Gene Summary

Gene:NEURL1; neuralized E3 ubiquitin protein ligase 1
Aliases: neu, NEUR1, NEURL, RNF67, neu-1, bA416N2.1
Databases:OMIM, VEGA, HGNC, Ensembl, GeneCard, Gene
Protein:E3 ubiquitin-protein ligase NEURL1
Source:NCBIAccessed: 06 August, 2015


What does this gene/protein do?
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Cancer Overview

Research Indicators

Publications Per Year (1990-2015)
Graph generated 06 August 2015 using data from PubMed using criteria.

Literature Analysis

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

Tag cloud generated 06 August, 2015 using data from PubMed, MeSH and CancerIndex

Specific Cancers (4)

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

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

Latest Publications: NEURL1 (cancer-related)

Lien JC, Hung CM, Lin YJ, et al.
Pculin02H, a curcumin derivative, inhibits proliferation and clinical drug resistance of HER2-overexpressing cancer cells.
Chem Biol Interact. 2015; 235:17-26 [PubMed] Related Publications
Amplification of the HER2 gene (also known as neu or ErbB2) or overexpression of HER2 protein has become a solicitous therapeutic target in metastatic and clinical drug-resistance cancer. In our present work, a new series of curcumin derivatives were designed and synthesized using curcumin as model. Here, we evaluated whether curcumin derivatives have better efficiency to degrade HER2 than curcumin. Among these test compounds, pculin02H had better efficiency to inhibit the expression of HER2 than curcumin. Moreover, pculin02H preferentially suppressed the growth of HER2-overexpressing cancer cell lines. Pculin02H induced G2/M cell cycle arrest followed by apoptosis. Interestingly, our results suggested that a posttranslational mechanism contributed to pculin02H-induced HER2 depletion in HER2-overexpressing cancer cells. We found that pculin02H significantly enhanced the antitumor efficacy of clinical drugs on HER2-overexpressing cancer cells as well as efficiently reduced HER2-induced drug resistance. These findings may provide an alternative preventive or therapeutic strategy against HER2-overexpressing cancer cells.

Ge X, Wang H, Zeng H, et al.
Clinical significance of assessing Her2/neu expression in gastric cancer with dual tumor tissue paraffin blocks.
Hum Pathol. 2015; 46(6):850-7 [PubMed] Related Publications
One paraffin block is routinely used for human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 (Her2/neu) immunohistochemistry (IHC) assessment. Here, we investigated if picking 2 paraffin blocks for Her2/neu evaluation on 1 slide is an economical, efficient, and practical method, which may reduce false negativity of Her2/neu IHC assessment due to intratumoral heterogeneity. A total of 251 gastric cancer (GC) patients were divided into a cohort using 1 tumor tissue paraffin block (single-block group, n = 132) and a cohort using dual tumor tissue paraffin blocks (dual-block group, n = 119) when evaluating Her2/neu expression status by IHC. In dual-block group, we combined the results from 2 different paraffin blocks and used the higher one as the final score. The number of IHC 1+, 2+, and 3+ specimens in the single-block group was 31 (23.5%), 40 (30.3%), and 19 (14.4%), respectively. The combined final IHC score in the dual-block group of 1+, 2+, and 3+ was 26 (21.8%), 34 (28.6%), and 23 (19.3%), respectively. Inconsistent Her2/neu expression between blocks was found in 36 (30.3%) cases in the dual-block group. The pooled data in the single-block group and the dual-block group indicated that, when using dual blocks, the Her2/neu-positive (3+) rate of GC was higher compared to that in the single-block group. Our results implied that using dual paraffin blocks to assess Her2/neu expression of GC may help identify more patients with Her2/neu-positive GC who could benefit from targeted therapy, by reducing false-negative rate of Her2 status assessment. This is an efficient, economical, and practical method for Her2/neu evaluation of GC.

Pérez-Gómez E, Andradas C, Blasco-Benito S, et al.
Role of cannabinoid receptor CB2 in HER2 pro-oncogenic signaling in breast cancer.
J Natl Cancer Inst. 2015; 107(6):djv077 [PubMed] Related Publications
BACKGROUND: Pharmacological activation of cannabinoid receptors elicits antitumoral responses in different cancer models. However, the biological role of these receptors in tumor physio-pathology is still unknown.
METHODS: We analyzed CB2 cannabinoid receptor protein expression in two series of 166 and 483 breast tumor samples operated in the University Hospitals of Kiel, Tübingen, and Freiburg between 1997 and 2010 and CB2 mRNA expression in previously published DNA microarray datasets. The role of CB2 in oncogenesis was studied by generating a mouse line that expresses the human V-Erb-B2 Avian Erythroblastic Leukemia Viral Oncogene Homolog 2 (HER2) rat ortholog (neu) and lacks CB2 and by a variety of biochemical and cell biology approaches in human breast cancer cells in culture and in vivo, upon modulation of CB2 expression by si/shRNAs and overexpression plasmids. CB2-HER2 molecular interaction was studied by colocalization, coimmunoprecipitation, and proximity ligation assays. Statistical tests were two-sided.
RESULTS: We show an association between elevated CB2 expression in HER2+ breast tumors and poor patient prognosis (decreased overall survival, hazard ratio [HR] = 0.29, 95% confidence interval [CI] = 0.09 to 0.71, P = .009) and higher probability to suffer local recurrence (HR = 0.09, 95% CI = 0.049 to 0.54, P = .003) and to develop distant metastases (HR = 0.33, 95% CI = 0.13 to 0.75, P = .009). We also demonstrate that genetic inactivation of CB2 impairs tumor generation and progression in MMTV-neu mice. Moreover, we show that HER2 upregulates CB2 expression by activating the transcription factor ELK1 via the ERK cascade and that an increased CB2 expression activates the HER2 pro-oncogenic signaling at the level of the tyrosine kinase c-SRC. Finally, we show HER2 and CB2 form heteromers in cancer cells.
CONCLUSIONS: Our findings reveal an unprecedented role of CB2 as a pivotal regulator of HER2 pro-oncogenic signaling in breast cancer, and they suggest that CB2 may be a biomarker with prognostic value in these tumors.

Sui X, Wang X, Han W, et al.
MicroRNAs-mediated cell fate in triple negative breast cancers.
Cancer Lett. 2015; 361(1):8-12 [PubMed] Related Publications
MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are small non-coding RNAs that function as major modulators of posttranscriptional protein-coding gene expression in diverse biological processes including cell survival, cell cycle arrest, senescence, autophagy, and differentiation. The control of miRNAs plays an important role in cancer initiation and metastasis. Triple negative breast cancer (TNBC) is a distinct breast cancer subtype, which is defined by the absence of estrogen receptor (ER), progesterone receptor (PR) and epidermal growth factor receptor 2 (HER2/neu). Due to its high recurrence rate and poor prognosis, TNBC represents a challenge for breast cancer therapy. In recent years, a large number of microRNAs have been identified to play a crucial role in TNBC and some of them were found to be correlated with worse prognosis of TNBC. Thus, understanding the novel function of miRNAs may allow us to develop promising therapeutic targets for the treatment of TNBC patients.

