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Free access

Frauke Döll, Josef Pfeilschifter and Andrea Huwiler

Sphingosine kinases (SK) catalyze the formation of sphingosine-1-phosphate (S1P) which plays a crucial role in cell growth and survival. Here, we show that prolactin (PRL) biphasically activates the SK-1, but not the SK-2 subtype, in the breast adenocarcinoma cell-line MCF7. A first peak occurs after minutes of stimulation and is followed by a second delayed activation after hours of stimulation. A similar biphasic effect on SK-1 activity is seen for 17β-estradiol (E2). The delayed activation of SK-1 derives from an upregulated mRNA and protein expression and is due to increased SK-1 promoter activity and mechanistically involves STAT5 activation as well as protein kinase C and the classical mitogen-activated protein kinases. Furthermore, glucocorticoids also block both hormone-induced SK-1 expression and activity. Functionally, long-term stimulation of MCF7 cells with PRL or E2 is well known to trigger increased cell proliferation and migration. Both hormone-induced cell responses critically involve SK-1 activation since the depletion of SK-1, but not SK-2, by siRNA transfection abolishes the hormone-induced cell proliferation and migration. In summary, our data show that PRL and E2 cause a pronounced delayed SK-1 activation which is due to increased gene transcription, and critically determines the capability of cells to grow and move. Thus, the SK-1 may represent a novel attractive target for anti-tumor therapy.

Free access

M Fuertes, M Sapochnik, L Tedesco, S Senin, A Attorresi, P Ajler, G Carrizo, A Cervio, G Sevlever, J J Bonfiglio, G K Stalla and E Arzt

Increased levels of the proto-oncogene pituitary tumor-transforming gene 1 (PTTG) have been repeatedly reported in several human solid tumors, especially in endocrine-related tumors such as pituitary adenomas. Securin PTTG has a critical role in pituitary tumorigenesis. However, the cause of upregulation has not been found yet, despite analyses made at the gene, promoter and mRNA level that show that no mutations, epigenetic modifications or other mechanisms that deregulate its expression may explain its overexpression and action as an oncogene. We describe that high PTTG protein levels are induced by the RWD-containing sumoylation enhancer (RWDD3 or RSUME), a protein originally identified in the same pituitary tumor cell line in which PTTG was also cloned. We demonstrate that PTTG and RSUME have a positive expression correlation in human pituitary adenomas. RSUME increases PTTG protein in pituitary tumor cell lines, prolongs the half-life of PTTG protein and regulates the PTTG induction by estradiol. As a consequence, RSUME enhances PTTG transcription factor and securin activities. PTTG hyperactivity on the cell cycle resulted in recurrent and unequal divisions without cytokinesis, and the consequential appearance of aneuploidies and multinucleated cells in the tumor. RSUME knockdown diminishes securin PTTG and reduces its tumorigenic potential in a xenograft mouse model. Taken together, our findings show that PTTG high protein steady state levels account for PTTG tumor abundance and demonstrate a critical role of RSUME in this process in pituitary tumor cells.

Open access

Deborah J Thompson, Tracy A O'Mara, Dylan M Glubb, Jodie N Painter, Timothy Cheng, Elizabeth Folkerd, Deborah Doody, Joe Dennis, Penelope M Webb, for the Australian National Endometrial Cancer Study Group (ANECS), Maggie Gorman, Lynn Martin, Shirley Hodgson, for the National Study of Endometrial Cancer Genetics Group (NSECG), Kyriaki Michailidou, Jonathan P Tyrer, Mel J Maranian, Per Hall, Kamila Czene, Hatef Darabi, Jingmei Li, Peter A Fasching, Alexander Hein, Matthias W Beckmann, Arif B Ekici, Thilo Dörk, Peter Hillemanns, Matthias Dürst, Ingo Runnebaum, Hui Zhao, Jeroen Depreeuw, Stefanie Schrauwen, Frederic Amant, Ellen L Goode, Brooke L Fridley, Sean C Dowdy, Stacey J Winham, Helga B Salvesen, Jone Trovik, Tormund S Njolstad, Henrica M J Werner, Katie Ashton, Tony Proietto, Geoffrey Otton, Luis Carvajal-Carmona, Emma Tham, Tao Liu, Miriam Mints, for RENDOCAS, Rodney J Scott, Mark McEvoy, John Attia, Elizabeth G Holliday, Grant W Montgomery, Nicholas G Martin, Dale R Nyholt, Anjali K Henders, John L Hopper, Nadia Traficante, for the AOCS Group, Matthias Ruebner, Anthony J Swerdlow, Barbara Burwinkel, Hermann Brenner, Alfons Meindl, Hiltrud Brauch, Annika Lindblom, Diether Lambrechts, Jenny Chang-Claude, Fergus J Couch, Graham G Giles, Vessela N Kristensen, Angela Cox, Manjeet K Bolla, Qin Wang, Stig E Bojesen, Mitul Shah, Robert Luben, Kay-Tee Khaw, Paul D P Pharoah, Alison M Dunning, Ian Tomlinson, Mitch Dowsett, Douglas F Easton and Amanda B Spurdle

