Gene Summary

Gene:ARAF; A-Raf proto-oncogene, serine/threonine kinase
Aliases: PKS2, A-RAF, ARAF1, RAFA1
Summary:This proto-oncogene belongs to the RAF subfamily of the Ser/Thr protein kinase family, and maybe involved in cell growth and development. Alternatively spliced transcript variants encoding different isoforms have been found for this gene.[provided by RefSeq, Jan 2012]
Databases:OMIM, HGNC, Ensembl, GeneCard, Gene
Protein:serine/threonine-protein kinase A-Raf
Source:NCBIAccessed: 29 August, 2019


What does this gene/protein do?
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Cancer Overview

Research Indicators

Publications Per Year (1994-2019)
Graph generated 29 August 2019 using data from PubMed using criteria.

Literature Analysis

Mouse over the terms for more detail; many indicate links which you can click for dedicated pages about the topic.

Tag cloud generated 29 August, 2019 using data from PubMed, MeSH and CancerIndex

Specific Cancers (1)

Data table showing topics related to specific cancers and associated disorders. Scope includes mutations and abnormal protein expression.

Note: list is not exhaustive. Number of papers are based on searches of PubMed (click on topic title for arbitrary criteria used).

Latest Publications: ARAF (cancer-related)

Köhler M, Ehrenfeld S, Halbach S, et al.
B-Raf deficiency impairs tumor initiation and progression in a murine breast cancer model.
Oncogene. 2019; 38(8):1324-1339 [PubMed] Related Publications
Copy number gains, point mutations and epigenetic silencing events are increasingly observed in genes encoding elements of the Ras/Raf/MEK/ERK signaling axis in human breast cancer. The three Raf kinases A-Raf, B-Raf, and Raf-1 have an important role as gatekeepers in ERK pathway activation and are often dysregulated by somatic alterations of their genes or by the aberrant activity of receptor tyrosine kinases (RTKs) and Ras-GTPases. B-Raf represents the most potent Raf isoform and a critical effector downstream of RTKs and RAS proteins. Aberrant RTK signaling is mimicked by the polyoma middle T antigen (PyMT), which activates various oncogenic signaling pathways, incl. the RAS/ERK axis, in a similar manner as RTKs in human breast cancer. Mammary epithelial cell directed expression of PyMT in mice by the MMTV-PyMT transgene induces mammary hyperplasia progressing over adenoma to metastatic breast cancer with an almost complete penetrance. To understand the functional role of B-Raf in this model for luminal type B breast cancer, we crossed MMTV-PyMT mice with animals that either lack B-Raf expression in the mammary gland or express the signaling impaired B-Raf

Liu W, Li W, Sui Y, et al.
Structure characterization and anti-leukemia activity of a novel polysaccharide from Angelica sinensis (Oliv.) Diels.
Int J Biol Macromol. 2019; 121:161-172 [PubMed] Related Publications
A new water-soluble polysaccharide, APS-1II, with a molecular weight of 42.1 kDa was isolated from the roots of Angelica sinensis (Oliv.) Diels. APS-1II consists of arabinose (Ara), glucose (Glc) and fucose (Fuc) with a molar ratio of 2.48:1.05:1.00. The backbone of APS-1II is composed of 1,3-α-l-Araf and 1,6-α-d-Glcp with the branches containing 1,5-α-l-Araf, 1,4-β-d-Glcp, T-β-d-Glcp, 1,3-α-l-Fucp and T-α-l-Fucp. APS-1II inhibited the proliferation of human leukemia K562 and mouse L1210 cells in vitro and markedly prolonged the life span of L1210-bearing mice in vivo. APS-1II also increased the numbers of leukocytes and lymphocytes in peripheral blood, and significantly decreased plasma tumor necrosis factor, interleukin-2 and interferon-γ levels in L1210-bearing mice. Moreover, APS-1II administration concentration-dependently promoted the proliferation of the splenocytes, enhanced phagocytic activity of peritoneal macrophages and cytotoxicity of natural killer cells. These results suggest that APS-1II could effectively inhibit leukemia and induce a protective immune response, and it may be used as a suitable candidate reagent for leukemia therapy.

Roskoski R
Targeting oncogenic Raf protein-serine/threonine kinases in human cancers.
Pharmacol Res. 2018; 135:239-258 [PubMed] Related Publications
The Ras-Raf-MEK-ERK signal transduction cascade is arguably the most important oncogenic pathway in human cancers. Ras-GTP promotes the formation of active homodimers or heterodimers of A-Raf, B-Raf, and C-Raf by an intricate process. These enzymes are protein-serine/threonine kinases that catalyze the phosphorylation and activation of MEK1 and MEK2 which, in turn, catalyze the phosphorylation and activation of ERK1 and ERK2. The latter catalyze the regulatory phosphorylation of dozens of cytosolic and nuclear proteins. The X-ray crystal structure of B-Raf-MEK1 depicts a face-to-face dimer with interacting activation segments; B-Raf is in an active conformation and MEK1 is in an inactive conformation. Besides the four traditional components in the Ras-Raf-MEK-ERK signaling module, scaffolding proteins such as Kinase Suppressor of Ras (KSR1/2) play an important role in this signaling cascade by functioning as a scaffold protein. RAS mutations occur in about 30% of all human cancers. Moreover, BRAF

