Renal cell carcinoma (RCC) is characterized by a particularly broad metastatic swath, and, enigmatically, when the pancreas is a destination, the disease is associated with improved survival. Intrigued by this observation, we sought to characterize the clinical behavior, therapeutic implications, and underlying biology. While pancreatic metastases (PM) are infrequent, we identified 31 patients across 2 institutional cohorts and show that improved survival is independent of established prognostic variables, that these tumors are exquisitely sensitive to antiangiogenic agents and resistant to immune checkpoint inhibitors (ICIs), and that they are characterized by a distinctive biology. Primary tumors of patients with PM exhibited frequent PBRM1 mutations, 3p loss, and 5q amplification, along with a lower frequency of aggressive features such as BAP1 mutations and loss of 9p, 14q, and 4q. Gene expression analyses revealed constrained evolution with remarkable uniformity, reduced effector T cell gene signatures, and increased angiogenesis. Similar findings were observed histopathologically. Thus, RCC metastatic to the pancreas is characterized by indolent biology, heightened angiogenesis, and an uninflamed stroma, likely underlying its good prognosis, sensitivity to antiangiogenic therapies, and refractoriness to ICI. These data suggest that metastatic organotropism may be an indicator of a particular biology with prognostic and treatment implications for patients.
Nirmish Singla, Zhiqun Xie, Ze Zhang, Ming Gao, Qurratulain Yousuf, Oreoluwa Onabolu, Tiffani McKenzie, Vanina Toffessi Tcheuyap, Yuanqing Ma, Jacob Choi, Renee McKay, Alana Christie, Oscar Reig Torras, Isaac A. Bowman, Vitaly Margulis, Ivan Pedrosa, Christopher Przybycin, Tao Wang, Payal Kapur, Brian Rini, James Brugarolas
Capicua (CIC), a member of the high mobility group (HMG)-box superfamily of transcriptional repressors, is frequently mutated in human oligodendrogliomas. But its function in brain development and tumorigenesis remains poorly understood. Here, we report that brain-specific deletion of Cic compromises developmental transition of neuroblast to immature neurons in mouse hippocampus and compromises normal neuronal differentiation. Combined gene expression and ChIP-seq analyses identified VGF as an important CIC-repressed transcriptional surrogate involved in neuronal lineage regulation. Aberrant VGF expression promotes neural progenitor cell proliferation by suppressing their differentiation. Mechanistically, we demonstrated that CIC represses VGF expression by tethering SIN3-HDAC to form a transcriptional corepressor complex. Mass spectrometry analysis of CIC-interacting proteins further identified BRG1 containing mSWI/SNF complex whose function is necessary for transcriptional repression by CIC. Together, this study uncovers a novel regulatory pathway of CIC-dependent neuronal differentiation and may implicate these molecular mechanisms in CIC-dependent brain tumorigenesis.
Inah Hwang, Heng Pan, Jun Yao, Olivier Elemento, Hongwu Zheng, Jihye Paik
Background: Specific features of the tumor microenvironment (TME) may provide useful prognostic information. We conducted a systematic investigation of the cellular composition and prognostic landscape of TME in gastric cancer. Methods: We evaluated the prognostic significance of major stromal and immune cells within TME. We proposed a composite TME-based risk score and tested it in six independent cohorts of 1,678 patients with gene expression or immunohistochemistry measurements. Further, we devised a new patient classification system based on TME characteristics. Results: We identified natural killer cells, fibroblasts, and endothelial cells as the most robust prognostic markers. The TME risk score combining these cell types was an independent prognostic factor when adjusted for clinicopathologic variables (gene expression: HR [95% CI]: 1.42 [1.22–1.66]; immunohistochemistry: 1.34 [1.24–1.45], P<0.0001). Higher TME risk scores consistently associated with worse survival within every pathologic stage (HR range: 2.18-3.11, P<0.02) and among patients who received surgery only. The TME risk score provided additional prognostic value beyond stage, and combination of the two improved prognostication accuracy (likelihood-ratio test χ2 = 235.4 vs. 187.6, P<0.0001; net reclassification index: 23%). The TME risk score can predict the survival benefit of adjuvant chemotherapy in non-metastatic patients (stage I-III) (interaction test P<0.02). Patients were divided into four TME subtypes that demonstrated distinct genetic and molecular patterns and complemented established genomic and molecular subtypes. Conclusion: We developed and validated a TME-based risk score as an independent prognostic and predictive factor, which has the potential to guide personalized management of gastric cancer.
