Gene Summary

Gene:ATP7A; ATPase, Cu++ transporting, alpha polypeptide
Aliases: MK, MNK, DSMAX, SMAX3
Summary:This gene encodes a transmembrane protein that functions in copper transport across membranes. This protein is localized to the trans Golgi network, where it is predicted to supply copper to copper-dependent enzymes in the secretory pathway. It relocalizes to the plasma membrane under conditions of elevated extracellular copper, and functions in the efflux of copper from cells. Mutations in this gene are associated with Menkes disease, X-linked distal spinal muscular atrophy, and occipital horn syndrome. Alternatively-spliced transcript variants have been observed. [provided by RefSeq, Aug 2013]
Databases:OMIM, VEGA, HGNC, Ensembl, GeneCard, Gene
Protein:copper-transporting ATPase 1
Source:NCBIAccessed: 21 August, 2015


What does this gene/protein do?
Show (68)

Cancer Overview

Research Indicators

Publications Per Year (1990-2015)
Graph generated 21 August 2015 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.

  • Thiocarbamates
  • Membrane Proteins
  • Platinum
  • Cisplatin
  • Colorectal Cancer
  • Adenosine Triphosphatases
  • Colonic Neoplasms
  • Up-Regulation
  • X Chromosome
  • Copper
  • Organoplatinum Compounds
  • Gene Knockdown Techniques
  • Apoptosis
  • Ovarian Cancer
  • Drug Screening Assays, Antitumor
  • Lung Cancer
  • DNA Adducts
  • Transfection
  • Tumor Markers
  • Copper Sulfate
  • Spectrometry, Mass, Electrospray Ionization
  • Cell Proliferation
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • Cancer Gene Expression Regulation
  • Messenger RNA
  • Antineoplastic Agents
  • Cell Survival
  • Skin Cancer
  • Adenocarcinoma
  • Cation Transport Proteins
  • Western Blotting
  • Tumor Stem Cell Assay
  • Drug Resistance
  • siRNA
  • Xenograft Models
  • Breast Cancer
  • Tissue Distribution
  • Oligonucleotide Array Sequence Analysis
  • Mutation
  • Immunohistochemistry
Tag cloud generated 21 August, 2015 using data from PubMed, MeSH and CancerIndex

Specific Cancers (5)

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: ATP7A (cancer-related)

Netravathi M, Kumari R, Kapoor S, et al.
Whole exome sequencing in an Indian family links Coats plus syndrome and dextrocardia with a homozygous novel CTC1 and a rare HES7 variation.
BMC Med Genet. 2015; 16:5 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
BACKGROUND: Coats plus syndrome is an autosomal recessive, pleiotropic, multisystem disorder characterized by retinal telangiectasia and exudates, intracranial calcification with leukoencephalopathy and brain cysts, osteopenia with predisposition to fractures, bone marrow suppression, gastrointestinal bleeding and portal hypertension. It is caused by compound heterozygous mutations in the CTC1 gene.
CASE PRESENTATION: We encountered a case of an eight-year old boy from an Indian family with manifestations of Coats plus syndrome along with an unusual occurrence of dextrocardia and situs inversus. Targeted resequencing of the CTC1 gene as well as whole exome sequencing (WES) were conducted in this family to identify the causal variations. The identified candidate variations were screened in ethnicity matched healthy controls. The effect of CTC1 variation on telomere length was assessed using Southern blot. A novel homozygous missense mutation c.1451A > C (p.H484P) in exon 9 of the CTC1 gene and a rare 3'UTR known dbSNP variation (c.*556 T > C) in HES7 were identified as the plausible candidates associated with this complex phenotype of Coats plus and dextrocardia. This CTC1 variation was absent in the controls and we also observed a reduced telomere length in the affected individual's DNA, suggesting its likely pathogenic nature. The reported p.H484P mutation is located in the N-terminal 700 amino acid regionthat is important for the binding of CTC1 to ssDNA through its two OB domains. WES data also showed a rare homozygous missense variation in the TEK gene in the affected individual. Both HES7 and TEK are targets of the Notch signaling pathway.
CONCLUSIONS: This is the first report of a genetically confirmed case of Coats plus syndrome from India. By means of WES, the genetic variations in this family with unique and rare complex phenotype could be traced effectively. We speculate the important role of Notch signaling in this complex phenotypic presentation of Coats plus syndrome and dextrocardia. The present finding will be useful for genetic diagnosis and carrier detection in the family and for other patients with similar disease manifestations.

Eke I, Zscheppang K, Dickreuter E, et al.
Simultaneous β1 integrin-EGFR targeting and radiosensitization of human head and neck cancer.
J Natl Cancer Inst. 2015; 107(2) [PubMed] Related Publications
BACKGROUND: Signaling from integrins and receptor tyrosine kinases (RTKs) contributes substantially to therapy resistance of malignant tumors. We investigated simultaneous β1 integrin-epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) targeting plus radiotherapy in human head and neck squamous cell carcinomas (HNSCCs).
METHODS: Ten HNSCC cell lines were grown in three-dimensional laminin-rich extracellular matrix cell cultures and two of them as tumor xenografts in nude mice (n = 12-16 per group). Targeting of β1 integrin and EGFR with monoclonal inhibitory antibodies (AIIB2 and cetuximab, respectively) was combined with x-ray irradiation. Clonogenic survival, tumor growth, and tumor control (evaluated by Kaplan-Meier analysis), apoptosis, phosphoproteome (interactome, network betweeness centrality analysis), receptor expression (immunohistochemistry), and downstream signaling (western blotting) were assessed. Various mutants of the integrin signaling mediator focal adhesion kinase (FAK) were employed for mechanistic studies. All statistical tests were two-sided.
RESULTS: Compared with β1 integrin or EGFR single inhibition, combined β1 integrin-EGFR targeting resulted in enhanced cytotoxicity and radiosensitization in eight out of 10 tested HNSCC cell lines, which responded with an FAK dephosphorylation after β1 integrin inhibition. In vivo, simultaneous anti-β1 integrin/anti-EGFR treatment and radiotherapy of UTSCC15 responder xenografts enabled better tumor control compared with anti-EGFR monotherapy and irradiation (hazard ratio [HR] = 6.9, 95% confidence interval [CI] = 1.6 to 30.9, P = .01), in contrast to the SAS nonresponder tumor model (HR = 0.9, 95% CI = 0.4 to 2.3, P = .83). Mechanistically, a protein complex consisting of FAK- and Erk1-mediated prosurvival signals for radiation resistance, which was effectively compromised by β1 integrin and EGFR blocking.
CONCLUSIONS: Concomitant targeting of β1 integrin and EGFR seems a powerful and promising approach to overcome radioresistance of HNSCCs.

