Publications by authors named "Amanda B Parris"

18 Publications

  • Page 1 of 1

FGFR1 overexpression renders breast cancer cells resistant to metformin through activation of IRS1/ERK signaling.

Biochim Biophys Acta Mol Cell Res 2021 Jan 29;1868(1):118877. Epub 2020 Sep 29.

Julius L. Chambers Biomedical/Biotechnology Research Institute, Department of Biological and Biomedical Sciences, North Carolina Central University, Kannapolis, NC, United States of America; Lineberger Cancer Center, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, NC, United States of America. Electronic address:

Metformin has been suggested as an anti-cancer agent. However, increasing reports show that some tumors are resistant to metformin. Identification of factors affecting metformin mediated cancer therapy is of great significance. FGFR1 is a receptor-tyrosine-kinase that is frequently overexpressed in breast cancer, which is associated with poor-prognosis. To investigate the effect of FGFR1 overexpression on metformin-induced inhibition of breast cancer cells, we demonstrated that FGFR1 overexpression rendered MCF-7 and T47D cells resistant to metformin. In particular, we found that, in addition to AKT and ERK1/2 activation, FGFR1-induced activation of IRS1 and IGF1R, key regulators connecting metabolism and cancer, was associated with metformin resistance. Targeting IRS with IRS1 KO or IRS inhibitor NT157 significantly sensitized FGFR1 overexpressing cells to metformin. Combination of NT157 with metformin induced enhanced inhibition of p-IGF1R, p-ERK1/2 and p-mTOR. Moreover, we demonstrated that IRS1 functions as a critical mediator of the crosstalk between FGFR1 and IGF1R pathways, which involves a feedback loop between IRS1 and MAPK/ERK. Our study highlights the significance of FGFR1 status and IRS1 activation in metformin-resistance, which will facilitate the development of strategies targeting FGFR overexpression-associated metformin resistance.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.bbamcr.2020.118877DOI Listing
January 2021

In Utero Exposure to Bisphenol a Promotes Mammary Tumor Risk in MMTV-Erbb2 Transgenic Mice Through the Induction of ER-erbB2 Crosstalk.

Int J Mol Sci 2020 Apr 28;21(9). Epub 2020 Apr 28.

Julius L. Chambers Biomedical/Biotechnology Research Institute, Department of Biological and Biomedical Sciences, North Carolina Central University, Kannapolis, NC 28081, USA.

Bisphenol A (BPA) is the most common environmental endocrine disrupting chemical. Studies suggest a link between perinatal BPA exposure and increased breast cancer risk, but the underlying mechanisms remain unclear. This study aims to investigate the effects of in utero BPA exposure on mammary tumorigenesis in MMTV-erbB2 transgenic mice. Pregnant mice were subcutaneously injected with BPA (0, 50, 500 ng/kg and 250 µg/kg BW) daily between gestational days 11-19. Female offspring were examined for mammary tumorigenesis, puberty onset, mammary morphogenesis, and signaling in ER and erbB2 pathways. In utero exposure to low dose BPA (500 ng/kg) induced mammary tumorigenesis, earlier puberty onset, increased terminal end buds, and prolonged estrus phase, which was accompanied by proliferative mammary morphogenesis. CD24/49f-based FACS analysis showed that in utero exposure to 500 ng/kg BPA induced expansion of luminal and basal/myoepithelial cell subpopulations at PND 35. Molecular analysis of mammary tissues at PND 70 showed that in utero exposure to low doses of BPA induced upregulation of ERα, -ERα, cyclin D1, and c-myc, concurrent activation of erbB2, EGFR, erbB-3, Erk1/2, and Akt, and upregulation of growth factors/ligands. Our results demonstrate that in utero exposure to low dose BPA promotes mammary tumorigenesis in MMTV-erbB2 mice through induction of ER-erbB2 crosstalk and mammary epithelial reprogramming, which advance our understanding of the mechanism associated with in utero exposure to BPA-induced breast cancer risk. The studies also support using MMTV-erbB2 mouse model for relevant studies.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/ijms21093095DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7247154PMC
April 2020

Bisphenol AF promotes estrogen receptor-positive breast cancer cell proliferation through amphiregulin-mediated crosstalk with receptor tyrosine kinase signaling.

PLoS One 2019 6;14(5):e0216469. Epub 2019 May 6.

Julius L. Chambers Biomedical/Biotechnology Research Institute, Department of Biological and Biomedical Sciences, North Carolina Central University, North Carolina Research Campus, Kannapolis, North Carolina, United States of America.

