Sir Peter MacCallum Department of Oncology - Research Publications

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    IL-23 costimulates antigen-specific MAIT cell activation and enables vaccination against bacterial infection
    Wang, H ; Kjer-Nielsen, L ; Shi, M ; D'Souza, C ; Pediongco, TJ ; Cao, H ; Kostenko, L ; Lim, XY ; Eckle, SBG ; Meehan, BS ; Zhu, T ; Wang, B ; Zhao, Z ; Mak, JYW ; Fairlie, DP ; Teng, MWL ; Rossjohn, J ; Yu, D ; de St Groth, BF ; Lovrecz, G ; Lu, L ; McCluskey, J ; Strugnell, RA ; Corbett, AJ ; Chen, Z (AMER ASSOC ADVANCEMENT SCIENCE, 2019-11-01)
    Mucosal-associated invariant T (MAIT) cells are activated in a TCR-dependent manner by antigens derived from the riboflavin synthesis pathway, including 5-(2-oxopropylideneamino)-6-D-ribitylaminouracil (5-OP-RU), bound to MHC-related protein-1 (MR1). However, MAIT cell activation in vivo has not been studied in detail. Here, we have found and characterized additional molecular signals required for optimal activation and expansion of MAIT cells after pulmonary Legionella or Salmonella infection in mice. We show that either bone marrow–derived APCs or non–bone marrow–derived cells can activate MAIT cells in vivo, depending on the pathogen. Optimal MAIT cell activation in vivo requires signaling through the inducible T cell costimulator (ICOS), which is highly expressed on MAIT cells. Subsequent expansion and maintenance of MAIT-17/1-type responses are dependent on IL-23. Vaccination with IL-23 plus 5-OP-RU augments MAIT cell–mediated control of pulmonary Legionella infection. These findings reveal cellular and molecular targets for manipulating MAIT cell function under physiological conditions.
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    An alternative splicing switch in FLNB promotes the mesenchymal cell state in human breast cancer
    Li, J ; Choi, PS ; Chaffer, CL ; Labella, K ; Hwang, JH ; Giacomelli, AO ; Kim, JW ; Ilic, N ; Doench, JG ; Ly, SH ; Dai, C ; Hagel, K ; Hong, AL ; Gjoerup, O ; Goel, S ; Ge, JY ; Root, DE ; Zhao, JJ ; Brooks, AN ; Weinberg, RA ; Hahn, WC (ELIFE SCIENCES PUBLICATIONS LTD, 2018-07-30)
    Alternative splicing of mRNA precursors represents a key gene expression regulatory step and permits the generation of distinct protein products with diverse functions. In a genome-scale expression screen for inducers of the epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition (EMT), we found a striking enrichment of RNA-binding proteins. We validated that QKI and RBFOX1 were necessary and sufficient to induce an intermediate mesenchymal cell state and increased tumorigenicity. Using RNA-seq and eCLIP analysis, we found that QKI and RBFOX1 coordinately regulated the splicing and function of the actin-binding protein FLNB, which plays a causal role in the regulation of EMT. Specifically, the skipping of FLNB exon 30 induced EMT by releasing the FOXC1 transcription factor. Moreover, skipping of FLNB exon 30 is strongly associated with EMT gene signatures in basal-like breast cancer patient samples. These observations identify a specific dysregulation of splicing, which regulates tumor cell plasticity and is frequently observed in human cancer.
