This study explores the evolution of CD44 expression in therian mammals in both SF as well as ESF and demonstrates that the human lineage has experienced a concerted evolutionary enhancement of CD44 expression, correlating with an increase in human vulnerability to cancer malignancy.
The results suggest that therapeutic modulation of CD44 expression in skin fibroblasts could attenuate the cancer-promoting effect of cancer associated fibroblasts with minimal side effects on other cell types.
The data-driven approach described in this paper provides an unbiased means for systematic prioritization of patient-specific drug combinations that selectively inhibit AML cells and avoid co-inhibition of non-malignant cells
This is the first systematic approach to personalized drug combinations selection that takes into account both the molecular heterogeneity of AML cells and the possible toxic effects of combinations
The results show that low-dose methamphetamine improved the therapeutic efficacy of doxorubicin in a mouse model of human glioblastoma (GBM), as measured by a 25% increase in median survival time (p = 0.0024)
The authors observed how lose-dose methamphetamine increased caveolar-based transport of doxorubicin and afilibercept across the BBB
E-cadherin, an epithelial-specific cell-cell adhesion molecule, plays multiple roles in maintaining adherens junctions, regulating migration and invasion, and mediating intracellular signaling. Downregulation of E-cadherin is a hallmark of epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT) and correlates with poor prognosis in multiple carcinomas. Conversely, upregulation of E-cadherin is prognostic for improved survival in sarcomas. Yet, despite the prognostic benefit of E-cadherin expression in sarcoma, the mechanistic significance of E-cadherin in sarcomas remains poorly understood. Here, by combining mathematical models with wet-bench experiments, we identify the core regulatory networks mediated by E-cadherin in sarcomas, and decipher their functional consequences. Unlike in carcinomas, E-cadherin overexpression in sarcomas does not induce a mesenchymal-epithelial transition (MET). However, E-cadherin acts to reduce both anchorage-independent growth and spheroid formation of sarcoma cells. Ectopic E-cadherin expression acts to downregulate phosphorylated CREB (p-CREB) and the transcription factor, TBX2, to inhibit anchorage-independent growth. RNAi-mediated knockdown of TBX2 phenocopies the effect of E-cadherin on p-CREB levels and restores sensitivity to anchorage-independent growth in sarcoma cells. Beyond its signaling role, E-cadherin expression in sarcoma cells can also strengthen cell-cell adhesion and restricts spheroid growth through mechanical action. Together, our results demonstrate that E-cadherin inhibits sarcoma aggressiveness by preventing anchorage-independent growth.
Summary: Successful glioblastoma (GBM) therapies have remained elusive due to limitations in understanding mechanisms of growth and survival of the tumorigenic population. Using CRISPR-Cas9 approaches in patient-derived GBM stem cells to interrogate function of the coding genome, we identify diverse actionable pathways responsible for growth that reveal the gene-essential circuitry of GBM stemness. In particular, we describe the Sox developmental transcription factor family; H3K79 methylation by DOT1L; and ufmylation stress responsiveness programs as essential for GBM stemness. Additionally, we find mechanisms of temozolomide resistance and sensitivity that could lead to combination strategies with this standard of care treatment. By reaching beyond static genome analysis of bulk tumors, with a genome wide functional approach, we dive deep into a broad range of biological processes to provide new understanding of GBM growth and treatment resistance. Significance: Glioblastoma (GBM) remains an incurable disease despite an increasingly thorough depth of knowledge of the genomic and epigenomic alterations of bulk tumors. Evidence from multiple approaches support that GBM reflects an aberrant developmental hierarchy, with GBM stem cells (GSCs), fueling tumor growth and invasion. The properties of this tumor subpopulation may also in part explain treatment resistance and disease recurrence. Unfortunately, we still have a limited knowledge of the molecular circuitry of these cells and progress has been slow as we have not been able, until recently, to interrogate function at the genome-wide scale. Here, using parallel genome-wide CRISPR-Cas9 screens, we identify the essential genes for GSC growth. Further, by screening in the presence of low and high dose temozolomide, we identify mechanisms of drug resistance and sensitivity. These functional screens in patient derived cells reveal new aspects of GBM biology and identify a diversity of actionable targets such as genes governing stem cell traits, epigenome regulation and the response to stress stimuli.
