Gene Summary

Gene:PIK3CA; phosphatidylinositol-4,5-bisphosphate 3-kinase, catalytic subunit alpha
Aliases: MCM, CWS5, MCAP, PI3K, CLOVE, MCMTC, p110-alpha
Summary:Phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase is composed of an 85 kDa regulatory subunit and a 110 kDa catalytic subunit. The protein encoded by this gene represents the catalytic subunit, which uses ATP to phosphorylate PtdIns, PtdIns4P and PtdIns(4,5)P2. This gene has been found to be oncogenic and has been implicated in cervical cancers. [provided by RefSeq, Jul 2008]
Databases:OMIM, VEGA, HGNC, Ensembl, GeneCard, Gene
Protein:phosphatidylinositol 4,5-bisphosphate 3-kinase catalytic subunit alpha isoform
Source:NCBIAccessed: 17 August, 2015


What does this gene/protein do?
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Pathways:What pathways are this gene/protein implicaed in?
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Cancer Overview

Research Indicators

Publications Per Year (1990-2015)
Graph generated 17 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 17 August, 2015 using data from PubMed, MeSH and CancerIndex

Specific Cancers (14)

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: PIK3CA (cancer-related)

Lee CC, Ho HC, Su YC, et al.
MCP1-Induced Epithelial-Mesenchymal Transition in Head and Neck Cancer by AKT Activation.
Anticancer Res. 2015; 35(6):3299-306 [PubMed] Related Publications
AIM: To explore whether monocyte chemotactic protein-1 (MCP1) is associated with the epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT) and neck metastases in head and neck cancer (HNC).
MATERIALS AND METHODS: MCP1 and its related protein were evaluated using western blotting, and a migration assay for HNC cell lines. Thirty-five patients with HNC were recruited for the evaluation of MCP1 expression and pathologically-proven neck metastases from their tissue specimens.
RESULTS: MCP1 changed the phenotype of OML-1 cells to a spindle shape, with increased mobility. In OML3 cells, MCP1 knockdown with siRNA blocked EMT. Activation of protein kinase B (AKT) was positively associated with the EMT phenotype, and this transition was abrogated with a phosphoinositide 3 kinase (PI3K) inhibitor. By comparing clinical outcomes, the histological MCP1 score was associated with pathological neck metastases (p=0.027).
CONCLUSION: The overexpression of MCP1 in HNC cells may partially induce EMT through the AKT pathway. A high cellular expression of MCP1 was associated with pathological neck metastases.

Robinson D, Van Allen EM, Wu YM, et al.
Integrative clinical genomics of advanced prostate cancer.
Cell. 2015; 161(5):1215-28 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 21/05/2016 Related Publications
Toward development of a precision medicine framework for metastatic, castration-resistant prostate cancer (mCRPC), we established a multi-institutional clinical sequencing infrastructure to conduct prospective whole-exome and transcriptome sequencing of bone or soft tissue tumor biopsies from a cohort of 150 mCRPC affected individuals. Aberrations of AR, ETS genes, TP53, and PTEN were frequent (40%-60% of cases), with TP53 and AR alterations enriched in mCRPC compared to primary prostate cancer. We identified new genomic alterations in PIK3CA/B, R-spondin, BRAF/RAF1, APC, β-catenin, and ZBTB16/PLZF. Moreover, aberrations of BRCA2, BRCA1, and ATM were observed at substantially higher frequencies (19.3% overall) compared to those in primary prostate cancers. 89% of affected individuals harbored a clinically actionable aberration, including 62.7% with aberrations in AR, 65% in other cancer-related genes, and 8% with actionable pathogenic germline alterations. This cohort study provides clinically actionable information that could impact treatment decisions for these affected individuals.

Niyomchan A, Watcharasit P, Visitnonthachai D, et al.
Insulin attenuates arsenic-induced neurite outgrowth impairments by activating the PI3K/Akt/SIRT1 signaling pathway.
Toxicol Lett. 2015; 236(3):138-44 [PubMed] Related Publications
Arsenic neurotoxicity has a broad range of adverse effects on human health, which are induced in part by inhibition of neurite outgrowth. Insulin has been reported to promote neurite extension. The present study investigated whether insulin can protect neurons from impaired neurite outgrowth induced by arsenic, and examined the signaling pathway involved in this action. The study demonstrated that NaAsO2 caused inhibition of neurite outgrowth in differentiated SH-SY5Y cells indicating its neurotoxicity. This inhibitory effect of NaAsO2 was attenuated by insulin. It was found that blocking PI3K or Akt by selective inhibitors canceled the protective effect of insulin against NaAsO2-induced neurite outgrowth impairment suggesting the essential role of active PI3K and Akt in insulin's protective action. Inhibition of GSK3, which mimics an effect of insulin stimulation, had no effect on the impairment of neurite outgrowth by NaAsO2 implying that the insulin protective action is probably not due to its mediation of GSK3 inhibition ability. Moreover, NaAsO2 decreased the Akt activity, as it caused reduction in Akt phosphorylation, and downregulated expression of SIRT1. Additionally, the reduction of these signals by NaAsO2 was attenuated by insulin. Taken together, these results show that insulin attenuates arsenic-induced neurite outgrowth impairment possibly via activation of PI3K/Akt/SIRT1 signaling, and arsenic may exert neurite outgrowth inhibition through a mechanism involving reduction of signaling molecules downstream from insulin, PI3K/Akt/SIRT1. Our findings raise the possibility of using insulin to combat arsenic neurotoxicity.