Kratz CP, Franke L, Peters H, et al.
Cancer spectrum and frequency among children with Noonan, Costello, and cardio-facio-cutaneous syndromes.
Br J Cancer. 2015; 112(8):1392-7 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 14/04/2016 Related Publications
BACKGROUND: Somatic mutations affecting components of the Ras-MAPK pathway are a common feature of cancer, whereas germline Ras pathway mutations cause developmental disorders including Noonan, Costello, and cardio-facio-cutaneous syndromes. These 'RASopathies' also represent cancer-prone syndromes, but the quantitative cancer risks remain unknown.
METHODS: We investigated the occurrence of childhood cancer including benign and malignant tumours of the central nervous system in a group of 735 individuals with germline mutations in Ras signalling pathway genes by matching their information with the German Childhood Cancer Registry.
RESULTS: We observed 12 cases of cancer in the entire RASopathy cohort vs 1.12 expected (based on German population-based incidence rates). This corresponds to a 10.5-fold increased risk of all childhood cancers combined (standardised incidence ratio (SIR)=10.5, 95% confidence interval=5.4-18.3). The specific cancers included juvenile myelomonocytic leukaemia=4; brain tumour=3; acute lymphoblastic leukaemia=2; rhabdomyosarcoma=2; and neuroblastoma=1. The childhood cancer SIR in Noonan syndrome patients was 8.1, whereas that for Costello syndrome patients was 42.4.
CONCLUSIONS: These data comprise the first quantitative evidence documenting that the germline mutations in Ras signalling pathway genes are associated with increased risks of both childhood leukaemia and solid tumours.

Liu S, Jin K, Hui Y, et al.
HOXB7 promotes malignant progression by activating the TGFβ signaling pathway.
Cancer Res. 2015; 75(4):709-19 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 14/04/2016 Related Publications
Overexpression of HOXB7 in breast cancer cells induces an epithelial-mesenchymal transition and promotes tumor progression and lung metastasis. However, the underlying mechanisms for HOXB7-induced aggressive phenotypes in breast cancer remain largely unknown. Here, we report that phosphorylation of SMAD3 was detected in a higher percentage in primary mammary tumor tissues from double-transgenic MMTV-Hoxb7/Her2 mice than tumors from single-transgenic Her2/neu mice, suggesting activation of TGFβ/SMAD3 signaling by HOXB7 in breast tumor tissues. As predicted, TGFβ2 was high in four MMTV-Hoxb7/Her2 transgenic mouse tumor cell lines and two breast cancer cell lines transfected with HOXB7, whereas TGFβ2 was low in HOXB7-depleted cells. HOXB7 directly bound to and activated the TGFβ2 promoter in luciferase and chromatin immunoprecipitation assays. Increased migration and invasion as a result of HOXB7 overexpression in breast cancer cells were reversed by knockdown of TGFβ2 or pharmacologic inhibition of TGFβ signaling. Furthermore, knockdown of TGFβ2 in HOXB7-overexpressing MDA-MB-231 breast cancer cells dramatically inhibited metastasis to the lung. Interestingly, HOXB7 overexpression also induced tumor-associated macrophage (TAM) recruitment and acquisition of an M2 tumor-promoting phenotype. TGFβ2 mediated HOXB7-induced activation of macrophages, suggesting that TAMs may contribute to HOXB7-promoted tumor metastasis. Providing clinical relevance to these findings, by real-time PCR analysis, there was a strong correlation between HOXB7 and TGFβ2 expression in primary breast carcinomas. Taken together, our results suggest that HOXB7 promotes tumor progression in a cell-autonomous and non-cell-autonomous manner through activation of the TGFβ signaling pathway.

Denkert C, von Minckwitz G, Brase JC, et al.
Tumor-infiltrating lymphocytes and response to neoadjuvant chemotherapy with or without carboplatin in human epidermal growth factor receptor 2-positive and triple-negative primary breast cancers.
J Clin Oncol. 2015; 33(9):983-91 [PubMed] Related Publications
PURPOSE: Modulation of immunologic interactions in cancer tissue is a promising therapeutic strategy. To investigate the immunogenicity of human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 (HER2) -positive and triple-negative (TN) breast cancers (BCs), we evaluated tumor-infiltrating lymphocytes (TILs) and immunologically relevant genes in the neoadjuvant GeparSixto trial.
PATIENTS AND METHODS: GeparSixto investigated the effect of adding carboplatin (Cb) to an anthracycline-plus-taxane combination (PM) on pathologic complete response (pCR). A total of 580 tumors were evaluated before random assignment for stromal TILs and lymphocyte-predominant BC (LPBC). mRNA expression of immune-activating (CXCL9, CCL5, CD8A, CD80, CXCL13, IGKC, CD21) as well as immunosuppressive factors (IDO1, PD-1, PD-L1, CTLA4, FOXP3) was measured in 481 tumors.
RESULTS: Increased levels of stromal TILs predicted pCR in univariable (P < .001) and multivariable analyses (P < .001). pCR rate was 59.9% in LPBC and 33.8% for non-LPBC (P < .001). pCR rates ≥ 75% were observed in patients with LPBC tumors treated with PMCb, with a significant test for interaction with therapy in the complete (P = .002) and HER2-positive (P = .006), but not the TNBC, cohorts. Hierarchic clustering of mRNA markers revealed three immune subtypes with different pCR rates (P < .001). All 12 immune mRNA markers were predictive for increased pCR. The highest odds ratios (ORs) were observed for PD-L1 (OR, 1.57; 95% CI, 1.34 to 1.86; P < .001) and CCL5 (OR, 1.41; 95% CI, 1.23 to 1.62; P < .001).
CONCLUSION: Immunologic factors were highly significant predictors of therapy response in the GeparSixto trial, particularly in patients treated with Cb. After further standardization, they could be included in histopathologic assessment of BC.

