Gene Summary

Gene:ARHGAP26; Rho GTPase activating protein 26
Summary:Interaction of a cell with the extracellular matrix triggers integrin cell surface receptors to begin signaling cascades that regulate the organization of the actin-cytoskeleton. One of the proteins involved in these cascades is focal adhesion kinase. The protein encoded by this gene is a GTPase activating protein that binds to focal adhesion kinase and mediates the activity of the GTP binding proteins RhoA and Cdc42. Defects in this gene are a cause of juvenile myelomonocytic leukemia (JMML). Multiple transcript variants encoding different isoforms have been found for this gene. [provided by RefSeq, Mar 2017]
Databases:OMIM, HGNC, Ensembl, GeneCard, Gene
Protein:rho GTPase-activating protein 26
Source:NCBIAccessed: 01 September, 2019

Cancer Overview

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Publications Per Year (1994-2019)
Graph generated 01 September 2019 using data from PubMed using criteria.

Literature Analysis

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Tag cloud generated 01 September, 2019 using data from PubMed, MeSH and CancerIndex

Latest Publications: ARHGAP26 (cancer-related)

Wangxia LV, Fang Y, Liu Y, et al.
Circular RNA ARHGAP26 is over-expressed and its downregulation inhibits cell proliferation and promotes cell apoptosis in gastric cancer cells.
Saudi J Gastroenterol. 2019 Mar-Apr; 25(2):119-125 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Background/Aims: This study aimed to explore the effect of circular RNA ARHGAP26 (circ-ARHGAP26) on cell proliferation and apoptosis in gastric cancer (GC) cell lines.
Materials and Methods: Human GC cell lines including HGC-27, AGS, SGC-7901, BGC-823, NCI-N87 and human normal gastric mucosal cells GSE-1 were cultured. The circ-ARHGAP26 expression was determined by quantitative polymerase chain reaction assay. Blank inhibitor and circ-ARHGAP26 inhibitor plasmids were transfected into HGC-27 or AGS cells as NC (-) and circ-ARHGAP26(-) groups. Counting Kit-8 (CCK-8) and Annexin V (AV)/propidium iodide (PI) were conducted to evaluate cell proliferation and cell apoptosis, respectively. Western blot was performed to determine the expressions of apoptotic markers (C-Caspase3 and Bcl-2).
Results: The circ-ARHGAP26 expression was elevated in HGC-27 (P < 0.001), AGS (P < 0.001), SGC-7901 (P < 0.01), BGC-823 (P < 0.05) and NCI-N87 (P < 0.05) GC cell lines compared to GSE-1 cells. In HGC-27 cells, CCK8 assay revealed that cell proliferation was decreased at 48 h (P < 0.05) and 72 h (P < 0.01), while AV/PI assay disclosed that cell apoptosis rate was increased at 72 h in circ-ARHGAP26 (-) group compared to NC (-) group (P < 0.01). Western blot assay also illuminated that apoptotic marker C-Caspase 3 was raised, while anti-apoptotic marker Bcl-2 was reduced at 72 h in circ-ARHGAP26 (-) group compared to NC (-) group. In addition, further validation in AGS cells also exhibited that cells proliferation was repressed, while apoptosis was enhanced in circ-ARHGAP26 (-) group compared to NC (-) group.
Conclusion: The circ-ARHGAP26 is over-expressed and its downregulation inhibits cell proliferation and promotes cells apoptosis in GC cells.

Malsy M, Graf B, Almstedt K
The active role of the transcription factor Sp1 in NFATc2-mediated gene regulation in pancreatic cancer.
BMC Biochem. 2019; 20(1):2 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
BACKGROUND: Adenocarcinoma of the pancreas is one of the most aggressive tumor diseases affecting the human body. The oncogenic potential of pancreatic cancer is mainly characterized by extremely rapid growth triggered by the activation of oncogenic signaling cascades, which suggests a change in the regulation of important transcription factors. Amongst others, NFAT transcription factors are assumed to play a central role in the carcinogenesis of pancreatic cancer. Recent research has shown the importance of the transcription factor Sp1 in the transcriptional activity of NFATc2 in pancreatic cancer. However, the role of the interaction between these two binding partners remains unclear. The current study investigated the role of Sp1 proteins in the expression of NFATc2 target genes and identified new target genes and their function in cells. A further objective was the domain of the Sp1 protein that mediates interaction with NFATc2. The involvement of Sp1 proteins in NFATc2 target genes was shown by means of a gene expression profile analysis, and the results were confirmed by quantitative RT-PCR. The functional impact of this interaction was shown in a thymidine incorporation assay. A second objective was the physical interaction between NFATc2 and different Sp1 deletion mutants that was investigated by means of immunoprecipitation.
RESULTS: In pancreatic cancer, the proto-oncogene c-Fos, the tumor necrosis factor TNF-alpha, and the adhesion molecule integrin beta-3 are target genes of the interaction between Sp1 and NFATc2. Loss of just one transcription factor inhibits oncogenic complex formation and expression of cell cycle-regulating genes, thus verifiably decreasing the carcinogenic effect. The current study also showed the interaction between the transcription factor NFATc2 and the N-terminal domain of Sp1 in pancreatic cancer cells. Sp1 increases the activity of NFATc2 in the NFAT-responsive promoter.
CONCLUSIONS: The regulation of gene promotors during transcription is a rather complex process because of the involvement of many proteins that - as transcription factors or co-factors - regulate promotor activity as required and control cell function. NFATc2 and Sp1 seem to play a key role in the progression of pancreatic cancer.

