Imperial College London

Dr Van Thuy Mai Nguyen

Faculty of MedicineDepartment of Surgery & Cancer

Honorary Research Associate







ICTEM buildingHammersmith Campus





Publication Type

6 results found

Harrod A, Fulton J, Nguyen VTM, Periyasamy M, Ramos Garcia L, Lai C-F, Metodieva G, de Giorgio A, Williams RL, Santos DB, Jimenez Gomez P, Lin M-L, Metodiev MV, Stebbing J, Castellano L, Magnani L, Coombes RC, Buluwela L, Ali Set al., 2016, Genomic modelling of the ESR1 Y537S mutation for evaluating function and new therapeutic approaches for metastatic breast cancer, Oncogene, Vol: 36, Pages: 2286-2296, ISSN: 1476-5594

Drugs that inhibit estrogen receptor-α (ER) activity have been highlysuccessful in treating and reducing breast cancer progression in ER-positivedisease. However, resistance to these therapies presents a major clinicalproblem. Recent genetic studies have shown that mutations in the ER geneare found in >20% of tumours that progress on endocrine therapies.Remarkably, the great majority of these mutations localise to just a few aminoacids within or near the critical helix 12 region of the ER hormone bindingdomain, where they are likely to be single allele mutations. Understandinghow these mutations impact on ER function is a prerequiste for identifyingmethods to treat breast cancer patients featuring such mutations. Towardsthis end, we used CRISPR-Cas9 genome editing to make a single alleleknockin of the most commonly mutated amino acid residue, tyrosine 537, inthe estrogen-responsive MCF7 breast cancer cell line. Genomic analysesusing RNA-seq and ER ChIP-seq demonstrated that the Y537S mutationpromotes constitutive ER activity globally, resulting in estrogen-independentgrowth. MCF7-Y537S cells were resistant to the anti-estrogen tamoxifen andfulvestrant. Further, we show that the basal transcription factor TFIIH isconstitutively recruited by ER-Y537S, resulting in ligand-independentphosphorylation of Serine 118 (Ser118) by the TFIIH kinase, CDK7. TheCDK7 inhibitor, THZ1 prevented Ser118 phosphorylation and inhibited growthof MCF7-Y537S cells. These studies confirm the functional importance of ERmutations in endocrine resistance, demonstrate the utility of knockinmutational models for investigating alternative therapeutic approaches andhighlight CDK7 inhibition as a potential therapy for endocrine resistant breastcancer mediated by ER mutations.

Journal article

Nguyen VTM, Barozzi I, Faronato M, Lombardo Y, Steel JH, Patel N, Darbre P, Castellano L, Gyorffy B, Woodley L, Meira A, Patten DL, Vircillo V, Periyasamy M, Ali S, Frige G, Minucci S, Coombes RC, Magnani Let al., 2015, Differential epigenetic reprogramming in response to specific endocrine therapies promotes cholesterol biosynthesis and cellular invasion, Nature Communications, Vol: 6, Pages: 1-15, ISSN: 2041-1723

Endocrine therapies target the activation of the oestrogen receptor alpha (ERa) via distinctmechanisms, but it is not clear whether breast cancer cells can adapt to treatment usingdrug-specific mechanisms. Here we demonstrate that resistance emerges via drug-specificepigenetic reprogramming. Resistant cells display a spectrum of phenotypical changes withinvasive phenotypes evolving in lines resistant to the aromatase inhibitor (AI). Orthogonalgenomics analysis of reprogrammed regulatory regions identifies individual drug-inducedepigenetic states involving large topologically associating domains (TADs) and the activationof super-enhancers. AI-resistant cells activate endogenous cholesterol biosynthesis (CB)through stable epigenetic activation in vitro and in vivo. Mechanistically, CB sparks theconstitutive activation of oestrogen receptors alpha (ERa) in AI-resistant cells, partly via thebiosynthesis of 27-hydroxycholesterol. By targeting CB using statins, ERa binding is reducedand cell invasion is prevented. Epigenomic-led stratification can predict resistance to AI in asubset of ERa-positive patients.

Journal article

Periyasamy M, Patel H, Lai C-F, Nguyen VTM, Nevedomskaya E, Harrod A, Russell R, Remenyi J, Ochocka AM, Thomas RS, Fuller-Pace F, Gyorffy B, Caldas C, Navaratnam N, Carroll JS, Zwart W, Coombes RC, Magnani L, Buluwela L, Ali Set al., 2015, APOBEC3B mediated cytidine deamination is required for estrogen receptor action in breast cancer, Cell Reports, Vol: 13, Pages: 108-121, ISSN: 2211-1247

Estrogen receptor α (ERα) is the key transcriptional driver in a large proportion of breast cancers. We report that APOBEC3B (A3B) is required for regulation of gene expression by ER and acts by causing C-to-U deamination at ER binding regions. We show that these C-to-U changes lead to the generation of DNA strand breaks through activation of base excision repair (BER) and to repair by non-homologous end-joining (NHEJ) pathways. We provide evidence that transient cytidine deamination by A3B aids chromatin modification and remodelling at the regulatory regions of ER target genes that promotes their expression. A3B expression is associated with poor patient survival in ER+ breast cancer, reinforcing the physiological significance of A3B for ER action.

