Imperial College London

ProfessorSimakAli

Faculty of MedicineDepartment of Surgery & Cancer

Professor of Molecular Endocrine Oncology
 
 
 
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Contact

 

+44 (0)20 7594 2811simak.ali

 
 
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Location

 

133ICTEM buildingHammersmith Campus

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Summary

 

Publications

Publication Type
Year
to

173 results found

HART STEPHEN GB, ALI SIMAK GB, PUFONG BORIS T GB, PORTER ANDREW C G GB, BULUWELA LAKI GB, VAINIKKA SATU GB, JENKINSON JOHN D GB, KANDA PATRICK GBet al., 2023, Control of gene expression using a complex of an oligonucleotide and a regulatory peptide, US2005136040

Patent

Kumar U, Hu Y, Masrour N, Castellanos-Uribe M, Harrod A, May ST, Ali S, Speirs V, Charles Coombes R, Yagüe Eet al., 2021, MicroRNA-495/TGF-β/FOXC1 axis regulates multidrug resistance in metaplastic breast cancer cells, Biochemical Pharmacology, Vol: 192, Pages: 1-15, ISSN: 0006-2952

Triple-negative metaplastic breast carcinoma (MBC) poses a significant treatment challenge due to lack of targeted therapies and chemotherapy resistance. We isolated a novel MBC cell line, BAS, which showed a molecular and phenotypic profile different from the only other metaplastic cell model, HS578T cells. To gain insight behind chemotherapeutic resistance, we generated doxorubicin (HS-DOX, BAS-DOX) and paclitaxel (HS-TX, BAS-TX) resistant derivatives of both cell lines. Drug sensitivity assays indicated a truly multidrug resistant (MDR) phenotype. Both BAS-DOX and BAS-TX showed up-regulation of FOXC1 and its experimental down-regulation re-sensitized cells to doxorubicin and paclitaxel. Experimental modulation of FOXC1 expression in MCF-7 and MDA-MB-231 cells corroborated its role in MDR. Genome-wide expression analyses identified gene expression signatures characterized by up-regulation of TGFB2, which encodes cytokine TGF-β2, in both BAS-DOX and BAS-TX cells. Pharmacological inhibition of the TGF-β pathway with galunisertib led to down-regulation of FOXC1 and increase in drug sensitivity in both BAS-DOX and BAS-TX cells. MicroRNA (miR) expression analyses identified high endogenous miR-495-3p levels in BAS cells that were downregulated in both BAS MDR cells. Transient expression of miR-495-3p mimic in BAS-DOX and BAS-TX cells caused downregulation of TGFB2 and FOXC1 and re-sensitized cells to doxorubicin and paclitaxel, whereas miR-495-3p inhibition in BAS cells led to increase in resistance to both drugs and up-regulation of TGFB2 and FOXC1. Together, these data suggest interplay between miR-495-3p, TGF-β2 and FOXC1 regulating MDR in MBC and open the exploration of novel therapeutic strategies.

Journal article

Alexandrou G, Moser N, Mantikas K-T, Rodriguez-Manzano J, Ali S, Coombes RC, Shaw J, Georgiou P, Toumazou C, Kalofonou Met al., 2021, Detection of Multiple Breast Cancer ESR1 mutations on an ISFET based Lab-on-Chip Platform., IEEE Trans Biomed Circuits Syst, Vol: PP

ESR1 mutations are important biomarkers in metastatic breast cancer. Specifically, p.E380Q and p.Y537S mu- tations arise in response to hormonal therapies given to patients with hormone receptor positive (HR+) breast cancer (BC). This paper demonstrates the efficacy of an ISFET based CMOS integrated Lab-on-Chip (LoC) system, coupled with variant- specific isothermal amplification chemistries, for detection and discrimination of wild type (WT) from mutant (MT) copies of the ESR1 gene. Hormonal resistant cancers often lead to increased chances of metastatic disease which leads to high mortality rates, especially in low-income regions and areas with low healthcare coverage. Design and optimization of bespoke primers was carried out and tested on a qPCR instrument and then benchmarked versus the LoC platform. Assays for detection of p.Y537S and p.E380Q were developed and tested on the LoC platform, achieving amplification in under 25 minutes and sensitivity of down to 1000 copies of DNA per reaction for both target assays. The LoC system hereby presented, is cheaper and smaller than other standard industry equivalent technologies such as qPCR and sequencing. The LoC platform proposed, has the potential to be used at a breast cancer point-of-care testing setting, offering mutational tracking of circulating tumour DNA in liquid biopsies to assist patient stratification and metastatic monitoring.

