Gene Summary

Gene:ELF3; E74 like ETS transcription factor 3
Aliases: ERT, ESX, EPR-1, ESE-1
Databases:OMIM, HGNC, Ensembl, GeneCard, Gene
Protein:ETS-related transcription factor Elf-3
Source:NCBIAccessed: 01 September, 2019


What does this gene/protein do?
Show (19)

Cancer Overview

Research Indicators

Publications Per Year (1994-2019)
Graph generated 01 September 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.

  • Mutation
  • Gene Expression Profiling
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Trastuzumab
  • Neoplastic Cell Transformation
  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • Cell Proliferation
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-ets
  • Signal Transduction
  • Receptor, erbB-2
  • DNA-Binding Proteins
  • Cell Differentiation
  • Transcription Factors
  • Stomach Cancer
  • Adenocarcinoma
  • Tumor Burden
  • Transcriptome
  • Esophageal Cancer
  • Messenger RNA
  • RNA Interference
  • Gene Amplification
  • Proto-Oncogenes
  • Oligonucleotide Array Sequence Analysis
  • Multigene Family
  • Gene Expression
  • Prostate Cancer
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins
  • Chromosome 1
  • Base Sequence
  • Wnt Signaling Pathway
  • ELF3
  • Transfection
  • Epithelial Cells
  • Cancer Gene Expression Regulation
  • Breast Cancer
  • Promoter Regions
  • Biomarkers, Tumor
  • Young Adult
  • Lung Cancer
  • Transcription
Tag cloud generated 01 September, 2019 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: ELF3 (cancer-related)

Li S, Yuan Y, Xiao H, et al.
Discovery and validation of DNA methylation markers for overall survival prognosis in patients with thymic epithelial tumors.
Clin Epigenetics. 2019; 11(1):38 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
BACKGROUND: The current prognosis of thymic epithelial tumors (TETs) is according to the World Health Organization (WHO) histologic classification and the Masaoka staging system. These methods of prognosis have certain limitations in clinical application and there is a need to seek new method for determining the prognosis of patients with TETs. To date, there have been no studies done on the use of DNA methylation biomarkers for prognosis of TETs. The present study was therefore carried out to identify DNA methylation biomarkers that can determine the overall survival in patients with TETs.
METHODS: Bioinformatic analysis of TCGA 450 K methylation array data, transcriptome sequencing data, WHO histologic classification and Masaoka staging system was performed to identify differentially expressed methylation sites between thymoma and thymic carcinoma as well as the different DNA methylation sites associated with the overall survival in patients with TETs. Using pyrosequencing, 4 different methylation sites (cg05784862, cg07154254, cg02543462, and cg06288355) were sequenced from tumor tissues of 100 Chinese patients with TETs. A prognostic model for TETs was constructed using these four methylation sites.
RESULTS: The TCGA dataset showed 5155 and 6967 hyper- and hypomethylated CpG sites in type A-B3 group and type C group, respectively, of which 3600 were located within the gene promoter regions. One hundred thirty-four genes were silenced by promoter hypermethylation and 174 mRNAs were upregulated. Analysis of univariate and multivariate Cox regression showed significant association between the methylation levels of 187 sites and the overall survival in patients with TETs. cg05784862(KSR1), cg07154254(ELF3), cg02543462(ILRN), and cg06288355(RAG1) were identified as independent prognostic factors for overall survival in patients with TETs after adjusting for Masaoka staging in 100 Chinese patients. The prognostic model which consists of the four abovementioned genes had higher accuracy for predicting the 5-year overall survival in patients with TETs as compared to the Masaoka clinical staging. (Time-dependent ROC analysis AUC 1.000 vs 0.742, P = 2.7 × 10
CONCLUSIONS: The methylation levels of cg05784862(KSR1), cg07154254(ELF3), cg02543462(ILRN), and cg06288355(RAG1) sites are associated with the progression of TETs and may serve as new biomarkers for predicting the overall survival in patients with TETs.

Zhao ZM, Yost SE, Hutchinson KE, et al.
CCNE1 amplification is associated with poor prognosis in patients with triple negative breast cancer.
BMC Cancer. 2019; 19(1):96 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
BACKGROUND: Triple negative breast cancer (TNBC) is aggressive with limited treatment options upon recurrence. Molecular discordance between primary and metastatic TNBC has been observed, but the degree of biological heterogeneity has not been fully explored. Furthermore, genomic evolution through treatment is poorly understood. In this study, we aim to characterize the genomic changes between paired primary and metastatic TNBCs through transcriptomic and genomic profiling, and to identify genomic alterations which may contribute to chemotherapy resistance.
METHODS: Genomic alterations and mRNA expression of 10 paired primary and metastatic TNBCs were determined through targeted sequencing, microarray analysis, and RNA sequencing. Commonly mutated genes, as well as differentially expressed and co-expressed genes were identified. We further explored the clinical relevance of differentially expressed genes between primary and metastatic tumors to patient survival using large public datasets.
RESULTS: Through gene expression profiling, we observed a shift in TNBC subtype classifications between primary and metastatic TNBCs. A panel of eight cancer driver genes (CCNE1, TPX2, ELF3, FANCL, JAK2, GSK3B, CEP76, and SYK) were differentially expressed in recurrent TNBCs, and were also overexpressed in TCGA and METABRIC. CCNE1 and TPX2 were co-overexpressed in TNBCs. DNA mutation profiling showed that multiple mutations occurred in genes comprising a number of potentially targetable pathways including PI3K/AKT/mTOR, RAS/MAPK, cell cycle, and growth factor receptor signaling, reaffirming the wide heterogeneity of mechanisms driving TNBC. CCNE1 amplification was associated with poor overall survival in patients with metastatic TNBC.
CONCLUSIONS: CCNE1 amplification may confer resistance to chemotherapy and is associated with poor overall survival in TNBC.

