The prognosis for bladder cancer patients with lymph node (LN) metastasis is dismal and only minimally improved by current treatment modalities. Elucidation of the molecular mechanisms that underlie LN metastasis may provide clinical therapeutic strategies for LN-metastatic bladder cancer. Here, we report that a long noncoding RNA LINC00958, which we have termed bladder cancer–associated transcript 2 (BLACAT2), was markedly upregulated in LN-metastatic bladder cancer and correlated with LN metastasis. Overexpression of BLACAT2 promoted bladder cancer–associated lymphangiogenesis and lymphatic metastasis in both cultured bladder cancer cell lines and mouse models. Furthermore, we demonstrate that BLACAT2 epigenetically upregulated VEGF-C expression by directly associating with WDR5, a core subunit of human H3K4 methyltransferase complexes. Importantly, administration of an anti–VEGF-C antibody inhibited LN metastasis in BLACAT2-overexpressing bladder cancer. Taken together, these findings uncover a molecular mechanism in the lymphatic metastasis of bladder cancer and indicate that BLACAT2 may represent a target for clinical intervention in LN-metastatic bladder cancer.
Wang He, Guangzheng Zhong, Ning Jiang, Bo Wang, Xinxiang Fan, Changhao Chen, Xu Chen, Jian Huang, Tianxin Lin
Blockade of the checkpoint inhibitor programmed death 1 (PD1) has demonstrated remarkable success in the clinic for the treatment of cancer; however, a majority of tumors are resistant to anti-PD1 monotherapy. Numerous ongoing clinical combination therapy studies will likely reveal additional therapeutics that complement anti-PD1 blockade. Recent studies found that immunogenic cell death (ICD) improves T cell responses against different tumors, thus indicating that ICD may further augment antitumor immunity elicited by anti-PD1. Here, we observed antitumor activity following combinatorial therapy with anti-PD1 Ab and the cyclin-dependent kinase inhibitor dinaciclib in immunocompetent mouse tumor models. Dinaciclib induced a type I IFN gene signature within the tumor, leading us to hypothesize that dinaciclib potentiates the effects of anti-PD1 by eliciting ICD. Indeed, tumor cells treated with dinaciclib showed the hallmarks of ICD including surface calreticulin expression and release of high mobility group box 1 (HMGB1) and ATP. Mice treated with both anti-PD1 and dinaciclib showed increased T cell infiltration and DC activation within the tumor, indicating that this combination improves the overall quality of the immune response generated. These findings identify a potential mechanism for the observed benefit of combining dinaciclib and anti-PD1, in which dinaciclib induces ICD, thereby converting the tumor cell into an endogenous vaccine and boosting the effects of anti-PD1.
Dewan Md Sakib Hossain, Sarah Javaid, Mingmei Cai, Chunsheng Zhang, Anandi Sawant, Marlene Hinton, Manjiri Sathe, Jeff Grein, Wendy Blumenschein, Elaine M. Pinheiro, Alissa Chackerian
Programmed death–ligand 1 (PD-L1) expression on tumor cells is essential for T cell impairment, and PD-L1 blockade therapy has shown unprecedented durable responses in several clinical studies. Although higher expression of PD-L1 on tumor cells is associated with a better immune response after Ab blockade, some PD-L1–negative patients also respond to this therapy. In the current study, we explored whether PD-L1 on tumor or host cells was essential for anti–PD-L1–mediated therapy in 2 different murine tumor models. Using real-time imaging in whole tumor tissues, we found that anti–PD-L1 Ab accumulates in tumor tissues regardless of the status of PD-L1 expression on tumor cells. We further observed that, while PD-L1 on tumor cells was largely dispensable for the response to checkpoint blockade, PD-L1 in host myeloid cells was essential for this response. Additionally, PD-L1 signaling in defined antigen presenting cells (APCs) negatively regulated and inhibited T cell activation. PD-L1 blockade inside tumors was not sufficient to mediate regression, as limiting T cell trafficking reduced the efficacy of the blockade. Together, these findings demonstrate that PD-L1 expressed in APCs, rather than on tumor cells, plays an essential role in checkpoint blockade therapy, providing an insight into the mechanisms of this therapy.
Haidong Tang, Yong Liang, Robert A. Anders, Janis M. Taube, Xiangyan Qiu, Aditi Mulgaonkar, Xin Liu, Susan M. Harrington, Jingya Guo, Yangchun Xin, Yahong Xiong, Kien Nham, William Silvers, Guiyang Hao, Xiankai Sun, Mingyi Chen, Raquibul Hannan, Jian Qiao, Haidong Dong, Hua Peng, Yang-Xin Fu
Paclitaxel is among the most widely used anticancer drugs and is known to cause a dose-limiting peripheral neurotoxicity, the initiating mechanisms of which remain unknown. Here, we identified the murine solute carrier organic anion–transporting polypeptide B2 (OATP1B2) as a mediator of paclitaxel-induced neurotoxicity. Additionally, using established tests to assess acute and chronic paclitaxel-induced neurotoxicity, we found that genetic or pharmacologic knockout of OATP1B2 protected mice from mechanically induced allodynia, thermal hyperalgesia, and changes in digital maximal action potential amplitudes. The function of this transport system was inhibited by the tyrosine kinase inhibitor nilotinib through a noncompetitive mechanism, without compromising the anticancer properties of paclitaxel. Collectively, our findings reveal a pathway that explains the fundamental basis of paclitaxel-induced neurotoxicity, with potential implications for its therapeutic management.