Exposure to bisphenol A (BPA), an endocrine-disrupting compound, is associated with increased risk of estrogen-related diseases, including estrogen receptor-positive (ER+) breast cancer. Although bisphenol analogs, i.e. bisphenol AF (BPAF), have replaced BPA in industrial settings, increasing data indicate that these alternatives may have similar or even more potent estrogenic effects. As such, BPAF exhibits increased ER binding affinities than BPA in biochemical assays. However, preclinical studies exploring the effects of BPAF on ER+ breast cancer are missing mechanistic data. Thus, we aimed to characterize the effects of BPAF on MCF-7 and T47D ER+ breast cancer cells with mechanistic insight. We found that BPAF promoted cell growth and cell cycle progression concurrently with BPAF-induced ERα transcriptional activity and ER-RTK signaling activation. ER signaling blockage revealed that BPAF-induced cell proliferation and ER-RTK crosstalk were ER-dependent. Gene expression data demonstrated that AREG is a sensitive target of BPAF in our in vitro models. Importantly, we determined that AREG upregulation is necessary for BPAF-induced cellular responses. Ultimately, our novel finding that AREG mediates BPAF-induced ER-RTK crosstalk in ER+ breast cancer cells supports future studies to characterize the impact of BPAF on human ER+ breast cancer risk and to assess the safety profile of BPAF.
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http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0216469PLOS
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6502342PMC
January 2020

Caloric restriction inhibits mammary tumorigenesis in MMTV-ErbB2 transgenic mice through the suppression of ER and ErbB2 pathways and inhibition of epithelial cell stemness in premalignant mammary tissues.

Carcinogenesis 2018 10;39(10):1264-1273

Julius L. Chambers Biomedical/Biotechnology Research Institute, Department of Biological and Biomedical Sciences, North Carolina Central University, Kannapolis, NC, USA.

Caloric intake influences the onset of many diseases, including cancer. In particular, caloric restriction (CR) has been reported to suppress mammary tumorigenesis in various models. However, the underlying cancer preventive mechanisms have not been fully explored. To this end, we aimed to characterize the anticancer mechanisms of CR using MMTV-ErbB2 transgenic mice, a well-established spontaneous ErbB2-overexpressing mammary tumor model, by focusing on cellular and molecular changes in premalignant tissues. In MMTV-ErbB2 mice with 30% CR beginning at 8 weeks of age, mammary tumor development was dramatically inhibited, as exhibited by reduced tumor incidence and increased tumor latency. Morphogenic mammary gland analyses in 15- and 20-week-old mice indicated that CR significantly decreased mammary epithelial cell (MEC) density and proliferative index. To understand the underlying mechanisms, we analyzed the effects of CR on mammary stem/progenitor cells. Results from fluorescence-activated cell sorting analyses showed that CR modified mammary tissue hierarchy dynamics, as evidenced by decreased luminal cells (CD24highCD49flow), putative mammary reconstituting unit subpopulation (CD24highCD49fhigh) and luminal progenitor cells (CD61highCD49fhigh). Mammosphere and colony-forming cell assays demonstrated that CR significantly inhibited mammary stem cell self-renewal and progenitor cell numbers. Molecular analyses indicated that CR concurrently inhibited estrogen receptor (ER) and ErbB2 signaling. These molecular changes were accompanied by decreased mRNA levels of ER-targeted genes and epidermal growth factor receptor/ErbB2 family members and ligands, suggesting ER-ErbB2 signaling cross-talk. Collectively, our data demonstrate that CR significantly impacts ER and ErbB2 signaling, which induces profound changes in MEC reprogramming, and mammary stem/progenitor cell inhibition is a critical mechanism of CR-mediated breast cancer prevention.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/carcin/bgy096DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6175030PMC
October 2018

DMBA promotes ErbB2‑mediated carcinogenesis via ErbB2 and estrogen receptor pathway activation and genomic instability.

Oncol Rep 2018 Sep 4;40(3):1632-1640. Epub 2018 Jul 4.

Department of Pathology, University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center, Oklahoma City, OK 73104, USA.

Environmental factors, including 7,12‑dimethylbenz[a]anthracene (DMBA) exposure, and genetic predisposition, including ErbB2 overexpression/amplification, have been demonstrated to increase breast cancer susceptibility. Although DMBA‑ and ErbB2‑mediated breast cancers are well‑studied in their respective models, key interactions between environmental and genetic factors on breast cancer risk remain unclear. Therefore, the present study aimed to investigate the effect of DMBA exposure on ErbB2‑mediated mammary tumorigenesis. MMTV‑ErbB2 transgenic mice exposed to DMBA (1 mg) via weekly oral gavage for 6 weeks exhibited significantly enhanced mammary tumor development, as indicated by reduced tumor latency and increased tumor multiplicity compared with control mice. Whole mount analysis of premalignant mammary tissues from 15‑week‑old mice revealed increased ductal elongation and proliferative index in DMBA‑exposed mice. Molecular analyses of premalignant mammary tissues further indicated that DMBA exposure enhanced epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR)/ErbB2 and estrogen receptor (ER) signaling, which was associated with increased mRNA levels of EGFR/ErbB2 family members and ER‑targeted genes. Furthermore, analysis of tumor karyotypes revealed that DMBA‑exposed tumors displayed more chromosomal alterations compared with control tumors, implicating DMBA‑induced chromosomal instability in tumor promotion in this model. Together, the data suggested that DMBA‑induced deregulation of EGFR/ErbB2‑ER pathways plays a critical role in the enhanced chromosomal instability and promotion of ErbB2‑mediated mammary tumorigenesis. The study highlighted gene‑environment interactions that may increase risk of breast cancer, which is a critical clinical issue.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3892/or.2018.6545DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6072406PMC
September 2018