Shagisultanova E, Gaponova AV, Gabbasov R, et al.
Preclinical and clinical studies of the NEDD9 scaffold protein in cancer and other diseases.
Gene. 2015; 567(1):1-11 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 01/08/2016 Related Publications
Cancer progression requires a significant reprogramming of cellular signaling to support the essential tumor-specific processes that include hyperproliferation, invasion (for solid tumors) and survival of metastatic colonies. NEDD9 (also known as CasL and HEF1) encodes a multi-domain scaffolding protein that assembles signaling complexes regulating multiple cellular processes relevant to cancer. These include responsiveness to signals emanating from the T and B cell receptors, integrins, chemokine receptors, and receptor tyrosine kinases, as well as cytoplasmic oncogenes such as BCR-ABL and FAK- and SRC-family kinases. Downstream, NEDD9 regulation of partners including CRKL, WAVE, PI3K/AKT, ERK, E-cadherin, Aurora-A (AURKA), HDAC6, and others allow NEDD9 to influence functions as pleiotropic as migration, invasion, survival, ciliary resorption, and mitosis. In this review, we summarize a growing body of preclinical and clinical data that indicate that while NEDD9 is itself non-oncogenic, changes in expression of NEDD9 (most commonly elevation of expression) are common features of tumors, and directly impact tumor aggressiveness, metastasis, and response to at least some targeted agents inhibiting NEDD9-interacting proteins. These data strongly support the relevance of further development of NEDD9 as a biomarker for therapeutic resistance. Finally, we briefly discuss emerging evidence supporting involvement of NEDD9 in additional pathological conditions, including stroke and polycystic kidney disease.

Park GB, Hur DY, Kim D
Combining CAL-101 with Celecoxib Enhances Apoptosis of EBV-transformed B-Cells Through MAPK-induced ER Stress.
Anticancer Res. 2015; 35(5):2699-708 [PubMed] Related Publications
BACKGROUND: Phosphoinositide-3 kinase (PI3K) inhibition attenuates proliferation and survival in B-cell malignancies. Celecoxib induces endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress-induced apoptosis via a cyclo-oxgenase-2 (COX2)-independent manner in certain types of cancer cells. In the present study, we assessed the effects of combinations of drugs with a p110δ-specific inhibitor, CAL-101, and celecoxib to induce apoptosis in Epstein-Barr virus (EBV)-transformed B-cells and non-Hodgkin's lymphoma (NHL) cells.
MATERIALS AND METHODS: The apoptotic effect of combination treatment with CAL-101 and celecoxib on B-cell malignancies was determined by flow cytometry and immunoblotting.
RESULTS: Exposure to CAL-101 and celecoxib significantly increased apoptosis, which was accompanied by the inactivation of AKT, Ras homolog gene family, member A (RHOA), Rho-associated coiled-coil containing protein kinase 1 (ROCK1), and ROCK2 as well as up-regulation of Phosphatase and tensin homolog (PTEN). Co-treatment with CAL-101 and celecoxib triggered the ER stress response and the down-regulation of BCL2 and BCL-XL. SB203580, SP600125, and salubrinal effectively inhibited apoptosis and attenuated expression of phosphorylated protein kinase RNA-like endoplasmic reticulum kinase (PERK) and CCAAT-enhancer-binding protein homologous protein (CHOP). Levels of apoptosis signal-regulating kinase 1 (ASK1) were also increased after treatment with CAL-101 and celecoxib.
CONCLUSION: The apoptosis of EBV-transformed B-cells and NHL cells caused by CAL-101 and celecoxib might be related to inhibiting the RHOA/ROCK pathway and might also be associated with mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK)-mediated ER stress.

Moriarity BS, Otto GM, Rahrmann EP, et al.
A Sleeping Beauty forward genetic screen identifies new genes and pathways driving osteosarcoma development and metastasis.
Nat Genet. 2015; 47(6):615-24 [PubMed] Related Publications
Osteosarcomas are sarcomas of the bone, derived from osteoblasts or their precursors, with a high propensity to metastasize. Osteosarcoma is associated with massive genomic instability, making it problematic to identify driver genes using human tumors or prototypical mouse models, many of which involve loss of Trp53 function. To identify the genes driving osteosarcoma development and metastasis, we performed a Sleeping Beauty (SB) transposon-based forward genetic screen in mice with and without somatic loss of Trp53. Common insertion site (CIS) analysis of 119 primary tumors and 134 metastatic nodules identified 232 sites associated with osteosarcoma development and 43 sites associated with metastasis, respectively. Analysis of CIS-associated genes identified numerous known and new osteosarcoma-associated genes enriched in the ErbB, PI3K-AKT-mTOR and MAPK signaling pathways. Lastly, we identified several oncogenes involved in axon guidance, including Sema4d and Sema6d, which we functionally validated as oncogenes in human osteosarcoma.

Tang J, Li L, Huang W, et al.
MiR-429 increases the metastatic capability of HCC via regulating classic Wnt pathway rather than epithelial-mesenchymal transition.
Cancer Lett. 2015; 364(1):33-43 [PubMed] Related Publications
Epigenetic modification of miR-429 can manipulate liver T-ICs via targeting the RBBP4/E2F1/Oct4 axis, which might be crucial for hepatocarcinogenesis. However, whether miR-429 plays a role in regulating metastasis of hepatocellular carcinoma is still unclear. Using quantitative methylation analysis and real-time PCR, we have identified the hypomethylated status and upregulation of miR-429 in portal vein metastasis samples in comparison with their matched primary tumor. The ectopic expression of miR-429 dramatically induced the expression of MMP2/7/9 and enhanced HCC migration and invasion in vitro and in vivo in an EMT-independent manner. Both bioinformatics and functional studies elucidated the direct regulation of miR-429 on the 3'UTR of the PTEN gene, which leads to the activation of PI3K/AKT signaling and the nuclear translocation of β-catenin, eventually. Conversely, the knockdown of miR-429 efficiently recovered the expression of PTEN and attenuated PI3K/AKT/β-catenin-mediated cell metastasis. Clinically, the higher expression of miR-429 and nucleus relocation of β-catenin were identified as the adverse prognosis factors for recurrence-free survival (RFS) and overall survival (OS). In summary, our results here defined miR-429 as a key inducer for HCC pathogenesis and metastasis with potential utility for tumor intervention.

