Sir Peter MacCallum Department of Oncology - Research Publications
Now showing items 1-12 of 728
Histone deacetylase activity mediates acquired resistance towards structurally diverse HSP90 inhibitors
Heat shock protein 90 (HSP90) regulates multiple signalling pathways critical for tumour growth. As such, HSP90 inhibitors have been shown to act as effective anticancer agents in preclinical studies but, for a number of reasons, the same effect has not been observed in the clinical trials to date. One potential reason for this may be the presence of de novo or acquired resistance within the tumours. To investigate mechanisms of resistance, we generated resistant cell lines through gradual dose escalation of the HSP90 inhibitor 17-allylamino-17-demethoxygeldanamycin (17-AAG). The resultant resistant cell lines maintained their respective levels of resistance (7-240×) in the absence of 17-AAG and were also cross-resistant with other benzoquinone ansamycin HSP90 inhibitors. Expression of members of the histone deacetylase family (HDAC 1, 5, 6) was altered in the resistant cells. To determine whether HDAC activity contributed to resistance, pan-HDAC inhibitors (TSA and LBH589) and the class II HDAC-specific inhibitor SNDX275 were found to resensitize resistant cells towards 17-AAG and 17-dimethylaminoethylamino-17-demethoxygeldanamycin. Most significantly, resistant cells were also identified as cross-resistant towards structurally distinct HSP90 inhibitors such as radicicol and the second-generation HSP90 inhibitors CCT018159, VER50589 and AUY922. HDAC inhibition also resensitized resistant cells towards these classes of HSP90 inhibitors. In conclusion, we report that prolonged 17-AAG treatment results in acquired resistance of cancer cells towards not just 17-AAG but also to a spectrum of structurally distinct HSP90 inhibitors. This acquired resistance can be inhibited using clinically relevant HDAC inhibitors. This work supports the potential benefit of using HSP90 and HDAC inhibitors in combination within the clinical setting.
Priming of transcriptional memory responses via the chromatin accessibility landscape in T cells
(NATURE PUBLISHING GROUP, 2017-03-20)
Memory T cells exhibit transcriptional memory and "remember" their previous pathogenic encounter to increase transcription on re-infection. However, how this transcriptional priming response is regulated is unknown. Here we performed global FAIRE-seq profiling of chromatin accessibility in a human T cell transcriptional memory model. Primary activation induced persistent accessibility changes, and secondary activation induced secondary-specific opening of previously less accessible regions associated with enhanced expression of memory-responsive genes. Increased accessibility occurred largely in distal regulatory regions and was associated with increased histone acetylation and relative H3.3 deposition. The enhanced re-stimulation response was linked to the strength of initial PKC-induced signalling, and PKC-sensitive increases in accessibility upon initial stimulation showed higher accessibility on re-stimulation. While accessibility maintenance was associated with ETS-1, accessibility at re-stimulation-specific regions was linked to NFAT, especially in combination with ETS-1, EGR, GATA, NFκB, and NR4A. Furthermore, NFATC1 was directly regulated by ETS-1 at an enhancer region. In contrast to the factors that increased accessibility, signalling from bHLH and ZEB family members enhanced decreased accessibility upon re-stimulation. Interplay between distal regulatory elements, accessibility, and the combined action of sequence-specific transcription factors allows transcriptional memory-responsive genes to "remember" their initial environmental encounter.
Circulating tumour DNA reflects treatment response and clonal evolution in chronic lymphocytic leukaemia
(NATURE PUBLISHING GROUP, 2017-03-17)
Several novel therapeutics are poised to change the natural history of chronic lymphocytic leukaemia (CLL) and the increasing use of these therapies has highlighted limitations of traditional disease monitoring methods. Here we demonstrate that circulating tumour DNA (ctDNA) is readily detectable in patients with CLL. Importantly, ctDNA does not simply mirror the genomic information contained within circulating malignant lymphocytes but instead parallels changes across different disease compartments following treatment with novel therapies. Serial ctDNA analysis allows clonal dynamics to be monitored over time and identifies the emergence of genomic changes associated with Richter's syndrome (RS). In addition to conventional disease monitoring, ctDNA provides a unique opportunity for non-invasive serial analysis of CLL for molecular disease monitoring.
