135 research outputs found

    CRX Is a Diagnostic Marker of Retinal and Pineal Lineage Tumors

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    Background: CRX is a homeobox transcription factor whose expression and function is critical to maintain retinal and pineal lineage cells and their progenitors. To determine the biologic and diagnostic potential of CRX in human tumors of the retina and pineal, we examined its expression in multiple settings. Methodology/Principal Findings: Using situ hybridization and immunohistochemistry we show that Crx RNA and protein expression are exquisitely lineage restricted to retinal and pineal cells during normal mouse and human development. Gene expression profiling analysis of a wide range of human cancers and cancer cell lines also supports that CRX RNA is highly lineage restricted in cancer. Immunohistochemical analysis of 22 retinoblastomas and 13 pineal parenchymal tumors demonstrated strong expression of CRX in over 95% of these tumors. Importantly, CRX was not detected in the majority of tumors considered in the differential diagnosis of pineal region tumors (n = 78). The notable exception was medulloblastoma, 40% of which exhibited CRX expression in a heterogeneous pattern readily distinguished from that seen in retino-pineal tumors. Conclusions/Significance: These findings describe new potential roles for CRX in human cancers and highlight the general utility of lineage restricted transcription factors in cancer biology. They also identify CRX as a sensitive and specific clinical marker and a potential lineage dependent therapeutic target in retinoblastoma and pineoblastoma

    Increased expression of programmed death ligand 1 (PD-L1) in human pituitary tumors

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    PURPOSE: Subsets of pituitary tumors exhibit an aggressive clinical courses and recur despite surgery, radiation, and chemotherapy. Because modulation of the immune response through inhibition of T-cell checkpoints has led to durable clinical responses in multiple malignancies, we explored whether pituitary adenomas express immune-related biomarkers that could suggest suitability for immunotherapy. Specifically, programmed death ligand 1 (PD-L1) has emerged as a potential biomarker whose expression may portend more favorable responses to immune checkpoint blockade therapies. We thus investigated the expression of PD-L1 in pituitary adenomas. METHODS: PD-L1 RNA and protein expression were evaluated in 48 pituitary tumors, including functioning and non-functioning adenomas as well as atypical and recurrent tumors. Tumor infiltrating lymphocyte populations were also assessed by immunohistochemistry. RESULTS: Pituitary tumors express variable levels of PD-L1 transcript and protein. PD-L1 RNA and protein expression were significantly increased in functioning (growth hormone and prolactin-expressing) pituitary adenomas compared to non-functioning (null cell and silent gonadotroph) adenomas. Moreover, primary pituitary adenomas harbored higher levels of PD-L1 mRNA compared to recurrent tumors. Tumor infiltrating lymphocytes were observed in all pituitary tumors and were positively correlated with increased PD-L1 expression, particularly in the functional subtypes. CONCLUSIONS: Human pituitary adenomas harbor PD-L1 across subtypes, with significantly higher expression in functioning adenomas compared to non-functioning adenomas. This expression is accompanied by the presence of tumor infiltrating lymphocytes. These findings suggest the existence of an immune response to pituitary tumors and raise the possibility of considering checkpoint blockade immunotherapy in cases refractory to conventional management

    Loss of tumor suppressor NF1 activates HSF1 to promote carcinogenesis

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    Intrinsic stress response pathways are frequently mobilized within tumor cells. The mediators of these adaptive mechanisms and how they contribute to carcinogenesis remain poorly understood. A striking example is heat shock factor 1 (HSF1), master transcriptional regulator of the heat shock response. Surprisingly, we found that loss of the tumor suppressor gene neurofibromatosis type 1 (Nf1) increased HSF1 levels and triggered its activation in mouse embryonic fibroblasts. As a consequence, Nf1[superscript –/–] cells acquired tolerance to proteotoxic stress. This activation of HSF1 depended on dysregulated MAPK signaling. HSF1, in turn, supported MAPK signaling. In mice, Hsf1 deficiency impeded NF1-associated carcinogenesis by attenuating oncogenic RAS/MAPK signaling. In cell lines from human malignant peripheral nerve sheath tumors (MPNSTs) driven by NF1 loss, HSF1 was overexpressed and activated, which was required for tumor cell viability. In surgical resections of human MPNSTs, HSF1 was overexpressed, translocated to the nucleus, and phosphorylated. These findings reveal a surprising biological consequence of NF1 deficiency: activation of HSF1 and ensuing addiction to this master regulator of the heat shock response. The loss of NF1 function engages an evolutionarily conserved cellular survival mechanism that ultimately impairs survival of the whole organism by facilitating carcinogenesis.United States. Army Medical Research and Materiel Command (Neurofibromatosis Research Program)Kathy and Curt Marble Cancer Research Fun

    Compromising the 19S proteasome complex protects cells from reduced flux through the proteasome

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    Proteasomes are central regulators of protein homeostasis in eukaryotes. Proteasome function is vulnerable to environmental insults, cellular protein imbalance and targeted pharmaceuticals. Yet, mechanisms that cells deploy to counteract inhibition of this central regulator are little understood. To find such mechanisms, we reduced flux through the proteasome to the point of toxicity with specific inhibitors and performed genome-wide screens for mutations that allowed cells to survive. Counter to expectation, reducing expression of individual subunits of the proteasome's 19S regulatory complex increased survival. Strong 19S reduction was cytotoxic but modest reduction protected cells from inhibitors. Protection was accompanied by an increased ratio of 20S to 26S proteasomes, preservation of protein degradation capacity and reduced proteotoxic stress. While compromise of 19S function can have a fitness cost under basal conditions, it provided a powerful survival advantage when proteasome function was impaired. This means of rebalancing proteostasis is conserved from yeast to humans