Yuan J, Ng WH, Lam PYP, et al.
The dimer-dependent catalytic activity of RAF family kinases is revealed through characterizing their oncogenic mutants.
Oncogene. 2018; 37(43):5719-5734 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Although extensively studied for three decades, the molecular mechanisms that regulate the RAF/MEK/ERK kinase cascade remain ambiguous. Recent studies identified the dimerization of RAF as a key event in the activation of this cascade. Here, we show that in-frame deletions in the β3-αC loop activate ARAF as well as BRAF and other oncogenic kinases by enforcing homodimerization. By characterizing these RAF mutants, we find that ARAF has less allosteric and catalytic activity than the other two RAF isoforms, which arises from its non-canonical APE motif. Further, these RAF mutants exhibit a strong oncogenic potential, and a differential inhibitor resistance that correlates with their dimer affinity. Using these unique mutants, we demonstrate that active RAFs, including the BRAF(V600E) mutant, phosphorylate MEK in a dimer-dependent manner. This study characterizes a special category of oncogenic kinase mutations, and elucidates the molecular basis that underlies the differential ability of RAF isoforms to stimulate MEK-ERK pathway. Further, this study reveals a unique catalytic feature of RAF family kinases that can be exploited to control their activities for cancer therapies.

Zhang XY, Guo H, Han B, et al.
Revealing A-Raf functions through its interactome.
Biochim Biophys Acta Proteins Proteom. 2018; 1866(8):849-856 [PubMed] Related Publications
A-Raf is a member of the Raf kinase family. Unlike B-Raf and C-Raf, the functions of A-Raf remain obscure. To gain more insight into the biological functions of A-Raf, we investigated the A-Raf interactome using proteomics. We found 132 proteins that interact with A-Raf and confirmed the interaction of 12 of these proteins with A-Raf by western blotting. Our data suggested that A-Raf regulates apoptosis, RNA catabolism, GTPase activity, and cell adhesion by interacting with proteins located in different cellular compartments. We identified all ten hallmarks of cancer in these interacting proteins, suggesting that A-Raf is involved in carcinogenesis. Our results also indicated that A-Raf may play a role in different diseases and signaling pathways. These findings have identified potential regulators of A-Raf and provide a systemic insight into its biological functions.

Ranjpour M, Katare DP, Wajid S, Jain SK
HCC Specific Protein Network Involving Interactions of EGFR with A-Raf and Transthyretin: Experimental Analysis and Computational Biology Correlates.
Anticancer Agents Med Chem. 2018; 18(8):1163-1176 [PubMed] Related Publications
BACKGROUND: The network interactions link human disease proteins to regulatory cellular pathways leading to better understanding of protein functions and cellular processes. Revealing the network of signaling pathways in cancer through protein-protein interactions at molecular level enhances our understanding of Hepatocellular Carcinoma (HCC).
OBJECTIVE: A rodent model for study of HCC was developed to identify differentially expressed proteins at very early stage of cancer initiation and throughout its progression.
METHODOLOGY: HCC was induced by administrating N-Nitrosodiethylamine (DEN) and 2-aminoacetylfluorine (2-AAF) to male Wistar rats. Proteomic approaches such as 2D-Electrophoresis, PD-Quest, MALDI-TOF-MS and Western blot analyses have been used to identify, characterize and validate the differentially expressed proteins in HCC-bearing animals vis-a-vis controls.
RESULTS: The step-wise analysis of morphological and histological parameters revealed HCC induction and tumorigenesis at 1 and 4 months after carcinogen treatment, respectively. We report a novel protein network of 735 different proteins out of which eight proteins are characterized by MALDI-TOF-MS analysis soon after HCC was chemically induced in rats. We have analyzed four different novel routes representing the association of experimentally identified proteins with HCC progression.
CONCLUSION: The study suggests that A-Raf, transthyretin and epidermal growth factor receptor play major role in HCC progression by regulating MAPK signaling pathway and lipid metabolism leading to continuous proliferation, neoplastic transformation and tumorigenesis.

Araf S, Wang J, Korfi K, et al.
Genomic profiling reveals spatial intra-tumor heterogeneity in follicular lymphoma.
Leukemia. 2018; 32(5):1261-1265 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications

Dong CX, Liu L, Wang CY, et al.
Structural characterization of polysaccharides from Saposhnikovia divaricata and their antagonistic effects against the immunosuppression by the culture supernatants of melanoma cells on RAW264.7 macrophages.
Int J Biol Macromol. 2018; 113:748-756 [PubMed] Related Publications
Two purified native polysaccharides, namely, SDNP-1 and SDNP-2 with apparent molecular weight of 67.9×10

Araf S, Okosun J, Fitzgibbon J
Predicting early relapse in follicular lymphoma: have we turned a corner?
Lancet Oncol. 2018; 19(4):441-442 [PubMed] Related Publications