Chen H, Chen W, Zhang X, et al.
E26 transformation (ETS)‑specific related transcription factor‑3 (ELF3) orchestrates a positive feedback loop that constitutively activates the MAPK/Erk pathway to drive thyroid cancer.
Oncol Rep. 2019; 41(1):570-578 [PubMed] Related Publications
Thyroid cancer is the most commonly diagnosed malignancy of the endocrine system, the incidence of which has increased rapidly in the last 30 years. Genetic alterations in pathways, including the mitogen‑activated protein kinase (MAPK)/extracellular signal‑regulated kinase (Erk) and phosphatidylinositol‑3‑kinase (PI3K)/protein kinase B (Akt) pathways, are the driving force behind the development of differentiated thyroid cancer cases into aggressive and undifferentiated forms of thyroid cancer. E26 transformation (ETS)‑specific related transcription factor‑3 (ELF3) belong to the epithelial‑specific subfamily of ETS transcription factors and has recently been reported to be involved in various pathophysiological processes. However, the role of ELF3 in thyroid cancer has not yet been investigated. In the present study, data from The Cancer Genome Atlas (TCGA) were analyzed, and it was revealed that ELF3 was overexpressed in patients with papillary thyroid cancer (PTC). Furthermore, the expression of ELF3 was found to be higher in thyroid cancer tissues with a B‑Raf proto‑oncogene (BRAF) mutation as determined by western blot analysis and IHC staining. Additionally, ELF3 overexpression predicted a poor prognosis in patients with PTC. The MAPK signaling pathway inhibitor PLX4032 was demonstrated to strongly attenuate ELF3 protein levels in BRAF‑mutant thyroid cancer cell lines. Knockdown of ELF3 with small interfering RNA (siRNA) inhibited the growth, clone formation, migration and invasion of BRAF mutant thyroid cancer cells. Mechanistically, ELF3 modulated the activity of the MAPK/Erk pathway via transcriptional regulation of the human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 family of receptors as determined by RT‑qPCR. In conclusion, the present study demonstrated ELF3 to be a potential prognostic marker for patients with thyroid cancer. Notably, ELF3 was demonstrated to form a positive feedback loop with MAPK pathways leading to the progression of BRAF‑mutant thyroid cancer.

Luk IY, Reehorst CM, Mariadason JM
ELF3, ELF5, EHF and SPDEF Transcription Factors in Tissue Homeostasis and Cancer.
Molecules. 2018; 23(9) [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
The epithelium-specific ETS (ESE) transcription factors (ELF3, ELF5, EHF and SPDEF) are defined by their highly conserved ETS DNA binding domain and predominant epithelial-specific expression profile. ESE transcription factors maintain normal cell homeostasis and differentiation of a number of epithelial tissues, and their genetic alteration and deregulated expression has been linked to the progression of several epithelial cancers. Herein we review the normal function of the ESE transcription factors, the mechanisms by which they are dysregulated in cancers, and the current evidence for their role in cancer progression. Finally, we discuss potential therapeutic strategies for targeting or reactivating these factors as a novel means of cancer treatment.

Hosoba S, Kito K, Teramoto Y, et al.
A novel mutation causing type 1 Gaucher disease found in a Japanese patient with gastric cancer: A case report.
Medicine (Baltimore). 2018; 97(27):e11361 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
RATIONALE: Gaucher disease (GD) is an autosomal recessive disorder that leads to multiorgan complications caused by β-glucocerebrosidase deficiency due to mutations in the β-glucocerebrosidase-encoding gene (GBA). GD morbidity in Japan is quite rare and clinical phenotype and gene mutation patterns of patients with GD in Japan and Western countries differ considerably. Of Japanese patients with GD, 57% develop types 2 or 3 GD with neurologic manifestations and younger onset, whereas only 6% of patients with GD develop those manifestations in Western countries. Thus, it is relatively difficult to find and diagnose GD in Japan.
PATIENT CONCERNS: A 69-year-old Japanese female with mild anemia and thrombocytopenia but without neurologic symptoms was initially referred for gastric cancer. Preoperative F-deoxyglucose positron emission tomography/computed tomography (FDG PET/CT) showed accumulation in the bone marrow and paraabdominal lymph nodes. Following bone marrow aspiration found, abnormal foamy macrophages in the bone marrow and electron microscopy revealed that the macrophages were filled with tubular-form structures. Adding to these signs suggestive of a lysosomal disease, serum β-glucocerebrosidase activity test found decreased. Sequencing of the patient's GBA gene revealed a RecNciI recombinant mutation and the novel mutation K157R (c.587A>G).
DIAGNOSES: On the basis of these findings and clinical manifestations, the final diagnosis of type 1 GD was made.
INTERVENTIONS: Enzyme replacement therapy (ERT) with velaglucerase α was started after the diagnosis of type 1 GD.
OUTCOMES: The patient's β-glucocerebrosidase activity as well as hemoglobin and platelet levels were restored by ERT without any side effects. Bone marrow aspirations 10 months after the start of the treatment with velaglucerase α showed reduction of Gaucher cells in bone marrow to 2% from 4% of total cellularity.
LESSONS: This is the first report of F-FDG PET/CT application providing a clue for GD diagnosis. A novel mutation in GBA is described, which implies a potential pool of patients with GD with this mutation in Japan.

Zhao W, Sun Q, Yu Z, et al.
MiR-320a-3p/ELF3 axis regulates cell metastasis and invasion in non-small cell lung cancer via PI3K/Akt pathway.
Gene. 2018; 670:31-37 [PubMed] Related Publications
MicroRNAs (miRNAs) play important roles in tumorigenesis and tumor progression. In this study, we investigated the role of miR-320a-3p in non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC). Expressions of miR-320a-3p were firstly determined in 80 NSCLC patients' cancer tissues and adjacent normal lung tissues by qRT-PCR. Then MTT assay, cell migration and invasion assays were performed in vitro. Potential binding sites on target gene of miR-320a-3p were predicted and luciferase reporter assay was used to identify the potential binding sites. Tumorigenesis assay were performed in nude mice by injecting A549 cells which stably express miR-320a-3p. Results indicated that high expression of miR-320a-3p suppresses cell proliferation, migration and invasion through the inactivation of PI3K/Akt signaling pathway in NSCLC cells. Smaller tumor size and lighter weight were also found in nude mice which had miR-320a-3p higher expressed. Furthermore, data from luciferase reporter assay proved the direct binding of miR-320a-3p on the 3'UTR region of ELF3 mRNA, this could further decrease ELF3 expression transcriptionally. We provided evidence that miR-320a-3p might work as a tumor suppressor in NSCLC both in vivo and in vitro.

