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      RB1 Status in Triple Negative Breast Cancer Cells Dictates Response to Radiation Treatment and Selective Therapeutic Drugs

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          Abstract

          Triple negative breast cancer (TNBC) includes basal-like and claudin-low subtypes for which only chemotherapy and radiation therapy are currently available. The retinoblastoma (RB1) tumor suppressor is frequently lost in human TNBC. Knockdown of RB1 in luminal BC cells was shown to affect response to endocrine, radiation and several antineoplastic drugs. However, the effect of RB1 status on radiation and chemo-sensitivity in TNBC cells and whether RB1 status affects response to divergent or specific treatment are unknown. Using multiple basal-like and claudin-low cell lines, we hereby demonstrate that RB-negative TNBC cell lines are highly sensitive to gamma-irradiation, and moderately more sensitive to doxorubicin and methotrexate compared to RB-positive TNBC cell lines. In contrast, RB1 status did not affect sensitivity of TNBC cells to multiple other drugs including cisplatin (CDDP), 5-fluorouracil, idarubicin, epirubicin, PRIMA-1 met, fludarabine and PD-0332991, some of which are used to treat TNBC patients. Moreover, a non-biased screen of ∼3400 compounds, including FDA-approved drugs, revealed similar sensitivity of RB-proficient and -deficient TNBC cells. Finally, ESA +/CD24 −/low/CD44 + cancer stem cells from RB-negative TNBC lines were consistently more sensitive to gamma-irradiation than RB-positive lines, whereas the effect of chemotherapy on the cancer stem cell fraction varied irrespective of RB1 expression. Our results suggest that patients carrying RB-deficient TNBCs would benefit from gamma-irradiation as well as doxorubicin and methotrexate therapy, but not necessarily from many other anti-neoplastic drugs.

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          Most cited references 46

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          Intrinsic resistance of tumorigenic breast cancer cells to chemotherapy.

          Tumorigenic breast cancer cells that express high levels of CD44 and low or undetectable levels of CD24 (CD44(>)/CD24(>/low)) may be resistant to chemotherapy and therefore responsible for cancer relapse. These tumorigenic cancer cells can be isolated from breast cancer biopsies and propagated as mammospheres in vitro. In this study, we aimed to test directly in human breast cancers the effect of conventional chemotherapy or lapatinib (an epidermal growth factor receptor [EGFR]/HER2 pathway inhibitor) on this tumorigenic CD44(>) and CD24(>/low) cell population. Paired breast cancer core biopsies were obtained from patients with primary breast cancer before and after 12 weeks of treatment with neoadjuvant chemotherapy (n = 31) or, for patients with HER2-positive tumors, before and after 6 weeks of treatment with the EGFR/HER2 inhibitor lapatinib (n = 21). Single-cell suspensions established from these biopsies were stained with antibodies against CD24, CD44, and lineage markers and analyzed by flow cytometry. The potential of cells from biopsy samples taken before and after treatment to form mammospheres in culture was compared. All statistical tests were two-sided. Chemotherapy treatment increased the percentage of CD44(>)/CD24(>/low) cells (mean at baseline vs 12 weeks, 4.7%, 95% confidence interval [CI] = 3.5% to 5.9%, vs 13.6%, 95% CI = 10.9% to 16.3%; P )/CD24(>/low) cells (mean at baseline vs 6 weeks, 10.0%, 95% CI = 7.2% to 12.8%, vs 7.5%, 95% CI = 4.1% to 10.9%) and a statistically non-significant decrease in MSFE (mean at baseline vs 6 weeks, 16.1%, 95% CI = 8.7% to 23.5%, vs 10.8%, 95% CI = 4.0% to 17.6%). These studies provide clinical evidence for a subpopulation of chemotherapy-resistant breast cancer-initiating cells. Lapatinib did not lead to an increase in these tumorigenic cells, and, in combination with conventional therapy, specific pathway inhibitors may provide a therapeutic strategy for eliminating these cells to decrease recurrence and improve long-term survival.
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            The response of CD24(-/low)/CD44+ breast cancer-initiating cells to radiation.