Bailiang Li, Yuming Jiang, Guoxin Li, George A. Fisher, Ruijiang Li
BACKGROUND. Lower-grade gliomas (LGGs) vary widely in terms of the patient’s overall survival (OS). There is a lack of valid method that could exactly predict the survival. The effects of intratumoral immune infiltration on clinical outcome have been widely reported. Thus, we aim to develop an immune infiltration signature to predict the survival of LGG patients. METHODS. We analyzed 1216 LGGs from 5 public datasets, including 2 RNA-Seq datasets and 3 microarray datasets. Least absolute shrinkage and selection operator (LASSO) Cox regression was used to select an immune infiltration signature and build a risk score. The performance of the risk score was assessed in the training set (329 patients), internal validation set (140 patients), and 4 external validation sets (405, 118, 88, and 136 patients). RESULTS. An immune infiltration signature consisting of 20 immune metagenes was used to generate a risk score. The performance of the risk score was thoroughly verified in the training and validation sets. Additionally, we found that the risk score was positively correlated with the expression levels of TGFβ and PD-L1, which were important targets of combination immunotherapy. Furthermore, a nomogram incorporating the risk score, patient’s age, and tumor grade was developed to predict the OS, and it performed well in all the training and validation sets (C-index: 0.873, 0.881, 0.781, 0.765, 0.721, and 0.753, respectively). CONCLUSIONS. The risk score based on the immune infiltration signature has reliable prognostic and predictive value for patients with LGGs and might be a potential biomarker for the co-targeting immunotherapy. FUNDING. The National Natural Science Foundation of China (Grant No. 81472370 and 81672506), the Natural Science Foundation of Beijing (Grant No. J180005), the National High Technology Research and Development Program of China (863 Program, Grant No. 2014AA020610) and the National Basic Research Program of China (973 Program, Grant No. 2014CB542006).
Lai-Rong Song, Jian-Cong Weng, Cheng-Bei Li, Xu-Lei Huo, Huan Li, Shu-Yu Hao, Zhen Wu, Liang Wang, Da Li, Jun-Ting Zhang
Over 55,000 people in the US are diagnosed with pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC) yearly, and fewer than 20% of these patients survive a year beyond diagnosis. Chemotherapies are considered or used in nearly every PDAC case, but there is limited understanding of the complex signaling responses underlying resistance to these common treatments. Here, we take an unbiased approach to study protein kinase network changes following chemotherapies in patient-derived xenograft (PDX) models of PDAC to facilitate design of rational drug combinations. Proteomics profiling following chemotherapy regimens reveals that activation of JNK-JUN signaling occurs after 5-fluorouracil plus leucovorin (5-FU) and FOLFOX (5-FU plus oxaliplatin (OX)), but not after OX alone or gemcitabine. Cell and tumor growth assays with the irreversible inhibitor JNK-IN-8 and genetic manipulations demonstrate that JNK and JUN each contribute to chemoresistance and cancer cell survival after FOLFOX. Active JNK1 and JUN are specifically implicated in these effects, and synergy with JNK-IN-8 is linked to FOLFOX-mediated JUN activation, cell cycle dysregulation, and DNA damage response. This study highlights the potential for JNK-IN-8 as a biological tool and potential combination therapy with FOLFOX in PDAC and reinforces the need to tailor treatment to functional characteristics of individual tumors.