Journal article

Greber BJ, Remis J, Ali S, Nogales Eet al., 2021, 2.5 angstrom-resolution structure of human CDK-activating kinase bound to the clinical inhibitor ICEC0942, BIOPHYSICAL JOURNAL, Vol: 120, Pages: 677-686, ISSN: 0006-3495

Journal article

Periyasamy M, Singh AK, Gemma C, Farzan R, Allsopp RC, Shaw JA, Charmsaz S, Young LS, Cunnea P, Coombes RC, Győrffy B, Buluwela L, Ali Set al., 2021, Induction of APOBEC3B expression by chemotherapy drugs is mediated by DNA-PK-directed activation of NF-κB., Oncogene, Vol: 40, Pages: 1077-1090

The mutagenic APOBEC3B (A3B) cytosine deaminase is frequently over-expressed in cancer and promotes tumour heterogeneity and therapy resistance. Hence, understanding the mechanisms that underlie A3B over-expression is important, especially for developing therapeutic approaches to reducing A3B levels, and consequently limiting cancer mutagenesis. We previously demonstrated that A3B is repressed by p53 and p53 mutation increases A3B expression. Here, we investigate A3B expression upon treatment with chemotherapeutic drugs that activate p53, including 5-fluorouracil, etoposide and cisplatin. Contrary to expectation, these drugs induced A3B expression and concomitant cellular cytosine deaminase activity. A3B induction was p53-independent, as chemotherapy drugs stimulated A3B expression in p53 mutant cells. These drugs commonly activate ATM, ATR and DNA-PKcs. Using specific inhibitors and gene knockdowns, we show that activation of DNA-PKcs and ATM by chemotherapeutic drugs promotes NF-κB activity, with consequent recruitment of NF-κB to the A3B gene promoter to drive A3B expression. Further, we find that A3B knockdown re-sensitises resistant cells to cisplatin, and A3B knockout enhances sensitivity to chemotherapy drugs. Our data highlight a role for A3B in resistance to chemotherapy and indicate that stimulation of A3B expression by activation of DNA repair and NF-κB pathways could promote cancer mutations and expedite chemoresistance.

Journal article

Sava GP, Ali S, 2020, Developing themes in targeted therapies for hormone receptor–positive breast cancer, Current Opinion in Endocrine and Metabolic Research, Vol: 15, Pages: 15-23, ISSN: 2451-9650

Journal article

Giannoudis A, Malki MI, Rudraraju B, Mohhamed H, Menon S, Liloglou T, Ali S, Carroll JS, Palmieri Cet al., 2020, Activating transcription factor-2 (ATF2) is a key determinant of resistance to endocrine treatment in an in vitro model of breast cancer, Breast Cancer Research, Vol: 22, Pages: 1-17, ISSN: 1465-542X

BackgroundActivating transcription factor-2 (ATF2), a member of the leucine zipper family of DNA binding proteins, has been implicated as a tumour suppressor in breast cancer. However, its exact role in breast cancer endocrine resistance is still unclear. We have previously shown that silencing of ATF2 leads to a loss in the growth-inhibitory effects of tamoxifen in the oestrogen receptor (ER)-positive, tamoxifen-sensitive MCF7 cell line and highlighted that this multi-faceted transcription factor is key to the effects of tamoxifen in an endocrine sensitive model. In this work, we explored further the in vitro role of ATF2 in defining the resistance to endocrine treatment.Materials and methodsWe knocked down ATF2 in TAMR, LCC2 and LCC9 tamoxifen-resistant breast cancer cell lines as well as the parental tamoxifen sensitive MCF7 cell line and investigated the effects on growth, colony formation and cell migration. We also performed a microarray gene expression profiling (Illumina Human HT12_v4) to explore alterations in gene expression between MCF7 and TAMRs after ATF2 silencing and confirmed gene expression changes by quantitative RT-PCR.ResultsBy silencing ATF2, we observed a significant growth reduction of TAMR, LCC2 and LCC9 with no such effect observed with the parental MCF7 cells. ATF2 silencing was also associated with a significant inhibition of TAMR, LCC2 and LCC9 cell migration and colony formation. Interestingly, knockdown of ATF2 enhanced the levels of ER and ER-regulated genes, TFF1, GREB1, NCOA3 and PGR, in TAMR cells both at RNA and protein levels. Microarray gene expression identified a number of genes known to mediate tamoxifen resistance, to be differentially regulated by ATF2 in TAMR in relation to the parental MCF7 cells. Moreover, differential pathway analysis confirmed enhanced ER activity after ATF2 knockdown in TAMR cells.ConclusionThese data demonstrate that ATF2 silencing may overcome endocrine resistance and highlights further the dual role