Graf SA, Heppt MV, Wessely A, et al.
The myelin protein PMP2 is regulated by SOX10 and drives melanoma cell invasion.
Pigment Cell Melanoma Res. 2019; 32(3):424-434 [PubMed] Related Publications
The transcription factor sex determining region Y-box 10 (SOX10) plays a key role in the development of melanocytes and glial cells from neural crest precursors. SOX10 is involved in melanoma initiation, proliferation, invasion, and survival. However, specific mediators which impart its oncogenic properties remain widely unknown. To identify target genes of SOX10, we performed RNA sequencing after ectopic expression of SOX10 in human melanoma cells. Among nine differentially regulated genes, peripheral myelin protein 2 (PMP2) was consistently upregulated in several cell lines. Direct regulation of PMP2 by SOX10 was shown by chromatin immunoprecipitation, electrophoretic mobility shift, and luciferase reporter assays. Moreover, a coregulation of PMP2 by SOX10 and early growth response 2 in melanoma cells was found. Phenotypical investigation demonstrated that PMP2 expression can increase melanoma cell invasion. As PMP2 protein was detected only in a subset of melanoma cell lines, it might contribute to melanoma heterogeneity.

Gráf L, Barabás L, Madaras B, et al.
High serum Hsp70 level predicts poor survival in colorectal cancer: Results obtained in an independent validation cohort.
Cancer Biomark. 2018; 23(4):539-547 [PubMed] Related Publications
BACKGROUND: Hsp70 plays important role in the development and progression of cancer. Previously we described the association between serum Hsp70 levels and mortality of colorectal cancer.
OBJECTIVE: In this new prospective study we aimed to confirm and extend our previous findings in a larger cohort of patients, based on a longer follow-up period.
METHODS: Two hundred and thirty-two patients diagnosed with colorectal cancer were enrolled in the study. Baseline serum Hsp70 level and classical biomarker levels were measured. Patients were treated according to stage of the tumor and follow-up lasted for a median 46.4 months.
RESULTS: We found that serum Hsp70 concentrations increase significantly with stage of the disease (1.79; 2.23 and 3.21 ng/ml in stage I+II, III and IV respectively, p= 0.012 and 0.002, Mann-Whitney test) and with other known biomarkers of the disease. We managed to confirm our previous findings that high baseline serum Hsp70 level (> 1.64 ng/ml) predicted poor 5-year survival (risk of death HR: 1.94 CI: 1.294-2.909; univariate; HR: 2.418 CI: 1.373-4.258; multivariate Cox regression analysis) in the whole patient population and also in subgroups of stage IV and stage III disease. The strongest association was observed in women under age of 70 (HR: 8.12, CI: 2.02-35.84; p= 0.004; multivariate Cox regression). The power of this colorectal cancer prognostic model could be amplified by combining Hsp70 levels and inflammatory markers. Patients with high Hsp70, CRP and high baseline WBC or platelet count had 5-times higher risk of death (HR: 5.07 CI: 2.74-9.39, p< 0.0001; and HR: 4.98 CI: 3.08-8.06, p< 0.0001 respectively).
CONCLUSIONS: These results confirm and validate our previous findings that serum Hsp70 is a useful biomarker of colorectal cancer.

Yang H, Hong D, Cho SY, et al.
RhoGAP domain-containing fusions and PPAPDC1A fusions are recurrent and prognostic in diffuse gastric cancer.
Nat Commun. 2018; 9(1):4439 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
We conducted an RNA sequencing study to identify novel gene fusions in 80 discovery dataset tumors collected from young patients with diffuse gastric cancer (DGC). Twenty-five in-frame fusions are associated with DGC, three of which (CLDN18-ARHGAP26, CTNND1-ARHGAP26, and ANXA2-MYO9A) are recurrent in 384 DGCs based on RT-PCR. All three fusions contain a RhoGAP domain in their 3' partner genes. Patients with one of these three fusions have a significantly worse prognosis than those without. Ectopic expression of CLDN18-ARHGAP26 promotes the migration and invasion capacities of DGC cells. Parallel targeted RNA sequencing analysis additionally identifies TACC2-PPAPDC1A as a recurrent and poor prognostic in-frame fusion. Overall, PPAPDC1A fusions and in-frame fusions containing a RhoGAP domain clearly define the aggressive subset (7.5%) of DGCs, and their prognostic impact is greater than, and independent of, chromosomal instability and CDH1 mutations. Our study may provide novel genomic insights guiding future strategies for managing DGCs.

Kehl T, Schneider L, Kattler K, et al.
The role of TCF3 as potential master regulator in blastemal Wilms tumors.
Int J Cancer. 2019; 144(6):1432-1443 [PubMed] Related Publications
Wilms tumors are the most common type of pediatric kidney tumors. While the overall prognosis for patients is favorable, especially tumors that exhibit a blastemal subtype after preoperative chemotherapy have a poor prognosis. For an improved risk assessment and therapy stratification, it is essential to identify the driving factors that are distinctive for this aggressive subtype. In our study, we compared gene expression profiles of 33 tumor biopsies (17 blastemal and 16 other tumors) after neoadjuvant chemotherapy. The analysis of this dataset using the Regulator Gene Association Enrichment algorithm successfully identified several biomarkers and associated molecular mechanisms that distinguish between blastemal and nonblastemal Wilms tumors. Specifically, regulators involved in embryonic development and epigenetic processes like chromatin remodeling and histone modification play an essential role in blastemal tumors. In this context, we especially identified TCF3 as the central regulatory element. Furthermore, the comparison of ChIP-Seq data of Wilms tumor cell cultures from a blastemal mouse xenograft and a stromal tumor provided further evidence that the chromatin states of blastemal cells share characteristics with embryonic stem cells that are not present in the stromal tumor cell line. These stem-cell like characteristics could potentially add to the increased malignancy and chemoresistance of the blastemal subtype. Along with TCF3, we detected several additional biomarkers that are distinctive for blastemal Wilms tumors after neoadjuvant chemotherapy and that may provide leads for new therapeutic regimens.

Wegert J, Vokuhl C, Collord G, et al.
Recurrent intragenic rearrangements of EGFR and BRAF in soft tissue tumors of infants.
Nat Commun. 2018; 9(1):2378 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Soft tissue tumors of infancy encompass an overlapping spectrum of diseases that pose unique diagnostic and clinical challenges. We studied genomes and transcriptomes of cryptogenic congenital mesoblastic nephroma (CMN), and extended our findings to five anatomically or histologically related soft tissue tumors: infantile fibrosarcoma (IFS), nephroblastomatosis, Wilms tumor, malignant rhabdoid tumor, and clear cell sarcoma of the kidney. A key finding is recurrent mutation of EGFR in CMN by internal tandem duplication of the kinase domain, thus delineating CMN from other childhood renal tumors. Furthermore, we identify BRAF intragenic rearrangements in CMN and IFS. Collectively these findings reveal novel diagnostic markers and therapeutic strategies and highlight a prominent role of isolated intragenic rearrangements as drivers of infant tumors.