Thaler S, Thiede G, Hengstler JG, et al.
The proteasome inhibitor Bortezomib (Velcade) as potential inhibitor of estrogen receptor-positive breast cancer.
Int J Cancer. 2015; 137(3):686-97 [PubMed] Related Publications
Around 70% of breast cancers express the estrogen receptor α (ERα) and depend on estrogen for growth, survival and disease progression. The presence of hormone sensitivity is usually associated with a favorable prognosis. Use of adjuvant anti-endocrine therapy has significantly decreased breast cancer mortality in patients with early-stage disease, and anti-endocrine therapy also plays a central role in the treatment of advanced stages. However a subset of hormone receptor-positive breast cancers do not benefit from anti-endocrine therapy, and nearly all hormone receptor-positive metastatic breast cancers ultimately develop resistance to anti-hormonal therapies. Despite new insights into mechanisms of anti-endocrine therapy resistance, e.g., crosstalk between ERα and Her2/neu, the management of advanced hormone-receptor-positive breast cancers that are resistant to anti-endocrine agents remains a significant challenge. In the present study, we demonstrate that the proteasome inhibitor Bortezomib strongly inhibits ERα and HER2/neu expression, increases expression of cyclin-dependent kinase inhibitors, inhibits expression of multiple genes associated with poor prognosis in ERα+ breast cancer patients and induces cell death in ER+ breast cancer cells in both the presence and absence of functional p53. Although Bortezomib increased the levels of p53 and increased the expression of pro-apoptotic target genes in ERα+ breast cancer cells harboring wild-type p53, Bortezomib also exerts anti-tumoral effects on ERα+ breast cancer cells through suppression of ERα expression and inhibition of PI3K/Akt/mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR) and ERK signaling independently of functional p53. These findings suggest that Bortezomib might have the potential to improve the management of anti-endocrine therapy resistant ERα+ breast cancers independently of their p53 status.

Kalia M
Biomarkers for personalized oncology: recent advances and future challenges.
Metabolism. 2015; 64(3 Suppl 1):S16-21 [PubMed] Related Publications
Cancer is a group of diseases characterized by the uncontrolled growth and spread of abnormal cells and oncology is a branch of medicine that deals with tumors. The last decade has seen significant advances in the development of biomarkers in oncology that play a critical role in understanding molecular and cellular mechanisms which drive tumor initiation, maintenance and progression. Clinical molecular diagnostics and biomarker discoveries in oncology are advancing rapidly as we begin to understand the complex mechanisms that transform a normal cell into an abnormal one. These discoveries have fueled the development of novel drug targets and new treatment strategies. The standard of care for patients with advanced-stage cancers has shifted away from an empirical treatment strategy based on the clinical-pathological profile to one where a biomarker driven treatment algorithm based on the molecular profile of the tumor is used. Recent advances in multiplex genotyping technologies and high-throughput genomic profiling by next-generation sequencing make possible the rapid and comprehensive analysis of the cancer genome of individual patients even from very little tumor biopsy material. Predictive (diagnostic) biomarkers are helpful in matching targeted therapies with patients and in preventing toxicity of standard (systemic) therapies. Prognostic biomarkers identify somatic germ line mutations, changes in DNA methylation, elevated levels of microRNA (miRNA) and circulating tumor cells (CTC) in blood. Predictive biomarkers using molecular diagnostics are currently in use in clinical practice of personalized oncotherapy for the treatment of five diseases: chronic myeloid leukemia, colon, breast, lung cancer and melanoma and these biomarkers are being used successfully to evaluate benefits that can be achieved through targeted therapy. Examples of these molecularly targeted biomarker therapies are: tyrosine kinase inhibitors in chronic myeloid leukemia and gastrointestinal tumors; anaplastic lymphoma kinase (ALK) inhibitors in lung cancer with EML4-ALk fusion; HER2/neu blockage in HER2/neu-positive breast cancer; and epidermal growth factor receptors (EGFR) inhibition in EGFR-mutated lung cancer. This review presents the current state of our knowledge of biomarkers in five selected cancers: chronic myeloid leukemia, colorectal cancer, breast cancer, non-small cell lung cancer and melanoma.

Ud Din N, Pekmezci M, Javed G, et al.
Low-grade small round cell tumor of the cauda equina with EWSR1-WT1 fusion and indolent clinical course.
Hum Pathol. 2015; 46(1):153-8 [PubMed] Related Publications
We report a case of a longstanding, large tumor involving spinal nerve roots of the cauda equina. The tumor showed small round cells arranged in nests and cords and immunophenotypic features of a glomus tumor, along with infrequent mitoses and a low Ki-67 labeling index, but exhibited some rosette-like structures, with focal CD99 and Neu-N expression. Subsequent molecular analysis showed the presence of an EWSR1-WT1 gene fusion by fluorescence in situ hybridization, which was confirmed by reverse- transcriptase polymerase chain reaction. To our knowledge, this is the first case reported with EWSR1-WT1 fusion in a small round blue cell tumor with smooth muscle differentiation and an indolent course.

Rajendiran S, Parwani AV, Hare RJ, et al.
MicroRNA-940 suppresses prostate cancer migration and invasion by regulating MIEN1.
Mol Cancer. 2014; 13:250 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 14/04/2016 Related Publications
BACKGROUND: MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are crucial molecules that regulate gene expression and hence pathways that are key to prostate cancer progression. These non-coding RNAs are highly deregulated in prostate cancer thus facilitating progression of the disease. Among the many genes that have gained importance in this disease, Migration and invasion enhancer 1 (MIEN1), a novel gene located next to HER2/neu in the 17q12 amplicon of the human chromosome, has been shown to enhance prostate cancer cell migration and invasion, two key processes in cancer progression. MIEN1 is differentially expressed between normal and cancer cells and tissues. Understanding the regulation of MIEN1 by microRNA may enable development of better targeting strategies.
METHODS: The miRNAs that could target MIEN1 were predicted by in silico algorithms and microarray analysis. The validation for miRNA expression was performed by qPCR and northern blotting in cells and by in situ hybridization in tissues. MIEN1 and levels of other molecules upon miRNA regulation was determined by Western blotting, qPCR, and immunofluorescence. The functional effects of miRNA on cells were determined by wound healing cell migration, Boyden chamber cell invasion, clonal and colony formation assays. For knockdown or overexpression of the miRNA or overexpression of MIEN1 3'UTR, cells were transfected with the oligomiRs and plasmids, respectively.
RESULTS: A novel miRNA, hsa-miR-940 (miR-940), identified and validated to be highly expressed in immortalized normal cells compared to cancer cells, is a regulator of MIEN1. Analysis of human prostate tumors and their matched normal tissues confirmed that miR-940 is highly expressed in the normal tissues compared to its low to negligible expression in the tumors. While MIEN1 is a direct target of miR-940, miR-940 alters MIEN1 RNA, in a quantity as well as cell dependent context, along with altering its downstream effectors. The miR-940 inhibited migratory and invasive potential of cells, attenuated their anchorage-independent growth ability, and increased E-cadherin expression, implicating its role in mesenchymal-to-epithelial transition (MET).
CONCLUSIONS: These results, for the first time, implicate miR-940, a regulator of MIEN1, as a promising novel diagnostic and prognostic tool for prostate cancer.

