Centre for Cancer Research - Research Publications
Now showing items 1-12 of 100
Immune recovery in patients with mantle cell lymphoma receiving long-term ibrutinib and venetoclax combination therapy
(AMER SOC HEMATOLOGY, 2020-10-13)
Combination venetoclax plus ibrutinib for the treatment of mantle cell lymphoma (MCL) has demonstrated efficacy in the relapsed or refractory setting; however, the long-term impact on patient immunology is unknown. In this study, changes in immune subsets of MCL patients treated with combination venetoclax and ibrutinib were assessed over a 4-year period. Multiparameter flow cytometry of peripheral blood mononuclear cells showed that ≥12 months of treatment resulted in alterations in the proportions of multiple immune subsets, most notably CD4+ and CD8+ effector and central memory T cells and natural killer cells, and normalization of T-cell cytokine production in response to T-cell receptor stimulation. Gene expression analysis identified upregulation of multiple myeloid genes (including S100 and cathepsin family members) and inflammatory pathways over 12 months. Four patients with deep responses stopped study drugs, resulting in restoration of normal immune subsets for all study parameters except myeloid gene/pathway expression, suggesting long-term combination venetoclax and ibrutinib irreversibly affects this population. Our findings demonstrate that long-term combination therapy is associated with immune recovery in MCL, which may allow responses to subsequent immunotherapies and suggests that this targeted therapy results in beneficial impacts on immunological recovery. This trial was registered at www.clinicaltrials.gov as #NCT02471391.
DNA methylation patterns identify subgroups of pancreatic neuroendocrine tumors with clinical association
(NATURE RESEARCH, 2021-02-03)
Here we report the DNA methylation profile of 84 sporadic pancreatic neuroendocrine tumors (PanNETs) with associated clinical and genomic information. We identified three subgroups of PanNETs, termed T1, T2 and T3, with distinct patterns of methylation. The T1 subgroup was enriched for functional tumors and ATRX, DAXX and MEN1 wild-type genotypes. The T2 subgroup contained tumors with mutations in ATRX, DAXX and MEN1 and recurrent patterns of chromosomal losses in half of the genome with no association between regions with recurrent loss and methylation levels. T2 tumors were larger and had lower methylation in the MGMT gene body, which showed positive correlation with gene expression. The T3 subgroup harboured mutations in MEN1 with recurrent loss of chromosome 11, was enriched for grade G1 tumors and showed histological parameters associated with better prognosis. Our results suggest a role for methylation in both driving tumorigenesis and potentially stratifying prognosis in PanNETs.
Recurrent loss of heterozygosity correlates with clinical outcome in pancreatic neuroendocrine cancer
Pancreatic neuroendocrine tumors (pNETs) are uncommon cancers arising from pancreatic islet cells. Here we report the analysis of gene mutation, copy number, and RNA expression of 57 sporadic well-differentiated pNETs. pNET genomes are dominated by aneuploidy, leading to concordant changes in RNA expression at the level of whole chromosomes and chromosome segments. We observed two distinct patterns of somatic pNET aneuploidy that are associated with tumor pathology and patient prognosis. Approximately 26% of the patients in this series had pNETs with genomes characterized by recurrent loss of heterozygosity (LoH) of 10 specific chromosomes, accompanied by bi-allelic MEN1 inactivation and generally poor clinical outcome. Another ~40% of patients had pNETs that lacked this recurrent LoH pattern but had chromosome 11 LoH, bi-allelic MEN1 inactivation, and universally good clinical outcome. The somatic aneuploidy allowed pathogenic germline variants (e.g., ATM) to be expressed unopposed, with RNA expression patterns showing inactivation of downstream tumor suppressor pathways. No prognostic associations were found with tumor morphology, single gene mutation, or expression of RNAs reflecting the activity of immune, differentiation, proliferative or tumor suppressor pathways. In pNETs, single gene mutations appear to be less important than aneuploidy, with MEN1 the only statistically significant recurrently mutated driver gene. In addition, only one pNET in the series had clearly actionable single nucleotide variants (SNVs) (in PTEN and FLCN) confirmed by corroborating RNA expression changes. The two clinically relevant patterns of LoH described here define a novel oncogenic mechanism and a plausible route to genomic precision oncology for this tumor type.
