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Open access

Gina Chia-Yi Chu, Haiyen E Zhau, Ruoxiang Wang, André Rogatko, Xu Feng, Majd Zayzafoon, Youhua Liu, Mary C Farach-Carson, Sungyong You, Jayoung Kim, Michael R Freeman, and Leland W K Chung

Prostate cancer (PCa) metastasis to bone is lethal and there is no adequate animal model for studying the mechanisms underlying the metastatic process. Here, we report that receptor activator of NF-κB ligand (RANKL) expressed by PCa cells consistently induced colonization or metastasis to bone in animal models. RANK-mediated signaling established a premetastatic niche through a feed-forward loop, involving the induction of RANKL and c-Met, but repression of androgen receptor (AR) expression and AR signaling pathways. Site-directed mutagenesis and transcription factor (TF) deletion/interference assays identified common TF complexes, c-Myc/Max, and AP4 as critical regulatory nodes. RANKL–RANK signaling activated a number of master regulator TFs that control the epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition (Twist1, Slug, Zeb1, and Zeb2), stem cell properties (Sox2, Myc, Oct3/4, and Nanog), neuroendocrine differentiation (Sox9, HIF1α, and FoxA2), and osteomimicry (c-Myc/Max, Sox2, Sox9, HIF1α, and Runx2). Abrogating RANK or its downstream c-Myc/Max or c-Met signaling network minimized or abolished skeletal metastasis in mice. RANKL-expressing LNCaP cells recruited and induced neighboring non metastatic LNCaP cells to express RANKL, c-Met/activated c-Met, while downregulating AR expression. These initially non-metastatic cells, once retrieved from the tumors, acquired the potential to colonize and grow in bone. These findings identify a novel mechanism of tumor growth in bone that involves tumor cell reprogramming via RANK–RANKL signaling, as well as a form of signal amplification that mediates recruitment and stable transformation of non-metastatic bystander dormant cells.

Open access

Julia Hoefer, Johann Kern, Philipp Ofer, Iris E Eder, Georg Schäfer, Dimo Dietrich, Glen Kristiansen, Stephan Geley, Johannes Rainer, Eberhard Gunsilius, Helmut Klocker, Zoran Culig, and Martin Puhr

Deregulation of cytokine and growth factor signaling due to an altered expression of endogenous regulators is well recognized in prostate cancer (PCa) and other cancers. Suppressor of cytokine signaling 2 (SOCS2) is a key regulator of the GH, IGF, and prolactin signaling pathways that have been implicated in carcinogenesis. In this study, we evaluated the expression patterns and functional significance of SOCS2 in PCa. Protein expression analysis employing tissue microarrays from two independent patient cohorts revealed a significantly enhanced expression in tumor tissue compared with benign tissue as well as association with Gleason score and disease progression. In vitro and in vivo assays uncovered the involvement of SOCS2 in the regulation of cell growth and apoptosis. Functionally, SOCS2 knockdown inhibited PCa cell proliferation and xenograft growth in a CAM assay. Decreased cell growth after SOCS2 downregulation was associated with cell-cycle arrest and apoptosis. In addition, we proved that SOCS2 expression is significantly elevated upon androgenic stimulation in androgen receptor (AR)-positive cell lines, providing a possible mechanistic explanation for high SOCS2 levels in PCa tissue. Consequently, SOCS2 expression correlated with AR expression in the malignant tissue of patients. On the whole, our study linked increased SOCS2 expression in PCa with a pro-proliferative role in vitro and in vivo.

Open access

Catherine T Choy, Haseong Kim, Ji-Young Lee, David M Williams, David Palethorpe, Greg Fellows, Alan J Wright, Ken Laing, Leslie R Bridges, Franklyn A Howe, and Soo-Hyun Kim

