Publications by authors named "Kari J Kurppa"

15 Publications

  • Page 1 of 1

Clear cell squamous cell carcinoma of the tongue exhibits characteristics as an undifferentiated squamous cell carcinoma.

Pathol Res Pract 2022 Apr 26;235:153909. Epub 2022 Apr 26.

Laboratory of Oral Pathology, Division of Maxillofacial Diagnostic and Surgical Sciences, Faculty of Dental Science, Kyushu University, 3-1-1 Maidashi, Higashi-ku, Fukuoka 812-8582, Japan. Electronic address:

Clear cell squamous cell carcinoma (CCSCC), where cells show abundant clear cytoplasm, -is a variant of squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) and a rare entity in the oral cavity. The characteristics of CCSCC, especially in immunohistochemical features, remain unclear. We characterized a case of CCSCC arising from the oral mucosal epithelium of tongue, where the clear cell lesion accounted for a predominant portion of the tumor. This CCSCC, which was partially surrounded by conventional SCC, exhibited cellular atypia immunohistopathologically and histopathologically with a high Ki-67 index, increased number of mitotic figures and enlarged nuclei. Intravascular invasion of the carcinoma cells was also observed. Furthermore, the CCSCC recurred and metastasized to the cervical lymph nodes and both lungs three months after resection. Immunohistochemical analyses demonstrated decreased expression of p40 (an isoform of SCC marker p63), ADP-ribosylation factor (ARF)-like 4c (ARL4C), yes-associated protein (YAP) and 5-methylcytosine (5mC) in the CCSCC lesion compared with the surrounding SCC lesion, where the expression of ARL4C was upregulated compared with non-tumor region and YAP showed nuclear translocation. In addition, siRNA loss-of-function experiments revealed that p63 expression was required for ARL4C expression and DNA methylation was induced by p63 and YAP/transcriptional co-activator with PDZ-binding motif (TAZ) signaling in oral SCC cell lines. These results suggest that CCSCC, in which several markers of SCC-associated intracellular signaling pathways are downregulated, together with evidence of altered epigenetic regulation, is characterized as an undifferentiated SCC variant.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.prp.2022.153909DOI Listing
April 2022

An allosteric inhibitor against the therapy-resistant mutant forms of EGFR in non-small cell lung cancer.

Nat Cancer 2022 Apr 14;3(4):402-417. Epub 2022 Apr 14.

Lowe Center for Thoracic Oncology, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Boston, MA, USA.

Epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) therapy using small-molecule tyrosine kinase inhibitors (TKIs) is initially efficacious in patients with EGFR-mutant lung cancer, although drug resistance eventually develops. Allosteric EGFR inhibitors, which bind to a different EGFR site than existing ATP-competitive EGFR TKIs, have been developed as a strategy to overcome therapy-resistant EGFR mutations. Here we identify and characterize JBJ-09-063, a mutant-selective allosteric EGFR inhibitor that is effective across EGFR TKI-sensitive and resistant models, including those with EGFR T790M and C797S mutations. We further uncover that EGFR homo- or heterodimerization with other ERBB family members, as well as the EGFR L747S mutation, confers resistance to JBJ-09-063, but not to ATP-competitive EGFR TKIs. Overall, our studies highlight the potential clinical utility of JBJ-09-063 as a single agent or in combination with EGFR TKIs to define more effective strategies to treat EGFR-mutant lung cancer.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s43018-022-00351-8DOI Listing
April 2022

RAF1-MEK/ERK pathway-dependent ARL4C expression promotes ameloblastoma cell proliferation and osteoclast formation.

J Pathol 2022 01 16;256(1):119-133. Epub 2021 Nov 16.

Laboratory of Oral Pathology, Division of Maxillofacial Diagnostic and Surgical Sciences, Faculty of Dental Science, Kyushu University, Fukuoka, Japan.

