 expression decreases mRNA and protein levels of ER target genes, including PR, cathepsin D, and pS2. Moreover, METTL17 knockdown reduces breast cancer cell growth. These results indicate that METTL17 is a novel coactivator of ERs and may play a role in breast tumorigenesis.

Yu KD, Jiang YZ, Hao S, Shao ZM
Molecular essence and endocrine responsiveness of estrogen receptor-negative, progesterone receptor-positive, and HER2-negative breast cancer.
BMC Med. 2015; 13:254 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
BACKGROUND: The clinical significance of progesterone receptor (PgR) expression in estrogen receptor-negative (ER-) breast cancer is controversial. Herein, we systemically investigate the clinicopathologic features, molecular essence, and endocrine responsiveness of ER-/PgR+/HER2- phenotype.
METHODS: Four study cohorts were included. The first and second cohorts were from the Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results database (n = 67,932) and Fudan University Shanghai Cancer Center (n = 2,338), respectively, for clinicopathologic and survival analysis. The third and fourth cohorts were from two independent publicly available microarray datasets including 837 operable cases and 483 cases undergoing neoadjuvant chemotherapy, respectively, for clinicopathologic and gene-expression analysis. Characterized genes defining subgroups within the ER-/PgR+/HER2- phenotype were determined and further validated.
RESULTS: Clinicopathologic features and survival outcomes of the ER-/PgR+ phenotype fell in between the ER+/PgR+ and ER-/PgR- phenotypes, but were more similar to ER-/PgR-. Among the ER-/PgR+ phenotype, 30% (95% confidence interval [CI] 17-42%, pooled by a fixed-effects method) were luminal-like and 59% (95% CI 45-72%, pooled by a fixed-effects method) were basal-like. We further refined the characterized genes for subtypes within the ER-/PgR+ phenotype and developed an immunohistochemistry-based method that could determine the molecular essence of ER-/PgR+ using three markers, TFF1, CK5, and EGFR. Either PAM50-defined or immunohistochemistry-defined basal-like ER-/PgR+ cases have a lower endocrine therapy sensitivity score compared with luminal-like ER-/PgR+ cases (P <0.0001 by Mann-Whitney test for each study set and P <0.0001 for pooled standardized mean difference in meta-analysis). Immunohistochemistry-defined basal-like ER-/PgR+ cases might not benefit from adjuvant endocrine therapy (log-rank P = 0.61 for sufficient versus insufficient endocrine therapy).
CONCLUSIONS: The majority of ER-/PgR+/HER2- phenotype breast cancers are basal-like and associated with a lower endocrine therapy sensitivity score. Additional studies are needed to validate these findings.

Song X, Xin N, Wang W, Zhao C
Wnt/β-catenin, an oncogenic pathway targeted by H. pylori in gastric carcinogenesis.
Oncotarget. 2015; 6(34):35579-88 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
A section of gastric cancers presents nuclear β-catenin accumulation correlated with H. pylori infection. H. pylori stimulate Wnt/β-catenin pathway by activating oncogenic c-Met and epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR), or by inhibiting tumor suppressor Runx3 and Trefoil factor 1 (TFF1). H. pylori also trigger Wnt/β-catenin pathway by recruiting macrophages. Moreover, Wnt/β-catenin pathway is found involved in H. pylori-induced gastric cancer stem cell generation. Recently, by using gastroids, researchers have further revealed that H. pylori induce gastric epithelial cell proliferation through β-catenin. These findings indicate that Wnt/β-catenin is an oncogenic pathway activated by H. pylori. Therefore, this pathway is a potential therapy target for H. pylori-related gastric cancer.

Periyasamy M, Patel H, Lai CF, et al.
APOBEC3B-Mediated Cytidine Deamination Is Required for Estrogen Receptor Action in Breast Cancer.
Cell Rep. 2015; 13(1):108-21 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Estrogen receptor α (ERα) is the key transcriptional driver in a large proportion of breast cancers. We report that APOBEC3B (A3B) is required for regulation of gene expression by ER and acts by causing C-to-U deamination at ER binding regions. We show that these C-to-U changes lead to the generation of DNA strand breaks through activation of base excision repair (BER) and to repair by non-homologous end-joining (NHEJ) pathways. We provide evidence that transient cytidine deamination by A3B aids chromatin modification and remodelling at the regulatory regions of ER target genes that promotes their expression. A3B expression is associated with poor patient survival in ER+ breast cancer, reinforcing the physiological significance of A3B for ER action.