Gad E, Rastetter L, Slota M, et al.
Natural history of tumor growth and immune modulation in common spontaneous murine mammary tumor models.
Breast Cancer Res Treat. 2014; 148(3):501-10 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 01/12/2015 Related Publications
Recent studies in patients with breast cancer suggest the immune microenvironment influences response to therapy. We aimed to evaluate the relationship between growth rates of tumors in common spontaneous mammary tumor models and immune biomarkers evaluated in the tumor and blood. TgMMTV-neu and C3(1)-Tag transgenic mice were followed longitudinally from birth, and MPA-DMBA-treated mice from the time of carcinogen administration, for the development of mammary tumors. Tumor-infiltrating CD4(+) and CD8(+) T-cells, FOXP3(+) T-regulatory cells, and myeloid-derived suppressor cells were assessed by flow cytometry. Serum cytokines were evaluated in subsets of mice. Fine needle aspirates of tumors were collected and RNA was isolated to determine levels of immune and proliferation markers. Age of tumor onset and kinetics of tumor growth were significantly different among the models. Mammary tumors from TgMMTV-neu contained a lower CD8/CD4 ratio than that of other models (p < 0.05). MPA-DMBA-induced tumors contained a higher percentage of FOXP3(+) CD4(+) T-cells (p < 0.01) and MDSC (p < 0.001) compared with the other models. Individuals with significantly slower tumor growth demonstrated higher levels of Type I serum cytokines prior to the development of lesions compared to those with rapid tumor growth. Moreover, the tumors of animals with more rapid tumor growth demonstrated a significant increase in the expression of genes associated with Type II immunity than those with slower-progressing tumors. These data provide a foundation for the development of in vivo models to explore the relationship between endogenous immunity and response to standard therapies for breast cancer.

Sheffield BS, Garratt J, Kalloger SE, et al.
HER2/neu testing in gastric cancer by immunohistochemistry: assessment of interlaboratory variation.
Arch Pathol Lab Med. 2014; 138(11):1495-502 [PubMed] Related Publications
CONTEXT: Immunohistochemical (IHC) testing for HER2/neu is becoming the standard of care for guiding adjuvant treatment of gastric carcinoma with trastuzumab.
OBJECTIVE: To assess interlaboratory variation in IHC staining and interpretation across multiple laboratories.
DESIGN: A tissue microarray consisting of 45 cores from 28 gastric cancers was distributed to 37 laboratories for HER2/neu assessment. The IHC results were compared against expert scores at an academic institution and correlated with in situ hybridization results from the originating specimen. Interlaboratory agreement was calculated using Cohen κ statistic.
RESULTS: The survey demonstrated several variations in IHC methods, including the primary antibodies in use. There was excellent agreement among laboratories in HER2/neu(+) (IHC 3(+)) cases (κ = 0.80 ± 0.01) and very good agreement among laboratories in HER2/neu(-) (IHC 0 or 1(+)) cases (κ = 0.58 ± 0.01). Less agreement was observed among laboratories when scoring equivocal (IHC 2(+)) cases (κ = 0.22 ± 0.01). Sensitivity and specificity of HER2/neu IHC were 99% and 100%, respectively, when measured against expert review and consensus score as a reference standard.
CONCLUSIONS: There is substantial interlaboratory agreement in the interpretation of HER2/neu IHC despite variability in protocols. Although HER2/neu IHC is a highly sensitive and specific test, primary antibody selection may significantly affect IHC results. Furthermore, gastric tumors require a unique scoring system and expertise in interpretation. Intratumoral heterogeneity has a significant effect on HER2/neu scoring by IHC. Ongoing quality assurance exercises among laboratories will help ensure optimized HER2/neu testing.

Kobyakov DS, Avdalyan AM, Bobrov IP, et al.
Correlation of HER-2/Neu protein expression and HER2 gene amplification with clinical morphological parameters of nonsmall cell lung cancer.
Bull Exp Biol Med. 2014; 157(6):789-93 [PubMed] Related Publications
A total of 218 operation specimens from patients with nonsmall cell lung cancer were examined. The expression of HER-2 protein was studied by the immunohistochemical method, amplification of HER2 gene and centromere part of chromosome 17 (CEP17) - by the in situ chromogenic hybridization method. Moderate correlation (r=0.38, p<0.001) between the immunohistochemical status and HER2 gene amplification was detected. A relationship between TNM clinical morphological parameters and HER-2 protein content and chromosome 17 polysomia (for N parameter), HER-2 protein content, and HER2 gene amplification (for tumor histogenesis) was detected. The content of HER-2 protein and amplification of HER2 and CEP17 correlated with the clinical morphological parameters of patients with nonsmall cell lung cancer.

Pan F, Mao H, Deng L, et al.
Prognostic and clinicopathological significance of microRNA-21 overexpression in breast cancer: a meta-analysis.
Int J Clin Exp Pathol. 2014; 7(9):5622-33 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 01/12/2015 Related Publications
Recent studies have highlighted the role of microRNA-21 (miR-21) as a prognostic biomarker of breast cancer. However, controversy still remains. The present study aimed to summarize available evidences and obtain a more precise estimation of a prognostic role of miR-21 in breast cancer patients. All eligible studies were searched from PubMed and EMBASE through multiple search strategies. Data were extracted from studies comparing survival in breast cancer patients having higher miR-21 expression with those having lower expression. A meta-analysis was performed to clarify prognostic role of miR-21 in patients with breast cancer. Subgroup analysis was also performed according to patients' ethnicity. A total of 6 eligible articles comprising 951 cases were selected for this meta-analysis. The combined hazard ratios (HRs) and 95% confidence intervals (95% CIs) for overall survival (OS) were 2.11 (1.09-4.08) and for disease free survival (DFS) was 1.6 (1.30-1.96). Subgroup analysis indicated high miR-21 expression was significantly associated with worse OS in Asian patients (HR = 4.39, 95% CI: 2.47-7.80) but not in non-Asian patients (HR = 1.18, 95% CI: 0.81-1.70). Sensitivity analysis revealed results of this meta-analysis were robust. Odds ratios (ORs) showed that miR-21 expression was closely associated with estrogen receptor (ER), progesterone receptor (PR), lymph node metastasis, histological grade, Her2/neu. The pooled ORs and 95% CIs were 0.53 (0.35-0.80), 0.49 (0.32-0.74), 2.32 (1.54-3.50), 2.44 (1.58-3.75), 4.29 (2.34-7.85), respectively. Our results indicated that elevated miR-21 expression could potentially predict poor survival in patients with breast cancer.