Migliavacca M, Assanelli A, Ponzoni M, et al.
First Occurrence of Plasmablastic Lymphoma in Adenosine Deaminase-Deficient Severe Combined Immunodeficiency Disease Patient and Review of the Literature.
Front Immunol. 2018; 9:113 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Adenosine deaminase-deficient severe combined immunodeficiency disease (ADA-SCID) is a primary immune deficiency characterized by mutations in the ADA gene resulting in accumulation of toxic compounds affecting multiple districts. Hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (HSCT) from a matched donor and hematopoietic stem cell gene therapy are the preferred options for definitive treatment. Enzyme replacement therapy (ERT) is used to manage the disease in the short term, while a decreased efficacy is reported in the medium-long term. To date, eight cases of lymphomas have been described in ADA-SCID patients. Here we report the first case of plasmablastic lymphoma occurring in a young adult with ADA-SCID on long-term ERT, which turned out to be Epstein-Barr virus associated. The patient previously received infusions of genetically modified T cells. A cumulative analysis of the eight published cases of lymphoma from 1992 to date, and the case here described, reveals a high mortality (89%). The most common form is diffuse large B-cell lymphoma, which predominantly occurs in extra nodal sites. Seven cases occurred in patients on ERT and two after haploidentical HSCT. The significant incidence of immunodeficiency-associated lymphoproliferative disorders and poor survival of patients developing this complication highlight the priority in finding a prompt curative treatment for ADA-SCID.

Habringer S, Lapa C, Herhaus P, et al.
Dual Targeting of Acute Leukemia and Supporting Niche by CXCR4-Directed Theranostics.
Theranostics. 2018; 8(2):369-383 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
C-X-C chemokine receptor 4 (CXCR4) is a transmembrane receptor with pivotal roles in cell homing and hematopoiesis. CXCR4 is also involved in survival, proliferation and dissemination of cancer, including acute lymphoblastic and myeloid leukemia (ALL, AML). Relapsed/refractory ALL and AML are frequently resistant to conventional therapy and novel highly active strategies are urgently needed to overcome resistance.

Wang H, Yu Z, Huo S, et al.
Overexpression of ELF3 facilitates cell growth and metastasis through PI3K/Akt and ERK signaling pathways in non-small cell lung cancer.
Int J Biochem Cell Biol. 2018; 94:98-106 [PubMed] Related Publications
ELF3 is one of the member of transcription factors from E-twenty-six family, its role varies in different types of cancer. However, the role and specific mechanisms of ELF3 in the development of non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) still remains largely unknown. In our study, ELF3 was observed to be upregulated in NSCLC tissues compared to the corresponding normal lung tissue at mRNA and protein levels, and its expression level was correlated with the overall survival of patients with NSCLC. Silencing of the ELF3 gene in NSCLC cells inhibited the proliferation and metastasis significantly in vitro and in vivo. Conversely, overexpression of ELF3 in NSCLC cells promoted cancer growth and metastasis in vitro. Mechanistically, ELF3 activated PI3K/AKT and ERK signaling pathways and its downstream effectors, thus regulating the cell cycle and epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT). Furthermore, the promotive effects of ELF3 on cellular proliferation and metastasis could be rescued by Ly294002 (inhibitor of PI3K) and U0126 (inhibitor of MEK1/2). The results show that ELF3 promotes cell growth and metastasis by regulating PI3K/Akt and ERK pathways in NSCLC and that it may be a promising new target for the treatment of NSCLC patients.

Rizvi S, Gores GJ
Emerging molecular therapeutic targets for cholangiocarcinoma.
J Hepatol. 2017; 67(3):632-644 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Cholangiocarcinomas (CCAs) are diverse epithelial tumors arising from the liver or large bile ducts with features of cholangiocyte differentiation. CCAs are classified anatomically into intrahepatic (iCCA), perihilar (pCCA), and distal CCA (dCCA). Each subtype has distinct risk factors, molecular pathogenesis, therapeutic options, and prognosis. CCA is an aggressive malignancy with a poor overall prognosis and median survival of less than 2years in patients with advanced disease. Potentially curative surgical treatment options are limited to the subset of patients with early-stage disease. Presently, the available systemic medical therapies for advanced or metastatic CCA have limited therapeutic efficacy. Molecular alterations define the differences in biological behavior of each CCA subtype. Recent comprehensive genetic analysis has better characterized the genomic and transcriptomic landscape of each CCA subtype. Promising candidates for targeted, personalized therapy have emerged, including potential driver fibroblast growth factor receptor (FGFR) gene fusions and somatic mutations in isocitrate dehydrogenase (IDH)1/2 in iCCA, protein kinase cAMP-activated catalytic subunit alpha (PRKACA) or beta (PRKACB) gene fusions in pCCA, and ELF3 mutations in dCCA/ampullary carcinoma. A precision genomic medicine approach is dependent on an enhanced understanding of driver mutations in each subtype and stratification of patients according to their genetic drivers. We review the current genomic landscape of CCA, the potentially actionable molecular aberrations in each CCA subtype, and the role of immunotherapy in CCA.