Fabian CJ, Kimler BF, Zalles CM, et al.
Clinical Trial of Acolbifene in Premenopausal Women at High Risk for Breast Cancer.
Cancer Prev Res (Phila). 2015; 8(12):1146-55 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
The purpose of this study was to assess the feasibility of using the selective estrogen receptor modulator (SERM) acolbifene as a breast cancer prevention agent in premenopausal women. To do so, we assessed change in proliferation in benign breast tissue sampled by random periareolar fine-needle aspiration (RPFNA) as a primary endpoint, along with changes in other risk biomarkers and objective and subjective side effects as secondary endpoints. Twenty-five women with cytologic hyperplasia ± atypia and ≥2% of breast epithelial cells staining positive for Ki-67, received 20 mg acolbifene daily for 6-8 months, and then had benign breast tissue and blood risk biomarkers reassessed. Ki-67 decreased from a median of 4.6% [interquartile range (IQR), 3.1%-8.5%] at baseline to 1.4% (IQR, 0.6%-3.5%) after acolbifene (P < 0.001; Wilcoxon signed-rank test), despite increases in bioavailable estradiol. There were also significant decreases in expression (RT-qPCR) of estrogen-inducible genes that code for pS2, ERα, and progesterone receptor (P ≤ 0.026). There was no significant change in serum IGF1, IGFBP3, IGF1:IGFBP3 ratio, or mammographic breast density. Subjective side effects were minimal with no significant increase in hot flashes, muscle cramps, arthralgias, or fatigue. Objective measures showed a clinically insignificant decrease in lumbar spine bone density (DEXA) and an increase in ovarian cysts but no change in endometrial thickness (sonography). In summary, acolbifene was associated with favorable changes in benign breast epithelial cell proliferation and estrogen-inducible gene expression but minimal side effects, suggesting a phase IIB placebo-controlled trial evaluating it further for breast cancer prevention.

Soutto M, Chen Z, Katsha AM, et al.
Trefoil factor 1 expression suppresses Helicobacter pylori-induced inflammation in gastric carcinogenesis.
Cancer. 2015; 121(24):4348-58 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
BACKGROUND: Infection with Helicobacter pylori, a high-risk factor for gastric cancer, is frequently associated with chronic inflammation through activation of nuclear factor κB (NF-κB). Trefoil factor 1 (TFF1) is a constitutively expressed protein in the stomach that has tumor-suppressor functions and plays a critical role in maintaining mucosal integrity. This study investigated the role of TFF1 in regulating the proinflammatory response to H. pylori infections.
METHODS: For in vitro studies, immunofluorescence, luciferase reporter assays, Western blots, and quantitative real-time polymerase chain reaction were performed to investigate the activation of NF-κB and its target genes in response to infections with H. pylori strains J166 and 7.13. In addition, Tff1-knockout (KO) and Tff1-wild-type mice were used for infections with the H. pylori strain called premouse Sydney strain 1.
RESULTS: The reconstitution of TFF1 expression in gastric cancer cells significantly suppressed H. pylori-mediated increases in NF-κB-p65 nuclear staining, transcriptional activity, and expression of proinflammatory cytokine genes (tumor necrosis factor α, interleukin 1β, chemokine [C-X-C motif] ligand 5, and interleukin 4 receptor) that were associated with reductions in the expression and phosphorylation of NF-κB-p65 and IκB kinase α/β proteins. The in vivo studies using the Tff1-KO mouse model of gastric neoplasia confirmed the in vitro findings. Furthermore, they demonstrated increases in chronic inflammation scores and in the frequency of invasive gastric adenocarcinoma in the Tff1-KO mice infected with H. pylori versus the uninfected Tff1-KO mice.
CONCLUSIONS: These findings underscore an important protective role of TFF1 in abrogating H. pylori-mediated inflammation, a crucial hallmark of gastric tumorigenesis. Therefore, loss of TFF1 expression could be an important step in H. pylori-mediated gastric carcinogenesis.

Xiao P, Ling H, Lan G, et al.
Trefoil factors: Gastrointestinal-specific proteins associated with gastric cancer.
Clin Chim Acta. 2015; 450:127-34 [PubMed] Related Publications
Trefoil factor family (TFF), composed of TFF1, TFF2, and TFF3, is a cluster of secreted peptides characterized by trefoil domain (s) and C-terminal dimerization domain. TFF1, a gastric tumor suppressor, is a single trefoil peptide originally detected in breast cancer cell lines but expressed mainly in the stomach; TFF2, a candidate of gastric cancer suppressor with two trefoil domains, is abundant in the stomach and duodenal Brunner's glands; and TFF3 is another single trefoil peptide expressed throughout the intestine which can promote the development of gastric carcinoma. According to multiple studies, TFFs play a regulatory function in the mammals' digestive system, namely in mucosal protection and epithelial cell reconstruction, tumor suppression or promotion, signal transduction and the regulation of proliferation and apoptosis. Action mechanisms of TFFs remain unresolved, but the recent demonstration of a GKN (gastrokine) 2-TFF1 heterodimer implicates structural and functional interplay with gastrokines. This review aims to encapsulate the structural and biological characteristics of TFF.