Candidate gene studies have reported CYP19A1 variants to be associated with endometrial cancer and with estradiol (E2) concentrations. We analyzed 2937 single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in 6608 endometrial cancer cases and 37 925 controls and report the first genome wide-significant association between endometrial cancer and a CYP19A1 SNP (rs727479 in intron 2, P=4.8×10−11). SNP rs727479 was also among those most strongly associated with circulating E2 concentrations in 2767 post-menopausal controls (P=7.4×10−8). The observed endometrial cancer odds ratio per rs727479 A-allele (1.15, CI=1.11–1.21) is compatible with that predicted by the observed effect on E2 concentrations (1.09, CI=1.03–1.21), consistent with the hypothesis that endometrial cancer risk is driven by E2. From 28 candidate-causal SNPs, 12 co-located with three putative gene-regulatory elements and their risk alleles associated with higher CYP19A1 expression in bioinformatical analyses. For both phenotypes, the associations with rs727479 were stronger among women with a higher BMI (Pinteraction=0.034 and 0.066 respectively), suggesting a biologically plausible gene-environment interaction.

Free access

Shelby M King, Tyvette S Hilliard, Lucia Y Wu, Randal C Jaffe, Asgerally T Fazleabas and Joanna E Burdette

Ovarian cancer is the most lethal gynecological malignancy affecting American women. Current hypotheses concerning the etiology of ovarian cancer propose that a reduction in the lifetime number of ovulations decreases ovarian cancer risk. Advanced serous carcinoma shares several biomarkers with fallopian tube epithelial cells, suggesting that some forms of ovarian carcinoma may originate in the fallopian tube. Currently, the impact of ovulation on the tubal epithelium is unknown. In CD1 mice, ovulation did not increase tubal epithelial cell (TEC) proliferation as measured by bromodeoxyuridine incorporation and proliferating cell nuclear antigen staining as compared to unstimulated animals. In superovulated mice, an increase in the number of pro-inflammatory macrophages was detected in the oviduct. Ovulation also increased levels of phospho-γH2A.X in TEC, indicating that these cells were susceptible to double-strand DNA breakage following ovulation. To determine which components of ovulation contributed to DNA damage in the fallopian tube, an immortalized baboon TEC cell line and a three-dimensional organ culture system for mouse oviduct and baboon fallopian tubes were developed. TEC did not proliferate or display increased DNA damage in response to the gonadotropins or estradiol alone in vitro. Oxidative stress generated by treatment with hydrogen peroxide or macrophage-conditioned medium increased DNA damage in TEC in culture. Ovulation may impact the fallopian tube epithelium by generating DNA damage and stimulating macrophage infiltration but does not increase proliferation through gonadotropin signaling.

Free access

Matias Knuuttila, Arfa Mehmood, Jenni Mäki-Jouppila, Henrik Ryberg, Pekka Taimen, Juha Knaapila, Otto Ettala, Peter J Boström, Claes Ohlsson, Mikko S Venäläinen, Asta Laiho, Laura L Elo, Petra Sipilä, Sari I Mäkelä and Matti Poutanen