Ganetespib targets multiple levels of the receptor tyrosine kinase signaling cascade and preferentially inhibits ErbB2-overexpressing breast cancer cells.

Sci Rep 2018 05 1;8(1):6829. Epub 2018 May 1.

Julius L. Chambers Biomedical/Biotechnology Research Institute, Department of Biological and Biomedical Sciences, North Carolina Central University, North Carolina Research Campus, Kannapolis, North Carolina, USA.

Although ErbB2-targeted therapeutics have significantly improved ErbB2 breast cancer patient outcomes, therapeutic resistance remains a significant challenge. Therefore, the development of novel ErbB2-targeting strategies is necessary. Importantly, ErbB2 is a sensitive client protein of heat shock protein 90 (HSP90), which regulates client protein folding, maturation, and stabilization. HSP90 inhibition provides an alternative therapeutic strategy for ErbB2-targeted degradation. In particular, ganetespib, a novel HSP90 inhibitor, is a promising agent for ErbB2 cancers. Nevertheless, the anti-cancer efficacy and clinical application of ganetespib for ErbB2 breast cancer is largely unknown. In our study, we examined the anti-cancer effects of ganetespib on ErbB2 BT474 and SKBR3 breast cancer cells, and isogenic paired cancer cell lines with lentivirus-mediated ErbB2 overexpression. Ganetespib potently inhibited cell proliferation, cell cycle progression, survival, and activation/phosphorylation of ErbB2 and key downstream effectors in ErbB2 breast cancer cells. Moreover, ganetespib decreased the total protein levels of HSP90 client proteins and reduced ErbB2 protein half-life. ErbB2-overexpressing cancer cells were also more sensitive to ganetespib-mediated growth inhibition than parental cells. Ganetespib also strikingly potentiated the inhibitory effects of lapatinib in BT474 and SKBR3 cells. Ultimately, our results support the application of ganetespib-mediated HSP90 inhibition as a promising therapeutic strategy for ErbB2 breast cancer.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41598-018-25284-0DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5931511PMC
May 2018

Phenformin inhibits growth and epithelial-mesenchymal transition of ErbB2-overexpressing breast cancer cells through targeting the IGF1R pathway.

Oncotarget 2017 Sep 22;8(36):60342-60357. Epub 2017 Jul 22.

Julius L. Chambers Biomedical/Biotechnology Research Institute, Department of Biological and Biomedical Sciences, North Carolina Central University, Kannapolis, North Carolina, USA.

Reports suggest that metformin, a popular anti-diabetes drug, prevents breast cancer through various systemic effects, including insulin-like growth factor receptor (IGFR) regulation. Although the anti-cancer properties of metformin have been well-studied, reports on a more bioavailable/potent biguanide, phenformin, remain sparse. Phenformin exerts similar functional activity to metformin and has been reported to impede mammary carcinogenesis in rats. Since the effects of phenformin on specific breast cancer subtypes have not been fully explored, we used ErbB2-overexpressing breast cancer cell and animal models to test the anti-cancer potential of phenformin. We report that phenformin (25-75 μM) decreased cell proliferation and impaired cell cycle progression in SKBR3 and 78617 breast cancer cells. Reduced tumor size after phenformin treatment (30 mg/kg/day) was demonstrated in an MMTV-ErbB2 transgenic mouse syngeneic tumor model. Phenformin also blocked epithelial-mesenchymal transition, decreased the invasive phenotype, and suppressed receptor tyrosine kinase signaling, including insulin receptor substrate 1 and IGF1R, in ErbB2-overexpressing breast cancer cells and mouse mammary tumor-derived tissues. Moreover, phenformin suppressed IGF1-stimulated proliferation, receptor tyrosine kinase signaling, and epithelial-mesenchymal transition markers . Together, our study implicates phenformin-mediated IGF1/IGF1R regulation as a potential anti-cancer mechanism and supports the development of phenformin and other biguanides as breast cancer therapeutics.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.18632/oncotarget.19466DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5601143PMC
September 2017

Activation of cancerous inhibitor of PP2A (CIP2A) contributes to lapatinib resistance through induction of CIP2A-Akt feedback loop in ErbB2-positive breast cancer cells.

