406 research outputs found

    A reversible SRC-relayed COX2 inflammatory program drives resistance to BRAF and EGFR inhibition in BRAFV600E colorectal tumors

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    BRAFV600E mutation confers a poor prognosis in metastatic colorectal cancer (CRC) despite combinatorial targeted therapies based on the latest understanding of signaling circuitry. To identify parallel resistance mechanisms induced by BRAF–MEK–EGFR co-targeting, we used a high-throughput kinase activity mapping platform. Here we show that SRC kinases are systematically activated in BRAFV600E CRC following targeted inhibition of BRAF ± EGFR and that coordinated targeting of SRC with BRAF ± EGFR increases treatment efficacy in vitro and in vivo. SRC drives resistance to BRAF ± EGFR targeted therapy independently of ERK signaling by inducing transcriptional reprogramming through β-catenin (CTNNB1). The EGFR-independent compensatory activation of SRC kinases is mediated by an autocrine prostaglandin E2 loop that can be blocked with cyclooxygenase-2 (COX2) inhibitors. Co-targeting of COX2 with BRAF + EGFR promotes durable suppression of tumor growth in patient-derived tumor xenograft models. COX2 inhibition represents a drug-repurposing strategy to overcome therapeutic resistance in BRAFV600E CRC

    High-throughput chemogenetic drug screening reveals PKC-RhoA/PKN as a targetable signaling vulnerability in GNAQ-driven uveal melanoma

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    Uveal melanoma (UM) is the most prevalent cancer of the eye in adults, driven by activating mutation of GNAQ/GNA11; however, there are limited therapies against UM and metastatic UM (mUM). Here, we perform a high-throughput chemogenetic drug screen in GNAQ-mutant UM contrasted with BRAF-mutant cutaneous melanoma, defining the druggable landscape of these distinct melanoma subtypes. Across all compounds, darovasertib demonstrates the highest preferential activity against UM. Our investigation reveals that darovasertib potently inhibits PKC as well as PKN/PRK, an AGC kinase family that is part of the "dark kinome." We find that downstream of the Gαq-RhoA signaling axis, PKN converges with ROCK to control FAK, a mediator of non-canonical Gαq-driven signaling. Strikingly, darovasertib synergizes with FAK inhibitors to halt UM growth and promote cytotoxic cell death in vitro and in preclinical metastatic mouse models, thus exposing a signaling vulnerability that can be exploited as a multimodal precision therapy against mUM.</p

    Transcriptional repression of estrogen receptor alpha by YAP reveals the Hippo pathway as therapeutic target for ER+ breast cancer.

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    Extensive knowledge has been gained on the transcription network controlled by ERα, however, the mechanism underlying ESR1 (encoding ERα) expression is less understood. We recently discovered that the Hippo pathway is required for the proper expression of ESR1. YAP/TAZ are transcription coactivators that are phosphorylated and inhibited by the Hippo pathway kinase LATS. Here we delineated the molecular mechanisms underlying ESR1 transcription repression by the Hippo pathway. Mechanistically, YAP binds to TEAD to increase local chromatin accessibility to stimulate transcription of nearby genes. Among the YAP target genes, Vestigial-Like Protein 3 (VGLL3) competes with YAP/TAZ for binding to TEAD transcription factor and recruits the NCOR2/SMRT repressor to the super-enhancer of ESR1 gene, leading to epigenetic alteration and transcriptional silencing. We developed a potent LATS inhibitor VT02956. Targeting the Hippo pathway by VT02956 represses ESR1 expression and inhibits the growth of ER+ breast cancer cells as well as patient-derived tumour organoids. Moreover, histone deacetylase inhibitors, such as Entinostat, induce VGLL3 expression to inhibit ER+ breast cancer cells. Our study suggests LATS as unexpected cancer therapeutic targets, especially for endocrine-resistant breast cancers

    Somatic 9p24.1 alterations in HPV– head and neck squamous cancer dictate immune microenvironment and anti-PD-1 checkpoint inhibitor activity