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    CDK4/6 inhibition in breast cancer: current practice and future directions
    Pernas, S ; Tolaney, SM ; Winer, EP ; Goel, S (SAGE PUBLICATIONS LTD, 2018-07-17)
    The cyclin D/cyclin-dependent kinases 4 and 6 (CDK4/6)-retinoblastoma protein (RB) pathway plays a key role in the proliferation of both normal breast epithelium and breast cancer cells. A strong rationale for inhibiting CDK4/6 in breast cancers has been present for many years. However, potent and selective CDK4/6 inhibitors have only recently become available. These agents prevent phosphorylation of the RB tumor suppressor, thereby invoking cancer cell cycle arrest in G1. CDK4/6 inhibitors have transited rapidly from preclinical studies to the clinical arena, and three have already been approved for the treatment of advanced, estrogen receptor (ER)-positive breast cancer patients on account of striking clinical trial results demonstrating substantial improvements in progression-free survival. ER-positive breast cancers harbor several molecular features that would predict their sensitivity to CDK4/6 inhibitors. As physicians gain experience with using these agents in the clinic, new questions arise: are CDK4/6 inhibitors likely to be useful for patients with other subtypes of breast cancer? Are there other agents that could be effectively combined with CDK4/6 inhibitors, beyond endocrine therapy? Is there a rationale for combining CDK4/6 inhibitors with novel immune-based therapies? In this review, we describe not only the clinical data available to date, but also the biology of the CDK4/6 pathway and discuss answers to these questions. In particular, we highlight that CDK4 and CDK6 govern much more than the cancer cell cycle, and that their optimal use in the clinic depends on a deeper understanding of the less well characterized effects of these enzymes.
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    Streamlined genetic education is effective in preparing women newly diagnosed with breast cancer for decision making about treatment-focused genetic testing: a randomized controlled noninferiority trial
    Quinn, VF ; Meiser, B ; Kirk, J ; Tucker, KM ; Watts, KJ ; Rahman, B ; Peate, M ; Saunders, C ; Geelhoed, E ; Gleeson, M ; Barlow-Stewart, K ; Field, M ; Harris, M ; Antill, YC ; Cicciarelli, L ; Crowe, K ; Bowen, MT ; Mitchell, G (NATURE PUBLISHING GROUP, 2017-04-01)
    PURPOSE: Increasingly, women newly diagnosed with breast cancer are being offered treatment-focused genetic testing (TFGT). As the demand for TFGT increases, streamlined methods of genetic education are needed. METHODS: In this noninferiority trial, women aged <50 years with either a strong family history (FH+) or other features suggestive of a germ-line mutation (FH-) were randomized before definitive breast cancer surgery to receive TFGT education either as brief written materials (intervention group (IG)) or during a genetic counseling session at a familial cancer clinic (usual-care group (UCG)). Women completed self-report questionnaires at four time points over 12 months. RESULTS: A total of 135 women were included in the analysis, all of whom opted for TFGT. Decisional conflict about TFGT choice (primary outcome) was not inferior in the IG compared with the UCG (noninferiority margin of -10; mean difference = 2.45; 95% confidence interval -2.87-7.76; P = 0.36). Costs per woman counseled in the IG were significantly lower (AUD$89) compared with the UCG (AUD$173; t(115) = 6.02; P < 0.001). CONCLUSION: A streamlined model of educating women newly diagnosed with breast cancer about TFGT seems to be a cost-effective way of delivering education while ensuring that women feel informed and supported in their decision making, thus freeing resources for other women to access TFGT.Genet Med 19 4, 448-456.