Alix F. Leblanc, Jason A. Sprowl, Paola Alberti, Alessia Chiorazzi, W. David Arnold, Alice A. Gibson, Kristen W. Hong, Marissa S. Pioso, Mingqing Chen, Kevin M. Huang, Vamsi Chodisetty, Olivia Costa, Tatiana Florea, Peter de Bruijn, Ron H. Mathijssen, Raquel E. Reinbolt, Maryam B. Lustberg, Lara E. Sucheston-Campbell, Guido Cavaletti, Alex Sparreboom, Shuiying Hu
Epithelial tumor cells undergo epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition (EMT) to gain metastatic activity. Competing endogenous RNAs (ceRNAs) have binding sites for a common set of microRNAs (miRs) and regulate each other’s expression by sponging miRs. Here, we address whether ceRNAs govern EMT–driven metastasis. High miR-181b levels were correlated with an improved prognosis in human lung adenocarcinomas, and metastatic tumor cell lines derived from a murine lung adenocarcinoma model in which metastasis is EMT–driven were enriched in miR-181b targets. The EMT–activating transcription factor ZEB1 relieved a strong basal repression of integrin-α1 (ITGA1), which in turn upregulated adenylyl cyclase 9 (ADCY9) by sponging miR181b. Ectopic expression of the ITGA1 3’ untranslated region reversed miR-181b–mediated metastasis suppression and increased the levels of ADCY9, which promoted ZEB1–driven tumor cell migration and metastasis. In human lung adenocarcinomas, ITGA1 and ADCY9 levels were positively correlated, and an ADCY9–activated transcriptomic signature had poor-prognostic value. Thus, ZEB1 initiates a miR-181b–regulated ceRNA network to drive metastasis.
Xiaochao Tan, Priyam Banerjee, Xin Liu, Jiang Yu, Don L. Gibbons, Ping Wu, Kenneth L. Scott, Lixia Diao, Xiaofeng Zheng, Jing Wang, Ali Jalali, Milind Suraokar, Junya Fujimoto, Carmen Behrens, Xiuping Liu, Chang-gong Liu, Chad J. Creighton, Ignacio I. Wistuba, Jonathan M. Kurie
During epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT) epithelial cancer cells trans-differentiate into highly-motile, invasive, mesenchymal-like cells giving rise to disseminating tumor cells. Only few of these disseminated cells successfully metastasize. Immune cells and inflammation in the tumor microenvironment was shown to drive EMT, but few studies investigated the consequences of EMT on tumor immunosurveillance. In addition to initiating metastasis, we demonstrate that EMT confers increased susceptibility to NK cells and contributes, in part, to the inefficiency of the metastatic process. Depletion of NK cells allowed spontaneous metastasis without effecting primary tumor growth. EMT-induced modulation of E-cadherin and cell adhesion molecule 1 (CADM1) mediated increased susceptibility to NK cytotoxicity. Higher CADM1 expression correlates with improved patient survival in two lung and one breast adenocarcinoma patient cohorts and decreased metastasis. Our observation reveal a novel NK-mediated, metastasis-specific, immunosurveillance in lung cancer and presents a window of opportunity for the prevention of metastasis by boosting NK cell activity.
Peter J. Chockley, Jun Chen, Guoan Chen, David G. Beer, Theodore J. Standiford, Venkateshwar G. Keshamouni
Combination checkpoint blockade (CCB) targeting inhibitory CTLA4 and PD1 receptors holds promise for cancer therapy. Immune-related adverse events (IRAEs) remain a major obstacle for the optimal application of CCB in cancer. Here, we analyzed B cell changes in patients with melanoma following treatment with either anti-CTLA4 or anti-PD1, or in combination. CCB therapy led to changes in circulating B cells that were detectable after the first cycle of therapy and characterized by a decline in circulating B cells and an increase in CD21lo B cells and plasmablasts. PD1 expression was higher in the CD21lo B cells, and B cell receptor sequencing of these cells demonstrated greater clonality and a higher frequency of clones compared with CD21hi cells. CCB induced proliferation in the CD21lo compartment, and single-cell RNA sequencing identified B cell activation in cells with genomic profiles of CD21lo B cells in vivo. Increased clonality of circulating B cells following CCB occurred in some patients. Treatment-induced changes in B cells preceded and correlated with both the frequency and timing of IRAEs. Patients with early B cell changes experienced higher rates of grade 3 or higher IRAEs 6 months after CCB. Thus, early changes in B cells following CCB may identify patients who are at increased risk of IRAEs, and preemptive strategies targeting B cells may reduce toxicities in these patients.
