Cancer cell dependence on activated oncogenes is targeted therapeutically, but acquired resistance is virtually unavoidable. Here we show that the treatment of addicted melanoma cells with BRAF-inhibitors, and of breast cancer cells with HER2-targeted drugs, led to an adaptive rise in Neuropilin-1 (NRP1) expression, which is crucial for the onset of acquired resistance to therapy. Moreover, NRP1 levels dictated the efficacy of MET oncogene-inhibitors in addicted stomach and lung carcinoma cells. Mechanistically, NRP1 induced a JNK-dependent signaling cascade leading to the upregulation of alternative effector kinases, EGFR or IGF1R, which in turn sustained cancer cell growth and mediated acquired resistance to BRAF, HER2, or MET inhibitors. Notably, the combination with NRP1-interfering molecules improved the efficacy of oncogene-targeted drugs, and prevented, or even reversed, the onset of resistance in cancer cells and tumor models. Our study provides the rationale for targeting the NRP1-dependent upregulation of tyrosine kinases, responsible for loss of responsiveness to oncogene-targeted therapies.
Sabrina Rizzolio, Gabriella Cagnoni, Chiara Battistini, Stefano Bonelli, Claudio Isella, Jo A. Van Ginderachter, René Bernards, Federica Di Nicolantonio, Silvia Giordano, Luca Tamagnone
BACKGROUND. The circadian clock is a fundamental and pervasive biological program that coordinates 24-hour rhythms in physiology, metabolism and behaviour, and it is essential to health. Whereas time-of-day adapted therapy is increasingly reported to be highly successful, it needs to be personalized since internal circadian time is different for each individual. In addition, internal time is not a stable trait, but is influenced by many factors including genetic predisposition, age, gender, environmental light levels and season. An easy and convenient diagnostic tool is currently missing. METHODS. To establish a validated test, we followed a three-stage biomarker development strategy: (i) using circadian transcriptomics of blood monocytes from 12 individuals in a constant routine protocol combined with machine learning approaches, we identified biomarkers for internal time; (ii) these biomarkers were migrated to a clinically relevant gene expression-profiling platform (NanoString), and (iii) externally validated using an independent study with 28 early or late chronotypes. RESULTS. We developed a highly accurate and simple assay (BodyTime) to estimate the internal circadian time in humans from a single blood sample. Our assay needs only a small set of blood-based transcript biomarkers and is as accurate as the current gold standard dim light melatonin onset method at smaller monetary, time and sample number cost. CONCLUSION. The BodyTime assay provides a new diagnostic tool for personalization of healthcare according to the patient’s circadian clock. FUNDING. This study was supported by the Bundesministerium für Bildung und Forschung, Germany (FKZ: 13N13160 and 13N13162) and Intellux GmbH, Germany.
Nicole Wittenbrink, Bharath Ananthasubramaniam, Mirjam Münch, Barbara Koller, Bert Maier, Charlotte Weschke, Frederik Bes, Jan de Zeeuw, Claudia Nowozin, Amely Wahnschaffe, Sophia Wisniewski, Mandy Zaleska, Osnat Bartok, Reut Ashwal-Fluss, Hedwig Lammert, Hanspeter Herzel, Michael Hummel, Sebastian Kadener, Dieter Kunz, Achim Kramer
Dormant or slow-cycling tumour cells can form a residual chemoresistant reservoir responsible for relapse in patients, years after curative surgery and adjuvant therapy. We have adapted the pulse-chase expression of H2BeGFP for labelling and isolating slow-cycling cancer cells (SCCC). SCCC showed cancer-initiation potential and enhanced chemoresistance. Cells at this slow-cycling status presented a distinctive non-genetic and cell-autonomous gene expression profile shared across different tumour types. We identified TET2 epigenetic enzyme as key factor controlling SCCC numbers, survival and tumour recurrence. 5-Hydroxymethylcytosine (5hmC), generated by TET2 enzymatic activity, labelled SCCC genome in carcinomas and was a predictive biomarker of relapse and survival in cancer patients. We have shown the enhanced chemoresistance of SCCC, revealed 5hmC as a biomarker for their clinical identification, and TET2 as a potential drug-target for SCCC elimination that could extend patients’ survival.