Tailored first-line and second-line CDK4-targeting treatment combinations in mouse models of pancreatic cancer
(BMJ PUBLISHING GROUP, 2018-12-01)
OBJECTIVE: Extensive molecular heterogeneity of pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDA), few effective therapies and high mortality make this disease a prime model for advancing development of tailored therapies. The p16-cyclin D-cyclin-dependent kinase 4/6-retinoblastoma (RB) protein (CDK4) pathway, regulator of cell proliferation, is deregulated in PDA. Our aim was to develop a novel personalised treatment strategy for PDA based on targeting CDK4. DESIGN: Sensitivity to potent CDK4/6 inhibitor PD-0332991 (palbociclib) was correlated to protein and genomic data in 19 primary patient-derived PDA lines to identify biomarkers of response. In vivo efficacy of PD-0332991 and combination therapies was determined in subcutaneous, intrasplenic and orthotopic tumour models derived from genome-sequenced patient specimens and genetically engineered model. Mechanistically, monotherapy and combination therapy were investigated in the context of tumour cell and extracellular matrix (ECM) signalling. Prognostic relevance of companion biomarker, RB protein, was evaluated and validated in independent PDA patient cohorts (>500 specimens). RESULTS: Subtype-specific in vivo efficacy of PD-0332991-based therapy was for the first time observed at multiple stages of PDA progression: primary tumour growth, recurrence (second-line therapy) and metastatic setting and may potentially be guided by a simple biomarker (RB protein). PD-0332991 significantly disrupted surrounding ECM organisation, leading to increased quiescence, apoptosis, improved chemosensitivity, decreased invasion, metastatic spread and PDA progression in vivo. RB protein is prevalent in primary operable and metastatic PDA and may present a promising predictive biomarker to guide this therapeutic approach. CONCLUSION: This study demonstrates the promise of CDK4 inhibition in PDA over standard therapy when applied in a molecular subtype-specific context.
CIB1 contributes to oncogenic signalling by Ras via modulating the subcellular localisation of sphingosine kinase 1.
(Springer Science and Business Media LLC, 2017-05-04)
CIB1 (calcium and integrin binding protein 1) is a small intracellular protein with numerous interacting partners, and hence has been implicated in various cellular functions. Recent studies have revealed emerging roles of CIB1 in regulating cancer cell survival and angiogenesis, although the mechanisms involved have remained largely undefined. In investigating the oncogenic function of CIB1, we initially found that CIB1 is widely up-regulated across a diverse range of cancers, with this upregulation frequently correlating with oncogenic mutations of KRas. Consistent with this, we found that ectopic expression of oncogenic KRas and HRas in cells resulted in elevated CIB1 expression. We previously described the Ca2+-myristoyl switch function of CIB1, and its ability to facilitate agonist-induced plasma membrane localisation of sphingosine kinase 1 (SK1), a location where SK1 is known to elicit oncogenic signalling. Thus, we examined the role this may play in oncogenesis. Consistent with these findings, we demonstrated here that over-expression of CIB1 by itself is sufficient to drive localisation of SK1 to the plasma membrane and enhance the membrane-associated enzymatic activity of SK1, as well as its oncogenic signalling. We subsequently demonstrated that elevated levels of CIB1 resulted in full neoplastic transformation, in a manner dependent on SK1. In agreement with our previous findings that SK1 is a downstream mediator of oncogenic signalling by Ras, we found that targeting CIB1 also inhibited neoplastic growth of cells induced by oncogenic Ras, suggesting an important pro-tumorigenic role for CIB1. Thus, we have demonstrated for the first time a role for CIB1 in neoplastic transformation, and revealed a novel mechanism facilitating oncogenic signalling by Ras and SK1.
Recurrent noncoding regulatory mutations in pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma
(NATURE PUBLISHING GROUP, 2017-06-01)
The contributions of coding mutations to tumorigenesis are relatively well known; however, little is known about somatic alterations in noncoding DNA. Here we describe GECCO (Genomic Enrichment Computational Clustering Operation) to analyze somatic noncoding alterations in 308 pancreatic ductal adenocarcinomas (PDAs) and identify commonly mutated regulatory regions. We find recurrent noncoding mutations to be enriched in PDA pathways, including axon guidance and cell adhesion, and newly identified processes, including transcription and homeobox genes. We identified mutations in protein binding sites correlating with differential expression of proximal genes and experimentally validated effects of mutations on expression. We developed an expression modulation score that quantifies the strength of gene regulation imposed by each class of regulatory elements, and found the strongest elements were most frequently mutated, suggesting a selective advantage. Our detailed single-cancer analysis of noncoding alterations identifies regulatory mutations as candidates for diagnostic and prognostic markers, and suggests new mechanisms for tumor evolution.
Mutational signatures in esophageal adenocarcinoma define etiologically distinct subgroups with therapeutic relevance
(NATURE PUBLISHING GROUP, 2016-10-01)
Esophageal adenocarcinoma (EAC) has a poor outcome, and targeted therapy trials have thus far been disappointing owing to a lack of robust stratification methods. Whole-genome sequencing (WGS) analysis of 129 cases demonstrated that this is a heterogeneous cancer dominated by copy number alterations with frequent large-scale rearrangements. Co-amplification of receptor tyrosine kinases (RTKs) and/or downstream mitogenic activation is almost ubiquitous; thus tailored combination RTK inhibitor (RTKi) therapy might be required, as we demonstrate in vitro. However, mutational signatures showed three distinct molecular subtypes with potential therapeutic relevance, which we verified in an independent cohort (n = 87): (i) enrichment for BRCA signature with prevalent defects in the homologous recombination pathway; (ii) dominant T>G mutational pattern associated with a high mutational load and neoantigen burden; and (iii) C>A/T mutational pattern with evidence of an aging imprint. These subtypes could be ascertained using a clinically applicable sequencing strategy (low coverage) as a basis for therapy selection.