Ross JS, Badve S, Wang K, et al.
Genomic profiling of advanced-stage, metaplastic breast carcinoma by next-generation sequencing reveals frequent, targetable genomic abnormalities and potential new treatment options.
Arch Pathol Lab Med. 2015; 139(5):642-9 [PubMed] Related Publications
CONTEXT: Metastatic metaplastic breast carcinoma (MPBC) is an uncommon, but aggressive, tumor resistant to conventional chemotherapy.
OBJECTIVE: To learn whether next-generation sequencing could identify potential targets of therapy for patients with relapsed and metastatic MPBC.
DESIGN: Hybridization capture of 3769 exons from 236 cancer-related genes and 47 introns of 19 genes commonly rearranged in cancer was applied to a minimum of 50 ng of DNA extracted from 20 MPBC formalin-fixed, paraffin-embedded specimens and sequenced to high uniform coverage.
RESULTS: The 20 patients with MPBC had a median age of 62 years (range, 42-86 years). There were 9 squamous (45%), 9 chondroid (45%), and 2 spindle cell (10%) MPBCs, all of which were high grade. Ninety-three genomic alterations were identified, (range, 1-11) with 19 of the 20 cases (95%) harboring an alteration that could potentially lead to a targeted treatment option. The most-common alterations were in TP53 (n = 69; 75%), PIK3CA (n = 37; 40%), MYC (n = 28; 30%), MLL2 (n = 28; 30%), PTEN (n = 23; 25%), CDKN2A/B (n = 19; 20%), CCND3 (n = 14; 15%), CCNE1 (n = 9; 10%), EGFR (n = 9; 10%), and KDM6A (n = 9; 10%); AKT3, CCND1, CCND2, CDK4, FBXW7, FGFR1, HRAS, NF1, PIK3R1, and SRC were each altered in a single case. All 16 MPBCs (100%) that were negative for ERBB2 (HER2) overexpression by immunohistochemistry and/or ERBB2 (HER2) amplification by fluorescence in situ hybridization were also uniformly (100%) negative for ERBB2 amplification by next-generation sequencing-based copy-number assessment.
CONCLUSIONS: Our results indicate that genomic profiling using next-generation sequencing can identify clinically meaningful alterations that have the potential to guide targeted treatment decisions in most patients with metastatic MPBC.

Lan YT, Jen-Kou L, Lin CH, et al.
Mutations in the RAS and PI3K pathways are associated with metastatic location in colorectal cancers.
J Surg Oncol. 2015; 111(7):905-10 [PubMed] Related Publications
BACKGROUND AND OBJECTIVES: Identification of mutations in the downstream epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) signaling pathway could provide important insights of EGFR-targeted therapies in colorectal cancers. We analyzed the mutation spectra of the PI3K/PTEN/AKT and RAS/RAF/MAPK pathways in colorectal cancers and the associations of these mutations with sites of metastases or recurrence.
METHODS: The study population comprised 1,492 retrospectively collected stages I-IV colorectal cancer specimens. Tissue was obtained between 2000 and 2010 at a single hospital. We analyzed 61 hot spots using MALDI-TOF mass spectrometry for nucleic acid analysis.
RESULTS: Mutations were found in the RAS pathway in 47.3% of patients and in the PI3K pathway in 14.3% of patients, with 9.2% of patients carrying mutations in both pathways. Both the RAS and PI3K pathway mutations were significantly associated with proximal tumors, mucinous tumors, and microsatellite instability. Tumors carrying a RAS pathway mutation exhibited a higher frequency of lung and peritoneal metastasis than did tumors with a wild-type gene (P = 0.025 and 0.009, respectively). NRAS gene mutation was significantly associated with lung metastasis (P = 0.001).
CONCLUSIONS: Somatic mutations in the RAS pathway of the primary tumor in colorectal cancer can influence patterns of metastasis and recurrence.

Singh N, Sahu DK, Goel M, et al.
Retrospective analysis of FFPE based Wilms' Tumor samples through copy number and somatic mutation related Molecular Inversion Probe Based Array.
Gene. 2015; 565(2):295-308 [PubMed] Related Publications
In this report, retrospectively, we analyzed fifteen histo-pathologically characterized FFPE based Wilms' Tumor (WT) samples following an integrative approach of copy number (CN) and loss of heterozygosity (LOH) imbalances. The isolated-DNA was tested on CN and somatic-mutation related Molecular-Inversion-Probe based-Oncoscan Array™ and was analyzed through Nexus-Express OncoScan-3.0 and 7.0 software. We identified gain of 3p13.0-q29, 4p16.3-14.0, 7, 12p13.33-q24.33, and losses of 1p36.11-q44, 11p15.5-q25, 21q 22.2-22.3 and 22q11.21-13.2 in six samples (W1-6) and validated them in nine more samples (W7-9, W12-15, W17-18). Some observed that discrete deletions (1p, 1q, 10p, 10q, 13q, 20p) were specific to our samples. Maximum-LOH was observed in Ch11 as reported in previous studies. However, LOH was also observed in different regions of Ch7 including some cancer genes. The identified LOH-regions (1q21.2-q21.3, 2p24.1-23.3, 2p24.3-24.3, 3p21.3-21.1, 4p16.3, 7p11.2-p11.1, 7q31.2-31.32, 7q34-q35 and Ch 8) in W1-W6 were also validated in W7-9, W12-15 and W18. In addition, previously reported LOH of 1p and 16q region was also observed in our cases. The proven and novel onco (OG)- and tumor-suppressor genes (TSGs) involved in the CNV regions affected the major pathways like Chromatin Modification, RAS, PI3K; RAS in 14/15 cases, NOTCH/TGF-β and Cell Cycle Apoptosis in 10/15 cases, APC in 9/15 cases and Transcriptional Regulation in 7/15 cases, PI3K and genome maintenance in 6/15 cases. This exhaustive profiling of OG and TG may help in prognosis and diagnosis of the disease after validation of all the relevant results, especially the novel ones, obtained in this research in a larger number of samples.