Journal article

Periyasamy M, Singh A, Gemma C, Farzan R, Allsopp R, Shaw J, Charmasz S, Young L, Cunnea P, Coombes R, Gyorffy B, Buluwela L, Ali Set al., 2020, Induction of APOBEC3B expression by chemotherapy drugs is mediated by DNA-PK directed activation of NF-κB, Oncogene, Vol: 15 December 2020, Pages: 1077-1090, ISSN: 0950-9232

The mutagenic APOBEC3B (A3B) cytosine deaminase is frequently over-expressed in cancer and promotes tumour heterogeneity and therapy resistance. Hence, understanding the mechanisms that underlie A3B over-expression is important, especially for developing therapeutic approaches to reducing A3B levels, and consequently limiting cancer mutagenesis. We previously demonstrated that A3B is repressed by p53 and p53 mutation increases A3B expression. Here, we investigate A3B expression upon treatment with chemotherapeutic drugs that activate p53, including 5-fluorouracil, etoposide and cisplatin. Contrary to expectation, these drugs induced A3B expression and concomitant cellular cytosine deaminase activity. A3B induction was p53-independent, as chemotherapy drugs stimulated A3B expression in p53 mutant cells. These drugs commonly activate ATM, ATR and DNA-PKcs. Using specific inhibitors and gene knockdowns, we show that activation of DNA-PKcs and ATM by chemotherapeutic drugs promotes NF-kB activity, with consequent recruitment of NF-kB to the A3B gene promoter to drive A3B expression. Further, we find that A3B knockdown re-sensitises resistant cells to cisplatin, and A3B knockout enhances sensitivity to chemotherapy drugs. Our data highlight a role for A3B in resistance to chemotherapy and indicate that stimulation of A3B expression by activation of DNA repair and NF-kB pathways could promote cancer mutations and expedite chemoresistance.

Journal article

Palinkas HL, Bekesi A, Rona G, Pongor L, Papp G, Tihanyi G, Holub E, Poti A, Gemma C, Ali S, Morten MJ, Rothenberg E, Pagano M, Szuts D, Gyorffy B, Vertessy BGet al., 2020, Genome-wide alterations of uracil distribution patterns in human DNA upon chemotherapeutic treatments, eLife, Vol: 9, Pages: 1-37, ISSN: 2050-084X

Numerous anti-cancer drugs perturb thymidylate biosynthesis and lead to genomic uracil incorporation contributing to their antiproliferative effect. Still, it is not yet characterized if uracil incorporations have any positional preference. Here, we aimed to uncover genome-wide alterations in uracil pattern upon drug treatments in human cancer cell line models derived from HCT116. We developed a straightforward U-DNA sequencing method (U-DNA-Seq) that was combined with in situ super-resolution imaging. Using a novel robust analysis pipeline, we found broad regions with elevated probability of uracil occurrence both in treated and non-treated cells. Correlation with chromatin markers and other genomic features shows that non-treated cells possess uracil in the late replicating constitutive heterochromatic regions, while drug treatment induced a shift of incorporated uracil towards segments that are normally more active/functional. Data were corroborated by colocalization studies via dSTORM microscopy. This approach can be applied to study the dynamic spatio-temporal nature of genomic uracil.

Journal article

Uriz-Huarte A, Date A, Ang H, Ali S, Brady HJM, Fuchter MJet al., 2020, The transcriptional repressor REV-ERB as a novel target for disease, Bioorganic & Medicinal Chemistry Letters, Vol: 30, Pages: 127395-127395, ISSN: 0960-894X

REV-ERB is a member of the nuclear receptor superfamily of transcription factors involved in the regulation of many physiological processes, from circadian rhythm, to immune function and metabolism. Accordingly, REV-ERB has been considered as a promising, but difficult drug target for the treatment of numerous diseases. Here, we concisely review current understanding of the function of REV-ERB, modulation by endogenous factors and synthetic ligands, and the involvement of REV-ERB in select human diseases. Particular focus is placed on the medicinal chemistry of synthetic REV-ERB ligands, which demonstrates the need for higher quality ligands to aid in robust validation of this exciting target.

Journal article

Sava GP, Fan H, Coombes RC, Buluwela L, Ali Set al., 2020, CDK7 inhibitors as anticancer drugs, Cancer and Metastasis Reviews, Vol: 39, Pages: 805-823, ISSN: 0167-7659