Ameloblastoma is an odontogenic neoplasm characterized by slow intraosseous growth with progressive jaw resorption. Recent reports have revealed that ameloblastoma harbours an oncogenic BRAFV600E mutation with mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) pathway activation and described cases of ameloblastoma harbouring a BRAFV600E mutation in which patients were successfully treated with a BRAF inhibitor. Therefore, the MAPK pathway may be involved in the development of ameloblastoma; however, the precise mechanism by which it induces ameloblastoma is unclear. The expression of ADP-ribosylation factor (ARF)-like 4c (ARL4C), induced by a combination of the EGF-MAPK pathway and Wnt/β-catenin signalling, has been shown to induce epithelial morphogenesis. It was also reported that the overexpression of ARL4C, due to alterations in the EGF/RAS-MAPK pathway and Wnt/β-catenin signalling, promotes tumourigenesis. However, the roles of ARL4C in ameloblastoma are unknown. We investigated the involvement of ARL4C in the development of ameloblastoma. In immunohistochemical analyses of tissue specimens obtained from 38 ameloblastoma patients, ARL4C was hardly detected in non-tumour regions but tumours frequently showed strong expression of ARL4C, along with the expression of both BRAFV600E and RAF1 (also known as C-RAF). Loss-of-function experiments using inhibitors or siRNAs revealed that ARL4C elevation depended on the RAF1-MEK/ERK pathway in ameloblastoma cells. It was also shown that the RAF1-ARL4C and BRAFV600E-MEK/ERK pathways promoted cell proliferation independently. ARL4C-depleted tumour cells (generated by knockdown or knockout) exhibited decreased proliferation and migration capabilities. Finally, when ameloblastoma cells were co-cultured with mouse bone marrow cells and primary osteoblasts, ameloblastoma cells induced osteoclast formation. ARL4C elevation in ameloblastoma further promoted its formation capabilities through the increased RANKL expression of mouse bone marrow cells and/or primary osteoblasts. These results suggest that the RAF1-MEK/ERK-ARL4C axis, which may function in cooperation with the BRAFV600E-MEK/ERK pathway, promotes ameloblastoma development. © 2021 The Pathological Society of Great Britain and Ireland. Published by John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/path.5814DOI Listing
January 2022

Structural Basis for the Functional Changes by EGFR Exon 20 Insertion Mutations.

Cancers (Basel) 2021 Mar 5;13(5). Epub 2021 Mar 5.

Structural Bioinformatics Laboratory, Biochemistry, Faculty of Science and Engineering, Åbo Akademi University, 20520 Turku, Finland.

Activating somatic mutations of the epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) are frequently implicated in non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC). While L858R and exon 19 deletion mutations are most prevalent, exon 20 insertions are often observed in NSCLC. Here, we investigated the structural implications of two common EGFR exon 20 insertions in NSCLC, V769insASV and D770insNPG. The active and inactive conformations of wild-type, D770insNPG and V769insASV EGFRs were probed with molecular dynamics simulations to identify local and global alterations that the mutations exert on the EGFR kinase domain, highlighting mechanisms for increased enzymatic activity. In the active conformation, the mutations increase interactions that stabilize the αC helix that is essential for EGFR activity. Moreover, the key Lys745-Glu762 salt bridge was more conserved in the insertion mutations. The mutants also preserved the state of the structurally critical aspartate-phenylalanine-glycine (DFG)-motif and regulatory spine (R-spine), which were altered in wild-type EGFR. The insertions altered the structure near the ATP-binding pocket, e.g., the P-loop, which may be a factor for the clinically observed tyrosine kinase inhibitor (TKI) insensitivity by the insertion mutants. The inactive state simulations also showed that the insertions disrupt the Ala767-Arg776 interaction that is key for maintaining the "αC-out" inactive conformation, which could consequently fuel the transition from the inactive towards the active EGFR state.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/cancers13051120DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7961794PMC
March 2021

Identification of Predictive Mutations by Leveraging Publicly Available Cell Line Databases.

Mol Cancer Ther 2021 03 15;20(3):564-576. Epub 2020 Dec 15.

