Microtubule-associated serine/threonine kinase 1 (MAST1) is a central driver of cisplatin resistance in human cancers. However, the molecular mechanism regulating MAST1 levels in cisplatin-resistant tumors is unknown. Through a proteomics screen, we identified the heat shock protein 90 B (hsp90B) chaperone as a direct MAST1 binding partner essential for its stabilization. Targeting hsp90B sensitized cancer cells to cisplatin predominantly through MAST1 destabilization. Mechanistically, interaction of hsp90B with MAST1 blocked ubiquitination of MAST1 at lysines 317 and 545 by the E3 ubiquitin ligase CHIP and prevented proteasomal degradation. The hsp90B-MAST1-CHIP signaling axis and its relationship with cisplatin response were clinically validated in cancer patients. Furthermore, combined treatment with a hsp90 inhibitor and the MAST1 inhibitor lestaurtinib further abrogated MAST1 activity and consequently enhanced cisplatin-induced tumor growth arrest in a patient-derived xenograft model. Our study not only uncovers the regulatory mechanism of MAST1 in tumors but also suggests a promising combinatorial therapy to overcome cisplatin resistance in human cancers.
Chaoyun Pan, Jaemoo Chun, Dan Li, Austin C. Boese, Jie Li, JiHoon Kang, Anna Umano, Yunhan Jiang, Lina Song, Kelly R. Magliocca, Zhuo G. Chen, Nabil F. Saba, Dong M. Shin, Taofeek K. Owonikoko, Sagar Lonial, Lingtao Jin, Sumin Kang
The interleukin-3 receptor alpha subunit, CD123, is expressed on many hematologic malignancies including acute myeloid leukemia (AML) and blastic plasmacytoid dendritic cell neoplasm (BPDCN). Tagraxofusp (SL-401) is a CD123-targeted therapy consisting of interleukin-3 fused to a truncated diphtheria toxin payload. Factors influencing response to tagraxofusp other than CD123 expression are largely unknown. We interrogated tagraxofusp resistance in patients and experimental models and found that it was not associated with CD123 loss. Rather, resistant AML and BPDCN cells frequently acquired deficiencies in the diphthamide synthesis pathway, impairing tagraxofusp’s ability to ADP-ribosylate cellular targets. Expression of DPH1, encoding a diphthamide pathway enzyme, was reduced by DNA CpG methylation in resistant cells. Treatment with the DNA methyltransferase inhibitor azacitidine restored DPH1 expression and tagraxofusp sensitivity. We also developed a drug-dependent ADP-ribosylation assay in primary cells that correlated with tagraxofusp activity and may represent an additional novel biomarker. As predicted by these results and our observation that resistance also increased mitochondrial apoptotic priming, we found that the combination of tagraxofusp and azacitidine was effective in patient-derived xenografts treated in vivo. These data have important implications for clinical use of tagraxofusp and led to a phase 1 study combining tagraxofusp and azacitidine in myeloid malignancies.
Katsuhiro Togami, Timothy Pastika, Jason Stephansky, Mahmoud Ghandi, Amanda L. Christie, Kristen L. Jones, Carl A. Johnson, Ross W. Lindsay, Christopher L. Brooks, Anthony Letai, Jeffrey W. Craig, Olga Pozdnyakova, David M. Weinstock, Joan Montero, Jon C. Aster, Cory M. Johannessen, Andrew A. Lane
Checkpoint blockade antibodies have been approved as immunotherapy for multiple types of cancer, but the response rate and efficacy are still limited. There are few immunogenic cell death (ICD)-inducing drugs available that can kill cancer cells, enhance tumor immunogenicity, increase the in vivo immune infiltration, and thereby boosting a tumor response to immunotherapy. So far, the ICD markers have been identified as the few immuno-stimulating characteristics of dead cells, but whether the presence of such ICD markers on tumor cells translates into enhanced antitumor immunity in vivo is still investigational. To identify anticancer drugs that could induce tumor cell death and boost T cell response, we performed drug screenings based on both an ICD reporter assay and T cell activation assay. We identified that teniposide, a DNA topoisomerase II inhibitor, could induce high mobility group box 1 (HMGB1) release and type I interferon signaling in tumor cells, and teniposide-treated tumor cells could activate antitumor T cell response both in vitro and in vivo. Mechanistically, teniposide induced tumor cell DNA damage and innate immune signaling including NF-κB activation and STING-dependent type I interferon signaling, both of which contribute to the activation of dendritic cells and subsequent T cells. Furthermore, teniposide potentiated the antitumor efficacy of anti-PD1 on multiple types of mouse tumor models. Our findings showed that teniposide could trigger tumor immunogenicity, and enabled a potential chemo-immunotherapeutic approach to potentiate the therapeutic efficacy of anti-PD1 immunotherapy.