Whitworth J, Smith PS, Martin JE, et al.
Comprehensive Cancer-Predisposition Gene Testing in an Adult Multiple Primary Tumor Series Shows a Broad Range of Deleterious Variants and Atypical Tumor Phenotypes.
Am J Hum Genet. 2018; 103(1):3-18 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Multiple primary tumors (MPTs) affect a substantial proportion of cancer survivors and can result from various causes, including inherited predisposition. Currently, germline genetic testing of MPT-affected individuals for variants in cancer-predisposition genes (CPGs) is mostly targeted by tumor type. We ascertained pre-assessed MPT individuals (with at least two primary tumors by age 60 years or at least three by 70 years) from genetics centers and performed whole-genome sequencing (WGS) on 460 individuals from 440 families. Despite previous negative genetic assessment and molecular investigations, pathogenic variants in moderate- and high-risk CPGs were detected in 67/440 (15.2%) probands. WGS detected variants that would not be (or were not) detected by targeted resequencing strategies, including low-frequency structural variants (6/440 [1.4%] probands). In most individuals with a germline variant assessed as pathogenic or likely pathogenic (P/LP), at least one of their tumor types was characteristic of variants in the relevant CPG. However, in 29 probands (42.2% of those with a P/LP variant), the tumor phenotype appeared discordant. The frequency of individuals with truncating or splice-site CPG variants and at least one discordant tumor type was significantly higher than in a control population (χ

Belic J, Graf R, Bauernhofer T, et al.
Genomic alterations in plasma DNA from patients with metastasized prostate cancer receiving abiraterone or enzalutamide.
Int J Cancer. 2018; 143(5):1236-1248 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
In patients with metastatic castrate-resistant prostate cancer (mCRPC), circulating tumor DNA (ctDNA) analysis offers novel opportunities for the development of non-invasive biomarkers informative of treatment response with novel agents targeting the androgen-receptor (AR) pathway, such as abiraterone or enzalutamide. However, the relationship between ctDNA abundance, detectable somatic genomic alterations and clinical progression of mCRPC remains unexplored. Our study aimed to investigate changes in plasma DNA during disease progression and their associations with clinical variables in mCRPC patients. We analyzed ctDNA in two cohorts including 94 plasma samples from 25 treatment courses (23 patients) and 334 plasma samples from 125 patients, respectively. We conducted whole-genome sequencing (plasma-Seq) for genome-wide profiling of somatic copy number alterations and targeted sequencing of 31 prostate cancer-associated genes. The combination of plasma-Seq with targeted AR analyses identified prostate cancer-related genomic alterations in 16 of 25 (64%) treatment courses in the first cohort, in which we demonstrated that AR amplification does not always correlate with poor abiraterone and enzalutamide therapy outcome. As we observed a wide variability of ctDNA levels, we evaluated ctDNA levels and their association with clinical parameters and included the second, larger cohort for these analyses. Employing altogether 428 longitudinal plasma samples from 148 patients, we identified the presence of bone metastases, increased lactate dehydrogenase and prostate-specific antigen (PSA) as having the strongest association with high ctDNA levels. In summary, ctDNA alterations are observable in the majority of patients with mCRPC and may eventually be useful to guide clinical decision-making in this setting.

Farmery JHR, Smith ML,
Telomerecat: A ploidy-agnostic method for estimating telomere length from whole genome sequencing data.
Sci Rep. 2018; 8(1):1300 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Telomere length is a risk factor in disease and the dynamics of telomere length are crucial to our understanding of cell replication and vitality. The proliferation of whole genome sequencing represents an unprecedented opportunity to glean new insights into telomere biology on a previously unimaginable scale. To this end, a number of approaches for estimating telomere length from whole-genome sequencing data have been proposed. Here we present Telomerecat, a novel approach to the estimation of telomere length. Previous methods have been dependent on the number of telomeres present in a cell being known, which may be problematic when analysing aneuploid cancer data and non-human samples. Telomerecat is designed to be agnostic to the number of telomeres present, making it suited for the purpose of estimating telomere length in cancer studies. Telomerecat also accounts for interstitial telomeric reads and presents a novel approach to dealing with sequencing errors. We show that Telomerecat performs well at telomere length estimation when compared to leading experimental and computational methods. Furthermore, we show that it detects expected patterns in longitudinal data, repeated measurements, and cross-species comparisons. We also apply the method to a cancer cell data, uncovering an interesting relationship with the underlying telomerase genotype.

Vokuhl C, Nourkami-Tutdibi N, Furtwängler R, et al.
ETV6-NTRK3 in congenital mesoblastic nephroma: A report of the SIOP/GPOH nephroblastoma study.
Pediatr Blood Cancer. 2018; 65(4) [PubMed] Related Publications
BACKGROUND: Congenital mesoblastic nephroma (MN) is a rare pediatric renal tumor representing approximately 5% of all pediatric renal tumors. Three different types of MN are distinguished histologically: classical, cellular, and mixed. A frequent genetic alteration is the translocation t(12;15) resulting in a fusion of the ETV6 gene on 12p13 and the NTRK3 gene on 15p15 that occurs almost exclusively in cellular MN. The aim of this study was to determine translocation status of a large cohort of MN with respect to tumor subtype and outcome.
PROCEDURE: In total, clinical data from 111 patients were available. Sixty-seven tumors were classical MN (51%), 29 cellular MN (31%), and 15 were mixed MN (18%). From these 111 cases, 79 were analyzed by FISH and RT-PCR.
RESULTS: All classical and mixed MN were translocation negative. Seventeen out of 29 (58%) cellular MN harbored the ETV6-NTRK3 translocation. Five-year relapse-free survival (RFS) and overall survival (OS) were 93.2% and 96.8% for the complete cohort. All seven relapses occurred in translocation negative tumors. Five-year RFS was significantly inferior for cellular and mixed MN compared to classic MN (89%, 80%, and 98%), whereas 5-year OS was similar (93%, 96%, and 98%). Within the group of cellular MN, patients having translocation-positive tumors had a significantly superior RFS (5-year RFS: 100% vs. 73%).
CONCLUSION: The majority of cellular MNs harbor the ETV6-NTKR3 gene fusion, whereas all classic- and mixed-type MNs were translocation negative. Within the cellular subgroup, patients having translocation-positive tumors had a significantly superior RFS.