Oncotarget 2017 Aug 19;8(35):58847-58864. Epub 2017 Jul 19.

Julius L. Chambers Biomedical/Biotechnology Research Institute and Department of Biological and Biomedical Sciences, North Carolina Central University, Kannapolis, North Carolina, USA.

Lapatinib, a small molecule ErbB2/EGFR inhibitor, is FDA-approved for the treatment of metastatic ErbB2-overexpressing breast cancer; however, lapatinib resistance is an emerging clinical challenge. Understanding the molecular mechanisms of lapatinib-mediated anti-cancer activities and identifying relevant resistance factors are of pivotal significance. Cancerous inhibitor of protein phosphatase 2A (CIP2A) is a recently identified oncoprotein that is overexpressed in breast cancer. Our study investigated the role of CIP2A in the anti-cancer efficacy of lapatinib in ErbB2-overexpressing breast cancer cells. We found that lapatinib concurrently downregulated CIP2A and receptor tyrosine kinase signaling in ErbB2-overexpressing SKBR3 and 78617 cells; however, these effects were attenuated in lapatinib-resistant (LR) cells. CIP2A overexpression rendered SKBR3 and 78617 cells resistant to lapatinib-induced apoptosis and growth inhibition. Conversely, CIP2A knockdown via lentiviral shRNA enhanced cell sensitivity to lapatinib-induced growth inhibition and apoptosis. Results also suggested that lapatinib downregulated CIP2A through regulation of protein stability. We further demonstrated that lapatinib-induced CIP2A downregulation can be recapitulated by LY294002, suggesting that Akt mediates CIP2A upregulation. Importantly, lapatinib induced differential CIP2A downregulation between parental BT474 and BT474/LR cell lines. Moreover, CIP2A shRNA knockdown significantly sensitized the BT474/LR cells to lapatinib. Collectively, our results demonstrate that CIP2A is a molecular target and resistance factor of lapatinib with a critical role in lapatinib-induced cellular responses, including the inhibition of the CIP2A-Akt feedback loop. Further investigation of lapatinib-mediated CIP2A regulation will advance our understanding of lapatinib-associated anti-tumor activities and drug resistance.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.18632/oncotarget.19375DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5601698PMC
August 2017

FGFR inhibitor, AZD4547, impedes the stemness of mammary epithelial cells in the premalignant tissues of MMTV-ErbB2 transgenic mice.

Sci Rep 2017 09 12;7(1):11306. Epub 2017 Sep 12.

Julius L. Chambers Biomedical/Biotechnology Research Institute, Department of Biological and Biomedical Sciences, North Carolina Central University, North Carolina Research Campus, Kannapolis, North Carolina, USA.

The fibroblast growth factor receptor (FGFR) family of receptor tyrosine kinases (RTKs) regulates signaling pathways involved in cell proliferation and differentiation. Currently, the anti-tumor properties of FGFR inhibitors are being tested in preclinical and clinical studies. Nevertheless, reports on FGFR inhibitor-mediated breast cancer prevention are sparse. In this study, we investigated the anti-cancer benefits of AZD4547, an FGFR1-3 inhibitor, in ErbB2-overexpressing breast cancer models. AZD4547 (1-5 µM) demonstrated potent anti-proliferative effects, inhibition of stemness, and suppression of FGFR/RTK signaling in ErbB2-overexpressing human breast cancer cells. To study the in vivo effects of AZD4547 on mammary development, mammary epithelial cell (MEC) populations, and oncogenic signaling, MMTV-ErbB2 transgenic mice were administered AZD4547 (2-6 mg/kg/day) for 10 weeks during the 'risk window' for mammary tumor development. AZD4547 significantly inhibited ductal branching and MEC proliferation in vivo, which corroborated the in vitro anti-proliferative properties. AZD4547 also depleted CD24/CD49f-sorted MEC populations, as well as the CD61CD49f tumor-initiating cell-enriched population. Importantly, AZD4547 impaired stem cell-like characteristics in primary MECs and spontaneous tumor cells. Moreover, AZD4547 downregulated RTK, mTOR, and Wnt/β-catenin signaling pathways in premalignant mammary tissues. Collectively, our data provide critical preclinical evidence for AZD4547 as a potential breast cancer preventative and therapeutic agent.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41598-017-11751-7DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5595825PMC
September 2017

Ganetespib induces G2/M cell cycle arrest and apoptosis in gastric cancer cells through targeting of receptor tyrosine kinase signaling.

Int J Oncol 2017 Sep 13;51(3):967-974. Epub 2017 Jul 13.

Julius L. Chambers Biomedical/Biotechnology Research Institute, Department of Biological and Biomedical Sciences, North Carolina Central University, Kannapolis, NC 28081, USA.