Cyclin-dependent kinase 7 (CDK7), along with cyclin H and MAT1, forms the CDK-activating complex (CAK), which directs progression through the cell cycle via T-loop phosphorylation of cell cycle CDKs. CAK is also a component of the general transcription factor, TFIIH. CDK7-mediated phosphorylation of RNA polymerase II (Pol II) at active gene promoters permits transcription. Cell cycle dysregulation is an established hallmark of cancer, and aberrant control of transcriptional processes, through diverse mechanisms, is also common in many cancers. Furthermore, CDK7 levels are elevated in a number of cancer types and are associated with clinical outcomes, suggestive of greater dependence on CDK7 activity, compared with normal tissues. These findings identify CDK7 as a cancer therapeutic target, and several recent publications report selective CDK7 inhibitors (CDK7i) with activity against diverse cancer types. Preclinical studies have shown that CDK7i cause cell cycle arrest, apoptosis and repression of transcription, particularly of super-enhancer-associated genes in cancer, and have demonstrated their potential for overcoming resistance to cancer treatments. Moreover, combinations of CDK7i with other targeted cancer therapies, including BET inhibitors, BCL2 inhibitors and hormone therapies, have shown efficacy in model systems. Four CDK7i, ICEC0942 (CT7001), SY-1365, SY-5609 and LY3405105, have now progressed to Phase I/II clinical trials. Here we describe the work that has led to the development of selective CDK7i, the current status of the most advanced clinical candidates, and discuss their potential importance as cancer therapeutics, both as monotherapies and in combination settings. ClinicalTrials.gov Identifiers: NCT03363893; NCT03134638; NCT04247126; NCT03770494.

Journal article

Kumar R, Clarke R, Ali S, 2020, Preface, CANCER AND METASTASIS REVIEWS, Vol: 39, Pages: 579-579, ISSN: 0167-7659

Journal article

Ali S, Balachandran K, O'Malley B, 2020, 90 Years of progesterone: Ninety years of progesterone: the 'other' ovarian hormone, Journal of Molecular Endocrinology, Vol: 65, Pages: E1-E4, ISSN: 0952-5041

Journal article

Flach KD, Periyasamy M, Jadhav A, Dorjsuren D, Siefert JC, Hickey TE, Opdam M, Patel H, Canisius S, Wilson DM, Collier MD, Prekovic S, Nieuwland M, Kluin RJC, Zakharov A, Wesseling J, Wessels LFA, Linn SC, Tilley WD, Simeonov A, Ali S, Zwart Wet al., 2020, Endonuclease FEN1 coregulates ER alpha activity and provides a novel drug interface in tamoxifen-resistant breast cancer, Cancer Research, Vol: 80, Pages: 1914-1926, ISSN: 0008-5472

Estrogen receptor α (ERα) is a key transcriptional regulator in the majority of breast cancers. ERα-positive patients are frequently treated with tamoxifen, but resistance is common. In this study, we refined a previously identified 111-gene outcome prediction-classifier, revealing FEN1 as the strongest determining factor in ERα-positive patient prognostication. FEN1 levels were predictive of outcome in tamoxifen-treated patients, and FEN1 played a causal role in ERα-driven cell growth. FEN1 impacted the transcriptional activity of ERα by facilitating coactivator recruitment to the ERα transcriptional complex. FEN1 blockade induced proteasome-mediated degradation of activated ERα, resulting in loss of ERα-driven gene expression and eradicated tumor cell proliferation. Finally, a high-throughput 465,195 compound screen identified a novel FEN1 inhibitor, which effectively blocked ERα function and inhibited proliferation of tamoxifen-resistant cell lines as well as ex vivo–cultured ERα-positive breast tumors. Collectively, these results provide therapeutic proof of principle for FEN1 blockade in tamoxifen-resistant breast cancer.

Journal article

Kalofonou M, Malpartida-Cardenas K, Alexandrou G, Rodriguez-Manzano J, Yu L-S, Miscourides N, Allsopp R, LT Gleason K, Goddard K, Fernandez-Garcia D, Page K, Georgiou P, Ali S, Coombes RC, Shaw J, Toumazou Cet al., 2020, A novel hotspot specific isothermal amplification method for detection of thecommon PIK3CA p.H1047R breast cancer mutation, Scientific Reports, Vol: 10, ISSN: 2045-2322

Breast cancer (BC) is a common cancer in women worldwide. Despite advances in treatment, up to 30% of women eventually relapse and die of metastatic breast cancer. Liquid biopsy analysis of circulating cell-free DNA fragments in the patients’ blood can monitor clonality and evolving mutations as a surrogate for tumour biopsy. Next generation sequencing platforms and digital droplet PCR can be used to profile circulating tumour DNA from liquid biopsies; however, they are expensive and time consuming for clinical use. Here, we report a novel strategy with proof-of-concept data that supports the usage of loop-mediated isothermal amplification (LAMP) to detect PIK3CA c.3140 A > G (H1047R), a prevalent BC missense mutation that is attributed to BC tumour growth. Allele-specific primers were designed and optimized to detect the p.H1047R variant following the USS-sbLAMP method. The assay was developed with synthetic DNA templates and validated with DNA from two breast cancer cell-lines and two patient tumour tissue samples through a qPCR instrument and finally piloted on an ISFET enabled microchip. This work sets a foundation for BC mutational profiling on a Lab-on-Chip device, to help the early detection of patient relapse and to monitor efficacy of systemic therapies for personalised cancer patient management.