Anosmin-1, encoded by the KAL1 gene, is an extracellular matrix (ECM)-associated protein which plays essential roles in the establishment of olfactory and GNRH neurons during early brain development. Loss-of-function mutations of KAL1 results in Kallmann syndrome with delayed puberty and anosmia. There is, however, little comprehension of its role in the developed brain. As reactivation of developmental signal pathways often takes part in tumorigenesis, we investigated if anosmin-1-mediated cellular mechanisms associated with brain tumors. Our meta-analysis of gene expression profiles of patients' samples and public microarray datasets indicated that KAL1 mRNA was significantly upregulated in high-grade primary brain tumors compared with the normal brain and low-grade tumors. The tumor-promoting capacity of anosmin-1 was demonstrated in the glioblastoma cell lines, where anosmin-1 enhanced cell motility and proliferation. Notably, anosmin-1 formed a part of active β1 integrin complex, inducing downstream signaling pathways. ShRNA-mediated knockdown of anosmin-1 attenuated motility and growth of tumor cells and induced apoptosis. Anosmin-1 may also enhance the invasion of tumor cells within the ECM by modulating cell adhesion and activating extracellular proteases. In a mouse xenograft model, anosmin-1-expressing tumors grew faster, indicating the role of anosmin-1 in tumor microenvironment in vivo. Combined, these data suggest that anosmin-1 can facilitate tumor cell proliferation, migration, invasion, and survival. Therefore, although the normal function of anosmin-1 is required in the proper development of GNRH neurons, overexpression of anosmin-1 in the developed brain may be an underlying mechanism for some brain tumors.

Open access

Toyoshi Endo and Tetsuro Kobayashi

A variant located on 14q13.3 nearest to thyroid transcription factor-1 (TTF1) predisposes individuals to thyroid cancer, but whether this variant is related to the RET/PTC rearrangement associated with human papillary thyroid carcinomas (PTCs) is unknown. The aims of this study were to investigate the effects of RET/PTC1 on the expression of thyroid-specific genes in thyrocytes and their relationship with malignant transformation of the thyrocytes. In the absence or presence of TSH, an extracellular signal-regulated kinase was phosphorylated in FRTL5 cells that stably expressed RET/PTC1, and these cells grew independently of TSH. FRTL (RET/PTC1) cells produced 566% more thyroglobulin mRNA and 474% more Na+/I− symporter mRNA than did the control FRTL (pcDNA) cells. FRTL (RET/PTC1) cells expressed 468% more Ttf1 mRNA than did FRTL (pcDNA) cells, but these two cell types did not differ significantly with respect to Pax8 or Ttf2 mRNA levels. When FRTL (RET/PTC1) cells and FRTL (pcDNA), cells were injected into each of nine nude mice, each mouse developed a single tumor at the site of FRTL (RET/PTC1) cell injection; in contrast, tumor formation never occurred at sites of FRTL (cDNA) cells injection. Tumors resulting from FRTL (RET/PTC1) cells retained 125I-uptake activity; moreover, the cells invaded into surrounding skeletal muscle. When overexpression of Ttf1 in FRTL (RET/PTC1) cells was silenced, the cells completely lost their tumorigenic potential. Exogenous TTF1 cDNA enhanced the tumorigenicity of BHP18-21v cells, human PTC cells that express RET/PTC1, in nude mice. These results indicated that concurrent overexpression of RET/PTC1 and TTF1 confers tumorigenicity to FRTL5 and BHP18-21v cells in nude mice.

Open access

Holger H H Erb, Regina V Langlechner, Patrizia L Moser, Florian Handle, Tineke Casneuf, Karin Verstraeten, Bettina Schlick, Georg Schäfer, Brett Hall, Kate Sasser, Zoran Culig, and Frédéric R Santer

Development and progression of prostate cancer (PCa) are associated with chronic inflammation. The cytokine interleukin 6 (IL6) can influence progression, differentiation, survival, and angiogenesis of PCa. To identify novel pathways that are triggered by IL6, we performed a gene expression profiling of two PCa cell lines, LNCaP and MDA PCa 2b, treated with 5 ng/ml IL6. Interferon (IFN) regulatory factor 9 (IRF9) was identified as one of the most prevalent IL6-regulated genes in both cell lines. IRF9 is a mediator of type I IFN signaling and acts together with STAT1 and 2 to activate transcription of IFN-responsive genes. The IL6 regulation of IRF9 was confirmed at mRNA and protein levels by quantitative real-time PCR and western blot respectively in both cell lines and could be blocked by the anti-IL6 antibody Siltuximab. Three PCa cell lines, PC3, Du-145, and LNCaP-IL6+, with an autocrine IL6 loop displayed high expression of IRF9. A tissue microarray with 36 PCa tissues showed that IRF9 protein expression is moderately elevated in malignant areas and positively correlates with the tissue expression of IL6. Downregulation and overexpression of IRF9 provided evidence for an IFN-independent role of IRF9 in cellular proliferation of different PCa cell lines. Furthermore, expression of IRF9 was essential to mediate the antiproliferative effects of IFNα2. We concluded that IL6 is an inducer of IRF9 expression in PCa and a sensitizer for the antiproliferative effects of IFNα2.