Institute of Biomedicine, and Medicity Research Laboratories, University of Turku, Turku, Finland.

Although targeted therapies can be effective for a subgroup of patients, identification of individuals who benefit from the treatments is challenging. At the same time, the predictive significance of the majority of the thousands of mutations observed in the cancer tissues remains unknown. Here, we describe the identification of novel predictive biomarkers for ERBB-targeted tyrosine kinase inhibitors (TKIs) by leveraging the genetic and drug screening data available in the public cell line databases: Cancer Cell Line Encyclopedia, Genomics of Drug Sensitivity in Cancer, and Cancer Therapeutics Response Portal. We assessed the potential of 412 ERBB mutations in 296 cell lines to predict responses to 10 different ERBB-targeted TKIs. Seventy-six ERBB mutations were identified that were associated with ERBB TKI sensitivity comparable with non-small cell lung cancer cell lines harboring the well-established predictive EGFR L858R mutation or exon 19 deletions. Fourteen (18.4%) of these mutations were classified as oncogenic by the cBioPortal database, whereas 62 (81.6%) were regarded as novel potentially predictive mutations. Of the nine functionally validated novel mutations, EGFR Y1069C and ERBB2 E936K were transforming in Ba/F3 cells and demonstrated enhanced signaling activity. Mechanistically, the EGFR Y1069C mutation disrupted the binding of the ubiquitin ligase c-CBL to EGFR, whereas the ERBB2 E936K mutation selectively enhanced the activity of ERBB heterodimers. These findings indicate that integrating data from publicly available cell line databases can be used to identify novel, predictive nonhotspot mutations, potentially expanding the patient population benefiting from existing cancer therapies.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1158/1535-7163.MCT-20-0590DOI Listing
March 2021

Good Guy in Bad Company: How STRNs Convert PP2A into an Oncoprotein.

Cancer Cell 2020 07;38(1):20-22

Institute of Biomedicine, University of Turku, Turku, Finland; Turku Bioscience Centre, University of Turku and Åbo Akademi University, Turku, Finland. Electronic address:

Certain Protein Phosphatase 2A (PP2A) complexes are human tumor suppressors. In contrast, a paper in this issue of Cancer Cell and two other recent studies demonstrate that PP2A-STRN3/4 complexes inactivate Hippo tumor suppressor pathway, resulting in YAP activation and tumorigenesis. Furthermore, this new oncogenic phosphatase mechanism may be druggable.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ccell.2020.06.011DOI Listing
July 2020

The guanine nucleotide exchange factor VAV3 participates in ERBB4-mediated cancer cell migration.

J Biol Chem 2020 08 19;295(33):11559-11571. Epub 2020 Jun 19.

Institute of Biomedicine and Medicity Research Laboratories, University of Turku, Turku, Finland

ERBB4 is a member of the epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR)/ERBB subfamily of receptor tyrosine kinases that regulates cellular processes including proliferation, migration, and survival. ERBB4 signaling is involved in embryogenesis and homeostasis of healthy adult tissues, but also in human pathologies such as cancer, neurological disorders, and cardiovascular diseases. Here, an MS-based analysis revealed the Vav guanine nucleotide exchange factor 3 (VAV3), an activator of Rho family GTPases, as a critical ERBB4-interacting protein in breast cancer cells. We confirmed the ERBB4-VAV3 interaction by targeted MS and coimmunoprecipitation experiments and further defined it by demonstrating that kinase activity and Tyr-1022 and Tyr-1162 of ERBB4, as well as the intact phosphotyrosine-interacting SH2 domain of VAV3, are necessary for this interaction. We found that ERBB4 stimulates tyrosine phosphorylation of the VAV3 activation domain, known to be required for guanine nucleotide exchange factor (GEF) activity of VAV proteins. In addition to VAV3, the other members of the VAV family, VAV1 and VAV2, also coprecipitated with ERBB4. Analyses of the effects of overexpression of dominant-negative VAV3 constructs or shRNA-mediated down-regulation of VAV3 expression in breast cancer cells indicated that active VAV3 is involved in ERBB4-stimulated cell migration. These results define the VAV GEFs as effectors of ERBB4 activity in a signaling pathway relevant for cancer cell migration.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1074/jbc.RA119.010925DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7450113PMC
August 2020

Deciphering the Structural Effects of Activating EGFR Somatic Mutations with Molecular Dynamics Simulation.