Fang Y, Jiang Y, Wang X, et al.
Somatic mutations of the HER2 in metastatic breast cancer.
Tumour Biol. 2014; 35(12):11851-4 [PubMed] Related Publications
Mutations in the epidermal growth factor receptor gene (EGFR) in lung cancers predict for sensitivity to EGFR kinase inhibitors. HER2 (also known as NEU, EGFR2, or ERBB2) is a member of the EGFR family of receptor tyrosine kinases and plays important roles in the pathogenesis of certain human cancers, and mutations have recently been reported in lung cancers. We sequenced the full length of HER2 in 198 metastatic breast cancers (MBC) as well as 34 other epithelial cancers (bladder, prostate, and colorectal cancers) and compared the mutational status with clinic pathologic features and the presence of EGFR or KRAS mutations. HER2 mutations were present in 11.6 % (23 of 198) of MBC and were absent in other types of cancers. HER2 mutations were located in exon 15 and the in-frame insertions in exon 20 with corresponding region as did EGFR insertions. HER2 mutations were significantly more frequent in patient after the administration of trastuzumab (34.8 %, 8 of 23; P = 0.02). Mutations in exon 15 and 20 were more potent than wild-type HER2 in associating with activating signal transducers and inducing survival, invasiveness, and tumorigenicity.

Rakhshani N, Kalantari E, Bakhti H, et al.
Evaluation of HER-2/neu overexpression in gastric carcinoma using a tissue microarray.
Asian Pac J Cancer Prev. 2014; 15(18):7597-602 [PubMed] Related Publications
BACKGROUND: Amplification and overexpression of human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 (HER2 / neu) oncogene has considerable prognostic value in breast and gastric cancers. This study aimed to evaluate the frequency, overexpression pattern, clinical significance, and concordance between the results for protein expression and gene amplification of HER-2/neu in gastric and gastro-esophageal junction carcinomas.
MATERIALS AND METHODS: In this study, 101 gastric tissue samples which were included in tissue microarray were immunohistochemically examined for overexpression of HER2/neu. Chromogenic in situ hybridization (CISH) was used for HER-2/neu amplification. The correlation of HER2/neu amplification with clinicopathological parameters was also assessed. In addition, concordance between CISH and IHC was detected.
RESULTS: This study demonstrated a significant difference in the overexpression of HER2/neu in gastric tumors. The overexpression of HER2/neu was significantly higher in intestinal type, poorly differentiated grade, large size (5 cm≤) and positive nodal involvement tumors (p-value=0.041, 0.015, 0.038 and 0.071, respectively). Also, amplification of HER2/neu according to CISH test, had a significant positive correlation with tumor size and tumor type (p-value=0.018 and 0.058, respectively).Concordance between CISH and IHC was 76.9% in 101 evaluable samples.
CONCLUSIONS: IHC/CISH differences were attributed to basolateral membranous immunoreactivity of glandular cells resulting in incomplete membranous reactivity and/or a higher rate of tumor heterogeneity in gastric cancers compared to breast cancers. Therefore, this can be a potential marker for targeted therapy of malignant gastric tumors.

Tao Y, Shen C, Luo S, et al.
Role of Erbin in ErbB2-dependent breast tumor growth.
Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2014; 111(42):E4429-38 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 01/12/2015 Related Publications
ErbB2 (v-erb-b2 avian erythroblastic leukemia viral oncogene homolog 2), a receptor tyrosine kinase of the ErbB family, is overexpressed in around 25% of breast cancers. In addition to forming a heterodimer with other ErbB receptors in response to ligand stimulation, ErbB2 can be activated in a ligand-independent manner. We report here that Erbin, an ErbB2-interacting protein that was thought to act as an antitumor factor, is specifically expressed in mammary luminal epithelial cells and facilitates ErbB2-dependent proliferation of breast cancer cells and tumorigenesis in MMTV-neu transgenic mice. Disruption of their interaction decreases ErbB2-dependent proliferation, and deletion of the PDZ domain in Erbin hinders ErbB2-dependent tumor development in MMTV-neu mice. Mechanistically, Erbin forms a complex with ErbB2, promotes its interaction with the chaperon protein HSP90, and thus prevents its degradation. Finally, ErbB2 and Erbin expression correlates in human breast tumor tissues. Together, these observations establish Erbin as an ErbB2 regulator for breast tumor formation and progression.

Novitskiy SV, Forrester E, Pickup MW, et al.
Attenuated transforming growth factor beta signaling promotes metastasis in a model of HER2 mammary carcinogenesis.
Breast Cancer Res. 2014; 16(5):425 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 01/12/2015 Related Publications
INTRODUCTION: Transforming growth factor beta (TGFβ) plays a major role in the regulation of tumor initiation, progression, and metastasis. It is depended on the type II TGFβ receptor (TβRII) for signaling. Previously, we have shown that deletion of TβRII in mammary epithelial of MMTV-PyMT mice results in shortened tumor latency and increased lung metastases. However, active TGFβ signaling increased the number of circulating tumor cells and metastases in MMTV-Neu mice. In the current study, we describe a newly discovered connection between attenuated TGFβ signaling and human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 (HER2) signaling in mammary tumor progression.
METHODS: All studies were performed on MMTV-Neu mice with and without dominant-negative TβRII (DNIIR) in mammary epithelium. Mammary tumors were analyzed by flow cytometry, immunohistochemistry, and immunofluorescence staining. The levels of secreted proteins were measured by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay. Whole-lung mount staining was used to quantitate lung metastasis. The Cancer Genome Atlas (TCGA) datasets were used to determine the relevance of our findings to human breast cancer.
RESULTS: Attenuated TGFβ signaling led to a delay tumor onset, but increased the number of metastases in MMTVNeu/DNIIR mice. The DNIIR tumors were characterized by increased vasculogenesis, vessel leakage, and increased expression of vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF). During DNIIR tumor progression, both the levels of CXCL1/5 and the number of CD11b+Gr1+ cells and T cells decreased. Analysis of TCGA datasets demonstrated a significant negative correlation between TGFBR2 and VEGF genes expression. Higher VEGFA expression correlated with shorter distant metastasis-free survival only in HER2+ patients with no differences in HER2-, estrogen receptor +/- or progesterone receptor +/- breast cancer patients.
CONCLUSION: Our studies provide insights into a novel mechanism by which epithelial TGFβ signaling modulates the tumor microenvironment, and by which it is involved in lung metastasis in HER2+ breast cancer patients. The effects of pharmacological targeting of the TGFβ pathway in vivo during tumor progression remain controversial. The targeting of TGFβ signaling should be a viable option, but because VEGF has a protumorigenic effect on HER2+ tumors, the targeting of this protein could be considered when it is associated with attenuated TGFβ signaling.

