Honors & Awards
Early Investigator Award, Department of Defense, CDMRP, Prostate Cancer Research Program (Aug 2018-July 2020)
Helena Anna Henzl-Gabor Young Women in Science Fund Travel Award for Postdoctoral Scholars, Stanford University (April 2017)
Research Mentor, Summer Research Academy, University of Central Florida (2010)
Summer Research Fellowship, American Cancer Society (2010)
Student Travel Award, Dr. Sidney A. McNair, Jr. Student Symposium, Clark Atlanta University, 10th Annual Prostate Cancer Symposium (2014)
Predoctoral Fellowship, Department of Defense (2014-2015)
Boards, Advisory Committees, Professional Organizations
Member, Society of Basic Urologic Research (2015 - Present)
Bachelor of Science, University of Central Florida (2009)
Doctor of Philosophy, University of Miami (2016)
Tanya Stoyanova, Postdoctoral Faculty Sponsor
Community and International Work
Skype a Scientist
Outreach to students
Underserved youth in STEM
Opportunities for Student Involvement
Trop2 is a driver of metastatic prostate cancer with neuroendocrine phenotype via PARP1.
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Resistance to androgen deprivation therapy, or castration-resistant prostate cancer (CRPC), is often accompanied by metastasis and is currently the ultimate cause of prostate cancer-associated deaths in men. Recently, secondary hormonal therapies have led to an increase of neuroendocrine prostate cancer (NEPC), a highly aggressive variant of CRPC. Here, we identify that high levels of cell surface receptor Trop2 are predictive of recurrence of localized prostate cancer. Moreover, Trop2 is significantly elevated in CRPC and NEPC, drives prostate cancer growth, and induces neuroendocrine phenotype. Overexpression of Trop2 induces tumor growth and metastasis while loss of Trop2 suppresses these abilities in vivo. Trop2-driven NEPC displays a significant up-regulation of PARP1, and PARP inhibitors significantly delay tumor growth and metastatic colonization and reverse neuroendocrine features in Trop2-driven NEPC. Our findings establish Trop2 as a driver and therapeutic target for metastatic prostate cancer with neuroendocrine phenotype and suggest that high Trop2 levels could identify cancers that are sensitive to Trop2-targeting therapies and PARP1 inhibition.
View details for DOI 10.1073/pnas.1905384117
View details for PubMedID 31932422
- Loss of Notch1 Activity Inhibits Prostate Cancer Growth and Metastasis and Sensitizes Prostate Cancer Cells to Antiandrogen Therapies MOLECULAR CANCER THERAPEUTICS 2019; 18 (7): 1230–42
Arginine vasopressin receptor 1a is a therapeutic target for castration-resistant prostate cancer.
Science translational medicine
2019; 11 (498)
Castration-resistant prostate cancer (CRPC) recurs after androgen deprivation therapy (ADT) and is incurable. Reactivation of androgen receptor (AR) signaling in the low androgen environment of ADT drives CRPC. This AR activity occurs through a variety of mechanisms, including up-regulation of AR coactivators such as VAV3 and expression of constitutively active AR variants such as the clinically relevant AR-V7. AR-V7 lacks a ligand-binding domain and is linked to poor prognosis. We previously showed that VAV3 enhances AR-V7 activity to drive CRPC progression. Gene expression profiling after depletion of either VAV3 or AR-V7 in CRPC cells revealed arginine vasopressin receptor 1a (AVPR1A) as the most commonly down-regulated gene, indicating that this G protein-coupled receptor may be critical for CRPC. Analysis of publicly available human PC datasets showed that AVPR1A has a higher copy number and increased amounts of mRNA in advanced PC. Depletion of AVPR1A in CRPC cells resulted in decreased cell proliferation and reduced cyclin A. In contrast, androgen-dependent PC, AR-negative PC, or nontumorigenic prostate epithelial cells, which have undetectable AVPR1A mRNA, were minimally affected by AVPR1A depletion. Ectopic expression of AVPR1A in androgen-dependent PC cells conferred castration resistance in vitro and in vivo. Furthermore, treatment of CRPC cells with the AVPR1A ligand, arginine vasopressin (AVP), activated ERK and CREB, known promoters of PC progression. A clinically safe and selective AVPR1A antagonist, relcovaptan, prevented CRPC emergence and decreased CRPC orthotopic and bone metastatic growth in mouse models. Based on these preclinical findings, repurposing AVPR1A antagonists is a promising therapeutic approach for CRPC.
View details for DOI 10.1126/scitranslmed.aaw4636
View details for PubMedID 31243151
Second-Generation Antiandrogens: From Discovery to Standard of Care in Castration Resistant Prostate Cancer.