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    Somatic copy number alterations (SCNAs), generally (1) losses containing interferons and interferon-pathway genes, many on chromosome 9p, predict immune-cold, immune checkpoint therapy (ICT)-resistant tumors (2); however, genomic regions mediating these effects are unclear and probably tissue specific. Previously, 9p21.3 loss was found to be an early genetic driver of human papillomavirus-negative (HPV-) head and neck squamous cancer (HNSC), associated with an immune-cold tumor microenvironment (TME) signal, and recent evidence suggested that this TME-cold phenotype was greatly enhanced with 9p21 deletion size, notably encompassing band 9p24.1 (3). Here, we report multi-omic, -threshold and continuous-variable dissection of 9p21 and 9p24 loci (including depth and degree of somatic alteration of each band at each locus, and each gene at each band) and TME of four HPV- HNSC cohorts. Preferential 9p24 deletion, CD8 T-cell immune-cold associations were observed, driven by 9p24.1 loss, and in turn by an essential telomeric regulatory gene element, JAK2-CD274. Surprisingly, same genetic region gains were immune hot. Related 9p21-TME analyses were less evident. Inherent 9p-band-level influences on anti-PD1 ICT survival rates, coincident with TME patterns, were also observed. At a 9p24.1 whole-transcriptome expression threshold of 60th percentile, ICT survival rate exceeded that of lower expression percentiles and of chemotherapy; below this transcript threshold, ICT survival was inferior to chemotherapy, the latter unaffected by 9p24.1 expression level (P-values &lt; 0.01, including in a PD-L1 immunohistochemistry-positive patient subgroup). Whole-exome analyses of 10 solid-tumor types suggest that these 9p-related ICT findings could be relevant to squamous cancers, in which 9p24.1 gain/immune-hot associations exist

    Integrating Genetic Alterations and the Hippo Pathway in Head and Neck Squamous Cell Carcinoma for Future Precision Medicine

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    Genetic alterations and dysregulation of signaling pathways are indispensable for the initiation and progression of cancer. Understanding the genetic, molecular, and signaling diversities in cancer patients has driven a dynamic change in cancer therapy. Patients can select a suitable molecularly targeted therapy or immune checkpoint inhibitor based on the driver gene alterations determined by sequencing of cancer tissue. This “precision medicine” approach requires detailed elucidation of the mechanisms connecting genetic alterations of driver genes and aberrant downstream signaling pathways. The regulatory mechanisms of the Hippo pathway and Yes-associated protein/transcriptional co-activator with PDZ binding motif (YAP/TAZ) that have central roles in cancer cell proliferation are not fully understood, reflecting their recent discovery. Nevertheless, emerging evidence has shown that various genetic alterations dysregulate the Hippo pathway and hyperactivate YAP/TAZ in cancers, including head and neck squamous cell carcinoma (HNSCC). Here, we summarize the latest evidence linking genetic alterations and the Hippo pathway in HNSCC, with the aim of contributing to the continued development of precision medicine

    Lymphatic-preserving treatment sequencing with immune checkpoint inhibition unleashes cDC1-dependent antitumor immunity in HNSCC.

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    Despite the promise of immune checkpoint inhibition (ICI), therapeutic responses remain limited. This raises the possibility that standard of care treatments delivered in concert may compromise the tumor response. To address this, we employ tobacco-signature head and neck squamous cell carcinoma murine models in which we map tumor-draining lymphatics and develop models for regional lymphablation with surgery or radiation. We find that lymphablation eliminates the tumor ICI response, worsening overall survival and repolarizing the tumor- and peripheral-immune compartments. Mechanistically, within tumor-draining lymphatics, we observe an upregulation of conventional type I dendritic cells and type I interferon signaling and show that both are necessary for the ICI response and lost with lymphablation. Ultimately, we provide a mechanistic understanding of how standard oncologic therapies targeting regional lymphatics impact the tumor response to immune-oncology therapy in order to define rational, lymphatic-preserving treatment sequences that mobilize systemic antitumor immunity, achieve optimal tumor responses, control regional metastatic disease, and confer durable antitumor immunity

    Monomethyl auristatin antibody and peptide drug conjugates for trimodal cancer chemo-radio-immunotherapy.