Journal article

Sava G, Fan H, Fisher R, Coombes R, Buluwela L, Ali Set al., 2020, ABC transporter upregulation mediates resistance to the CDK7 inhibitors THZ1 and ICEC0942., Oncogene, Vol: 39, Pages: 651-663, ISSN: 0950-9232

The CDK7 inhibitors (CDK7i) ICEC0942 and THZ1, are promising new cancer therapeutics. Resistance to targeted drugs frequently compromises cancer treatment. We sought to identify mechanisms by which cancer cells may become resistant to CDK7i. Resistant lines were established through continuous drug selection. ABC-transporter copy number, expression and activity were examined using real-time PCR, immunoblotting and flow cytometry. Drug responses were measured using growth assays. ABCB1 was up-regulated in ICEC0942-resistant cells and there was cross-resistance to THZ1. THZ1-resistant cells upregulated ABCG2 but remained sensitive to ICEC0942. Drug resistance in both cell lines was reversible upon inhibition of ABC-transporters. CDK7i response was altered in adriamycin- and mitoxantrone-resistant cell lines demonstrating ABC-transporter upregulation. ABCB1 expression correlated with ICEC0942 and THZ1 response, and ABCG2 expression with THZ2 response, in a panel of cancer cell lines. We have identified ABCB1 upregulation as a common mechanism of resistance to ICEC0942 and THZ1, and confirmed that ABCG2 upregulation is a mechanism of resistance to THZ1. The identification of potential mechanisms of CDK7i resistance and differences in susceptibility of ICEC0942 and THZ1 to ABC-transporters, may help guide their future clinical use.

Journal article

Joseph C, Al-Izzi S, Alsaleem M, Kurozumi S, Toss MS, Arshad M, Goh FQ, Alshankyty IM, Aleskandarany MA, Ali S, Ellis IO, Mongan NP, Green AR, Rakha EAet al., 2019, Retinoid X receptor gamma (RXRG) is an independent prognostic biomarker in ER-positive invasive breast cancer., British Journal of Cancer, Vol: 121, Pages: 776-785, ISSN: 0007-0920

BACKGROUND: Retinoid X Receptor Gamma (RXRG) is a member of the nuclear receptor superfamily and plays a role in tumour suppression. This study aims to explore the prognostic significance of RXRG in breast cancer. METHODS: Primary breast cancer tissue microarrays (n = 923) were immuno-stained for RXRG protein and correlated with clinicopathological features, and patient outcome. RESULTS: Nuclear RXRG expression was significantly associated with smaller tumour size (p = 0.036), lower grade (p < 0.001), lobular histology (p = 0.016), lower Nottingham Prognostic Index (p = 0.04) and longer breast cancer-specific survival (p < 0.001), and longer time to distant metastasis (p = 0.002). RXRG expression showed positive association with oestrogen receptor (ER)-related biomarkers: GATA3, FOXA1, STAT3 and MED7 (all p < 0.001) and a negative correlation with the Ki67 proliferation marker. Multivariate analysis demonstrated RXRG protein as an independent predictor of longer breast cancer-specific survival and distant metastasis-free survival. In the external validation cohorts, RXRG expression was associated with improved patients' outcome (p = 0.025). In ER-positive tumours, high expression of RXRG was associated with better patient outcome regardless of adjuvant systemic therapy. ER signalling pathway was the top predicted master regulator of RXRG protein expression (p = 0.005). CONCLUSION: This study provides evidence for the prognostic value of RXRG in breast cancer particularly the ER-positive tumours.

Journal article

Nguyen VTM, Barozzi I, Faronato M, Lombardo Y, Steel JH, Patel N, Darbre P, Castellano L, Gyorffy B, Woodley L, Rodriguez-Meira A, Patten DK, Vircillo V, Periyasamy M, Ali S, Frige G, Minucci S, Coombes RC, Magnani Let al., 2019, Author Correction: Differential epigenetic reprogramming in response to specific endocrine therapies promotes cholesterol biosynthesis and cellular invasion, Nature Communications, Vol: 10, ISSN: 2041-1723