Jin EH, Lee SI, Kim J, et al.
Association between Promoter Polymorphisms of TFF1, TFF2, and TFF3 and the Risk of Gastric and Diffuse Gastric Cancers in a Korean Population.
J Korean Med Sci. 2015; 30(8):1035-41 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Gastric cancer is one of the most common cancers in the world. The aims of this study were to evaluate the association between polymorphisms in TFF gene family, TFF1, TFF2, and TFF3 and the risk of gastric cancer (GC) and GC subgroups in a Korean population via a case-control study. The eight polymorphisms in TFF gene family were identified by sequencing and genotyped with 377 GC patients and 396 controls by using TaqMan genotyping assay. The rs184432 TT genotype of TFF1 was significantly associated with a reduced risk of GC (odds ratio, [OR) = 0.45; 95% confidence interval, [CI] = 0.25-0.82; P = 0.009), more protective against diffuse-type GC (OR = 0.20; 95% CI = 0.05-0.89; P = 0.035) than GC (OR = 0.34; 95% CI = 0.14-0.82; P = 0.017) in subjects aged < 60 yr, and correlated with lymph node metastasis negative GC and diffuse-type GC (OR = 0.44; 95% CI = 0.23-0.86; P = 0.016 and OR = 0.20; 95% CI = 0.05-0.87; P = 0.031, respectively). In addition, a decreased risk of lymph node metastasis negative GC and diffuse-type GC was observed for rs225359 TT genotype of TFF1 (OR = 0.46, 95% CI = 0.24-0.88; P = 0.020 and OR = 0.21, 95% CI = 0.05-0.88; P = 0.033, respectively). These findings suggest that the rs184432 and rs225359 polymorphisms in TFF1 have protective effects for GC and contribute to the development of GC in Korean individuals.

Radon TP, Massat NJ, Jones R, et al.
Identification of a Three-Biomarker Panel in Urine for Early Detection of Pancreatic Adenocarcinoma.
Clin Cancer Res. 2015; 21(15):3512-21 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
PURPOSE: Noninvasive biomarkers for early detection of pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC) are currently not available. Here, we aimed to identify a set of urine proteins able to distinguish patients with early-stage PDAC from healthy individuals.
EXPERIMENTAL DESIGN: Proteomes of 18 urine samples from healthy controls, chronic pancreatitis, and patients with PDAC (six/group) were assayed using GeLC/MS/MS analysis. The selected biomarkers were subsequently validated with ELISA assays using multiple logistic regression applied to a training dataset in a multicenter cohort comprising 488 urine samples.
RESULTS: LYVE-1, REG1A, and TFF1 were selected as candidate biomarkers. When comparing PDAC (n = 192) with healthy (n = 87) urine specimens, the resulting areas under the receiver-operating characteristic curves (AUC) of the panel were 0.89 [95% confidence interval (CI), 0.84-0.94] in the training (70% of the data) and 0.92 (95% CI, 0.86-0.98) in the validation (30% of the data) datasets. When comparing PDAC stage I-II (n = 71) with healthy urine specimens, the panel achieved AUCs of 0.90 (95% CI, 0.84-0.96) and 0.93 (95% CI, 0.84-1.00) in the training and validation datasets, respectively. In PDAC stage I-II and healthy samples with matching plasma CA19.9, the panel achieved a higher AUC of 0.97 (95% CI, 0.94-0.99) than CA19.9 (AUC = 0.88; 95% CI, 0.81-0.95, P = 0.005). Adding plasma CA19.9 to the panel increased the AUC from 0.97 (95% CI, 0.94-0.99) to 0.99 (95% CI, 0.97-1.00, P = 0.04), but did not improve the comparison of stage I-IIA PDAC (n = 17) with healthy urine.
CONCLUSIONS: We have established a novel, three-protein biomarker panel that is able to detect patients with early-stage pancreatic cancer in urine specimens.

Sonthithai P, Suriyo T, Thiantanawat A, et al.
Perfluorinated chemicals, PFOS and PFOA, enhance the estrogenic effects of 17β-estradiol in T47D human breast cancer cells.
J Appl Toxicol. 2016; 36(6):790-801 [PubMed] Related Publications
Perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS) and perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) are the two most popular surfactants among perfluorinated compounds (PFCs), with a wide range of uses. Growing evidence suggests that PFCs have the potential to interfere with estrogen homeostasis, posing a risk of endocrine-disrupting effects. This in vitro study aimed to investigate the estrogenic effect of these compounds on T47D hormone-dependent breast cancer cells. PFOS and PFOA (10(-12) to 10(-4)  M) were not able to induce estrogen response element (ERE) activation in the ERE luciferase reporter assay. The ERE activation was induced when the cells were co-incubated with PFOS (10(-10) to 10(-7)  M) or PFOA (10(-9) to 10(-7)  M) and 1 nM of 17β-estradiol (E2). PFOS and PFOA did not modulate the expression of estrogen-responsive genes, including progesterone (PR) and trefoil factor (pS2), but these compounds enhanced the effect of E2-induced pS2 gene expression. Neither PFOS nor PFOA affected T47D cell viability at any of the tested concentrations. In contrast, co-exposure with PFOS or PFOA and E2 resulted in an increase of E2-induced cell viability, but no effect was found with 10 ng ml(-1) EGF co-exposure. Both compounds also intensified E2-dependent growth in the proliferation assay. ERK1/2 phosphorylation was increased by co-exposure with PFOS or PFOA and E2, but not with EGF. Collectively, this study shows that PFOS and PFOA did not possess estrogenic activity, but they enhanced the effects of E2 on estrogen-responsive gene expression, ERK1/2 activation and the growth of the hormone-deprived T47D cells. Copyright © 2015 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

