Publications by authors named "Ridha Limame"

11 Publications

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Establishment and characterization of cetuximab resistant head and neck squamous cell carcinoma cell lines: focus on the contribution of the AP-1 transcription factor.

Am J Cancer Res 2015 15;5(6):1921-38. Epub 2015 May 15.

Center for Oncological Research (CORE) Antwerp, Laboratory of Cancer Research and Clinical Oncology, University of Antwerp Belgium.

Background: After an initial response to EGFR targeted therapy, secondary resistance almost invariably ensues, thereby limiting the clinical benefit of the drug. Hence, it has been recognized that the successful implementation of targeted therapy in the treatment of HNSCC cancer is very much dependent on predictive biomarkers for patient selection.

Methods: We generated an in vitro model of acquired cetuximab resistance by chronically exposing three HNSCC cell lines to increasing cetuximab doses. Gene expression profiles of sensitive parental cells and resistant daughter cells were compared using microarray analysis. Growth inhibitory experiments were performed with an HB-EGF antibody and the MMP inhibitor, both in combination with cetuximab. Characteristics of EMT were analyzed using migration and invasion assays, immunofluorescent vimentin staining and qRT-PCR for several genes involved in this process. The function of the transcription factor AP-1 was investigated using qRT-PCR for several genes upregulated or downregulated in cetuximab resistant cells. Furthermore, anchorage-independent growth was investigated using the soft agar assay.

Results: Gene expression profiling shows that cetuximab resistant cells upregulate several genes, including interleukin 8, the EGFR ligand HB-EGF and the metalloproteinase ADAM19. Cytotoxicity experiments with neutralizing HB-EGF antibody could not induce any growth inhibition, whereas an MMP inhibitor inhibited cell growth in cetuximab resistant cells. However, no synergetic effects combined with cetuximab could be observed. Cetuximab resistant cells showed traits of EMT, as witnessed by increased migratory potential, increased invasive potential, increased vimentine expression and increased expression of several genes involved in EMT. Furthermore, expression of upregulated genes could be repressed by the treatment with apigenin. The cetuximab resistant LICR-HN2 R10.3 cells tend to behave differently in cell culture, forming spheres. Therefore, soft agar assay was performed and showed more and larger colonies when challenged with cetuximab compared to PBS challenged cells.

Conclusions: In summary, our results indicate that increased expression of the ligand HB-EGF could contribute to resistance towards cetuximab in our cetuximab resistant HNSCC cells. Furthermore, several genes upregulated or downregulated in cetuximab resistant cells are under control of the AP-1 transcription factor. However, more studies are warranted to further unravel the role of AP-1 in cetuximab resistance.
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http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4529614PMC
August 2015

Differential regulation of extracellular matrix protein expression in carcinoma-associated fibroblasts by TGF-β1 regulates cancer cell spreading but not adhesion.

Oncoscience 2014 15;1(10):634-48. Epub 2014 Oct 15.

Department of Radiation Oncology and Experimental Cancer Research, Ghent University and Ghent University Hospital, Ghent, Belgium.

Cancer progression is characterized by a complex reciprocity between neoplastic epithelium and adjacent stromal cells. In ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS) of the breast, both reduced stromal decorin expression and myxoid stroma are correlated with increased recurrence risk. In this study, we aimed to investigate paracrine regulation of expression of decorin and related extracellular matrix (ECM) proteins in cancer-associated fibroblasts (CAFs). Transforming growth factor-β1 (TGF-β1) was identified as a competent ECM modulator, as it reduced decorin and strongly enhanced versican, biglycan and type I collagen expression. Similar but less pronounced effects were observed when fibroblasts were treated with basic fibroblast growth factor (bFGF). Despite this concerted ECM modulation, TGF-β1 and bFGF differentially regulated alpha-smooth muscle actin (α-SMA) expression, which is often proposed as a CAF-marker. Cancer cell-derived secretomes induced versican and biglycan expression in fibroblasts. Immunohistochemistry on twenty DCIS specimens showed a trend toward periductal versican overexpression in DCIS with myxoid stroma. Cancer cell adhesion was inhibited by decorin, but not by CAF-derived matrices. Cancer cells presented significantly enhanced spreading when seeded on matrices derived from TGF-β1-treated CAF. Altogether these data indicate that preinvasive cancerous lesions might modulate the composition of surrounding stroma through TGF-β1 release to obtain an invasion-permissive microenvironment.
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http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4278277PMC
http://dx.doi.org/10.18632/oncoscience.87DOI Listing
January 2015

