Muscle-invasive bladder carcinoma (MIBC) constitutes a heterogeneous group of tumors with a poor outcome. Molecular stratification of MIBC may identify clinically relevant tumor subgroups and help to provide effective targeted therapies. From seven series of large-scale transcriptomic data (383 tumors), we identified an MIBC subgroup accounting for 23.5% of MIBC, associated with shorter survival and displaying a basal-like phenotype, as shown by the expression of epithelial basal cell markers. Basal-like tumors presented an activation of the epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) pathway linked to frequent EGFR gains and activation of an EGFR autocrine loop. We used a 40-gene expression classifier derived from human tumors to identify human bladder cancer cell lines and a chemically induced mouse model of bladder cancer corresponding to human basal-like bladder cancer. We showed, in both models, that tumor cells were sensitive to anti-EGFR therapy. Our findings provide preclinical proof of concept that anti-EGFR therapy can be used to target a subset of particularly aggressive MIBC tumors expressing basal cell markers and provide diagnostic tools for identifying these tumors.
Castration-resistant prostate cancers (CRPCs) that relapse after androgen deprivation therapies (ADTs) are responsible for the majority of mortalities from prostate cancer (PCa). While mechanisms enabling recurrent activity of androgen receptor (AR) are certainly involved in the development of CRPC, there may be factors that contribute to the process including acquired neuroendocrine (NE) cell-like behaviors working through alternate (non-AR) cell signaling systems or AR-dependent mechanisms. In this study, we explore the potential relationship between the AR axis and a novel putative marker of NE differentiation, the human male protocadherin-PC (PCDH-PC), in vitro and in human situations. We found evidence for an NE transdifferentiation process and PCDH-PC expression as an early-onset adaptive mechanism following ADT and elucidate AR as a key regulator of PCDH-PC expression. PCDH-PC overexpression, in turn, attenuates the ligand-dependent activity of the AR, enabling certain prostate tumor clones to assume a more NE phenotype and promoting their survival under diverse stress conditions. Acquisition of an NE phenotype by PCa cells positively correlated with resistance to cytotoxic agents including docetaxel, a taxane chemotherapy approved for the treatment of patients with metastatic CRPC. Furthermore, knockdown of PCDH-PC in cells that have undergone an NE transdifferentiation partially sensitized cells to docetaxel. Together, these results reveal a reciprocal regulation between the AR axis and PCDH-PC signals, observed both in vitro and in vivo, with potential implications in coordinating NE transdifferentiation processes and progression of PCa toward hormonal and chemoresistance.
The PI3K/AKT pathway is considered to play a major role in bladder carcinogenesis, but its relationships with other molecular alterations observed in bladder cancer remain unknown. We investigated PI3K/AKT pathway activation in a series of human bladder urothelial carcinomas (UC) according to PTEN expression, PTEN deletions and FGFR3, PIK3CA, KRAS, HRAS, NRAS and TP53 gene mutations. The series included 6 normal bladder urothelial samples and 129 UC (Ta n = 25, T1 n = 34, T2-T3-T4 n = 70). Expression of phospho-AKT (pAKT), phospho-S6-Ribosomal Protein (pS6) (one downstream effector of PI3K/AKT pathway) and PTEN was evaluated by reverse phase protein Array. Expression of miR-21, miR-19a and miR-222, known to regulate PTEN expression, was also evaluated. pAKT expression levels were higher in tumors than in normal urothelium (p < 0.01), regardless of stage and showed a weak and positive correlation with pS6 (Spearman coefficient RS = 0.26; p = 0.002). No association was observed between pAKT or pS6 expression and the gene mutations studied. PTEN expression was decreased in PTEN-deleted tumors, and in T1 (p = 0.0089) and T2-T3-T4 (p < 0.001) tumors compared to Ta tumors; it was also negatively correlated with miR-19a (RS = -0.50; p = 0.0088) and miR-222 (RS = -0.48; p = 0.0132), but not miR-21 (RS = -0.27; p = 0.18) expression. pAKT and PTEN expressions were not negatively correlated, and, on the opposite, a positive and moderate correlation was observed in Ta (RS = 0.54; p = 0.0056) and T1 (RS = 0.56; p = 0.0006) tumors. Our study suggests that PI3K/AKT pathway activation occurs in the entire spectrum of bladder UC regardless of stage or known most frequent molecular alterations, and independently of low PTEN expression.
