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Differential histone acetylation and super-enhancer regulation underlie melanoma cell dedifferentiation

Mendelson, Karen; Martin, Tiphaine C; Nguyen, Christie B; Hsu, Min; Xu, Jia; Lang, Claudia Cv; Dummer, Reinhard; Saenger, Yvonne; Messina, Jane L; Sondak, Vernon K; Desman, Garrett; Hasson, Dan; Bernstein, Emily; Parsons, Ramon E; Celebi, Julide Tok
Dedifferentiation or phenotype switching refers to the transition from a proliferative to an invasive cellular state. We previously identified a 122-gene epigenetic gene signature that classifies primary melanomas as low- versus high-risk (denoted as Epgn1 or Epgn3). We found that the transcriptomes of the Epgn1 low-risk and Epgn3 high-risk cells are similar to the proliferative and invasive cellular states, respectively. These signatures were further validated in melanoma tumor samples. Examination of the chromatin landscape revealed differential H3K27 acetylation in the Epgn1 low-risk versus Epgn3 high-risk cell lines that corroborated with a differential super-enhancer and enhancer landscape. Melanocytic lineage genes (MITF, its targets and regulators) were associated with super-enhancers in the Epgn1 low-risk state whereas invasiveness genes were linked with Epgn3 high-risk status. We identified ITGA3 gene as marked by a super-enhancer element in the Epgn3 invasive cells. Silencing of ITGA3 enhanced invasiveness in both in vitro and in vivo systems suggesting it as a negative regulator of invasion. In conclusion, we define chromatin landscape changes associated with Epgn1/3 and phenotype switching during early steps of melanoma progression that regulate transcriptional reprogramming. This super-enhancer and enhancer-driven epigenetic regulatory mechanism resulting in major changes in the transcriptome could be important in future therapeutic targeting efforts.
PMID: 38319712
ISSN: 2379-3708
CID: 5632532

B7-H3 drives immunosuppression and Co-targeting with CD47 is a new therapeutic strategy in β-catenin activated melanomas

Hsu, Min; Martin, Tiphaine C; Vyas, Nikki S; Desman, Garrett; Mendelson, Karen; Horst, Basil; Parsons, Ramon E; Celebi, Julide Tok
In melanoma, immune cell infiltration into the tumor is associated with better patient outcomes and response to immunotherapy. T-cell non-inflamed tumors (cold tumors) are associated with tumor cell-intrinsic Wnt/β-catenin activation, and are typically resistant to anti-PD-1 alone or in combination with anti-CTLA-4 therapy. Reversal of the 'cold tumor' phenotype and identifying new effective immunotherapies are challenges. We sought to investigate the role of a newer immunotherapy agent, B7-H3, in this setting. RNA sequencing was used to identify co-targeting strategies upon B7-H3 inhibition in a well-defined preclinical melanoma model driven by β-catenin. We found that immune checkpoint molecule B7-H3 confers a suppressive tumor microenvironment by modulating antiviral signals and innate immunity. B7-H3 inhibition led to an inflamed microenvironment, up-regulation of CD47/SIRPa signaling, and together with blockade of the macrophage checkpoint CD47 resulted in additive antitumor responses. We found that the antitumor effects of the B7-H3/CD47 antibody combination were dependent on cytokine signaling pathways (CCR5/CCL5 and IL4).
PMID: 37086018
ISSN: 1755-148x
CID: 5464652

Early Detection and Prognostic Assessment of Cutaneous Melanoma: Consensus on Optimal Practice and the Role of Gene Expression Profile Testing