Martinho O, Zucca LE, Reis RM
AXL as a modulator of sunitinib response in glioblastoma cell lines.
Exp Cell Res. 2015; 332(1):1-10 [PubMed] Related Publications
Receptor tyrosine kinase (RTK) targeted therapy has been explored for glioblastoma treatment. However, it is unclear which RTK inhibitors are the most effective and there are no predictive biomarkers available. We recently identified the RTK AXL as a putative target for the pan-RTK inhibitors cediranib and sunitinib, which are under clinical trials for glioblastoma patients. Here, we provide evidence that AXL activity can modulate sunitinib response in glioblastoma cell lines. We found that AXL knockdown conferred lower sensitivity to sunitinib by rescuing migratory defects and inhibiting apoptosis in cells expressing high AXL basal levels. Accordingly, overactivation of AXL by its ligand GAS6 rendered AXL positive glioblastoma cells more sensitive to sunitinib. AXL knockdown induced a cellular rewiring of several growth signaling pathways through activation of RTKs, such as EGFR, as well as intracellular pathways such as MAPK and AKT. The combination of sunitinib with a specific AKT inhibitor reverted the resistance of AXL-silenced cells to sunitinib. Together, our results suggest that sunitinib inhibits AXL and AXL activation status modulates therapy response of glioblastoma cells to sunitinib. Moreover, it indicates that combining sunitinib therapy with AKT pathway inhibitors could overcome sunitinib resistance.

Sarveswaran S, Chakraborty D, Chitale D, et al.
Inhibition of 5-lipoxygenase selectively triggers disruption of c-Myc signaling in prostate cancer cells.
J Biol Chem. 2015; 290(8):4994-5006 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 20/02/2016 Related Publications
Myc is up-regulated in almost all cancer types and is the subject of intense investigation because of its pleiotropic effects controlling a broad spectrum of cell functions. However, despite its recognition as a stand-alone molecular target, development of suitable strategies to block its function is hindered because of its nonenzymatic nature. We reported earlier that arachidonate 5-lipoxygenase (5-Lox) plays an important role in the survival and growth of prostate cancer cells, although details of the underlying mechanisms have yet to be characterized. By whole genome gene expression array, we observed that inhibition of 5-Lox severely down-regulates the expression of c-Myc oncogene in prostate cancer cells. Moreover, inhibition of 5-Lox dramatically decreases the protein level, nuclear accumulation, DNA binding, and transcriptional activities of c-Myc. Both the 5-Lox inhibition-induced down-regulation of c-Myc and induction of apoptosis are mitigated when the cells are treated with 5-oxoeicosatetraenoic acid, a metabolite of 5-Lox, confirming a role of 5-Lox in these processes. c-Myc is a transforming oncogene widely expressed in prostate cancer cells and maintains their transformed phenotype. Interestingly, MK591, a specific 5-Lox inhibitor, strongly affects the viability of Myc-overactivated prostate cancer cells and completely blocks their invasive and soft agar colony-forming abilities, but it spares nontransformed cells where expression of 5-Lox is undetectable. These findings indicate that the oncogenic function of c-Myc in prostate cancer cells is regulated by 5-Lox activity, revealing a novel mechanism of 5-Lox action and suggesting that the oncogenic function of c-Myc can be suppressed by suitable inhibitors of 5-Lox.

Xu M, Qiang F, Gao Y, et al.
Evaluation of a novel functional single-nucleotide polymorphism (rs35010275 G>C) in MIR196A2 promoter region as a risk factor of gastric cancer in a Chinese population.
Medicine (Baltimore). 2014; 93(26):e173 [PubMed] Related Publications
Single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in microRNAs (miRNAs) have been suggested to influence the occurrence and progression of cancer through altering the expression and biological function of miRNAs. The aim of this study was to investigate whether the potential functional SNPs in MIR196A2 promoter had effect on the susceptibility to gastric cancer (GC) in a Chinese population.We conducted a 2-stage case-control study (753 cases and 854 controls in testing set; 940 cases and 1061 controls in validation set) to evaluate the association between 2 potential functional SNPs in MIR196A2 promoter (rs12304647 A>C and rs35010275 G>C) and GC risk. The luciferase reporter assay and electrophoretic mobility shift assay were used to examine the functionality of the important polymorphism.We found that the rs35010275 C allele was significantly associated with the decreased risk of GC (adjusted odds ratio = 0.85, 95% confidence interval = 0.77-0.94) in the combined case-control studies. The miR-196a expression levels in GC tissues were significantly higher than that in corresponding adjacent normal tissues (P < 0.001). Besides, each allele of rs35010275 displayed completely opposite effects to influence the transcription activity of MIR196A2 promoter via recruiting different transcription factors or complexes.The functional rs35010275 G>C polymorphism in MIR196A2 promoter was significantly associated with miR-196a expression and influenced the genetic susceptibility to GC.

Verstrepen L, Beyaert R
Receptor proximal kinases in NF-κB signaling as potential therapeutic targets in cancer and inflammation.
Biochem Pharmacol. 2014; 92(4):519-29 [PubMed] Related Publications
Many signaling pathways leading to activation of transcription factors and gene expression are characterized by phosphorylation events mediated by specific kinases. The transcription factor NF-κB plays a key role in multiple cellular processes, including immune signaling, inflammation, development, proliferation and survival. Dysregulated NF-κB activation is associated with autoimmunity, chronic inflammation and cancer. Activation of NF-κB requires IκB kinase (IKK)α or β, the activity of which is regulated via phosphorylation by specific IKK kinases and by autophosphorylation. Receptor specificity is further obtained by the use of multiple upstream receptor proximal kinases. We review the identities of several IKK regulatory kinases as well as the proposed molecular mechanisms. In addition, we discuss the potential for therapeutic targeting of some of these kinases in the context of inflammatory diseases and cancer.

Sandhöfer N, Metzeler KH, Rothenberg M, et al.
Dual PI3K/mTOR inhibition shows antileukemic activity in MLL-rearranged acute myeloid leukemia.
Leukemia. 2015; 29(4):828-38 [PubMed] Related Publications
In acute myeloid leukemia (AML), several signaling pathways such as the phosphatidylinositol-3-kinase/AKT and the mammalian target of rapamycin (PI3K/AKT/mTOR) pathway are deregulated and constitutively activated as a consequence of genetic and cytogenetic abnormalities. We tested the effectiveness of PI3K/AKT/mTOR-targeting therapies and tried to identify alterations that associate with treatment sensitivity. By analyzing primary samples and cell lines, we observed a wide range of cytotoxic activity for inhibition of AKT (MK-2206), mTORC1 (rapamycin) and PI3K/mTORC1/2 (BEZ-235) with a high sensitivity of cells carrying an MLL rearrangement. In vivo PI3K/mTOR inhibition delayed tumor progression, reduced tumor load and prolonged survival in an MLL-AF9(+)/FLT3-ITD(+) xenograft mouse model. By performing targeted amplicon sequencing in 38 MLL-AF9(+) and 125 cytogenetically normal AML patient samples, we found a high additional mutation rate for genes involved in growth factor signaling in 79% of all MLL-AF9(+) samples, which could lead to a possible benefit of this cohort. PI3K/mTOR inhibition for 24 h led to the cross-activation of the ERK pathway. Further in vitro studies combining PI3K/mTOR and ERK pathway inhibition revealed highly synergistic effects in apoptosis assays. Our data implicate a possible therapeutic benefit of PI3K/mTOR inhibition in the MLL-mutated subgroup. Inhibiting rescue pathways could improve the therapeutic efficacy of PI3K-targeted therapies in AML.

