Gene Summary

Gene:KITLG; KIT ligand
Aliases: SF, MGF, SCF, SLF, DCUA, FPH2, FPHH, KL-1, Kitl, SHEP7, DFNA69
Summary:This gene encodes the ligand of the tyrosine-kinase receptor encoded by the KIT locus. This ligand is a pleiotropic factor that acts in utero in germ cell and neural cell development, and hematopoiesis, all believed to reflect a role in cell migration. In adults, it functions pleiotropically, while mostly noted for its continued requirement in hematopoiesis. Two transcript variants encoding different isoforms have been found for this gene. [provided by RefSeq, Jul 2008]
Databases:OMIM, HGNC, Ensembl, GeneCard, Gene
Protein:kit ligand
Source:NCBIAccessed: 31 August, 2019

Cancer Overview

Research Indicators

Publications Per Year (1994-2019)
Graph generated 31 August 2019 using data from PubMed using criteria.

Literature Analysis

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

Tag cloud generated 31 August, 2019 using data from PubMed, MeSH and CancerIndex

Latest Publications: KITLG (cancer-related)

Liu J, Song S, Lin S, et al.
Circ-SERPINE2 promotes the development of gastric carcinoma by sponging miR-375 and modulating YWHAZ.
Cell Prolif. 2019; 52(4):e12648 [PubMed] Related Publications
OBJECTIVES: Circular RNAs (circRNAs) exist extensively in the eukaryotic genome. The study aimed to identify the role of hsa_circ_0008365 (Circ-SERPINE2) in gastric carcinoma (GC) cells and its downstream mechanisms.
MATERIALS AND METHODS: Gene Expression Omnibus (GEO) database was applied to screen differentially expressed circRNAs. CircInteractome, TargetScan and miRecords websites were used to predict target relationships. qRT-PCR and RNase R treatment were utilised to detect molecule expression and confirm the existence of circ-SERPINE2. RNA pull-down assay and dual-luciferase reporter assay were performed for interaction between circRNA and miRNA or mRNA. EdU assay, colony formation assay, and flow cytometry for apoptosis and cell cycle detections were utilised to assess cell function. Western blot and immunohistochemistry (IHC) assays were applied for detection of proteins in tissues or cells.
RESULTS: Circ-SERPINE2 and YWHAZ were upregulated, and miR-375 was downregulated in GC tissues and cells. Circ-SERPINE2 and YWHAZ targetedly bound to miR-375. Circ-SERPINE2 promoted cell proliferation and cell cycle progress and inhibited cell apoptosis by sponging miR-375 and regulating YWHAZ expression in vitro. Circ-SERPINE2 repressed solid tumour growth through enhancing miR-375 expression and reducing YWHAZ expression in vivo.
CONCLUSIONS: Circ-SERPINE2 is a novel proliferative promoter through the regulation of miR-375/YWHAZ. Circ-SERPINE2/miR-375/YWHAZ axis might provide a novel therapeutic target of GC.

Liu F, Zou Y, Wang F, et al.
Genet Test Mol Biomarkers. 2019; 23(6):409-417 [PubMed] Related Publications

Xing L, Zhang X, Tong D
Systematic Profile Analysis of Prognostic Alternative Messenger RNA Splicing Signatures and Splicing Factors in Head and Neck Squamous Cell Carcinoma.
DNA Cell Biol. 2019; 38(7):627-638 [PubMed] Related Publications
Head and neck squamous cell carcinoma (HNSC) is a common malignancy with high mortality and poor prognosis. Alternative splicing (AS) is a transcriptional regulation mechanism that generates multiple transcripts from same genes, and aberrant AS signatures of cancers can be predictive for prognosis. We identified the survival-related AS events and splicing factors (SFs) from the RNA sequencing data and the corresponding clinical information of an HNSC cohort downloaded from The Cancer Genome Atlas (TCGA) and SpliceSeq. The independent prognostic predictors were assessed by Cox proportional regression analysis, and the regulatory network of SFs and AS events was analyzed by Spearman's test and constructed. A total of 4626 survival-related AS events in 3280 genes were identified, and most were protective factors. Among the different types of splicing events, exon skip was the most frequent. The prognostic models were constructed for each type of AS, and the area under the curve of the receiver operating characteristic curve of the combined prognostic model was 0.765, indicating good predictive performance. Finally, a correlation network between SF and AS events was constructed. We identified prognostic predictors based on AS events that stratified HNSC patients into the high- and low-risk groups, and revealed splicing networks that provide insights into the underlying mechanisms.