Heat shock protein 90 (HSP90) regulates several important cellular processes via its repertoire of 'client proteins'. These client proteins have been found to play fundamental roles in signal transduction, cell proliferation, cell cycle progression and survival, as well as other features of malignant cells, such as invasion, tumor angiogenesis and metastasis. Thus, HSP90 is an emerging target for cancer therapy. To this end, we evaluated ganetespib (STA-9090), a novel and potent HSP90 inhibitor, for its activity in gastric cancer cell lines. Ganetespib significantly inhibited the proliferation of AGS and N87 human gastric cancer cell lines and potently induced G2/M cell cycle arrest and apoptosis. Upregulation of cleaved poly(ADP-ribose) polymerase (c-PARP), c-caspase-3, c-caspase-8 and c-caspase-9 and suppression of gastric cancer‑associated HSP90 client proteins, including ErbB2, Erk, Akt, mTOR, GSK3 and Src, were observed in ganetespib-treated cells. These findings demonstrate that the ganetespib-induced mechanism of cell growth inhibition involves the activation of death receptor and mitochondrial pathways and the inhibition of receptor tyrosine kinase signaling pathways. Our study implicates ganetespib as a potential strategy for gastric cancer treatment, which warrants further preclinical and clinical investigation.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3892/ijo.2017.4073DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5564404PMC
September 2017

p53 pathway determines the cellular response to alcohol-induced DNA damage in MCF-7 breast cancer cells.

PLoS One 2017 3;12(4):e0175121. Epub 2017 Apr 3.

Department of Biological and Biomedical Sciences, Julius L. Chambers Biomedical/Biotechnology Research Institute (BBRI), North Carolina Central University, Kannapolis, North Carolina.

Alcohol consumption is associated with increased breast cancer risk; however, the underlying mechanisms that contribute to mammary tumor initiation and progression are unclear. Alcohol is known to induce oxidative stress and DNA damage; likewise, p53 is a critical modulator of the DNA repair pathway and ensures genomic integrity. p53 mutations are frequently detected in breast and other tumors. The impact of alcohol on p53 is recognized, yet the role of p53 in alcohol-induced mammary carcinogenesis remains poorly defined. In our study, we measured alcohol-mediated oxidative DNA damage in MCF-7 cells using 8-OHdG and p-H2AX foci formation assays. p53 activity and target gene expression after alcohol exposure were determined using p53 luciferase reporter assay, qPCR, and Western blotting. A mechanistic study delineating the role of p53 in DNA damage response and cell cycle arrest was based on isogenic MCF-7 cells stably transfected with control (MCF-7/Con) or p53-targeting siRNA (MCF-7/sip53), and MCF-7 cells that were pretreated with Nutlin-3 (Mdm2 inhibitor) to stabilize p53. Alcohol treatment resulted in significant DNA damage in MCF-7 cells, as indicated by increased levels of 8-OHdG and p-H2AX foci number. A p53-dependent signaling cascade was stimulated by alcohol-induced DNA damage. Moderate to high concentrations of alcohol (0.1-0.8% v/v) induced p53 activation, as indicated by increased p53 phosphorylation, reporter gene activity, and p21/Bax gene expression, which led to G0/G1 cell cycle arrest. Importantly, compared to MCF-7/Con cells, alcohol-induced DNA damage was significantly enhanced, while alcohol-induced p21/Bax expression and cell cycle arrest were attenuated in MCF-7/sip53 cells. In contrast, inhibition of p53 degradation via Nutlin-3 reinforced G0/G1 cell cycle arrest in MCF-7 control cells. Our study suggests that functional p53 plays a critical role in cellular responses to alcohol-induced DNA damage, which protects the cells from DNA damage associated with breast cancer risk.
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http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0175121PLOS
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5378409PMC
September 2017

Buformin inhibits the stemness of erbB-2-overexpressing breast cancer cells and premalignant mammary tissues of MMTV-erbB-2 transgenic mice.

J Exp Clin Cancer Res 2017 02 13;36(1):28. Epub 2017 Feb 13.

Julius L. Chambers Biomedical/Biotechnology Research Institute, Department of Biological and Biomedical Sciences, North Carolina Central University, 500 Laureate Way, NRI 4301, Kannapolis, North Carolina, 28081, USA.

Background: Metformin, an FDA-approved drug for the treatment of Type II diabetes, has emerged as a promising anti-cancer agent. Other biguanide analogs, including buformin and phenformin, are suggested to have similar properties. Although buformin was shown to reduce mammary tumor burden in carcinogen models, the anti-cancer effects of buformin on different breast cancer subtypes and the underlying mechanisms remain unclear. Therefore, we aimed to investigate the effects of buformin on erbB-2-overexpressing breast cancer with in vitro and in vivo models.