Accuracy issues involved in modeling in vivo protein structures using PM7.
Using the semiempirical method PM7, an attempt has been made to quantify the error in prediction of the in vivo structure of proteins relative to X-ray structures. Three important contributory factors are the experimental limitations of X-ray structures, the difference between the crystal and solution environments, and the errors due to PM7. The geometries of 19 proteins from the Protein Data Bank that had small R values, that is, high accuracy structures, were optimized and the resulting drop in heat of formation was calculated. Analysis of the changes showed that about 10% of this decrease in heat of formation was caused by faults in PM7, the balance being attributable to the X-ray structure and the difference between the crystal and solution environments. A previously unknown fault in PM7 was revealed during tests to validate the geometries generated using PM7. Clashscores generated by the Molprobity molecular mechanics structure validation program showed that PM7 was predicting unrealistically close contacts between nonbonding atoms in regions where the local geometry is dominated by very weak noncovalent interactions. The origin of this fault was traced to an underestimation of the core-core repulsion between atoms at distances smaller than the equilibrium distance.
"Cancer 2015": A Prospective, Population-Based Cancer Cohort-Phase 1: Feasibility of Genomics-Guided Precision Medicine in the Clinic
"Cancer 2015" is a longitudinal and prospective cohort. It is a phased study whose aim was to pilot recruiting 1000 patients during phase 1 to establish the feasibility of providing a population-based genomics cohort. Newly diagnosed adult patients with solid cancers, with residual tumour material for molecular genomics testing, were recruited into the cohort for the collection of a dataset containing clinical, molecular pathology, health resource use and outcomes data. 1685 patients have been recruited over almost 3 years from five hospitals. Thirty-two percent are aged between 61-70 years old, with a median age of 63 years. Diagnostic tumour samples were obtained for 90% of these patients for multiple parallel sequencing. Patients identified with somatic mutations of potentially "actionable" variants represented almost 10% of those tumours sequenced, while 42% of the cohort had no mutations identified. These genomic data were annotated with information such as cancer site, stage, morphology, treatment and patient outcomes and health resource use and cost. This cohort has delivered its main objective of establishing an upscalable genomics cohort within a clinical setting and in phase 2 aims to develop a protocol for how genomics testing can be used in real-time clinical decision-making, providing evidence on the value of precision medicine to clinical practice.
Obesity does not promote tumorigenesis of localized patient-derived prostate cancer xenografts
(IMPACT JOURNALS LLC, 2016-07-26)
There are established epidemiological links between obesity and the severity of prostate cancer. We directly tested this relationship by assessing tumorigenicity of patient-derived xenografts (PDXs) of moderate-grade localized prostate cancer in lean and obese severe combined immunodeficiency (SCID) mice. Mice were rendered obese and insulin resistant by high-fat feeding for 6 weeks prior to transplantation, and PDXs were assessed 10 weeks thereafter. Histological analysis of PDX grafts showed no differences in tumor pathology, prostate-specific antigen, androgen receptor and homeobox protein Nkx-3.1 expression, or proliferation index in lean versus obese mice. Whilst systemic obesity per se did not promote prostate tumorigenicity, we next asked whether the peri-prostatic adipose tissue (PPAT), which covers the prostate anteriorly, plays a role in prostate tumorigenesis. In vitro studies in a cellularized co-culture model of stromal and epithelial cells demonstrated that factors secreted from human PPAT are pro-tumorigenic. Accordingly, we recapitulated the prostate-PPAT spatial relationship by co-grafting human PPAT with prostate cancer in PDX grafts. PDX tissues were harvested 10 weeks after grafting, and histological analysis revealed no evidence of enhanced tumorigenesis with PPAT compared to prostate cancer grafts alone. Altogether, these data demonstrate that prostate cancer tumorigenicity is not accelerated in the setting of diet-induced obesity or in the presence of human PPAT, prompting the need for further work to define the at-risk populations of obesity-driven tumorigenesis and the biological factors linking obesity, adipose tissue and prostate cancer pathogenesis.
