Squamous cell carcinomas (SCCs) account for the majority of cancer mortalities. Although TP63 is an established lineage-survival oncogene in SCCs, therapeutic strategies have not been developed to target TP63 or it's downstream effectors. In this study we demonstrate that TP63 directly regulates NRG1 expression in human SCC cell lines and that NRG1 is a critical component of the TP63 transcriptional program. Notably, we show that squamous tumors are dependent NRG1 signaling in vivo, in both genetically engineered mouse models and human xenograft models, and demonstrate that inhibition of NRG1 induces keratinization and terminal squamous differentiation of tumor cells, blocking proliferation and inhibiting tumor growth. Together, our findings identify a lineage-specific function of NRG1 in SCCs of diverse anatomic origin.
All data generated or analysed during this study are included in the manuscript and supporting files. Source data file has been provided for Figure 4.
The authors declare that there was no funding for this work
Animal experimentation: All animal studies were approved by the Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC) at Genentech. The animal studies included herein were performed based on approved IACUC protocol numbers (LASAR 10-2319A, 16-1304, 16-1304A, 16-0098, 16-1120, 16-1143 and 16-2005, 16-1120).
- William C Hahn, Dana-Farber Cancer Institue, United States
© 2019, Hegde et al.
This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License permitting unrestricted use and redistribution provided that the original author and source are credited.
Cancer stem cells (CSCs) undergo epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT) to drive metastatic dissemination in experimental cancer models. However, tumour cells undergoing EMT have not been observed disseminating into the tissue surrounding human tumour specimens, leaving the relevance to human cancer uncertain. We have previously identified both EpCAM and CD24 as CSC markers that, alongside the mesenchymal marker Vimentin, identify EMT CSCs in human oral cancer cell lines. This afforded the opportunity to investigate whether the combination of these three markers can identify disseminating EMT CSCs in actual human tumours. Examining disseminating tumour cells in over 12,000 imaging fields from 74 human oral tumours, we see a significant enrichment of EpCAM, CD24 and Vimentin co-stained cells disseminating beyond the tumour body in metastatic specimens. Through training an artificial neural network, these predict metastasis with high accuracy (cross-validated accuracy of 87-89%). In this study, we have observed single disseminating EMT CSCs in human oral cancer specimens, and these are highly predictive of metastatic disease.
Esophageal cancer (EC) is a fatal digestive disease with a poor prognosis and frequent lymphatic metastases. Nevertheless, reliable biomarkers for EC diagnosis are currently unavailable. Accordingly, we have performed a comparative proteomics analysis on cancer and paracancer tissue-derived exosomes from eight pairs of EC patients using label-free quantification proteomics profiling and have analyzed the differentially expressed proteins through bioinformatics. Furthermore, nano-flow cytometry (NanoFCM) was used to validate the candidate proteins from plasma-derived exosomes in 122 EC patients. Of the 803 differentially expressed proteins discovered in cancer and paracancer tissue-derived exosomes, 686 were up-regulated and 117 were down-regulated. Intercellular adhesion molecule-1 (CD54) was identified as an up-regulated candidate for further investigation, and its high expression in cancer tissues of EC patients was validated using immunohistochemistry, real-time quantitative PCR (RT-qPCR), and western blot analyses. In addition, plasma-derived exosome NanoFCM data from 122 EC patients concurred with our proteomic analysis. The receiver operating characteristic (ROC) analysis demonstrated that the AUC, sensitivity, and specificity values for CD54 were 0.702, 66.13%, and 71.31%, respectively, for EC diagnosis. Small interference (si)RNA was employed to silence the CD54 gene in EC cells. A series of assays, including cell counting kit-8, adhesion, wound healing, and Matrigel invasion, were performed to investigate EC viability, adhesive, migratory, and invasive abilities, respectively. The results showed that CD54 promoted EC proliferation, migration, and invasion. Collectively, tissue-derived exosomal proteomics strongly demonstrates that CD54 is a promising biomarker for EC diagnosis and a key molecule for EC development.