Hou H, Yu X, Cong P, et al.
Six2 promotes non-small cell lung cancer cell stemness via transcriptionally and epigenetically regulating E-cadherin.
Cell Prolif. 2019; 52(4):e12617 [PubMed] Related Publications
OBJECTIVES: The roles and related mechanisms of six2 in regulating non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) cells progression are unclear. This work aimed to explore the roles of six2 in NSCLC cell stemness.
MATERIALS AND METHODS: Kaplan-Meier plotter analysis was used to examine the correlation between six2 expression and the survival of NSCLC patients. Quantitative reverse transcription PCR and Western blot were performed to detect six2 expression in clinical samples. Moreover, transwell migration, tumour spheroid formation and in vivo tumour formation assays were used to examine the effects of six2 on NSCLC cell progression. Additionally, methylation analysis was carried out to measure E-cadherin methylation level in different cells. Finally, cell viability assay was performed to explore the effects of six2 on chemotherapeutic sensitivity of NSCLC cells.
RESULTS: Lung cancer patients with a higher six2 expression level displayed a shorter overall survival. Six2 expression was higher in lung cancer tissues than in normal adjacent tissues. Additionally, six2 knockdown suppressed NSCLC cell stemness. Mechanistically, six2 overexpression inhibited epithelial marker E-cadherin expression via stimulating its promoter methylation. And E-cadherin knockdown rescued six2 knockdown-induced decrease of NSCLC cancer cell stemness. Notably, six2 knockdown enhanced cisplatin sensitivity in parental NSCLC cells and attenuated cisplatin resistance in cisplatin-resistant NSCLC cells.
CONCLUSIONS: Our results suggest that six2 facilitates NSCLC cell stemness and attenuates chemotherapeutic sensitivity via suppressing E-cadherin expression.

Yang Z, Zhang J, Lin X, et al.
Inhibition of neddylation modification by MLN4924 sensitizes hepatocellular carcinoma cells to sorafenib.
Oncol Rep. 2019; 41(6):3257-3269 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Sorafenib remains the standard care for patients with hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) even though it has low antitumor efficacy. Protein neddylation is abnormally activated in many types of human cancer. However, whether dysregulation of neddylation is involved in HCC progression and whether targeting neddylation sensitizes HCC cells to sorafenib need to be ascertained. In the present study, it was demonstrated that high expression of neddylation components, neural precursor cell expressed, developmentally downregulated 8 (NEDD8) and NEDD8‑activating enzyme 1 (NAE1), were associated with poor survival of patients with HCC. Inhibition of neddylation by MLN4924, a small‑molecule inhibitor of NAE1, significantly inhibited HCC growth, reduced clonogenic survival, increased apoptosis, and decreased migration capacity. Sorafenib alone exhibited minimal anticancer efficacy. However, a combination of sorafenib with MLN4924 at a low concentration significantly enhanced the inhibition of cell proliferation and migration as well as the induction of apoptosis induced by sorafenib. In vivo HCC xenograft mouse models also showed that MLN4924 increased the antitumor efficacy of sorafenib. Mechanistically, MLN4924 enhanced the antitumor activity of sorafenib in HCC cells via upregulation of cullin‑RING E3 ubiquitin ligase (CRL)/Skp1‑Cullin1‑F box (SCF) E3 ubiquitin ligase substrates p21, p27, Deptor and IκBɑ. Taken together, these findings suggest that combination therapy of MLN4924 with sorafenib appears to present an additive effect with a maximal in the treatment of HCC.

Yao Y, Wang T, Liu Y, Zhang N
Co-delivery of sorafenib and VEGF-siRNA via pH-sensitive liposomes for the synergistic treatment of hepatocellular carcinoma.
Artif Cells Nanomed Biotechnol. 2019; 47(1):1374-1383 [PubMed] Related Publications
Non-viral nanocarrier affords a platform for drug and siRNA combination, the focus of which is to load drug and siRNA into a single carrier, allowing for co-delivery and a synergistic effect at tumour site. In our previous study, pH-sensitive carboxymethyl chitosan-modified liposomes (CMCS-SiSf-CL) were assembled for sorafenib (Sf) and Cy3-siRNA co-loaded. The present study evaluated in vitro and in vivo co-delivery of the co-loaded liposomes. Further, in vitro inhibiting hepatocellular carcinoma of the pH-sensitive sorafenib (Sf) and VEGF-siRNA co-loaded liposomes was discussed. The experimental results demonstrated co-delivery and penetration into 2-dimensional (2D) cultured HepG2 cells, 3-dimensional (3D) cultured HepG2 tumour spheroids and tumour regions of H22 tumour-bearing mice. Compared with free siRNA and single loaded carrier, co-delivery liposomes exhibited enhanced VEGF downregulating effect, inducing cell early apoptosis. Therefore, the CMCS-SiSf-CL delivery system can lay the foundation for the co-delivery systems development and provide new area for HCC therapy.