Kashani-Sabet, Mohammed; Leachman, Sancy A; Stein, Jennifer A; Arbiser, Jack L; Berry, Elizabeth G; Celebi, Julide T; Curiel-Lewandrowski, Clara; Ferris, Laura K; Grant-Kels, Jane M; Grossman, Douglas; Kulkarni, Rajan P; Marchetti, Michael A; Nelson, Kelly C; Polsky, David; Seiverling, Elizabeth V; Swetter, Susan M; Tsao, Hensin; Verdieck-Devlaeminck, Alexandra; Wei, Maria L; Bar, Anna; Bartlett, Edmund K; Bolognia, Jean L; Bowles, Tawnya L; Cha, Kelly B; Chu, Emily Y; Hartman, Rebecca I; Hawryluk, Elena B; Jampel, Risa M; Karapetyan, Lilit; Kheterpal, Meenal; Lawson, David H; Leming, Philip D; Liebman, Tracey N; Ming, Michael E; Sahni, Debjani; Savory, Stephanie A; Shaikh, Saba S; Sober, Arthur J; Sondak, Vernon K; Spaccarelli, Natalie; Usatine, Richard P; Venna, Suraj; Kirkwood, John M
IMPORTANCE:Therapy for advanced melanoma has transformed during the past decade, but early detection and prognostic assessment of cutaneous melanoma (CM) remain paramount goals. Best practices for screening and use of pigmented lesion evaluation tools and gene expression profile (GEP) testing in CM remain to be defined. OBJECTIVE:To provide consensus recommendations on optimal screening practices and prebiopsy diagnostic, postbiopsy diagnostic, and prognostic assessment of CM. EVIDENCE REVIEW:Case scenarios were interrogated using a modified Delphi consensus method. Melanoma panelists (n = 60) were invited to vote on hypothetical scenarios via an emailed survey (n = 42), which was followed by a consensus conference (n = 51) that reviewed the literature and the rationale for survey answers. Panelists participated in a follow-up survey for final recommendations on the scenarios (n = 45). FINDINGS:The panelists reached consensus (≥70% agreement) in supporting a risk-stratified approach to melanoma screening in clinical settings and public screening events, screening personnel recommendations (self/partner, primary care provider, general dermatologist, and pigmented lesion expert), screening intervals, and acceptable appointment wait times. Participants also reached consensus that visual and dermoscopic examination are sufficient for evaluation and follow-up of melanocytic skin lesions deemed innocuous. The panelists reached consensus on interpreting reflectance confocal microscopy and some but not all results from epidermal tape stripping, but they did not reach consensus on use of certain pigmented lesion evaluation tools, such as electrical impedance spectroscopy. Regarding GEP scores, the panelists reached consensus that a low-risk prognostic GEP score should not outweigh concerning histologic features when selecting patients to undergo sentinel lymph node biopsy but did not reach consensus on imaging recommendations in the setting of a high-risk prognostic GEP score and low-risk histology and/or negative nodal status. CONCLUSIONS AND RELEVANCE:For this consensus statement, panelists reached consensus on aspects of a risk-stratified approach to melanoma screening and follow-up as well as use of visual examination and dermoscopy. These findings support a practical approach to diagnosing and evaluating CM. Panelists did not reach consensus on a clearly defined role for GEP testing in clinical decision-making, citing the need for additional studies to establish the clinical use of existing GEP assays.
PMID: 36920356
ISSN: 2168-6084
CID: 5502422

Automated digital TIL analysis (ADTA) adds prognostic value to standard assessment of depth and ulceration in primary melanoma

Moore, Michael R; Friesner, Isabel D; Rizk, Emanuelle M; Fullerton, Benjamin T; Mondal, Manas; Trager, Megan H; Mendelson, Karen; Chikeka, Ijeuru; Kurc, Tahsin; Gupta, Rajarsi; Rohr, Bethany R; Robinson, Eric J; Acs, Balazs; Chang, Rui; Kluger, Harriet; Taback, Bret; Geskin, Larisa J; Horst, Basil; Gardner, Kevin; Niedt, George; Celebi, Julide T; Gartrell-Corrado, Robyn D; Messina, Jane; Ferringer, Tammie; Rimm, David L; Saltz, Joel; Wang, Jing; Vanguri, Rami; Saenger, Yvonne M
Accurate prognostic biomarkers in early-stage melanoma are urgently needed to stratify patients for clinical trials of adjuvant therapy. We applied a previously developed open source deep learning algorithm to detect tumor-infiltrating lymphocytes (TILs) in hematoxylin and eosin (H&E) images of early-stage melanomas. We tested whether automated digital (TIL) analysis (ADTA) improved accuracy of prediction of disease specific survival (DSS) based on current pathology standards. ADTA was applied to a training cohort (n = 80) and a cutoff value was defined based on a Receiver Operating Curve. ADTA was then applied to a validation cohort (n = 145) and the previously determined cutoff value was used to stratify high and low risk patients, as demonstrated by Kaplan-Meier analysis (p ≤ 0.001). Multivariable Cox proportional hazards analysis was performed using ADTA, depth, and ulceration as co-variables and showed that ADTA contributed to DSS prediction (HR: 4.18, CI 1.51-11.58, p = 0.006). ADTA provides an effective and attainable assessment of TILs and should be further evaluated in larger studies for inclusion in staging algorithms.
PMID: 33531581
ISSN: 2045-2322
CID: 4789702

An integrative approach identifies dysregulated long non-coding RNAs as microRNA decoys during nevus to melanoma transformation