Data Descriptor: Systematic high-content genome-wide RNAi screens of endothelial cell migration and morphology
(NATURE PUBLISHING GROUP, 2017-03-01)
Many cell types undergo migration during embryogenesis and disease. Endothelial cells line blood vessels and lymphatics, which migrate during development as part of angiogenesis, lymphangiogenesis and other types of vessel remodelling. These processes are also important in wound healing, cancer metastasis and cardiovascular conditions. However, the molecular control of endothelial cell migration is poorly understood. Here, we present a dataset containing siRNA screens that identify known and novel components of signalling pathways regulating migration of lymphatic endothelial cells. These components are compared to signalling in blood vascular endothelial cells. Further, using high-content microscopy, we captured a dataset of images of migrating cells following transfection with a genome-wide siRNA library. These datasets are suitable for the identification and analysis of genes involved in endothelial cell migration and morphology, and for computational approaches to identify signalling networks controlling the migratory response and integration of cell morphology, gene function and cell signaling. This may facilitate identification of protein targets for therapeutically modulating angiogenesis and lymphangiogenesis in the context of human disease.
mTOR-sensitive translation: Cleared fog reveals more trees
(TAYLOR & FRANCIS INC, 2017-01-01)
Translation is fundamental for many biologic processes as it enables cells to rapidly respond to stimuli without requiring de novo mRNA synthesis. The mammalian/mechanistic target of rapamycin (mTOR) is a key regulator of translation. Although mTOR affects global protein synthesis, translation of a subset of mRNAs appears to be exceptionally sensitive to changes in mTOR activity. Recent efforts to catalog these mTOR-sensitive mRNAs resulted in conflicting results. Whereas ribosome-profiling almost exclusively identified 5'-terminal oligopyrimidine (TOP) mRNAs as mTOR-sensitive, polysome-profiling suggested that mTOR also regulates translation of non-TOP mRNAs. This inconsistency was explained by analytical and technical biases limiting the efficiency of ribosome-profiling in detecting mRNAs showing differential translation. Moreover, genome-wide characterization of 5'UTRs of non-TOP mTOR-sensitive mRNAs revealed 2 subsets of transcripts which differ in their requirement for translation initiation factors and biologic functions. We summarize these recent advances and their impact on the understanding of mTOR-sensitive translation.
Genomic characterisation of E mu-Myc mouse lymphomas identifies Bcor as a Myc co-operative tumour-suppressor gene
(NATURE PUBLISHING GROUP, 2017-03-06)
The Eμ-Myc mouse is an extensively used model of MYC driven malignancy; however to date there has only been partial characterization of MYC co-operative mutations leading to spontaneous lymphomagenesis. Here we sequence spontaneously arising Eμ-Myc lymphomas to define transgene architecture, somatic mutations, and structural alterations. We identify frequent disruptive mutations in the PRC1-like component and BCL6-corepressor gene Bcor. Moreover, we find unexpected concomitant multigenic lesions involving Cdkn2a loss and other cancer genes including Nras, Kras and Bcor. These findings challenge the assumed two-hit model of Eμ-Myc lymphoma and demonstrate a functional in vivo role for Bcor in suppressing tumorigenesis.
Selective inhibition of RNA polymerase I transcription as a potential approach to treat African trypanosomiasis
(PUBLIC LIBRARY SCIENCE, 2017-03-01)
Trypanosoma brucei relies on an essential Variant Surface Glycoprotein (VSG) coat for survival in the mammalian bloodstream. High VSG expression within an expression site body (ESB) is mediated by RNA polymerase I (Pol I), which in other eukaryotes exclusively transcribes ribosomal RNA genes (rDNA). As T. brucei is reliant on Pol I for VSG transcription, we investigated Pol I transcription inhibitors for selective anti-trypanosomal activity. The Pol I inhibitors quarfloxin (CX-3543), CX-5461, and BMH-21 are currently under investigation for treating cancer, as rapidly dividing cancer cells are particularly dependent on high levels of Pol I transcription compared with nontransformed cells. In T. brucei all three Pol I inhibitors have IC50 concentrations for cell proliferation in the nanomolar range: quarfloxin (155 nM), CX-5461 (279 nM) or BMH-21 (134 nM) compared with IC50 concentrations in the MCF10A human breast epithelial cell line (4.44 μM, 6.89 μM or 460 nM, respectively). T. brucei was therefore 29-fold more sensitive to quarfloxin, 25-fold more sensitive to CX-5461 and 3.4-fold more sensitive to BMH-21. Cell death in T. brucei was due to rapid inhibition of Pol I transcription, as within 15 minutes treatment with the inhibitors rRNA precursor transcript was reduced 97-98% and VSG precursor transcript 91-94%. Incubation with Pol I transcription inhibitors also resulted in disintegration of the ESB as well as the nucleolus subnuclear structures, within one hour. Rapid ESB loss following the block in Pol I transcription argues that the ESB is a Pol I transcription nucleated structure, similar to the nucleolus. In addition to providing insight into Pol I transcription and ES control, Pol I transcription inhibitors potentially also provide new approaches to treat trypanosomiasis.