Isabel Puig, Stephan P. Tenbaum, Irene Chicote, Oriol Arqués, Jordi Martínez-Quintanilla, Estefania Cuesta-Borrás, Lorena Ramírez, Pilar Gonzalo, Atenea Soto, Susana Aguilar, Cristina Eguizabal, Ginevra Caratù, Aleix Prat, Guillem Argilés, Stefania Landolfi, Oriol Casanovas, Violeta Serra, Alberto Villanueva, Alicia G. Arroyo, Luigi Terracciano, Paolo Nuciforo, Joan Seoane, Juan A. Recio, Ana Vivancos, Rodrigo Dienstmann, Josep Tabernero, Héctor G. Palmer
In the mid-1990s, whole-cell (wP) pertussis vaccines were associated with local and systemic adverse events, which prompted their replacement with acellular (aP) vaccines in many high-income countries. In the past decade rates of pertussis disease have increased in children receiving only acellular pertussis vaccines. We compared the immune responses to acellular pertussis boosters in children who received their initial doses with either wP or aP vaccines using activation-induced marker (AIM) assays. Specifically, we examined pertussis-specific memory CD4+ T cell responses ex vivo, highlighting a Type 2/Th2 versus Type 1/Th1 and Th17 differential polarization as a function of childhood vaccination. Remarkably, after a contemporary aP booster, cells from donors originally primed with aP were 1) associated with increased IL-4, IL-5, IL-13, IL-9 and TGF-β and decreased IFNγ and IL-17 production; 2) defective in their ex vivo capacity to expand memory cells; and 3) less capable to proliferate in vitro. These differences appeared to be T cell-specific, since equivalent increases of antibody titers and plasmablasts after aP boost were seen in both groups. In conclusion, our data suggest that long lasting effects and differential polarization and proliferation exists between adults originally vaccinated with aP versus wP despite repeated acellular boosters.
Ricardo da Silva Antunes, Mariana Babor, Chelsea Carpenter, Natalie Khalil, Mario Cortese, Alexander J Mentzer, Grégory Seumois, Christopher D. Petro, Lisa A. Purcell, Pandurangan Vijayanand, Shane Crotty, Bali Pulendran, Bjorn Peters, Alessandro Sette
Epithelial cell dysfunction is postulated as an important component in the pathogenesis of Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis (IPF). Mutations in the Surfactant Protein C [SP-C] gene [SFTPC], an alveolar type 2 (AT2) cell restricted protein, have been found in sporadic and familial IPF. To causally link these events, we developed a knock-in mouse model capable of regulated expression of an IPF-associated Isoleucine to Threonine substitution at codon 73 [I73T] in Sftpc (SP-CI73T). Tamoxifen treated SP-CI73T cohorts developed rapid increases in SftpcI73T mRNA and misprocessed proSP-CI73T protein accompanied by increased early mortality (days 7-14). This acute phase was marked by diffuse parenchymal lung injury, tissue infiltration by monocytes, polycellular alveolitis, and elevations in bronchoalveolar lavage and AT2 mRNA contents of select inflammatory cytokines. Resolution of alveolitis (2-4 weeks), commensurate with a rise in TGFB1, was followed by aberrant remodeling marked by collagen deposition, AT2 cell hyperplasia, a-SMA positive cells, and restrictive lung physiology. The translational relevance of the model was supported by detection of multiple IPF biomarkers previously reported in human cohorts. These data provide proof of principle that mutant SP-C expression in vivo causes spontaneous lung fibrosis strengthening the role of AT2 dysfunction as a key upstream driver of IPF pathogenesis.