Open access

Per Eystein Lønning and Hans Petter Eikesdal

Following their successful implementation for the treatment of metastatic breast cancer, the ‘third-generation’ aromatase inhibitors (anastrozole, letrozole, and exemestane) have now become standard adjuvant endocrine treatment for postmenopausal estrogen receptor-positive breast cancers. These drugs are characterized by potent aromatase inhibition, causing >98% inhibition of estrogen synthesis in vivo. A recent meta-analysis found no difference in anti-tumor efficacy between these three compounds. As of today, aromatase inhibitor monotherapy and sequential treatment using tamoxifen followed by an aromatase inhibitor for a total of 5 years are considered equipotent treatment options. However, current trials are addressing the potential benefit of extending treatment duration beyond 5 years. Regarding side effects, aromatase inhibitors are not found associated with enhanced risk of cardiovascular disease, and enhanced bone loss is prevented by adding bisphosphonates in concert for those at danger of developing osteoporosis. However, arthralgia and carpal tunnel syndrome preclude drug administration among a few patients. While recent findings have questioned the use of aromatase inhibitors among overweight and, in particular, obese patients, this problem seems to focus on premenopausal patients treated with an aromatase inhibitor and an LH-RH analog in concert, questioning the efficacy of LH-RH analogs rather than aromatase inhibitors among overweight patients. Finally, recent findings revealing a benefit from adding the mTOR inhibitor everolimus to endocrine treatment indicate targeted therapy against defined growth factor pathways to be a way forward, by reversing acquired resistance to endocrine therapy.

Open access

Stefano Caramuta, Linkiat Lee, Deniz M Özata, Pinar Akçakaya, Hong Xie, Anders Höög, Jan Zedenius, Martin Bäckdahl, Catharina Larsson, and Weng-Onn Lui

Deregulation of microRNA (miRNA) expression in adrenocortical carcinomas (ACCs) has been documented to have diagnostic, prognostic, as well as functional implications. Here, we evaluated the mRNA expression of DROSHA, DGCR8, DICER (DICER1), TARBP2, and PRKRA, the core components in the miRNA biogenesis pathway, in a cohort of 73 adrenocortical tumors (including 43 adenomas and 30 carcinomas) and nine normal adrenal cortices using a RT-qPCR approach. Our results show a significant over-expression of TARBP2, DICER, and DROSHA in the carcinomas compared with adenomas or adrenal cortices (P<0.001 for all comparisons). Using western blot and immunohistochemistry analyses, we confirmed the higher expression of TARBP2, DICER, and DROSHA at the protein level in carcinoma cases. Furthermore, we demonstrate that mRNA expression of TARBP2, but not DICER or DROSHA, is a strong molecular predictor to discriminate between adenomas and carcinomas. Functionally, we showed that inhibition of TARBP2 expression in human NCI-H295R ACC cells resulted in a decreased cell proliferation and induction of apoptosis. TARBP2 over-expression was not related to gene mutations; however, copy number gain of the TARBP2 gene was observed in 57% of the carcinomas analyzed. In addition, we identified that miR-195 and miR-497 could directly regulate TARBP2 and DICER expression in ACC cells. This is the first study to demonstrate the deregulation of miRNA-processing factors in adrenocortical tumors and to show the clinical and biological impact of TARBP2 over-expression in this tumor type.

Open access

Nimrod B Kiss, Andreas Muth, Adam Andreasson, C Christofer Juhlin, Janos Geli, Martin Bäckdahl, Anders Höög, Bo Wängberg, Ola Nilsson, Håkan Ahlman, and Catharina Larsson

Recurrent alterations in promoter methylation of tumor suppressor genes (TSGs) and LINE1 (L1RE1) repeat elements were previously reported in pheochromocytoma and abdominal paraganglioma. This study was undertaken to explore CpG methylation abnormalities in an extended tumor panel and assess possible relationships between metastatic disease and mutation status. CpG methylation was quantified by bisulfite pyrosequencing for selected TSG promoters and LINE1 repeats. Methylation indices above normal reference were observed for DCR2 (TNFRSF10D), CDH1, P16 (CDKN2A), RARB, and RASSF1A. Z-scores for overall TSG, and individual TSG methylation levels, but not LINE1, were significantly correlated with metastatic disease, paraganglioma, disease predisposition, or outcome. Most strikingly, P16 hypermethylation was strongly associated with SDHB mutation as opposed to RET/MEN2, VHL/VHL, or NF1-related disease. Parallel analyses of constitutional, tumor, and metastasis DNA implicate an order of events where constitutional SDHB mutations are followed by TSG hypermethylation and 1p loss in primary tumors, later transferred to metastatic tissue. In the combined material, P16 hypermethylation was prevalent in SDHB-mutated samples and was associated with short disease-related survival. The findings verify the previously reported importance of P16 and other TSG hypermethylation in an independent tumor series. Furthermore, a constitutional SDHB mutation is proposed to predispose for an epigenetic tumor phenotype occurring before the emanation of clinically recognized malignancy.