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    TERT structural rearrangements in metastatic pheochromocytomas
    Dwight, T ; Flynn, A ; Amarasinghe, K ; Benn, DE ; Lupat, R ; Li, J ; Cameron, DL ; Hogg, A ; Balachander, S ; Candiloro, ILM ; Wong, SQ ; Robinson, BG ; Papenfuss, AT ; Gill, AJ ; Dobrovic, A ; Hicks, RJ ; Clifton-Bligh, RJ ; Tothill, RW (BIOSCIENTIFICA LTD, 2018-01-01)
    Pheochromocytomas (PC) and paragangliomas (PGL) are endocrine tumors for which the genetic and clinicopathological features of metastatic progression remain incompletely understood. As a result, the risk of metastasis from a primary tumor cannot be predicted. Early diagnosis of individuals at high risk of developing metastases is clinically important and the identification of new biomarkers that are predictive of metastatic potential is of high value. Activation of TERT has been associated with a number of malignant tumors, including PC/PGL. However, the mechanism of TERT activation in the majority of PC/PGL remains unclear. As TERT promoter mutations occur rarely in PC/PGL, we hypothesized that other mechanisms - such as structural variations - may underlie TERT activation in these tumors. From 35 PC and four PGL, we identified three primary PCs that developed metastases with elevated TERT expression, each of which lacked TERT promoter mutations and promoter DNA methylation. Using whole genome sequencing, we identified somatic structural alterations proximal to the TERT locus in two of these tumors. In both tumors, the genomic rearrangements led to the positioning of super-enhancers proximal to the TERT promoter, that are likely responsible for the activation of the normally tightly repressed TERT expression in chromaffin cells.
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    Prefrontal cortical control of a brainstem social behavior circuit
    Franklin, TB ; Silva, BA ; Perova, Z ; Marrone, L ; Masferrer, ME ; Zhan, Y ; Kaplan, A ; Greetham, L ; Verrechia, V ; Halman, A ; Pagella, S ; Vyssotski, AL ; Illarionova, A ; Grinevich, V ; Branco, T ; Gross, CT (NATURE PUBLISHING GROUP, 2017-02-01)
    The prefrontal cortex helps adjust an organism's behavior to its environment. In particular, numerous studies have implicated the prefrontal cortex in the control of social behavior, but the neural circuits that mediate these effects remain unknown. Here we investigated behavioral adaptation to social defeat in mice and uncovered a critical contribution of neural projections from the medial prefrontal cortex to the dorsal periaqueductal gray, a brainstem area vital for defensive responses. Social defeat caused a weakening of functional connectivity between these two areas, and selective inhibition of these projections mimicked the behavioral effects of social defeat. These findings define a specific neural projection by which the prefrontal cortex can control and adapt social behavior.
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    Sustainable Syntheses of (-)-Jerantinines A & E and Structural Characterisation of the Jerantinine-Tubulin Complex at the Colchicine Binding Site
    Smedley, CJ ; Stanley, PA ; Qazzaz, ME ; Prota, AE ; Olieric, N ; Collins, H ; Eastman, H ; Barrow, AS ; Lim, K-H ; Kam, T-S ; Smith, BJ ; Duivenvoorden, HM ; Parker, BS ; Bradshaw, TD ; Steinmetz, MO ; Moses, JE (NATURE PORTFOLIO, 2018-07-13)
    The jerantinine family of Aspidosperma indole alkaloids from Tabernaemontana corymbosa are potent microtubule-targeting agents with broad spectrum anticancer activity. The natural supply of these precious metabolites has been significantly disrupted due to the inclusion of T. corymbosa on the endangered list of threatened species by the International Union for Conservation of Nature. This report describes the asymmetric syntheses of (-)-jerantinines A and E from sustainably sourced (-)-tabersonine, using a straight-forward and robust biomimetic approach. Biological investigations of synthetic (-)-jerantinine A, along with molecular modelling and X-ray crystallography studies of the tubulin-(-)-jerantinine B acetate complex, advocate an anticancer mode of action of the jerantinines operating via microtubule disruption resulting from binding at the colchicine site. This work lays the foundation for accessing useful quantities of enantiomerically pure jerantinine alkaloids for future development.
