Intratumoral heterogeneity is a defining hallmark of glioblastoma, driving drug resistant and ultimately recurrence. Many somatic drivers of microenvironmental change have been shown to affect this heterogeneity and ultimately treatment response. However, little is known about how germline mutations effect the tumoral microenvironment. Here, we find that the single-nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) rs755622 in promoter of the cytokine macrophage migration inhibitory factor (MIF), is associated with increased leukocyte infiltration in glioblastoma. Furthermore, we identified an association between rs755622 and lactotransferrin expression, which could also be used as a biomarker for immune-infiltrated tumors. These findings demonstrate that a germline SNP in the promoter region of MIF may impact the immune microenvironment and further reveals a link between lactotransferrin and immune activation.
Tyler J. Alban, Matthew M. Grabowski, Balint Otvos, Defne Bayik, Wesley Wang, Ajay H. Zalavadia, Vladimir Makarav, Katie M. Troike, Mary McGraw, Anja Rabljenovic, Adam Lauko, Chase K.A. Neumann, Gustavo Roversi, Kristin A. Waite, Gino Cioffi, Nirav Patil, Thuy T. Tran, Kathleen McCortney, Alicia Steffens, C. Marcela Diaz-Montero, J. Mark Brown, Kathleen M. Egan, Craig Horbinski, Jill S. Barnholtz-Sloan, Prajwal Rajappa, Michael A. Vogelbaum, Richard Bucala, Timothy A. Chan, Manmeet S. Ahluwalia, Justin D. Lathia
Mesenchymal chondrosarcoma affects adolescents and young adults, and most cases usually have the HEY1::NCOA2 fusion gene. However, the functional role of HEY1-NCOA2 in the development and progression of mesenchymal chondrosarcoma remains largely unknown. This study aimed to clarify the functional role of HEY1-NCOA2 in transformation of the cell of origin and induction of typical biphasic morphology of mesenchymal chondrosarcoma. We generated a mouse model for mesenchymal chondrosarcoma by introducing HEY1-NCOA2 into mouse embryonic superficial zone (eSZ) followed by subcutaneous transplantation into nude mice. HEY1-NCOA2 expression in eSZ cells successfully induced subcutaneous tumors in 68.9% of recipients, showing biphasic morphologies and expression of Sox9, a master regulator of chondrogenic differentiation. ChIP sequencing analyses indicated frequent interaction between HEY1-NCOA2 binding peaks and active enhancers. Runx2, which is important for differentiation and proliferation of the chondrocytic lineage, is invariably expressed in mouse mesenchymal chondrosarcoma, and interaction between HEY1-NCOA2 and Runx2 is observed using NCOA2 C-terminal domains. Although Runx2 knockout resulted in significant delay in tumor onset, it also induced aggressive growth of immature small round cells. Runx3, which is also expressed in mesenchymal chondrosarcoma and interacts with HEY1-NCOA2, replaced the DNA-binding property of Runx2 only in part. Treatment with the HDAC inhibitor panobinostat suppressed tumor growth both in vitro and in vivo, abrogating expression of genes downstream of HEY1-NCOA2 and Runx2. In conclusion, HEY1::NCOA2 expression modulates the transcriptional program in chondrogenic differentiation, affecting cartilage-specific transcription factor functions.
Miwa Tanaka, Mizuki Homme, Yasuyo Teramura, Kohei Kumegawa, Yukari Yamazaki, Kyoko Yamashita, Motomi Osato, Reo Maruyama, Takuro Nakamura
Tumor vascular normalization prevents tumor cells from breaking through the basement membrane and entering the vasculature, and then inhibiting metastasis initiation. In this study, we reported that the anti-tumor peptide JP1 regulates the mitochondria metabolic reprogramming through AMPK/FOXO3a/UQCRC2 signaling, which improves the tumor microenvironment hypoxia. The oxygen-rich tumor microenvironment inhibits the secretion of interleukin-8 (IL8) by tumor cells, thereby promoting tumor vascular normalization. The normalized vasculature results in mature and regular blood vessels, which makes the tumor microenvironment form benign feedback of vascular normalization, sufficient perfusion, and oxygen-rich microenvironment, prevents tumor cells from entering the vasculature and inhibits metastasis initiation. Moreover, the combined therapy of JP1 and paclitaxel (PTX) maintain a certain vascular density in the tumor, as well as promoting tumor vascular normalization, increasing the delivery of oxygen and drugs, and enhancing the anti-tumor effect. Collectively, our work highlighted a novel anti-tumor peptide JP1 to inhibit metastasis initiation and its mechanism of action.
