Doctor of Philosophy, Univ Texas Health Sci Ctr/San Antonio (2017)
Single-Cell RNA-seq Reveals a Subpopulation of Prostate Cancer Cells with Enhanced Cell-Cycle-Related Transcription and Attenuated Androgen Response
2018; 78 (4): 853–64
Increasing evidence suggests the presence of minor cell subpopulations in prostate cancer that are androgen independent and poised for selection as dominant clones after androgen deprivation therapy. In this study, we investigated this phenomenon by stratifying cell subpopulations based on transcriptome profiling of 144 single LNCaP prostate cancer cells treated or untreated with androgen after cell-cycle synchronization. Model-based clustering of 397 differentially expressed genes identified eight potential subpopulations of LNCaP cells, revealing a previously unappreciable level of cellular heterogeneity to androgen stimulation. One subpopulation displayed stem-like features with a slower cell doubling rate, increased sphere formation capability, and resistance to G2-M arrest induced by a mitosis inhibitor. Advanced growth of this subpopulation was associated with enhanced expression of 10 cell-cycle-related genes (CCNB2, DLGAP5, CENPF, CENPE, MKI67, PTTG1, CDC20, PLK1, HMMR, and CCNB1) and decreased dependence upon androgen receptor signaling. In silico analysis of RNA-seq data from The Cancer Genome Atlas further demonstrated that concordant upregulation of these genes was linked to recurrent prostate cancers. Analysis of receiver operating characteristic curves implicates aberrant expression of these genes and could be useful for early identification of tumors that subsequently develop biochemical recurrence. Moreover, this single-cell approach provides a better understanding of how prostate cancer cells respond heterogeneously to androgen deprivation therapies and reveals characteristics of subpopulations resistant to this treatment.Significance: Illustrating the challenge in treating cancers with targeted drugs, which by selecting for drug resistance can drive metastatic progression, this study characterized the plasticity and heterogeneity of prostate cancer cells with regard to androgen dependence, defining the character or minor subpopulations of androgen-independent cells that are poised for clonal selection after androgen-deprivation therapy. Cancer Res; 78(4); 853-64. ©2017 AACR.
View details for PubMedID 29233929
View details for PubMedCentralID PMC5983359
DNA Methylation Screening of Primary Prostate Tumors Identifies SRD5A2 and CYP11A1 as Candidate Markers for Assessing Risk of Biochemical Recurrence
2015; 75 (15): 1790-1801
Altered DNA methylation in CpG islands of gene promoters has been implicated in prostate cancer (PCa) progression and can be used to predict disease outcome. In this study, we determine whether methylation changes of androgen biosynthesis pathway (ABP)-related genes in patients' plasma cell-free DNA (cfDNA) can serve as prognostic markers for biochemical recurrence (BCR).Methyl-binding domain capture sequencing (MBDCap-seq) was used to identify differentially methylated regions (DMRs) in primary tumors of patients who subsequently developed BCR or not, respectively. Methylation pyrosequencing of candidate loci was validated in cfDNA samples of 86 PCa patients taken at and/or post-radical prostatectomy (RP) using univariate and multivariate prediction analyses.Putative DMRs in 13 of 30 ABP-related genes were found between tumors of BCR (n = 12) versus no evidence of disease (NED) (n = 15). In silico analysis of The Cancer Genome Atlas data confirmed increased DNA methylation of two loci-SRD5A2 and CYP11A1, which also correlated with their decreased expression, in tumors with subsequent BCR development. Their aberrant cfDNA methylation was also associated with detectable levels of PSA taken after patients' post-RP. Multivariate analysis of the change in cfDNA methylation at all of CpG sites measured along with patient's treatment history predicted if a patient will develop BCR with 77.5% overall accuracy.Overall, increased DNA methylation of SRD5A2 and CYP11A1 related to androgen biosynthesis functions may play a role in BCR after patients' RP. The correlation between aberrant cfDNA methylation and detectable PSA in post-RP further suggests their utility as predictive markers for PCa recurrence. .
View details for DOI 10.1002/pros.23052
View details for PubMedID 26332453
Co-targeting ALK and EGFR parallel signaling in oral squamous cell carcinoma
2016; 59: 12-19
Squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) comprises 90% of all head and neck cancers and has a poor survival rate due to late-stage disease that is refractive to traditional therapies. Epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) is over-expressed in greater than 80% of head and neck SCC (HNSCC). However, EGFR targeted therapies yielded little to no efficacy in clinical trials. This study investigated the efficacy of co-targeting EGFR and the anaplastic lymphoma kinase (ALK) whose promoter is hypomethylated in late-stage oral SCC (OSCC). We observed increased ALK activity in late-stage human OSCC tumors and invasive OSCC cell lines. We also found that while ALK inhibition alone had little effect on proliferation, co-targeting ALK and EGFR significantly reduced OSCC cell proliferation in vitro. Further analysis showed significant efficacy of combined treatment in HSC3-derived xenografts resulting in a 30% decrease in tumor volumes by 14days (p<0.001). Western blot analysis showed that co-targeting ALK and EGFR significantly reduced EGFR phosphorylation (Y1148) in HSC3 cells but not Cal27 cells. ALK and EGFR downstream signaling interactions are also demonstrated by Western blot analysis in which lone EGFR and ALK inhibitors attenuated AKT activity whereas co-targeting ALK and EGFR completely abolished AKT activation. No effects were observed on ERK1/2 activation. STAT3 activity was significantly induced by lone ALK inhibition in HSC3 cells and to a lower extent in Cal27 cells. Together, these data illustrate that ALK inhibitors enhance anti-tumor activity of EGFR inhibitors in susceptible tumors that display increased ALK expression, most likely through abolition of AKT activation.
View details for DOI 10.1016/j.oraloncology.2016.05.007
View details for PubMedID 27424178
Integrative analysis identifies targetable CREB1/FoxA1 transcriptional co-regulation as a predictor of prostate cancer recurrence
NUCLEIC ACIDS RESEARCH
2016; 44 (9): 4105-4122
Identifying prostate cancer-driving transcription factors (TFs) in addition to the androgen receptor promises to improve our ability to effectively diagnose and treat this disease. We employed an integrative genomics analysis of master TFs CREB1 and FoxA1 in androgen-dependent prostate cancer (ADPC) and castration-resistant prostate cancer (CRPC) cell lines, primary prostate cancer tissues and circulating tumor cells (CTCs) to investigate their role in defining prostate cancer gene expression profiles. Combining genome-wide binding site and gene expression profiles we define CREB1 as a critical driver of pro-survival, cell cycle and metabolic transcription programs. We show that CREB1 and FoxA1 co-localize and mutually influence each other's binding to define disease-driving transcription profiles associated with advanced prostate cancer. Gene expression analysis in human prostate cancer samples found that CREB1/FoxA1 target gene panels predict prostate cancer recurrence. Finally, we showed that this signaling pathway is sensitive to compounds that inhibit the transcription co-regulatory factor MED1. These findings not only reveal a novel, global transcriptional co-regulatory function of CREB1 and FoxA1, but also suggest CREB1/FoxA1 signaling is a targetable driver of prostate cancer progression and serves as a biomarker of poor clinical outcomes.
View details for DOI 10.1093/nar/gkv1528
View details for PubMedID 26743006