Performance of automated scoring of ER, PR, HER2, CK5/6 and EGFR in breast cancer tissue microarrays in the Breast Cancer Association Consortium
Breast cancer risk factors and clinical outcomes vary by tumour marker expression. However, individual studies often lack the power required to assess these relationships, and large-scale analyses are limited by the need for high throughput, standardized scoring methods. To address these limitations, we assessed whether automated image analysis of immunohistochemically stained tissue microarrays can permit rapid, standardized scoring of tumour markers from multiple studies. Tissue microarray sections prepared in nine studies containing 20 263 cores from 8267 breast cancers stained for two nuclear (oestrogen receptor, progesterone receptor), two membranous (human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 and epidermal growth factor receptor) and one cytoplasmic (cytokeratin 5/6) marker were scanned as digital images. Automated algorithms were used to score markers in tumour cells using the Ariol system. We compared automated scores against visual reads, and their associations with breast cancer survival. Approximately 65-70% of tissue microarray cores were satisfactory for scoring. Among satisfactory cores, agreement between dichotomous automated and visual scores was highest for oestrogen receptor (Kappa = 0.76), followed by human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 (Kappa = 0.69) and progesterone receptor (Kappa = 0.67). Automated quantitative scores for these markers were associated with hazard ratios for breast cancer mortality in a dose-response manner. Considering visual scores of epidermal growth factor receptor or cytokeratin 5/6 as the reference, automated scoring achieved excellent negative predictive value (96-98%), but yielded many false positives (positive predictive value = 30-32%). For all markers, we observed substantial heterogeneity in automated scoring performance across tissue microarrays. Automated analysis is a potentially useful tool for large-scale, quantitative scoring of immunohistochemically stained tissue microarrays available in consortia. However, continued optimization, rigorous marker-specific quality control measures and standardization of tissue microarray designs, staining and scoring protocols is needed to enhance results.
Aurora kinase A outperforms Ki67 as a prognostic marker in ER-positive breast cancer
(NATURE PUBLISHING GROUP, 2012-05-22)
BACKGROUND: Proliferation has emerged as a major prognostic factor in luminal breast cancer. The immunohistochemical (IHC) proliferation marker Ki67 has been most extensively investigated but has not gained widespread clinical acceptance. METHODS: We have conducted a head-to-head comparison of a panel of proliferation markers, including Ki67. Our aim was to establish the marker of the greatest prognostic utility. Tumour samples from 3093 women with breast cancer were constructed as tissue microarrays. We used IHC to detect expression of mini-chromosome maintenance protein 2, Ki67, aurora kinase A (AURKA), polo-like kinase 1, geminin and phospho-histone H3. We used a Cox proportional-hazards model to investigate the association with 10-year breast cancer-specific survival (BCSS). Missing values were resolved using multiple imputation. RESULTS: The prognostic significance of proliferation was limited to oestrogen receptor (ER)-positive breast cancer. Aurora kinase A emerged as the marker of the greatest prognostic significance in a multivariate model adjusted for the standard clinical and molecular covariates (hazard ratio 1.3; 95% confidence interval 1.1-1.5; P=0.005), outperforming all other markers including Ki67. CONCLUSION: Aurora kinase A outperforms other proliferation markers as an independent predictor of BCSS in ER-positive breast cancer. It has the potential for use in routine clinical practice.