Kanno E, Kawasaki O, Takahashi K, et al.
DA-Raf, a dominant-negative antagonist of the Ras-ERK pathway, is a putative tumor suppressor.
Exp Cell Res. 2018; 362(1):111-120 [PubMed] Related Publications
Activating mutations of RAS genes, particularly KRAS, are detected with high frequency in human tumors. Mutated Ras proteins constitutively activate the ERK pathway (Raf-MEK-ERK phosphorylation cascade), leading to cellular transformation and tumorigenesis. DA-Raf1 (DA-Raf) is a splicing variant of A-Raf and contains the Ras-binding domain (RBD) but lacks the kinase domain. Accordingly, DA-Raf antagonizes the Ras-ERK pathway in a dominant-negative fashion and suppresses constitutively activated K-Ras-induced cellular transformation. Thus, we have addressed whether DA-Raf serves as a tumor suppressor of Ras-induced tumorigenesis. DA-Raf(R52Q), which is generated from a single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) in the RBD, and DA-Raf(R52W), a mutant detected in a lung cancer, neither bound to active K-Ras nor interfered with the activation of the ERK pathway. They were incapable of suppressing activated K-Ras-induced cellular transformation and tumorigenesis in mice, in which K-Ras-transformed cells were transplanted. Furthermore, although DA-Raf was highly expressed in lung alveolar epithelial type 2 (AE2) cells, its expression was silenced in AE2-derived lung adenocarcinoma cell lines with oncogenic KRAS mutations. These results suggest that DA-Raf represents a tumor suppressor protein against Ras-induced tumorigenesis.

Tran G, Huynh TN, Paller AS
Langerhans cell histiocytosis: A neoplastic disorder driven by Ras-ERK pathway mutations.
J Am Acad Dermatol. 2018; 78(3):579-590.e4 [PubMed] Related Publications
Langerhans cell histiocytosis (LCH) is a disorder of myeloid neoplasia of dendritic cells that affects 1 in 200,000 children <15 years of age and even fewer adults. LCH presents with a spectrum of clinical manifestations. High-risk stratification is reserved for infiltration of blood, spleen, liver, and lungs. After decades of debate on the disease pathogenesis, a neoplastic mechanism is now favored on the basis of LCH cell clonality, rare cases of familial clustering, and recent evidence of mutations involving the Ras/Raf/MEK (mitogen-activated protein kinase kinase)/ERK (extracellular signal-regulated kinase) pathway in lesional biopsy specimens. Somatic mutations are most often found in BRAF (BRAF

Horiuchi Y, Nakatsu D, Kano F, Murata M
Pyruvate kinase M1 interacts with A-Raf and inhibits endoplasmic reticulum stress-induced apoptosis by activating MEK1/ERK pathway in mouse insulinoma cells.
Cell Signal. 2017; 38:212-222 [PubMed] Related Publications
Apoptotic death of pancreatic β cells is a major cause of type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2D) progression. Two isoforms of pyruvate kinase, PKM1 and PKM2, have been reported to participate in cell death in several cell types; however, little is known about their causal pathways in pancreatic β-cell death. We examined whether the suppression of PKM1 or PKM2 affects endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress-induced apoptosis in a pancreatic β-cell line, MIN6, and Beta-TC-6 and found that knockdown of PKM1, but not of PKM2, leads to the induction of ER stress-induced apoptosis in these cells. We also investigated the mechanism by which PKM1 inhibits ER stress-induced apoptosis. We confirmed that PKM1 interacts with A-Raf, an upstream regulator of the MEK/ERK pathway, and that this interaction contributes to MEK1 phosphorylation by A-Raf. PKM1 knockdown suppresses the phosphorylation of MEK, ERK, and caspase-9 (Thr125), which is phosphorylated by the MEK/ERK pathway, thereby inhibiting the cleavage and activation of caspase-9. Thus, PKM1 knockdown activates the caspase-9/caspase-3 pathway under ER stress conditions and leads to apoptosis.

Ozkaya N, Dogan A, Abdel-Wahab O
Identification and Targeting of Kinase Alterations in Histiocytic Neoplasms.
Hematol Oncol Clin North Am. 2017; 31(4):705-719 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Histiocytic disorders represent clonal disorders of cells believed to be derived from the monocyte, macrophage, and/or dendritic cell lineage presenting with a range of manifestations. Although their nature as clonal versus inflammatory nonclonal conditions have long been debated, recent studies identified numerous somatic mutations that activate mitogen-activated protein kinase signaling in clinically and histologically diverse forms of histiocytosis. Clinical trials and case series have revealed that targeting aberrant kinase signaling using BRAF and/or MEK inhibitors may be effective. These findings suggest that a personalized approach in which patient-specific alterations are identified and targeted may be a critically important therapeutic approach.