Sinh ND, Endo K, Miyazawa K, Saitoh M
Ets1 and ESE1 reciprocally regulate expression of ZEB1/ZEB2, dependent on ERK1/2 activity, in breast cancer cells.
Cancer Sci. 2017; 108(5):952-960 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
The epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT) is a crucial morphological event that occurs during progression of epithelial tumors. We reported previously that levels of the δ-crystallin/E2-box factor 1 (δEF1) family proteins (Zinc finger E-box binding homeobox 1 [ZEB1]/δEF1 and ZEB2/ Smad-interacting protein 1), key regulators of the EMT, are positively correlated with EMT phenotypes and aggressiveness of breast cancer. Here, we show that Ets1 induces ZEB expression and activates the ZEB1 promoter, independently of its threonine 38 phosphorylation status. In the basal-like subtype of breast cancer cells, siRNAs targeting Ets1 repressed expression of ZEBs and partially restored their epithelial phenotypes and sensitivity to antitumor drugs. Epithelium-specific ETS transcription factor 1 (ESE1), a member of the Ets transcription factor family, was originally characterized as being expressed in an epithelial-restricted pattern, placing it within the epithelium-specific ETS subfamily. ESE1, highly expressed in the luminal subtype of breast cancer cells, was repressed by activation of the MEK-ERK pathway, resulting in induction of ZEBs through Ets1 upregulation. Conversely, Ets1, highly expressed in the basal-like subtype, was repressed by inactivation of MEK-ERK pathway, resulting in reduction of ZEBs through ESE1 upregulation. These findings suggest that ESE1 and Ets1, whose expressions are reciprocally regulated by the MEK-ERK pathway, define the EMT phenotype through controlling expression of ZEBs in each subtype of breast cancer cells.

Yeung TL, Leung CS, Wong KK, et al.
ELF3 is a negative regulator of epithelial-mesenchymal transition in ovarian cancer cells.
Oncotarget. 2017; 8(10):16951-16963 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Transcription factors are master switches for various biochemical pathways. However, transcription factors involved in the pathogenesis of ovarian cancer have yet to be explored thoroughly. Therefore, in the present study, we assessed the prognostic value of the transcription factor E74-like factor 3 (ELF3) identified via transcriptome profiling of the epithelial components of microdissected ovarian tumor samples isolated from long- and short-term survivors and determined its roles in ovarian cancer pathogenesis. Immunohistochemical analysis of ELF3 in tumor tissue sections suggested that ELF3 was exclusively expressed by epithelial ovarian cancer cells. Furthermore, using 112 high-grade ovarian cancer samples isolated from patients and The Cancer Genome Atlas (TCGA) data, we found that downregulation of ELF3 expression was markedly associated with reduced survival. Functional studies demonstrated that overexpression of ELF3 in ovarian cancer cells suppressed proliferation and anchorage-dependent growth of the cells and that ELF3 silencing increased cell proliferation. Furthermore, upregulation of ELF3 increased expression of epithelial markers, decreased expression of mesenchymal markers, and mediated translocation of epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT) signaling molecules in ovarian cancer cells. Finally, we validated the tumor-inhibitory roles of ELF3 using animal models. In conclusion, ELF3 is a favorable prognostic marker for ovarian cancer. As a negative regulator of EMT, ELF3-modulated reversal of EMT may be a new effective modality in the treatment of ovarian cancer.

Faversani A, Amatori S, Augello C, et al.
miR-494-3p is a novel tumor driver of lung carcinogenesis.
Oncotarget. 2017; 8(5):7231-7247 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Lung cancer is the leading cause of tumor-related death worldwide and more efforts are needed to elucidate lung carcinogenesis. Here we investigated the expression of 641 miRNAs in lung tumorigenesis in a K-Ras(+/LSLG12Vgeo);RERTn(ert/ert) mouse model and 113 human tumors. The conserved miRNA cluster on chromosome 12qF1 was significantly and progressively upregulated during murine lung carcinogenesis. In particular, miR-494-3p expression was correlated with lung cancer progression in mice and with worse survival in lung cancer patients. Mechanistically, ectopic expression of miR-494-3p in A549 lung cancer cells boosted the tumor-initiating population, enhanced cancer cell motility, and increased the expression of stem cell-related genes. Importantly, miR-494-3p improved the ability of A549 cells to grow and metastasize in vivo, modulating NOTCH1 and PTEN/PI3K/AKT signaling.Overall, these data identify miR-494-3p as a key factor in lung cancer onset and progression and possible therapeutic target.

Yu XM, Wu YC, Liu X, et al.
Cell-Free RNA Content in Peripheral Blood as Potential Biomarkers for Detecting Circulating Tumor Cells in Non-Small Cell Lung Carcinoma.
Int J Mol Sci. 2016; 17(11) [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Circulating tumor cells (CTCs) have been implicated in tumor progression and prognosis. Techniques detecting CTCs in the peripheral blood of patients with non-small cell lung carcinoma (NSCLC) may help to identify individuals likely to benefit from early systemic treatment. However, the detection of CTCs with a single marker is challenging, owing to low specificity and sensitivity and due to the heterogeneity and rareness of CTCs. Herein, the probability of cell-free RNA content in the peripheral blood as a potential biomarker for detecting CTCs in cancer patients was investigated. An immunomagnetic enrichment of real-time reverse-transcription PCR (RT-PCR) technology for analysis of CTCs in NSCLC patients was also developed. The mRNA levels of four candidate genes, cytokeratin 7 (