Schwab CL, Bellone S, English DP, et al.
Afatinib demonstrates remarkable activity against HER2-amplified uterine serous endometrial cancer in vitro and in vivo.
Br J Cancer. 2014; 111(9):1750-6 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 28/10/2015 Related Publications
BACKGROUND: Uterine serous carcinomas (USCs) are an aggressive form of uterine cancer that may rely on HER2/neu amplification as a driver of proliferation. The objective of this paper is to assess the sensitivity of USC cell lines with and without HER2/neu gene amplification to afatinib, an irreversible ErbB tyrosine kinase inhibitor, and to test the efficacy of afatinib in the treatment of HER2-amplified USC xenografts.
METHODS: Eight of fifteen primary USC cell lines (four with HER2 amplification and four without) demonstrating similar in vitro growth rates were treated with scalar concentrations of afatinib. Effects on cell growth, signalling and cell cycle distribution were determined by flow cytometry assays. Mice harbouring xenografts of HER2/neu-amplified USC were treated with afatinib by gavage to determine the effect on tumour growth and overall survival.
RESULTS: Primary chemotherapy-resistant USC cell lines harbouring HER2/neu gene amplification were exquisitely sensitive to afatinib exposure (mean ± s.e.m. IC50=0.0056 ± 0.0006 μM) and significantly more sensitive than HER2/neu-non-amplified USC cell lines (mean ± s.e.m. IC50=0.563 ± 0.092 μM, P<0.0001). Afatinib exposure resulted in abrogation of cell survival, inhibition of HER2/neu autophosphorylation and S6 transcription factor phosphorylation in HER2/neu overexpressing USC and inhibited the growth of HER2-amplified tumour xenografts improving overall survival (P=0.0017).
CONCLUSIONS: Afatinib may be highly effective against HER2/neu-amplified chemotherapy-resistant USC. The investigation of afatinib in patients harbouring HER2/neu-amplified USC is warranted.

Dong Y, Van Tine BA, Oyama T, et al.
Taspase1 cleaves MLL1 to activate cyclin E for HER2/neu breast tumorigenesis.
Cell Res. 2014; 24(11):1354-66 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 28/10/2015 Related Publications
Taspase1, a highly conserved threonine protease, cleaves nuclear transcriptional regulators mixed-lineage leukemia (MLL, MLL1), MLL2, TFIIA, and ALF to orchestrate a wide variety of biological processes. In vitro studies thus far demonstrated that Taspase1 plays important roles in the proliferation of various cancer cell lines, including HER2-positive breast cancer cells. To investigate the role of Taspase1 in breast tumorigenesis in vivo, we deleted Taspase1 from mouse mammary glands by generating MMTV-neu;MMTV-cre;Tasp1(F/-) mice. We demonstrate that initiation of MMTV-neu- but not MMTV-wnt-driven breast cancer is blocked in the absence of Taspase1. Importantly, Taspase1 loss alone neither impacts normal development nor pregnancy physiology of the mammary gland. In mammary glands Taspase1 deficiency abrogates MMTV-neu-induced cyclins E and A expression, thereby preventing tumorigenesis. The mechanisms were explored in HER2-positive breast cancer cell line BT474 and HER2-transformed MCF10A cells and validated using knockdown-resistant Taspase1. As Taspase1 was shown to cleave MLL which forms complexes with E2F transcription factors to regulate Cyclins E, A, and B expression in mouse embryonic fibroblasts (MEFs), we investigated whether the cleavage of MLL by Taspase1 constitutes an essential in vivo axis for HER2/neu-induced mammary tumorigenesis. To this end, we generated MMTV-neu;MLL(nc/nc) transgenic mice that carry homozygous non-cleavable MLL alleles. Remarkably, these mice are also protected from HER2/neu-driven breast tumorigenesis. Hence, MLL is the primary Taspase1 substrate whose cleavage is required for MMTV-neu-induced tumor formation. As Taspase1 plays critical roles in breast cancer pathology, it may serve as a therapeutic target for HER2-positive human breast cancer.

Yepes MM, Romilly AP, Collado-Mesa F, et al.
Can mammographic and sonographic imaging features predict the Oncotype DX™ recurrence score in T1 and T2, hormone receptor positive, HER2 negative and axillary lymph node negative breast cancers?
Breast Cancer Res Treat. 2014; 148(1):117-23 [PubMed] Related Publications
To determine whether mammographic or sonographic features can predict the Oncotype DX™ recurrence scores (RS) in patients with TI-II, hormone receptor (HR) positive, HER2/neu negative and node negative breast cancers. Institutional board review was obtained and informed consent was waived for this retrospective study. Seventy-eight patients with stage I-II invasive breast cancer that was HR positive, HER2 negative, and lymph node negative for whom mammographic and or sonographic imaging and Oncotype DX™ assay scores were available were included in the study Four breast dedicated radiologists blinded to the RS retrospectively described the lesions according to BI-RADS lexicon descriptors. Multivariable logistic regression was used to test for significant independent predictors of low (<18) versus intermediate to high range (≥18). Two imaging features reached statistical significance in predicting low from intermediate or high risk RS: pleomorphic microcalcifications within a mass (P = 0.017); OR 8.37, 95 % CI (1.47-47.79) on mammography and posterior acoustic enhancement in a mass on ultrasound (P = 0.048); OR 4.35, 95 % CI (1.01-18.73) on multivariable logistic regression. A mass with pleomorphic microcalcifications on mammography or the presence of posterior acoustic enhancement on ultrasound may predict an intermediate to high RS as determined by the Oncotype DX(TM) assay in patients with stage I-II HR positive, HER2 negative, and lymph node negative invasive breast cancer.