J Vis Exp 2020 05 20(159). Epub 2020 May 20.

Structural Bioinformatics Laboratory, Biochemistry, Faculty of Science and Engineering, Åbo Akademi University;

Numerous somatic mutations occurring in the epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) family (ErbB) of receptor tyrosine kinases (RTK) have been reported from cancer patients, although relatively few have been tested and shown to cause functional changes in ErbBs. The ErbB receptors are dimerized and activated upon ligand binding, and dynamic conformational changes of the receptors are inherent for induction of downstream signaling. For two mutations shown experimentally to alter EGFR function, A702V and the ΔELREA deletion mutation, we illustrate in the following protocol how molecular dynamics (MD) simulations can probe the (1) conformational stability of the mutant tyrosine kinase structure in comparison with wild-type EGFR; (2) structural consequences and conformational transitions and their relationship to observed functional changes; (3) effects of mutations on the strength of binding ATP as well as for binding between the kinase domains in the activated asymmetric dimer; and (4) effects of the mutations on key interactions within the EGFR binding site associated with the activated enzyme. The protocol provides a detailed step-by-step procedure as well as guidance that can be more generally useful for investigation of protein structures using MD simulations as a means to probe structural dynamics and the relationship to biological function.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3791/61125DOI Listing
May 2020

Treatment-Induced Tumor Dormancy through YAP-Mediated Transcriptional Reprogramming of the Apoptotic Pathway.

Cancer Cell 2020 01;37(1):104-122.e12

Department of Medical Oncology, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA 02215, USA; Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard, Cambridge, MA 02142, USA; Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Boston, MA 02215, USA.

Eradicating tumor dormancy that develops following epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) tyrosine kinase inhibitor (TKI) treatment of EGFR-mutant non-small cell lung cancer, is an attractive therapeutic strategy but the mechanisms governing this process are poorly understood. Blockade of ERK1/2 reactivation following EGFR TKI treatment by combined EGFR/MEK inhibition uncovers cells that survive by entering a senescence-like dormant state characterized by high YAP/TEAD activity. YAP/TEAD engage the epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition transcription factor SLUG to directly repress pro-apoptotic BMF, limiting drug-induced apoptosis. Pharmacological co-inhibition of YAP and TEAD, or genetic deletion of YAP1, all deplete dormant cells by enhancing EGFR/MEK inhibition-induced apoptosis. Enhancing the initial efficacy of targeted therapies could ultimately lead to prolonged treatment responses in cancer patients.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ccell.2019.12.006DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7146079PMC
January 2020

A dominant-negative effect drives selection of missense mutations in myeloid malignancies.

Science 2019 08;365(6453):599-604

Department of Medical Oncology, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Boston, MA 02215, USA.

, which encodes the tumor suppressor p53, is the most frequently mutated gene in human cancer. The selective pressures shaping its mutational spectrum, dominated by missense mutations, are enigmatic, and neomorphic gain-of-function (GOF) activities have been implicated. We used CRISPR-Cas9 to generate isogenic human leukemia cell lines of the most common missense mutations. Functional, DNA-binding, and transcriptional analyses revealed loss of function but no GOF effects. Comprehensive mutational scanning of p53 single-amino acid variants demonstrated that missense variants in the DNA-binding domain exert a dominant-negative effect (DNE). In mice, the DNE of p53 missense variants confers a selective advantage to hematopoietic cells on DNA damage. Analysis of clinical outcomes in patients with acute myeloid leukemia showed no evidence of GOF for missense mutations. Thus, a DNE is the primary unit of selection for missense mutations in myeloid malignancies.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1126/science.aax3649DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7327437PMC
August 2019

An unbiased screen for activating epidermal growth factor receptor mutations.