Dorard C, Estrada C, Barbotin C, et al.
RAF proteins exert both specific and compensatory functions during tumour progression of NRAS-driven melanoma.
Nat Commun. 2017; 8:15262 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
NRAS and its effector BRAF are frequently mutated in melanoma. Paradoxically, CRAF but not BRAF was shown to be critical for various RAS-driven cancers, raising the question of the role of RAF proteins in NRAS-induced melanoma. Here, using conditional ablation of Raf genes in NRAS-induced mouse melanoma models, we investigate their contribution in tumour progression, from the onset of benign tumours to malignant tumour maintenance. We show that BRAF expression is required for ERK activation and nevi development, demonstrating a critical role in the early stages of NRAS-driven melanoma. After melanoma formation, single Braf or Craf ablation is not sufficient to block tumour growth, showing redundant functions for RAF kinases. Finally, proliferation of resistant cells emerging in the absence of BRAF and CRAF remains dependent on ARAF-mediated ERK activation. These results reveal specific and compensatory functions for BRAF and CRAF and highlight an addiction to RAF signalling in NRAS-driven melanoma.

Yang JD, Mohamed EA, Aziz AO, et al.
Characteristics, management, and outcomes of patients with hepatocellular carcinoma in Africa: a multicountry observational study from the Africa Liver Cancer Consortium.
Lancet Gastroenterol Hepatol. 2017; 2(2):103-111 [PubMed] Related Publications
BACKGROUND: Hepatocellular carcinoma is a leading cause of cancer-related death in Africa, but there is still no comprehensive description of the current status of its epidemiology in Africa. We therefore initiated an African hepatocellular carcinoma consortium aiming to describe the clinical presentation, management, and outcomes of patients with hepatocellular carcinoma in Africa.
METHODS: We did a multicentre, multicountry, retrospective observational cohort study, inviting investigators from the African Network for Gastrointestinal and Liver Diseases to participate in the consortium to develop hepatocellular carcinoma research databases and biospecimen repositories. Participating institutions were from Cameroon, Egypt, Ethiopia, Ghana, Ivory Coast, Nigeria, Sudan, Tanzania, and Uganda. Clinical information-demographic characteristics, cause of disease, liver-related blood tests, tumour characteristics, treatments, last follow-up date, and survival status-for patients diagnosed with hepatocellular carcinoma between Aug 1, 2006, and April 1, 2016, were extracted from medical records by participating investigators. Because patients from Egypt showed differences in characteristics compared with patients from the other countries, we divided patients into two groups for analysis; Egypt versus other African countries. We undertook a multifactorial analysis using the Cox proportional hazards model to identify factors affecting survival (assessed from the time of diagnosis to last known follow-up or death).
FINDINGS: We obtained information for 2566 patients at 21 tertiary referral centres (two in Egypt, nine in Nigeria, four in Ghana, and one each in the Ivory Coast, Cameroon, Sudan, Ethiopia, Tanzania, and Uganda). 1251 patients were from Egypt and 1315 were from the other African countries (491 from Ghana, 363 from Nigeria, 277 from Ivory Coast, 59 from Cameroon, 51 from Sudan, 33 from Ethiopia, 21 from Tanzania, and 20 from Uganda). The median age at which hepatocellular carcinoma was diagnosed significantly later in Egypt than the other African countries (58 years [IQR 53-63] vs 46 years [36-58]; p<0·0001). Hepatitis C virus was the leading cause of hepatocellular carcinoma in Egypt (1054 [84%] of 1251 patients), and hepatitis B virus was the leading cause in the other African countries (597 [55%] of 1082 patients). Substantially fewer patients received treatment specifically for hepatocellular carcinoma in the other African countries than in Egypt (43 [3%] of 1315 vs 956 [76%] of 1251; p<0·0001). Among patients with survival information (605 [48%] of 1251 in Egypt and 583 [44%] of 1315 in other African countries), median survival was shorter in the other African countries than in Egypt (2·5 months [95% CI 2·0-3·1] vs 10·9 months [9·6-12·0]; p<0·0001). Factors independently associated with poor survival were: being from an African countries other than Egypt (hazard ratio [HR] 1·59 [95% CI 1·13-2·20]; p=0·01), hepatic encephalopathy (2·81 [1·72-4·42]; p=0·0004), diameter of the largest tumour (1·07 per cm increase [1·04-1·11]; p<0·0001), log α-fetoprotein (1·10 per unit increase [1·02-1·20]; p=0·0188), Eastern Cooperative Oncology Group performance status 3-4 (2·92 [2·13-3·93]; p<0·0001) and no treatment (1·79 [1·44-2·22]; p<0·0001).
INTERPRETATION: Characteristics of hepatocellular carcinoma differ between Egypt and other African countries. The proportion of patients receiving specific treatment in other African countries was low and their outcomes were extremely poor. Urgent efforts are needed to develop health policy strategies to decrease the burden of hepatocellular carcinoma in Africa.