Klein S, Mauch C, Wagener-Ryczek S, et al.
Immune-phenotyping of pleomorphic dermal sarcomas suggests this entity as a potential candidate for immunotherapy.
Cancer Immunol Immunother. 2019; 68(6):973-982 [PubMed] Related Publications
BACKGROUND: Pleomorphic dermal sarcomas (PDS) are sarcomas of the skin with local recurrences in up to 28% of cases, and distant metastases in up to 20%. Although recent evidence provides a strong rational to explore immunotherapeutics in solid tumors, nothing is known about the immune environment of PDS.
METHODS: In the current study, a comprehensive immune-phenotyping of 14 PDS using RNA and protein expression analyses, as well as quantitative assessment of immune cells using an image-analysis tool was performed.
RESULTS: Three out of 14 PDS revealed high levels of CD8-positive tumor-infiltrating T-lymphocytes (TILs), also showing elevated levels of immune-related cytokines such as IL1A, IL2, as well as markers that were very recently linked to enhanced response of immunotherapy in malignant melanoma, including CD27, and CD40L. Using a multivariate analysis, we found a number of differentially expressed genes in the CD8-high group including: CD74, LYZ and HLA-B, while the remaining cases revealed enhanced levels of immune-suppressive cytokines including CXCL14. The "CD8-high" PDS showed strong MHC-I expression and revealed infiltration by PD-L1-, PD-1- and LAG-3-expressing immune cells. Tumor-associated macrophages (TAMs) predominantly consisted of CD68 + , CD163 + , and CD204 + M2 macrophages showing an accentuation at the tumor invasion front.
CONCLUSIONS: Together, we provide first explorative evidence about the immune-environment of PDS tumors that may guide future decisions whether individuals presenting with advanced PDS could qualify for immunotherapeutic options.

Denichenko P, Mogilevsky M, Cléry A, et al.
Specific inhibition of splicing factor activity by decoy RNA oligonucleotides.
Nat Commun. 2019; 10(1):1590 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Alternative splicing, a fundamental step in gene expression, is deregulated in many diseases. Splicing factors (SFs), which regulate this process, are up- or down regulated or mutated in several diseases including cancer. To date, there are no inhibitors that directly inhibit the activity of SFs. We designed decoy oligonucleotides, composed of several repeats of a RNA motif, which is recognized by a single SF. Here we show that decoy oligonucleotides targeting splicing factors RBFOX1/2, SRSF1 and PTBP1, can specifically bind to their respective SFs and inhibit their splicing and biological activities both in vitro and in vivo. These decoy oligonucleotides present an approach to specifically downregulate SF activity in conditions where SFs are either up-regulated or hyperactive.

Gerresheim GK, Bathke J, Michel AM, et al.
Cellular Gene Expression during Hepatitis C Virus Replication as Revealed by Ribosome Profiling.
Int J Mol Sci. 2019; 20(6) [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
BACKGROUND: Hepatitis C virus (HCV) infects human liver hepatocytes, often leading to liver cirrhosis and hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). It is believed that chronic infection alters host gene expression and favors HCC development. In particular, HCV replication in Endoplasmic Reticulum (ER) derived membranes induces chronic ER stress. How HCV replication affects host mRNA translation and transcription at a genome wide level is not yet known.
METHODS: We used Riboseq (Ribosome Profiling) to analyze transcriptome and translatome changes in the Huh-7.5 hepatocarcinoma cell line replicating HCV for 6 days.
RESULTS: Established viral replication does not cause global changes in host gene expression-only around 30 genes are significantly differentially expressed. Upregulated genes are related to ER stress and HCV replication, and several regulated genes are known to be involved in HCC development. Some mRNAs (
CONCLUSION: After establishing HCV replication, the lack of global changes in cellular gene expression indicates an adaptation to chronic infection, while the downregulation of mitochondrial respiratory chain genes indicates how a virus may further contribute to cancer cell-like metabolic reprogramming ("Warburg effect") even in the hepatocellular carcinoma cells used here.

Xu W, Qian J, Zeng F, et al.
Protein kinase Ds promote tumor angiogenesis through mast cell recruitment and expression of angiogenic factors in prostate cancer microenvironment.
J Exp Clin Cancer Res. 2019; 38(1):114 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
BACKGROUND: Mast cells are being increasingly recognized as critical components in the tumor microenvironment. Protein Kinase D (PKD) is essential for the progression of prostate cancer, but its role in prostate cancer microenvironment remains poorly understood.
METHODS: The expression of PKD, mast cells and microvessel density were examined by IHC. The clinical significance was determined by statistical analyses. The biological function of PKD and the underlying mechanisms were investigated using in vitro and in vivo models.
RESULTS: PKD2/3 contributed to MCs recruitment and tumor angiogenesis in the prostate cancer microenvironment. Clinical data showed that increased activation of PKD at Ser744/748 in prostate cancer was correlated with mast cell infiltration and microvascular density. PKD2/3 silencing of prostate cancer cells markedly decreased MCs migration and tube formation of HUVEC cells. Moreover, PKD2/3 depletion not only reduced SCF, CCL5 and CCL11 expression in prostate cancer cells but also inhibited angiogenic factors in MCs. Conversely, exogenous SCF, CCL5 and CCL11 reversed the effect on MCs migration inhibited by PKD2/3 silencing. Mechanistically, PKD2/3 interacted with Erk1/2 and activated Erk1/2 or NF-κB signaling pathway, leading to AP-1 or NF-κB binding to the promoter of scf, ccl5 and ccl11. Finally, PKD-specific inhibitor significantly reduced tumor volume and tumor growth in mice bearing RM-1 prostate cancer cells, which was attributed to attenuation of mast cell recruitment and tumor angiogenesis.
CONCLUSIONS: These results demonstrate a novel PKDs function that contributes to tumor angiogenesis and progression through mast cells recruitment in prostate cancer microenvironment.