Maggi LB, Weber JD
Targeting PTEN-defined breast cancers with a one-two punch.
Breast Cancer Res. 2015; 17:51 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 01/08/2016 Related Publications
With tremendous advances in sequencing and analysis in recent years, a wealth of genetic information has become available to identify and classify breast cancer into five main subtypes - luminal A, luminal B, claudin-low, human epidermal growth factor receptor 2-enriched, and basal-like. Current treatment decisions are often based on these classifications, and while more beneficial than any single treatment for all breast cancers, targeted therapeutics have exhibited limited success with most of the subtypes. Luminal B breast cancers are associated with early relapse following endocrine therapy and often exhibit a poor prognosis that is similar to that of the aggressive basal-like breast cancers. Identifying genetic components that contribute to the luminal B endocrine resistant phenotype has become imperative. To this end, numerous groups have identified activation of the phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase (PI3K) pathway as a common recurring event in luminal B cancers with poor outcome. Examining the pathways downstream of PI3K, Fu and colleagues have recreated a human model of the luminal B subtype of breast cancer. The authors were able to reduce expression of phosphatase and tensin homolog (PTEN), the negative regulator of PI3K, using inducible short hairpin RNAs. By varying the expression of PTEN, the authors effectively conferred endocrine resistance and recapitulated the luminal B gene expression signature. Using this system in vitro and in vivo, they then tested the ability of selective kinase inhibitors downstream of PI3K to enhance current endocrine therapies. A combination of fulvestrant, which blocks ligand-dependent and -independent estrogen receptor signaling, with protein kinase B inhibition was found to overcome endocrine resistance. These findings squarely place PTEN expression levels at the nexus of luminal B breast cancers and indicates that patients with PTEN-low estrogen receptor-positive tumors might benefit from combined endocrine and PI3K pathway therapies.

Mann MB, Black MA, Jones DJ, et al.
Transposon mutagenesis identifies genetic drivers of Braf(V600E) melanoma.
Nat Genet. 2015; 47(5):486-95 [PubMed] Related Publications
Although nearly half of human melanomas harbor oncogenic BRAF(V600E) mutations, the genetic events that cooperate with these mutations to drive melanogenesis are still largely unknown. Here we show that Sleeping Beauty (SB) transposon-mediated mutagenesis drives melanoma progression in Braf(V600E) mutant mice and identify 1,232 recurrently mutated candidate cancer genes (CCGs) from 70 SB-driven melanomas. CCGs are enriched in Wnt, PI3K, MAPK and netrin signaling pathway components and are more highly connected to one another than predicted by chance, indicating that SB targets cooperative genetic networks in melanoma. Human orthologs of >500 CCGs are enriched for mutations in human melanoma or showed statistically significant clinical associations between RNA abundance and survival of patients with metastatic melanoma. We also functionally validate CEP350 as a new tumor-suppressor gene in human melanoma. SB mutagenesis has thus helped to catalog the cooperative molecular mechanisms driving BRAF(V600E) melanoma and discover new genes with potential clinical importance in human melanoma.

Kristensen L, Kristensen T, Abildgaard N, et al.
High expression of PI3K core complex genes is associated with poor prognosis in chronic lymphocytic leukemia.
Leuk Res. 2015; 39(6):555-60 [PubMed] Related Publications
Chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) is the most common leukemia among adults in the Western world. Autophagy is a highly conserved process in eukaryotic cells. In CLL autophagy is involved in mediating the effect of chemotherapy but the role of autophagy in CLL pathogenesis remains unknown. In the present study, we used real-time RT-PCR to analyze expression of the PIK3C3, PIK3R4, and BECN1 genes. These genes encode the components of the PI3K core complex, which is central to initiation of autophagy. A consecutive series of 149 well-characterized CLL cases from Region of Southern Denmark were included in the study. All three genes were observed to be independent markers of prognosis in CLL with high expression being associated with more aggressive disease. With this clear association with outcome in CLL, these genes thereby represent promising candidates for future functional studies on the role of autophagy in CLL, and they may further represent targets of treatment.

Zhang L, Zhou Y, Cheng C, et al.
Genomic analyses reveal mutational signatures and frequently altered genes in esophageal squamous cell carcinoma.
Am J Hum Genet. 2015; 96(4):597-611 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 01/08/2016 Related Publications
Esophageal squamous cell carcinoma (ESCC) is one of the most common cancers worldwide and the fourth most lethal cancer in China. However, although genomic studies have identified some mutations associated with ESCC, we know little of the mutational processes responsible. To identify genome-wide mutational signatures, we performed either whole-genome sequencing (WGS) or whole-exome sequencing (WES) on 104 ESCC individuals and combined our data with those of 88 previously reported samples. An APOBEC-mediated mutational signature in 47% of 192 tumors suggests that APOBEC-catalyzed deamination provides a source of DNA damage in ESCC. Moreover, PIK3CA hotspot mutations (c.1624G>A [p.Glu542Lys] and c.1633G>A [p.Glu545Lys]) were enriched in APOBEC-signature tumors, and no smoking-associated signature was observed in ESCC. In the samples analyzed by WGS, we identified focal (<100 kb) amplifications of CBX4 and CBX8. In our combined cohort, we identified frequent inactivating mutations in AJUBA, ZNF750, and PTCH1 and the chromatin-remodeling genes CREBBP and BAP1, in addition to known mutations. Functional analyses suggest roles for several genes (CBX4, CBX8, AJUBA, and ZNF750) in ESCC. Notably, high activity of hedgehog signaling and the PI3K pathway in approximately 60% of 104 ESCC tumors indicates that therapies targeting these pathways might be particularly promising strategies for ESCC. Collectively, our data provide comprehensive insights into the mutational signatures of ESCC and identify markers for early diagnosis and potential therapeutic targets.