Expression profiling of migrated and invaded breast cancer cells predicts early metastatic relapse and reveals Krüppel-like factor 9 as a potential suppressor of invasive growth in breast cancer.

Oncoscience 2014 18;1(1):69-81. Epub 2013 Jan 18.

Center for Oncological Research (CORE), University of Antwerp, Universiteitsplein 1, B-2610 Antwerp, Belgium ; Laboratory of Pathology, Antwerp University Hospital, Wilrijkstraat 10, B-2650 Edegem (Antwerp), Belgium.

Cell motility and invasion initiate metastasis. However, only a subpopulation of cancer cells within a tumor will ultimately become invasive. Due to this stochastic and transient nature, in an experimental setting, migrating and invading cells need to be isolated from the general population in order to study the gene expression profiles linked to these processes. This report describes microarray analysis on RNA derived from migrated or invaded subpopulations of triple negative breast cancer cells in a Transwell set-up, at two different time points during motility and invasion, pre-determined as "early" and "late" in real-time kinetic assessments. Invasion- and migration-related gene expression signatures were generated through comparison with non-invasive cells, remaining at the upper side of the Transwell membranes. Late-phase signatures of both invasion and migration indicated poor prognosis in a series of breast cancer data sets. Furthermore, evaluation of the genes constituting the prognostic invasion-related gene signature revealed Krüppel-like factor 9 (KLF9) as a putative suppressor of invasive growth in breast cancer. Next to loss in invasive vs non-invasive cell lines, KLF9 also showed significantly lower expression levels in the "early" invasive cell population, in several public expression data sets and in clinical breast cancer samples when compared to normal tissue. Overexpression of EGFP-KLF9 fusion protein significantly altered morphology and blocked invasion and growth of MDA-MB-231 cells in vitro. In addition, KLF9 expression correlated inversely with mitotic activity in clinical samples, indicating anti-proliferative effects.
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http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4295756PMC
http://dx.doi.org/10.18632/oncoscience.10DOI Listing
January 2015

Cancer-associated adipose tissue promotes breast cancer progression by paracrine oncostatin M and Jak/STAT3 signaling.

Cancer Res 2014 Dec 24;74(23):6806-19. Epub 2014 Sep 24.

Laboratory of Experimental Cancer Research, Department of Radiation Oncology and Experimental Cancer Research, Ghent University Hospital, Ghent, Belgium.

Increasing evidence supports the critical roles played by adipose tissue in breast cancer progression. Yet, the mediators and mechanisms are poorly understood. Here, we show that breast cancer-associated adipose tissue from freshly isolated tumors promotes F-actin remodeling, cellular scattering, invasiveness, and spheroid reorganization of cultured breast cancer cells. A combination of techniques, including transcriptomics, proteomics, and kinomics enabled us to identify paracrine secretion of oncostatin M (OSM) by cancer-associated adipose tissue. Specifically, OSM, expressed by CD45(+) leucocytes in the stromal vascular fraction, induced phosphorylation of STAT3 (pSTAT3-) Y705 and S727 in breast cancer cells and transcription of several STAT3-dependent genes, including S100 family members S100A7, S100A8, and S100A9. Autocrine activation of STAT3 in MCF-7 cells ectopically expressing OSM-induced cellular scattering and peritumoral neovascularization of orthotopic xenografts. Conversely, selective inhibition of OSM by neutralizing antibody and Jak family kinases by tofacitinib inhibited STAT3 signaling, peritumoral angiogenesis, and cellular scattering. Importantly, nuclear staining of pSTAT3-Y705 identified at the tumor invasion front in ductal breast carcinomas correlates with increased lymphovascular invasion. Our work reveals the potential of novel therapeutic strategies targeting the OSM and STAT3 axis in patients with breast cancer harboring nuclear pSTAT3-Y705.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1158/0008-5472.CAN-14-0160DOI Listing
December 2014

Overcoming cetuximab resistance in HNSCC: the role of AURKB and DUSP proteins.