Rauth M, Freund P, Orlova A, et al.
Cell Metabolism Control Through O-GlcNAcylation of STAT5: A Full or Empty Fuel Tank Makes a Big Difference for Cancer Cell Growth and Survival.
Int J Mol Sci. 2019; 20(5) [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
O-GlcNAcylation is a post-translational modification that influences tyrosine phosphorylation in healthy and malignant cells. O-GlcNAc is a product of the hexosamine biosynthetic pathway, a side pathway of glucose metabolism. It is essential for cell survival and proper gene regulation, mirroring the metabolic status of a cell. STAT3 and STAT5 proteins are essential transcription factors that can act in a mutational context-dependent manner as oncogenes or tumor suppressors. They regulate gene expression for vital processes such as cell differentiation, survival, or growth, and are also critically involved in metabolic control. The role of STAT3/5 proteins in metabolic processes is partly independent of their transcriptional regulatory role, but is still poorly understood. Interestingly, STAT3 and STAT5 are modified by O-GlcNAc in response to the metabolic status of the cell. Here, we discuss and summarize evidence of O-GlcNAcylation-regulating STAT function, focusing in particular on hyperactive STAT5A transplant studies in the hematopoietic system. We emphasize that a single O-GlcNAc modification is essential to promote development of neoplastic cell growth through enhancing STAT5A tyrosine phosphorylation. Inhibition of O-GlcNAcylation of STAT5A on threonine 92 lowers tyrosine phosphorylation of oncogenic STAT5A and ablates malignant transformation. We conclude on strategies for new therapeutic options to block O-GlcNAcylation in combination with tyrosine kinase inhibitors to target neoplastic cancer cell growth and survival.

Meinsohn MC, Smith OE, Bertolin K, Murphy BD
The Orphan Nuclear Receptors Steroidogenic Factor-1 and Liver Receptor Homolog-1: Structure, Regulation, and Essential Roles in Mammalian Reproduction.
Physiol Rev. 2019; 99(2):1249-1279 [PubMed] Related Publications
Nuclear receptors are intracellular proteins that act as transcription factors. Proteins with classic nuclear receptor domain structure lacking identified signaling ligands are designated orphan nuclear receptors. Two of these, steroidogenic factor-1 (NR5A1, also known as SF-1) and liver receptor homolog-1 (NR5A2, also known as LRH-1), bind to the same DNA sequences, with different and nonoverlapping effects on targets. Endogenous regulation of both is achieved predominantly by cofactor interactions. SF-1 is expressed primarily in steroidogenic tissues, LRH-1 in tissues of endodermal origin and the gonads. Both receptors modulate cholesterol homeostasis, steroidogenesis, tissue-specific cell proliferation, and stem cell pluripotency. LRH-1 is essential for development beyond gastrulation and SF-1 for genesis of the adrenal, sexual differentiation, and Leydig cell function. Ovary-specific depletion of SF-1 disrupts follicle development, while LRH-1 depletion prevents ovulation, cumulus expansion, and luteinization. Uterine depletion of LRH-1 compromises decidualization and pregnancy. In humans, SF-1 is present in endometriotic tissue, where it regulates estrogen synthesis. SF-1 is underexpressed in ovarian cancer cells and overexpressed in Leydig cell tumors. In breast cancer cells, proliferation, migration and invasion, and chemotherapy resistance are regulated by LRH-1. In conclusion, the NR5A orphan nuclear receptors are nonredundant factors that are crucial regulators of a panoply of biological processes, across multiple reproductive tissues.

Zhang J, Yang S, Xu B, et al.
p62 functions as an oncogene in colorectal cancer through inhibiting apoptosis and promoting cell proliferation by interacting with the vitamin D receptor.
Cell Prolif. 2019; 52(3):e12585 [PubMed] Related Publications
OBJECTIVES: The role of p62 in cancer is controversial. Evidence has shown that p62 is upregulated in different cancers and promotes tumour growth, such as in liver cancer and lung cancer. However, a recent study showed that the downregulation of p62 in hepatic stellate cells (HSCs) promotes hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) development. How p62 is regulated in colorectal cancer (CRC) remains largely unknown. In this study, we aimed to investigate the roles and molecular mechanisms of p62 in CRC.
MATERIALS AND METHODS: The expression levels of p62 in CRC tissues and adjacent non-tumour tissues were determined by immunohistochemistry (IHC). Stable p62-overexpression HCT116 cells and p62-knockdown SW480 cells were established with lentiviral vectors. The role of p62 in CRC was investigated in in vitro and in vivo functional studies. The relationship between p62 and the vitamin D receptor (VDR) was investigated by coimmunoprecipitation (Co-IP) assays.
RESULTS: p62 was significantly upregulated in CRC, and a high p62 level was an independent risk factor for a poor prognosis in CRC patients. p62 promoted CRC migration and invasion by inhibiting apoptosis and promoting cell proliferation in vitro, and p62 aggravated tumour growth and metastasis in vivo. Co-IP assays indicated that p62 interacts with the VDR and may target the NRF2-NQO1 axis.
CONCLUSIONS: Our study suggested that p62 functions as an oncogene in CRC through inhibiting apoptosis and promoting cell proliferation by interacting with the VDR.