Huang KL, Li S, Mertins P, et al.
Proteogenomic integration reveals therapeutic targets in breast cancer xenografts.
Nat Commun. 2017; 8:14864 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Recent advances in mass spectrometry (MS) have enabled extensive analysis of cancer proteomes. Here, we employed quantitative proteomics to profile protein expression across 24 breast cancer patient-derived xenograft (PDX) models. Integrated proteogenomic analysis shows positive correlation between expression measurements from transcriptomic and proteomic analyses; further, gene expression-based intrinsic subtypes are largely re-capitulated using non-stromal protein markers. Proteogenomic analysis also validates a number of predicted genomic targets in multiple receptor tyrosine kinases. However, several protein/phosphoprotein events such as overexpression of AKT proteins and ARAF, BRAF, HSP90AB1 phosphosites are not readily explainable by genomic analysis, suggesting that druggable translational and/or post-translational regulatory events may be uniquely diagnosed by MS. Drug treatment experiments targeting HER2 and components of the PI3K pathway supported proteogenomic response predictions in seven xenograft models. Our study demonstrates that MS-based proteomics can identify therapeutic targets and highlights the potential of PDX drug response evaluation to annotate MS-based pathway activities.

Chen Y, Liu YC, Sung YC, et al.
Overcoming sorafenib evasion in hepatocellular carcinoma using CXCR4-targeted nanoparticles to co-deliver MEK-inhibitors.
Sci Rep. 2017; 7:44123 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Sorafenib is a RAF inhibitor approved for several cancers, including hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). Inhibition of RAF kinases can induce a dose-dependent "paradoxical" upregulation of the downstream mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) pathway in cancer cells. It is unknown whether "paradoxical" ERK activation occurs after sorafenib therapy in HCC, and if so, if it impacts the therapeutic efficacy. Here, we demonstrate that RAF inhibition by sorafenib rapidly leads to RAF dimerization and ERK activation in HCCs, which contributes to treatment evasion. The transactivation of RAF dimers and ERK signaling promotes HCC cell survival, prevents apoptosis via downregulation of BIM and achieves immunosuppression by MAPK/NF-kB-dependent activation of PD-L1 gene expression. To overcome treatment evasion and reduce systemic effects, we developed CXCR4-targeted nanoparticles to co-deliver sorafenib with the MEK inhibitor AZD6244 in HCC. Using this approach, we preferentially and efficiently inactivated RAF/ERK, upregulated BIM and down-regulated PD-L1 expression in HCC, and facilitated intra-tumoral infiltration of cytotoxic CD8+ T cells. These effects resulted in a profound delay in tumor growth. Thus, this nano-delivery strategy to selectively target tumors and prevent the paradoxical ERK activation could increase the feasibility of dual RAF/MEK inhibition to overcome sorafenib treatment escape in HCC.

Singhal SS, Singhal S, Singhal P, et al.
Didymin: an orally active citrus flavonoid for targeting neuroblastoma.
Oncotarget. 2017; 8(17):29428-29441 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Neuroblastoma, a rapidly growing yet treatment responsive cancer, is the third most common cancer of children and the most common solid tumor in infants. Unfortunately, neuroblastoma that has lost p53 function often has a highly treatment-resistant phenotype leading to tragic outcomes. In the context of neuroblastoma, the functions of p53 and MYCN (which is amplified in ~25% of neuroblastomas) are integrally linked because they are mutually transcriptionally regulated, and because they together regulate the catalytic activity of RNA polymerases. Didymin is a citrus-derived natural compound that kills p53 wild-type as well as drug-resistant p53-mutant neuroblastoma cells in culture. In addition, orally administered didymin causes regression of neuroblastoma xenografts in mouse models, without toxicity to non-malignant cells, neural tissues, or neural stem cells. RKIP is a Raf-inhibitory protein that regulates MYCN activation, is transcriptionally upregulated by didymin, and appears to play a key role in the anti-neuroblastoma actions of didymin. In this review, we discuss how didymin overcomes drug-resistance in p53-mutant neuroblastoma through RKIP-mediated inhibition of MYCN and its effects on GRK2, PKCs, Let-7 micro-RNA, and clathrin-dependent endocytosis by Raf-dependent and -independent mechanisms. In addition, we will discuss studies supporting potential clinical impact and translation of didymin as a low cost, safe, and effective oral agent that could change the current treatment paradigm for refractory neuroblastoma.

Vakana E, Pratt S, Blosser W, et al.
LY3009120, a panRAF inhibitor, has significant anti-tumor activity in BRAF and KRAS mutant preclinical models of colorectal cancer.
Oncotarget. 2017; 8(6):9251-9266 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Activating mutations in the KRAS and BRAF genes, leading to hyperactivation of the RAS/RAF/MAPK oncogenic signaling cascade, are common in patients with colorectal cancer (CRC). While selective BRAF inhibitors are efficacious in BRAFmut melanoma, they have limited efficacy in BRAFmut CRC patients. In a RASmut background, selective BRAF inhibitors are contraindicated due to paradoxical activation of the MAPK pathway through potentiation of CRAF kinase activity. A way to overcome such paradoxical activation is through concurrent inhibition of the kinase activity of both RAF isoforms. Here, we further examined the effects of LY3009120, a panRAF and RAF dimer inhibitor, in human models of CRC with various mutational backgrounds. We demonstrate that LY3009120 induced anti-proliferative effects in BRAFmut and KRASmut CRC cell lines through G1-cell cycle arrest. The anti-proliferative effects of LY3009120 in KRASmut CRC cell lines phenocopied molecular inhibition of RAF isoforms by simultaneous siRNA-mediated knockdown of ARAF, BRAF and CRAF. Additionally, LY3009120 displayed significant activity in in vivo BRAFmut and KRASmut CRC xenograft models. Examination of potential resistance to LY3009120 demonstrated RAF-independent ERK and AKT activation in the KRASmut CRC cell line HCT 116. These findings describe the preclinical activity of a panRAF inhibitor in a BRAFmut and KRASmut CRC setting.