Journal article

Coombes RC, Page K, Salari R, Hastings RK, Armstrong A, Ahmed S, Ali S, Cleator S, Kenny L, Stebbing J, Rutherford M, Sethi H, Boydell A, Swenerton R, Fernandez-Garcia D, Gleason KLT, Goddard K, Guttery DS, Assaf ZJ, Wu H-T, Natarajan P, Moore DA, Primrose L, Dashner S, Tin AS, Balcioglu M, Srinivasan R, Shchegrova SV, Olson A, Hafez D, Billings P, Aleshin A, Rehman F, Toghill BJ, Hills A, Louie MC, Lin C-HJ, Zimmermann BG, Shaw JAet al., 2019, Personalized detection of circulating tumor DNA antedates breast cancer metastatic recurrence, Clinical Cancer Research, Vol: 25, Pages: 4255-4263, ISSN: 1078-0432

Purpose: Up to 30% of patients with breast cancer relapse after primary treatment. There are no sensitive and reliable tests to monitor these patients and detect distant metastases before overt recurrence. Here, we demonstrate the use of personalized circulating tumor DNA (ctDNA) profiling for detection of recurrence in breast cancer.Experimental Design: Forty-nine primary patients with breast cancer were recruited following surgery and adjuvant therapy. Plasma samples (n = 208) were collected every 6 months for up to 4 years. Personalized assays targeting 16 variants selected from primary tumor whole-exome data were tested in serial plasma for the presence of ctDNA by ultradeep sequencing (average >100,000X).Results: Plasma ctDNA was detected ahead of clinical or radiologic relapse in 16 of the 18 relapsed patients (sensitivity of 89%); metastatic relapse was predicted with a lead time of up to 2 years (median, 8.9 months; range, 0.5–24.0 months). None of the 31 nonrelapsing patients were ctDNA-positive at any time point across 156 plasma samples (specificity of 100%). Of the two relapsed patients who were not detected in the study, the first had only a local recurrence, whereas the second patient had bone recurrence and had completed chemotherapy just 13 days prior to blood sampling.Conclusions: This study demonstrates that patient-specific ctDNA analysis can be a sensitive and specific approach for disease surveillance for patients with breast cancer. More importantly, earlier detection of up to 2 years provides a possible window for therapeutic intervention.

Journal article

Szijgyarto Z, Flach KD, Opdam M, Palmieri C, Linn SC, Wesseling J, Ali S, Bliss JM, Cheang MCU, Zwart W, Coombes RCet al., 2019, Dissecting the predictive value of MAPK/AKT/estrogen-receptor phosphorylation axis in primary breast cancer to treatment response for tamoxifen over exemestane: a Translational Report of the Intergroup Exemestane Study (IES)-PathIES, Breast Cancer Research and Treatment, Vol: 175, Pages: 149-163, ISSN: 0167-6806

PurposeThe prognostic and predictive values of the MAPK/AKT/ERα phosphorylation axis (pT202/T204MAPK, pT308AKT, pS473AKT, pS118ERα and pS167ERα) in primary tumours were assessed to determine whether these markers can differentiate between patient responses for switching adjuvant endocrine therapy after 2–3 years from tamoxifen to exemestane and continued tamoxifen monotherapy in the Intergroup Exemestane Study (IES).MethodsOf the 4724 patients in IES, 1506 were managed in a subset of centres (N = 89) participating in PathIES. These centres recruited 1282 (85%, 1282/1506) women into PathIES of whom 1036 had phospho-marker data. All phospho-markers were analysed by immunohistochemistry staining. Multivariable Cox proportional hazards models of the phospho-markers for disease-free survival (DFS) and overall survival (OS) were adjusted for clinicopathological factors. Treatment effects on the biomarker expression were determined by interaction tests. Benjamini–Hochberg adjustment for multiple testing with a false discovery rate of 10% was applied (pBH).ResultsPhospho-T202/T204MAPK, pS118ERα and pS167ERα were all found to be correlated (pBH = 0.0002). These markers were not associated with either DFS or OS when controlling for the established clinicopathological factors. Interaction terms between the phospho-markers and treatment strategies for either DFS or OS were not statistically significant (pBH > 0.05 for all).ConclusionsThis PathIES study confirmed previously described associations between the phosphorylation site markers of AKT, MAPK and ERα activity in postmenopausal breast cancer patients. No prognostic correlations between the phosphorylation markers and clinical outcome were found, nor were they predictive for clinical outcomes among patients who switched therapy over those treated with tamoxifen alone.