Matthew B. Lipner, Xianlu L. Peng, Chong Jin, Yi Xu, Yanzhe Gao, Michael P. East, Naim U. Rashid, Richard A. Moffitt, Silvia G. Herrera Loeza, Ashley B. Morrison, Brian T. Golitz, Cyrus Vaziri, Lee M. Graves, Gary L. Johnson, Jen Jen Yeh
CD137 (4-1BB) is a member of the TNFR superfamily that represents a promising target for cancer immunotherapy. Recent insights into the function of TNFR agonist antibodies implicate epitope, affinity, and IgG subclass as critical features, and these observations help explain the limited activity and toxicity seen with clinically tested CD137 agonists. Here, we describe the preclinical characterization of CTX-471, a fully human IgG4 agonist of CD137 that engages a unique epitope that is shared by human, cynomolgus monkey, and mouse and is associated with a differentiated pharmacology and toxicology profile. In vitro, CTX-471 increased IFN-γ production by human T cells in an Fcγ receptor–dependent (FcγR-dependent) manner, displaying an intermediate level of activity between 2 clinical-stage anti-CD137 antibodies. In mice, CTX-471 exhibited curative monotherapy activity in various syngeneic tumor models and showed a unique ability to cure mice of very large (~500 mm3) tumors compared with validated antibodies against checkpoints and TNFR superfamily members. Extremely high doses of CTX-471 were well tolerated, with no signs of hepatic toxicity. Collectively, these data demonstrate that CTX-471 is a unique CD137 agonist that displays an excellent safety profile and an unprecedented level of monotherapy efficacy against very large tumors.
Ugur Eskiocak, Wilson Guzman, Benjamin Wolf, Christine Cummings, Lauren Milling, Hsin-Jung Wu, Michael Ophir, Conner Lambden, Pearl Bakhru, Dana C. Gilmore, Samantha Ottinger, Lucy Liu, William K. McConaughy, Sunny Q. He, Chao Wang, Cheuk Lun Leung, Jason Lajoie, William F. Carson IV, Nora Zizlsperger, Michael M. Schmidt, Ana C. Anderson, Piotr Bobrowicz, Thomas J. Schuetz, Robert Tighe
Immune checkpoint inhibitor (ICI) therapy has shown a significant benefit in the treatment of a variety of cancer entities. However, immune-related adverse events (irAEs) occur frequently and can lead to ICI treatment termination. MicroRNA-146a (miR-146a) has regulatory functions in immune cells. We observed that mice lacking miR-146a developed significantly more severe irAEs compared to wildtype mice in several irAE target organs in two different murine models. MiR-146a-/- mice exhibited increased T cell activation and effector function upon ICI treatment. Moreover, neutrophil numbers in the spleen and the inflamed intestine were highly increased in ICI-treated miR-146a-/- mice. Therapeutic administration of a miR-146a mimic reduced irAE severity. To validate our preclinical findings in patients, we analyzed the impact of a SNP in the MIR146A gene on irAE severity in 167 patients treated with ICIs. We found that the SNP rs2910164 leading to reduced miR-146a expression was associated with an increased risk to develop severe irAEs, reduced progression-free survival and increased neutrophil counts both at baseline and during ICI therapy.In conclusion, we characterized miR-146a as a novel molecular target to prevent ICI mediated autoimmune dysregulation. Furthermore, we identified the MIR146A SNP rs2910164 as a biomarker to predict severe irAE development in ICI-treated patients.