Glassmann A, Winter J, Kraus D, et al.
Pharmacological suppression of the Ras/MAPK pathway in thyroid carcinoma cells can provoke opposite effects on cell migration and proliferation: The appearance of yin-yang effects and the need of combinatorial treatments.
Int J Oncol. 2014; 45(6):2587-95 [PubMed] Related Publications
A major challenge in tumor therapy is the decrease or even the halting of cell proliferation and migration of cancerous cells. In the present study, we have analyzed the impact of a pharmacological blockade of the PI3K/Akt and MAPK/ERK1/2 signaling pathways on cell migration, proliferation and cell death in three human thyroid tumor cell lines that represent the main types of malignant thyroid carcinomas (B-CPAP, follicular; Cal-62, anaplastic; FTC-133, papillary thyroid carcinoma cells) and in which these pathways are constitutively activated. In general, pharmacological perturbation of PI3/Akt (application of MK-2206) and MEK/ERK1/2 (application of PD0325901 or U0126) signaling led to a cell line and drug-specific decrease in the proliferation and migration potential of thyroid carcinoma cells, although to a varying extent. However, one exception became apparent: in Cal-62 cells inhibition of the MEK/ERK1/2 module increased the migration rate up to 50%. This effect could be prevented by a simultaneous suppression of the PI3/Akt pathway, but also by application of the multiple kinase inhibitor sorafenib, a treatment that did not change the activation state of Akt. Thus, a pharmacological perturbation of canonical signaling pathways in thyroid carcinoma may induce drug-dependent yin-yang effects that are characterized by a simultaneous suppression of one (i.e., proliferation) and the activation of another (i.e., migration) cellular process. The appearance of such phenomena should be taken into account when therapy plans are established.

Michaelis M, Selt F, Rothweiler F, et al.
Aurora kinases as targets in drug-resistant neuroblastoma cells.
PLoS One. 2014; 9(9):e108758 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 20/02/2016 Related Publications
Aurora kinase inhibitors displayed activity in pre-clinical neuroblastoma models. Here, we studied the effects of the pan-aurora kinase inhibitor tozasertib (VX680, MK-0457) and the aurora kinase inhibitor alisertib (MLN8237) that shows some specificity for aurora kinase A over aurora kinase B in a panel of neuroblastoma cell lines with acquired drug resistance. Both compounds displayed anti-neuroblastoma activity in the nanomolar range. The anti-neuroblastoma mechanism included inhibition of aurora kinase signalling as indicated by decreased phosphorylation of the aurora kinase substrate histone H3, cell cycle inhibition in G2/M phase, and induction of apoptosis. The activity of alisertib but not of tozasertib was affected by ABCB1 expression. Aurora kinase inhibitors induced a p53 response and their activity was enhanced in combination with the MDM2 inhibitor and p53 activator nutlin-3 in p53 wild-type cells. In conclusion, aurora kinases are potential drug targets in therapy-refractory neuroblastoma, in particular for the vast majority of p53 wild-type cases.

Criscitiello C, Viale G, Esposito A, Curigliano G
Dinaciclib for the treatment of breast cancer.
Expert Opin Investig Drugs. 2014; 23(9):1305-12 [PubMed] Related Publications
INTRODUCTION: Cyclin-dependent kinases (CDK) represent attractive targets in oncology due to their key role in controlling gene transcription and cell cycle progression. Dinaciclib (MK-7965, formerly SCH727965) is a relatively novel CDK 1/2/5/9 inhibitor that has shown promising results in preclinical studies and an acceptable safety profile in Phase I clinical trials. It is currently under clinical evaluation for the treatment of hematological and solid malignancies, including breast cancer.
AREAS COVERED: This review summarizes the current understanding of CDK's role in physiology and cancer, and the therapeutic value of blocking their pathways in breast cancer. Particularly, the article reviews the preclinical and clinical data for dinaciclib in its use for the treatment of breast cancer.
EXPERT OPINION: A better understanding of the molecular mechanisms underlying cell cycle dysregulation in cancer is needed in order to develop novel CDK inhibitors. Additionally, further efforts are needed to identify potential biomarkers of dinaciclib efficacy, which could allow a better selection of patients enrolled in clinical trials. Moreover, combination therapies with dinaciclib or other CDK and chemotherapy, endocrine therapy or targeted therapies might be further evaluated in breast cancer patients.

Tahata S, Yuan B, Kikuchi H, et al.
Cytotoxic effects of pyrrolidine dithiocarbamate in small-cell lung cancer cells, alone and in combination with cisplatin.
Int J Oncol. 2014; 45(4):1749-59 [PubMed] Related Publications
The cytocidal effect of pyrrolidine dithiocarbamate (PDTC) was investigated by focusing on cell viability, cell cycle arrest and apoptosis induction in small-cell lung cancer (SCLC) cell lines (NCI-H196 and NCI-H889). PDTC exhibited a much stronger dose-dependent cytotoxic activity against NCI-H196 compared to NCI-H889, while no such activity was observed in normal human embryonal lung fibroblast MRC-5 cells. Cell cycle arrest in S phase paralleled with suppression of c-myc expression without accompanying DNA fragmentation was observed in NCI-H196 cells. A transient increase in the intracellular ROS accompanied with an alteration of expression of oxidative stress-related genes was also confirmed in NCI-H196 cells. Furthermore, the addition of N-acetyl-l-cysteine (NAC), a free radical scavenger, not only abolished PDTC-trigger alterations of expression of these oxidative-related genes, but also almost completely abrogated PDTC-induced reduction in cell viability and morphological changes associated with cell damage. These results thus suggest that PDTC-induced cytotoxicity is attributed to its pro-oxidant activity. PDTC-induced cytotoxicity was further enhanced by CuCl2, however, abolished by bathocuproine disulfonate (BCPS), a non-permeable copper-specific chelator, supporting the plausibility that accumulation of intracellular Cu plays an important role in the cytotoxicity. Importantly, we demonstrated for the first time that PDTC downregulated the expression of ATP7A, known to be responsible for Cu efflux, but did not affect the expression of CTR1, known as a copper uptake transporter. Intriguingly, combination of much lower dose of cisplatin (5 µM) and non-toxic dose of PDTC (0.1 µM) synergistically induced a significant cytotoxicity in NCI-H196 cells. Given that ATP7A plays a critical role in the resistance of platinum-drug (such as cisplatin) representing a first-line treatment for SCLC, PDTC could be a promising candidate of adjunct therapeutic reagent for the patients requiring treatment with platinum-based regimens.