Shin-Ichi Nureki, Yaniv Tomer, Alessandro Venosa, Jeremy Katzen, Scott J. Russo, Sarita Jamil, Matthew Barrett, Vivian Nguyen, Meghan Kopp, Surafel Mulugeta, Michael F. Beers
Control of cellular metabolism is critical for efficient cell function, although little is known about the interplay between cell subset-specific metabolites in situ, especially in the tumor setting. Here, we determine how a macrophage-specific metabolite, itaconic acid, can regulate tumor progression in the peritoneum. We show peritoneal tumors (B16 melanoma or ID8 ovarian carcinoma) elicited a fatty acid oxidation-mediated increase in oxidative phosphorylation (OXPHOS) and glycolysis in peritoneal tissue-resident macrophages (pResMφ). Unbiased metabolomics identified itaconic acid, the product of Irg1-mediated catabolism of mitochondrial cis-aconitate, among the most highly upregulated metabolites in pResMφ of tumor-bearing mice. Administration of lentivirally-encoded Irg1 shRNA significantly reduced peritoneal tumors. This resulted in reductions in OXPHOS and OXPHOS-driven production of reactive oxygen species (ROS) in pResMφ and ROS-mediated MAP kinase activation in tumor cells. Our findings demonstrate that tumors profoundly alter pResMφ metabolism, leading to the production of itaconic acid, which potentiates tumor growth. Monocytes isolated from ovarian carcinoma patient ascites fluid expressed significantly elevated levels of Irg1. Therefore, Irg1 in pResMφ represents a potential therapeutic target for peritoneal tumors.
Jonathan M. Weiss, Luke C. Davies, Megan Karwan, Lilia Ileva, Michelle K. Ozaki, Robert Y.S. Cheng, Lisa A. Ridnour, Christina M. Annunziata, David A. Wink, Daniel W. McVicar
Rearrangements involving the neurotrophic receptor kinase genes (NTRK1, NTRK2, and NTRK3; hereafter referred to as TRK) produce oncogenic fusions in a wide variety of cancers in adults and children. Although TRK fusions occur in <1% of all solid tumors, inhibition of TRK results in profound therapeutic responses resulting in breakthrough FDA-approval of the TRK inhibitor larotrectinib for adult and pediatric solid tumor patients regardless of histology. In contrast to solid tumors, the frequency of TRK fusions and clinical effects of targeting TRK in hematologic malignancies is unknown. Here, through an evaluation for TRK fusions across > 7,000 patients with hematologic malignancies, we identified TRK fusions in acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL), acute myeloid leukemia (AML), histiocytosis, multiple myeloma and dendritic cell neoplasms. Although TRK fusions occurred in only 0.1% of patients (8 out of 7,311 patients), they conferred responsiveness to TRK inhibition in vitro and in vivo in a patient-derived xenograft and a corresponding AML patient with ETV6-NTRK2 fusion. These data identify that despite their individual rarity, collectively TRK fusions are present in a wide variety of hematologic malignancies and predict clinically significant therapeutic responses to TRK inhibition.
Justin Taylor, Dean Pavlick, Akihide Yoshimi, Christina Marcelus, Stephen S. Chung, Jaclyn F. Hechtman, Ryma Benayed, Emiliano Cocco, Benjamin H. Durham, Lillian Bitner, Daichi Inoue, Young Rock Chung, Kerry Mullaney, Justin M. Watts, Eli L. Diamond, Lee A. Albacker, Tariq I. Mughal, Kevin Ebata, Brian B. Tuch, Nora Ku, Maurizio Scaltriti, Mikhail Roshal, Maria Arcila, Siraj Ali, David M. Hyman, Jae H. Park, Omar Abdel-Wahab
Lysine-63 (K63)–linked polyubiquitination of TRAF3 coordinates the engagement of pattern recognition receptors to recruited adaptor proteins and downstream activator TBK1 in pathways that induce type I interferon (IFN). Whether auto-ubiquitination or other E3 ligases mediate K63-linked TRAF3 polyubiquitination remains unclear. We demonstrated that mice deficient in E3 ligase gene Hectd3 remarkably increased host defense against infection by intracellular bacteria F. novicida, Mycobacterium, and Listeria by limiting bacterial dissemination. In the absence of HECTD3, type I IFN response was impaired during bacterial infection both in vivo and in vitro. HECTD3 regulated type I IFN production by mediating K63-linked polyubiquitination of TRAF3 at residue K138. The catalytic domain of HECTD3 regulated TRAF3 K63 polyubiquitination, which enabled TRAF3–TBK1 complex formation. Our study offers novel insights into mechanisms of TRAF3 modulation and provides potential therapeutic targets against infections by intracellular bacteria and inflammatory diseases.