Dadhania V, Zhang M, Zhang L, et al.
Meta-Analysis of the Luminal and Basal Subtypes of Bladder Cancer and the Identification of Signature Immunohistochemical Markers for Clinical Use.
EBioMedicine. 2016; 12:105-117 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
BACKGROUND: It has been suggested that bladder cancer can be divided into two molecular subtypes referred to as luminal and basal with distinct clinical behaviors and sensitivities to chemotherapy. We aimed to validate these subtypes in several clinical cohorts and identify signature immunohistochemical markers that would permit simple and cost-effective classification of the disease in primary care centers.
METHODS: We analyzed genomic expression profiles of bladder cancer in three cohorts of fresh frozen tumor samples: MD Anderson (n=132), Lund (n=308), and The Cancer Genome Atlas (TCGA) (n=408) to validate the expression signatures of luminal and basal subtypes and relate them to clinical follow-up data. We also used an MD Anderson cohort of archival bladder tumor samples (n=89) and a parallel tissue microarray to identify immunohistochemical markers that permitted the molecular classification of bladder cancer.
FINDINGS: Bladder cancers could be assigned to two candidate intrinsic molecular subtypes referred to here as luminal and basal in all of the datasets analyzed. Luminal tumors were characterized by the expression signature similar to the intermediate/superficial layers of normal urothelium. They showed the upregulation of PPARγ target genes and the enrichment for FGFR3, ELF3, CDKN1A, and TSC1 mutations. In addition, luminal tumors were characterized by the overexpression of E-Cadherin, HER2/3, Rab-25, and Src. Basal tumors showed the expression signature similar to the basal layer of normal urothelium. They showed the upregulation of p63 target genes, the enrichment for TP53 and RB1 mutations, and overexpression of CD49, Cyclin B1, and EGFR. Survival analyses showed that the muscle-invasive basal bladder cancers were more aggressive when compared to luminal cancers. The immunohistochemical expressions of only two markers, luminal (GATA3) and basal (KRT5/6), were sufficient to identify the molecular subtypes of bladder cancer with over 90% accuracy.
INTERPRETATION: The molecular subtypes of bladder cancer have distinct clinical behaviors and sensitivities to chemotherapy, and a simple two-marker immunohistochemical classifier can be used for prognostic and therapeutic stratification.
FUNDING: U.S. National Cancer Institute and National Institute of Health.

Kardos J, Chai S, Mose LE, et al.
Claudin-low bladder tumors are immune infiltrated and actively immune suppressed.
JCI Insight. 2016; 1(3):e85902 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
We report the discovery of a claudin-low molecular subtype of high-grade bladder cancer that shares characteristics with the homonymous subtype of breast cancer. Claudin-low bladder tumors were enriched for multiple genetic features including increased rates of

Gui X, Meng Z, McConnell YJ, et al.
Differing expression profiles of Notch/enterocyte and Wnt/secretory lineage signallings are associated with morphological diversity of appendiceal tumours.
J Clin Pathol. 2017; 70(1):40-50 [PubMed] Related Publications
BACKGROUND: Tumours of appendix, including classic carcinoid tumour (CCT), goblet cell carcinoid (GCC), low-grade appendiceal mucinous neoplasm, high-grade appendiceal mucinous neoplasm/mucinous carcinoma (MCA) and non-mucinous adenocarcinoma (NMA), show different and sometimes mixed morphological features. It was hypothesised that these tumours originate from common tumour stem cell(s) with potential of various cell lineage differentiation. In normal intestinal epithelium, absorptive lineage (enterocytes) differentiation is driven by Notch-Hes1 pathway, while secretory lineage is driven by Wnt-Math1 pathway and further separated by different downstream signallings into three sublineages (Gfi1-Klf4/Elf3 for goblet cells, Gfi1-Sox9 for Paneth cells and Ngn3-Pdx1/Beta2/Pax4 for enteroendocrine cells).
METHODS: The expressions of various signalling proteins in different appendiceal tumours were detected by immunohistochemistry on tumour tissue microarray.
RESULTS: CCT showed reduced Hes1/Elf3 and Sox9/Klf4 coupled with elevated Math1, in keeping with endocrine phenotype. As compared with CCT, GCC showed higher Klf4 and similar Ngn3/Pax4, indicative of a shift of differentiation towards goblet cells as well as endocrine cells. GCC displayed a Notch signalling similar to adenocarcinoma. Mucinous tumours showed lower Elf3 than normal appendiceal epithelium and higher Math1/Gfi1/Klf4, suggestive of a differentiation towards less enterocytes but more goblet cells. NMA showed Notch signalling similar to other glandular tumours, but lower Klf4. However, some seemingly paradoxical changes were also observed, probably suggesting gene mutations and/or our incomplete understanding of the intestinal cell differentiation.
CONCLUSIONS: Wnt/secretory lineage protein and Notch/absorptive lineage protein expression profiles are generally associated with the tumour cell differentiation and morphological diversity of common appendiceal tumours.

Ali SA, Justilien V, Jamieson L, et al.
Protein Kinase Cι Drives a NOTCH3-dependent Stem-like Phenotype in Mutant KRAS Lung Adenocarcinoma.
Cancer Cell. 2016; 29(3):367-378 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
We report that the protein kinase Cι (PKCι) oncogene controls expression of NOTCH3, a key driver of stemness, in KRAS-mediated lung adenocarcinoma (LADC). PKCι activates NOTCH3 expression by phosphorylating the ELF3 transcription factor and driving ELF3 occupancy on the NOTCH3 promoter. PKCι-ELF3-NOTCH3 signaling controls the tumor-initiating cell phenotype by regulating asymmetric cell division, a process necessary for tumor initiation and maintenance. Primary LADC tumors exhibit PKCι-ELF3-NOTCH3 signaling, and combined pharmacologic blockade of PKCι and NOTCH synergistically inhibits tumorigenic behavior in vitro and LADC growth in vivo demonstrating the therapeutic potential of PKCι-ELF3-NOTCH3 signal inhibition to more effectively treat KRAS LADC.

Gajulapalli VN, Samanthapudi VS, Pulaganti M, et al.
A transcriptional repressive role for epithelial-specific ETS factor ELF3 on oestrogen receptor alpha in breast cancer cells.
Biochem J. 2016; 473(8):1047-61 [PubMed] Related Publications
Oestrogen receptor-α (ERα) is a ligand-dependent transcription factor that primarily mediates oestrogen (E2)-dependent gene transcription required for mammary gland development. Coregulators critically regulate ERα transcription functions by directly interacting with it. In the present study, we report that ELF3, an epithelial-specific ETS transcription factor, acts as a transcriptional repressor of ERα. Co-immunoprecipitation (Co-IP) analysis demonstrated that ELF3 strongly binds to ERα in the absence of E2, but ELF3 dissociation occurs upon E2 treatment in a dose- and time-dependent manner suggesting that E2 negatively influences such interaction. Domain mapping studies further revealed that the ETS (E-twenty six) domain of ELF3 interacts with the DNA binding domain of ERα. Accordingly, ELF3 inhibited ERα's DNA binding activity by preventing receptor dimerization, partly explaining the mechanism by which ELF3 represses ERα transcriptional activity. Ectopic expression of ELF3 decreases ERα transcriptional activity as demonstrated by oestrogen response elements (ERE)-luciferase reporter assay or by endogenous ERα target genes. Conversely ELF3 knockdown increases ERα transcriptional activity. Consistent with these results, ELF3 ectopic expression decreases E2-dependent MCF7 cell proliferation whereas ELF3 knockdown increases it. We also found that E2 induces ELF3 expression in MCF7 cells suggesting a negative feedback regulation of ERα signalling in breast cancer cells. A small peptide sequence of ELF3 derived through functional interaction between ERα and ELF3 could inhibit DNA binding activity of ERα and breast cancer cell growth. These findings demonstrate that ELF3 is a novel transcriptional repressor of ERα in breast cancer cells. Peptide interaction studies further represent a novel therapeutic option in breast cancer therapy.