Huang LE, Cohen AL, Colman H, et al.
IGFBP2 expression predicts IDH-mutant glioma patient survival.
Oncotarget. 2017; 8(1):191-202 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Mutations of the isocitrate dehydrogenase (IDH) 1 and 2 genes occur in ~80% of lower-grade (WHO grade II and grade III) gliomas. Mutant IDH produces (R)-2-hydroxyglutarate, which induces DNA hypermethylation and presumably drives tumorigenesis. Interestingly, IDH mutations are associated with improved survival in glioma patients, but the underlying mechanism for the difference in survival remains unclear. Through comparative analyses of 286 cases of IDH-wildtype and IDH-mutant lower-grade glioma from a TCGA data set, we report that IDH-mutant gliomas have increased expression of tumor-suppressor genes (NF1, PTEN, and PIK3R1) and decreased expression of oncogenes(AKT2, ARAF, ERBB2, FGFR3, and PDGFRB) and glioma progression genes (FOXM1, IGFBP2, and WWTR1) compared with IDH-wildtype gliomas. Furthermore, each of these genes is prognostic in overall gliomas; however, within the IDH-mutant group, none remains prognostic except IGFBP2 (encodinginsulin-like growth factor binding protein 2). Through validation in an independent cohort, we show that patients with low IGFBP2 expressiondisplay a clear advantage in overall and disease-free survival, whereas those with high IGFBP2 expressionhave worse median survival than IDH-wildtype patients. These observations hold true across different histological and molecular subtypes of lower-grade glioma. We propose therefore that an unexpected biological consequence of IDH mutations in glioma is to ameliorate patient survival by promoting tumor-suppressor signaling while inhibiting that of oncogenes, particularly IGFBP2.

Okimoto RA, Lin L, Olivas V, et al.
Preclinical efficacy of a RAF inhibitor that evades paradoxical MAPK pathway activation in protein kinase BRAF-mutant lung cancer.
Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2016; 113(47):13456-13461 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Oncogenic activation of protein kinase BRAF drives tumor growth by promoting mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) pathway signaling. Because oncogenic mutations in BRAF occur in ∼2-7% of lung adenocarcinoma (LA), BRAF-mutant LA is the most frequent cause of BRAF-mutant cancer mortality worldwide. Whereas most tumor types harbor predominantly the BRAF

Park HR, Park SB, Hong HD, et al.
Structural elucidation of anti-metastatic rhamnogalacturonan II from the pectinase digest of citrus peels (Citrus unshiu).
Int J Biol Macromol. 2017; 94(Pt A):161-169 [PubMed] Related Publications
The aim of this study was to characterize a polysaccharide found in citrus peels with an anti-metastatic property. CPE-II was purified by the pectinase digestion of citrus peels. During in vivo lung metastasis of Colon26-M3.1, administration of 10μg of CPE-II per mouse showed 81.3% inhibition of metastasis. CPE-II consists of 15 different monosaccharides and 22 different glycosyl linkages, characteristic of rhamnogalacturonan II (RG-II). The primary structure was elucidated based on sugar composition, methylation analysis, oligosaccharide analysis, and sequencing using GC, GC-MS, LC-MS, and ESI-MS/MS analyses. Sequential degradation using partial acid hydrolysis indicated that CPE-II contained Rhap-(1→5)-Kdo, Araf-(1→5)-Dha, an AceA-containing nonasaccharide, and an uronic acid-rich oligosaccharide in addition to an α-(1→4)-galacturono-oligosaccharide main chain. The molecular weight of CPE-II was observed to decrease from 9 to 5kDa at a pH value of <2.0, as observed by HPSEC. Thus, we propose that the anti-metastatic CPE-II is primarily present as an RG-II dimer.

Araf S, Korfi K, Rahim T, et al.
Advances in the molecular diagnosis of diffuse large B-cell lymphoma in the era of precision medicine.
Expert Rev Mol Diagn. 2016; 16(10):1093-1102 [PubMed] Related Publications
INTRODUCTION: The adoption of high-throughput technologies has led to a transformation in our ability to classify diffuse large B-cell lymphoma (DLBCL) into unique molecular subtypes. In parallel, the expansion of agents targeting key genetic and gene expression signatures has led to an unprecedented opportunity to personalize cancer therapies, paving the way for precision medicine. Areas covered: This review summarizes the key molecular subtypes of DLBCL and outlines the novel technology platforms in development to discriminate clinically relevant subtypes. Expert commentary: The application of emerging diagnostic tests into routine clinical practise is gaining momentum following the demonstration of subtype specific activity by novel agents. Co-ordinated efforts are required to ensure that these state of the art technologies provide reliable and clinically meaningful results accessible to the wider haematology community.