Kim J, Kim S, Ko S, et al.
Recurrent fusion transcripts detected by whole-transcriptome sequencing of 120 primary breast cancer samples.
Genes Chromosomes Cancer. 2015; 54(11):681-91 [PubMed] Related Publications
Relatively few recurrent gene fusion events have been associated with breast cancer to date. In an effort to uncover novel fusion transcripts, we performed whole-transcriptome sequencing of 120 fresh-frozen primary breast cancer samples and five adjacent normal breast tissues using the Illumina HiSeq2000 platform. Three different fusion-detecting tools (deFuse, Chimerascan, and TopHatFusion) were used, and the results were compared. These tools detected 3,831, 6,630 and 516 fusion transcripts (FTs) overall. We primarily focused on the results obtained using the deFuse software. More FTs were identified from HER2 subtype breast cancer samples than from the luminal or triple-negative subtypes (P < 0.05). Seventy fusion candidates were selected for validation, and 32 (45.7%) were confirmed by RT-PCR and Sanger sequencing. Of the validated fusions, six were recurrent (found in 2 or more samples), three were in-frame (PRDX1-AKR1A1, TACSTD2-OMA1, and C2CD2-TFF1) and three were off-frame (CEACAM7-CEACAM6, CYP4X1-CYP4Z2P, and EEF1DP3-FRY). Notably, the novel read-through fusion, EEF1DP3-FRY, was identified and validated in 6.7% (8/120) of the breast cancer samples. This off-frame fusion results in early truncation of the FRY gene, which plays a key role in the structural integrity during mitosis. Three previously reported fusions, PPP1R1B-STARD3, MFGE8-HAPL, and ETV6-NTRK3, were detected in 8.3, 3.3, and 0.8% of the 120 samples, respectively, by both deFuse and Chimerascan. The recently reported MAGI3-AKT3 fusion was not detected in our analysis. Although future work will be needed to examine the biological significance of our new findings, we identified a number of novel fusions and confirmed some previously reported fusions.

Panmanee J, Nopparat C, Chavanich N, et al.
Melatonin regulates the transcription of βAPP-cleaving secretases mediated through melatonin receptors in human neuroblastoma SH-SY5Y cells.
J Pineal Res. 2015; 59(3):308-20 [PubMed] Related Publications
Melatonin is involved in the control of various physiological functions, such as sleep, cell growth and free radical scavenging. The ability of melatonin to behave as an antioxidant, together with the fact that the Alzheimer-related amyloid β-peptide (Aβ) triggers oxidative stress through hydroxyl radical-induced cell death, suggests that melatonin could reduce Alzheimer's pathology. Although the exact etiology of Alzheimer's disease (AD) remains to be established, excess Aβ is believed to be the primary contributor to the dysfunction and degeneration of neurons that occurs in AD. Aβ peptides are produced via the sequential cleavage of β-secretase β-site APP-cleaving enzyme 1 (BACE1) and γ-secretase (PS1/PS2), while α-secretase (ADAM10) prevents the production of Aβ peptides. We hypothesized that melatonin could inhibit BACE1 and PS1/PS2 and enhance ADAM10 expression. Using the human neuronal SH-SY5Y cell line, we found that melatonin inhibited BACE1 and PS1 and activated ADAM10 mRNA level and protein expression in a concentration-dependent manner and mediated via melatonin G protein-coupled receptors. Melatonin inhibits BACE1 and PS1 protein expressions through the attenuation of nuclear factor-κB phosphorylation (pNF-κB). Moreover, melatonin reduced BACE1 promoter transactivation and consequently downregulated β-secretase catalytic activity. The present data show that melatonin is not only a potential regulator of β/γ-secretase but also an activator of α-secretase expression through the activation of protein kinase C, thereby favoring the nonamyloidogenic pathway over the amyloidogenic pathway. Altogether, our findings suggest that melatonin may be a potential therapeutic agent for reducing the risk of AD in humans.