Jiahua Cui, Zhen Che, Lu Zou, Dongyin Chen, Zhan Xie, Kun Ding, Huning Jiang, Aiping Li, Jianwei Zhou, Yongqian Shu
Radiographic contact of glioblastoma (GBM) tumors with the lateral ventricle and adjacent stem cell niche correlates with poor patient prognosis, but the cellular basis of this difference is unclear. Here, we reveal and functionally characterize distinct immune microenvironments that predominate in subtypes of GBM distinguished by proximity to the lateral ventricle. Mass cytometry analysis of IDH-wildtype human tumors identified elevated T cell checkpoint receptor expression and greater abundance of a specific CD32+CD44+HLA-DRhigh macrophage population in ventricle-contacting GBM. Multiple computational analysis approaches, phospho-specific cytometry, and focal resection of GBMs confirmed and extended these findings. Phospho-flow quantified cytokine-induced immune cell signaling in ventricle-contacting GBM revealing differential signaling between GBM subtypes. Subregion analysis within a given tumor supported initial findings and revealed intratumoral compartmentalization of T cell memory and exhaustion phenotypes within GBM subtypes. Collectively, these results characterize immunotherapeutically targetable features of macrophages and suppressed lymphocytes in glioblastomas defined by MRI-detectable lateral ventricle contact.
Todd Bartkowiak, Sierra M. Lima, Madeline J. Hayes, Akshitkumar M. Mistry, Asa A. Brockman, Justine Sinnaeve, Nalin Leelatian, Caroline E. Roe, Bret C. Mobley, Silky Chotai, Kyle D. Weaver, Reid C. Thompson, Lola B. Chambless, Rebecca A. Ihrie, Jonathan M. Irish
cyclic GMP-AMP synthase (cGAS) is a DNA sensor and responsible for inducing an anti-tumor immune response. Recent studies reveal cGAS is frequently inhibited in cancer, and therapeutic targets to promote anti-tumor cGAS function remain elusive. SRC is a proto-oncogene tyrosine kinase and is expressed at elevated levels in numerous cancers. Here, we demonstrate that SRC expression in primary and metastatic bladder cancer negatively correlates with innate immune gene expression and immune cell infiltration. We determine that SRC restricts cGAS signaling in human cell lines through SRC small molecule inhibitors, depletion, and overexpression. cGAS and SRC interact in cells and in vitro, while SRC directly inhibits cGAS enzymatic activity and DNA binding in a kinase-dependent manner. SRC phosphorylates cGAS, and inhibition of cGAS Y248 phosphorylation partially reduces SRC inhibition. Collectively, our study demonstrates that cGAS anti-tumor signaling is hindered by the proto-oncogene SRC and describes how cancer-associated proteins can regulate the innate immune system.
William Dunker, Shivam A. Zaver, Jose Mario Bello Pineda, Cameron J. Howard, Robert K. Bradley, Joshua J. Woodward
The main cause of malignancy-related mortality is metastasis. Although metastatic progression is driven by diverse tumor-intrinsic mechanisms, there is a growing appreciation for the contribution of tumor-extrinsic elements of the tumor microenvironment, especially macrophages, which correlate with poor clinical outcomes. Macrophages consist of bone marrow–derived and tissue-resident populations. In contrast to bone marrow–derived macrophages, the transcriptional pathways that govern the pro-metastatic activities of tissue-resident macrophages (TRMs) remain less clear. Alveolar macrophages (AMs) are a TRM population with critical roles in tissue homeostasis and metastasis. Wnt/β-catenin signaling is a hallmark of cancer and has been identified as a pathologic regulator of AMs in infection. We tested the hypothesis that β-catenin expression in AMs enhances metastasis in solid tumor models. Using a genetic β-catenin gain-of-function approach, we demonstrated that (a) enhanced β-catenin in AMs heightened lung metastasis; (b) β-catenin activity in AMs drove a dysregulated inflammatory program strongly associated with Tnf expression; and (c) localized TNF-α blockade abrogated this metastatic outcome. Last, β-catenin gene CTNNB1 and TNF expression levels were positively correlated in AMs of patients with lung cancer. Overall, our findings revealed a Wnt/β-catenin/TNF-α pro-metastatic axis in AMs with potential therapeutic implications against tumors refractory to the antineoplastic actions of TNF-α.