Journal article

Shaw JA, Page K, Fernandez-Garcia D, Hills A, Boydell AR, Primrose L, Toghill B, Hastings RK, Gleeson K, Rosales BM, Goddard K, Guttery DS, Ali S, Coombes RCet al., 2018, Circulating tumor DNA for early detection and intervention in breast cancer: ctDNA profiles discriminate between healthy women in a true cancer screening setting and disease-free women on follow up, Annual Meeting of the American-Association-for-Cancer-Research (AACR), Publisher: AMER ASSOC CANCER RESEARCH, ISSN: 0008-5472

Conference paper

Hindley JW, Elani Y, McGilvery CM, Ali S, Bevan CL, Law R, Ces Oet al., 2018, Light-triggered enzymatic reactions in nested vesicle reactors, Nature Communications, Vol: 9, Pages: 1-6, ISSN: 2041-1723

Cell-sized vesicles have tremendous potential both as miniaturised pL reaction vessels and in bottom-up synthetic biology as chassis for artificial cells. In both these areas the introduction of light-responsive modules affords increased functionality, for example, to initiate enzymatic reactions in the vesicle interior with spatiotemporal control. Here we report a system composed of nested vesicles where the inner compartments act as phototransducers, responding to ultraviolet irradiation through diacetylene polymerisation-induced pore formation to initiate enzymatic reactions. The controlled release and hydrolysis of a fluorogenic β-galactosidase substrate in the external compartment is demonstrated, where the rate of reaction can be modulated by varying ultraviolet exposure time. Such cell-like nested microreactor structures could be utilised in fields from biocatalysis through to drug delivery.

Journal article

Ali S, Patel H, Periyasamy M, Sava G, Bondke A, Slafer BW, Kroll SHB, Barbazanges MV, Starkey RG, Ottaviani S, Harrod AE, Aboagye EO, Buluwela L, Fuchter MJ, Barrett AGM, Coombes Cet al., 2018, ICEC0942, an orally bioavailable selective inhibitor of CDK7 for cancer treatment, Molecular Cancer Therapeutics, ISSN: 1535-7163

Recent reports indicate that some cancer types are especially sensitive to transcription inhibition, suggesting that targeting the transcriptional machinery provides new approaches to cancer treatment. Cyclin-dependent kinase (CDK)7 is necessary for transcription, and acts by phosphorylating the C-terminal domain (CTD) of RNA polymerase II (PolII) to enable transcription initiation. CDK7 additionally regulates the activities of a number of transcription factors, including Estrogen receptor-α (ER). Here we describe a new, orally bioavailable CDK7 inhibitor, ICEC0942. It selectively inhibits CDK7, with an IC50 of 40nM; IC50 values for CDK1, CDK2, CDK5 and CDK9 were 45-, 15-, 230- and 30-fold higher. In vitro studies show that a wide range of cancer types are sensitive to CDK7 inhibition with GI50 values ranging between 0.2-0.3 µM. In xenografts of both breast and colorectal cancers, the drug has substantial anti-tumor effects. Additionally, combination therapy with tamoxifen showed complete growth arrest of ER-positive tumor xenografts. Our findings reveal that CDK7 inhibition provides a new approach, especially for ER-positive breast cancer and identify ICEC0942 as a prototype drug with potential utility as a single agent or in combination with hormone therapies for breast cancer. ICEC0942 may also be effective in other cancers that display characteristics of transcription factor addiction, such as acute leukaemia, and small-cell lung cancer.

Journal article

Hazel P, Kroll SHB, Bondke A, Barbazanges M, Patel H, Fuchter MJ, Coombes RC, Ali S, Barrett AGM, Freemont PSet al., 2018, Corrigendum: Inhibitor selectivity for cyclin-dependent kinase 7: a structural, thermodynamic, and modelling study, ChemMedChem, Vol: 13, Pages: 207-207, ISSN: 1860-7187

Journal article

Asaduzzaman M, Constantinou S, Min H, Gallon J, Lin M-L, Singh P, Raguz S, Ali S, Shousha S, Charles Coombes R, Lam EW-F, Hu Y, Yagüe Eet al., 2018, Correction to: Tumour suppressor EP300, a modulator of paclitaxel resistance and stemness, is downregulated in metaplastic breast cancer, Breast Cancer Research and Treatment, Vol: 167, Pages: 605-606, ISSN: 0167-6806

In the original publication, Fig. 1 depicting the blot for EP300 in CAL51 cells (Fig. 1c) was unintentionally duplicated with that from MDA-MB-231 cells (Fig. 1d). The new figure given in this erratum depicts the correct EP300 blot in Fig. 1c.