Methods: MTT, cell cycle, clonogenic/CFC, ALDEFLUOR, tumorsphere, and Western blot analyses were used to determine the effects of buformin on cell growth, stem cell populations, stem cell-like properties, and signaling pathways in SKBR3 and BT474 erbB-2-overexpressing breast cancer cell lines. A syngeneic tumor cell transplantation model inoculating MMTV-erbB-2 mice with 78617 mouse mammary tumor cells was used to study the effects of buformin (1.2 g buformin/kg chow) on tumor growth in vivo. MMTV-erbB-2 mice were also fed buformin for 10 weeks, followed by analysis of premalignant mammary tissues for changes in morphological development, mammary epithelial cell (MEC) populations, and signaling pathways.

Results: Buformin significantly inhibited SKBR3 and BT474 cell growth, and in vivo activity was demonstrated by considerable growth inhibition of syngeneic tumors derived from MMTV-erbB-2 mice. In particular, buformin suppressed stem cell populations and self-renewal in vitro, which was associated with inhibited receptor tyrosine kinase (RTK) and mTOR signaling. Consistent with in vitro data, buformin suppressed mammary morphogenesis and reduced cell proliferation in MMTV-erbB-2 mice. Importantly, buformin decreased MEC populations enriched with mammary reconstitution units (MRUs) and tumor-initiating cells (TICs) from MMTV-erbB-2 mice, as supported by impaired clonogenic and mammosphere formation in primary MECs. We further demonstrated that buformin-mediated in vivo inhibition of MEC stemness is associated with suppressed activation of mTOR, RTK, ER, and β-catenin signaling pathways.

Conclusions: Overall, our results provide evidence for buformin as an effective anti-cancer drug that selectively targets TICs, and present a novel prevention and/or treatment strategy for patients who are genetically predisposed to erbB-2-overexpressing breast cancer.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s13046-017-0498-0DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5307817PMC
February 2017

Short-term early exposure to lapatinib confers lifelong protection from mammary tumor development in MMTV-erbB-2 transgenic mice.

J Exp Clin Cancer Res 2017 01 6;36(1). Epub 2017 Jan 6.

Julius L. Chambers Biomedical/Biotechnology Research Institute, Department of Biological and Biomedical Sciences, North Carolina Central University, 500 Laureate Way, Room 4301, Kannapolis, NC, 28081, USA.

Background: Although chemopreventative agents targeting the estrogen/estrogen receptor (ER) pathway have been effective for ER breast cancers, prevention of hormone receptor-negative breast cancers, such as Her2/erbB-2 breast cancers, remains a significant issue. Previous studies have demonstrated that administration of EGFR/erbB-2-targeting lapatinib to MMTV-erbB-2 transgenic mice inhibited mammary tumor development. The prevention, however, was achieved by prolonged high dose exposure. The tolerance to high dose/long-term drug administration may hinder its potential in clinical settings. Therefore, we aimed to test a novel, short-term chemopreventative strategy using lapatinib during the premalignant risk window in MMTV-erbB-2 mice.

Methods: We initially treated cultured cells with lapatinib to explore the anti-proliferative effects of lapatinib in vitro. We used a syngeneic tumor graft model to begin exploring the in vivo anti-tumorigenic effects of lapatinib in MMTV-erbB-2 mice. Then, we tested the efficacy of brief exposure to lapatinib (100 mg/kg/day for 8 weeks), beginning at 16 weeks of age, in the prevention of mammary tumor development in MMTV-erbB-2 mice.

Results: In the syngeneic tumor transplant model, we determined that lapatinib significantly inhibited tumor cell proliferation. Furthermore, we demonstrated that short-term lapatinib exposure resulted in life-long protective effects, as supported by increased tumor latency in lapatinib-treated mice compared to the control mice. We further established that delayed tumor development in the treated mice was preceded by decreased BrdU nuclear incorporation and inhibited mammary morphogenesis. Molecular analysis indicated that lapatinib inhibited phosphorylation and expression of EGFR, erbB-3, erbB-2, Akt1, and Erk1/2 in premalignant mammary tissues. Also, lapatinib drastically inhibited the phosphorylation and expression of ERα and the transcription of ER target genes in premalignant mammary tissues. We also determined that lapatinib suppressed the stemness of breast cancer cell lines, as evidenced by decreased tumorsphere formation and ALDH cell populations.

Conclusions: Taken together, these data demonstrate that brief treatment with EGFR/erbB-2-targeting agents before the onset of tumors may provide lifelong protection from mammary tumors, through the concurrent inhibition of erbB-2 and ER signaling pathways and consequential reprogramming. Our findings support further clinical testing to explore the benefit of shorter lapatinib exposure in the prevention of erbB-2-mediated carcinogenesis.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s13046-016-0479-8DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5217213PMC
January 2017

Androgen receptor regulation by histone methyltransferase Suppressor of variegation 3-9 homolog 2 and Melanoma antigen-A11.