Cancer Lett 2014 Nov 2;354(2):365-77. Epub 2014 Sep 2.

Center for Oncological Research (CORE) Antwerp, Laboratory of Cancer Research and Clinical Oncology, University of Antwerp, Universiteitsplein1, Wilrijk, Belgium.

Unraveling the underlying mechanisms of cetuximab resistance in head and neck squamous cell carcinoma (HNSCC) is of major importance as many tumors remain non-responsive or become resistant. Our microarray results suggest that "resistant" cells still exhibit RAS-MAPK pathway signaling contributing to drug resistance, as witnessed by low expression of DUSP5 and DUSP6, negative regulators of ERK1/2, and increased expression of AURKB, a key regulator of mitosis. Therefore, interrupting the RAS-MAPK pathway by an ERK1/2 inhibitor (apigenin) or an AURKB inhibitor (barasertib) might be a new strategy for overcoming cetuximab resistance in HNSCC.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.canlet.2014.08.039DOI Listing
November 2014

A core invasiveness gene signature reflects epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition but not metastatic potential in breast cancer cell lines and tissue samples.

PLoS One 2014 21;9(2):e89262. Epub 2014 Feb 21.

Translational Cancer Research Unit, Oncology Center, GZA Hospitals Sint-Augustinus, Antwerp, Belgium ; Department of oncology, KU Leuven, Leuven, Belgium.

Introduction: Metastases remain the primary cause of cancer-related death. The acquisition of invasive tumour cell behaviour is thought to be a cornerstone of the metastatic cascade. Therefore, gene signatures related to invasiveness could aid in stratifying patients according to their prognostic profile. In the present study we aimed at identifying an invasiveness gene signature and investigated its biological relevance in breast cancer.

Methods & Results: We collected a set of published gene signatures related to cell motility and invasion. Using this collection, we identified 16 genes that were represented at a higher frequency than observed by coincidence, hereafter named the core invasiveness gene signature. Principal component analysis showed that these overrepresented genes were able to segregate invasive and non-invasive breast cancer cell lines, outperforming sets of 16 randomly selected genes (all P<0.001). When applied onto additional data sets, the expression of the core invasiveness gene signature was significantly elevated in cell lines forced to undergo epithelial-mesenchymal transition. The link between core invasiveness gene expression and epithelial-mesenchymal transition was also confirmed in a dataset consisting of 2420 human breast cancer samples. Univariate and multivariate Cox regression analysis demonstrated that CIG expression is not associated with a shorter distant metastasis free survival interval (HR = 0.956, 95%C.I. = 0.896-1.019, P = 0.186).

Discussion: These data demonstrate that we have identified a set of core invasiveness genes, the expression of which is associated with epithelial-mesenchymal transition in breast cancer cell lines and in human tissue samples. Despite the connection between epithelial-mesenchymal transition and invasive tumour cell behaviour, we were unable to demonstrate a link between the core invasiveness gene signature and enhanced metastatic potential.
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http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0089262PLOS
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3931724PMC
January 2015

Krüppel-like factors in cancer progression: three fingers on the steering wheel.

Oncotarget 2014 Jan;5(1):29-48

Center for Oncological Research (CORE), University of Antwerp, Universiteitsplein 1, Antwerp, Belgium.