Journal article

Clark K, Ainscow E, Peall A, Thomson S, Leishman A, Elaine S, Ali S, Coombes R, Barrett A, Bahl AKet al., 2017, CT7001, a Novel Orally Bio-Available CDK7 Inhibitor, Is Highly Active in in-Vitro and in-Vivo Models of AML, 59th Annual Meeting of the American-Society-of-Hematology (ASH), Publisher: AMER SOC HEMATOLOGY, ISSN: 0006-4971

Conference paper

Martin L-A, Ribas R, Simigdala N, Schuster E, Pancholi S, Tenev T, Gellert P, Buluwela L, Harrod A, Thornhill A, Nikitorowicz-Buniak J, Bhamra A, Turgeon M-O, Poulogiannis G, Gao Q, Martins V, Hills M, Garcia-Murillas I, Fribbens C, Patani N, Li Z, Sikora MJ, Turner N, Zwart W, Oesterreich S, Carroll J, Ali S, Dowsett Met al., 2017, Discovery of naturally occurring ESR1 mutations in breast cancer cell lines modelling endocrine resistance., Nature Communications, Vol: 8, ISSN: 2041-1723

Resistance to endocrine therapy remains a major clinical problem in breast cancer. Genetic studies highlight the potential role of estrogen receptor-α (ESR1) mutations, which show increased prevalence in the metastatic, endocrine-resistant setting. No naturally occurring ESR1 mutations have been reported in in vitro models of BC either before or after the acquisition of endocrine resistance making functional consequences difficult to study. We report the first discovery of naturally occurring ESR1 Y537C and ESR1 Y537S mutations in MCF7 and SUM44 ESR1-positive cell lines after acquisition of resistance to long-term-estrogen-deprivation (LTED) and subsequent resistance to fulvestrant (ICIR). Mutations were enriched with time, impacted on ESR1 binding to the genome and altered the ESR1 interactome. The results highlight the importance and functional consequence of these mutations and provide an important resource for studying endocrine resistance.

Journal article

Smith L, Farzan R, Ali S, Buluwela L, Saurin AT, Meek DWet al., 2017, Author Correction: The responses of cancer cells to PLK1 inhibitors reveal a novel protective role for p53 in maintaining centrosome separation, Scientific Reports, Vol: 8, ISSN: 2045-2322

The original version of this Article contained a typographical error in the spelling of the author Adrian T. Saurin, which was incorrectly given as Adrian Saurin. This has now been corrected in the PDF and HTML versions of the Article, and in the accompanying Supplementary Material.

Journal article

Smith L, Farzan R, Ali S, Buluwela L, Saurin A, Meek DWet al., 2017, The responses of cancer cells to PLK1 inhibitors reveal a novel protective role for p53 in maintaining centrosome separation., Scientific Reports, Vol: 7, ISSN: 2045-2322

Polo-like kinase-1 (PLK1) plays a major role in driving mitotic events, including centrosome disjunction and separation, and is frequently over-expressed in human cancers. PLK1 inhibition is a promising therapeutic strategy and works by arresting cells in mitosis due to monopolar spindles. The p53 tumour suppressor protein is a short-lived transcription factor that can inhibit the growth, or stimulate the death, of developing cancer cells. Curiously, although p53 normally acts in an anti-cancer capacity, it can offer significant protection against inhibitors of PLK1, but the events underpinning this effect are not known. Here, we show that functional p53 reduces the sensitivity to PLK1 inhibitors by permitting centrosome separation to occur, allowing cells to traverse mitosis and re-enter cycle with a normal complement of 2N chromosomes. Protection entails the activation of p53 through the DNA damage-response enzymes, ATM and ATR, and requires the phosphorylation of p53 at the key regulatory site, Ser15. These data highlight a previously unrecognised link between p53, PLK1 and centrosome separation that has therapeutic implications for the use of PLK1 inhibitors in the clinic.

Journal article

Periyasamy M, Singh A, Gemma C, Kranjec C, Farzan R, Leach D, Navaratnam N, Palinkas HL, Vertessy BG, Fenton TR, Doorbar J, Fuller-Pace F, Meek DW, Coombes RC, Buluwela L, Ali Set al., 2017, p53 controls expression of the DNA deaminase APOBEC3B to limit its potential mutagenic activity in cancer cells, Nucleic Acids Research, Vol: 45, Pages: 11056-11069, ISSN: 1362-4962

Cancer genome sequencing has implicated the cytosine deaminase activity of apolipoprotein B mRNA editing enzyme catalytic polypeptide-like (APOBEC) genes as an important source of mutations in diverse cancers, with APOBEC3B (A3B) expression especially correlated with such cancer mutations. To better understand the processes directing A3B over-expression in cancer, and possible therapeutic avenues for targeting A3B, we have investigated the regulation of A3B gene expression. Here, we show that A3B expression is inversely related to p53 status in different cancer types and demonstrate that this is due to a direct and pivotal role for p53 in repressing A3B expression. This occurs through the induction of p21 (CDKN1A) and the recruitment of the repressive DREAM complex to the A3B gene promoter, such that loss of p53 through mutation, or human papilloma virus-mediated inhibition, prevents recruitment of the complex, thereby causing elevated A3B expression and cytosine deaminase activity in cancer cells. As p53 is frequently mutated in cancer, our findings provide a mechanism by which p53 loss can promote cancer mutagenesis.

Journal article

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