Tan F, Mosunjac M, Adams AL, et al.
Enhanced down-regulation of ALCAM/CD166 in African-American Breast Cancer.
BMC Cancer. 2014; 14:715 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 28/10/2015 Related Publications
BACKGROUND: Variation in tumor biology in African-American (AA) and Caucasian (CAU) women with breast cancer is poorly defined. Activated leukocyte cell adhesion molecule (ALCAM) is a bad prognostic factor of breast cancer yet it has never being studied in the AA population. We tested the hypothesis that ALCAM expression would be markedly lower in cases of AA breast cancer when compared to CAU.
METHODS: Cases of breast cancer among AA (n = 78) and CAU (n = 95) women were studied. Immunohistochemical staining was used to semi-quantitatively score ALCAM expression in tumor and adjacent non-tumor breast tissues. Clinico-pathological characteristics including histological type, histological grade, tumor size, lymph node metastasis, estrogen receptor (ER), progesterone receptor (PR), and HER2-neu status were abstracted, and their association with ALCAM expression tested.
RESULTS: Univariate analysis revealed that the level of ALCAM expression at intercellular junctions of primary tumors correlates with histological grade (AA; p = 0.04, CUA; p = 0.02), ER status (AA; p = 0.0004, CAU; p = 0.0015), PR status (AA; p = 0.002, CUA p = 0.034) and triple-negative tumor status (AA; p = 0.0002, CAU; p = 0.0006,) in both ethnic groups. Multivariate analysis demonstrated that ethnicity contribute significantly to ALCAM expression after accounting for basal-like subtype, age, histological grade, tumor size, and lymph node status. Compared to CAU tumors, the AA are 4 times more likely to have low ALCAM expression (p = 0.003).
CONCLUSIONS: Markedly low expression of ALCAM at sites of cell-cell contact in primary breast cancer tumors regardless of differentiation, size and lymph node involvement may contribute to the more aggressive phenotype of breast cancer among AA women.

Yaglom JA, McFarland C, Mirny L, Sherman MY
Oncogene-triggered suppression of DNA repair leads to DNA instability in cancer.
Oncotarget. 2014; 5(18):8367-78 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 28/10/2015 Related Publications
DNA instability is an important contributor to cancer development. Previously, defects in the chromosome segregation and excessive DNA double strand breaks due to the replication or oxidative stresses were implicated in DNA instability in cancer. Here, we demonstrate that DNA instability can directly result from the oncogene-induced senescence signaling. Expression of the activated form of Her2 oncogene, NeuT, in immortalized breast epithelial cells led to downregulation of the major DNA repair factor histone H2AX and a number of other components of the HR and NHEJ double strand DNA breaks repair pathways. H2AX expression was regulated at the transcriptional level via a senescence pathway involving p21-mediated regulation of CDK and Rb1. The p21-dependent downregulation of H2AX was seen both in cell culture and the MMTV-neu mouse model of Her2-positive breast cancer. Importantly, downregulation of H2AX upon Her2/NeuT expression impaired repair of double strand DNA breaks. This impairment resulted in both increased DNA instability in the form of somatic copy number alterations, and in increased sensitivity to the chemotherapeutic drug doxorubicin. Overall, these findings indicate that the Her2/NeuT oncogene signaling directly potentiates DNA instability and increases sensitivity to DNA damaging treatments.

Alvarez JV, Belka GK, Pan TC, et al.
Oncogene pathway activation in mammary tumors dictates FDG-PET uptake.
Cancer Res. 2014; 74(24):7583-98 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 15/12/2015 Related Publications
Increased glucose utilization is a hallmark of human cancer that is used to image tumors clinically. In this widely used application, glucose uptake by tumors is monitored by positron emission tomography of the labeled glucose analogue 2[(18)F]fluoro-2-deoxy-D-glucose (FDG). Despite its widespread clinical use, the cellular and molecular mechanisms that determine FDG uptake--and that underlie the heterogeneity observed across cancers-remain poorly understood. In this study, we compared FDG uptake in mammary tumors driven by the Akt1, c-MYC, HER2/neu, Wnt1, or H-Ras oncogenes in genetically engineered mice, correlating it to tumor growth, cell proliferation, and expression levels of gene involved in key steps of glycolytic metabolism. We found that FDG uptake by tumors was dictated principally by the driver oncogene and was not independently associated with tumor growth or cellular proliferation. Oncogene downregulation resulted in a rapid decrease in FDG uptake, preceding effects on tumor regression, irrespective of the baseline level of uptake. FDG uptake correlated positively with expression of hexokinase-2 (HK2) and hypoxia-inducible factor-1α (HIF1α) and associated negatively with PFK-2b expression and p-AMPK. The correlation between HK2 and FDG uptake was independent of all variables tested, including the initiating oncogene, suggesting that HK2 is an independent predictor of FDG uptake. In contrast, expression of Glut1 was correlated with FDG uptake only in tumors driven by Akt or HER2/neu. Together, these results demonstrate that the oncogenic pathway activated within a tumor is a primary determinant of its FDG uptake, mediated by key glycolytic enzymes, and provide a framework to interpret effects on this key parameter in clinical imaging.

Hu J, Xu J, Wu Y, et al.
Identification of microRNA-93 as a functional dysregulated miRNA in triple-negative breast cancer.
Tumour Biol. 2015; 36(1):251-8 [PubMed] Related Publications
MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are widely recognized as key players in cancer progression and drug resistance, but less is known about the role of miRNAs in triple-negative (estrogen receptor, progesterone receptor, and HER-2/neu) breast cancer (TNBC). The aim of the present study was to examine the expression profile of miRNAs and to explore their possible roles in TNBC. Differentially expressed miRNAs were identified by miRNA microarray and verified by quantitative real-time polymerase chain reaction. The expression of miR-93 was assessed by in situ hybridization in 119 cases of breast cancer. Cell proliferation potential was examined by MTT assay. Cell migration and invasion abilities were evaluated by a wound healing assay and transwell invasion or migration assay. Seven upregulated and ten downregulated miRNAs in TNBC were identified. The miR-93 expression level in TNBC tissues was significantly higher than that in non-triple-negative breast cancer tissues. The potentials of proliferation, invasion, and metastasis in breast cancer MCF-7 cells were promoted by ectopic transfection of miR-93. Our study found several distinct differentially expressed miRNAs in TNBC, as compared to non-triple-negative breast cancer. Among them, miR-93 may be considered as a biomarker associated with the biological and clinical characteristics of human TNBC.

Sheshadri N, Catanzaro JM, Bott AJ, et al.
SCCA1/SERPINB3 promotes oncogenesis and epithelial-mesenchymal transition via the unfolded protein response and IL6 signaling.
Cancer Res. 2014; 74(21):6318-29 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 01/11/2015 Related Publications
The serine/cysteine protease inhibitor SCCA1 (SERPINB3) is upregulated in many advanced cancers with poor prognosis, but there is limited information about whether it makes functional contributions to malignancy. Here, we show that SCCA1 expression promoted oncogenic transformation and epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT) in mammary epithelial cells, and that SCCA1 silencing in breast cancer cells halted their proliferation. SCCA1 overexpression in neu(+) mammary tumors increased the unfolded protein response (UPR), IL6 expression, and inflammatory phenotypes. Mechanistically, SCCA1 induced a prolonged nonlethal increase in the UPR that was sufficient to activate NF-κB and expression of the protumorigenic cytokine IL6. Overall, our findings established that SCCA1 contributes to tumorigenesis by promoting EMT and a UPR-dependent induction of NF-κB and IL6 autocrine signaling that promotes a protumorigenic inflammation.