Zining Wang, Jiemin Chen, Jie Hu, Hongxia Zhang, Feifei Xu, Wenzhuo He, Xiaojuan Wang, Mengyun Li, Wenhua Lu, Gucheng Zeng, Penghui Zhou, Peng Huang, Siyu Chen, Wende Li, Liang-ping Xia, Xiaojun Xia
Cancer-associated mutations in the spliceosome gene SF3B1 create a neomorphic protein that produces aberrant mRNA splicing in hundreds of genes, but the ensuing biologic and therapeutic consequences of this missplicing are not well understood. Here we have provided evidence that aberrant splicing by mutant SF3B1 altered the transcriptome, proteome, and metabolome of human cells, leading to missplicing-associated downregulation of metabolic genes, decreased mitochondrial respiration, and suppression of the serine synthesis pathway. We also found that mutant SF3B1 induces vulnerability to deprivation of the nonessential amino acid serine, which was mediated by missplicing-associated downregulation of the serine synthesis pathway enzyme PHGDH. This vulnerability was manifest both in vitro and in vivo, as dietary restriction of serine and glycine in mice was able to inhibit the growth of SF3B1MUT xenografts. These findings describe a role for SF3B1 mutations in altered energy metabolism, and they offer a new therapeutic strategy against SF3B1MUT cancers.
W. Brian Dalton, Eric Helmenstine, Noel Walsh, Lukasz P. Gondek, Dhanashree S. Kelkar, Abigail Read, Rachael Natrajan, Eric S. Christenson, Barbara Roman, Samarjit Das, Liang Zhao, Robert D. Leone, Daniel Shinn, Taylor Groginski, Anil K. Madugundu, Arun Patil, Daniel J. Zabransky, Arielle Medford, Justin Lee, Alex J. Cole, Marc Rosen, Maya Thakar, Alexander Ambinder, Joshua Donaldson, Amy E. DeZern, Karen Cravero, David Chu, Rafael Madero-Marroquin, Akhilesh Pandey, Paula J. Hurley, Josh Lauring, Ben Park
Metastatic castration-resistant prostate cancer (mCRPC) is a heterogeneous disease with diverse drivers of disease progression and mechanisms of therapeutic resistance. We conducted deep phenotypic characterization of CRPC metastases and patient-derived xenograft (PDX) lines using whole genome RNA sequencing, gene set enrichment analysis and immunohistochemistry. Our analyses revealed five mCRPC phenotypes based on the expression of well-characterized androgen receptor (AR) or neuroendocrine (NE) genes: (i) AR-high tumors (ARPC), (ii) AR-low tumors (ARLPC), (iii) amphicrine tumors composed of cells co-expressing AR and NE genes (AMPC), (iv) double-negative tumors (i.e. AR-/NE-; DNPC) and (v) tumors with small cell or NE gene expression without AR activity (SCNPC). RE1-silencing transcription factor (REST) activity, which suppresses NE gene expression, was lost in AMPC and SCNPC PDX models. However, knockdown of REST in cell lines revealed that attenuated REST activity drives the AMPC phenotype but is not sufficient for SCNPC conversion. We also identified a subtype of DNPC tumors with squamous differentiation and generated an encompassing 26-gene transcriptional signature that distinguished the five mCRPC phenotypes. Together, our data highlight the central role of AR and REST in classifying treatment-resistant mCRPC phenotypes. These molecular classifications could potentially guide future therapeutic studies and clinical trial design.