Krüppel-like factors (KLFs) comprise a highly conserved family of zinc finger transcription factors, that are involved in a plethora of cellular processes, ranging from proliferation and apoptosis to differentiation, migration and pluripotency. During the last few years, evidence on their role and deregulation in different human cancers has been emerging. This review will discuss current knowledge on Krüppel-like transcription in the epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT), invasion and metastasis, with a focus on epithelial cancer biology and the extensive interface with pluripotency. Furthermore, as KLFs are able to mediate different outcomes, important influences of the cellular and microenvironmental context will be highlighted. Finally, we attempt to integrate diverse findings on KLF functions in EMT and stem cell biology to fit in the current model of cellular plasticity as a tool for successful metastatic dissemination.
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http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3960187PMC
http://dx.doi.org/10.18632/oncotarget.1456DOI Listing
January 2014

Comparative analysis of dynamic cell viability, migration and invasion assessments by novel real-time technology and classic endpoint assays.

PLoS One 2012 19;7(10):e46536. Epub 2012 Oct 19.

Center for Oncological Research (CORE), University of Antwerp, Antwerp, Belgium.

Background: Cell viability and motility comprise ubiquitous mechanisms involved in a variety of (patho)biological processes including cancer. We report a technical comparative analysis of the novel impedance-based xCELLigence Real-Time Cell Analysis detection platform, with conventional label-based endpoint methods, hereby indicating performance characteristics and correlating dynamic observations of cell proliferation, cytotoxicity, migration and invasion on cancer cells in highly standardized experimental conditions.

Methodology/principal Findings: Dynamic high-resolution assessments of proliferation, cytotoxicity and migration were performed using xCELLigence technology on the MDA-MB-231 (breast cancer) and A549 (lung cancer) cell lines. Proliferation kinetics were compared with the Sulforhodamine B (SRB) assay in a series of four cell concentrations, yielding fair to good correlations (Spearman's Rho 0.688 to 0.964). Cytotoxic action by paclitaxel (0-100 nM) correlated well with SRB (Rho>0.95) with similar IC(50) values. Reference cell migration experiments were performed using Transwell plates and correlated by pixel area calculation of crystal violet-stained membranes (Rho 0.90) and optical density (OD) measurement of extracted dye (Rho>0.95). Invasion was observed on MDA-MB-231 cells alone using Matrigel-coated Transwells as standard reference method and correlated by OD reading for two Matrigel densities (Rho>0.95). Variance component analysis revealed increased variances associated with impedance-based detection of migration and invasion, potentially caused by the sensitive nature of this method.

Conclusions/significance: The xCELLigence RTCA technology provides an accurate platform for non-invasive detection of cell viability and motility. The strong correlations with conventional methods imply a similar observation of cell behavior and interchangeability with other systems, illustrated by the highly correlating kinetic invasion profiles on different platforms applying only adapted matrix surface densities. The increased sensitivity however implies standardized experimental conditions to minimize technical-induced variance.
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http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0046536PLOS
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3477108PMC
April 2013

Is there a role for mammary stem cells in inflammatory breast carcinoma?: a review of evidence from cell line, animal model, and human tissue sample experiments.

Cancer 2010 Jun;116(11 Suppl):2794-805

Translational Cancer Research Group, Laboratory of Pathology, University of Antwerp/University Hospital Antwerp, Edegem, Belgium.

Stem cells are pluripotent cells, with a large replicative potential, which perform normal physiological functions such as tissue renewal and damage repair. However, because of their long lifespan and high replicative potential, stem cells are ideal targets to accumulate multiple mutations. Therefore, they can be regarded as being responsible for the initiation of tumor formation. In the past, numerous studies have shown that the presence of an elaborate stem cell compartment within a tumor is associated with aggressive tumor cell behavior, frequent formation of metastases, resistance to therapy, and poor patient survival. From this perspective, tumors from patients with inflammatory breast cancer (IBC), an aggressive breast cancer subtype with a dismal clinical course, are most likely to be associated with stem cell biology. To date, this hypothesis is corroborated by evidence resulting from in vitro and in vivo experiments. Both gene and microRNA expression profiles highlighted several stem cell-specific signal transduction pathways that are hyperactivated in IBC. Also, these stem cell-specific signal transduction pathways seem to converge in the activation of nuclear factor-kappa B, a molecular hallmark of IBC, and induction of epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition. Recently, the latter mechanism was identified as a prerequisite for the induction of stem cell characteristics in breast cancer cells.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/cncr.25180DOI Listing
June 2010

Quantitative methylation profiling in tumor and matched morphologically normal tissues from breast cancer patients.