Intratumoral androgen biosynthesis is one of the mechanisms involved in the progression of prostate cancer, and an important target for novel prostate cancer therapies. Using gas chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry and genome-wide RNA sequencing, we have analyzed androgen concentrations and androgen-regulated gene expression in cancerous and morphologically benign prostate tissue specimens and serum samples obtained from 48 primary prostate cancer patients. Intratumoral dihydrotestosterone (DHT) concentrations were significantly higher in the cancerous tissues compared to benign prostate (P < 0.001). The tissue/serum ratios of androgens were highly variable between the patients, indicating individual patterns of androgen metabolism and/or uptake of androgens within the prostate tissue. An unsupervised hierarchical clustering analysis of intratissue androgen concentrations indicated that transmembrane protease, serine 2/ETS-related gene (TMPRSS2-ERG)-positive patients have different androgen profiles compared to TMPRSS2-ERG-negative patients. TMPRSS2-ERG gene fusion status was also associated with an enhanced androgen-regulated gene expression, along with altered intratumoral androgen metabolism, demonstrated by reduced testosterone concentrations and increased DHT/testosterone ratios in TMPRSS2-ERG-positive tumors. TMPRSS2-ERG-positive and -negative prostate cancer specimens have distinct intratumoral androgen profiles, possibly due to activation of testosterone-independent DHT biosynthesis via the alternative pathway in TMPRSS2-ERG-positive tumors. Thus, patients with TMPRSS2-ERG-positive prostate cancer may benefit from novel inhibitors targeting the alternative DHT biosynthesis.

Free access

Clovis Boibessot and Paul Toren

Prostate cancer is uniquely dependent on androgens. Despite years of research on the relationship between androgens and prostate cancer, many questions remain as to the biological effects of androgens and other sex steroids during prostate cancer progression. This article reviews the clinical and basic research on the influence of sex steroids such as androgens, estrogens and progesterone within the prostate tumor microenvironment on the progression of prostate cancer. We review clinical studies to date evaluating serum sex steroids as prognostic biomarkers and discuss their respective biological effects within the prostate tumor microenvironment. We also review the link between genomic alterations and sex steroid levels within prostate tumors. Finally, we highlight the links between sex steroid levels and the function of the immune system within the tumor microenvironment. As the context of treatment of lethal prostate cancer evolves over time, an understanding of this underlying biology remains central to developing optimal treatment approaches.

Free access

Didier Marot, Ivan Bieche, Chantal Aumas, Stéphanie Esselin, Céline Bouquet, Sophie Vacher, Gwendal Lazennec, Michel Perricaudet, Frederique Kuttenn, Rosette Lidereau and Nicolas de Roux

KiSS1 is a putative metastasis suppressor gene in melanoma and breast cancer-encoding kisspeptins, which are also described as neuroendocrine regulators of the gonadotropic axis. Negative as well as positive regulation of KiSS1 gene expression by estradiol (E2) has been reported in the hypothalamus. Estrogen receptor α (ERα level is recognized as a marker of breast cancer, raising the question of whether expression of KiSS1 and its G-protein-coupled receptor (GPR54) is down- or upregulated by estrogens in breast cancer cells. KiSS1 was found to be expressed in MDA-MB-231, MCF7, and T47D cell lines, but not in ZR75-1, L56Br, and MDA-MB-435 cells. KiSS1 mRNA levels decreased significantly in ERα-negative MDA-MB-231 cells expressing recombinant ERα. In contrast, tamoxifen (TAM) treatment of ERα-positive MCF7 and T47D cells increased KiSS1 and GPR54 levels. The clinical relevance of this negative regulation of KiSS1 and GPR54 by E2 was then studied in postmenopausal breast cancers. KiSS1 mRNA increased with the grade of the breast tumors. ERα-positive invasive primary tumors expressed sevenfold lower KiSS1 levels than ERα-negative tumors. Among ERα-positive breast tumors from postmenopausal women treated with TAM, high KiSS1 combined with high GPR54 mRNA tumoral levels was unexpectedly associated with shorter relapse-free survival (RFS) relative to tumors expressing low tumoral mRNA levels of both genes. The contradictory observation of putative metastasis inhibitor role of kisspeptins and RFS to TAM treatment suggests that evaluation of KiSS1 and its receptor tumoral mRNA levels could be new interesting markers of the tumoral resistance to anti-estrogen treatment.

Free access

Anna Konwisorz, Anette Springwald, Martina Haselberger, Regina Goerse, Olaf Ortmann and Oliver Treeck