Ribas R, Pancholi S, Guest SK, et al.
AKT Antagonist AZD5363 Influences Estrogen Receptor Function in Endocrine-Resistant Breast Cancer and Synergizes with Fulvestrant (ICI182780) In Vivo.
Mol Cancer Ther. 2015; 14(9):2035-48 [PubMed] Related Publications
PI3K/AKT/mTOR signaling plays an important role in breast cancer. Its interaction with estrogen receptor (ER) signaling becomes more complex and interdependent with acquired endocrine resistance. Targeting mTOR combined with endocrine therapy has shown clinical utility; however, a negative feedback loop exists downstream of PI3K/AKT/mTOR. Direct blockade of AKT together with endocrine therapy may improve breast cancer treatment. AZD5363, a novel pan-AKT kinase catalytic inhibitor, was examined in a panel of ER(+) breast cancer cell lines (MCF7, HCC1428, T47D, ZR75.1) adapted to long-term estrogen deprivation (LTED) or tamoxifen (TamR). AZD5363 caused a dose-dependent decrease in proliferation in all cell lines tested (GI50 < 500 nmol/L) except HCC1428 and HCC1428-LTED. T47D-LTED and ZR75-LTED were the most sensitive of the lines (GI50 ∼ 100 nmol/L). AZD5363 resensitized TamR cells to tamoxifen and acted synergistically with fulvestrant. AZD5363 decreased p-AKT/mTOR targets leading to a reduction in ERα-mediated transcription in a context-specific manner and concomitant decrease in recruitment of ER and CREB-binding protein (CBP) to estrogen response elements located on the TFF1, PGR, and GREB1 promoters. Furthermore, AZD5363 reduced expression of cell-cycle-regulatory proteins. Global gene expression highlighted ERBB2-ERBB3, ERK5, and IGFI signaling pathways driven by MYC as potential feedback-loops. Combined treatment with AZD5363 and fulvestrant showed synergy in an ER(+) patient-derived xenograft and delayed tumor progression after cessation of therapy. These data support the combination of AZD5363 with fulvestrant as a potential therapy for breast cancer that is sensitive or resistant to E-deprivation or tamoxifen and that activated AKT is a determinant of response, supporting the need for clinical evaluation.

Jang EH, Jang SY, Cho IH, et al.
Hispolon inhibits the growth of estrogen receptor positive human breast cancer cells through modulation of estrogen receptor alpha.
Biochem Biophys Res Commun. 2015; 463(4):917-22 [PubMed] Related Publications
Human estrogen receptor α (ERα) is a nuclear transcription factor that is a major therapeutic target in breast cancer. The transcriptional activity of ERα is regulated by certain estrogen-receptor modulators. Hispolon, isolated from Phellinus linteus, a traditional medicinal mushroom called Sanghwang in Korea, has been used to treat various pathologies, such as inflammation, gastroenteric disorders, lymphatic diseases, and cancers. In this latter context, Hispolon has been reported to exhibit therapeutic efficacy against various cancer cells, including melanoma, leukemia, hepatocarcinoma, bladder cancer, and gastric cancer cells. However, ERα regulation by Hispolon has not been reported. In this study, we investigated the effects of Hispolon on the growth of breast cancer cells. We found that Hispolon decreased expression of ERα at both mRNA and the protein levels in MCF7 and T47D human breast cancer cells. Luciferase reporter assays showed that Hispolon decreased the transcriptional activity of ERα. Hispolon treatment also inhibited expression of the ERα target gene pS2. We propose that Hispolon, an anticancer drug extracted from natural sources, inhibits cell growth through modulation of ERα in estrogen-positive breast cancer cells and is a candidate for use in human breast cancer chemotherapy.

Soutto M, Romero-Gallo J, Krishna U, et al.
Loss of TFF1 promotes Helicobacter pylori-induced β-catenin activation and gastric tumorigenesis.
Oncotarget. 2015; 6(20):17911-22 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Using in vitro and in vivo models, we investigated the role of TFF1 in suppressing H. pylori-mediated activation of oncogenic β-catenin in gastric tumorigenesis. A reconstitution of TFF1 expression in gastric cancer cells decreased H. pylori-induced β-catenin nuclear translocation, as compared to control (p < 0.001). These cells exhibited significantly lower β-catenin transcriptional activity, measured by pTopFlash reporter, and induction of its target genes (CCND1 and c-MYC), as compared to control. Because of the role of AKT in regulating β-catenin, we performed Western blot analysis and demonstrated that TFF1 reconstitution abrogates H. pylori-induced p-AKT (Ser473), p-β-catenin (Ser552), c-MYC, and CCND1 protein levels. For in vivo validation, we utilized the Tff1-KO gastric neoplasm mouse model. Following infection with PMSS1 H. pylori strain, we detected an increase in the nuclear staining for β-catenin and Ki-67 with a significant induction in the levels of Ccnd1 and c-Myc in the stomach of the Tff1-KO, as compared to Tff1-WT mice (p < 0.05). Only 10% of uninfected Tff1-KO mice, as opposed to one-third of H. pylori-infected Tff1-KO mice, developed invasive adenocarcinoma (p = 0.03). These findings suggest that loss of TFF1 could be a critical step in promoting the H. pylori-mediated oncogenic activation of β-catenin and gastric tumorigenesis.