Graf JF, Zavodszky MI
Characterizing the heterogeneity of tumor tissues from spatially resolved molecular measures.
PLoS One. 2017; 12(11):e0188878 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
BACKGROUND: Tumor heterogeneity can manifest itself by sub-populations of cells having distinct phenotypic profiles expressed as diverse molecular, morphological and spatial distributions. This inherent heterogeneity poses challenges in terms of diagnosis, prognosis and efficient treatment. Consequently, tools and techniques are being developed to properly characterize and quantify tumor heterogeneity. Multiplexed immunofluorescence (MxIF) is one such technology that offers molecular insight into both inter-individual and intratumor heterogeneity. It enables the quantification of both the concentration and spatial distribution of 60+ proteins across a tissue section. Upon bioimage processing, protein expression data can be generated for each cell from a tissue field of view.
RESULTS: The Multi-Omics Heterogeneity Analysis (MOHA) tool was developed to compute tissue heterogeneity metrics from MxIF spatially resolved tissue imaging data. This technique computes the molecular state of each cell in a sample based on a pathway or gene set. Spatial states are then computed based on the spatial arrangements of the cells as distinguished by their respective molecular states. MOHA computes tissue heterogeneity metrics from the distributions of these molecular and spatially defined states. A colorectal cancer cohort of approximately 700 subjects with MxIF data is presented to demonstrate the MOHA methodology. Within this dataset, statistically significant correlations were found between the intratumor AKT pathway state diversity and cancer stage and histological tumor grade. Furthermore, intratumor spatial diversity metrics were found to correlate with cancer recurrence.
CONCLUSIONS: MOHA provides a simple and robust approach to characterize molecular and spatial heterogeneity of tissues. Research projects that generate spatially resolved tissue imaging data can take full advantage of this useful technique. The MOHA algorithm is implemented as a freely available R script (see supplementary information).

Solimando AG, Brandl A, Mattenheimer K, et al.
JAM-A as a prognostic factor and new therapeutic target in multiple myeloma.
Leukemia. 2018; 32(3):736-743 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Cell adhesion in the multiple myeloma (MM) microenvironment has been recognized as a major mechanism of MM cell survival and the development of drug resistance. Here we addressed the hypothesis that the protein junctional adhesion molecule-A (JAM-A) may represent a novel target and a clinical biomarker in MM. We evaluated JAM-A expression in MM cell lines and in 147 MM patient bone marrow aspirates and biopsies at different disease stages. Elevated JAM-A levels in patient-derived plasma cells were correlated with poor prognosis. Moreover, circulating soluble JAM-A (sJAM-A) levels were significantly increased in MM patients as compared with controls. Notably, in vitro JAM-A inhibition impaired MM migration, colony formation, chemotaxis, proliferation and viability. In vivo treatment with an anti-JAM-A monoclonal antibody (αJAM-A moAb) impaired tumor progression in a murine xenograft MM model. These results demonstrate that therapeutic targeting of JAM-A has the potential to prevent MM progression, and lead us to propose JAM-A as a biomarker in MM, and sJAM-A as a serum-based marker for clinical stratification.

Graf T
Covering the Stem Cell Explosion at the 2017 ISSCR Conference in Boston.
Stem Cell Reports. 2017; 9(4):1017-1023 [PubMed] Related Publications
The meeting covered a plethora of rapidly evolving approaches and areas, such as organoid cultures modeling tissues and organs; stem cell-specific metabolites revealing new signaling pathways; single-cell technologies discovering new cell types and exploring stem cell niche interactions; novel methods studying stem cells in aging and cancer; lineage-tracing experiments exploring cell plasticity of tissues before and after injury; epigenetic studies illuminating cell reprogramming; new protocols improving cells for regenerative purposes; and several other timely and exciting topics.

Gaksch L, Kashofer K, Heitzer E, et al.
Residual disease detection using targeted parallel sequencing predicts relapse in cytogenetically normal acute myeloid leukemia.
Am J Hematol. 2018; 93(1):23-30 [PubMed] Related Publications
Despite achieving complete remission after intensive therapy, most patients with cytogenetically normal (CN) AML relapse due to the persistence of submicroscopic residual disease. In this pilot study, we hypothesized that detection of leukemia-specific mutations following consolidation treatment using a targeted parallel sequencing approach predicts relapse. We included 34 AML patients of whom diagnostic material and remission bone marrow slides after at least one cycle of consolidation were available. Isolated DNA was screened for mutations in 19 genes using an Ion Torrent sequencing platform. Furthermore, the variant allelic frequency of distinct mutations was validated by digital PCR and sequencing using a barcoding approach. Twenty-seven out of 34 patients could be analyzed for mutation clearance. We identified 68 somatic mutations at diagnosis (median, 3 mutations per patient; range 1-5) and 22 of these were still detected in 16 patients after consolidation therapy with a reliable sensitivity of 0.5% (median, 1 mutation; range 0-3). The most frequent noncleared mutations were found in DNMT3A. However, as persistence of these mutations has recently been shown to be without any impact on relapse risk, we performed survival and relapse risk analysis excluding DNMT3A mutations. Importantly, persistence of non-DNMT3A mutations was associated with a higher risk of AML relapse (7/8 pts versus 6/19 pts; P = .013) and with a shorter relapse-free survival (333 days vs. not reached; log-rank P = .0219). Detection of residual disease by routine targeted parallel sequencing proved feasible and effective as persistence of somatic mutations other than DNMT3A were prognostic for relapse in CN AML.