Araf S, Fitzgibbon J
Pediatric-type FL: simply different.
Blood. 2016; 128(8):1030-1 [PubMed] Related Publications

Berger AH, Brooks AN, Wu X, et al.
High-throughput Phenotyping of Lung Cancer Somatic Mutations.
Cancer Cell. 2016; 30(2):214-228 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Recent genome sequencing efforts have identified millions of somatic mutations in cancer. However, the functional impact of most variants is poorly understood. Here we characterize 194 somatic mutations identified in primary lung adenocarcinomas. We present an expression-based variant-impact phenotyping (eVIP) method that uses gene expression changes to distinguish impactful from neutral somatic mutations. eVIP identified 69% of mutations analyzed as impactful and 31% as functionally neutral. A subset of the impactful mutations induces xenograft tumor formation in mice and/or confers resistance to cellular EGFR inhibition. Among these impactful variants are rare somatic, clinically actionable variants including EGFR S645C, ARAF S214C and S214F, ERBB2 S418T, and multiple BRAF variants, demonstrating that rare mutations can be functionally important in cancer.

Baljuls A, Dobrzyński M, Rauch J, et al.
Stabilization of C-RAF:KSR1 complex by DiRas3 reduces availability of C-RAF for dimerization with B-RAF.
Cell Signal. 2016; 28(10):1451-62 [PubMed] Related Publications
RAF family kinases are central components of the Ras-RAF-MEK-ERK cascade. Dimerization is a key mechanism of RAF activation in response to physiological, pathological and pharmacological signals. It is mediated by a dimer interface region in the RAF kinase domain that is also conserved in KSR, a scaffolding protein that binds RAF, MEK and ERK. The regulation of RAF dimerization is incompletely understood. Especially little is known about the molecular mechanism involved in the selection of the dimerization partner. Previously, we reported that Ras-dependent binding of the tumour suppressor DiRas3 to C-RAF inhibits the C-RAF:B-RAF heterodimerization. Here we show that DiRas3 binds to KSR1 independently of its interaction with activated Ras and RAF. Our data also suggest that depending on the local stoichiometry between DiRas3 and oncogenic Ras, DiRas3 can either enhance homodimerization of KSR1 or recruit KSR1 to the Ras:C-RAF complex and thereby reduce the availability of C-RAF for binding to B-RAF. This mechanism, which is shared between A-RAF and C-RAF, may be involved in the regulation of Ras12V-induced cell transformation by DiRas3.

Durham BH, Diamond EL, Abdel-Wahab O
Histiocytic neoplasms in the era of personalized genomic medicine.
Curr Opin Hematol. 2016; 23(4):416-25 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
PURPOSE OF REVIEW: Since the discovery of B-Raf proto-oncogene (BRAF) V600E mutations in histiocytic neoplasms, diverse kinase alterations have been uncovered in BRAF V600E-wildtype histiocytoses. The purpose of this review is to outline recent molecular advances in histiocytic neoplasms and discuss their impact on the pathogenesis and treatment of these disorders.
RECENT FINDINGS: Activating kinase alterations discovered in BRAF V600E-wildtype Langerhans (LCH) and non-Langerhans cell histiocytoses (non-LCH) result in constitutive activation of the mitogen-activated protein kinase and/or phosphoinositide 3-kinases-Akt murine thymoma pathways. These kinase alterations include activating mutations in A-Raf proto-oncogene, mitogen-activated protein kinase kinase 1, neuroblastoma rat sarcoma viral oncogene homolog, Kirsten rat sarcoma viral oncogene homolog, and phosphatidylinositol-4,5-bisphosphate 3 kinase, catalytic subunit α kinases in LCH and non-LCH; BRAF, anaplastic lymphoma receptor tyrosine kinase, and neurotrophic tyrosine kinase, receptor type 1 fusions, as well as the Ets variant 3-nuclear receptor coactivator 2 fusion in non-LCH; and mutations in the mitogen-activated protein kinase kinase kinase 1 and Harvey rat sarcoma viral oncogene homolog kinases in LCH and histiocytic sarcoma, respectively. These discoveries have refined the understanding of the histiocytoses as clonal, myeloid neoplasms driven by constitutive mitogen-activated protein kinase signaling and identified molecular therapeutic targets with promising clinical responses to rapidly accelerated fibrosarcoma and mitogen-activated protein kinase kinase inhibition.
SUMMARY: Genomic analyses over the last 6 years have identified targetable kinase alterations in BRAF V600E-wildtype histiocytic neoplasms. However, despite this progress, the molecular pathogenesis and therapeutic responsiveness of non-BRAF V600E kinase alterations are still poorly defined in these disorders.