Xiong Y, Liu L, Xia Y, et al.
Tumor infiltrating mast cells determine oncogenic HIF-2α-conferred immune evasion in clear cell renal cell carcinoma.
Cancer Immunol Immunother. 2019; 68(5):731-741 [PubMed] Related Publications
PURPOSE: Hypoxia-inducible factor 2α (HIF-2α) overexpression leads to activation of angiogenic pathways. However, little is known about the association between HIF-2α expression and anti-tumor immunity in clear cell renal cell carcinoma (ccRCC). We aimed to explore how HIF-2α influenced the microenvironment and the underlying mechanisms.
EXPERIMENTAL DESIGN: We immunohistochemically evaluated immune cells infiltrations and prognostic value of HIF-2α expression in a retrospective Zhongshan Hospital cohort of 280 ccRCC patients. Fresh tumor samples, non-tumor tissues and autologous peripheral blood for RT-PCR, ELISA and flow cytometry analyses were collected from patients who underwent nephrectomy in Zhongshan Hospital from September 2017 to April 2018. The TCGA KIRC cohort and SATO cohort were assessed to support our findings.
RESULTS: We demonstrated that ccRCC patients with HIF-2α
CONCLUSIONS: HIF-2α contributed to evasion of anti-tumor immunity via SCF secretion and subsequent recruitment of mast cells in ccRCC patients.

Bertolini I, Terrasi A, Martelli C, et al.
A GBM-like V-ATPase signature directs cell-cell tumor signaling and reprogramming via large oncosomes.
EBioMedicine. 2019; 41:225-235 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
BACKGROUND: The V-ATPase proton pump controls acidification of intra and extra-cellular milieu in both physiological and pathological conditions. We previously showed that some V-ATPase subunits are enriched in glioma stem cells and in patients with poor survival. In this study, we investigated how expression of a GBM-like V-ATPase pump influences the non-neoplastic brain microenvironment.
METHODS: Large oncosome (LO) vesicles were isolated from primary glioblastoma (GBM) neurospheres, or from patient sera, and co-cultured with primary neoplastic or non-neoplastic brain cells. LO transcript and protein contents were analyzed by qPCR, immunoblotting and immunogold staining. Activation of pathways in recipient cells was determined at gene and protein expression levels. V-ATPase activity was impaired by Bafilomycin A1 or gene silencing.
FINDINGS: GBM neurospheres influence their non-neoplastic microenvironment by delivering the V-ATPase subunit V1G1 and the homeobox genes HOXA7, HOXA10, and POU3F2 to recipient cells via LO. LOs reprogram recipient cells to proliferate, grow as spheres and to migrate. Moreover, LOs are particularly abundant in the circulation of GBM patients with short survival time. Finally, impairment of V-ATPase reduces LOs activity.
INTERPRETATION: We identified a novel mechanism adopted by glioma stem cells to promote disease progression via LO-mediated reprogramming of their microenvironment. Our data provide preliminary evidence for future development of LO-based liquid biopsies and suggest a novel potential strategy to contrast glioma progression. FUND: This work was supported by Fondazione Cariplo (2014-1148 to VV) and by the Italian Minister of Health-Ricerca Corrente program 2017 (to SF).

Niland S, Eble JA
Neuropilins in the Context of Tumor Vasculature.
Int J Mol Sci. 2019; 20(3) [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Neuropilin-1 and Neuropilin-2 form a small family of plasma membrane spanning receptors originally identified by the binding of semaphorin and vascular endothelial growth factor. Having no cytosolic protein kinase domain, they function predominantly as co-receptors of other receptors for various ligands. As such, they critically modulate the signaling of various receptor tyrosine kinases, integrins, and other molecules involved in the regulation of physiological and pathological angiogenic processes. This review highlights the diverse neuropilin ligands and interacting partners on endothelial cells, which are relevant in the context of the tumor vasculature and the tumor microenvironment. In addition to tumor cells, the latter contains cancer-associated fibroblasts, immune cells, and endothelial cells. Based on the prevalent neuropilin-mediated interactions, the suitability of various neuropilin-targeted substances for influencing tumor angiogenesis as a possible building block of a tumor therapy is discussed.

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

Monteiro-Reis S, Lobo J, Henrique R, Jerónimo C
Epigenetic Mechanisms Influencing Epithelial to Mesenchymal Transition in Bladder Cancer.
Int J Mol Sci. 2019; 20(2) [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Bladder cancer is one of the most incident neoplasms worldwide, and its treatment remains a significant challenge, since the mechanisms underlying disease progression are still poorly understood. The epithelial to mesenchymal transition (EMT) has been proven to play an important role in the tumorigenic process, particularly in cancer cell invasiveness and metastatic potential. Several studies have reported the importance of epigenetic mechanisms and enzymes, which orchestrate them in several features of cancer cells and, specifically, in EMT. In this paper, we discuss the epigenetic enzymes, protein-coding and non-coding genes, and mechanisms altered in the EMT process occurring in bladder cancer cells, as well as its implications, which allows for improved understanding of bladder cancer biology and for the development of novel targeted therapies.