Singh K, Munuganti RS, Leblanc E, et al.
In silico discovery and validation of potent small-molecule inhibitors targeting the activation function 2 site of human oestrogen receptor α.
Breast Cancer Res. 2015; 17:27 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
INTRODUCTION: Current approaches to inhibit oestrogen receptor-alpha (ERα) are focused on targeting its hormone-binding pocket and have limitations. Thus, we propose that inhibitors that bind to a coactivator-binding pocket on ERα, called activation function 2 (AF2), might overcome some of these limitations.
METHODS: In silico virtual screening was used to identify small-molecule ERα AF2 inhibitors. These compounds were screened for inhibition of ERα transcriptional activity using stably transfected T47D-KBluc cell line. A direct physical interaction between the AF2 binders and the ERα protein was measured using biolayer interferometry (BLI) and an ERα coactivator displacement assay. Cell viability was assessed by MTS assay in ERα-positive MCF7 cells, tamoxifen-resistant (TamR) cell lines TamR3 and TamR6, and ERα-negative MDA-MB-453 and HeLa cell lines. In addition, ERα inhibition in TamR cells and the effect of compounds on mRNA and protein expression of oestrogen-dependent genes, pS2, cathepsin D and cell division cycle 2 (CDC2) were determined.
RESULTS: Fifteen inhibitors from two chemical classes, derivatives of pyrazolidine-3,5-dione and carbohydrazide, were identified. In a series of in vitro assays, VPC-16230 of the carbohydrazide chemical class emerged as a lead ERα AF2 inhibitor that significantly downregulated ERα transcriptional activity (half-maximal inhibitory concentration = 5.81 μM). By directly binding to the ERα protein, as confirmed by BLI, VPC-16230 effectively displaced coactivator peptides from the AF2 pocket, confirming its site-specific action. VPC-16230 selectively suppressed the growth of ERα-positive breast cancer cells. Furthermore, it significantly inhibited ERα mediated transcription in TamR cells. More importantly, it reduced mRNA and protein levels of pS2, cathepsin D and CDC2, validating its ER-directed activity.
CONCLUSION: We identified VPC-16230 as an ERα AF2-specific inhibitor that demonstrated promising antiproliferative effects in breast cancer cell lines, including TamR cells. VPC-16230 reduced the expression of ERα-inducible genes, including CDC2, which is involved in cell division. We anticipate that the application of ERα AF2 inhibitors will provide a novel approach that can act as a complementary therapeutic to treat ERα-positive, tamoxifen-resistant and metastatic breast cancers.

Wu HH, Hwang-Verslues WW, Lee WH, et al.
Targeting IL-17B-IL-17RB signaling with an anti-IL-17RB antibody blocks pancreatic cancer metastasis by silencing multiple chemokines.
J Exp Med. 2015; 212(3):333-49 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Pancreatic cancer has an extremely high mortality rate due to its aggressive metastatic nature. Resolving the underlying mechanisms will be crucial for treatment. Here, we found that overexpression of IL-17B receptor (IL-17RB) strongly correlated with postoperative metastasis and inversely correlated with progression-free survival in pancreatic cancer patients. Consistently, results from ex vivo experiments further validated that IL-17RB and its ligand, IL-17B, plays an essential role in pancreatic cancer metastasis and malignancy. Signals from IL-17B-IL-17RB activated CCL20/CXCL1/IL-8/TFF1 chemokine expressions via the ERK1/2 pathway to promote cancer cell invasion, macrophage and endothelial cell recruitment at primary sites, and cancer cell survival at distant organs. Treatment with a newly derived monoclonal antibody against IL-17RB blocked tumor metastasis and promoted survival in a mouse xenograft model. These findings not only illustrate a key mechanism underlying the highly aggressive characteristics of pancreatic cancer but also provide a practical approach to tackle this disease.