Eisenhardt AE, Sprenger A, Röring M, et al.
Phospho-proteomic analyses of B-Raf protein complexes reveal new regulatory principles.
Oncotarget. 2016; 7(18):26628-52 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
B-Raf represents a critical physiological regulator of the Ras/RAF/MEK/ERK-pathway and a pharmacological target of growing clinical relevance, in particular in oncology. To understand how B-Raf itself is regulated, we combined mass spectrometry with genetic approaches to map its interactome in MCF-10A cells as well as in B-Raf deficient murine embryonic fibroblasts (MEFs) and B-Raf/Raf-1 double deficient DT40 lymphoma cells complemented with wildtype or mutant B-Raf expression vectors. Using a multi-protease digestion approach, we identified a novel ubiquitination site and provide a detailed B-Raf phospho-map. Importantly, we identify two evolutionary conserved phosphorylation clusters around T401 and S419 in the B-Raf hinge region. SILAC labelling and genetic/biochemical follow-up revealed that these clusters are phosphorylated in the contexts of oncogenic Ras, sorafenib induced Raf dimerization and in the background of the V600E mutation. We further show that the vemurafenib sensitive phosphorylation of the T401 cluster occurs in trans within a Raf dimer. Substitution of the Ser/Thr-residues of this cluster by alanine residues enhances the transforming potential of B-Raf, indicating that these phosphorylation sites suppress its signaling output. Moreover, several B-Raf phosphorylation sites, including T401 and S419, are somatically mutated in tumors, further illustrating the importance of phosphorylation for the regulation of this kinase.

Bigi A, Beltrami E, Trinei M, et al.
Cyclophilin D counteracts P53-mediated growth arrest and promotes Ras tumorigenesis.
Oncogene. 2016; 35(39):5132-43 [PubMed] Related Publications
Mitochondrial alterations induced by oncogenes are known to be crucial for tumorigenesis. Ras oncogene leads to proliferative signals through a Raf-1/MEK/ERK kinase cascade, whose components have been found to be also associated with mitochondria. The mitochondrial pepdidyl-prolyl isomerase cyclophilin D (CypD) is an important regulator of the mitochondrial permeability transition and a key player in mitochondria physiology; however, its role in cancer is still unclear. Using cellular and in vivo mouse models, we demonstrated that CypD protein upregulation induced by oncogenic Ras through the Raf-1/MEK/ERK pathway has a deterministic role in tumor progression. In fact, targeting CypD gene expression clearly affected RasV12-induced transformation, as showed by in vitro data on murine NIH3T3 and human MCF10A mammary epithelial cells. In addition, studies in xenograft and K-Ras lung cancer mouse models demonstrated that genetic deletion or pharmacological suppression of CypD efficiently prevented Ras-dependent tumor formation. Furthermore, Erbb2-mediated breast tumorigenesis was similarly prevented by targeting CypD. From a mechanistic point of view, CypD expression was associated with a reduced induction of p21(WAF1/CIP1) and p53 functions, unraveling an antagonistic function of CypD on p21-p53-mediated growth suppression. CypD activity is p53 dependent. Interestingly, a physical association between p53 and CypD was detected in mitochondria of MCF10A cells; furthermore, both in vitro and in vivo studies proved that CypD inhibitor-based treatment was able to efficiently impair this interaction, leading to a tumor formation reduction. All together, these findings indicate that the countering effect of CypD on the p53-p21 pathway participates in oncogene-dependent transformation.

Chen SH, Zhang Y, Van Horn RD, et al.
Oncogenic BRAF Deletions That Function as Homodimers and Are Sensitive to Inhibition by RAF Dimer Inhibitor LY3009120.
Cancer Discov. 2016; 6(3):300-15 [PubMed] Related Publications
UNLABELLED: We have identified previously undiscovered BRAF in-frame deletions near the αC-helix region of the kinase domain in pancreatic, lung, ovarian, and thyroid cancers. These deletions are mutually exclusive with KRAS mutations and occur in 4.21% of KRAS wild-type pancreatic cancer. siRNA knockdown in cells harboring BRAF deletions showed that the MAPK activity and cell growth are BRAF dependent. Structurally, the BRAF deletions are predicted to shorten the β3/αC-helix loop and hinder its flexibility by locking the helix in the active αC-helix-in conformation that favors dimer formation. Expression of L485-P490-deleted BRAF is able to transform NIH/3T3 cells in a BRAF dimer-dependent manner. BRAF homodimer is confirmed to be the dominant RAF dimer by proximity ligation assays in BRAF deletion cells, which are resistant to the BRAF inhibitor vemurafenib and sensitive to LY3009120, a RAF dimer inhibitor. In tumor models with BRAF deletions, LY3009120 has shown tumor growth regression, whereas vemurafenib is inactive.
SIGNIFICANCE: This study discovered oncogenic BRAF deletions with a distinct activation mechanism dependent on the BRAF dimer formation in tumor cells. LY3009120 is active against these cells and represents a potential treatment option for patients with cancer with these BRAF deletions, or other atypical BRAF mutations where BRAF functions as a dimer.

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