Chang, Li-Wei; Badal, Brateil; Lu, Ching-Jung; Solovyov, Alexander; Greenbaum, Benjamin D; Celebi, Julide Tok
Mounting evidence supports a role for dysregulated long non-coding RNAs (lncRNA) in the development of many cancers. A recently discovered function of lncRNAs is to act as microRNA (miR) decoys or competing endogenous RNAs, which sequester specific miRs and relieve negative regulation of mRNA expression by miRs. Although a large number of non-coding RNAs are thought to function as competing endogenous RNAs, miR-sequestering lncRNAs involved in nevus to melanoma transformation remain largely unknown. In this study, we applied a bioinformatics approach to a unique dataset of benign melanocytic nevi and primary melanomas of the skin in order to fill this research gap. We modified a previously published miR target prediction algorithm, RNAhybrid, and improved its search efficiency. We reported the presence of many lncRNAs and miRs deregulated when transitioning from a senescence-like state of nevi to melanoma. We provided evidence of a relatively new and understudied mechanism of gene regulation during this process and identified for the first time lncRNAs (n = 122) that may potentially function as miR decoys as well as their target miRs during nevus to melanoma transformation. The knowledge presented here can be employed for developing biomarkers for diagnostic and risk stratification purposes.
PMID: 32976222
ISSN: 1473-5636
CID: 5181292

Genomic analysis of metastatic melanoma in an adult with giant congenital melanocytic nevus [Letter]

Chang, Li-Wei; Iqbal, Ramiz; Badal, Brateil; Bernstein, Daniel; Mendelson, Karen; Solovyov, Alexander; Friedlander, Philip; Phelps, Robert; Goodheart, Herbert; Desman, Garrett; Greenbaum, Benjamin D; Tok Celebi, Julide
PMID: 32096295
ISSN: 1755-148x
CID: 5181392

FBXW7 regulates a mitochondrial transcription program by modulating MITF

Abbate, Franco; Badal, Brateil; Mendelson, Karen; Aydin, Iraz T; Serasinghe, Madhavika N; Iqbal, Ramiz; Mohammed, Jarvier N; Solovyov, Alexander; Greenbaum, Benjamin D; Chipuk, Jerry E; Celebi, Julide T
FBXW7 is well characterized as a tumor suppressor in many human cancers including melanoma; however, the mechanisms of tumor-suppressive function have not been fully elucidated. We leveraged two distinct RNA sequencing datasets: human melanoma cell lines (n = 10) with control versus silenced FBXW7 and a cohort of human melanoma tumor samples (n = 51) to define the transcriptomic fingerprint regulated by FBXW7. Here, we report that loss of FBXW7 enhances a mitochondrial gene transcriptional program that is dependent on MITF in human melanoma and confers poor patient outcomes. MITF is a lineage-specific master regulator of melanocytes and together with PGC-1alpha is a marker for melanoma subtypes with dependence for mitochondrial oxidative metabolism. We found that inactivation of FBXW7 elevates MITF protein levels in melanoma cells. In vitro studies examining loss of FBXW7 and MITF alone or in combination showed that FBXW7 is an upstream regulator for the MITF/PGC-1 signaling.
PMID: 29665239
ISSN: 1755-148x
CID: 5181282

Dual suppression of inner and outer mitochondrial membrane functions augments apoptotic responses to oncogenic MAPK inhibition

Serasinghe, Madhavika N; Gelles, Jesse D; Li, Kent; Zhao, Lauren; Abbate, Franco; Syku, Marie; Mohammed, Jarvier N; Badal, Brateil; Rangel, Cuahutlehuanitzin A; Hoehn, Kyle L; Celebi, Julide Tok; Chipuk, Jerry Edward
Mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) pathway inhibitors show promise in treating melanoma, but are unsuccessful in achieving long-term remission. Concordant with clinical data, BRAFV600E melanoma cells eliminate glycolysis upon inhibition of BRAFV600E or MEK with the targeted therapies Vemurafenib or Trametinib, respectively. Consequently, exposure to these therapies reprograms cellular metabolism to increase mitochondrial respiration and restrain cell death commitment. As the inner mitochondrial membrane (IMM) is sub-organellar site of oxidative phosphorylation (OXPHOS), and the outer mitochondrial membrane (OMM) is the major site of anti-apoptotic BCL-2 protein function, we hypothesized that suppressing these critical mitochondrial membrane functions would be a rational approach to maximize the pro-apoptotic effect of MAPK inhibition. Here, we demonstrate that disruption of OXPHOS with the mitochondria-specific protonophore BAM15 promotes the mitochondrial pathway of apoptosis only when oncogenic MAPK signaling is inhibited. Based on RNA-sequencing analyses of nevi and primary melanoma samples, increased pro-apoptotic BCL-2 family expression positively correlates with high-risk disease suggesting a highly active anti-apoptotic BCL-2 protein repertoire likely contributes to worse outcome. Indeed, combined inhibition of the anti-apoptotic BCL-2 repertoire with BH3-mimetics, OXPHOS, and oncogenic MAPK signaling induces fulminant apoptosis and eliminates clonogenic survival. Altogether, these data suggest that dual suppression of IMM and OMM functions may unleash the normally inadequate pro-apoptotic effects of oncogenic MAPK inhibition to eradicate cancer cells, thus preventing the development of resistant disease, and ultimately, supporting long-term remission.
PMID: 29348439
ISSN: 2041-4889
CID: 5181272