Malsy M, Graf B, Almstedt K
Interaction between NFATc2 and the transcription factor Sp1 in pancreatic carcinoma cells PaTu 8988t.
BMC Mol Biol. 2017; 18(1):20 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
BACKGROUND: Nuclear factors of activated T-cells (NFATs) have been mainly characterized in the context of immune response regulation because, as transcription factors, they have the ability to induce gene transcription. NFAT proteins are found in several types of tumors, for instance, pancreatic carcinoma. The role of NFATs in carcinogenesis is regulating central genes in cell differentiation and cell growth. NFAT proteins are primarily located in cytoplasm and only transported to the cell nucleus after activation. Here, they interact with other transcription factors cooperating with NFAT proteins, thus influencing the selection and regulation of NFAT-controlled genes. To identify and characterize possible interaction partners of the transcription factor NFATc2 in pancreatic carcinoma cells PaTu 8988t.
METHODS: NFATc2 expression and the mode of action of Ionomycin in the pancreatic tumor cell lines PaTu 8988t were shown with Western blotting and immunofluorescence tests. Potential partner proteins were verified by means of immunoprecipitation and binding partners, their physical interactions with DNA pull-down assays, siRNA technologies, and GST pull-down assays. Functional evidence was complemented by reporter-promoter analyses.
RESULTS: NFATc2 and Sp1 are co-localized in cell nuclei and physically interact at the NFAT target sequence termed NFAT-responsive promotor construct. Sp1 increases the functional activity of its binding partner NFATc2. This interaction is facilitated by Ionomycin in the early stimulation phase (up to 60 min).
CONCLUSIONS: Oncological therapy concepts are becoming more and more specific, aiming at the efficient modulation of specific signal and transcription pathways. The oncogenic transcription partner Sp1 is important for the transcriptional and functional activity of NFATc2 in pancreatic carcinoma. The binding partners interact in cells. Further studies are necessary to identify the underlying mechanisms and establish future therapeutic options for treating this aggressive type of tumor.

Cui JJ, Wang LY, Zhu T, et al.
Gene-gene and gene-environment interactions influence platinum-based chemotherapy response and toxicity in non-small cell lung cancer patients.
Sci Rep. 2017; 7(1):5082 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Platinum-based chemotherapy is a major therapeutic regimen of lung cancer. Various single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) reported were associated with platinum-based chemotherapy response and drug toxicity. However, neither of the studies explored this association from SNP-SNP interaction perspective nor taking into effects of SNP-environment consideration simultaneously. We genotyped 504 polymorphisms and explore the association of gene-gene and gene-environment interactions with platinum-based chemotherapy response and toxicity in 490 NSCLC patients. 16 SNPs were found significantly associated with platinum-based chemotherapy, and they were picked out as study object in the validation cohort. We recruited 788 patients in the validation cohort. We found that HSPD1 rs17730989-SUMF1 rs2633851 interaction was associated with platinum-based chemotherapy-induced hematologic toxicity (adjusted OR = 0.233, P = 0.018). In addition, the combined effect of ABCG2 rs2231142-CES5A rs3859104 was significantly associated with overall toxicity (adjusted OR = 8.044, P = 4.350 × 10

Maurus K, Hufnagel A, Geiger F, et al.
The AP-1 transcription factor FOSL1 causes melanocyte reprogramming and transformation.
Oncogene. 2017; 36(36):5110-5121 [PubMed] Related Publications
The MAPK pathway is activated in the majority of melanomas and is the target of therapeutic approaches. Under normal conditions, it initiates the so-called immediate early response, which encompasses the transient transcription of several genes belonging to the AP-1 transcription factor family. Under pathological conditions, such as continuous MAPK pathway overactivation due to oncogenic alterations occurring in melanoma, these genes are constitutively expressed. The consequences of a permanent expression of these genes are largely unknown. Here, we show that FOSL1 is the main immediate early AP-1 member induced by melanoma oncogenes. We first examined its role in established melanoma cells. We found that FOSL1 is involved in melanoma cell migration as well as cell proliferation and anoikis-independent growth, which is mediated by the gene product of its target gene HMGA1, encoding a multipotent chromatin modifier. As FOSL1 expression is increased in patient melanoma samples compared to nevi, we investigated the effect of enhanced FOSL1 expression on melanocytes. Intriguingly, we found that FOSL1 acts oncogenic and transforms melanocytes, enabling subcutaneous tumor growth in vivo. During the process of transformation, FOSL1 reprogrammed the melanocytes and downregulated MITF in a HMGA1-dependent manner. At the same time, AXL was upregulated, leading to a shift in the MITF/AXL balance. Furthermore, FOSL1 re-enforced pro-tumorigenic transcription factors MYC, E2F3 and AP-1. Together, this led to the enhancement of several growth-promoting processes, such as ribosome biogenesis, cellular detachment and pyrimidine metabolism. Overall, we demonstrate that FOSL1 is a novel reprogramming factor for melanocytes with potent tumor transformation potential.

Murray N, Hanna B, Graf N, et al.
The spectrum of infantile myofibromatosis includes both non-penetrance and adult recurrence.
Eur J Med Genet. 2017; 60(7):353-358 [PubMed] Related Publications
Infantile myofibromatosis is characterized by benign myofibroblastic tumors within skin, muscle, bone or viscera which have a characteristic staining pattern on immunohistochemistry. The condition typically presents in infancy and the tumors often disappear by the third year of life. Mutations in the PDGFRB gene and NOTCH3 genes have been identified in familial forms of the condition. We present two families with molecularly confirmed germline mutations in the PDGFRB gene, one demonstrating a phenotype ranging from complete non-penetrance to neonatal lethality; and the other illustrating adult recurrence of the tumors.