Elliot D. Kramer, Stephanie L. Tzetzo, Sean H. Colligan, Mary L. Hensen, Craig M. Brackett, Björn E. Clausen, Makoto M. Taketo, Scott I. Abrams
Cancer cachexia (CC), a wasting syndrome of muscle and adipose tissue resulting in weight loss, is observed in 50% of patients with solid tumors. Management of CC is limited by the absence of biomarkers and knowledge of molecules that drive its phenotype. To identify such molecules, we injected 54 human non–small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) lines into immunodeficient mice, 17 of which produced an unambiguous phenotype of cachexia or non-cachexia. Whole-exome sequencing revealed that 8 of 10 cachexia lines, but none of the non-cachexia lines, possessed mutations in serine/threonine kinase 11 (STK11/LKB1), a regulator of nutrient sensor AMPK. Silencing of STK11/LKB1 in human NSCLC and murine colorectal carcinoma lines conferred a cachexia phenotype after cell transplantation into immunodeficient (human NSCLC) and immunocompetent (murine colorectal carcinoma) models. This host wasting was associated with an alteration in the immune cell repertoire of the tumor microenvironments that led to increases in local mRNA expression and serum levels of CC-associated cytokines. Mutational analysis of circulating tumor DNA from patients with NSCLC identified 89% concordance between STK11/LKB1 mutations and weight loss at cancer diagnosis. The current data provide evidence that tumor STK11/LKB1 loss of function is a driver of CC, simultaneously serving as a genetic biomarker for this wasting syndrome.
Puneeth Iyengar, Aakash Y. Gandhi, Jorge Granados, Tong Guo, Arun Gupta, Jinhai Yu, Ernesto M. Llano, Faya Zhang, Ang Gao, Asha Kandathil, Dorothy Williams, Boning Gao, Luc Girard, Venkat S. Malladi, John M. Shelton, Bret M. Evers, Raquibul Hannan, Chul Ahn, John D. Minna, Rodney E. Infante
BACKGROUND. Currently, no laboratory tests exist to stratify for the risk of developing sinusoidal obstruction syndrome (SOS), an early endothelial complication after hematopoietic cell transplantation (HCT). Risk biomarkers of SOS have not been verified in a prospective cohort accounting for differences between practices across institutions. Herein, we aimed to define risk groups for SOS occurrence using three proteins: L-Ficolin, Hyaluronic Acid (HA), and Stimulation-2 (ST2). METHODS. Between 2017 to 2021, we prospectively accrued 80 pediatric patients across 4 US centers. Biomarkers were tested by ELISA blind to patient groupings and associated with SOS incidence at day 35 post-HCT, and overall survival (OS) at day 100 post-HCT. Cutpoints were identified using retrospective cohorts and applied to the prospective cohort. RESULTS. Combination of the three biomarkers measured at day 3 post-HCT in the prospective cohort provided 80% (95%CI, 55-100%) sensitivity and 73% (95%CI, 62-83%) specificity for risk of SOS occurrence. Patients with low L-Ficolin were 9 times (95%CI 3-32) more likely to develop SOS, while patients with high HA and ST2 were 6.5 (95%CI 1.9-22.0) and 5.5 (95%CI 2.3-13.1) times more likely to develop SOS. These three markers also predicted worse day 100 OS [L-Ficolin: HR, 10.0 (95%CI 2.2-45.1), P=0.0002; HA: HR, 4.1 (95%CI 1.0-16.4), P=0.031; ST2: HR, 3.9 (95%CI 0.9-16.4), P=0.04]. CONCLUSION. L-Ficolin, HA, and ST2 levels measured as early as three days post-HCT improved risk stratification for SOS occurrence and OS and may guide risk-adapted preemptive therapy. TRIAL REGISTRATION. ClinicalTrials.gov NCT03132337. FUNDING. NICHD P50HD090215, R01HD074587, NCI R01CA168814 and NHLBI K24HL156896.