ICB-1 chromosome 1 open reading frame 38 (C1orf38) is a human gene initially described by our group to be involved in differentiation processes of cancer cells. Recently, we have reported ICB-1 as a novel estrogen target gene and identified an estrogen response element in its promoter. In this study, we examined the role of ICB-1 in regulation of proliferation of breast and ovarian cancer cells. We knocked down its expression in estrogen-dependent MCF-7 breast cancer cells and hormone-unresponsive SK-OV-3 ovarian cancer cells by stable transfection with a specific shRNA plasmid followed by G-418 selection. Knockdown of ICB-1 enabled a considerable estrogen response of SK-OV-3 cells in terms of proliferation. This transformation of SK-OV-3 cells into an estrogen-responsive phenotype was accompanied by upregulation of estrogen receptor α (ERα) expression and a significant decrease of ERβ expression on the mRNA level. Expression of ERα-dependent genes progesterone receptor, pS2, fibulin 1c, and c-fos was elevated in SK-OV-3 cells stably expressing ICB-1 shRNA. In MCF-7 cells, ICB-1 knockdown exerted similar effects on gene expression, supporting a general role of ICB-1 in estrogen responsiveness. Our data suggest that differentiation-associated gene ICB-1 might exert antagonistic actions on cellular estrogen response, which can result in inhibition of estradiol-triggered proliferation. The molecular mechanisms mediating this inhibitory effect of ICB-1 on estrogen signaling are suggested to be limitation of ERα transcript levels but sustaining high levels of ERβ, reducing both activation of ERα target genes and cellular proliferation. The identification of ICB-1 as a new player in endocrine-related cancer encourages further studies on the significance of this gene in cancer development and therapy.

Free access

Maxy De los Santos, Olaia Martínez-Iglesias and Ana Aranda

Anti-estrogens are the current endocrine therapy of choice in the treatment of estrogen receptor (ER)-positive breast cancers. Histone deacetylase inhibitors (HDACi) also constitute a promising treatment for therapy, and combination of anti-estrogens with HDACi may improve efficacy while reducing side effects. We have examined the effect of the HDACi sodium butyrate and suberoylanilide hydroxamic acid (SAHA), alone and in combination with 17β-estradiol (E2) and the pure anti-estrogen ICI 182.780 (ICI) in human MCF-7 breast cancer cells. HDACi caused a sustained increase of histone H3 acetylation and caused cell death as shown by flow cytometry analysis. In surviving cells, both inhibitors were even stronger than ICI in depleting cyclin D1 levels, inducing expression of the cyclin kinase inhibitor p21Waf1/Cip1, blocking phosphorylation of the retinoblastoma protein, or inhibiting cell growth. No additive effects of ICI with either butyrate or SAHA were found. In addition, these drugs were able to antagonize the effects of E2 on expression of cell cycle proteins, cell growth, and transcription of ER-dependent genes. The anti-estrogenic effects of HDACi appear to be related to a strong downregulation of the expression of ERα that appears to be secondary to both transcriptional and post-transcriptional regulation. ERα phosphorylation is involved in estrogen signaling, and HDACi also prevented receptor phosphorylation in Ser-118 both in the absence and presence of ER ligands. These results provide further support for the use of deacetylase inhibitors as chemotherapeutic agents in the treatment of breast cancer tumors.

Free access

Kirsten L Dennison, Nyssa Becker Samanas, Quincy Eckert Harenda, Maureen Peters Hickman, Nicole L Seiler, Lina Ding and James D Shull

The ACI rat model of 17β-estradiol (E2)-induced mammary cancer is highly relevant for use in establishing the endocrine, genetic, and environmental bases of breast cancer etiology and identifying novel agents and strategies for preventing breast cancer. E2 treatment rapidly induces mammary cancer in female ACI rats and simultaneously induces pituitary lactotroph hyperplasia and adenoma. The pituitary tumors can result in undesired morbidity, which compromises long-term studies focused on mammary cancer etiology and prevention. We have defined the genetic bases of susceptibility to E2-induced mammary cancers and pituitary tumors and have utilized the knowledge gained in these studies to develop a novel inbred rat strain, designated ACWi, that retains the high degree of susceptibility to E2-induced mammary cancer exhibited by ACI rats, but lacks the treatment-related morbidity associated with pituitary lactotroph hyperplasia/adenoma. When treated with E2, female ACWi rats developed palpable mammary cancer at a median latency of 116 days, an incidence of 100% by 161 days and exhibited an average of 15.6 mammary tumors per rat following 196 days of treatment. These parameters did not differ from those observed for contemporaneously treated ACI rats. None of the E2-treated ACWi rats were killed before the intended experimental end point due to any treatment-related morbidity other than mammary cancer burden, whereas 20% of contemporaneously treated ACI rats exhibited treatment-related morbidity that necessitated premature killing. The ACWi rat strain is well suited for use by those in the research community, focusing on breast cancer etiology and prevention.