Mark P. Labrecque, Ilsa M. Coleman, Lisha G. Brown, Lawrence D. True, Lori Kollath, Bryce Lakely, Holly M. Nguyen, Yu C. Yang, Rui M. Gil da Costa, Arja Kaipainen, Roger Coleman, Celestia S. Higano, Evan Y. Yu, Heather H. Cheng, Elahe A. Mostaghel, Bruce Montgomery, Michael T. Schweizer, Andrew C. Hsieh, Daniel W. Lin, Eva Corey, Peter S. Nelson, Colm Morrissey
Irreversible T cell exhaustion limits the efficacy of programmed cell death 1 (PD-1) blockade. We observed that dual CD40-TLR4 stimulation within a single tumor restored PD-1 sensitivity and that this regimen triggered a systemic tumor-specific CD8+ T cell response. This approach effectively treated established tumors in diverse syngeneic cancer models, and the systemic effect was dependent on the injected tumor, indicating that treated tumors were converted into necessary components of this therapy. Strikingly, this approach was associated with the absence of exhausted PD-1hi T cells in treated and distant tumors, while sparing the intervening draining lymph node and spleen. Furthermore, patients with transcription changes like those induced by this therapy experienced improved progression-free survival with anti–PD-1 treatment. Dual CD40-TLR4 activation within a single tumor is thus an approach for overcoming resistance to PD-1 blockade that is unique in its ability to cause the loss of exhausted T cells within tumors while sparing nonmalignant tissues.
Danny N. Khalil, Nathan Suek, Luis Felipe Campesato, Sadna Budhu, David Redmond, Robert M. Samstein, Chirag Krishna, Katherine S. Panageas, Marinela Capanu, Sean Houghton, Daniel Hirschhorn, Roberta Zappasodi, Rachel Giese, Billel Gasmi, Michael Schneider, Aditi Gupta, James J. Harding, John Alec Moral, Vinod P. Balachandran, Jedd D. Wolchok, Taha Merghoub
Transcription factor fusion genes create oncoproteins that drive oncogenesis and represent challenging therapeutic targets. Understanding the molecular targets by which such fusion oncoproteins promote malignancy offers an approach to develop rational treatment strategies to improve clinical outcomes. Capicua–double homeobox 4 (CIC-DUX4) is a transcription factor fusion oncoprotein that defines certain undifferentiated round cell sarcomas with high metastatic propensity and poor clinical outcomes. The molecular targets regulated by the CIC-DUX4 oncoprotein that promote this aggressive malignancy remain largely unknown. We demonstrated that increased expression of ETS variant 4 (ETV4) and cyclin E1 (CCNE1) occurs via neomorphic, direct effects of CIC-DUX4 and drives tumor metastasis and survival, respectively. We uncovered a molecular dependence on the CCNE-CDK2 cell cycle complex that renders CIC-DUX4–expressing tumors sensitive to inhibition of the CCNE-CDK2 complex, suggesting a therapeutic strategy for CIC-DUX4–expressing tumors. Our findings highlight a paradigm of functional diversification of transcriptional repertoires controlled by a genetically aberrant transcriptional regulator, with therapeutic implications.
Ross A. Okimoto, Wei Wu, Shigeki Nanjo, Victor Olivas, Yone K. Lin, Rovingaile Kriska Ponce, Rieko Oyama, Tadashi Kondo, Trever G. Bivona
Loss-of-function mutations in genes encoding TET DNA dioxygenase occur frequently in hematopoietic malignancy, but rarely in solid tumors which instead commonly have reduced activity. The impact of decreased TET activity in solid tumors is not known. Here we show that TET2 mediates interferon γ (IFNγ)-JAK-STAT signaling pathway to control chemokine and PD-L1 expression, lymphocyte infiltration and cancer immunity. IFNγ stimulated STAT1 to bind TET2 and recruit TET2 to hydroxymethylate chemokine and PD-L1 genes. Reduced TET activity was associated with decreased TH1-type chemokines and tumor-infiltrating lymphocytes (TILs) and the progression of human colon cancer. Deletion of Tet2 in murine melanoma and colon tumor cells reduced chemokine expression and TILs, enabling tumors to evade anti-tumor immunity and to resist anti-PD-L1 therapy. Conversely, stimulating TET activity by systematic injection of its co-factor, ascorbate/vitamin C, increased chemokine and TILs, leading to enhanced anti-tumor immunity and anti-PD-L1 efficacy and extended lifespan of tumor-bearing mice. These results suggest an IFNγ-JAK-STAT-TET signaling pathway that mediates tumor response to anti-PD-L1/PD-1 therapy and is frequently disrupted in solid tumors. Our findings also suggest TET activity as a biomarker for predicting the efficacy and patient response to anti-PD-1/PD-L1 therapy, and stimulating TET activity as an adjuvant immunotherapy of solid tumors.
