Brachyury, a driver of the epithelial-mesenchymal transition, is overexpressed in human lung tumors: An opportunity for novel interventions against lung cancer

Mario Roselli, Romaine I. Fernando, Fiorella Guadagni, Antonella Spila, Jhessica Alessandroni, Raffaele Palmirotta, Leopoldo Costarelli, Mary Litzinger, Duane Hamilton, Bruce Huang, Joanne Tucker, Kwong Yok Tsang, Jeffrey Schlom, Claudia Palena

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Purpose: The epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT) is emerging as a critical factor for the progression and metastasis of carcinomas, as well as drug resistance. The T-box transcription factor Brachyury has been recently characterized as a driver of EMT in human carcinoma cells. The purpose of this study was to characterize Brachyury as a potential target for lung cancer therapy. Experimental Design: The expression of Brachyury was evaluated by PCR and by immunohistochemistry in human lung tumors and adult normal tissues. Brachyury gene copy number and promoter methylation status were analyzed in tumor tissues with various levels of Brachyury expression. Lung carcinoma cells' susceptibility to T-cell lysis and EGF receptor (EGFR) kinase inhibition were also evaluated relative to the levels of Brachyury. Results: Our results showed Brachyury protein expression in 41% of primary lung carcinomas, including 48% of adenocarcinomas and 25% of squamous cell carcinomas. With the exception of normal testis and some thyroid tissues, the majority of normal tissues evaluated in this study were negative for the expression of Brachyury protein. Brachyury-specific T cells could lyse Brachyury-positive tumors and the level of Brachyury corresponded to resistance of tumor cells to EGFR kinase inhibition. Conclusion: We hypothesize that the elimination of Brachyury-positive tumor cells may be able to prevent and/or diminish tumor dissemination and the establishment of metastases. The ability of Brachyury-specific T-cell lines to lyse Brachyury-positive tumor cells, in vitro, supports the development of Brachyury-based immunotherapeutic approaches for the treatment of lung cancer.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3868-3879
Number of pages12
JournalClinical Cancer Research
Volume18
Issue number14
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jul 15 2012

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cancer Research
  • Oncology

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