Jung M, Mertens C, Tomat E, Brüne B
Iron as a Central Player and Promising Target in Cancer Progression.
Int J Mol Sci. 2019; 20(2) [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Iron is an essential element for virtually all organisms. On the one hand, it facilitates cell proliferation and growth. On the other hand, iron may be detrimental due to its redox abilities, thereby contributing to free radical formation, which in turn may provoke oxidative stress and DNA damage. Iron also plays a crucial role in tumor progression and metastasis due to its major function in tumor cell survival and reprogramming of the tumor microenvironment. Therefore, pathways of iron acquisition, export, and storage are often perturbed in cancers, suggesting that targeting iron metabolic pathways might represent opportunities towards innovative approaches in cancer treatment. Recent evidence points to a crucial role of tumor-associated macrophages (TAMs) as a source of iron within the tumor microenvironment, implying that specifically targeting the TAM iron pool might add to the efficacy of tumor therapy. Here, we provide a brief summary of tumor cell iron metabolism and updated molecular mechanisms that regulate cellular and systemic iron homeostasis with regard to the development of cancer. Since iron adds to shaping major hallmarks of cancer, we emphasize innovative therapeutic strategies to address the iron pool of tumor cells or cells of the tumor microenvironment for the treatment of cancer.

Lobo J, Gillis AJM, Jerónimo C, et al.
Human Germ Cell Tumors are Developmental Cancers: Impact of Epigenetics on Pathobiology and Clinic.
Int J Mol Sci. 2019; 20(2) [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Current (high throughput omics-based) data support the model that human (malignant) germ cell tumors are not initiated by somatic mutations, but, instead through a defined locked epigenetic status, representative of their cell of origin. This elegantly explains the role of both genetic susceptibility as well as environmental factors in the pathogenesis, referred to as 'genvironment'. Moreover, it could also explain various epidemiological findings, including the rising incidence of this type of cancer in Western societies. In addition, it allows for identification of clinically relevant and informative biomarkers both for diagnosis and follow-up of individual patients. The current status of these findings will be discussed, including the use of high throughput DNA methylation profiling for determination of differentially methylated regions (DMRs) as well as chromosomal copy number variation (CNV). Finally, the potential value of methylation-specific tumor DNA fragments (i.e.,

Kim J, Luo W, Wang M, et al.
Prevalence of pathogenic/likely pathogenic variants in the 24 cancer genes of the ACMG Secondary Findings v2.0 list in a large cancer cohort and ethnicity-matched controls.
Genome Med. 2018; 10(1):99 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
BACKGROUND: Prior research has established that the prevalence of pathogenic/likely pathogenic (P/LP) variants across all of the American College of Medical Genetics (ACMG) Secondary Findings (SF) genes is approximately 0.8-5%. We investigated the prevalence of P/LP variants in the 24 ACMG SF v2.0 cancer genes in a family-based cancer research cohort (n = 1173) and in cancer-free ethnicity-matched controls (n = 982).
METHODS: We used InterVar to classify variants and subsequently conducted a manual review to further examine variants of unknown significance (VUS).
RESULTS: In the 24 genes on the ACMG SF v2.0 list associated with a cancer phenotype, we observed 8 P/LP unique variants (8 individuals; 0.8%) in controls and 11 P/LP unique variants (14 individuals; 1.2%) in cases, a non-significant difference. We reviewed 115 VUS. The median estimated per-variant review time required was 30 min; the first variant within a gene took significantly (p = 0.0009) longer to review (median = 60 min) compared with subsequent variants (median = 30 min). The concordance rate was 83.3% for the variants examined by two reviewers.
CONCLUSION: The 115 VUS required database and literature review, a time- and labor-intensive process hampered by the difficulty in interpreting conflicting P/LP determinations. By rigorously investigating the 24 ACMG SF v2.0 cancer genes, our work establishes a benchmark P/LP variant prevalence rate in a familial cancer cohort and controls.

Marzio A, Puccini J, Kwon Y, et al.
The F-Box Domain-Dependent Activity of EMI1 Regulates PARPi Sensitivity in Triple-Negative Breast Cancers.
Mol Cell. 2019; 73(2):224-237.e6 [PubMed] Related Publications
The BRCA1-BRCA2-RAD51 axis is essential for homologous recombination repair (HRR) and is frequently disrupted in breast cancers. PARP inhibitors (PARPis) are used clinically to treat BRCA-mutated breast tumors. Using a genetic screen, we identified EMI1 as a modulator of PARPi sensitivity in triple-negative breast cancer (TNBC) cells. This function requires the F-box domain of EMI1, through which EMI1 assembles a canonical SCF ubiquitin ligase complex that constitutively targets RAD51 for degradation. In response to genotoxic stress, CHK1-mediated phosphorylation of RAD51 counteracts EMI1-dependent degradation by enhancing RAD51's affinity for BRCA2, leading to RAD51 accumulation. Inhibition of RAD51 degradation restores HRR in BRCA1-depleted cells. Human breast cancer samples display an inverse correlation between EMI1 and RAD51 protein levels. A subset of BRCA1-deficient TNBC cells develop resistance to PARPi by downregulating EMI1 and restoring RAD51-dependent HRR. Notably, reconstitution of EMI1 expression reestablishes PARPi sensitivity both in cellular systems and in an orthotopic mouse model.