Ali NA, Wu J, Hochgräfe F, et al.
Profiling the tyrosine phosphoproteome of different mouse mammary tumour models reveals distinct, model-specific signalling networks and conserved oncogenic pathways.
Breast Cancer Res. 2014; 16(5):437 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 01/11/2015 Related Publications
INTRODUCTION: Although aberrant tyrosine kinase signalling characterises particular breast cancer subtypes, a global analysis of tyrosine phosphorylation in mouse models of breast cancer has not been undertaken to date. This may identify conserved oncogenic pathways and potential therapeutic targets.
METHODS: We applied an immunoaffinity/mass spectrometry workflow to three mouse models: murine stem cell virus-Neu, expressing truncated Neu, the rat orthologue of human epidermal growth factor receptor 2, Her2 (HER2); mouse mammary tumour virus-polyoma virus middle T antigen (PyMT); and the p53-/- transplant model (p53). Pathways and protein-protein interaction networks were identified by bioinformatics analysis. Molecular mechanisms underpinning differences in tyrosine phosphorylation were characterised by Western blot analysis and array comparative genomic hybridisation. The functional role of mesenchymal-epithelial transition factor (Met) in a subset of p53-null tumours was interrogated using a selective tyrosine kinase inhibitor (TKI), small interfering RNA (siRNA)-mediated knockdown and cell proliferation assays.
RESULTS: The three models could be distinguished on the basis of tyrosine phosphorylation signatures and signalling networks. HER2 tumours exhibited a protein-protein interaction network centred on avian erythroblastic leukaemia viral oncogene homologue 2 (Erbb2), epidermal growth factor receptor and platelet-derived growth factor receptor α, and they displayed enhanced tyrosine phosphorylation of ERBB receptor feedback inhibitor 1. In contrast, the PyMT network displayed significant enrichment for components of the phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase signalling pathway, whereas p53 tumours exhibited increased tyrosine phosphorylation of Met and components or regulators of the cytoskeleton and shared signalling network characteristics with basal and claudin-low breast cancer cells. A subset of p53 tumours displayed markedly elevated cellular tyrosine phosphorylation and Met expression, as well as Met gene amplification. Treatment of cultured p53-null cells exhibiting Met amplification with a selective Met TKI abrogated aberrant tyrosine phosphorylation and blocked cell proliferation. The effects on proliferation were recapitulated when Met was knocked down using siRNA. Additional subtypes of p53 tumours exhibited increased tyrosine phosphorylation of other oncogenes, including Peak1/SgK269 and Prex2.
CONCLUSION: This study provides network-level insights into signalling in the breast cancer models utilised and demonstrates that comparative phosphoproteomics can identify conserved oncogenic signalling pathways. The Met-amplified, p53-null tumours provide a new preclinical model for a subset of triple-negative breast cancers.

Loibl S, von Minckwitz G, Schneeweiss A, et al.
PIK3CA mutations are associated with lower rates of pathologic complete response to anti-human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 (her2) therapy in primary HER2-overexpressing breast cancer.
J Clin Oncol. 2014; 32(29):3212-20 [PubMed] Related Publications
PURPOSE: Phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase (PI3K)/AKT pathway aberrations are common in breast cancer, with mutations in PIK3CA being the most common. This study investigated the association between PIK3CA genotype and pathologic complete response (pCR) rates in human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 (HER2)-positive breast cancer treated with either dual or single anti-HER2 treatment in addition to neoadjuvant chemotherapy.
PATIENTS AND METHODS: PIK3CA mutations in 504 tumor samples from participants in the neoadjuvant GeparQuattro, GeparQuinto, and GeparSixto studies were evaluated. All HER2-positive patients received either trastuzumab or lapatinib or the combination plus anthracycline-taxane chemotherapy. PIK3CA mutations were evaluated in formalin-fixed, paraffin-embedded tissues from core biopsies with a tumor cell content of ≥ 20% by using classical Sanger sequencing of exon 9 and exon 20.
RESULTS: Overall, 21.4% of the patients harbored a PIK3CA mutation. Detection of a PIK3CA mutation was significantly associated with a lower pCR rate (19.4% with PIK3CA mutation v 32.8% with PIK3CA wild-type; odds ratio [OR], 0.49; 95% CI, 0.29 to 0.83; P = .008). In the 291 hormone receptor (HR) -positive tumors, pCR rate was 11.3% with a PIK3CA mutation compared with 27.5% with PIK3CA wild-type (OR, 0.34; 95% CI, 0.15 to 0.78; P = .011). In 213 patients with HR-negative tumors, pCR rate was 30.4% with PIK3CA mutation and 40.1% without (OR, 0.65; 95% CI, 0.32 to 1.32; P = .233; interaction test P = .292). In multivariable analysis, HR status and PIK3CA status provided independent predictive information. In patients with PIK3CA mutation, the pCR rates were 16%, 24.3%, and 17.4% with lapatinib, trastuzumab, and the combination, respectively (P = .654) and in the wild-type group, they were 18.2%, 33.%, and 37.1%, respectively (P = .017). Disease-free survival and overall survival were not statistically significantly different between patients with mutant and wild-type PIK3CA.
CONCLUSION: HER2-positive breast carcinomas with a PIK3CA mutation are less likely to achieve a pCR after neoadjuvant anthracycline-taxane-based chemotherapy plus anti-HER2 treatment, even if a dual anti-HER2 treatment is given.

Savas P, Caramia F, Teo ZL, Loi S
Oncogene addiction and immunity: clinical implications of tumour infiltrating lymphocytes in breast cancers overexpressing the HER2/neu oncogene.
Curr Opin Oncol. 2014; 26(6):562-7 [PubMed] Related Publications
PURPOSE OF REVIEW: To review the evidence that correlates tumour infiltrating lymphocytes, a surrogate biomarker of pre-existing host antitumour immunity, and survival in HER2-overexpressing breast cancers. This is of particular relevance to developing immune biomarkers and harnessing new immunotherapeutics in this breast cancer subtype.
RECENT FINDINGS: Oncogene addiction, in which cancer cells become reliant on a single oncogenic pathway for tumour growth and progression, has traditionally been thought of as a cell intrinsic characteristic. However, increasing evidence from multiple studies exploring the relationship between markers of an antitumour immune response and clinical outcome in HER2-overexpressing breast cancer points to the importance of a permissive microenvironment in oncogene-addicted tumours.
SUMMARY: Characterizing the immune microenvironment in HER2-overexpressing breast cancer has the potential to furnish predictive and prognostic biomarkers that may be useful in routine clinical decision-making. The host-tumour immune interface is emerging as a key aspect of breast cancer biology that is likely to yield novel therapies in the near future.

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