Liu Y, Zhang M, Qian J, et al.
miR-134 functions as a tumor suppressor in cell proliferation and epithelial-to-mesenchymal Transition by targeting KRAS in renal cell carcinoma cells.
DNA Cell Biol. 2015; 34(6):429-36 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 01/06/2016 Related Publications
Aberrant microRNAs (miRNAs) are reported to contribute to the pathogenesis of most human malignancies. The miRNA, miR-134, has been found to be downregulated in renal cell carcinoma (RCC), but its function in the disease is unknown. The aims of this study were to detect the expression of miR-134 in human RCC samples and explore its function in RCC cell lines. Real-time qualitative polymerase chain reaction (qPCR) was used to quantify miR-134 in human RCC samples. Assays for cell cycle, viability, migration, and invasion were performed to assess the phenotypic changes in RCC cells. A luciferase reporter assay was carried out to confirm whether KRAS (Kirsten rat sarcoma viral oncogene homolog) is a direct target of miR-134. Western blot was used to identify the potential signaling pathways that had an impact on RCC cell growth and alterations of markers for epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT), which affected metastasis by miR-134. miR-134 was found to be downregulated in RCC samples (p<0.05), while overexpression of miR-134 suppressed proliferation (p<0.05) by triggering G1/G0 cell cycle arrest (p<0.05). Forced expression of miR-134 could also inhibit migration (p<0.05) and invasion (p<0.05) by blocking EMT in RCC cell lines. KRAS was identified as a target of miR-134, and miR-134 may act as a tumor suppressor through the KRAS-related MAPK/ERK pathway other than PI3K/AKT signaling. Thus, miR-134 may function as a tumor suppressor in cell proliferation and EMT by targeting KRAS in RCC cells.

Cheong JK, Zhang F, Chua PJ, et al.
Casein kinase 1α-dependent feedback loop controls autophagy in RAS-driven cancers.
J Clin Invest. 2015; 125(4):1401-18 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 01/06/2016 Related Publications
Activating mutations in the RAS oncogene are common in cancer but are difficult to therapeutically target. RAS activation promotes autophagy, a highly regulated catabolic process that metabolically buffers cells in response to diverse stresses. Here we report that casein kinase 1α (CK1α), a ubiquitously expressed serine/threonine kinase, is a key negative regulator of oncogenic RAS-induced autophagy. Depletion or pharmacologic inhibition of CK1α enhanced autophagic flux in oncogenic RAS-driven human fibroblasts and multiple cancer cell lines. FOXO3A, a master longevity mediator that transcriptionally regulates diverse autophagy genes, was a critical target of CK1α, as depletion of CK1α reduced levels of phosphorylated FOXO3A and increased expression of FOXO3A-responsive genes. Oncogenic RAS increased CK1α protein abundance via activation of the PI3K/AKT/mTOR pathway. In turn, elevated levels of CK1α increased phosphorylation of nuclear FOXO3A, thereby inhibiting transactivation of genes critical for RAS-induced autophagy. In both RAS-driven cancer cells and murine xenograft models, pharmacologic CK1α inactivation synergized with lysosomotropic agents to inhibit growth and promote tumor cell death. Together, our results identify a kinase feedback loop that influences RAS-dependent autophagy and suggest that targeting CK1α-regulated autophagy offers a potential therapeutic opportunity to treat oncogenic RAS-driven cancers.

Guo B, Gao J, Zhan J, Zhang H
Kindlin-2 interacts with and stabilizes EGFR and is required for EGF-induced breast cancer cell migration.
Cancer Lett. 2015; 361(2):271-81 [PubMed] Related Publications
Epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) mediates multiple signaling pathways that regulate cell proliferation, migration and tumor invasion. Kindlin-2 has been known as a focal adhesion molecule that binds to integrin to control cell migration and invasion. However, molecular mechanisms underlying the role of Kindlin-2 in breast cancer progression remain elusive. Here we report that Kindlin-2 interacts with EGFR and mediates EGF-induced breast cancer cell migration. We found that EGF treatment dramatically increases Kindlin-2 expression at both mRNA and protein levels in a variety of cancer cells. Inhibitors specific for EGFR or PI3K blocked Kindlin-2 induction by EGF. Importantly, Kindlin-2 interacted with EGFR kinase domain, which was independent of Kindlin-2 binding to integrin cytoplasmic domain. Intriguingly, Kindlin-2 stabilized EGFR protein by blocking its ubiquitination and degradation. Depletion of Kindlin-2 impaired EGF-induced cell migration. Our results demonstrated that Kindlin-2 participates in EGFR signaling and regulates breast cancer progression.

Zhang QY, Cheng WX, Li WM, et al.
Occurrence of low frequency PIK3CA and AKT2 mutations in gastric cancer.
Mutat Res. 2014; 769:108-12 [PubMed] Related Publications
The PI3K/AKT signal transduction pathway has distinct functional roles in tumor progression. PIK3CA was reported to harbor the hot-spot in many types of tumor. Akt, the downstream of PI3K, its family members especially AKT2 activation in human cancer has been extensively studied, but its activation by mutation was less reported. The occurrence of PIK3CA and AKT2 mutations in a variety of cancers indicates their important involvement in carcinogenesis. Therefore, we investigated their mutation frequencies in gastric cancer (GC) in China. In our study, we selected hot-spot related exons 9, 18 and 20 of PIK3CA and kinase domain exons 6-14 of AKT2 genes were screened in 10 GC cell lines, 100 advanced primary GC and matched normal tissues. Denaturing high performance liquid chromatography (DHPLC) and DNA sequencing were used to analyze the mutations in the two genes. Two point mutations in the PIK3CA gene were identified in 4 of 10 GC cell lines and in 4 of 100 GC primary tumors. Two polymorphisms in AKT2 were detected in 19 of 100 GC primary tumors. One point mutation in AKT2 was detected in 1 of 10 GC cell lines and 3 of 100 GC primary tumors but no hot spot variation was detected. Our results indicate that PIK3CA and AKT2 mutations occurred at low frequency in GC, and suggest that the PIK3CA/AKT2 pathway might engage other events during gastric carcinogenesis.