BMC Cancer 2010 Mar 12;10:97. Epub 2010 Mar 12.

Translational Cancer Research Group (Laboratory of Pathology, University of Antwerp/University Hospital Antwerp; Oncology Centre, General Hospital St-Augustinus), 2610 Antwerp, Belgium.

Background: In the present study, we determined the gene hypermethylation profiles of normal tissues adjacent to invasive breast carcinomas and investigated whether these are associated with the gene hypermethylation profiles of the corresponding primary breast tumors.

Methods: A quantitative methylation-specific PCR assay was used to analyze the DNA methylation status of 6 genes (DAPK, TWIST, HIN-1, RASSF1A, RARbeta2 and APC) in 9 normal breast tissue samples from unaffected women and in 56 paired cancerous and normal tissue samples from breast cancer patients.

Results: Normal tissue adjacent to breast cancer displayed statistically significant differences to unrelated normal breast tissues regarding the aberrant methylation of the RASSF1A (P = 0.03), RARbeta2 (P = 0.04) and APC (P = 0.04) genes. Although methylation ratios for all genes in normal tissues from cancer patients were significantly lower than in the cancerous tissue from the same patient (P < or = 0.01), in general, a clear correlation was observed between methylation ratios measured in both tissue types for all genes tested (P < 0.01). When analyzed as a categorical variable, there was a significant concordance between methylation changes in normal tissues and in the corresponding tumor for all genes tested but RASSF1A. Notably, in 73% of patients, at least one gene with an identical methylation change in cancerous and normal breast tissues was observed.

Conclusions: Histologically normal breast tissues adjacent to breast tumors frequently exhibit methylation changes in multiple genes. These methylation changes may play a role in the earliest stages of the development of breast neoplasia.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/1471-2407-10-97DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2845117PMC
March 2010

Quantitative assessment of DNA hypermethylation in the inflammatory and non-inflammatory breast cancer phenotypes.

Cancer Biol Ther 2009 Dec 19;8(23):2252-9. Epub 2009 Dec 19.

Translational Cancer Research Group, Laboratory of Pathology, University of Antwerp/University Hospital Antwerp, Oncology Centre, General Hospital St-Augustinus, Antwerp, Belgium.

In this study, a comparative quantitative methylation profiling of inflammatory breast cancer (IBC) and non-IBC was set up for the identification of tumor-specific methylation patterns. Methylation ratios of six genes (DAPK, TWIST, HIN-1, RASSF1A, RARbeta2 and APC) were measured in benign breast tissues (n = 9) and in tumor samples from non-IBC (n = 81) and IBC (n = 19) patients using quantitative methylation-specific PCR. Median methylation ratios observed in breast cancer (n = 100) were significantly higher than those observed in benign breast tissues for five of six genes (TWIST, HIN-1, RASSF1A, RARbeta2 and APC). Only one of the individual genes studied, RARbeta2, showed differential methylation ratios in IBC and non-IBC (p = 0.016). Using the maximal methylation ratio observed in benign breast tissue as a threshold, the methylation frequency of two genes, RARbeta2 and APC, was significantly increased in IBC (n = 19) when compared to non-IBC (n = 81): 53 vs. 23% for RARbeta2 (p = 0.012) and 84 vs. 54% for APC (p = 0.017). Using hierarchical clustering, methylation patterns could not classify breast cancers according to their phenotype. The finding of differential frequencies of methylation in IBC and non-IBC for two out of six genes suggests that gene-specific patterns of methylation could provide a basis for molecular classification of IBC. Testing for additional genes could help to define the IBC phenotype based on patterns of aberrant gene promoter methylation.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.4161/cbt.8.23.10133DOI Listing
December 2009