Khan M, Muzumdar D, Shiras A
Attenuation of Tumor Suppressive Function of FBXO16 Ubiquitin Ligase Activates Wnt Signaling In Glioblastoma.
Neoplasia. 2019; 21(1):106-116 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Glioblastoma (GBM) is one of the most aggressive and lethal types of brain tumor. Despite the advancements in conventional or targeted therapies, median survival of GBM patients is less than 12 months. Amongst various signaling pathways aberrantly activated in glioma, active Wnt/β-catenin signaling pathway is one of the crucial oncogenic players. β-catenin, an important mediator of Wnt signaling pathway, gets phosphorylated by GSK3β complex. Phosphorylated β-catenin is specifically recognized by β-Trcp1, a F-box/WD40-repeat protein and with the help of Skp1 it plays a central role in recruiting phosphorylated β-catenin for degradation. In GBM, expression of β-TrCP1 and its affinity for β catenin is reported to be very low. Hence, we investigated whether any other members of the E3 ubiquitin ligase family could be involved in degradation of nuclear β-catenin. We here report that FBXO16, a component of SCF E3 ubiquitin ligase complex, is an interacting protein partner for β-catenin and mediates its degradation. Next, we show that FBXO16 functions as a tumor suppressor in GBM. Under normal growth conditions, FBXO16 proteasomally degrades β-catenin in a GSK-3β independent manner. Specifically, the C-terminal region of FBXO16 targets the nuclear β-catenin for degradation and inhibits TCF4/LEF1 dependent Wnt signaling pathway. The nuclear fraction of β-catenin undergoes K-48 linked poly-ubiquitination in presence of FBXO16. In summary, we show that due to low expression of FBXO16, the β-catenin is not targeted in glioma cells leading to its nuclear accumulation resulting in active Wnt signaling. Activated Wnt signaling potentiates the glioma cells toward a highly proliferative and malignant state.

Fanning SW, Jeselsohn R, Dharmarajan V, et al.
The SERM/SERD bazedoxifene disrupts ESR1 helix 12 to overcome acquired hormone resistance in breast cancer cells.
Elife. 2018; 7 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Acquired resistance to endocrine therapy remains a significant clinical burden for breast cancer patients. Somatic mutations in the

Brien GL, Remillard D, Shi J, et al.
Targeted degradation of BRD9 reverses oncogenic gene expression in synovial sarcoma.
Elife. 2018; 7 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Synovial sarcoma tumours contain a characteristic fusion protein, SS18-SSX, which drives disease development. Targeting oncogenic fusion proteins presents an attractive therapeutic opportunity. However, SS18-SSX has proven intractable for therapeutic intervention. Using a domain-focused CRISPR screen we identified the bromodomain of BRD9 as a critical functional dependency in synovial sarcoma. BRD9 is a component of SS18-SSX containing BAF complexes in synovial sarcoma cells; and integration of BRD9 into these complexes is critical for cell growth. Moreover BRD9 and SS18-SSX co-localize extensively on the synovial sarcoma genome. Remarkably, synovial sarcoma cells are highly sensitive to a novel small molecule degrader of BRD9, while other sarcoma subtypes are unaffected. Degradation of BRD9 induces downregulation of oncogenic transcriptional programs and inhibits tumour progression in vivo. We demonstrate that BRD9 supports oncogenic mechanisms underlying the SS18-SSX fusion in synovial sarcoma and highlight targeted degradation of BRD9 as a potential therapeutic opportunity in this disease.

Duffy DL, Zhu G, Li X, et al.
Novel pleiotropic risk loci for melanoma and nevus density implicate multiple biological pathways.
Nat Commun. 2018; 9(1):4774 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
The total number of acquired melanocytic nevi on the skin is strongly correlated with melanoma risk. Here we report a meta-analysis of 11 nevus GWAS from Australia, Netherlands, UK, and USA comprising 52,506 individuals. We confirm known loci including MTAP, PLA2G6, and IRF4, and detect novel SNPs in KITLG and a region of 9q32. In a bivariate analysis combining the nevus results with a recent melanoma GWAS meta-analysis (12,874 cases, 23,203 controls), SNPs near GPRC5A, CYP1B1, PPARGC1B, HDAC4, FAM208B, DOCK8, and SYNE2 reached global significance, and other loci, including MIR146A and OBFC1, reached a suggestive level. Overall, we conclude that most nevus genes affect melanoma risk (KITLG an exception), while many melanoma risk loci do not alter nevus count. For example, variants in TERC and OBFC1 affect both traits, but other telomere length maintenance genes seem to affect melanoma risk only. Our findings implicate multiple pathways in nevogenesis.