Expression of class III ?-tubulin (?III-tubulin) correlates with tumor progression and resistance to taxane-based therapies for several human malignancies, but its use as a biomarker of tumor behavior in prostate cancer (PCa) remains largely unexplored. Here, we describe ?III-tubulin immunohistochemical staining patterns of prostate tumors obtained from a broad spectrum of PCa patients, some of whom subsequently received docetaxel therapy for castration-resistant PCa (CRPC). Elevated ?III-tubulin expression was significantly associated with tumor aggressiveness in PCa patients with presumed localized disease, as it was found to be an independent marker of biochemical recurrence after treatment. Additionally, ?III-tubulin expression in tumor cells was an independent predictor of lower overall survival for patients receiving docetaxel-based chemotherapy for CRPC. Manipulation of ?III-tubulin expression in human PCa cell lines using a human ?III-tubulin expression vector or ?III-tubulin small interfering RNA altered cell survival in response to docetaxel treatment in a manner that supports a role for ?III-tubulin expression as a mediator of PCa cell resistance to docetaxel therapy. Our findings suggest a role for ?III-tubulin as candidate theranostic biomarker to predict the response to docetaxel-based chemotherapy as well as to target for treatment of docetaxel-resistant CRPC.
Prostatic inflammation could be a key component in prostate enlargement and benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) progression. Our aim was to characterize inflammatory cells infiltrate within BPH tissue and to correlate inflammation and clinical data.
TP53 and FGFR3 mutations are the most common mutations in bladder cancers. FGFR3 mutations are most frequent in low-grade low-stage tumours, whereas TP53 mutations are most frequent in high-grade high-stage tumours. Several studies have reported FGFR3 and TP53 mutations to be mutually exclusive events, whereas others have reported them to be independent. We carried out a meta-analysis of published findings for FGFR3 and TP53 mutations in bladder cancer (535 tumours, 6 publications) and additional unpublished data for 382 tumours. TP53 and FGFR3 mutations were not independent events for all tumours considered together (OR?=?0.25 [0.18-0.37], p?=?0.0001) or for pT1 tumours alone (OR?=?0.47 [0.28-0.79], p?=?0.0009). However, if the analysis was restricted to pTa tumours or to muscle-invasive tumours alone, FGFR3 and TP53 mutations were independent events (OR?=?0.56 [0.23-1.36] (p?=?0.12) and OR?=?0.99 [0.37-2.7] (p?=?0.35), respectively). After stratification of the tumours by stage and grade, no dependence was detected in the five tumour groups considered (pTaG1 and pTaG2 together, pTaG3, pT1G2, pT1G3, pT2-4). These differences in findings can be attributed to the putative existence of two different pathways of tumour progression in bladder cancer: the CIS pathway, in which FGFR3 mutations are rare, and the Ta pathway, in which FGFR3 mutations are frequent. TP53 mutations occur at the earliest stage of the CIS pathway, whereas they occur would much later in the Ta pathway, at the T1G3 or muscle-invasive stage.
Renal medullary carcinoma (RMC), a rare and highly aggressive tumour which occurs in patients with sickle-cell disease, shares many clinicopathological features with collecting duct carcinoma (CDC). The molecular mechanisms underlying RMC and CDC are mainly unknown, and there is ongoing debate about their status as distinct entities. Loss of expression of SMARCB1/INI1, a chromatin remodelling regulator and repressor of cyclin D1 transcription, has been reported recently in RMC. The aim of our study was to investigate if such loss of expression is specific for RMC. SMARCB1/INI1 genetic alterations and cyclin D1 expression were also studied.
The gene cyclin-dependent kinase inhibitor 2A (CDKN2A) is frequently inactivated by deletion in bladder carcinoma. However, its role in bladder tumourigenesis remains unclear. We investigated the role of CDKN2A deletion in urothelial carcinogenesis, as a function of FGFR3 mutation status, a marker for one of the two pathways of bladder tumour progression, the Ta pathway. We studied 288 bladder carcinomas: 177 non-muscle-invasive (123 Ta, 54 T1) and 111 muscle-invasive (T2-4) tumours. CDKN2A copy number was determined by multiplex ligation-dependent probe amplification, and FGFR3 mutations by SNaPshot analysis. FGFR3 mutation was detected in 124 tumours (43.1%) and CDKN2A homozygous deletion in 56 tumours (19.4%). CDKN2A homozygous deletion was significantly more frequent in FGFR3-mutated tumours than in wild-type FGFR3 tumours (p = 0.0015). This event was associated with muscle-invasive tumours within the FGFR3-mutated subgroup (p < 0.0001) but not in wild-type FGFR3 tumours. Similar findings were obtained for an independent series of 101 bladder carcinomas. The impact of CDKN2A deletions on recurrence-free and progression-free survival was then analysed in 89 patients with non-muscle-invasive FGFR3-mutated tumours. Kaplan-Meier survival analysis showed that CDKN2A losses (hemizygous and homozygous) were associated with progression (p = 0.0002), but not with recurrence, in these tumours. Multivariate Cox regression analysis identified CDKN2A loss as a predictor of progression independent of stage and grade. These findings highlight the crucial role of CDKN2A loss in the progression of non-muscle-invasive FGFR3-mutated bladder carcinomas and provide a potentially useful clinical marker for adapting the treatment of such tumours, which account for about 50% of cases at initial clinical presentation.
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