Frontiers in oncology
2019; 9: 801
Prostate cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer affecting men in the United States. The prostate is a hormone-dependent gland in which androgen hormones testosterone and dihydrotestosterone bind to and activate the androgen receptor, initiating nuclear translocation of androgen receptor and a subsequent signaling cascade. Due to the androgen dependency of the prostate, androgen deprivation therapies have emerged as first line treatment for aggressive prostate cancer. Such therapies are effective until the point at which prostate cancer, through a variety of mechanisms including but not limited to generation of ligand-independent androgen receptor splice variants, or intratumoral androgen production, overcome hormone deprivation. These cancers are androgen ablation resistant, clinically termed castration resistant prostate cancer (CRPC) and remain incurable. First-generation antiandrogens established androgen receptor blockade as a therapeutic strategy, but these therapies do not completely block androgen receptor activity. Efficacy and potency have been improved by the development of second-generation antiandrogen therapies, which remain the standard of care for patients with CRPC. Four second-generation anti-androgens are currently approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA); abiraterone acetate, enzalutamide, and recently approved apalutamide and darolutamide. This review is intended to provide a thorough overview of FDA approved second-generation antiandrogen discovery, treatment application, strategies for combination therapy to overcome resistance, and an insight for the potential future approaches for therapeutic inhibition of androgen receptor.
View details for DOI 10.3389/fonc.2019.00801
View details for PubMedID 31555580
View details for PubMedCentralID PMC6723105
Quantitative Proteomic Profiling Reveals Key Pathways in the Anticancer Action of Methoxychalcone Derivatives in Triple Negative Breast Cancer.
Journal of proteome research
Triple negative breast cancer is an aggressive, heterogeneous disease with high recurrence and metastasis rates even with modern chemotherapy regimens and thus is in need of new therapeutics. Here, three novel synthetic analogues of chalcones, plant-based molecules that have demonstrated potency against a wide variety of cancers, were investigated as potential therapeutics for triple negative breast cancer. These compounds exhibit IC50 values of 5 muM in triple negative breast cancer cell lines and are more potent against triple negative breast cancer cell lines than against nontumor breast cell lines according to viability experiments. Tandem mass tag-based quantitative proteomics followed by gene set enrichment analysis and validation experiments using flow cytometry, apoptosis, and Western blot assays revealed three different anticancer mechanisms for these compounds. First, the chalcone analogues induce the unfolded protein response followed by apoptosis. Second, increases in the abundances of MHC-I pathway proteins occurs, which would likely result in immune stimulation in an organism. And third, treatment with the chalcone analogues causes disruption of the cell cycle by interfering with microtubule structure and by inducing G1 phase arrest. These data demonstrate the potential of these novel chalcone derivatives as treatments for triple negative breast cancer, though further work evaluating their efficacy in vivo is needed.
View details for PubMedID 30200768
Methionine aminopeptidase II (MetAP2) activated in situ self-assembly of small-molecule probes for imaging prostate cancer.
AMER ASSOC CANCER RESEARCH. 2018: 115–16
View details for Web of Science ID 000441803800181
Defining new drivers of castration- resistant prostate cancer
AMER ASSOC CANCER RESEARCH. 2018: 90
View details for Web of Science ID 000441803800135
Biomarkers for Diagnosis and Prognosis of Prostate Cancer
View details for DOI 10.5772/intechopen.79726
Targeting AR Variant-Coactivator Interactions to Exploit Prostate Cancer Vulnerabilities.
Molecular cancer research : MCR
2017; 15 (11): 1469–80
Castration-resistant prostate cancer (CRPC) progresses rapidly and is incurable. Constitutively active androgen receptor splice variants (AR-Vs) represent a well-established mechanism of therapeutic resistance and disease progression. These variants lack the AR ligand-binding domain and, as such, are not inhibited by androgen deprivation therapy (ADT), which is the standard systemic approach for advanced prostate cancer. Signaling by AR-Vs, including the clinically relevant AR-V7, is augmented by Vav3, an established AR coactivator in CRPC. Using mutational and biochemical studies, we demonstrated that the Vav3 Diffuse B-cell lymphoma homology (DH) domain interacted with the N-terminal region of AR-V7 (and full length AR). Expression of the Vav3 DH domain disrupted Vav3 interaction with and enhancement of AR-V7 activity. The Vav3 DH domain also disrupted AR-V7 interaction with other AR coactivators: Src1 and Vav2, which are overexpressed in PC. This Vav3 domain was used in proof-of-concept studies to evaluate the effects of disrupting the interaction between AR-V7 and its coactivators on CRPC cells. This disruption decreased CRPC cell proliferation and anchorage-independent growth, caused increased apoptosis, decreased migration, and resulted in the acquisition of morphological changes associated with a less aggressive phenotype. While disrupting the interaction between FL-AR and its coactivators decreased N-C terminal interaction, disrupting the interaction of AR-V7 with its coactivators decreased AR-V7 nuclear levels.Implications: This study demonstrates the potential therapeutic utility of inhibiting constitutively active AR-V signaling by disrupting coactivator binding. Such an approach is significant, as AR-Vs are emerging as important drivers of CRPC that are particularly recalcitrant to current therapies. Mol Cancer Res; 15(11); 1469-80. ©2017 AACR.
