A small percentage of bladder cancers in the general population have been found to harbor DNA viruses. In contrast, up to 25% of tumors of solid organ transplant recipients, who are at an increased risk of developing bladder cancer and have overall poorer outcome, harbor BK polyomavirus (BKPyV). To better understand the biology of the tumors and the mechanisms of carcinogenesis from potential oncoviruses, we performed whole genome and transcriptome sequencing on bladder cancer specimens from 43 transplant patients. Nearly half of tumors from this patient population contained viral sequences. The most common were from BKPyV (N=9, 21%), JC polyomavirus (N=7, 16%), carcinogenic human papillomaviruses (N=3, 7%), and torque teno viruses (N=5, 12%). Immunohistochemistry revealed variable Large T antigen expression in BKPyV-positive tumors ranging from 100% positive staining of tumor tissue to less than 1%. In most cases of BKPyV-positive tumors, the viral genome appeared to be clonally integrated into the host chromosome consistent with microhomology-mediated end joining and coincided with focal amplifications of the tumor genome similar to other virus-mediated cancers. Significant changes in host gene expression consistent with the functions of BKPyV Large T antigen were also observed in these tumors. Lastly, we identified four mutation signatures in our cases with those attributable to APOBEC3 and SBS5 being the most abundant. Mutation signatures associated with the antiviral drug, ganciclovir, and aristolochic acid, a nephrotoxic compound found in some herbal medicines, were also observed. The results suggest multiple pathways to carcinogenesis in solid organ transplant recipients with a large fraction being virus-associated.
All refseqs for human papillomaviruses were downloaded from PaVE and refseqs for human polyomaviruses were downloaded from NCBI as of November 2018. All sequencing data generated in this study are available from dbGaP under accession phs003012.v1.p1. Viral contigs from this study are deposited in GenBank under accessions OQ469311 and OQ469312. All other contigs and larger IHC images are deposited in figshare (https://figshare.com/projects/Common_Mechanisms_of_Virus-Mediated_Oncogenesis_in_Bladder_Cancers_Arising_in_Solid_Organ_Transplant_Recipients/132833). Code used in this manuscript are available from www.github.com/gstarrett/oncovirus_tools.
Multi-omics of Bladder Cancers of Solid Organ Transplant RecipientsdbGaP phs003012.v1.p1.
- Gabriel J Starrett
- Christopher B Buck
- Eric A Engels
The funders had no role in study design, data collection and interpretation, or the decision to submit the work for publication.
Human subjects: The TCM Study is considered non-human subjects research at the National Institutes of Health because researchers do not receive identifying information on patients, and the present project utilizes materials collected previously for clinical purposes. The TCM Study was reviewed, as required, by human subjects committees at participating cancer registries.
- Nicholas Wallace, Kansas State University, United States
This is an open-access article, free of all copyright, and may be freely reproduced, distributed, transmitted, modified, built upon, or otherwise used by anyone for any lawful purpose. The work is made available under the Creative Commons CC0 public domain dedication.
Pheochromocytomas (PCCs) are rare neuroendocrine tumors that originate from chromaffin cells in the adrenal gland. However, the cellular molecular characteristics and immune microenvironment of PCCs are incompletely understood. Here, we performed single-cell RNA sequencing (scRNA-seq) on 16 tissues from 4 sporadic unclassified PCC patients and 1 hereditary PCC patient with Von Hippel-Lindau (VHL) syndrome. We found that intra-tumoral heterogeneity was less extensive than the inter-individual heterogeneity of PCCs. Further, the unclassified PCC patients were divided into two types, metabolism-type (marked by NDUFA4L2 and COX4I2) and kinase-type (marked by RET and PNMT), validated by immunohistochemical staining. Trajectory analysis of tumor evolution revealed that metabolism-type PCC cells display phenotype of consistently active metabolism and increased metastasis potential, while kinase-type PCC cells showed decreased epinephrine synthesis and neuron-like phenotypes. Cell-cell communication analysis showed activation of the annexin pathway and a strong inflammation reaction in metabolism-type PCCs and activation of FGF signaling in the kinase-type PCC. Although multispectral immunofluorescence staining showed a lack of CD8+ T cell infiltration in both metabolism-type and kinase-type PCCs, only the kinase-type PCC exhibited downregulation of HLA-I molecules that possibly regulated by RET, suggesting the potential of combined therapy with kinase inhibitors and immunotherapy for kinase-type PCCs; in contrast, the application of immunotherapy to metabolism-type PCCs (with antigen presentation ability) is likely unsuitable. Our study presents a single-cell transcriptomics-based molecular classification and microenvironment characterization of PCCs, providing clues for potential therapeutic strategies to treat PCCs.
Pancreatic cancer is the seventh leading cause of cancer-related death worldwide, and despite advancements in disease management, the 5 -year survival rate stands at only 12%. Triptolides have potent anti-tumor activity against different types of cancers, including pancreatic cancer, however poor solubility and toxicity limit their translation into clinical use. We synthesized a novel pro-drug of triptolide, (E)–19-[(1’-benzoyloxy-1’-phenyl)-methylidene]-Triptolide (CK21), which was formulated into an emulsion for in vitro and in vivo testing in rats and mice, and used human pancreatic cancer cell lines and patient-derived pancreatic tumor organoids. A time-course transcriptomic profiling of tumor organoids treated with CK21 in vitro was conducted to define its mechanism of action, as well as transcriptomic profiling at a single time point post-CK21 administration in vivo. Intravenous administration of emulsified CK21 resulted in the stable release of triptolide, and potent anti-proliferative effects on human pancreatic cancer cell lines and patient-derived pancreatic tumor organoids in vitro, and with minimal toxicity in vivo. Time course transcriptomic profiling of tumor organoids treated with CK21 in vitro revealed <10 differentially expressed genes (DEGs) at 3 hr and ~8,000 DEGs at 12 hr. Overall inhibition of general RNA transcription was observed, and Ingenuity pathway analysis together with functional cellular assays confirmed inhibition of the NF-κB pathway, increased oxidative phosphorylation and mitochondrial dysfunction, leading ultimately to increased reactive oxygen species (ROS) production, reduced B-cell-lymphoma protein 2 (BCL2) expression, and mitochondrial-mediated tumor cell apoptosis. Thus, CK21 is a novel pro-drug of triptolide that exerts potent anti-proliferative effects on human pancreatic tumors by inhibiting the NF-κB pathway, leading ultimately to mitochondrial-mediated tumor cell apoptosis.