Ma J, Lang B, Wang X, et al.
Co-expression of midkine and pleiotrophin predicts poor survival in human glioma.
J Clin Neurosci. 2014; 21(11):1885-90 [PubMed] Related Publications
The aim of this study was to investigate whether co-expression of midkine (MK) and pleiotrophin (PTN) has prognostic relevance in human gliomas. Immunohistochemistry was used to investigate the expression of MK and PTN proteins in 168 patients with gliomas. The levels of MK and PTN mRNA in glioma tissues and paratumor tissues were evaluated in 45 paired cases by quantitative real-time polymerase chain reaction (qRT-PCR). Kaplan-Meier survival analysis was performed to assess prognostic significance. The expression levels of MK and PTN proteins in glioma tissue were both significantly higher (both p<0.001) than those in paratumor tissues on immunohistochemistry analysis, which was confirmed by qRT-PCR analysis. Additionally, the overexpression of either MK or PTN was significantly associated with the World Health Organization Grade (p=0.001 and 0.034, respectively), low Karnofsky Performance Status (KPS) score (p=0.022 and 0.001, respectively), time to recurrence (p=0.043 and 0.011, respectively) and poor overall survival (p=0.018 and 0.001, respectively). Multivariate Cox proportional-hazards regression analysis revealed that increased expressions of MK and PTN were both independent prognostic factors for poor overall survival (p=0.030 and 0.022, respectively). Furthermore, the co-expression of MK and PTN was more significantly (p=0.003) associated with adverse prognosis in patients with gliomas than the respective expression of MK or PTN alone. To our knowledge, these findings are the first to indicate that the co-expression of MK and PTN is significantly correlated with prognosis in glioma patients, suggesting that the co-expression of these proteins may be used as both an early diagnostic and independent prognostic marker.

Samartzis EP, Gutsche K, Dedes KJ, et al.
Loss of ARID1A expression sensitizes cancer cells to PI3K- and AKT-inhibition.
Oncotarget. 2014; 5(14):5295-303 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 20/02/2016 Related Publications
ARID1A mutations are observed in various tumors, including ovarian clear cell (OCCC) and endometrioid carcinomas, endometrial, and breast carcinomas. They commonly result in loss of ARID1A-protein expression and frequently co-occur with PI3K/AKT-pathway activating mechanisms. The aim of this study was to test the hypothesis as to whether PI3K/AKT-pathway activation is a critical mechanism in ARID1A-mutated tumors and if consequently ARID1A-deficient tumors show increased sensitivity to treatment with PI3K- and AKT-inhibitors. Upon ARID1A knockdown, MCF7 breast cancer cells and primary MRC5 cells exhibited a significantly increased sensitivity towards the AKT-inhibitors MK-2206 and perifosine, as well as the PI3K-inhibitor buparlisib. Knockdown of ARID1A in MCF7 led to an increase of pAKT-Ser473. AKT-inhibition with MK-2206 led to increased apoptosis and to a decrease of pS6K in ARID1A-depleted MCF7 cells but not in the controls. In five OCCC cell lines ARID1A-deficiency correlated with increased pAKT-Ser473 levels and with sensitivity towards treatment with the AKT-inhibitor MK-2206. In conclusion, ARID1A-deficient cancer cells demonstrate an increased sensitivity to treatment with small molecule inhibitors of the PI3K/AKT-pathway. These findings suggest a specific requirement of the PI3K/AKT pathway in ARID1A-deficient tumors and reveal a synthetic lethal interaction between loss of ARID1A expression and inhibition of the PI3K/AKT pathway.

Xie CM, Liu XY, Sham KW, et al.
Silencing of EEF2K (eukaryotic elongation factor-2 kinase) reveals AMPK-ULK1-dependent autophagy in colon cancer cells.
Autophagy. 2014; 10(9):1495-508 [PubMed] Related Publications
EEF2K (eukaryotic elongation factor-2 kinase), also known as Ca (2+)/calmodulin-dependent protein kinase III, functions in downregulating peptide chain elongation through inactivation of EEF2 (eukaryotic translation elongation factor 2). Currently, there is a limited amount of information on the promotion of autophagic survival by EEF2K in breast and glioblastoma cell lines. However, the precise role of EEF2K in carcinogenesis as well as the underlying mechanism involved is still poorly understood. In this study, contrary to the reported autophagy-promoting activity of EEF2K in certain cancer cells, EEF2K is shown to negatively regulate autophagy in human colon cancer cells as indicated by the increase of LC3-II levels, the accumulation of LC3 dots per cell, and the promotion of autophagic flux in EEF2K knockdown cells. EEF2K negatively regulates cell viability, clonogenicity, cell proliferation, and cell size in colon cancer cells. Autophagy induced by EEF2K silencing promotes cell survival and does not potentiate the anticancer efficacy of the AKT inhibitor MK-2206. In addition, autophagy induced by silencing of EEF2K is attributed to induction of protein synthesis and activation of the AMPK-ULK1 pathway, independent of the suppression of MTOR activity and ROS generation. Knockdown of AMPK or ULK1 significantly abrogates EEF2K silencing-induced increase of LC3-II levels, accumulation of LC3 dots per cell as well as cell proliferation in colon cancer cells. In conclusion, silencing of EEF2K promotes autophagic survival via activation of the AMPK-ULK1 pathway in colon cancer cells. This finding suggests that upregulation of EEF2K activity may constitute a novel approach for the treatment of human colon cancer.

Hollingshead MG, Stockwin LH, Alcoser SY, et al.
Gene expression profiling of 49 human tumor xenografts from in vitro culture through multiple in vivo passages--strategies for data mining in support of therapeutic studies.
BMC Genomics. 2014; 15:393 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 20/02/2016 Related Publications
BACKGROUND: Development of cancer therapeutics partially depends upon selection of appropriate animal models. Therefore, improvements to model selection are beneficial.
RESULTS: Forty-nine human tumor xenografts at in vivo passages 1, 4 and 10 were subjected to cDNA microarray analysis yielding a dataset of 823 Affymetrix HG-U133 Plus 2.0 arrays. To illustrate mining strategies supporting therapeutic studies, transcript expression was determined: 1) relative to other models, 2) with successive in vivo passage, and 3) during the in vitro to in vivo transition. Ranking models according to relative transcript expression in vivo has the potential to improve initial model selection. For example, combining p53 tumor expression data with mutational status could guide selection of tumors for therapeutic studies of agents where p53 status purportedly affects efficacy (e.g., MK-1775). The utility of monitoring changes in gene expression with extended in vivo tumor passages was illustrated by focused studies of drug resistance mediators and receptor tyrosine kinases. Noteworthy observations included a significant decline in HCT-15 colon xenograft ABCB1 transporter expression and increased expression of the kinase KIT in A549 with serial passage. These trends predict sensitivity to agents such as paclitaxel (ABCB1 substrate) and imatinib (c-KIT inhibitor) would be altered with extended passage. Given that gene expression results indicated some models undergo profound changes with in vivo passage, a general metric of stability was generated so models could be ranked accordingly. Lastly, changes occurring during transition from in vitro to in vivo growth may have important consequences for therapeutic studies since targets identified in vitro could be over- or under-represented when tumor cells adapt to in vivo growth. A comprehensive list of mouse transcripts capable of cross-hybridizing with human probe sets on the HG-U133 Plus 2.0 array was generated. Removal of the murine artifacts followed by pairwise analysis of in vitro cells with respective passage 1 xenografts and GO analysis illustrates the complex interplay that each model has with the host microenvironment.
CONCLUSIONS: This study provides strategies to aid selection of xenograft models for therapeutic studies. These data highlight the dynamic nature of xenograft models and emphasize the importance of maintaining passage consistency throughout experiments.