Ripperger T, Bielack SS, Borkhardt A, et al.
Childhood cancer predisposition syndromes-A concise review and recommendations by the Cancer Predisposition Working Group of the Society for Pediatric Oncology and Hematology.
Am J Med Genet A. 2017; 173(4):1017-1037 [PubMed] Related Publications
Heritable predisposition is an important cause of cancer in children and adolescents. Although a large number of cancer predisposition genes and their associated syndromes and malignancies have already been described, it appears likely that there are more pediatric cancer patients in whom heritable cancer predisposition syndromes have yet to be recognized. In a consensus meeting in the beginning of 2016, we convened experts in Human Genetics and Pediatric Hematology/Oncology to review the available data, to categorize the large amount of information, and to develop recommendations regarding when a cancer predisposition syndrome should be suspected in a young oncology patient. This review summarizes the current knowledge of cancer predisposition syndromes in pediatric oncology and provides essential information on clinical situations in which a childhood cancer predisposition syndrome should be suspected.

Eszlinger M, Böhme K, Ullmann M, et al.
Evaluation of a Two-Year Routine Application of Molecular Testing of Thyroid Fine-Needle Aspirations Using a Seven-Gene Panel in a Primary Referral Setting in Germany.
Thyroid. 2017; 27(3):402-411 [PubMed] Related Publications
BACKGROUND: Major differences with respect to the diagnostic performance of a "ruling in" approach in the presurgical diagnosis of indeterminate thyroid fine-needle aspirations (FNAs) have been reported. Therefore, the aim of this prospective multicenter study was to investigate the specific diagnostic impact of mutation testing using a seven-gene panel in a routine primary referral setting analyzing FNAs from endocrinology and nuclear medicine practices in Germany.
METHODS: RNA and DNA was extracted from 564 routine air-dried FNA smears obtained from 64 physicians and cytologically graded by one experienced cytopathologist. PAX8/PPARG and RET/PTC rearrangements were detected by quantitative polymerase chain reaction, while BRAF and RAS mutations were detected by pyrosequencing. Molecular data were compared to histology and follow-up >1 year, which were available for 322/348 patients undergoing surgery and 33/74 patients having follow-up. Histology results were obtained from the local routine pathologists who were blinded to the molecular test results.
RESULTS: BRAF and RET/PTC mutations were associated with carcinoma in 98% and 100% of samples, respectively. RAS and PAX8/PPARG mutations were associated with carcinoma in 31% and 0% of samples, respectively. Thirty-six percent of the carcinomas were identified by molecular testing in the atypia of undetermined significance/follicular lesion of undetermined significance and follicular neoplasm/suspicious for a follicular neoplasm categories, with malignancy rates of 15% and 17%, respectively. Due to a low percentage of RAS mutation-positive carcinomas in combination with a rather high percentage of RAS mutation-positive benign nodules, the positive predictive values of 41% and 36% in the atypia of undetermined significance/follicular lesion of undetermined significance and follicular neoplasm/suspicious for a follicular neoplasm categories offer only limited diagnostic potential.
CONCLUSION: In conclusion, the data suggest that the application of the current seven-gene panel in a routine primary referral setting does not improve the presurgical diagnosis of thyroid FNAs. While the diagnostic relevance of RAS mutations in thyroid tumors needs further investigation, more comprehensive mutation panels with more cancer-specific mutations may improve the presurgical diagnosis of thyroid FNAs.

Greene SB, Dago AE, Leitz LJ, et al.
Chromosomal Instability Estimation Based on Next Generation Sequencing and Single Cell Genome Wide Copy Number Variation Analysis.
PLoS One. 2016; 11(11):e0165089 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Genomic instability is a hallmark of cancer often associated with poor patient outcome and resistance to targeted therapy. Assessment of genomic instability in bulk tumor or biopsy can be complicated due to sample availability, surrounding tissue contamination, or tumor heterogeneity. The Epic Sciences circulating tumor cell (CTC) platform utilizes a non-enrichment based approach for the detection and characterization of rare tumor cells in clinical blood samples. Genomic profiling of individual CTCs could provide a portrait of cancer heterogeneity, identify clonal and sub-clonal drivers, and monitor disease progression. To that end, we developed a single cell Copy Number Variation (CNV) Assay to evaluate genomic instability and CNVs in patient CTCs. For proof of concept, prostate cancer cell lines, LNCaP, PC3 and VCaP, were spiked into healthy donor blood to create mock patient-like samples for downstream single cell genomic analysis. In addition, samples from seven metastatic castration resistant prostate cancer (mCRPC) patients were included to evaluate clinical feasibility. CTCs were enumerated and characterized using the Epic Sciences CTC Platform. Identified single CTCs were recovered, whole genome amplified, and sequenced using an Illumina NextSeq 500. CTCs were then analyzed for genome-wide copy number variations, followed by genomic instability analyses. Large-scale state transitions (LSTs) were measured as surrogates of genomic instability. Genomic instability scores were determined reproducibly for LNCaP, PC3, and VCaP, and were higher than white blood cell (WBC) controls from healthy donors. A wide range of LST scores were observed within and among the seven mCRPC patient samples. On the gene level, loss of the PTEN tumor suppressor was observed in PC3 and 5/7 (71%) patients. Amplification of the androgen receptor (AR) gene was observed in VCaP cells and 5/7 (71%) mCRPC patients. Using an in silico down-sampling approach, we determined that DNA copy number and genomic instability can be detected with as few as 350K sequencing reads. The data shown here demonstrate the feasibility of detecting genomic instabilities at the single cell level using the Epic Sciences CTC Platform. Understanding CTC heterogeneity has great potential for patient stratification prior to treatment with targeted therapies and for monitoring disease evolution during treatment.