View details for DOI 10.1158/1541-7786.MCR-17-0280
View details for PubMedID 28811363
View details for PubMedCentralID PMC5770277
Activation of Notch1 synergizes with multiple pathways in promoting castration-resistant prostate cancer
PROCEEDINGS OF THE NATIONAL ACADEMY OF SCIENCES OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
2016; 113 (42): E6457-E6466
Metastatic castration-resistant prostate cancer (CRPC) is the primary cause of prostate cancer-specific mortality. Defining new mechanisms that can predict recurrence and drive lethal CRPC is critical. Here, we demonstrate that localized high-risk prostate cancer and metastatic CRPC, but not benign prostate tissues or low/intermediate-risk prostate cancer, express high levels of nuclear Notch homolog 1, translocation-associated (Notch1) receptor intracellular domain. Chronic activation of Notch1 synergizes with multiple oncogenic pathways altered in early disease to promote the development of prostate adenocarcinoma. These tumors display features of epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition, a cellular state associated with increased tumor aggressiveness. Consistent with its activation in clinical CRPC, tumors driven by Notch1 intracellular domain in combination with multiple pathways altered in prostate cancer are metastatic and resistant to androgen deprivation. Our study provides functional evidence that the Notch1 signaling axis synergizes with alternative pathways in promoting metastatic CRPC and may represent a new therapeutic target for advanced prostate cancer.
View details for DOI 10.1073/pnas.1614529113
View details for PubMedID 27694579
The microRNA-23b/-27b cluster suppresses prostate cancer metastasis via Huntingtin-interacting protein 1-related.
Deregulation of microRNAs (miRs) contributes to progression and metastasis of prostate and other cancers. miR-23b and -27b, encoded in the same miR cluster (miR-23b/-27b), are downregulated in human metastatic prostate cancer compared with primary tumors and benign tissue. Expression of miR-23b/-27b decreases prostate cancer cell migration, invasion and results in anoikis resistance. Conversely, antagomiR-mediated miR-23b and -27b silencing produces the opposite result in a more indolent prostate cancer cell line. However, neither miR-23b/-27b expression or inhibition impacts prostate cancer cell proliferation suggesting that miR-23b/-27b selectively suppresses metastasis. To examine the effects of miR-23b/-27b on prostate cancer metastasis in vivo, orthotopic prostate xenografts were established using aggressive prostate cancer cells transduced with miR-23b/-27b or non-targeting control miRNA. Although primary tumor formation was similar between miR-23b/-27b-transduced cells and controls, miR-23b/-27b expression in prostate cancer cells decreased seminal vesicle invasion and distant metastases. Gene-expression profiling identified the endocytic adaptor, Huntingtin-interacting protein 1-related (HIP1R) as being downregulated by miR-23b/-27b. Increased HIP1R expression in prostate cancer cells inversely phenocopied the effects of miR-23b/-27b overexpression on migration, invasion and anchorage-independent growth. HIP1R rescued miR-23b/-27b-mediated repression of migration in prostate cancer cells. HIP1R mRNA levels were decreased in seminal vesicle tissue from mice bearing miR-23b/-27b-transduced prostate cancer cell xenografts compared with scrambled controls, suggesting HIP1R is a key functional target of miR-23b/-27b. In addition, depletion of HIP1R led to a more rounded, less mesenchymal-like cell morphology, consistent with decreased metastatic properties. Together, these data demonstrate that the miR-23b/-27b cluster functions as a metastasis-suppressor by decreasing HIP1R levels in pre-clinical models of prostate cancer.Oncogene advance online publication, 22 February 2016; doi:10.1038/onc.2016.6.
View details for DOI 10.1038/onc.2016.6
View details for PubMedID 26898757
NACK Is an Integral Component of the Notch Transcriptional Activation Complex and Is Critical for Development and Tumorigenesis
2014; 74 (17): 4741-4751
The Notch signaling pathway governs many distinct cellular processes by regulating transcriptional programs. The transcriptional response initiated by Notch is highly cell context dependent, indicating that multiple factors influence Notch target gene selection and activity. However, the mechanism by which Notch drives target gene transcription is not well understood. Herein, we identify and characterize a novel Notch-interacting protein, Notch activation complex kinase (NACK), which acts as a Notch transcriptional coactivator. We show that NACK associates with the Notch transcriptional activation complex on DNA, mediates Notch transcriptional activity, and is required for Notch-mediated tumorigenesis. We demonstrate that Notch1 and NACK are coexpressed during mouse development and that homozygous loss of NACK is embryonic lethal. Finally, we show that NACK is also a Notch target gene, establishing a feed-forward loop. Thus, our data indicate that NACK is a key component of the Notch transcriptional complex and is an essential regulator of Notch-mediated tumorigenesis and development.
View details for DOI 10.1158/0008-5472.CAN-14-1547
View details for Web of Science ID 000341833300018
View details for PubMedID 25038227
View details for PubMedCentralID PMC4154994