von der Heyde S, Wagner S, Czerny A, et al.
mRNA profiling reveals determinants of trastuzumab efficiency in HER2-positive breast cancer.
PLoS One. 2015; 10(2):e0117818 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Intrinsic and acquired resistance to the monoclonal antibody drug trastuzumab is a major problem in the treatment of HER2-positive breast cancer. A deeper understanding of the underlying mechanisms could help to develop new agents. Our intention was to detect genes and single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) affecting trastuzumab efficiency in cell culture. Three HER2-positive breast cancer cell lines with different resistance phenotypes were analyzed. We chose BT474 as model of trastuzumab sensitivity, HCC1954 as model of intrinsic resistance, and BTR50, derived from BT474, as model of acquired resistance. Based on RNA-Seq data, we performed differential expression analyses on these cell lines with and without trastuzumab treatment. Differentially expressed genes between the resistant cell lines and BT474 are expected to contribute to resistance. Differentially expressed genes between untreated and trastuzumab treated BT474 are expected to contribute to drug efficacy. To exclude false positives from the candidate gene set, we removed genes that were also differentially expressed between untreated and trastuzumab treated BTR50. We further searched for SNPs in the untreated cell lines which could contribute to trastuzumab resistance. The analysis resulted in 54 differentially expressed candidate genes that might be connected to trastuzumab efficiency. 90% of 40 selected candidates were validated by RT-qPCR. ALPP, CALCOCO1, CAV1, CYP1A2 and IGFBP3 were significantly higher expressed in the trastuzumab treated than in the untreated BT474 cell line. GDF15, IL8, LCN2, PTGS2 and 20 other genes were significantly higher expressed in HCC1954 than in BT474, while NCAM2, COLEC12, AFF3, TFF3, NRCAM, GREB1 and TFF1 were significantly lower expressed. Additionally, we inferred SNPs in HCC1954 for CAV1, PTGS2, IL8 and IGFBP3. The latter also had a variation in BTR50. 20% of the validated subset have already been mentioned in literature. For half of them we called and analyzed SNPs. These results contribute to a better understanding of trastuzumab action and resistance mechanisms.

Kumar R, Verma V, Sharma V, et al.
A precisely substituted benzopyran targets androgen refractory prostate cancer cells through selective modulation of estrogen receptors.
Toxicol Appl Pharmacol. 2015; 283(3):187-97 [PubMed] Related Publications
Dietary consumption of phytoestrogens like genistein has been linked with lower incidence of prostate cancer. The estradiol-like benzopyran core of genistein confers estrogen receptor-β (ER-β) selectivity that imparts weak anti-proliferative activity against prostate cancer cells. DL-2-[4-(2-piperidinoethoxy)phenyl]-3-phenyl-2H-1-benzopyran (BP), a SERM designed with benzopyran core, targeted androgen independent prostate cancer (PC-3) cells 14-times more potently than genistein, ~25% more efficiently than tamoxifen and 6.5-times more actively than ICI-182780, without forfeiting significant specificity in comparison to genistein. BP increased apoptosis (annexin-V and TUNEL labeling), arrested cell cycle, and significantly increased caspase-3 activity along with mRNA expressions of estrogen receptor (ER)-β and FasL (qPCR) in PC-3 cells. In classical ERE-luc reporter assay BP behaved as a potent ER-α antagonist and ER-β agonist. Accordingly, it decreased expression of ER-α target PS2 (P<0.01) and increased expression of ER-β target TNF-α (P<0.05) genes in PC-3. ER-β deficient PC-3 (siRNA-transfected) was resistant to apoptotic and anti-proliferative actions of SERMs, including stimulation of FasL expression by BP. BP significantly inhibited phosphorylation of Akt and ERK-1/2, JNK and p38 in PC-3 (immunoblotting), and thus adopted a multi-pathway mechanism to exert a more potent anti-proliferative activity against prostate cancer cells than natural and synthetic SERMs. Its precise ER-subtype specific activity presents a unique lead structure for further optimization.

Shi Y, Chen GB, Huang QW, et al.
miR218-5p regulates the proliferation of gastric cancer cells by targeting TFF1 in an Erk1/2-dependent manner.
Biochim Biophys Acta. 2015; 1852(5):970-9 [PubMed] Related Publications
Trefoil factor 1 (TFF1), a member of the trefoil peptide family, is not only associated with mucosal protection and restoration but is also correlated with tumorigenesis of the gastrointestinal tract. In an early study, we performed sequence analysis and identified one potential miR423-5p binding site within the 3'-untranslated region of TFF1 using microRNA target prediction tools. In the current study, we demonstrated that the coding DNA region within TFF1 is also a candidate for miR218-5p targeting. We used real-time PCR and in situ hybridization to analyze the correlation between miR218-5p and TFF1 expression in tumor lesions and paracancerous tissue in gastric cancer (GC) samples. Additionally, endogenous and exogenous TFF1 were suppressed by miR218-5p in gastric cancer cells and influenced the progression of GC in an Erk1/2-dependent manner. Targeting miR218-5p may provide a novel strategy for the treatment of GC.