Gellert P, Segal CV, Gao Q, et al.
Impact of mutational profiles on response of primary oestrogen receptor-positive breast cancers to oestrogen deprivation.
Nat Commun. 2016; 7:13294 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Pre-surgical studies allow study of the relationship between mutations and response of oestrogen receptor-positive (ER+) breast cancer to aromatase inhibitors (AIs) but have been limited to small biopsies. Here in phase I of this study, we perform exome sequencing on baseline, surgical core-cuts and blood from 60 patients (40 AI treated, 20 controls). In poor responders (based on Ki67 change), we find significantly more somatic mutations than good responders. Subclones exclusive to baseline or surgical cores occur in ∼30% of tumours. In phase II, we combine targeted sequencing on another 28 treated patients with phase I. We find six genes frequently mutated: PIK3CA, TP53, CDH1, MLL3, ABCA13 and FLG with 71% concordance between paired cores. TP53 mutations are associated with poor response. We conclude that multiple biopsies are essential for confident mutational profiling of ER+ breast cancer and TP53 mutations are associated with resistance to oestrogen deprivation therapy.

Hornig E, Heppt MV, Graf SA, et al.
Inhibition of histone deacetylases in melanoma-a perspective from bench to bedside.
Exp Dermatol. 2016; 25(11):831-838 [PubMed] Related Publications
Histone deacetylases (HDACs) are critically involved in epigenetic gene regulation through alterations of the chromatin status of DNA. Aberrant expression, dysregulation of their enzymatic activity or imbalances between HDACs and histone acetyltransferases are likely involved in the development and progression of cancer. Pharmacologic inhibition of HDACs shows potent antitumor activity in a panel of malignancies such as colon or gastric cancer and multiple myeloma. In this review, we summarize the current knowledge of HDACs in melanoma and evaluate the application of HDAC inhibition from an experimental and clinical perspective. The molecular functions of HDACs can be classified into histone and non-histone effects with diverse implications in proliferation, cell cycle progression and apoptosis. HDAC inhibition results in G1 cell cycle arrest, induces apoptosis and increases the immunogenicity of melanoma cells. Some studies proposed that HDAC inhibition may overcome the resistance of melanoma cells to BRAF inhibition. Several inhibitors such as vorinostat, entinostat and valproic acid have recently been tested in phase I and early phase II trials, yet most agents show limited efficacy and tolerability as single agents. The most frequent adverse events of HDAC inhibition comprise haematological toxicity, fatigue, nausea and laboratory abnormalities. Existing evidence supports the hypothesis that HDAC inhibitors (HDACi) may sensitize melanoma cells to immunotherapy and targeted therapy and hence bear therapeutic potential concurrent with immune checkpoint blockade or BRAF and MEK inhibition.

Herold T, Metzeler KH, Vosberg S, et al.
Acute myeloid leukemia with del(9q) is characterized by frequent mutations of NPM1, DNMT3A, WT1 and low expression of TLE4.
Genes Chromosomes Cancer. 2017; 56(1):75-86 [PubMed] Related Publications
Deletions of the long arm of chromosome 9 [del(9q)] are a rare but recurring aberration in acute myeloid leukemia (AML). Del(9q) can be found as the sole abnormality or in combination with other cytogenetic aberrations such as t(8;21) and t(15;17). TLE1 and TLE4 were identified to be critical genes contained in the 9q region. We performed whole exome sequencing of 5 patients with del(9q) as the sole abnormality followed by targeted amplicon sequencing of 137 genes of 26 patients with del(9q) as sole or combined with other aberrations. We detected frequent mutations in NPM1 (10/26; 38%), DNMT3A (8/26; 31%), and WT1 (8/26; 31%) but only few FLT3-ITDs (2/26; 8%). All mutations affecting NPM1 and DNMT3A were exclusively identified in patients with del(9q) as the sole abnormality and were significantly more frequent compared to 111 patients classified as intermediate-II according to the European LeukemiaNet (10/14, 71% vs. 22/111, 20%; P < 0.001, 8/14, 57% vs. 26/111, 23%; P = 0.02). Furthermore, we identified DNMT3B to be rarely but recurrently targeted by truncating mutations in AML. Gene expression analysis of 13 patients with del(9q) and 454 patients with normal karyotype or various cytogenetic aberrations showed significant down regulation of TLE4 in patients with del(9q) (P = 0.02). Interestingly, downregulation of TLE4 was not limited to AML with del(9q), potentially representing a common mechanism in AML pathogenesis. Our comprehensive genetic analysis of the del(9q) subgroup reveals a unique mutational profile with the frequency of DNMT3A mutations in the del(9q) only subset being the highest reported so far in AML, indicating oncogenic cooperativity. © 2016 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

Langiewicz M, Schlegel A, Saponara E, et al.
Hedgehog pathway mediates early acceleration of liver regeneration induced by a novel two-staged hepatectomy in mice.
J Hepatol. 2017; 66(3):560-570 [PubMed] Related Publications
BACKGROUND & AIMS: ALPPS, a novel two-staged approach for the surgical removal of large/multiple liver tumors, combines portal vein ligation (PVL) with parenchymal transection. This causes acceleration of compensatory liver growth, enabling faster and more extensive tumor removal. We sought to identify the plasma factors thought to mediate the regenerative acceleration following ALPPS.
METHODS: We compared a mouse model of ALPPS against PVL and additional control surgeries (n=6 per group). RNA deep sequencing was performed to identify candidate molecules unique to ALPPS liver (n=3 per group). Recombinant protein and a neutralizing antibody combined with appropriate surgeries were used to explore candidate functions in ALPPS (n=6 per group). Indian hedgehog (IHH/Ihh) levels were assessed in human ALPPS patient plasma (n=6).
RESULTS: ALPPS in mouse confirmed significant acceleration of liver regeneration relative to PVL (p<0.001). Ihh mRNA, coding for a secreted ligand inducing hedgehog signaling, was uniquely upregulated in ALPPS liver (p<0.001). Ihh plasma levels rose 4h after surgery (p<0.01), along with hedgehog pathway activation and subsequent cyclin D1 induction in the liver. When combined with PVL, Ihh alone was sufficient to induce ALPPS-like acceleration of liver growth. Conversely, blocking Ihh markedly inhibited the accelerating effects of ALPPS. In the small cohort of ALPPS patients, IHH tended to be elevated early after surgery.
CONCLUSIONS: Ihh and hedgehog pathway activation provide the first mechanistic insight into the acceleration of liver regeneration triggered by ALPPS surgery. The accelerating potency of recombinant Ihh, and its potential effect in human ALPPS may lead to a clinical role for this protein.
LAY SUMMARY: ALPPS, a novel two-staged hepatectomy, accelerates liver regeneration, thereby helping to treat patients with otherwise unresectable liver tumors. The molecular mechanisms behind this accelerated regeneration are unknown. Here, we elucidate that Indian hedgehog, a secreted ligand important for fetal development, is a crucial mediator of the regenerative acceleration triggered by ALPPS surgery.