Zuo M, Rashid A, Churi C, et al.
Novel therapeutic strategy targeting the Hedgehog signalling and mTOR pathways in biliary tract cancer.
Br J Cancer. 2015; 112(6):1042-51 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 17/03/2016 Related Publications
BACKGROUND: Activation of the PI3K/mTOR and Hedgehog (Hh) signalling pathways occurs frequently in biliary tract cancer (BTC). Crosstalk between these pathways occurs in other gastrointestinal cancers. The respective signalling inhibitors rapamycin and vismodegib may inhibit BTC synergistically and suppress cancer stem cells (CSCs).
METHODS: Gene expression profiling for p70S6k and Gli1 was performed with BTC cell lines. Tumour and pathway inhibitory effects of rapamycin and vismodegib were investigated in BTC preclinical models and CSCs.
RESULTS: Rapamycin and vismodegib synergistically reduced BTC cell viability and proliferation. This drug combination arrested BTC Mz-ChA-1 cells in the G1 phase but had no significant effect on the cell cycle of BTC Sk-ChA-1 cells. Combined treatment inhibited the proliferation of CSCs and ALDH-positive cells. Nanog and Oct-4 expression in CSCs was decreased by the combination treatment. Western blotting results showed the p-p70S6K, p-Gli1, p-mTOR, and p-AKT protein expression were inhibited by the combination treatment in BTC cells. In an Mz-ChA-1 xenograft model, combination treatment resulted in 80% inhibition of tumour growth and prolonged tumour doubling time. In 4 of 10 human BTC specimens, tumour p-p70S6K and Gli1 protein expression levels were decreased with the combination treatment.
CONCLUSIONS: Targeted inhibition of the PI3K/mTOR and Hhpathways indicates a new avenue for BTC treatment with combination therapy.

Price TJ, Bruhn MA, Lee CK, et al.
Correlation of extended RAS and PIK3CA gene mutation status with outcomes from the phase III AGITG MAX STUDY involving capecitabine alone or in combination with bevacizumab plus or minus mitomycin C in advanced colorectal cancer.
Br J Cancer. 2015; 112(6):963-70 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 17/03/2016 Related Publications
BACKGROUND: Mutations affecting RAS genes are now established predictive markers of nonresponse to anti-EGFR antibodies in advanced CRC. This analysis assessed the prognostic and predictive impact of extended RAS and PIK3CA gene mutation status in patients receiving capecitabine plus or minus bevacizumab (±mitomycin C) in the randomised phase III MAX study.
METHODS: DNA was extracted from archival macrodissected formalin-fixed paraffin-embedded tumour tissue. Mutation status was determined using pyrosequencing, confirmed with Sanger sequencing (for equivocal RAS) and correlated with efficacy outcomes. Predictive analyses were undertaken using a test for interaction involving both C vs CB+CBM.
RESULTS: Of the available 280 of the 471 (59.4%) patients, mutations in KRAS exons 2, 3 and 4 and NRAS 2, 3 and 4 were as follows: 32%, 2.9%, 2.2%, 1.4%, 0.7% and 0% (total RAS MT 39%). The PIK3CA MT rate was 7.5% exon 9 and 3.6% exon 20. Extended RAS gene mutation status (WT vs MT) had no prognostic impact for PFS (HR 0.91 (0.71-1.17)) or OS (HR 0.95 (0.71-1.25)). The RAS gene mutation status was not predictive of the effectiveness of bevacizumab for PFS (HR 0.56 (0.37-0.85) for RAS MT and HR 0.69 (0.5-0.97) for RAS WT; P for interaction 0.50). The PIK3CA mutation was neither predictive for bevacizumab effect nor prognostic.
CONCLUSION: Of KRAS exon 2 WT patients, 10% had additional RAS mutations. Neither all RAS gene mutation status nor PIK3CA mutation status was prognostic for PFS or OS, or predictive of bevacizumab outcome in patients with advanced CRC.

Rijal S, Fleming S, Cummings N, et al.
Inositol polyphosphate 4-phosphatase II (INPP4B) is associated with chemoresistance and poor outcome in AML.
Blood. 2015; 125(18):2815-24 [PubMed] Related Publications
Phosphoinositide signaling regulates diverse cellular functions. Phosphoinositide-3 kinase (PI3K) generates PtdIns(3,4,5)P3 and PtdIns(3,4)P2, leading to the activation of proliferative and anti-apoptotic signaling pathways. Termination of phosphoinositide signaling requires hydrolysis of inositol ring phosphate groups through the actions of PtdIns(3,4,5)P3 3-phosphatase (PTEN), PtdIns(3,4,5)P3 5-phosphatases (eg, SHIP), and PtdIns(3,4)P2 4-phosphatases (eg, INPP4B). The biological relevance of most of these phosphoinositide phosphatases in acute myeloid leukemia (AML) remains poorly understood. Mass spectrometry-based gene expression profiling of 3-, 4- and 5-phosphatases in human AML revealed significant overexpression of INPP4B. Analysis of an expanded panel of 205 AML cases at diagnosis revealed INPP4B overexpression in association with reduced responses to chemotherapy, early relapse, and poor overall survival, independent of other risk factors. Ectopic overexpression of INPP4B conferred leukemic resistance to cytosine arabinoside (ara-C), daunorubicin, and etoposide. Expression of a phosphatase inert variant (INPP4B C842A) failed to abrogate resistance of AML cells to chemotherapy in vitro or in vivo. In contrast, targeted suppression of endogenously overexpressed INPP4B by RNA interference sensitized AML cell lines and primary AML to chemotherapy. These findings demonstrate a previously unsuspected and clinically relevant role for INPP4B gain of function as a mediator of chemoresistance and poor survival outcome in AML independent of its phosphoinositide phosphatase function.

Kannan K, Coarfa C, Chao PW, et al.
Recurrent BCAM-AKT2 fusion gene leads to a constitutively activated AKT2 fusion kinase in high-grade serous ovarian carcinoma.
Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2015; 112(11):E1272-7 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 17/09/2015 Related Publications
High-grade serous ovarian cancer (HGSC) is among the most lethal forms of cancer in women. Excessive genomic rearrangements, which are expected to create fusion oncogenes, are the hallmark of this cancer. Here we report a cancer-specific gene fusion between BCAM, a membrane adhesion molecule, and AKT2, a key kinase in the PI3K signaling pathway. This fusion is present in 7% of the 60 patient cancers tested, a significant frequency considering the highly heterogeneous nature of this malignancy. Further, we provide direct evidence that BCAM-AKT2 is translated into an in-frame fusion protein in the patient's tumor. The resulting AKT2 fusion kinase is membrane-associated, constitutively phosphorylated, and activated as a functional kinase in cells. Unlike endogenous AKT2, whose activity is tightly regulated by external stimuli, BCAM-AKT2 escapes the regulation from external stimuli. Moreover, a BCAM-AKT2 fusion gene generated via chromosomal translocation using the CRISPR/Cas9 system leads to focus formation in both OVCAR8 and HEK-293T cell lines, suggesting that BCAM-AKT2 is oncogenic. Together, the results indicate that BCAM-AKT2 expression is a new mechanism of AKT2 kinase activation in HGSC. BCAM-AKT2 is the only fusion gene in HGSC that is proven to translate an aberrant yet functional kinase fusion protein with oncogenic properties. This recurrent genomic alteration is a potential therapeutic target and marker of a clinically relevant subtype for tailored therapy of HGSC.

