IL-1-conferred gene expression pattern in ERα+ BCa and AR+ PCa cells is intrinsic to ERα- BCa and AR- PCa cells and promotes cell survival

Afshan F. Nawas, Mohammed Kanchwala, Shayna E. Thomas-Jardin, Haley Dahl, Kelly Daescu, Monica Bautista, Vanessa Anunobi, Ally Wong, Rachel Meade, Ragini Mistry, Nisha Ghatwai, Felix Bayerl, Chao Xing, Nikki A. Delk

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Background: Breast (BCa) and prostate (PCa) cancers are hormone receptor (HR)-driven cancers. Thus, BCa and PCa patients are given therapies that reduce hormone levels or directly block HR activity; but most patients eventually develop treatment resistance. We have previously reported that interleukin-1 (IL-1) inflammatory cytokine downregulates ERα and AR mRNA in HR-positive (HR+) BCa and PCa cell lines, yet the cells can remain viable. Additionally, we identified pro-survival proteins and processes upregulated by IL-1 in HR+ BCa and PCa cells, that are basally high in HR- BCa and PCa cells. Therefore, we hypothesize that IL-1 confers a conserved gene expression pattern in HR+ BCa and PCa cells that mimics conserved basal gene expression patterns in HR- BCa and PCa cells to promote HR-independent survival and tumorigenicity. Methods: We performed RNA sequencing (RNA-seq) for HR+ BCa and PCa cell lines exposed to IL-1 and for untreated HR- BCa and PCa cell lines. We confirmed expression patterns of select genes by RT-qPCR and used siRNA and/or drug inhibition to silence select genes in the BCa and PCa cell lines. Finally, we performed Ingenuity Pathway Analysis (IPA) and used the gene ontology web-based tool, GOrilla, to identify signaling pathways encoded by our RNA-seq data set. Results: We identified 350 genes in common between BCa and PCa cells that are induced or repressed by IL-1 in HR+ cells that are, respectively, basally high or low in HR- cells. Among these genes, we identified Sequestome-1 (SQSTM1/p62) and SRY (Sex-Determining Region Y)-Box 9 (SOX9) to be essential for survival of HR- BCa and PCa cell lines. Analysis of publicly available data indicates that p62 and SOX9 expression are elevated in HR-independent BCa and PCa sublines generated in vitro, suggesting that p62 and SOX9 have a role in acquired hormone receptor independence and treatment resistance. We also assessed HR- cell line viability in response to the p62-targeting drug, verteporfin, and found that verteporfin is cytotoxic for HR- cell lines. Conclusions: Our 350 gene set can be used to identify novel therapeutic targets and/or biomarkers conserved among acquired (e.g. due to inflammation) or intrinsic HR-independent BCa and PCa.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number46
JournalBMC Cancer
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 20 2020


  • Androgen receptor
  • Breast cancer
  • Estrogen receptor
  • Interleukin-1
  • Prostate cancer
  • p62/SQSTM1

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Genetics
  • Cancer Research


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