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    Characterisation and validation of Mel38; A multi-tissue microRNA signature of cutaneous melanoma
    Van Laar, R ; Lincoln, M ; Fereday, S ; Ahmad, A (PUBLIC LIBRARY SCIENCE, 2019-02-05)
    BACKGROUND: Histopathologic examination of melanocytic neoplasms can be challenging and subjective, with no specific circulating or tissue-based biomarkers currently available. Recently, a circulating 38-microRNA profile of melanoma (Mel38) was described. In this study, Mel38 expression and its impact on downstream mRNA regulation in solid tissue is examined. METHODS: Mel38 was applied to archival, clinically-annotated, solid-tissue genomic datasets representing benign naevi, primary and metastatic melanoma. Statistical analysis of the signature in relation to disease status, patient outcome and molecular pathways was performed. RESULTS: Mel38 is able to stratify genomic data from solid tissue biopsies on the basis of disease status and differences in melanoma-specific survival. Experimentally-verified messenger-RNA targets of Mel38 also exhibit prognostic expression patterns and represent key molecular pathways and events in melanoma development and progression. CONCLUSION: The Mel38 microRNA profile may have diagnostic and prognostic utility in solid tissue as well as being a robust circulating biomarker of melanoma.
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    Discriminating the earliest stages of mammary carcinoma using myoepithelial and proliferative markers
    Duivenvoorden, HM ; Spurling, A ; O'Toole, SA ; Parker, BS ; Sun, L-Z (PUBLIC LIBRARY SCIENCE, 2018-07-25)
    Mammographic screening has led to increased detection of breast cancer at a pre-invasive state, hence modelling the earliest stages of breast cancer invasion is important in defining candidate biomarkers to predict risk of relapse. Discrimination of pre-invasive from invasive lesions is critically important for such studies. Myoepithelial cells are the barrier between epithelial cells and the surrounding stroma in the breast ductal system. A number of myoepithelial immunohistochemistry markers have been identified and validated in human tissue for use by pathologists as diagnostic tools to distinguish in situ carcinoma from invasive breast cancer. However, robust myoepithelial markers for mouse mammary tissue have been largely under-utilised. Here, we investigated the utility of the myoepithelial markers smooth muscle actin (SMA), smooth muscle myosin heavy chain (SMMHC), cytokeratin-14 (CK14) and p63 to discriminate mammary intraepithelial neoplasia (MIN) from invasive disease in the C57BL/6J MMTV-PyMT transgenic model of mammary carcinoma. We identified that SMMHC and CK14 are retained in early in situ neoplasia and are appropriate markers for distinguishing MIN from invasive disease in this model. Additionally, the proliferation marker Ki67 is a superior marker for differentiating between normal and hyperplastic ducts, prior to the development of MIN. Based on this, we developed a scoring matrix for discriminating normal, hyperplasia, MIN and invasive lesions in this spontaneous mammary tumorigenesis model. This study demonstrates heterogeneous expression of myoepithelial proteins throughout tumour development, and highlights the need to characterise the most appropriate markers in other models of early breast cancer to allow accurate classification of disease state.
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    Automated preparation of 2-[F-18]fluoropropionate labeled peptides using a flexible, multi-stage synthesis platform (iPHASE Flexlab)
    Haskali, MB ; Roselt, PD ; Hicks, RJ ; Hutton, CA (WILEY, 2018-02-01)
    Radiolabelled peptides are vital tools used in positron emission tomography imaging for the diagnosis of disease, drug discovery, and biomedical research. Peptides are typically labeled through conjugation to a radiolabelled prosthetic group, which usually necessitates complex, multi-step procedures, especially for fluorine-18 labeled peptides. Herein, we describe the automated synthesis and formulation of 2-[18 F]fluoropropionate labeled RGD-peptides through use of the iPHASE Flexlab as an effective dual-stage radiochemical synthesis module. The fully automated preparation of the monomeric RGD-peptides, [18 F]FP-GalactoRGD and [18 F]FP-c(RGDy(SO3 )K), was accomplished in under 90 minutes with n.d.c. radiochemical yields ca. 7% from fluoride. Similarly, the automated preparation of the dimeric RGD-peptides, [18 F]F-PRGD2 and [18 F]FP-E(RGDy(SO3 )K)2 , was accomplished in under 105 minutes with n.d.c. yields ca. 4% from fluoride.