Dominik Marschner, Martina Falk, Nora Rebeka Javorniczky, Kathrin Hanke-Müller, Justyna Rawluk, Annette Schmitt-Graeff, Federico Simonetta, Eileen Haring, Severin Dicks, Manching Ku, Sandra Duquesne, Konrad Aumann, David Rafei-Shamsabadi, Frank Meiss, Patrick Marschner, Melanie Boerries, Robert S. Negrin, Justus Duyster, Robert Zeiser, Natalie Köhler
Most prostate cancers depend on androgens for growth and therefore the mainstay treatment for advanced, recurrent or metastatic prostate cancer is androgen deprivation therapy (ADT). A prominent side effect in patients receiving ADT is an obese frailty syndrome that includes fat gain and sarcopenia, defined as the loss of muscle function accompanied by reduced muscle mass or quality. Mice bearing Pten deficient prostate cancers were examined to gain mechanistic insight into ADT-induced sarcopenic obesity. Castration induced fat gain as well as skeletal muscle mass and strength loss. Catabolic TGFß-family myokine protein levels were increased immediately prior to strength loss and pan-myokine blockade using a soluble receptor (ActRIIB-Fc) completely reversed the castration-induced sarcopenia. The onset of castration-induced strength and muscle mass loss, as well as the increase in catabolic TGFß-family myokine protein levels, were coordinately accelerated in tumor-bearing mice relative to tumor-free mice. Notably, GDF11 increased in muscle after castration only in tumor-bearing mice, but not in tumor free mice. An early surge of GDF11 in prostate tumor tissue and in the circulation suggests that endocrine GDF11 signaling from tumor to muscle is a major driver of the accelerated ADT-induced sarcopenic phenotype. In tumor-bearing mice, GDF11 blockade largely prevented castration-induced strength loss but did not preserve muscle mass, which confirms a primary role for GDF11 in muscle function and suggests an additional role for the other catabolic myokines.
Chunliu Pan, Neha Jaiswal Agrawal, Yanni Zulia, Shalini Singh, Kai Sha, James L. Mohler, Kevin H. Eng, Joe Chakkalakal, John J. Krolewski, Kent L. Nastiuk
Small primary breast cancers can show surprisingly high potential for metastasis. Clinical decision making for tumor aggressiveness, including molecular profiling, relies primarily on analysis of the cancer cells. Here we show that this is insufficient; that the stromal microenvironment of the primary tumor plays a key role in tumor-cell dissemination and implantation at distant sites. We previously described two cancer-associated fibroblasts (CAFs) that either express (CD146pos) or lack (CD146neg) CD146 (official symbol MCAM; alias MUC18). We now find that when mixed with human breast cancer cells, each fibroblast subtype determines the fate of cancer-cells: CD146neg fibroblasts promote increased metastasis compared to CD146pos fibroblasts. Novel quantitative and qualitative proteomic analyses show that CD146pos CAFs produce an environment rich in basement membrane proteins, while CD146neg CAFs exhibit increases in FN1, LOX, and TNC; all over-expressed in aggressive disease. We also show clinically, that CD146neg CAFs predict for likelihood of lymph node involvement even in small primary tumors (<5 cm). Clearly small tumors enriched for CD146neg CAFs require aggressive treatments.
Heather M. Brechbuhl, Alexander S. Barrett, Etana Kopin, Jaime C. Hagen, Amy L. Han, Austin E. Gillen, Jessica Finlay-Schultz, Diana M. Cittelly, Philip Owens, Kathryn B. Horwitz, Carol A. Sartorius, Kirk C. Hansen, Peter Kabos
In recent years, CAR-T cell therapy has proven to be a promising approach against cancer. Nonetheless, this approach still faces multiple challenges in eliminating solid tumors, one of which being the immunosuppressive tumor microenvironment (TME). Here we demonstrated that knocking out the endogenous TGFβ receptor II (TGFBR2) in CAR-T cells with CRISPR/Cas9 technology could reduce the induced regulatory T-cell (iTreg) conversion and prevent the exhaustion of CAR-T cells. Meanwhile, TGFBR2 edited CAR-T cells had better in vivo tumor elimination efficacy, both in cell line derived xenograft (CDX) and patient derived xenograft (PDX) solid tumor models, whether administered locally or systemically. In addition, the TGFBR2 edited CAR-T cells could eliminate contralaterally re-inoculated xenografts in mice effectively with an increased proportion of central memory and effector memory subsets. In conclusion, we greatly improved the in vitro and in vivo function of CAR-T cells in TGFβ-rich tumor environments by knocking out endogenous TGFBR2, proposing a new method to improve the efficacy of CAR-T cell therapy for treating solid tumors.
Na Tang, Chen Cheng, Xingying Zhang, Miaomiao Qiao, Na Li, Wei Mu, Xiao-Fei Wei, Weidong Han, Haoyi Wang
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