Mengual L, Lozano JJ, Ingelmo-Torres M, et al.
Using gene expression from urine sediment to diagnose prostate cancer: development of a new multiplex mRNA urine test and validation of current biomarkers.
BMC Cancer. 2016; 16:76 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
BACKGROUND: Additional accurate non-invasive biomarkers are needed in the clinical setting to improve prostate cancer (PCa) diagnosis. Here we have developed a new and improved multiplex mRNA urine test to detect prostate cancer (PCa). Furthermore, we have validated the PCA3 urinary transcript and some panels of urinary transcripts previously reported as useful diagnostic biomarkers for PCa in our cohort.
METHODS: Post-prostatic massage urine samples were prospectively collected from PCa patients and controls. Expression levels of 42 target genes selected from our previous studies and from the literature were studied in 224 post-prostatic massage urine sediments by quantitative PCR. Univariate logistic regression was used to identify individual PCa predictors. A variable selection method was used to develop a multiplex biomarker model. Discrimination was measured by ROC curve AUC for both, our model and the previously published biomarkers.
RESULTS: Seven of the 42 genes evaluated (PCA3, ELF3, HIST1H2BG, MYO6, GALNT3, PHF12 and GDF15) were found to be independent predictors for discriminating patients with PCa from controls. We developed a four-gene expression signature (HIST1H2BG, SPP1, ELF3 and PCA3) with a sensitivity of 77% and a specificity of 67% (AUC = 0.763) for discriminating between tumor and control urines. The accuracy of PCA3 and previously reported panels of biomarkers is roughly maintained in our cohort.
CONCLUSIONS: Our four-gene expression signature outperforms PCA3 as well as previously reported panels of biomarkers to predict PCa risk. This study suggests that a urinary biomarker panel could improve PCa detection. However, the accuracy of the panels of urinary transcripts developed to date, including our signature, is not high enough to warrant using them routinely in a clinical setting.

Yachida S, Wood LD, Suzuki M, et al.
Genomic Sequencing Identifies ELF3 as a Driver of Ampullary Carcinoma.
Cancer Cell. 2016; 29(2):229-40 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Ampullary carcinomas are highly malignant neoplasms that can have either intestinal or pancreatobiliary differentiation. To characterize somatic alterations in ampullary carcinomas, we performed whole-exome sequencing and DNA copy-number analysis on 60 ampullary carcinomas resected from clinically well-characterized Japanese and American patients. We next selected 92 genes and performed targeted sequencing to validate significantly mutated genes in an additional 112 cancers. The prevalence of driver gene mutations in carcinomas with the intestinal phenotype is different from those with the pancreatobiliary phenotype. We identified a characteristic significantly mutated driver gene (ELF3) as well as previously known driver genes (TP53, KRAS, APC, and others). Functional studies demonstrated that ELF3 silencing in normal human epithelial cells enhances their motility and invasion.

Gingras MC, Covington KR, Chang DK, et al.
Ampullary Cancers Harbor ELF3 Tumor Suppressor Gene Mutations and Exhibit Frequent WNT Dysregulation.
Cell Rep. 2016; 14(4):907-919 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
The ampulla of Vater is a complex cellular environment from which adenocarcinomas arise to form a group of histopathologically heterogenous tumors. To evaluate the molecular features of these tumors, 98 ampullary adenocarcinomas were evaluated and compared to 44 distal bile duct and 18 duodenal adenocarcinomas. Genomic analyses revealed mutations in the WNT signaling pathway among half of the patients and in all three adenocarcinomas irrespective of their origin and histological morphology. These tumors were characterized by a high frequency of inactivating mutations of ELF3, a high rate of microsatellite instability, and common focal deletions and amplifications, suggesting common attributes in the molecular pathogenesis are at play in these tumors. The high frequency of WNT pathway activating mutation, coupled with small-molecule inhibitors of β-catenin in clinical trials, suggests future treatment decisions for these patients may be guided by genomic analysis.

Merino VF, Nguyen N, Jin K, et al.
Combined Treatment with Epigenetic, Differentiating, and Chemotherapeutic Agents Cooperatively Targets Tumor-Initiating Cells in Triple-Negative Breast Cancer.
Cancer Res. 2016; 76(7):2013-2024 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Efforts to induce the differentiation of cancer stem cells through treatment with all-trans retinoic acid (ATRA) have yielded limited success, partially due to the epigenetic silencing of the retinoic acid receptor (RAR)-β The histone deacetylase inhibitor entinostat is emerging as a promising antitumor agent when added to the standard-of-care treatment for breast cancer. However, the combination of epigenetic, cellular differentiation, and chemotherapeutic approaches against triple-negative breast cancer (TNBC) has not been investigated. In this study, we found that combined treatment of TNBC xenografts with entinostat, ATRA, and doxorubicin (EAD) resulted in significant tumor regression and restoration of epigenetically silenced RAR-β expression. Entinostat and doxorubicin treatment inhibited topoisomerase II-β (TopoII-β) and relieved TopoII-β-mediated transcriptional silencing of RAR-β Notably, EAD was the most effective combination in inducing differentiation of breast tumor-initiating cells in vivo Furthermore, gene expression analysis revealed that the epithelium-specific ETS transcription factor-1 (ESE-1 or ELF3), known to regulate proliferation and differentiation, enhanced cell differentiation in response to EAD triple therapy. Finally, we demonstrate that patient-derived metastatic cells also responded to treatment with EAD. Collectively, our findings strongly suggest that entinostat potentiates doxorubicin-mediated cytotoxicity and retinoid-driven differentiation to achieve significant tumor regression in TNBC. Cancer Res; 76(7); 2013-24. ©2016 AACR.

