Novel therapeutic strategy for cervical cancer harboring FGFR3-TACC3 fusions.

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Oncogenesis 2018 Jan 23; 7(1):4





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We previously found that therapeutic targetable fusions are detected across various cancers. To identify therapeutic targetable fusion in uterine cervical cancer, for which no effective gene targeted therapy has yet been clinically applied, we analyzed RNA sequencing data from 306 cervical cancer samples. We detected 445 high confidence fusion transcripts and identified four samples that harbored FGFR3-TACC3 fusion as an attractive therapeutic target. The frequency of FGFR3-TACC3-fusion-positive cervical cancer is also 1.9% (2/103) in an independent cohort. Continuous expression of the FGFR3-TACC3 fusion transcript and protein induced anchorage-independent growth in the cervical epithelial cell line established from the ectocervix (Ect1/E6E7) but not in that from endocervix (End1/E6E7). Injection of FGFR3-TACC3 fusion-transfected-Ect1/E6E7 cells subcutaneously into NOG mice generated squamous cell carcinoma xenograft tumors, suggesting the association between FGFR3-TACC3 fusion and squamous cell carcinogenesis. Transfection of a FGFR3-TACC3 fusion transcript into four cervical cancer cell lines (SiHa, ME180, HeLa, and Ca Ski) induced activation of the MAPK pathway and enhancement of cell proliferation. Transcriptome analysis of the FGFR3-TACC3 fusion-transfected cell lines revealed that an IL8-triggered inflammatory response was increased, via activation of FGFR3-MAPK signaling. Continuous expression of FGFR3-TACC3 fusion led to activation of the PI3K-AKT pathway only in the two cell lines that harbored PIK3CA mutations. Sensitivity to the FGFR inhibitor, BGJ398, was found to depend on PIK3CA mutation status. Dual inhibition of both FGFR and AKT showed an obvious synergistic effect in cell lines that harbor mutant PIK3CA. Additionally, TACC3 inhibitor, KHS101, suppressed FGFR3-TACC3 fusion protein expression and showed antitumor effect against FGFR3-TACC3 fusion-transfected cell lines. FGFR3-TACC3 fusion-positive cancer has frequent genetic alterations of the PI3K/AKT pathway and selection of appropriate treatment based on PI3K/AKT pathway status should be required. Oncogenesis 2018 Jan 23; 7(1):4.