J Biol Chem 2019 06 5;294(24):9377-9389. Epub 2019 Apr 5.

From the Institute of Biomedicine and Medicity Research Laboratories and

Cancer tissues harbor thousands of mutations, and a given oncogene may be mutated at hundreds of sites, yet only a few of these mutations have been functionally tested. Here, we describe an unbiased platform for the functional characterization of thousands of variants of a single receptor tyrosine kinase (RTK) gene in a single assay. Our een for ctivating utations (iSCREAM) platform enabled rapid analysis of mutations conferring gain-of-function RTK activity promoting clonal growth. The screening strategy included a somatic model of cancer evolution and utilized a library of 7,216 randomly mutated epidermal growth factor receptor () single-nucleotide variants that were tested in murine lymphoid Ba/F3 cells. These cells depend on exogenous interleukin-3 (IL-3) for growth, but this dependence can be compensated by ectopic EGFR overexpression, enabling selection for gain-of-function mutants. Analysis of the enriched mutants revealed EGFR A702V, a novel activating variant that structurally stabilized the EGFR kinase dimer interface and conferred sensitivity to kinase inhibition by afatinib. As proof of concept for our approach, we recapitulated clinical observations and identified the EGFR L858R as the major enriched EGFR variant. Altogether, iSCREAM enabled robust enrichment of 21 variants from a total of 7,216 mutations. These findings indicate the power of this screening platform for unbiased identification of activating RTK variants that are enriched under selection pressure in a model of cancer heterogeneity and evolution.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1074/jbc.RA118.006336DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6579474PMC
June 2019

Overexpression of ERBB4 JM-a CYT-1 and CYT-2 isoforms in transgenic mice reveals isoform-specific roles in mammary gland development and carcinogenesis.

Breast Cancer Res 2014 Dec 17;16(6):501. Epub 2014 Dec 17.

Department of Pathology, Yale School of Medicine, P.O.Box 208023, New Haven, CT, 06520, USA.

Introduction: Human Epidermal Growth Factor Receptor (ERBB4/HER4) belongs to the Epidermal Growth Factor receptor/ERBB family of receptor tyrosine kinases. While ERBB1, ERBB2 and ERBB3 are often overexpressed or activated in breast cancer, and are oncogenic, the role of ERBB4 in breast cancer is uncertain. Some studies suggest a tumor suppressor role of ERBB4, while other reports suggest an oncogenic potential. Alternative splicing of ERBB4 yields four major protein products, these spliced isoforms differ in the extracellular juxtamembrane domain (JM-a versus JM-b) and cytoplasmic domain (CYT-1 versus CYT-2). Two of these isoforms, JM-a CYT-1 and JM-a CYT-2, are expressed in the mammary gland. Failure to account for isoform-specific functions in previous studies may account for conflicting reports on the role of ERBB4 in breast cancer.

Methods: We have produced mouse mammary tumour virus (MMTV) -ERBB4 transgenic mice to evaluate potential developmental and carcinogenic changes associated with full length (FL) JM-a ERBB4 CYT-1 versus ERBB4 CYT-2. Mammary tissue was isolated from transgenic mice and sibling controls at various developmental stages for whole mount analysis, RNA extraction, and immunohistochemistry. To maintain maximal ERBB4 expression, transgenic mice were bred continuously for a year after which mammary glands were isolated and analyzed.

Results: Overexpressing FL CYT-1 isoform resulted in suppression of mammary ductal morphogenesis which was accompanied by decreased number of mammary terminal end buds (TEBs) and Ki-67 positive cells within TEBs, while FL CYT-2 isoform had no effect on ductal growth in pubescent mice. The suppressive ductal phenotype in CYT-1 mice disappeared after mid-pregnancy, and subsequent developmental stages showed no abnormality in mammary gland morphology or function in CYT-1 or CYT-2 transgenic mice. However, sustained expression of FL CYT-1 isoform resulted in formation of neoplastic mammary lesions, suggesting a potential oncogenic function for this isoform.