Nakamura H, Arai Y, Totoki Y, et al.
Genomic spectra of biliary tract cancer.
Nat Genet. 2015; 47(9):1003-10 [PubMed] Related Publications
The incidence of biliary tract cancer (BTC), including intrahepatic (ICC) and extrahepatic (ECC) cholangiocarcinoma and gallbladder cancer, has increased globally; however, no effective targeted molecular therapies have been approved at the present time. Here we molecularly characterized 260 BTCs and uncovered spectra of genomic alterations that included new potential therapeutic targets. Gradient spectra of mutational signatures with a higher burden of the APOBEC-associated mutation signature were observed in gallbladder cancer and ECC. Thirty-two significantly altered genes, including ELF3, were identified, and nearly 40% of cases harbored targetable genetic alterations. Gene fusions involving FGFR2 and PRKACA or PRKACB preferentially occurred in ICC and ECC, respectively, and the subtype-associated prevalence of actionable growth factor-mediated signals was noteworthy. The subgroup with the poorest prognosis had significant enrichment of hypermutated tumors and a characteristic elevation in the expression of immune checkpoint molecules. Accordingly, immune-modulating therapies might also be potentially promising options for these patients.

Zhang M, Piao L, Datta J, et al.
miR-124 Regulates the Epithelial-Restricted with Serine Box/Epidermal Growth Factor Receptor Signaling Axis in Head and Neck Squamous Cell Carcinoma.
Mol Cancer Ther. 2015; 14(10):2313-20 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Epithelial-restricted with serine box (ESX), a member of the ETS transcription factor family, is elevated and regulates EGFR in head and neck squamous cell carcinoma (HNSCC). However, the molecular mechanisms that contribute to ESX dysregulation remain to be elucidated. In this study, in silico analysis of the 3'-untranslated region (UTR) of ESX predicted two miR-124-binding sites. Delivery of miR-124 inhibited the 3'UTR ESX-driven reporter activity by 50% (P < 0.05) confirming ESX as a direct target of miR-124. Loss of miR-124 was found to be a frequent event in HNSCC. miR-124 expression was significantly depleted in the primary tumor compared with matched normal tissue in 100% (12/12) of HNSCC patients; relative mean miR-124 expression of 0.01197 and 0.00118 (P < 0.001, n = 12) in matched normal adjacent tissue and primary HNSCC tumor, respectively. Overexpression of miR-124 decreased ESX and EGFR levels in miR-124(low)/ESX(high)/EGFR(high) SCC15 HNSCC cells and reduced cell invasion, migration, proliferation, and colony formation. SCC15 cells with miR-124 restoration were less tumorigenic in vivo than miR-control SCC15 cells (70% inhibition, P < 0.01). Restoration of miR-124 in SCC15 cells enhanced the antiproliferative efficacy of the EGFR/Her2 tyrosine kinase inhibitors. Furthermore, recapitulation of EGFR in miR-124-overexpressing SCC15 cells was sufficient to completely block the antiproliferative effects of lapatinib and afatinib. Taken together, our work provides intriguing evidence that miR-124 is a novel therapeutic approach to reduce ESX/EGFR, and may be a tractable strategy to enhance the response rate of HNSCC patients to current anti-EGFR/Her2 therapies.

Nandakumar SK, Johnson K, Throm SL, et al.
Low-level GATA2 overexpression promotes myeloid progenitor self-renewal and blocks lymphoid differentiation in mice.
Exp Hematol. 2015; 43(7):565-77.e1-10 [PubMed] Related Publications
The transcription factor GATA2 is highly expressed in hematopoietic stem cells and is downregulated during lineage maturation. Gain of function mutations, loss of function mutations, and overexpression of GATA2 have been reported in acute myeloid leukemia. In previous studies, we and others showed that GATA2 overexpression at high levels, similar to that seen in hematopoietic stem cells, blocked differentiation of hematopoietic stem cells and progenitors. To better understand the effects of GATA2, we designed a Tamoxifen-inducible GATA2-estrogen receptor (ERT) vector. In the absence of Tamoxifen, small amounts of GATA2-ERT were still able to enter the nucleus in mouse bone marrow (BM) cells, providing us with a tool to test the effects of low-level GATA2 overexpression. We observed that this low-level GATA2 overexpression enhanced self-renewal of myeloid progenitors in vitro and resulted in immortalization of BM cells to myeloid cell lines. Continuous GATA2-ERT expression was required for the proliferation of these immortalized lines. Myeloid expansion and a block in T and B lineage differentiation were observed in mice transplanted with GATA2-ERT-expressing BM cells. Myeloid expansion occurred after the granulocyte monocyte progenitor stage, and lymphoid block was distal to the common lymphoid progenitor in transgenic mice. GATA2 appeared to induce growth via downstream activation of Nmyc and Hoxa9. Our results demonstrate that GATA2 overexpression at low level confers self-renewal capacity to myeloid progenitors and is relevant to myeloid leukemia development.