Mittendorf EA, Philips AV, Meric-Bernstam F, et al.
PD-L1 expression in triple-negative breast cancer.
Cancer Immunol Res. 2014; 2(4):361-70 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 20/02/2016 Related Publications
Early-phase trials targeting the T-cell inhibitory molecule programmed cell death ligand 1 (PD-L1) have shown clinical efficacy in cancer. This study was undertaken to determine whether PD-L1 is overexpressed in triple-negative breast cancer (TNBC) and to investigate the loss of PTEN as a mechanism of PD-L1 regulation. The Cancer Genome Atlas (TCGA) RNA sequencing data showed significantly greater expression of the PD-L1 gene in TNBC (n = 120) compared with non-TNBC (n = 716; P < 0.001). Breast tumor tissue microarrays were evaluated for PD-L1 expression, which was present in 19% (20 of 105) of TNBC specimens. PD-L1(+) tumors had greater CD8(+) T-cell infiltrate than PD-L1(-) tumors (688 cells/mm vs. 263 cells/mm; P < 0.0001). To determine the effect of PTEN loss on PD-L1 expression, stable cell lines were generated using PTEN short hairpin RNA (shRNA). PTEN knockdown led to significantly higher cell-surface PD-L1 expression and PD-L1 transcripts, suggesting transcriptional regulation. Moreover, phosphoinositide 3-kinase (PI3K) pathway inhibition using the AKT inhibitor MK-2206 or rapamycin resulted in decreased PD-L1 expression, further linking PTEN and PI3K signaling to PD-L1 regulation. Coculture experiments were performed to determine the functional effect of altered PD-L1 expression. Increased PD-L1 cell surface expression by tumor cells induced by PTEN loss led to decreased T-cell proliferation and increased apoptosis. PD-L1 is expressed in 20% of TNBCs, suggesting PD-L1 as a therapeutic target in TNBCs. Because PTEN loss is one mechanism regulating PD-L1 expression, agents targeting the PI3K pathway may increase the antitumor adaptive immune responses.

Shi Y, Frost P, Hoang B, et al.
MNK1-induced eIF-4E phosphorylation in myeloma cells: a pathway mediating IL-6-induced expansion and expression of genes involved in metabolic and proteotoxic responses.
PLoS One. 2014; 9(4):e94011 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 20/02/2016 Related Publications
Because multiple myeloma (MM) cells are at risk for endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress, they require a carefully regulated mechanism to promote protein translation of selected transcripts when proliferation is stimulated. MAPK-interacting kinases (MNKs) may provide this mechanism by enhancing cap-dependent translation of a small number of critical transcripts. We, thus, tested whether MNKs played a role in MM responses to the myeloma growth factor interleukin-6 (IL-6). IL-6 activated MNK1 phosphorylation and induced phosphorylation of its substrate, eIF-4E, in MM lines and primary specimens. MNK paralysis, achieved pharmacologically or by shRNA, prevented MM expansion stimulated by IL-6. A phosphodefective eIF-4E mutant also prevented the IL-6 response, supporting the notion that MNK's role was via phosphorylation of eIF-4E. Both pharmacological MNK inhibition and expression of the phosphodefective eIF-4E mutant inhibited MM growth in mice. Although critical for IL-6-induced expansion, eIF-4E phosphorylation had no significant effect on global translation or Ig expression. Deep sequencing of ribosome-protected mRNAs revealed a repertoire of genes involved in metabolic processes and ER stress modulation whose translation was regulated by eIF-4E phosphorylation. These data indicate MM cells exploit the MNK/eIF-4E pathway for selective mRNA translation without enhancing global translation and risking ER stress.

Wu H, Xiao Z, Zhang H, et al.
MiR-489 modulates cisplatin resistance in human ovarian cancer cells by targeting Akt3.
Anticancer Drugs. 2014; 25(7):799-809 [PubMed] Related Publications
MicroRNAs are a conserved class of small noncoding RNA molecules that harbour the capacity to regulate protein-coding gene expression at the post-transcriptional level. In the current study, we show that miR-489 is downregulated in cisplatin (CDDP)-resistant ovarian cancer cells, SKOV3/CDDP and OVCAR3/CDDP cells. MiR-489 overexpression results in an inhibition of SKOV3 and OVCAR3 cell survival and cell growth after CDDP treatment and an induction of cell apoptosis. Inhibition of miR-489 yields the opposite results. In addition, miR-489 overexpression increases the sensitivity of SKOV3/CDDP and OVCAR3/CDDP cells to CDDP and inhibits their colony number. Akt3 is validated as a direct target of miR-489 in SKOV3, OVCAR3, SKOV3/CDDP and OVCAR3/CDDP cells. In addition, miR-489 suppresses Akt3 protein expression by binding sites on its 3'UTR. Knockdown of Akt3 results in a similar effect as that because of miR-489 overexpression; importantly, Akt3 silencing rescues the functions induced by miR-489. Furthermore, we also use the Akt3 inhibitor, MK-2206 2HCl, to determine the role of Akt3 in CDDP resistance. Our study showed that MK-2206 2HCl increased the sensitivity of SKOV3/CDDP and OVCAR3/CDDP cells to CDDP. Taken together, our results indicate that miR-489 inhibited CDDP resistance and cell growth, and promotes apoptosis by suppressing Akt3 expression. Furthermore, the identification of a novel miR-489-based pathway in CDDP-resistant ovarian cancer will facilitate the development of therapeutic strategies.

