Potential for cancers to form metastases requires cell dissemination utilizing epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition (EMT) program. In this issue of Cancer Cell, Ishay-Ronen et al. show that plasticity intrinsic to the EMT program can be exploited to divert cancer cells into becoming post-mitotic adipocytes, thus preventing formation of metastases.
Tumor-derived extracellular vesicles promote metastasis by inducing functional changes in cells at pre-metastatic sites conducive for tumor cell colonization. In this issue of Cancer Cell, Ortiz and colleagues show that type I interferon regulates extracellular vesicle uptake and that modulating this pathway holds promise for treating metastasis.
The Tasmanian devils' facial tumor disease (DFTD) is a transmissible cancer that spreads by biting and threatens extinction of this marsupial. In this issue of Cancer Cell, Kosack et al. describe how overexpression of ERBB and uncontrolled activation of STAT3 drive DFTD growth and immune evasion.
Diffuse intrinsic brain stem gliomas (DIPGs) with characteristic K27M mutation of H3.3 are lethal and poorly understood childhood cancers. In this issue of Cancer Cell, Larson et al. exploit a unique murine DIPG model with inducible, endogenous K27M expression to reveal insights into mechanisms of K27M-mediated transformation in DIPG.
We propose that initiating truncal mutations plays a special role in tumor formation by both enhancing the survival of the initiating cancer cell and by selecting for secondary mutations that contribute to tumor progression, and that these mutations often act in a tissue-preferred fashion. Here, we explain why inherited mutations often have different tissue specificities compared with spontaneous mutations in the same gene. Initiating truncal mutations make excellent neo-antigens for immunotherapy, and understanding why one mutation selects for a second mutation in a particular tissue type could one day aid in the design of gene-targeted combination therapies.
Biallelic inactivation of SMARCB1, encoding a member of the SWI/SNF chromatin remodeling complex, is the hallmark genetic aberration of atypical teratoid rhabdoid tumors (ATRT). Here, we report how loss of SMARCB1 affects the epigenome in these tumors. Using chromatin immunoprecipitation sequencing (ChIP-seq) on primary tumors for a series of active and repressive histone marks, we identified the chromatin states differentially represented in ATRTs compared with other brain tumors and non-neoplastic brain. Re-expression of SMARCB1 in ATRT cell lines enabled confirmation of our genome-wide findings for the chromatin states. Additional generation of ChIP-seq data for SWI/SNF and Polycomb group proteins and the transcriptional repressor protein REST determined differential dependencies of SWI/SNF and Polycomb complexes in regulation of diverse gene sets in ATRTs.