Molecular Features of Cancers Exhibiting Exceptional Responses to TreatmentCancer Cell . 2020 Nov 16;S1535-6108(20)30546-8. 16 Nov 2020, .
A small fraction of cancer patients with advanced disease survive significantly longer than patients with clinically comparable tumors. Molecular mechanisms for exceptional responses to therapy have been identified by genomic analysis of tumor biopsies from individual patients. Here, we analyzed tumor biopsies from an unbiased cohort of 111 exceptional responder patients using multiple platforms to profile genetic and epigenetic aberrations as well as the tumor microenvironment. Integrative analysis uncovered plausible mechanisms for the therapeutic response in nearly a quarter of the patients. The mechanisms were assigned to four broad categories-DNA damage response, intracellular signaling, immune engagement, and genetic alterations characteristic of favorable prognosis-with many tumors falling into multiple categories. These analyses revealed synthetic lethal relationships that may be exploited therapeutically and rare genetic lesions that favor therapeutic success, while also providing a wealth of testable hypotheses regarding oncogenic mechanisms that may influence the response to cancer therapy.More information
Complete Loss of EPCAM Immunoexpression Identifies EPCAM Deletion Carriers in MSH2-Negative Colorectal NeoplasiaCancers (Basel) . 2020 Sep 29;12(10):E2803 29 Sep 2020, .
The use of epithelial cell adhesion molecule (EPCAM) immunohistochemistry (IHC) is not included in the colorectal cancer (CRC) screening algorithm to detect Lynch syndrome (LS) patients. The aim of the present study was to demonstrate that EPCAM IHC is a useful tool to guide the LS germ-line analysis when a loss of MSH2 expression was present. We retrospectively studied MSH2 and EPCAM IHC in a large series of 190 lesions composed of malignant neoplasms (102), precursor lesions of gastrointestinal (71) and extra-gastrointestinal origin (9), and benign neoplasms (8) from different organs of 71 patients suspicious of being LS due to MSH2 alterations. LS was confirmed in 68 patients, 53 with MSH2 mutations and 15 with EPCAM 3'-end deletions. Tissue microarrays were constructed with human normal tissues and their malignant counterparts to assist in the evaluation of EPCAM staining. Among 154 MSH2-negative lesions, 17 were EPCAM-negative, including 10 CRC and 7 colorectal polyps, and 5 of them showed only isolated negative glands. All lesions showing a lack of EPCAM expression belonged to patients with EPCAM 3'-end deletions. EPCAM IHC is a useful screening tool, with 100% specificity to identify LS patients due to EPCAM 3'-end deletions in MSH2-negative CRC and MSH2-negative colorectal polyps.More information
Epigenetic Awakening of Viral Mimicry in CancerCancer Discov . 2020 Sep;10(9):1258-1260 10 Sep 2020, .
In this issue, Deblois and colleagues show how taxane-resistant triple-negative breast cancer cells evade viral mimicry response as a result of metabolic alteration, DNA hypomethylation, and relocation of histone H3K27 trimethylation (H3K27me3). This adaptation confers a therapeutic vulnerability to the inhibition of the H3K27me3 methyltransferase EZH2 in resistant cells, leading to tumor growth inhibition by viral mimicry reactivation.More information
Epigenetic loss of the transfer RNA-modifying enzyme TYW2 induces ribosome frameshifts in colon cancerProc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2020 Aug 25 25 Aug 2020, 117(34):20785-20793 .
Transfer RNA (tRNA) activity is tightly regulated to provide a physiological protein translation, and tRNA chemical modifications control its function in a complex with ribosomes and messenger RNAs (mRNAs). In this regard, the correct hypermodification of position G37 of phenylalanine-tRNA, adjacent to the anticodon, is critical to prevent ribosome frameshifting events. Here we report that the tRNA-yW Synthesizing Protein 2 (TYW2) undergoes promoter hypermethylation-associated transcriptional silencing in human cancer, particularly in colorectal tumors. The epigenetic loss of TYW2 induces guanosine hypomodification in phenylalanine-tRNA, an increase in -1 ribosome frameshift events, and down-regulation of transcripts by mRNA decay, such as of the key cancer gene ROBO1. Importantly, TYW2 epigenetic inactivation is linked to poor overall survival in patients with early-stage colorectal cancer, a finding that could be related to the observed acquisition of enhanced migration properties and epithelial-to-mesenchymal features in the colon cancer cells that harbor TYW2 DNA methylation-associated loss. These findings provide an illustrative example of how epigenetic changes can modify the epitranscriptome and further support a role for tRNA modifications in cancer biologyMore information