Harris PS, Venkataraman S, Alimova I, et al.
Integrated genomic analysis identifies the mitotic checkpoint kinase WEE1 as a novel therapeutic target in medulloblastoma.
Mol Cancer. 2014; 13:72 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 20/02/2016 Related Publications
BACKGROUND: Medulloblastoma is the most common type of malignant brain tumor that afflicts children. Although recent advances in chemotherapy and radiation have improved outcomes, high-risk patients do poorly with significant morbidity.
METHODS: To identify new molecular targets, we performed an integrated genomic analysis using structural and functional methods. Gene expression profiling in 16 medulloblastoma patient samples and subsequent gene set enrichment analysis indicated that cell cycle-related kinases were associated with disease development. In addition a kinome-wide small interfering RNA (siRNA) screen was performed to identify kinases that, when inhibited, could prevent cell proliferation. The two genome-scale analyses were combined to identify key vulnerabilities in medulloblastoma. The inhibition of one of the identified targets was further investigated using RNAi and a small molecule inhibitor.
RESULTS: Combining the two analyses revealed that mitosis-related kinases were critical determinants of medulloblastoma cell proliferation. RNA interference (RNAi)-mediated knockdown of WEE1 kinase and other mitotic kinases was sufficient to reduce medulloblastoma cell proliferation. These data prompted us to examine the effects of inhibiting WEE1 by RNAi and by a small molecule inhibitor of WEE1, MK-1775, in medulloblastoma cell lines. MK-1775 inhibited the growth of medulloblastoma cell lines, induced apoptosis and increased DNA damage at nanomolar concentrations. Further, MK-1775 was synergistic with cisplatin in reducing medulloblastoma cell proliferation and resulted in an associated increase in cell death. In vivo MK-1775 suppressed medulloblastoma tumor growth as a single agent.
CONCLUSIONS: Taken together, these findings highlight mitotic kinases and, in particular, WEE1 as a rational therapeutic target for medulloblastoma.

Kuo WL, Sharifi MN, Lingen MW, et al.
p62/SQSTM1 accumulation in squamous cell carcinoma of head and neck predicts sensitivity to phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase pathway inhibitors.
PLoS One. 2014; 9(3):e90171 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 20/02/2016 Related Publications
The phosphoinositol-3 kinase (PI3K) pathway is highly dysregulated in squamous cell carcinoma of the head and neck (SCCHN). While inhibitors of the PI3K/AKT pathway are being developed in cancer, their efficacy does not appear to be related to the presence of mutations or amplification in pathway genes. The PI3K pathway is a major regulator of macro-autophagy, an evolutionarily conserved catabolic process that degrades cellular materials to promote cellular homeostasis and survival under stress. Employing a panel of SCCHN cell lines, we observed a significant correlation between the activity of PI3K/AKT inhibitors and their ability to induce autophagy. More specifically, resistance to these inhibitors was associated with accumulation of p62/SQSTM1, a pleotropic protein that is consumed during autophagy, while loss of autophagy was, for the first time, found to be due to silencing of an essential autophagy gene, ATG7. Moreover, modulating ATG7 and p62/SQSTM1 could regulate sensitivity to PI3K/AKT inhibitors, underscoring a mechanistic link between autophagy and drug sensitivity. Analysis of human tissues revealed progressive accumulation of p62/SQSTM1 in a significant proportion of cancer samples compared to normal tissue, suggesting that defective autophagy has relevance to SCCHN. These findings are further validated by analysis of TCGA data confirming homozygous deletion and mRNA down-regulation of ATG7 in 10.0% of SCCHN samples. Taken together, these data indicate that p62/SQSTM1 levels modulate sensitivity to PI3K/AKT inhibitors; cancers vary in their capacity to undergo autophagy through epigenetic modification and, when deficient, accumulate p62/SQSTM1; and expression of autophagy-related proteins may serve as markers for resistance to PI3K/AKT inhibitors in SCCHN.

Agarwal E, Chaudhuri A, Leiphrakpam PD, et al.
Akt inhibitor MK-2206 promotes anti-tumor activity and cell death by modulation of AIF and Ezrin in colorectal cancer.
BMC Cancer. 2014; 14:145 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 20/02/2016 Related Publications
BACKGROUND: There is extensive evidence for the role of aberrant cell survival signaling mechanisms in cancer progression and metastasis. Akt is a major component of cell survival-signaling mechanisms in several types of cancer. It has been shown that activated Akt stabilizes XIAP by S87 phosphorylation leading to survivin/XIAP complex formation, caspase inhibition and cytoprotection of cancer cells. We have reported that TGFβ/PKA/PP2A-mediated tumor suppressor signaling regulates Akt phosphorylation in association with the dissociation of survivin/XIAP complexes leading to inhibition of stress-dependent induction of cell survival.
METHODS: IGF1R-dependent colon cancer cells (GEO and CBS) were used for the study. Effects on cell proliferation and cell death were determined in the presence of MK-2206. Xenograft studies were performed to determine the effect of MK-2206 on tumor volume. The effect on various cell death markers such as XIAP, survivin, AIF, Ezrin, pEzrin was determined by western blot analysis. Graph pad 5.0 was used for statistical analysis. P < 0.05 was considered significant.
RESULTS: We characterized the mechanisms by which a novel Akt kinase inhibitor MK-2206 induced cell death in IGF1R-dependent colorectal cancer (CRC) cells with upregulated PI3K/Akt signaling in response to IGF1R activation. MK-2206 treatment generated a significant reduction in tumor growth in vivo and promoted cell death through two mechanisms. This is the first report demonstrating that Akt inactivation by MK-2206 leads to induction of and mitochondria-to-nuclear localization of the Apoptosis Inducing Factor (AIF), which is involved in caspase-independent cell death. We also observed that exposure to MK-2206 dephosphorylated Ezrin at the T567 site leading to the disruption of Akt-pEzrin-XIAP cell survival signaling. Ezrin phosphorylation at this site has been associated with malignant progression in solid tumors.
CONCLUSION: The identification of these 2 novel mechanisms leading to induction of cell death indicates MK-2206 might be a potential clinical candidate for therapeutic targeting of the subset of IGF1R-dependent cancers in CRC.

Rawnaq T, Dietrich L, Wolters-Eisfeld G, et al.
The multifunctional growth factor midkine promotes proliferation and migration in pancreatic cancer.
Mol Cancer Res. 2014; 12(5):670-80 [PubMed] Related Publications
UNLABELLED: Pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC) has a devastating prognosis among solid tumors and despite increased knowledge of the molecular mechanisms contributing to progression and metastasis, minimal progress has been done in establishing new targeted therapies for this deadly disease. The expression of the multifunctional growth/differentiation factor midkine (MK) promotes a variety of cellular functions leading to increased angiogenesis, proliferation, migration, and survival. Moreover, MK is intensively discussed as a potential new-therapy target and as biomarker for cancer progression and chemotherapeutic resistance in multiple cancers. Therefore, the present study investigated the molecular role of MK in pancreatic cancer. It was found that MK is elevated in PDAC and differentially expressed in other histologic subtypes of pancreatic cancer, whereas normal pancreatic cells did not express MK, thus making it an attractive candidate for targeted therapies. As a secreted growth/differentiation factor, MK was investigated as a biomarker in clinical serum specimens using ELISA. In addition, knockdown studies of MK revealed a link to proliferation and migration status in vitro. Finally, upstream signaling pathways were analyzed, with TNF-α and EGF being the main inductors of MK expression in PDAC.
IMPLICATIONS: This study presents novel MK functions and new upstream signaling effectors that induce its expression to promote PDAC and therefore defines an attractive new therapeutic target in pancreatic cancer.