Mol Cell Endocrinol 2017 03 29;443:42-51. Epub 2016 Dec 29.

Laboratories for Reproductive Biology, Department of Pediatrics, Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center, and Department of Biochemistry and Biophysics, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, NC 27599, United States. Electronic address:

Androgen receptor (AR) transcriptional activity depends on interactions between the AR NH-terminal region and transcriptional coregulators. A yeast two-hybrid screen of a human testis library using predicted α-helical NH-terminal fragment AR-(370-420) as bait identified suppressor of variegation 3-9 homolog 2 (SUV39H2) histone methyltransferase as an AR interacting protein. SUV39H2 interaction with AR and the AR coregulator, melanoma antigen-A11 (MAGE-A11), was verified in two-hybrid, in vitro glutathione S-transferase affinity matrix and coimmunoprecipitation assays. Fluorescent immunocytochemistry colocalized SUV39H2 and AR in the cytoplasm without androgen, in the nucleus with androgen, and with MAGE-A11 in the nucleus independent of androgen. Chromatin immunoprecipitation using antibodies raised against SUV39H2 demonstrated androgen-dependent recruitment of AR and SUV39H2 to the androgen-responsive upstream enhancer of the prostate-specific antigen gene. SUV39H2 functioned cooperatively with MAGE-A11 to increase androgen-dependent AR transcriptional activity. SUV39H2 histone methyltransferase is an AR coactivator that increases androgen-dependent transcriptional activity through interactions with AR and MAGE-A11.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.mce.2016.12.028DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5303141PMC
March 2017

Up-Regulation of Follistatin-Like 1 By the Androgen Receptor and Melanoma Antigen-A11 in Prostate Cancer.

Prostate 2017 04 14;77(5):505-516. Epub 2016 Dec 14.

Laboratories for Reproductive Biology, Department of Pediatrics, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, North Carolina.

Background: High affinity androgen binding to the androgen receptor (AR) activates genes required for male sex differentiation and promotes the development and progression of prostate cancer. Human AR transcriptional activity involves interactions with coregulatory proteins that include primate-specific melanoma antigen-A11 (MAGE-A11), a coactivator that increases AR transcriptional activity during prostate cancer progression to castration-resistant/recurrent prostate cancer (CRPC).

Methods: Microarray analysis and quantitative RT-PCR were performed to identify androgen-regulated MAGE-A11-dependent genes in LAPC-4 prostate cancer cells after lentivirus shRNA knockdown of MAGE-A11. Chromatin immunoprecipitation was used to assess androgen-dependent AR recruitment, and immunocytochemistry to localize an androgen-dependent protein in prostate cancer cells and tissue and in the CWR22 human prostate cancer xenograft.

Results: Microarray analysis of androgen-treated LAPC-4 prostate cancer cells indicated follistatin-like 1 (FSTL1) is up-regulated by MAGE-A11. Androgen-dependent up-regulation of FSTL1 was inhibited in LAPC-4 cells by lentivirus shRNA knockdown of AR or MAGE-A11. Chromatin immunoprecipitation demonstrated AR recruitment to intron 10 of the FSTL1 gene that contains a classical consensus androgen response element. Increased levels of FSTL1 protein in LAPC-4 cells correlated with higher levels of MAGE-A11 relative to other prostate cancer cells. FSTL1 mRNA levels increased in CRPC and castration-recurrent CWR22 xenografts in association with predominantly nuclear FSTL1. Increased nuclear localization of FSTL1 in prostate cancer was suggested by predominantly cytoplasmic FSTL1 in benign prostate epithelial cells and predominantly nuclear FSTL1 in epithelial cells in CRPC tissue and the castration-recurrent CWR22 xenograft. AR expression studies showed nuclear colocalization of AR and endogenous FSTL1 in response to androgen.

Conclusion: AR and MAGE-A11 cooperate in the up-regulation of FSTL1 to promote growth and progression of CRPC. Prostate 77:505-516, 2017. © 2016 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/pros.23288DOI Listing
April 2017

Genistein targets the cancerous inhibitor of PP2A to induce growth inhibition and apoptosis in breast cancer cells.

Int J Oncol 2016 Sep 30;49(3):1203-10. Epub 2016 Jun 30.

Julius L. Chambers Biomedical/Biotechnology Research Institute and Department of Biology, North Carolina Central University, Kannapolis, NC 28081, USA.