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    Locally advanced cancers remain therapeutically challenging to eradicate. The most successful treatments continue to combine decades old non-targeted chemotherapies with radiotherapy that unfortunately increase normal tissue damage in the irradiated field and have systemic toxicities precluding further treatment intensification. Therefore, alternative molecularly guided systemic therapies are needed to improve patient outcomes when applied with radiotherapy. In this work, we report a trimodal precision cytotoxic chemo-radio-immunotherapy paradigm using spatially targeted auristatin warheads. Tumor-directed antibodies and peptides conjugated to radiosensitizing monomethyl auristatin E (MMAE) specifically produce CD8 T cell dependent durable tumor control of irradiated tumors and immunologic memory. In combination with ionizing radiation, MMAE sculpts the tumor immune infiltrate to potentiate immune checkpoint inhibition. Here, we report therapeutic synergies of targeted cytotoxic auristatin radiosensitization to stimulate anti-tumor immune responses providing a rationale for clinical translational of auristatin antibody drug conjugates with radio-immunotherapy combinations to improve tumor control

    Focal Adhesion Kinase (FAK)-Hippo/YAP transduction signaling mediates the stimulatory effects exerted by S100A8/A9-RAGE system in triple-negative breast cancer (TNBC).

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    BackgroundUnderstanding the intricate signaling network involved in triple-negative breast cancer (TNBC) represents a challenge for developing novel therapeutic approaches. Here, we aim to provide novel mechanistic insights on the function of the S100A8/A9-RAGE system in TNBC.MethodsTNM plot analyzer, Kaplan-Meier plotter, Meta-analysis, GEPIA2 and GOBO publicly available datasets were used to evaluate the clinical significance of S100A8/A9 and expression levels of S100A8/A9, RAGE and Filamin family members in breast cancer (BC) subtypes. METABRIC database and Cox proportional hazard model defined the clinical impact of high RAGE expression in BC patients. Multiple bioinformatics programs identified the main enriched pathways within high RAGE expression BC cohorts. By lentiviral system, TNBC cells were engineered to overexpress RAGE. Western blotting, immunofluorescence, nucleus/cytoplasm fractionation, qRT-PCR, gene silencing and luciferase experiments were performed to identify signal transduction mediators engaged by RAGE upon stimulation with S100A8/A9 in TNBC cells. Proliferation, colony formation and transwell migration assays were carried out to evaluate the growth and migratory capacity of TNBC cells. Statistical analysis was performed by ANOVA and independent t-tests.ResultsWe found a remarkable high expression of S100A8 and S100A9 in BC, particularly in HER2-positive and TNBC, with the latter associated to worst clinical outcomes. In addition, high RAGE expression correlated with a poor overall survival in BC. Next, we determined that the S100A8/A9-RAGE system triggers FAK activation by engaging a cytoskeleton mechanosensing complex in TNBC cells. Through bioinformatics analysis, we identified the Hippo pathway as the most enriched in BC patients expressing high RAGE levels. In accordance with these data, we demonstrated the involvement of S100A8/A9-RAGE-FAK signaling in the control of Hippo/YAP activities, and we established the crucial contribution of RAGE-FAK-YAP circuitry in the growth and migratory effects initiated by S100A8/A9 in TNBC cells.ConclusionsThe present study provides novel mechanistic insights on RAGE actions in TNBC. Moreover, our findings suggest that RAGE-FAK-YAP transduction pathway could be exploited as a druggable system halting the aggressive TNBC subtype

    Genomic Hippo Pathway Alterations and Persistent YAP/TAZ Activation: New Hallmarks in Head and Neck Cancer

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    Head and neck squamous cell carcinoma (HNSCC) represents a highly prevalent and deadly malignancy worldwide. The prognosis for locoregionally advanced HNSCC has not appreciably improved over the past 30 years despite advances in surgical, radiation, and targeted therapies and less than 20% of HNSCC patients respond to recently approved immune checkpoint inhibitors. The Hippo signaling pathway, originally discovered as a mechanism regulating tissue growth and organ size, transduces intracellular and extracellular signals to regulate the transcriptional co-activators YAP and TAZ. Alterations in the Hippo pathway resulting in persistent YAP and TAZ activation have emerged as major oncogenic drivers. Our analysis of the human HNSCC oncogenome revealed multiple genomic alterations impairing Hippo signaling and activating YAP and TAZ, which in turn contribute to HNSCC development. This includes mutations and deletions of the FAT1 gene (29%) and amplification of the WWTR1 (encoding TAZ, 14%) and YAP1 genes (8%), together representing one of the most genetically altered signaling mechanisms in this malignancy. Here, we discuss key elements of the mammalian Hippo pathway, detail mechanisms by which perturbations in Hippo signaling promote HNSCC initiation and progression and outline emerging strategies to target Hippo signaling vulnerabilities as part of novel multimodal precision therapies for HNSCC
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