Journal article

Xu Y, Zhang H, Van TMN, Angelopoulos N, Nunes J, Reid A, Buluwela L, Magnani L, Stebbing J, Giamas Get al., 2015, LMTK3 represses tumor suppressor-like genes through chromatin remodeling in breast cancer, Cell Reports, Vol: 12, Pages: 837-849, ISSN: 2211-1247

LMTK3 is an oncogenic receptor tyrosine kinase (RTK) implicated in various types of cancer, including breast, lung, gastric, and colorectal cancer. It is localized in different cellular compartments, but its nuclear function has not been investigated so far. We mapped LMTK3 binding across the genome using ChIP-seq and found that LMTK3 binding events are correlated with repressive chromatin markers. We further identified KRAB-associated protein 1 (KAP1) as a binding partner of LMTK3. The LMTK3/KAP1 interaction is stabilized by PP1α, which suppresses KAP1 phosphorylation specifically at LMTK3-associated chromatin regions, inducing chromatin condensation and resulting in transcriptional repression of LMTK3-bound tumor suppressor-like genes. Furthermore, LMTK3 functions at distal regions in tethering the chromatin to the nuclear periphery, resulting in H3K9me3 modification and gene silencing. In summary, we propose a model where a scaffolding function of nuclear LMTK3 promotes cancer progression through chromatin remodeling.

Journal article

Magnani L, Patten DK, Nguyen VTM, Hong SP, Steel JH, Patel N, Lombardo Y, Faronato M, Gomes AR, Woodley L, Page K, Guttery D, Primrose L, Fernandez Garcia D, Shaw J, Viola P, Green A, Nolan C, Ellis IO, Rakha EA, Shousha S, Lam EWF, Gyorffy B, Lupien M, Coombes RCet al., 2015, The pioneer factor PBX1 is a novel driver of metastatic progression in ERα-positive breast cancer., Oncotarget, Vol: 6, Pages: 21878-24891, ISSN: 1949-2553

Over 30% of ERα breast cancer patients develop relapses and progress to metastatic disease despite treatment with endocrine therapies. The pioneer factor PBX1 translates epigenetic cues and mediates estrogen induced ERα binding. Here we demonstrate that PBX1 plays a central role in regulating the ERα transcriptional response to epidermal growth factor (EGF) signaling. PBX1 regulates a subset of EGF-ERα genes highly expressed in aggressive breast tumours. Retrospective stratification of luminal patients using PBX1 protein levels in primary cancer further demonstrates that elevated PBX1 protein levels correlate with earlier metastatic progression. In agreement, PBX1 protein levels are significantly upregulated during metastatic progression in ERα-positive breast cancer patients. Finally we reveal that PBX1 upregulation in aggressive tumours is partly mediated by genomic amplification of the PBX1 locus. Correspondingly, ERα-positive breast cancer patients carrying PBX1 amplification are characterized by poor survival. Notably, we demonstrate that PBX1 amplification can be identified in tumor derived-circulating free DNA of ERα-positive metastatic patients. Metastatic patients with PBX1 amplification are also characterized by shorter relapse-free survival. Our data identifies PBX1 amplification as a functional hallmark of aggressive ERα-positive breast cancers. Mechanistically, PBX1 amplification impinges on several critical pathways associated with aggressive ERα-positive breast cancer.

Journal article

Faronato M, Nguyen VTM, Patten DK, Lombardo Y, Steel JH, Patel N, Woodley L, Shousha S, Coombes RC, Magnani LMet al., 2015, DMXL2 drives epithelial to mesenchymal transition in hormonal therapy resistant breast cancer through Notch hyper-activation, Oncotarget, Vol: 6, Pages: 22467-22479, ISSN: 1949-2553

The acquisition of endocrine therapy resistance in estrogen receptor α (ERα) breast cancer patients represents a major clinical problem. Notch signalling has been extensively linked to breast cancer especially in patients who fail to respond to endocrine therapy. Following activation, Notch intracellular domain is released and enters the nucleus where activates transcription of target genes. The numerous steps that cascade after activation of the receptor complicate using Notch as biomarker. Hence, this warrants the development of reliable indicators of Notch activity. DMXL2 is a novel regulator of Notch signalling not yet investigated in breast cancer. Here, we demonstrate that DMXL2 is overexpressed in a subset of endocrine therapy resistant breast cancer cell lines where it promotes epithelial to mesenchymal transition through hyper-activation of Notch signalling via V-ATPase dependent acidification. Following DMXL2 depletion or treatment with Bafilomycin A1, both EMT targets and Notch signalling pathway significantly decrease. We show for the first time that DMXL2 protein levels are significantly increased in ERα positive breast cancer patients that progress after endocrine therapy. Finally, we demonstrate that DMXL2 is a transmembrane protein with a potential extra-cellular domain. These findings identify DMXL2 as a novel, functional biomarker for ERα positive breast cancer.

Journal article

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