Seksenyan A, Kadavallore A, Walts AE, et al.
TOX3 is expressed in mammary ER(+) epithelial cells and regulates ER target genes in luminal breast cancer.
BMC Cancer. 2015; 15:22 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
BACKGROUND: A breast cancer susceptibility locus has been mapped to the gene encoding TOX3. Little is known regarding the expression pattern or biological role of TOX3 in breast cancer or in the mammary gland. Here we analyzed TOX3 expression in murine and human mammary glands and in molecular subtypes of breast cancer, and assessed its ability to alter the biology of breast cancer cells.
METHODS: We used a cell sorting strategy, followed by quantitative real-time PCR, to study TOX3 gene expression in the mouse mammary gland. To study the expression of this nuclear protein in human mammary glands and breast tumors, we generated a rabbit monoclonal antibody specific for human TOX3. In vitro studies were performed on MCF7, BT474 and MDA-MB-231 cell lines to study the effects of TOX3 modulation on gene expression in the context of breast cancer cells.
RESULTS: We found TOX3 expression in estrogen receptor-positive mammary epithelial cells, including progenitor cells. A subset of breast tumors also highly expresses TOX3, with poor outcome associated with high expression of TOX3 in luminal B breast cancers. We also demonstrate the ability of TOX3 to alter gene expression in MCF7 luminal breast cancer cells, including cancer relevant genes TFF1 and CXCR4. Knockdown of TOX3 in a luminal B breast cancer cell line that highly expresses TOX3 is associated with slower growth. Surprisingly, TOX3 is also shown to regulate TFF1 in an estrogen-independent and tamoxifen-insensitive manner.
CONCLUSIONS: These results demonstrate that high expression of this protein likely plays a crucial role in breast cancer progression. This is in sharp contrast to previous studies that indicated breast cancer susceptibility is associated with lower expression of TOX3. Together, these results suggest two different roles for TOX3, one in the initiation of breast cancer, potentially related to expression of TOX3 in mammary epithelial cell progenitors, and another role for this nuclear protein in the progression of cancer. In addition, these results can begin to shed light on the reported association of TOX3 expression and breast cancer metastasis to the bone, and point to TOX3 as a novel regulator of estrogen receptor-mediated gene expression.

Antony J, Dasgupta T, Rhodes JM, et al.
Cohesin modulates transcription of estrogen-responsive genes.
Biochim Biophys Acta. 2015; 1849(3):257-69 [PubMed] Related Publications
The cohesin complex has essential roles in cell division, DNA damage repair and gene transcription. The transcriptional function of cohesin is thought to derive from its ability to connect distant regulatory elements with gene promoters. Genome-wide binding of cohesin in breast cancer cells frequently coincides with estrogen receptor alpha (ER), leading to the hypothesis that cohesin facilitates estrogen-dependent gene transcription. We found that cohesin modulates the expression of only a subset of genes in the ER transcription program, either activating or repressing transcription depending on the gene target. Estrogen-responsive genes most significantly influenced by cohesin were enriched in pathways associated with breast cancer progression such as PI3K and ErbB1. In MCF7 breast cancer cells, cohesin depletion enhanced transcription of TFF1 and TFF2, and was associated with increased ER binding and increased interaction between TFF1 and its distal enhancer situated within TMPRSS3. In contrast, cohesin depletion reduced c-MYC mRNA and was accompanied by reduced interaction between a distal enhancer of c-MYC and its promoters. Our data indicates that cohesin is not a universal facilitator of ER-induced transcription and can even restrict enhancer-promoter communication. We propose that cohesin modulates transcription of estrogen-dependent genes to achieve appropriate directionality and amplitude of expression.

Heger Z, Gumulec J, Cernei N, et al.
17β-estradiol-containing liposomes as a novel delivery system for the antisense therapy of ER-positive breast cancer: An in vitro study on the MCF-7 cell line.
Oncol Rep. 2015; 33(2):921-9 [PubMed] Related Publications
The present study suggests and describes the application of a delivery system for antisense oligonucleotides against mRNA encoding estrogen receptor proteins α and β. The delivery system is composed of a cationic liposome envelope containing 17β-estradiol (E2) in its structure. Cationic liposomes protect cargo against the extracellular matrix, and E2 can increase its shuttling efficiency into cells. Using MCF-7 cells derived from estrogen receptor-positive ductal carcinoma, treatment with liposomes against ERα was found to decrease MCF-7 proliferation, and importantly the application of both the antisense against ERα and β exhibited an antiproliferative effect expressed as cell viability. Using qRT-PCR, it was shown that MT1A, NF-κB1 and K-ras genes, but not TFF1, were downregulated using E2-based liposomes (evaluated at P=0.05). Further indicators of oxidative stress were employed to assess the effect on treatment efficiency. Glutathione (GSH/GSSG redox ratio), metallothionein (MT) and malondialdehyde (MDA) confirmed a positive effect of antisense therapy resulting in their decreased levels in the MCF-7 cells. Based on these data, we suggest that E2-based liposomes offer sufficient transfer efficiency and moreover, due to the effect on NF-κB1, MT and GSH, tumor cells can be chemosensitized to increase treatment effectiveness.

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