Genistein is a soy isoflavone with phytoestrogen and tyrosine kinase inhibitory properties. High intake of soy/genistein has been associated with reduced breast cancer risk. Despite the advances in genistein-mediated antitumor studies, the underlying mechanisms remain unclear. In the present study, we investigated genistein-induced regulation of the cancerous inhibitor of protein phosphatase 2A (CIP2A), a novel oncogene frequently overexpressed in breast cancer, and its functional impact on genistein-induced growth inhibition and apoptosis. We demonstrated that genistein induced downregulation of CIP2A in MCF-7-C3 and T47D breast cancer cells, which was correlated with its growth inhibition and apoptotic activities. Overexpression of CIP2A attenuated, whereas CIP2A knockdown sensitized, genistein-induced growth inhibition and apoptosis. We further showed that genistein-induced downregulation of CIP2A involved both transcriptional suppression and proteasomal degradation. In particular, genistein at higher concentrations induced concurrent downregulation of E2F1 and CIP2A. Overexpression of E2F1 attenuated genistein-induced downregulation of CIP2A mRNA, indicating the role of E2F1 in genistein-induced transcriptional suppression of CIP2A. Taken together, our results identified CIP2A as a functional target of genistein and demonstrated that modulation of E2F1-mediated transcriptional regulation of CIP2A contributes to its downregulation. These data advance our understanding of genistein-induced growth inhibition and apoptosis, and support further investigation on CIP2A as a therapeutic target of relevant anticancer agents.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3892/ijo.2016.3588DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4948957PMC
September 2016

Alcohol promotes migration and invasion of triple-negative breast cancer cells through activation of p38 MAPK and JNK.

Mol Carcinog 2017 03 30;56(3):849-862. Epub 2016 Aug 30.

Department of Biology, Julius L. Chambers Biomedical/Biotechnology Research Institute, North Carolina Central University, Kannapolis, North Carolina.

Although alcohol is an established breast cancer risk factor, the underlying mechanisms remain unclear. Previous studies examined the general association between alcohol consumption and breast cancer risk; however, the risk for different breast cancer subtypes has been rarely reported. Triple-negative breast cancer (TNBC) is a subtype of breast cancer lacking hormone receptors and HER2 expression, and having poor prognosis. Understanding the molecular mechanisms of TNBC etiology remains a significant challenge. In this study, we investigated cellular responses to alcohol in two TNBC cell lines, MDA-MB-231 and MDA-MB-468. Our results showed that alcohol at low concentrations (0.025-0.1% v/v) induced cell proliferation, migration, and invasion in 1% FBS-containing medium. Molecular analysis indicated that these phenotypic changes were associated with alcohol-induced reactive oxygen species production and increased p38 and JNK phosphorylation. Likewise, p38 or JNK inhibition attenuated alcohol-induced cell migration and invasion. We revealed that alcohol treatment activated/phosphorylated NF-κB regulators and increased transcription of NF-κB-targeted genes. While examining the role of acetaldehyde, the major alcohol metabolite, in alcohol-associated responses in TNBC cells, we saw that acetaldehyde induced cell migration, invasion, and increased phospho-p38, phospho-JNK, and phospho-IκBα in a pattern similar to alcohol treatment. Taken together, we established that alcohol promotes TNBC cell proliferation, migration, and invasion in vitro. The underlying mechanisms involve the induction of oxidative stress and the activation of NF-κB signaling. In particular, the activation of p38 and JNK plays a pivotal role in alcohol-induced cellular responses. These results will advance our understanding of alcohol-mediated development and promotion of TNBC. © 2016 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/mc.22538DOI Listing
March 2017

p53 is required for metformin-induced growth inhibition, senescence and apoptosis in breast cancer cells.

Biochem Biophys Res Commun 2015 Sep 28;464(4):1267-1274. Epub 2015 Jul 28.

JLC Biomedical/Biotechnology Research Institute, Department of Biology, North Carolina Central University, Kannapolis, NC 28081, USA. Electronic address:

The p53 tumor repressor gene is commonly mutated in human cancers. The tumor inhibitory effect of metformin on p53-mutated breast cancer cells remains unclear. Data from the present study demonstrated that p53 knockdown or mutation has a negative effect on metformin or phenformin-induced growth inhibition, senescence and apoptosis in breast cancer cells. We also found that p53 reactivating agent nutlin-3α and CP/31398 promoted metformin-induced growth inhibition, senescence and apoptosis in MCF-7 (wt p53) and MDA-MB-231 (mt p53) cells, respectively. Treatment of MCF-7 cells with metformin or phenformin induced increase in p53 protein levels and the transcription of its downstream target genes, Bax and p21, in a dose-dependent manner. Moreover, we demonstrated that AMPK-mTOR signaling played a role in metformin-induced p53 up-regulation. The present study showed that p53 is required for metformin or phenformin-induced growth inhibition, senescence and apoptosis in breast cancer cells. The combination of metformin with p53 reactivating agents, like nutlin-3α and CP/31398, is a promising strategy for improving metformin-mediated anti-cancer therapy, especially for tumors with p53 mutations.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.bbrc.2015.07.117DOI Listing
September 2015