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Dysregulation of NRF2 in Cancer: from Molecular Mechanisms to Therapeutic Opportunities

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      Abstract

      Nuclear factor E2-related factor 2 (NRF2) plays an important role in redox metabolism and antioxidant defense. Under normal conditions, NRF2 proteins are maintained at very low levels because of their ubiquitination and proteasomal degradation via binding to the kelch-like ECH associated protein 1 (KEAP1)-E3 ubiquitin ligase complex. However, oxidative and/or electrophilic stresses disrupt the KEAP1-NRF2 interaction, which leads to the accumulation and transactivation of NRF2. During recent decades, a growing body of evidence suggests that NRF2 is frequently activated in many types of cancer by multiple mechanisms, including the genetic mutations in the KEAP1-NRF2 pathway. This suggested that NRF2 inhibition is a promising strategy for cancer therapy. Recently, several NRF2 inhibitors have been reported with anti-tumor efficacy. Here, we review the mechanisms whereby NRF2 is dysregulated in cancer and its contribution to the tumor development and radiochemoresistance. In addition, among the NRF2 inhibitors reported so far, we summarize and discuss repurposed NRF2 inhibitors with their potential mechanisms and provide new insights to develop selective NRF2 inhibitors.

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      Comprehensive genomic characterization of squamous cell lung cancers

      Summary Lung squamous cell carcinoma (lung SqCC) is a common type of lung cancer, causing approximately 400,000 deaths per year worldwide. Genomic alterations in lung SqCC have not been comprehensively characterized and no molecularly targeted agents have been developed specifically for its treatment. As part of The Cancer Genome Atlas (TCGA), we profiled 178 lung SqCCs to provide a comprehensive landscape of genomic and epigenomic alterations. Lung SqCC is characterized by complex genomic alterations, with a mean of 360 exonic mutations, 165 genomic rearrangements, and 323 segments of copy number alteration per tumor. We found statistically recurrent mutations in 18 genes in including mutation of TP53 in nearly all specimens. Previously unreported loss-of-function mutations were seen in the HLA-A class I major histocompatibility gene. Significantly altered pathways included NFE2L2/KEAP1 in 34%, squamous differentiation genes in 44%, PI3K/AKT in 47%, and CDKN2A/RB1 in 72% of tumors. We identified a potential therapeutic target in the majority of tumors, offering new avenues of investigation for lung SqCC treatment.
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        Comprehensive molecular profiling of lung adenocarcinoma

        Adenocarcinoma of the lung is the leading cause of cancer death worldwide. Here we report molecular profiling of 230 resected lung adenocarcinomas using messenger RNA, microRNA and DNA sequencing integrated with copy number, methylation and proteomic analyses. High rates of somatic mutation were seen (mean 8.9 mutations per megabase). Eighteen genes were statistically significantly mutated, including RIT1 activating mutations and newly described loss-of-function MGA mutations which are mutually exclusive with focal MYC amplification. EGFR mutations were more frequent in female patients, whereas mutations in RBM10 were more common in males. Aberrations in NF1, MET, ERBB2 and RIT1 occurred in 13% of cases and were enriched in samples otherwise lacking an activated oncogene, suggesting a driver role for these events in certain tumours. DNA and mRNA sequence from the same tumour highlighted splicing alterations driven by somatic genomic changes, including exon 14 skipping in MET mRNA in 4% of cases. MAPK and PI(3)K pathway activity, when measured at the protein level, was explained by known mutations in only a fraction of cases, suggesting additional, unexplained mechanisms of pathway activation. These data establish a foundation for classification and further investigations of lung adenocarcinoma molecular pathogenesis.
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          The consensus coding sequences of human breast and colorectal cancers.

          The elucidation of the human genome sequence has made it possible to identify genetic alterations in cancers in unprecedented detail. To begin a systematic analysis of such alterations, we determined the sequence of well-annotated human protein-coding genes in two common tumor types. Analysis of 13,023 genes in 11 breast and 11 colorectal cancers revealed that individual tumors accumulate an average of approximately 90 mutant genes but that only a subset of these contribute to the neoplastic process. Using stringent criteria to delineate this subset, we identified 189 genes (average of 11 per tumor) that were mutated at significant frequency. The vast majority of these genes were not known to be genetically altered in tumors and are predicted to affect a wide range of cellular functions, including transcription, adhesion, and invasion. These data define the genetic landscape of two human cancer types, provide new targets for diagnostic and therapeutic intervention, and open fertile avenues for basic research in tumor biology.
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            Author and article information

            Affiliations
            [1 ]College of Pharmacy, Ajou University, Suwon 16499, Republic of Korea
            [2 ]Research Institute of Pharmaceutical Science and Technology, Ajou University, Suwon 16499, Republic of Korea
            Author notes
            [* ]Corresponding Author: E-mail: smjeon@ 123456ajou.ac.kr Tel: +82-31-219-3457, Fax: +82-31-219-3435
            [†]

            The authors contributed equally to this work.

            Journal
            Biomol Ther (Seoul)
            Biomol Ther (Seoul)
            Biomol Ther (Seoul)
            ksp
            Biomolecules & Therapeutics
            The Korean Society of Applied Pharmacology
            1976-9148
            2005-4483
            January 2018
            07 December 2017
            : 26
            : 1
            : 57-68
            29212307 5746038 10.4062/biomolther.2017.195 bt-26-057
            Copyright ©2018, The Korean Society of Applied Pharmacology

            This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial License ( http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/) which permits unrestricted non-commercial use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

            Categories
            Invited Review

            cancer, nrf2, keap1, nrf2 inhibitors

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