Fubing Li, Yang Li, Huichun Liang, Tao Xu, Yanjie Kong, Maobo Huang, Ji Xiao, Xi Chen, Houjun Xia, Yingying Wu, Zhongmei Zhou, Xiaomin Guo, Chunmiao Hu, Chuanyu Yang, Xu Cheng, Ceshi Chen, Xiaopeng Qi
Myeloid-derived suppressor cells (MDSCs) densely accumulate into tumors and potently suppress anti-tumor immune responses promoting tumor development. Targeting MDSCs in tumor immunotherapy has been hampered by lack of understanding of the molecular pathways that govern MDSC differentiation and function. Herein, we identify autophagy as a crucial pathway for MDSC-mediated suppression of anti-tumor immunity. Specifically, MDSCs in melanoma patients and mouse melanoma exhibited increased levels of functional autophagy. Ablation of autophagy in myeloid cells, significantly delayed tumor growth and endowed anti-tumor immune responses. Notably, tumor-infiltrating autophagy-deficient monocytic MDSCs (M-MDSCs) demonstrated impaired suppressive activity in vitro and in vivo, while transcriptome analysis revealed significant differences in genes related to lysosomal function. Accordingly, autophagy-deficient M-MDSCs exhibited impaired lysosomal degradation thereby enhancing surface expression of MHC class II molecules, resulting in efficient activation of tumor-specific CD4+ T cells. Finally, targeting of the membrane-associated RING-CH1 (MARCH1) E3 ubiquitin ligase, that mediates the lysosomal degradation of MHC II, in M-MDSCs, attenuated their suppressive function, and resulted in significantly decreased tumor volume followed by development of a robust anti-tumor immunity. Collectively, these findings depict autophagy as a novel molecular target of MDSC-mediated suppression of anti-tumor immunity.
Themis Alissafi, Aikaterini Hatzioannou, Konstantinos Mintzas, Roza Maria Barouni, Aggelos Banos, Sundary Sormendi, Alexandros Polyzos, Maria Xilouri, Ben Wielockx, Helen Gogas, Panayotis Verginis
EZH2-mediated epigenetic regulation of T cell differentiation and regulatory T cell function has been described previously; however, the role of EZH2 in T cell–mediated anti-tumor immunity, especially in the context of immune checkpoint therapy, is not understood. Here, we showed that genetic depletion of EZH2 in regulatory T cells (FoxP3creEZH2fl/fl mice) leads to robust anti-tumor immunity. In addition, pharmacological inhibition of EZH2 in human T cells using CPI-1205 elicited phenotypic and functional alterations of the regulatory T cells and enhanced cytotoxic activity of effector T cells. We observed that ipilimumab (anti–CTLA-4) increased EZH2 expression in peripheral T cells from treated patients. We hypothesized that inhibition of EZH2 expression in T cells would increase the effectiveness of anti–CTLA-4 therapy, which we tested in murine models. Collectively, our data demonstrated that modulating EZH2 expression in T cells can improve anti-tumor responses elicited by anti–CTLA-4 therapy, which provides a strong rationale for a combination trial of CPI-1205 plus ipilimumab.
Sangeeta Goswami, Irina Apostolou, Jan Zhang, Jill Skepner, Swetha Anandhan, Xuejun Zhang, Liangwen Xiong, Patrick Trojer, Ana Aparicio, Sumit K. Subudhi, James P. Allison, Hao Zhao, Padmanee Sharma
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