Montavon G, Jauquier N, Coulon A, et al.
Wild-type ALK and activating ALK-R1275Q and ALK-F1174L mutations upregulate Myc and initiate tumor formation in murine neural crest progenitor cells.
Oncotarget. 2014; 5(12):4452-66 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
The anaplastic lymphoma kinase (ALK) gene is overexpressed, mutated or amplified in most neuroblastoma (NB), a pediatric neural crest-derived embryonal tumor. The two most frequent mutations, ALK-F1174L and ALK-R1275Q, contribute to NB tumorigenesis in mouse models, and cooperate with MYCN in the oncogenic process. However, the precise role of activating ALK mutations or ALK-wt overexpression in NB tumor initiation needs further clarification. Human ALK-wt, ALK-F1174L, or ALK-R1275Q were stably expressed in murine neural crest progenitor cells (NCPC), MONC-1 or JoMa1, immortalized with v-Myc or Tamoxifen-inducible Myc-ERT, respectively. While orthotopic implantations of MONC- 1 parental cells in nude mice generated various tumor types, such as NB, osteo/ chondrosarcoma, and undifferentiated tumors, due to v-Myc oncogenic activity, MONC-1-ALK-F1174L cells only produced undifferentiated tumors. Furthermore, our data represent the first demonstration of ALK-wt transforming capacity, as ALK-wt expression in JoMa1 cells, likewise ALK-F1174L, or ALK-R1275Q, in absence of exogenous Myc-ERT activity, was sufficient to induce the formation of aggressive and undifferentiated neural crest cell-derived tumors, but not to drive NB development. Interestingly, JoMa1-ALK tumors and their derived cell lines upregulated Myc endogenous expression, resulting from ALK activation, and both ALK and Myc activities were necessary to confer tumorigenic properties on tumor-derived JoMa1 cells in vitro.

Wang JL, Chen ZF, Chen HM, et al.
Elf3 drives β-catenin transactivation and associates with poor prognosis in colorectal cancer.
Cell Death Dis. 2014; 5:e1263 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Aberrant regulation of the Wnt/β-catenin pathway plays important roles in colorectal carcinogenesis, with over 90% of cases of sporadic colon cancer featuring β-catenin accumulation. While ubiquitination-mediated degradation is widely accepted as a major route for β-catenin protein turnover, little is known about the regulation of β-catenin in transcriptional level. Here we show that Elf3, a member of the E-twenty-six family of transcription factors, drives β-catenin transactivation and associates with poor survival of colorectal cancer (CRC) patients. We first found recurrent amplification and upregulation of Elf3 in CRC tissues, and further Gene Set Enrichment Analysis identified significant association between Elf3 expression and activity of WNT/β-catenin pathway. Chromatin immunoprecipitation and electrophoretic mobility shift assay consistently revealed that Elf3 binds to and transactivates β-catenin promoter. Ectopic expression of Elf3 induces accumulation of β-catenin in both nucleus and cytoplasm, causing subsequent upregulation of several effector genes including c-Myc, VEGF, CCND1, MMP-7 and c-Jun. Suppressing Elf3 in CRC cells attenuates β-catenin signaling and decreases cell proliferation, migration and survival. Targeting Elf3 in xenograft tumors suppressed tumor progression in vivo. Taken together, our data identify Elf3 as a pivotal driver for β-catenin signaling in CRC, and highlight potential prognostic and therapeutic significance of Elf3 in CRC.

Ojesina AI, Lichtenstein L, Freeman SS, et al.
Landscape of genomic alterations in cervical carcinomas.
Nature. 2014; 506(7488):371-5 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Cervical cancer is responsible for 10-15% of cancer-related deaths in women worldwide. The aetiological role of infection with high-risk human papilloma viruses (HPVs) in cervical carcinomas is well established. Previous studies have also implicated somatic mutations in PIK3CA, PTEN, TP53, STK11 and KRAS as well as several copy-number alterations in the pathogenesis of cervical carcinomas. Here we report whole-exome sequencing analysis of 115 cervical carcinoma-normal paired samples, transcriptome sequencing of 79 cases and whole-genome sequencing of 14 tumour-normal pairs. Previously unknown somatic mutations in 79 primary squamous cell carcinomas include recurrent E322K substitutions in the MAPK1 gene (8%), inactivating mutations in the HLA-B gene (9%), and mutations in EP300 (16%), FBXW7 (15%), NFE2L2 (4%), TP53 (5%) and ERBB2 (6%). We also observe somatic ELF3 (13%) and CBFB (8%) mutations in 24 adenocarcinomas. Squamous cell carcinomas have higher frequencies of somatic nucleotide substitutions occurring at cytosines preceded by thymines (Tp*C sites) than adenocarcinomas. Gene expression levels at HPV integration sites were statistically significantly higher in tumours with HPV integration compared with expression of the same genes in tumours without viral integration at the same site. These data demonstrate several recurrent genomic alterations in cervical carcinomas that suggest new strategies to combat this disease.

Emori M, Tsukahara T, Murase M, et al.
High expression of CD109 antigen regulates the phenotype of cancer stem-like cells/cancer-initiating cells in the novel epithelioid sarcoma cell line ESX and is related to poor prognosis of soft tissue sarcoma.
PLoS One. 2013; 8(12):e84187 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Epithelioid sarcoma (ES) is a relatively rare, highly malignant soft tissue sarcoma. The mainstay of treatment is resection or amputation. Currently other therapeutic options available for this disease are limited. Therefore, a novel therapeutic option needs to be developed. In the present study, we established a new human ES cell line (ESX) and analyzed the characteristics of its cancer stem-like cells/cancer-initiating cells (CSCs/CICs) based on ALDH1 activity. We demonstrated that a subpopulation of ESX cells with high ALDH1 activity (ALDH(high) cells) correlated with enhanced clonogenic ability, sphere-formation ability, and invasiveness in vitro and showed higher tumorigenicity in vivo. Next, using gene expression profiling, we identified CD109, a GPI-anchored protein upregulated in the ALDH(high) cells. CD109 mRNA was highly expressed in various sarcoma cell lines, but weakly expressed in normal adult tissues. CD109-positive cells in ESX predominantly formed spheres in culture, whereas siCD109 reduced ALDH1 expression and inhibited the cell proliferation in vitro. Subsequently, we evaluated the expression of CD109 protein in 80 clinical specimens of soft tissue sarcoma. We found a strong correlation between CD109 protein expression and the prognosis (P = 0.009). In conclusion, CD109 might be a CSC/CIC marker in epithelioid sarcoma. Moreover, CD109 is a promising prognostic biomarker and a molecular target of cancer therapy for sarcomas including ES.

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