Phelan JJ, MacCarthy F, O'Toole D, et al.
The Mitochondrial Genes
Int J Mol Sci. 2018; 19(11) [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Barrett's esophagus and esophageal cancer lack prognostic markers that allow the tailoring of personalized medicine and biomarkers with potential to provide insight into treatment response. This study aims to characterize mitochondrial function across the metaplasia-dysplasia-adenocarcinoma disease sequence in Barrett's esophagus and examines the functional effect of manipulating mitochondrial genes. Mitochondrial genes of interest were validated in in vitro cell lines across the metaplasia (QH), dysplasia (GO) and adenocarcinoma (OE33) sequence and in in vivo patient tissue samples. These genes were subsequently knocked down in QH and OE33 cells and the functional effect of siRNA-induced knockdown on reactive oxygen species production, mitochondrial mass, mitochondrial membrane potential and cellular metabolism was investigated. Three global mitochondrial genes (

Wen Y, Zhou X, Lu M, et al.
Bclaf1 promotes angiogenesis by regulating HIF-1α transcription in hepatocellular carcinoma.
Oncogene. 2019; 38(11):1845-1859 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
The development of hepatocellular carcinomas (HCC) depends on their local microenvironment and the induction of neovascularization is a decisive step in tumor progression, since the growth of solid tumors is limited by nutrient and oxygen supply. Hypoxia is the critical factor that induces transcription of the hypoxia inducible factor-1α (HIF-1α) encoding gene HIF1A and HIF-1α protein accumulation to promote angiogenesis. However, the basis for the transcriptional regulation of HIF1A expression in HCC is still unclear. Here, we show that Bclaf1 levels are highly correlated with HIF-1α levels in HCC tissues, and that knockdown of Bclaf1 in HCC cell lines significantly reduces hypoxia-induced HIF1A expression. Furthermore, we found that Bclaf1 promotes HIF1A transcription via its bZIP domain, leading subsequently to increased transcription of the HIF-1α downstream targets VEGFA, TGFB, and EPO that in turn promote HCC-associated angiogenesis and thus survival and thriving of HCC cells. Moreover, we demonstrate that HIF-1α levels and microvessel density decrease after the shRNA-mediated Bclaf1 knockdown in xenograft tumors. Finally, we found that Bclaf1 levels increase in hypoxia in a HIF-1α dependent manner. Therefore, our study identifies Bclaf1 as a novel positive regulator of HIF-1α in the hypoxic microenvironment, providing new incentives for promoting Bcalf1 as a potential therapeutic target for an anti-HCC strategy.

Lord RM, Zegke M, Henderson IR, et al.
β-Ketoiminato Iridium(III) Organometallic Complexes: Selective Cytotoxicity towards Colorectal Cancer Cells HCT116 p53-/.
Chemistry. 2019; 25(2):495-500 [PubMed] Related Publications
This report presents a new library of organometallic iridium(III) compounds of the type [Cp*IrCl(L)] (Cp*=pentamethylcyclopentadienyl and L=a functionalized β-ketoiminato ligand) showing moderate to high cytotoxicity against a range of cancer cell lines. All compounds show increased activity towards colorectal cancer, with preferential activity observed against the immortalized p53-null colorectal cell line, HCT116 p53-/-, with sensitivity factors (SF) up to 26.7. Additionally, the compounds have excellent selectivity for cancerous cells when tested against normal cell types, with selectivity ratios (SR) up to 35.6, contrary to that of cisplatin, which is neither selective nor specific for cancerous cells (SF=0.43 and SR=0.7-2.3). This work provides a preliminary understanding of the cytotoxicity of iridium compounds in the absence of p53 and has potential applications in treatment of cancers for which the p53 gene is absent or mutant.

Black KL, Naqvi AS, Asnani M, et al.
Aberrant splicing in B-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia.
Nucleic Acids Res. 2018; 46(21):11357-11369 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Aberrant splicing is a hallmark of leukemias with mutations in splicing factor (SF)-encoding genes. Here we investigated its prevalence in pediatric B-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemias (B-ALL), where SFs are not mutated. By comparing these samples to normal pro-B cells, we found thousands of aberrant local splice variations (LSVs) per sample, with 279 LSVs in 241 genes present in every comparison. These genes were enriched in RNA processing pathways and encoded ∼100 SFs, e.g. hnRNPA1. HNRNPA1 3'UTR was most pervasively mis-spliced, yielding the transcript subject to nonsense-mediated decay. To mimic this event, we knocked it down in B-lymphoblastoid cells and identified 213 hnRNPA1-regulated exon usage events comprising the hnRNPA1 splicing signature in pediatric leukemia. Some of its elements were LSVs in DICER1 and NT5C2, known cancer drivers. We searched for LSVs in other leukemia and lymphoma drivers and discovered 81 LSVs in 41 additional genes. Seventy-seven LSVs out of 81 were confirmed using two large independent B-ALL RNA-seq datasets, and the twenty most common B-ALL drivers, including NT5C2, showed higher prevalence of aberrant splicing than of somatic mutations. Thus, post-transcriptional deregulation of SF can drive widespread changes in B-ALL splicing and likely contributes to disease pathogenesis.

Disclaimer: This site is for educational purposes only; it can not be used in diagnosis or treatment.

Cite this page: Cotterill SJ. MGF, Cancer Genetics Web: Accessed:

Creative Commons License
This page in Cancer Genetics Web by Simon Cotterill is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.
Note: content of abstracts copyright of respective publishers - seek permission where appropriate.

 [Home]    Page last revised: 31 August, 2019     Cancer Genetics Web, Established 1999