Transcriptional dissection of melanoma identifies a high-risk subtype underlying TP53 family genes and epigenome deregulation

Badal, Brateil; Solovyov, Alexander; Di Cecilia, Serena; Chan, Joseph Minhow; Chang, Li-Wei; Iqbal, Ramiz; Aydin, Iraz T; Rajan, Geena S; Chen, Chen; Abbate, Franco; Arora, Kshitij S; Tanne, Antoine; Gruber, Stephen B; Johnson, Timothy M; Fullen, Douglas R; Raskin, Leon; Phelps, Robert; Bhardwaj, Nina; Bernstein, Emily; Ting, David T; Brunner, Georg; Schadt, Eric E; Greenbaum, Benjamin D; Celebi, Julide Tok
BACKGROUND:Melanoma is a heterogeneous malignancy. We set out to identify the molecular underpinnings of high-risk melanomas, those that are likely to progress rapidly, metastasize, and result in poor outcomes. METHODS:We examined transcriptome changes from benign states to early-, intermediate-, and late-stage tumors using a set of 78 treatment-naive melanocytic tumors consisting of primary melanomas of the skin and benign melanocytic lesions. We utilized a next-generation sequencing platform that enabled a comprehensive analysis of protein-coding and -noncoding RNA transcripts. RESULTS:Gene expression changes unequivocally discriminated between benign and malignant states, and a dual epigenetic and immune signature emerged defining this transition. To our knowledge, we discovered previously unrecognized melanoma subtypes. A high-risk primary melanoma subset was distinguished by a 122-epigenetic gene signature ("epigenetic" cluster) and TP53 family gene deregulation (TP53, TP63, and TP73). This subtype associated with poor overall survival and showed enrichment of cell cycle genes. Noncoding repetitive element transcripts (LINEs, SINEs, and ERVs) that can result in immunostimulatory signals recapitulating a state of "viral mimicry" were significantly repressed. The high-risk subtype and its poor predictive characteristics were validated in several independent cohorts. Additionally, primary melanomas distinguished by specific immune signatures ("immune" clusters) were identified. CONCLUSION/CONCLUSIONS:The TP53 family of genes and genes regulating the epigenetic machinery demonstrate strong prognostic and biological relevance during progression of early disease. Gene expression profiling of protein-coding and -noncoding RNA transcripts may be a better predictor for disease course in melanoma. This study outlines the transcriptional interplay of the cancer cell's epigenome with the immune milieu with potential for future therapeutic targeting. FUNDING/BACKGROUND:National Institutes of Health (CA154683, CA158557, CA177940, CA087497-13), Tisch Cancer Institute, Melanoma Research Foundation, the Dow Family Charitable Foundation, and the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai.
PMID: 28469092
ISSN: 2379-3708
CID: 5181252

Genomic Characterization of Dysplastic Nevi Unveils Implications for Diagnosis of Melanoma

Melamed, Rachel D; Aydin, Iraz T; Rajan, Geena Susan; Phelps, Robert; Silvers, David N; Emmett, Kevin J; Brunner, Georg; Rabadan, Raul; Celebi, Julide Tok
A well-defined risk factor and precursor for cutaneous melanoma is the dysplastic nevus. These benign tumors represent clonal hyperproliferation of melanocytes that are in a senescent-like state, but with occasional malignant transformation events. To portray the mutational repertoire of dysplastic nevi in patients with the dysplastic nevus syndrome and to determine the discriminatory profiles of melanocytic nevi (including dysplastic nevi) from melanoma, we sequenced exomes of melanocytic nevi including dysplastic nevi (n = 19), followed by a targeted gene panel (785 genes) characterization of melanocytic nevi (n = 46) and primary melanomas (n = 42). Exome sequencing revealed that dysplastic nevi harbored a substantially lower mutational load than melanomas (21 protein-changing mutations versus >100). Known "driver" mutations in genes for melanoma, including CDKN2A, TP53, NF1, RAC1, and PTEN, were not found among any melanocytic nevi sequenced. Additionally, melanocytic nevi including dysplastic nevi showed a significantly lower frequency and a different UV-associated mutational signature. These results show that although melanocytic nevi and dysplastic nevi harbor stable genomes with relatively few alterations, progression into melanomas requires additional mutational processes affecting key tumor suppressors. This study identifies molecular parameters that could be useful for diagnostic platforms.
PMID: 27890785
ISSN: 1523-1747
CID: 5181242