Yang P, Li Z, Wang Y, et al.
Secreted pyruvate kinase M2 facilitates cell migration via PI3K/Akt and Wnt/β-catenin pathway in colon cancer cells.
Biochem Biophys Res Commun. 2015; 459(2):327-32 [PubMed] Related Publications
Pyruvate Kinase M2 (PKM2) is a key glycolytic enzyme, which highly expressed in tumor cells, and plays a pivotal role in the growth, survival and metabolism reprogramming of cancer cells. Besides the location of cytoplasm as a glycolytic enzyme and the location of nucleus as a protein kinase, extracellular PKM2 is present in serum and feces of tumor patients. However, little is known about the secretion of PKM2 and its significance in the progression of colon cancer. Here we demonstrated that PKM2 could be secreted from colon cancer cells, and purified PKM2 protein mimicing the secreted PKM2 was able to promote colon cancer cell migration. Moreover, PI3K/Akt and Wnt/β-catenin signaling were involved in secreted PKM2 induced colon cancer cell migration. The results reveal critical roles of secreted PKM2 in the progression of colon cancer, and indicate that PKM2 may be a therapeutic target for colon cancer.

Andersson AK, Ma J, Wang J, et al.
The landscape of somatic mutations in infant MLL-rearranged acute lymphoblastic leukemias.
Nat Genet. 2015; 47(4):330-7 [PubMed] Related Publications
Infant acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) with MLL rearrangements (MLL-R) represents a distinct leukemia with a poor prognosis. To define its mutational landscape, we performed whole-genome, exome, RNA and targeted DNA sequencing on 65 infants (47 MLL-R and 18 non-MLL-R cases) and 20 older children (MLL-R cases) with leukemia. Our data show that infant MLL-R ALL has one of the lowest frequencies of somatic mutations of any sequenced cancer, with the predominant leukemic clone carrying a mean of 1.3 non-silent mutations. Despite this paucity of mutations, we detected activating mutations in kinase-PI3K-RAS signaling pathway components in 47% of cases. Surprisingly, these mutations were often subclonal and were frequently lost at relapse. In contrast to infant cases, MLL-R leukemia in older children had more somatic mutations (mean of 6.5 mutations/case versus 1.3 mutations/case, P = 7.15 × 10(-5)) and had frequent mutations (45%) in epigenetic regulators, a category of genes that, with the exception of MLL, was rarely mutated in infant MLL-R ALL.

Hao NB, Tang B, Wang GZ, et al.
Hepatocyte growth factor (HGF) upregulates heparanase expression via the PI3K/Akt/NF-κB signaling pathway for gastric cancer metastasis.
Cancer Lett. 2015; 361(1):57-66 [PubMed] Related Publications
Heparanase (HPA) is an endoglucuronidase that can promote the shedding of associated cytokines in several types of tumors. However, little is known about what controls the expression of HPA or its role in gastric cancer. In this study, we report for the first time that HGF regulates HPA expression to promote gastric cancer metastasis. In this study, HGF and HPA were found to be significantly expressed in 58 gastric cancer patients. High expression of both HGF and HPA was positively associated with TNM stage, invasion depth and poor prognosis. In MKN74 cells, exogenous HGF significantly increased HPA expression at both the mRNA and protein levels. Further study revealed that HGF first activated PI3K/Akt signaling. NF-κB signaling was activated downstream of PI3K/Akt and promoted HPA expression. However, when c-met, PI3K/Akt or NF-κB signal inhibitors were used, HPA expression was significantly decreased. All of these results indicate that HGF regulates HPA expression by PI3K/Akt and downstream NF-κB signaling. Using bioinformatics and the ChIP assay, p65 was observed to bind to the HPA promoter. Furthermore, HGF significantly induced tumor cell migration, whereas treatment with an NF-κB inhibitor decreased migration. Moreover, when HPA was overexpressed in MKN74 cells, migration was significantly enhanced, and the HGF concentration was increased. However, when HPA was down-regulated in MKN45 cells, migration and HGF levels decreased. Together, these results demonstrate that HGF/c-met can activate PI3K/Akt and downstream NF-κB signaling to promote HPA expression and subsequent tumor metastasis.

Waddell N, Pajic M, Patch AM, et al.
Whole genomes redefine the mutational landscape of pancreatic cancer.
Nature. 2015; 518(7540):495-501 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 17/09/2015 Related Publications
Pancreatic cancer remains one of the most lethal of malignancies and a major health burden. We performed whole-genome sequencing and copy number variation (CNV) analysis of 100 pancreatic ductal adenocarcinomas (PDACs). Chromosomal rearrangements leading to gene disruption were prevalent, affecting genes known to be important in pancreatic cancer (TP53, SMAD4, CDKN2A, ARID1A and ROBO2) and new candidate drivers of pancreatic carcinogenesis (KDM6A and PREX2). Patterns of structural variation (variation in chromosomal structure) classified PDACs into 4 subtypes with potential clinical utility: the subtypes were termed stable, locally rearranged, scattered and unstable. A significant proportion harboured focal amplifications, many of which contained druggable oncogenes (ERBB2, MET, FGFR1, CDK6, PIK3R3 and PIK3CA), but at low individual patient prevalence. Genomic instability co-segregated with inactivation of DNA maintenance genes (BRCA1, BRCA2 or PALB2) and a mutational signature of DNA damage repair deficiency. Of 8 patients who received platinum therapy, 4 of 5 individuals with these measures of defective DNA maintenance responded.