Regev M, Sabanay H, Kartvelishvily E, et al.
Involvement of Rho GAP GRAF1 in maintenance of epithelial phenotype.
Cell Adh Migr. 2017; 11(4):367-383 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Adhesion of epithelial cell to each other and to extracellular matrix, as well as cell migration ability and cytoskeleton organization undergo significant alterations in the course of neoplastic transformation, but regulatory mechanisms involved in these processes are not fully understood. Here, we studied the role of a Rho GAP protein GRAF1 (GTPase Regulator Associated with Focal adhesion kinase-1) in the regulation of the epithelial phenotype in cells of breast derived, non-malignant, MCF10A cell line. GRAF1 was shown to be localized to cell-cell junctions, and its depletion resulted in accelerated cell migration velocity, elongation of the cells and cell colonies, impaired monolayer integrity and significant disruption of desmosomes with a loss of associated keratin filaments. These processes were accompanied by formation of larger focal adhesions, an increased number of contractile actin stress fibers, reduction in epithelial markers and increase in mesenchymal markers such as epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT)-specific transcription factors Snail-1 and Snail-2, as well as N-cadherin, and vimentin. Moreover, unlike control cells, GRAF1 knocked-down cells demonstrated anchorage-independent growth in soft agar. GRAF1 expression in several highly invasive breast cancer cell lines was low, as compared to the non-malignant MCF10A cells, while overexpressing of GRAF1 in the malignant BT-549 cell line led to a decrease of mesenchymal markers, especially the Snail-1 and 2. Altogether, our analysis suggests that GRAF1 plays a role in the maintenance of normal epithelial phenotype and its depletion leads to an EMT-like process that might be involved in neoplastic transformation.

Ulz P, Thallinger GG, Auer M, et al.
Inferring expressed genes by whole-genome sequencing of plasma DNA.
Nat Genet. 2016; 48(10):1273-8 [PubMed] Related Publications
The analysis of cell-free DNA (cfDNA) in plasma represents a rapidly advancing field in medicine. cfDNA consists predominantly of nucleosome-protected DNA shed into the bloodstream by cells undergoing apoptosis. We performed whole-genome sequencing of plasma DNA and identified two discrete regions at transcription start sites (TSSs) where nucleosome occupancy results in different read depth coverage patterns for expressed and silent genes. By employing machine learning for gene classification, we found that the plasma DNA read depth patterns from healthy donors reflected the expression signature of hematopoietic cells. In patients with cancer having metastatic disease, we were able to classify expressed cancer driver genes in regions with somatic copy number gains with high accuracy. We were able to determine the expressed isoform of genes with several TSSs, as confirmed by RNA-seq analysis of the matching primary tumor. Our analyses provide functional information about cells releasing their DNA into the circulation.

Matheis F, Heppt MV, Graf SA, et al.
A Bifunctional Approach of Immunostimulation and uPAR Inhibition Shows Potent Antitumor Activity in Melanoma.
J Invest Dermatol. 2016; 136(12):2475-2484 [PubMed] Related Publications
Significant advancements of mutation-based targeted therapy and immune checkpoint blockade have been achieved in melanoma. Nevertheless, acquired resistance and nonresponders to therapy require different strategies. An innovative approach is presented here that is based on the combination of innate immune system activation and simultaneous targeting of the oncogene urokinase-type plasminogen activator receptor (uPAR). We generated two triphosphate-conjugated siRNAs targeting uPAR (ppp-uPAR) by in vitro transcription. Specific uPAR knockdown and simultaneous activation of the retinoic acid-inducible gene 1 (RIG-I) was shown in different human melanoma cells, fibroblasts, and melanocytes. The compounds induced massive apoptosis in melanoma cells, whereas fibroblasts and melanocytes were less sensitive. The effects were less pronounced when the IFN receptor was blocked. Treatment with ppp-uPAR led to accumulation of p53 and induction of RIG-I-dependent proapoptotic signaling. The apoptotic effects induced by ppp-uPAR were maintained in melanoma cell lines that had acquired double resistance to B-RAF and MEK/extracellular signal-regulated kinase inhibition. Systemic intraperitoneal application of ppp-uPAR in nude mice significantly reduced growth of human melanoma xenografts and elicited a systemic innate immune response with increased serum cytokine levels. Our data suggest that ppp-uPAR represents a therapeutically attractive compound that may help overcome the strong therapy resistance of melanoma.

Ulz P, Belic J, Graf R, et al.
Whole-genome plasma sequencing reveals focal amplifications as a driving force in metastatic prostate cancer.
Nat Commun. 2016; 7:12008 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Genomic alterations in metastatic prostate cancer remain incompletely characterized. Here we analyse 493 prostate cancer cases from the TCGA database and perform whole-genome plasma sequencing on 95 plasma samples derived from 43 patients with metastatic prostate cancer. From these samples, we identify established driver aberrations in a cancer-related gene in nearly all cases (97.7%), including driver gene fusions (TMPRSS2:ERG), driver focal deletions (PTEN, RYBP and SHQ1) and driver amplifications (AR and MYC). In serial plasma analyses, we observe changes in focal amplifications in 40% of cases. The mean time interval between new amplifications was 26.4 weeks (range: 5-52 weeks), suggesting that they represent rapid adaptations to selection pressure. An increase in neuron-specific enolase is accompanied by clonal pattern changes in the tumour genome, most consistent with subclonal diversification of the tumour. Our findings suggest a high plasticity of prostate cancer genomes with newly occurring focal amplifications as a driving force in progression.

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