            If cancer arises and is maintained by a small population of cancer-initiating cells within every tumor, understanding how these cells react to cancer treatment will facilitate improvement of cancer treatment in the future. Cancer-initiating cells can now be prospectively isolated from breast cancer cell lines and tumor samples and propagated as mammospheres in vitro under serum-free conditions. CD24(-/low)/CD44+ cancer-initiating cells were isolated from MCF-7 and MDA-MB-231 breast cancer monolayer cultures and propagated as mammospheres. Their response to radiation was investigated by assaying clonogenic survival and by measuring reactive oxygen species (ROS) levels, phosphorylation of the replacement histone H2AX, CD44 levels, CD24 levels, and Notch-1 activation using flow cytometry. All statistical tests were two-sided. Cancer-initiating cells were more resistant to radiation than cells grown as monolayer cultures (MCF-7: monolayer cultures, mean surviving fraction at 2 Gy [SF(2Gy)] = 0.2, versus mammospheres, mean SF(2Gy) = 0.46, difference = 0.26, 95% confidence interval [CI] = 0.05 to 0.47; P = .026; MDA-MB-231: monolayer cultures, mean SF(2Gy) = 0.5, versus mammospheres, mean SF(2Gy) = 0.69, difference = 0.19, 95% CI = -0.07 to 0.45; P = .09). Levels of ROS increased in both mammospheres and monolayer cultures after irradiation with a single dose of 10 Gy but were lower in mammospheres than in monolayer cultures (MCF-7 monolayer cultures: 0 Gy, mean = 1.0, versus 10 Gy, mean = 3.32, difference = 2.32, 95% CI = 0.67 to 3.98; P = .026; mammospheres: 0 Gy, mean = 0.58, versus 10 Gy, mean = 1.46, difference = 0.88, 95% CI = 0.20 to 1.56; P = .031); phosphorylation of H2AX increased in irradiated monolayer cultures, but no change was observed in mammospheres. Fractionated doses of irradiation increased activation of Notch-1 (untreated, mean = 10.7, versus treated, mean = 15.1, difference = 4.4, 95% CI = 2.7 to 6.1, P = .002) and the percentage of the cancer stem/initiating cells in the nonadherent cell population of MCF-7 monolayer cultures (untreated, mean = 3.52%, versus treated, mean = 7.5%, difference = 3.98%, 95% CI = 1.67% to 6.25%, P = .009). Breast cancer-initiating cells are a relatively radioresistant subpopulation of breast cancer cells and increase in numbers after short courses of fractionated irradiation. These findings offer a possible mechanism for the accelerated repopulation of tumor cells observed during gaps in radiotherapy.
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              Human breast cancer cell lines contain stem-like cells that self-renew, give rise to phenotypically diverse progeny and survive chemotherapy

              Introduction The phenotypic and functional differences between cells that initiate human breast tumors (cancer stem cells) and those that comprise the tumor bulk are difficult to study using only primary tumor tissue. We embarked on this study hypothesizing that breast cancer cell lines would contain analogous hierarchical differentiation programs to those found in primary breast tumors. Methods Eight human breast cell lines (human mammary epithelial cells, and MCF10A, MCF7, SUM149, SUM159, SUM1315 and MDA.MB.231 cells) were analyzed using flow cytometry for CD44, CD24, and epithelial-specific antigen (ESA) expression. Limiting dilution orthotopic injections were used to evaluate tumor initiation, while serial colony-forming unit, reconstitution and tumorsphere assays were performed to assess self-renewal and differentiation. Pulse-chase bromodeoxyuridine (5-bromo-2-deoxyuridine [BrdU]) labeling was used to examine cell cycle and label-retention of cancer stem cells. Cells were treated with paclitaxol and 5-fluorouracil to test selective resistance to chemotherapy, and gene expression profile after chemotherapy were examined. Results The percentage of CD44+/CD24- cells within cell lines does not correlate with tumorigenicity, but as few as 100 cells can form tumors when sorted for CD44+/CD24-/low/ESA+. Furthermore, CD44+/CD24-/ESA+ cells can self-renew, reconstitute the parental cell line, retain BrdU label, and preferentially survive chemotherapy. Conclusion These data validate the use of cancer cell lines as models for the development and testing of novel therapeutics aimed at eradicating cancer stem cells.
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                Author and article information

                Contributors
                Role: Editor
                Journal
                PLoS One
                PLoS ONE
                plos
                plosone
                PLoS ONE
                Public Library of Science (San Francisco, USA )
                1932-6203
                2013
                12 November 2013
                : 8
                : 11
                Affiliations
                [1 ]Department of Laboratory Medicine and Pathobiology, University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
                [2 ]Division of Advanced Diagnostics, Toronto General Research Institute, University Health Network, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
                [3 ]S.M.A.R.T. High Throughput Facility, Mount Sinai Hospital, Samuel Lunenfeld Research Institute, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
                [4 ]Clinical Studies Resource Centre, OCI, University Health Network, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
                [5 ]Program in Developmental and Stem Cell Biology, Hospital for Sick Children, Molecular Genetics, University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
                [6 ]Department of Experimental Medicine and Biochemical Sciences, University of Perugia, Perugia, Italy
                Wayne State University School of Medicine, United States of America
                Author notes

                Competing Interests: The authors have declared that no competing interests exist.

                Conceived and designed the experiments: TJWR AD EZ. Performed the experiments: TJWR JCL FV TS. Analyzed the data: TJWR EZ. Contributed reagents/materials/analysis tools: NM ADS SEE. Wrote the paper: TJWR EZ.

                Article
                PONE-D-13-27981
                10.1371/journal.pone.0078641
                3827056

                This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

                Page count
                Pages: 11
                Funding
                This study was conducted with support of the Canadian BC Foundation, Canadian BC Research Alliance, Ontario Institute for Cancer Research through funding provided by the Government of Ontario to E. Zacksenhaus, as well as the Terry-Fox Foundation to S.E. Egan and E. Zacksenhaus. The funders had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript.
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                Research Article

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