Conclusions: Together, we present isoform-specific roles of ERBB4 during puberty and early pregnancy, and reveal a novel oncogenic property of CYT-1 ERBB4. The results may be exploited to develop better therapeutic strategies in breast cancer.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s13058-014-0501-zDOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4303208PMC
December 2014

ERBB4 promoter polymorphism is associated with poor distant disease-free survival in high-risk early breast cancer.

PLoS One 2014 18;9(7):e102388. Epub 2014 Jul 18.

Department of Medical Biochemistry and Genetics and Medicity Research Laboratories, University of Turku, Turku, Finland; Department of Oncology, Turku University Hospital, Turku, Finland.

A number of genetic variants have been linked to increased risk of breast cancer. Little is, however, known about the prognostic significance of hereditary factors. Here, we investigated the frequency and prognostic significance of two ERBB4 promoter region variants, -782G>T (rs62626348) and -815A>T (rs62626347), in a cohort of 1010 breast cancer patients. The frequency of nine previously described somatic ERBB4 kinase domain mutations was also analyzed. Clinical material used in the study consisted of samples from the phase III, adjuvant, FinHer breast cancer trial involving 1010 women. Tumor DNA samples were genotyped for ERBB4 variants and somatic mutations using matrix-assisted laser desorption ionization/time of flight mass spectrometry. Paraffin-embedded tumor sections from all patients were immunohistochemically stained for ErbB4 expression. Association of ERBB4 genotype to distant disease-free survival (DDFS) was assessed using Kaplan-Meier and Cox regression analyses. Genotyping was successful for 91-93% of the 1010 samples. Frequencies observed for the ERBB4 variants were 2.5% and 1.3% for -782G>T and -815A>T, respectively. Variant -815A>T was significantly associated with poor survival (HR  = 2.86 [95% CI 1.15-6.67], P = 0.017). In contrast, variant -782G>T was associated with well-differentiated cancer (P = 0.019). Two (0.2%) ERBB4 kinase domain mutations were found, both of which have previously been shown to be functional and promote cancer cell growth in vitro. These data present the germ-line ERBB4 variant -815A>T as a novel prognostic marker in high-risk early breast cancer and indicate the presence of rare but potentially oncogenic somatic ERBB4 mutations in breast cancer.
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http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0102388PLOS
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4103820PMC
March 2015

High frequency of BRAF V600E mutations in ameloblastoma.

J Pathol 2014 Apr 31;232(5):492-8. Epub 2014 Jan 31.

Department of Medical Biochemistry and Genetics and MediCity Research Laboratories, University of Turku, Finland; Turku Doctoral Programme of Molecular Medicine, Turku, Finland.

Ameloblastoma is a benign but locally infiltrative odontogenic neoplasm. Although ameloblastomas rarely metastasise, recurrences together with radical surgery often result in facial deformity and significant morbidity. Development of non-invasive therapies has been precluded by a lack of understanding of the molecular background of ameloblastoma pathogenesis. When addressing the role of ERBB receptors as potential new targets for ameloblastoma, we discovered significant EGFR over-expression in clinical samples using real-time RT-PCR, but observed variable sensitivity of novel primary ameloblastoma cells to EGFR-targeted drugs in vitro. In the quest for mutations downstream of EGFR that could explain this apparent discrepancy, Sanger sequencing revealed an oncogenic BRAF V600E mutation in the cell line resistant to EGFR inhibition. Further analysis of the clinical samples by Sanger sequencing and BRAF V600E-specific immunohistochemistry demonstrated a high frequency of BRAF V600E mutations (15 of 24 samples, 63%). These data provide novel insight into the poorly understood molecular pathogenesis of ameloblastoma and offer a rationale to test drugs targeting EGFR or mutant BRAF as novel therapies for ameloblastoma.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/path.4317DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4255689PMC
April 2014
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