Open access

Colette Meyer, Andrew H Sims, Kevin Morgan, Beth Harrison, Morwenna Muir, Jianing Bai, Dana Faratian, Robert P Millar, and Simon P Langdon

GNRH significantly inhibits proliferation of a proportion of cancer cell lines by activating GNRH receptor (GNRHR)-G protein signaling. Therefore, manipulation of GNRHR signaling may have an under-utilized role in treating certain breast and ovarian cancers. However, the precise signaling pathways necessary for the effect and the features of cellular responses remain poorly defined. We used transcriptomic and proteomic profiling approaches to characterize the effects of GNRHR activation in sensitive cells (HEK293-GNRHR, SCL60) in vitro and in vivo, compared to unresponsive HEK293. Analyses of gene expression demonstrated a dynamic response to the GNRH superagonist Triptorelin. Early and mid-phase changes (0.5–1.0 h) comprised mainly transcription factors. Later changes (8–24 h) included a GNRH target gene, CGA, and up- or downregulation of transcripts encoding signaling and cell division machinery. Pathway analysis identified altered MAPK and cell cycle pathways, consistent with occurrence of G2/M arrest and apoptosis. Nuclear factor kappa B (NF-κB) pathway gene transcripts were differentially expressed between control and Triptorelin-treated SCL60 cultures. Reverse-phase protein and phospho-proteomic array analyses profiled responses in cultured cells and SCL60 xenografts in vivo during Triptorelin anti-proliferation. Increased phosphorylated NF-κB (p65) occurred in SCL60 in vitro, and p-NF-κB and IκBε were higher in treated xenografts than controls after 4 days Triptorelin. NF-κB inhibition enhanced the anti-proliferative effect of Triptorelin in SCL60 cultures. This study reveals details of pathways interacting with intense GNRHR signaling, identifies potential anti-proliferative target genes, and implicates the NF-κB survival pathway as a node for enhancing GNRH agonist-induced anti-proliferation.

Open access

Christine M Friedenreich, Annie R Langley, Thomas P Speidel, David C W Lau, Kerry S Courneya, Ilona Csizmadi, Anthony M Magliocco, Yutaka Yasui, and Linda S Cook

Markers of insulin resistance such as the adiponectin:leptin ratio (A:L) and the homeostasis model assessment ratio (HOMA-IR) are associated with obesity and hyperinsulinemia, both established risk factors for endometrial cancer, and may therefore be informative regarding endometrial cancer risk. This study investigated the association between endometrial cancer risk and markers of insulin resistance, namely adiponectin, leptin, the A:L ratio, insulin, fasting glucose, and the HOMA-IR. We analyzed data from 541 incident endometrial cancer cases and 961 frequency age-matched controls in a population-based case–control study in Alberta, Canada from 2002 to 2006. Participants completed interview-administered questionnaires were assessed for anthropometric measures, and provided 8-h fasting blood samples either pre- or postoperatively. Blood was analyzed for concentrations of leptin, adiponectin, and insulin by immunoassay, and fasting plasma glucose levels were determined by fluorimetric quantitative determination. Compared with the lowest quartile, the highest quartile of insulin and HOMA-IR was associated with 64% (95% confidence intervals (CI): 1.12–2.40) and 72% (95% CI: 1.17–2.53) increased risks of endometrial cancer, respectively, and the highest quartile of adiponectin was associated with a 45% (95% CI: 0.37–0.80) decreased risk after multivariable adjustments. Null associations were observed between fasting glucose, leptin and A:L, and endometrial cancer risk. This population-based study provides evidence for a role of insulin resistance in endometrial cancer etiology and may provide one possible pathway whereby obesity increases the risk of this common cancer. Interventions aimed at decreasing both obesity and insulin resistance may decrease endometrial cancer risk.