Yan Han, Alan Bidgoli, Brittany P. DePriest, Alejandra Méndez, Khadijeh Bijangi-Vishehsaraei, Evelio D. Perez-Albuerne, Robert A. Krance, Jamie Renbarger, Jodi L. Skiles, Sung W. Choi, Hao Liu, Sophie Paczesny
Small cell lung cancer (SCLC) is a recalcitrant malignancy with limited treatment options. Bromodomain and extraterminal domain inhibitors (BETis) have shown promising preclinical activity in SCLC, but the broad sensitivity spectrum limits their clinical prospects. Here, we performed unbiased high-throughput drug combination screens to identify therapeutics that could augment the antitumor activities of BETis in SCLC. We found that multiple drugs targeting the PI-3K–AKT–mTOR pathway synergize with BETis, among which mTOR inhibitors (mTORis) show the highest synergy. Using various molecular subtypes of the xenograft models derived from patients with SCLC, we confirmed that mTOR inhibition potentiates the antitumor activities of BETis in vivo without substantially increasing toxicity. Furthermore, BETis induce apoptosis in both in vitro and in vivo SCLC models, and this antitumor effect is further amplified by combining mTOR inhibition. Mechanistically, BETis induce apoptosis in SCLC by activating the intrinsic apoptotic pathway. However, BET inhibition leads to RSK3 upregulation, which promotes survival by activating the TSC2-mTOR-p70S6K1-BAD cascade. mTORis block this protective signaling and augment the apoptosis induced by BET inhibition. Our findings reveal a critical role of RSK3 induction in tumor survival upon BET inhibition and warrant further evaluation of the combination of mTORis and BETis in patients with SCLC.
Anju Kumari, Lisa Gesumaria, Yan-Jin Liu, V. Keith Hughitt, Xiaohu Zhang, Michele Ceribelli, Kelli M. Wilson, Carleen Klumpp-Thomas, Lu Chen, Crystal McKnight, Zina Itkin, Craig J. Thomas, Beverly A. Mock, David S. Schrump, Haobin Chen
Collectin-11 (CL-11) is a recently described soluble C-type lectin that has distinct roles in embryonic development, host defence, autoimmunity, and fibrosis. Here we report that CL-11 also plays an important role in cancer cell proliferation and tumor growth. Melanoma growth was found to be suppressed in Colec11–/– mice in a s.c. B16 melanoma model. Cellular and molecular analyses revealed that CL-11 is essential for melanoma cell proliferation, angiogenesis, establishment of more immunosuppressive tumor microenvironment, and the reprogramming of macrophages to M2 phenotype within melanomas. In vitro analysis revealed that CL-11 can activate tyrosine kinase receptors (EGFR, HER3) and ERK, JNK, and AKT signaling pathways and has a direct stimulatory effect on murine melanoma cell proliferation. Furthermore, blockade of CL-11 (treatment with L-fucose) inhibited melanoma growth in mice. Analysis of open data sets revealed that COLEC11 gene expression is upregulated in human melanomas and that high COLEC11 expression has a trend toward poor survival. CL-11 also had direct stimulatory effects on human tumor cell proliferation in melanoma and several other types of cancer cells in vitro. Overall, our findings provide the first evidence to our knowledge that CL-11 is a key tumor growth–promoting protein and a promising therapeutic target in tumor growth.
Jia-Xing Wang, Bo Cao, Ning Ma, Kun-Yi Wu, Wan-Bing Chen, Weiju Wu, Xia Dong, Cheng-Fei Liu, Ya-Feng Gao, Teng-Yue Diao, Xiao-Yun Min, Qing Yong, Zong-Fang Li, Wuding Zhou, Ke Li
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