Rituparna Das, Noffar Bar, Michelle Ferreira, Aaron M. Newman, Lin Zhang, Jithendra Kini Bailur, Antonella Bacchiocchi, Harriet Kluger, Wei Wei, Ruth Halaban, Mario Sznol, Madhav V. Dhodapkar, Kavita M. Dhodapkar
The molecular mechanism by which cancer-associated fibroblasts (CAFs) confer chemoresistance in ovarian cancer is poorly understood. The purpose of the present study was to evaluate the roles of CAFs in modulating tumor vasculature, chemoresistance, and disease progression. Here, we found that CAFs upregulated the lipoma-preferred partner (LPP) gene in microvascular endothelial cells (MECs) and that LPP expression levels in intratumoral MECs correlated with survival and chemoresistance in patients with ovarian cancer. Mechanistically, LPP increased focal adhesion and stress fiber formation to promote endothelial cell motility and permeability. siRNA-mediated LPP silencing in ovarian tumor–bearing mice improved paclitaxel delivery to cancer cells by decreasing intratumoral microvessel leakiness. Further studies showed that CAFs regulate endothelial LPP via a calcium-dependent signaling pathway involving microfibrillar-associated protein 5 (MFAP5), focal adhesion kinase (FAK), ERK, and LPP. Thus, our findings suggest that targeting endothelial LPP enhances the efficacy of chemotherapy in ovarian cancer. Our data highlight the importance of CAF–endothelial cell crosstalk signaling in cancer chemoresistance and demonstrate the improved efficacy of using LPP-targeting siRNA in combination with cytotoxic drugs.
Cecilia S. Leung, Tsz-Lun Yeung, Kay-Pong Yip, Kwong-Kwok Wong, Samuel Y. Ho, Lingegowda S. Mangala, Anil K. Sood, Gabriel Lopez-Berestein, Jianting Sheng, Stephen T.C. Wong, Michael J. Birrer, Samuel C. Mok
Oncogenic addiction to the Fms-like tyrosine kinase 3 (FLT3) is a hallmark of acute myeloid leukemia (AML) that harbors the FLT3–internal tandem duplication (FLT3-ITD) mutation. While FLT3 inhibitors like sorafenib show initial therapeutic efficacy, resistance rapidly develops through mechanisms that are incompletely understood. Here, we used RNA-Seq–based analysis of patient leukemic cells and found that upregulation of the Tec family kinase BMX occurs during sorafenib resistance. This upregulation was recapitulated in an in vivo murine FLT3-ITD–positive (FLT3-ITD+) model of sorafenib resistance. Mechanistically, the antiangiogenic effects of sorafenib led to increased bone marrow hypoxia, which contributed to HIF-dependent BMX upregulation. In in vitro experiments, hypoxia-dependent BMX upregulation was observed in both AML and non-AML cell lines. Functional studies in human FLT3-ITD+ cell lines showed that BMX is part of a compensatory signaling mechanism that promotes AML cell survival during FLT3 inhibition. Taken together, our results demonstrate that hypoxia-dependent upregulation of BMX contributes to therapeutic resistance through a compensatory prosurvival signaling mechanism. These results also reveal the role of off-target drug effects on tumor microenvironment and development of acquired drug resistance. We propose that the bone marrow niche can be altered by anticancer therapeutics, resulting in drug resistance through cell-nonautonomous microenvironment-dependent effects.
Jolieke G. van Oosterwijk, Daelynn R. Buelow, Christina D. Drenberg, Aksana Vasilyeva, Lie Li, Lei Shi, Yong-Dong Wang, David Finkelstein, Sheila A. Shurtleff, Laura J. Janke, Stanley Pounds, Jeffrey E. Rubnitz, Hiroto Inaba, Navjotsingh Pabla, Sharyn D. Baker
Breast cancer cells with stem cell properties are key contributors to metastatic disease, and there remains a need to better understand and target these cells in human cancers. Here, we identified rare stem-like cells in patients’ tumors characterized by low levels of the proapoptotic molecule p53-upregulated modulator of apoptosis (PUMA) and showed that these cells play a critical role in tumor progression that is independent of clinical subtype. A signaling axis consisting of the integrin αvβ3, Src kinase, and the transcription factor Slug suppresses PUMA in these cells, promoting tumor stemness. We showed that genetic or pharmacological disruption of αvβ3/Src signaling drives PUMA expression, specifically depleting these stem-like tumor cells; increases their sensitivity to apoptosis; and reduces pulmonary metastasis, with no effect on primary tumor growth. Taken together, these findings point to PUMA as a key vulnerability of stem-like cells and suggest that pharmacological upregulation of PUMA via Src inhibition may represent a strategy to selectively target these cells in a wide spectrum of aggressive breast cancers.
Qi Sun, Jacqueline Lesperance, Hiromi Wettersten, Elaine Luterstein, Yoko S. DeRose, Alana Welm, David A. Cheresh, Jay S. Desgrosellier