Schmidt A, Meissner RS, Gentile MA, et al.
Identification of an anabolic selective androgen receptor modulator that actively induces death of androgen-independent prostate cancer cells.
J Steroid Biochem Mol Biol. 2014; 143:29-39 [PubMed] Related Publications
Prostate cancer (PCa) initially responds to inhibition of androgen receptor (AR) signaling, but inevitably progresses to hormone ablation-resistant disease. Much effort is focused on optimizing this androgen deprivation strategy by improving hormone depletion and AR antagonism. However we found that bicalutamide, a clinically used antiandrogen, actually resembles a selective AR modulator (SARM), as it partially regulates 24% of endogenously 5α-dihydrotestosterone (DHT)-responsive genes in AR(+) MDA-MB-453 breast cancer cells. These data suggested that passive blocking of all AR functions is not required for PCa therapy. Hence, we adopted an active strategy that calls for the development of novel SARMs, which induce a unique gene expression profile that is intolerable to PCa cells. Therefore, we screened 3000 SARMs for the ability to arrest the androgen-independent growth of AR(+) 22Rv1 and LNCaP PCa cells but not AR(-) PC3 or DU145 cells. We identified only one such compound; the 4-aza-steroid, MK-4541, a potent and selective SARM. MK-4541 induces caspase-3 activity and cell death in both androgen-independent, AR(+) PCa cell lines but spares AR(-) cells or AR(+) non-PCa cells. This activity correlates with its promoter context- and cell-type dependent transcriptional effects. In rats, MK-4541 inhibits the trophic effects of DHT on the prostate, but not the levator ani muscle, and triggers an anabolic response in the periosteal compartment of bone. Therefore, MK-4541 has the potential to effectively manage prostatic hypertrophic diseases owing to its antitumor SARM-like mechanism, while simultaneously maintaining the anabolic benefits of natural androgens.

Kadara H, Fujimoto J, Yoo SY, et al.
Transcriptomic architecture of the adjacent airway field cancerization in non-small cell lung cancer.
J Natl Cancer Inst. 2014; 106(3):dju004 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 20/02/2016 Related Publications
BACKGROUND: Earlier work identified specific tumor-promoting abnormalities that are shared between lung cancers and adjacent normal bronchial epithelia. We sought to characterize the yet unknown global molecular and adjacent airway field cancerization (FC) in early-stage non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC).
METHODS: Whole-transcriptome expression profiling of resected early-stage (I-IIIA) NSCLC specimens (n = 20) with matched tumors, multiple cytologically controlled normal airways with varying distances from tumors, and uninvolved normal lung tissues (n = 194 samples) was performed using the Affymetrix Human Gene 1.0 ST platform. Mixed-effects models were used to identify differentially expressed genes among groups. Ordinal regression analysis was performed to characterize site-dependent airway expression profiles. All statistical tests were two-sided, except where noted.
RESULTS: We identified differentially expressed gene features (n = 1661) between NSCLCs and airways compared with normal lung tissues, a subset of which (n = 299), after gene set enrichment analysis, statistically significantly (P < .001) distinguished large airways in lung cancer patients from airways in cancer-free smokers. In addition, we identified genes (n = 422) statistically significantly and progressively differentially expressed in airways by distance from tumors that were found to be congruently modulated between NSCLCs and normal lung tissues. Furthermore, LAPTM4B, with statistically significantly increased expression (P < .05) in airways with shorter distance from tumors, was upregulated in human immortalized cells compared with normal bronchial epithelial cells (P < .001) and promoted anchorage-dependent and -independent lung cancer cell growth.
CONCLUSIONS: The adjacent airway FC comprises both site-independent profiles as well as gradient and localized airway expression patterns. Profiling of the airway FC may provide new insights into NSCLC oncogenesis and molecular tools for detection of the disease.

Huang CP, Fofana M, Chan J, et al.
Copper transporter 2 regulates intracellular copper and sensitivity to cisplatin.
Metallomics. 2014; 6(3):654-61 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 20/02/2016 Related Publications
Mammalian cells express two copper (Cu) influx transporters, CTR1 and CTR2. CTR1 serves as an influx transporter for both Cu and cisplatin (cDDP). In mouse embryo fibroblasts, reduction of CTR1 expression renders cells resistant to cDDP whereas reduction of CTR2 makes them hypersensitive both in vitro and in vivo. To investigate the role of CTR2 on intracellular Cu and cDDP sensitivity its expression was molecularly altered in the human epithelial 2008 cancer cell model. Intracellular exchangeable Cu(+) was measured with the fluorescent probe Coppersensor-3 (CS3). The ability of CS3 to report on changes in intracellular Cu(+) was validated by showing that Cu chelators reduced its signal, and that changes in signal accompanied alterations in expression of the major Cu influx transporter CTR1 and the two Cu efflux transporters, ATP7A and ATP7B. Constitutive knock down of CTR2 mRNA by ∼50% reduced steady-state exchangeable Cu by 22-23% and increased the sensitivity of 2008 cells by a factor of 2.6-2.9 in two separate clones. Over-expression of CTR2 increased exchangeable Cu(+) by 150% and rendered the 2008 cells 2.5-fold resistant to cDDP. The results provide evidence that CS3 can quantitatively assess changes in exchangeable Cu(+), and that CTR2 regulates both the level of exchangeable Cu(+) and sensitivity to cDDP in a model of human epithelial cancer. This study introduces CS3 and related sensors as novel tools for probing and assaying Cu-dependent sensitivity to anticancer therapeutics.

Xu X, Lu Z, Qiang W, et al.
Inactivation of AKT induces cellular senescence in uterine leiomyoma.
Endocrinology. 2014; 155(4):1510-9 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 20/02/2016 Related Publications
Uterine leiomyomas (fibroids) are a major public health problem. Current medical treatments with GnRH analogs do not provide long-term benefit. Thus, permanent shrinkage or inhibition of fibroid growth via medical means remains a challenge. The AKT pathway is a major growth and survival pathway for fibroids. We propose that AKT inhibition results in a transient regulation of specific mechanisms that ultimately drive cells into cellular senescence or cell death. In this study, we investigated specific mechanisms of AKT inhibition that resulted in senescence. We observed that administration of MK-2206, an allosteric AKT inhibitor, increased levels of reactive oxygen species, up-regulated the microRNA miR-182 and several senescence-associated genes (including p16, p53, p21, and β-galactosidase), and drove leiomyoma cells into stress-induced premature senescence (SIPS). Moreover, induction of SIPS was mediated by HMGA2, which colocalized to senescence-associated heterochromatin foci. This study provides a conceivable molecular mechanism of SIPS by AKT inhibition in fibroids.