Dual targeting of p53 and c-MYC selectively eliminates leukaemic stem cells
(NATURE PUBLISHING GROUP, 2016-06-16)
Chronic myeloid leukaemia (CML) arises after transformation of a haemopoietic stem cell (HSC) by the protein-tyrosine kinase BCR-ABL. Direct inhibition of BCR-ABL kinase has revolutionized disease management, but fails to eradicate leukaemic stem cells (LSCs), which maintain CML. LSCs are independent of BCR-ABL for survival, providing a rationale for identifying and targeting kinase-independent pathways. Here we show--using proteomics, transcriptomics and network analyses--that in human LSCs, aberrantly expressed proteins, in both imatinib-responder and non-responder patients, are modulated in concert with p53 (also known as TP53) and c-MYC regulation. Perturbation of both p53 and c-MYC, and not BCR-ABL itself, leads to synergistic cell kill, differentiation, and near elimination of transplantable human LSCs in mice, while sparing normal HSCs. This unbiased systems approach targeting connected nodes exemplifies a novel precision medicine strategy providing evidence that LSCs can be eradicated.
Identification of somatic mutations of the MEN1 gene in sporadic endocrine tumours
(NATURE PUBLISHING GROUP, 2000-10-01)
Endocrine tumours of the pancreas, anterior pituitary or parathyroids arise either sporadically in the general population, or as a part of inherited syndromes such as multiple endocrine neoplasia type 1 (MEN 1). The mechanisms responsible for the development of sporadic endocrine lesions are not well understood, although loss of heterozygosity (LOH) of the MEN1 locus on chromosome 11q13 and somatic mutation of the MEN1 gene have been frequently associated with the development of MEN 1-type sporadic endocrine lesions. To further investigate the role of the MEN1 gene in sporadic endocrine tumorigenesis, we analysed DNA from 14 primary parathyroid lesions, 8 anterior pituitary tumours and 3 pancreatic tumours for the presence of somatic MEN1 gene mutations and LOH of seven microsatellite markers flanking the MEN1 locus. In addition, we similarly analysed 8 secondary parathyroid lesions which arose in patients with chronic renal failure. None of the patients studied had a family history of MEN 1. Three primary parathyroid lesions and one pancreatic tumour (glucagonoma) were found to have lost one allele at the MEN1 locus. Somatic mutations were identified by SSCP and sequence analysis in one of these parathyroid lesions (P320L) and in the glucagonoma (E179V). These results support previous findings that inactivation of the MEN1 tumour suppressor gene contributes to the development of sporadic MEN 1-type endocrine lesions but is not associated with the development of parathyroid hyperplasia seen in some renal failure patients.
Novel cancer drivers: mining the kinome
Large-scale cancer genome studies are unveiling significant complexity and heterogeneity even in histopathologically indistinguishable cancers. Differentiating 'driver' mutations that are functionally relevant from 'passenger' mutations is a major challenge in cancer genomics. While recurrent mutations in a gene provides supporting evidence of 'driver' status, novel computational methods and model systems are greatly improving our ability to identify genes important in carcinogenesis. Reimand and Bader have recently shown that driver gene discovery in discrete gene classes (in this case the kinome) is possible across multiple cancer types and has the potential to yield new druggable targets and clinically relevant leads.
Transcriptome content and dynamics at single-nucleotide resolution
Massively parallel short-tag sequencing of cDNA libraries--RNAseq--is being used to study the dynamics and complexity of eukaryotic transcriptomes, giving new biological insights into the 'active genome'.
Signatures of mutational processes in human cancer
(NATURE PUBLISHING GROUP, 2013-08-22)
All cancers are caused by somatic mutations; however, understanding of the biological processes generating these mutations is limited. The catalogue of somatic mutations from a cancer genome bears the signatures of the mutational processes that have been operative. Here we analysed 4,938,362 mutations from 7,042 cancers and extracted more than 20 distinct mutational signatures. Some are present in many cancer types, notably a signature attributed to the APOBEC family of cytidine deaminases, whereas others are confined to a single cancer class. Certain signatures are associated with age of the patient at cancer diagnosis, known mutagenic exposures or defects in DNA maintenance, but many are of cryptic origin. In addition to these genome-wide mutational signatures, hypermutation localized to small genomic regions, 'kataegis', is found in many cancer types. The results reveal the diversity of mutational processes underlying the development of cancer, with potential implications for understanding of cancer aetiology, prevention and therapy.