Ng CK, Schultheis AM, Bidard FC, et al.
Breast cancer genomics from microarrays to massively parallel sequencing: paradigms and new insights.
J Natl Cancer Inst. 2015; 107(5) [PubMed] Related Publications
Rapid advancements in massively parallel sequencing methods have enabled the analysis of breast cancer genomes at an unprecedented resolution, which have revealed the remarkable heterogeneity of the disease. As a result, we now accept that despite originating in the breast, estrogen receptor (ER)-positive and ER-negative breast cancers are completely different diseases at the molecular level. It has become apparent that there are very few highly recurrently mutated genes such as TP53, PIK3CA, and GATA3, that no two breast cancers display an identical repertoire of somatic genetic alterations at base-pair resolution and that there might not be a single highly recurrently mutated gene that defines each of the "intrinsic" subtypes of breast cancer (ie, basal-like, HER2-enriched, luminal A, and luminal B). Breast cancer heterogeneity, however, extends beyond the diversity between tumors. There is burgeoning evidence to demonstrate that at least some primary breast cancers are composed of multiple, genetically diverse clones at diagnosis and that metastatic lesions may differ in their repertoire of somatic genetic alterations when compared with their respective primary tumors. Several biological phenomena may shape the reported intratumor genetic heterogeneity observed in breast cancers, including the different mutational processes and multiple types of genomic instability. Harnessing the emerging concepts of the diversity of breast cancer genomes and the phenomenon of intratumor genetic heterogeneity will be essential for the development of optimal methods for diagnosis, disease monitoring, and the matching of patients to the drugs that would benefit them the most.

Nunes M, Vrignaud P, Vacher S, et al.
Evaluating patient-derived colorectal cancer xenografts as preclinical models by comparison with patient clinical data.
Cancer Res. 2015; 75(8):1560-6 [PubMed] Related Publications
Development of targeted therapeutics required translationally relevant preclinical models with well-characterized cancer genome alterations. Here, by studying 52 colorectal patient-derived tumor xenografts (PDX), we examined key molecular alterations of the IGF2-PI3K and ERBB-RAS pathways and response to cetuximab. PDX molecular data were compared with that published for patient colorectal tumors in The Cancer Genome Atlas. We demonstrated a significant pattern of mutual exclusivity of genomic abnormalities in the IGF2-PI3K and ERBB-RAS pathways. The genomic anomaly frequencies observed in microsatellite stable PDX reproduce those detected in nonhypermutated patient tumors. We found frequent IGF2 upregulation (16%), which was mutually exclusive with IRS2, PIK3CA, PTEN, and INPP4B alterations, supporting IGF2 as a potential drug target. In addition to maintaining the genomic and histologic diversity, correct preclinical models need to reproduce drug response observed in patients. Responses of PDXs to cetuximab recapitulate also clinical data in patients, with partial or complete response in 15% (8 of 52) of PDXs and response strictly restricted to KRAS wild-type models. The response rate reaches 53% (8 of 15) when KRAS, BRAF, and NRAS mutations are concomitantly excluded, proving a functional cross-validation of predictive biomarkers obtained retrospectively in patients. Collectively, these results show that, because of their clinical relevance, colorectal PDXs are appropriate tools to identify both new targets, like IGF2, and predictive biomarkers of response/resistance to targeted therapies.

Matano M, Date S, Shimokawa M, et al.
Modeling colorectal cancer using CRISPR-Cas9-mediated engineering of human intestinal organoids.
Nat Med. 2015; 21(3):256-62 [PubMed] Related Publications
Human colorectal tumors bear recurrent mutations in genes encoding proteins operative in the WNT, MAPK, TGF-β, TP53 and PI3K pathways. Although these pathways influence intestinal stem cell niche signaling, the extent to which mutations in these pathways contribute to human colorectal carcinogenesis remains unclear. Here we use the CRISPR-Cas9 genome-editing system to introduce multiple such mutations into organoids derived from normal human intestinal epithelium. By modulating the culture conditions to mimic that of the intestinal niche, we selected isogenic organoids harboring mutations in the tumor suppressor genes APC, SMAD4 and TP53, and in the oncogenes KRAS and/or PIK3CA. Organoids engineered to express all five mutations grew independently of niche factors in vitro, and they formed tumors after implantation under the kidney subcapsule in mice. Although they formed micrometastases containing dormant tumor-initiating cells after injection into the spleen of mice, they failed to colonize in the liver. In contrast, engineered organoids derived from chromosome-instable human adenomas formed macrometastatic colonies. These results suggest that 'driver' pathway mutations enable stem cell maintenance in the hostile tumor microenvironment, but that additional molecular lesions are required for invasive behavior.

Guest ST, Kratche ZR, Bollig-Fischer A, et al.
Two members of the TRiC chaperonin complex, CCT2 and TCP1 are essential for survival of breast cancer cells and are linked to driving oncogenes.
Exp Cell Res. 2015; 332(2):223-35 [PubMed] Related Publications
Gene amplification is a common mechanism of oncogene activation in cancer. Several large-scale efforts aimed at identifying the comprehensive set of genomic regions that are recurrently amplified in cancer have been completed. In breast cancer, these studies have identified recurrently amplified regions containing known drivers such as HER2 and CCND1 as well as regions where the driver oncogene is unknown. In this study, we integrated RNAi-based functional genetic data with copy number and expression data to identify genes that are recurrently amplified, overexpressed and also necessary for the growth/survival of breast cancer cells. Further analysis using clinical data from The Cancer Genome Atlas specifically identified candidate genes that play a role in determining patient outcomes. Using this approach, we identified two genes, TCP1 and CCT2, as being recurrently altered in breast cancer, necessary for growth/survival of breast cancer cells in vitro, and determinants of overall survival in breast cancer patients. We also show that expression of TCP1 is regulated by driver oncogene activation of PI3K signaling in breast cancer. Interestingly, the TCP1 and CCT2 genes both encode for components of a multi-protein chaperone complex in the cell known as the TCP1 Containing Ring Complex (TRiC). Our results demonstrate a role for the TRiC subunits TCP1 and CCT2, and potentially the entire TRiC complex, in breast cancer and provide rationale for TRiC as a novel therapeutic target in breast cancer.

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