Yan-ping Xu, Lei Lv, Ying Liu, Matthew D. Smith, Wen-Cai Li, Xian-ming Tan, Meng Cheng, Zhijun Li, Michael Bovino, Jeffrey Aubé, Yue Xiong
Prostate cancer (PC) is initially dependent on androgen receptor (AR) signaling for survival and growth. Therapeutics designed to suppress AR activity serve as the primary intervention for advanced disease. However, supraphysiological androgen (SPA) concentrations can produce paradoxical responses leading to PC growth inhibition. We sought to discern the mechanisms by which SPA inhibits PC and to determine if molecular context associates with anti-tumor activity. SPA produced an AR-mediated, dose-dependent induction of DNA double-strand breaks (DSBs), G0/G1 cell cycle arrest and cellular senescence. SPA repressed genes involved in DNA repair and delayed the restoration of damaged DNA which was augmented by PARP1 inhibition. SPA-induced DSBs were accentuated in BRCA2-deficient PCs, and combining SPA with PARP or DNA-PKcs inhibition further repressed growth. Next-generation sequencing was performed on biospecimens from PC patients receiving SPA as part of ongoing Phase II clinical trials. Patients with mutations in genes mediating homology-directed DNA repair were more likely to exhibit clinical responses to SPA. These results provide a mechanistic rationale for directing SPA therapy to PCs with AR amplification or DNA repair deficiency, and for combining SPA therapy with PARP inhibition.
Payel Chatterjee, Michael T. Schweizer, Jared M. Lucas, Ilsa Coleman, Michael D. Nyquist, Sander B. Frank, Robin Tharakan, Elahe Mostaghel, Jun Luo, Colin C. Pritchard, Hung-Ming Lam, Eva Corey, Emmanuel S. Antonarakis, Samuel R. Denmeade, Peter S. Nelson
Glycosylation of immune receptors and ligands, such as T cell receptor and coinhibitory molecules, regulates immune signaling activation and immune surveillance. However, how oncogenic signaling initiates glycosylation of coinhibitory molecules to induce immunosuppression remains unclear. Here we show that IL-6–activated JAK1 phosphorylates programmed death-ligand 1 (PD-L1) Tyr112, which recruits the endoplasmic reticulum–associated N-glycosyltransferase STT3A to catalyze PD-L1 glycosylation and maintain PD-L1 stability. Targeting of IL-6 by IL-6 antibody induced synergistic T cell killing effects when combined with anti–T cell immunoglobulin mucin-3 (anti–Tim-3) therapy in animal models. A positive correlation between IL-6 and PD-L1 expression was also observed in hepatocellular carcinoma patient tumor tissues. These results identify a mechanism regulating PD-L1 glycosylation initiation and suggest the combination of anti–IL-6 and anti–Tim-3 as an effective marker-guided therapeutic strategy.
Li-Chuan Chan, Chia-Wei Li, Weiya Xia, Jung-Mao Hsu, Heng-Huan Lee, Jong-Ho Cha, Hung-Ling Wang, Wen-Hao Yang, Er-Yen Yen, Wei-Chao Chang, Zhengyu Zha, Seung-Oe Lim, Yun-Ju Lai, Chunxiao Liu, Jielin Liu, Qiongzhu Dong, Yi Yang, Linlin Sun, Yongkun Wei, Lei Nie, Jennifer L. Hsu, Hui Li, Qinghai Ye, Manal M. Hassan, Hesham M. Amin, Ahmed O. Kaseb, Xin Lin, Shao-Chun Wang, Mien-Chie Hung