Leiphrakpam PD, Rajput A, Mathiesen M, et al.
Ezrin expression and cell survival regulation in colorectal cancer.
Cell Signal. 2014; 26(5):868-79 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 20/02/2016 Related Publications
Colorectal cancer (CRC) is the second largest cause of cancer deaths in the United States. A key barrier that prevents better outcomes for this type of cancer as well as other solid tumors is the lack of effective therapies against the metastatic disease. Thus there is an urgent need to fill this gap in cancer therapy. We utilized a 2D-DIGE proteomics approach to identify and characterize proteins that are differentially regulated between primary colon tumor and liver metastatic deposits of the IGF1R-dependent GEO human CRC xenograft, orthotopically implanted in athymic nude mice that may serve as potential therapeutic targets against CRC metastasis. We observed increased expression of ezrin in liver metastasis in comparison to the primary colonic tumor. Increased ezrin expression was further confirmed by western blot and microarray analyses. Ezrin, a cytoskeletal protein belonging to Ezrin-Radixin-Moesin (ERM) family plays important roles in cell motility, invasion and metastasis. However, its exact function in colorectal cancer is not well characterized. Establishment of advanced GEO cell lines with enhanced liver-metastasizing ability showed a significant increase in ezrin expression in liver metastasis. Increased phosphorylation of ezrin at the T567 site (termed here as p-ezrin T567) was observed in liver metastasis. IHC studies of human CRC patient specimens showed an increased expression of p-ezrin T567 in liver metastasis compared to the primary tumors of the same patient. Ezrin modulation by siRNA, inhibitors and T567A/D point mutations significantly downregulated inhibitors of apoptosis (IAP) proteins XIAP and survivin that have been linked to increased aberrant cell survival and metastasis and increased cell death. Inhibition of the IGF1R signaling pathway by humanized recombinant IGF1R monoclonal antibody MK-0646 in athymic mouse subcutaneous xenografts resulted in inhibition of p-ezrin T567 indicating ezrin signaling is downstream of the IGF1R signaling pathway. We identified increased expression of p-ezrin T567 in CRC liver metastasis in both orthotopically implanted GEO tumors as well as human patient specimens. We report for the first time that p-ezrin T567 is downstream of the IGF1R signaling and demonstrate that ezrin regulates cell survival through survivin/XIAP modulation.

Jones DR
Measuring midkine: the utility of midkine as a biomarker in cancer and other diseases.
Br J Pharmacol. 2014; 171(12):2925-39 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 20/02/2016 Related Publications
Midkine (MK) is a pleiotropic growth factor prominently expressed during embryogenesis but down-regulated to neglible levels in healthy adults. Many published studies have demonstrated striking MK overexpression compared with healthy controls in various pathologies, including ischaemia, inflammation, autoimmunity and, most notably, in many cancers. MK expression is detectable in biopsies of diseased, but not healthy, tissues. Significantly, because it is a soluble cytokine, elevated MK is readily apparent in the blood and other body fluids such as urine and CSF, making MK a relatively convenient, accessible, non-invasive and inexpensive biomarker for population screening and early disease detection. The first diagnostic tests that quantify MK are just now receiving regulatory clearance and entering the clinic. This review examines the current state of knowledge pertaining to MK as a biomarker and highlights promising indications and clinical settings where measuring MK could make a difference to patient treatment. I also raise outstanding questions about reported variants of MK as well as MK's bio-distribution in vivo. Answering these questions in future studies will enhance our understanding of the significance of measured MK levels in both patients and healthy subjects, and may reveal further opportunities for measuring MK to diagnose disease. MK has already proven to be a biomarker that can significantly improve detection, management and treatment of cancer, and there is significant promise for developing further MK-based diagnostics in the future.

Kuijjer ML, van den Akker BE, Hilhorst R, et al.
Kinome and mRNA expression profiling of high-grade osteosarcoma cell lines implies Akt signaling as possible target for therapy.
BMC Med Genomics. 2014; 7:4 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 20/02/2016 Related Publications
BACKGROUND: High-grade osteosarcoma is a primary malignant bone tumor mostly occurring in adolescents and young adults, with a second peak at middle age. Overall survival is approximately 60%, and has not significantly increased since the introduction of neoadjuvant chemotherapy in the 1970s. The genomic profile of high-grade osteosarcoma is complex and heterogeneous. Integration of different types of genome-wide data may be advantageous in extracting relevant information from the large number of aberrations detected in this tumor.
METHODS: We analyzed genome-wide gene expression data of osteosarcoma cell lines and integrated these data with a kinome screen. Data were analyzed in statistical language R, using LIMMA for detection of differential expression/phosphorylation. We subsequently used Ingenuity Pathways Analysis to determine deregulated pathways in both data types.
RESULTS: Gene set enrichment indicated that pathways important in genomic stability are highly deregulated in these tumors, with many genes showing upregulation, which could be used as a prognostic marker, and with kinases phosphorylating peptides in these pathways. Akt and AMPK signaling were identified as active and inactive, respectively. As these pathways have an opposite role on mTORC1 signaling, we set out to inhibit Akt kinases with the allosteric Akt inhibitor MK-2206. This resulted in inhibition of proliferation of osteosarcoma cell lines U-2 OS and HOS, but not of 143B, which harbors a KRAS oncogenic transformation.
CONCLUSIONS: We identified both overexpression and hyperphosphorylation in pathways playing a role in genomic stability. Kinome profiling identified active Akt signaling, which could inhibit proliferation in 2/3 osteosarcoma cell lines. Inhibition of PI3K/Akt/mTORC1 signaling may be effective in osteosarcoma, but further studies are required to determine whether this pathway is active in a substantial subgroup of this heterogeneous tumor.

Ciarimboli G
Membrane transporters as mediators of cisplatin side-effects.
Anticancer Res. 2014; 34(1):547-50 [PubMed] Related Publications
The clinical use of the efficient chemotherapeutic drug cisplatin is limited by its specific severe organ toxicities such as nephro-, oto-, and also peripheral neurotoxicity. Membrane transporters such as the copper transporter-1 (Ctr1), the copper transporter-2 (Ctr2), the P-type copper-transporting ATPases ATP7A and ATP7B, the organic cation transporter-2 (OCT2), and the multidrug extrusion transporter-1 (MATE1) mediate cellular transport of cisplatin. Since OCT2 is specifically expressed in the kidneys, its role as possible target of specific organ protection against undesired cisplatin toxicity is under investigation. We could show that OCT2 is also expressed in the cochlea in hair cells and in cells of the stria vascularis and also in dorsal root ganglia of mice. Moreover, we could show in a mouse model of cisplatin acute toxicities that the expression of OCT is critical for the development of ototoxicity, peripheral neurotoxicity and nephrotoxicity. Competition of cisplatin transport by the OCT2 substrate cimetidine was able to suppress ototoxicity, and reduce nephrotoxicity. Only few human tumors express OCT2, its expression being apparently down-regulated by epigenetic modifications, suggesting that a protective therapy by competition for the transport of cisplatin by OCT2 may be generally feasible without affecting its antitumor potency. There is already some evidence that patients bearing a mutation in OCT2 gene or co-medicated with cimetidine are protected against cisplatin nephrotoxicity. In conclusion, OCT2 seems to be an ideal target for the establishment of protective therapies aimed to specifically reduce cisplatin side-effects and increase the quality of life of the patients.

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