Acute myeloid leukemias (AML) are characterized by mutations of tumor suppressor and oncogenes, involving distinct genes in adults and children. While certain mutations have been associated with the increased risk of AML relapse, the genomic landscape of primary chemotherapy resistant AML is not well defined. As part of the TARGET initiative, we performed whole-genome DNA and transcriptome (RNA and miRNA) sequencing analysis of pediatric AML with failure of induction chemotherapy. We identified at least three genetic groups of patients with induction failure, including those with NUP98 rearrangements, somatic mutations of WT1 in the absence of NUP98 mutations, and additional recurrent variants including those in KMT2C and MLLT10. Comparison of specimens before and after chemotherapy revealed distinct and invariant gene expression programs. While exhibiting overt therapy resistance, these leukemias nonetheless showed diverse forms of clonal evolution upon chemotherapy exposure. This included selection for mutant alleles of FRMD8, DHX32, PIK3R1, SHANK3, MKLN1, as well as persistence of WT1 and TP53 mutant clones, and elimination or contraction of FLT3, PTPN11, and NRAS mutant clones. These findings delineate genetic mechanisms of primary chemotherapy resistance in pediatric AML, which should inform improved approaches for its diagnosis and therapy.
Resistance to chemotherapy can occur through a wide variety of mechanisms. Resistance to tyrosine kinase inhibitors (TKIs) often arises from kinase mutations-however, "off-target" resistance occurs but is poorly understood. Previously, we established cell line resistance models for three TKIs used in chronic myeloid leukemia treatment, and found that resistance was not attributed entirely to failure of kinase inhibition. Here, we performed global, integrated proteomic and transcriptomic profiling of these cell lines to describe mechanisms of resistance at the protein and gene expression level. We used whole transcriptome sequencing and SWATH-based data-independent acquisition mass spectrometry (DIA-MS), which does not require isotopic labels and provides quantitative measurements of proteins in a comprehensive, unbiased fashion. The proteomic and transcriptional data were correlated to generate an integrated understanding of the gene expression and protein alterations associated with TKI resistance. We defined mechanisms of resistance and two novel markers, CA1 and alpha-synuclein, that were common to all TKIs tested. Resistance to all of the TKIs was associated with oxidative stress responses, hypoxia signatures, and apparent metabolic reprogramming of the cells. Metabolite profiling and glucose-dependence experiments showed that resistant cells had routed their metabolism through glycolysis (particularly through the pentose phosphate pathway) and exhibited disruptions in mitochondrial metabolism. These experiments are the first to report a global, integrated proteomic, transcriptomic and metabolic analysis of TKI resistance. These data suggest that although the mechanisms are complex, targeting metabolic pathways along with TKI treatment may overcome pan-TKI resistance.
Chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) is a genetically, epigenetically, and clinically heterogeneous disease. Despite this heterogeneity, the Bruton tyrosine kinase (BTK) inhibitor ibrutinib provides effective treatment for the vast majority of CLL patients. To define the underlining regulatory program, we analyzed high-resolution time courses of ibrutinib treatment in closely monitored patients, combining cellular phenotyping (flow cytometry), single-cell transcriptome profiling (scRNA-seq), and chromatin mapping (ATAC-seq). We identified a consistent regulatory program shared across all patients, which was further validated by an independent CLL cohort. In CLL cells, this program starts with a sharp decrease of NF-κB binding, followed by reduced regulatory activity of lineage-defining transcription factors (including PAX5 and IRF4) and erosion of CLL cell identity, finally leading to the acquisition of a quiescence-like gene signature which was shared across several immune cell types. Nevertheless, we observed patient-to-patient variation in the speed of its execution, which we exploited to predict patient-specific dynamics in the response to ibrutinib based on pre-treatment samples. In aggregate, our study describes the cellular, molecular, and regulatory effects of therapeutic B cell receptor inhibition in CLL at high temporal resolution, and it establishes a broadly applicable method for epigenome/transcriptome-based treatment monitoring.