Background: Despite the promise of dual BRAF/MEK inhibition as a therapy for BRAF-mutant (BRAF-mut) melanoma, heterogeneous responses have been observed in patients, thus predictors of benefit from therapy are needed. We have previously identified semaphorin 6A (SEMA6A) as a BRAF-mut-associated protein involved in actin cytoskeleton remodeling. The purpose of the present study is to dissect the role of SEMA6A in the biology of BRAF-mut melanoma, and to explore its predictive potential towards dual BRAF/MEK inhibition. Methods: SEMA6A expression was assessed by immunohistochemistry in melanoma cohort RECI1 (N = 112) and its prognostic potential was investigated in BRAF-mut melanoma patients from DFCI and TCGA datasets (N = 258). The molecular mechanisms regulated by SEMA6A to sustain tumor aggressiveness and targeted therapy resistance were investigated in vitro by using BRAF-mut and BRAF-wt melanoma cell lines, an inducible SEMA6A silencing cell model and a microenvironment-mimicking fibroblasts-coculturing model. Finally, SEMA6A prediction of benefit from dual BRAF/MEK inhibition was investigated in melanoma cohort RECI2 (N = 14). Results: Our results indicate higher protein expression of SEMA6A in BRAF-mut compared with BRAF-wt melanoma patients and show that SEMA6A is a prognostic indicator in BRAF-mut melanoma from TCGA and DFCI patients cohorts. In BRAF-mut melanoma cells, SEMA6A coordinates actin cytoskeleton remodeling by the RhoA-dependent activation of YAP and dual BRAF/MEK inhibition by dabrafenib+trametinib induces SEMA6A/RhoA/YAP axis. In microenvironment-mimicking co-culture condition, fibroblasts confer to melanoma cells a proliferative stimulus and protect them from targeted therapies, whereas SEMA6A depletion rescues the efficacy of dual BRAF/MEK inhibition. Finally, in BRAF-mut melanoma patients treated with dabrafenib+trametinib, high SEMA6A predicts shorter recurrence-free interval. Conclusions: Overall, our results indicate that SEMA6A contributes to microenvironment-coordinated evasion of melanoma cells from dual BRAF/MEK inhibition and it might be a good candidate predictor of short-term benefit from dual BRAF/MEK inhibition.

SEMA6A/RhoA/YAP axis mediates tumor-stroma interactions and prevents response to dual BRAF/MEK inhibition in BRAF-mutant melanoma

Milella, Michele;
2022-01-01

Abstract

Background: Despite the promise of dual BRAF/MEK inhibition as a therapy for BRAF-mutant (BRAF-mut) melanoma, heterogeneous responses have been observed in patients, thus predictors of benefit from therapy are needed. We have previously identified semaphorin 6A (SEMA6A) as a BRAF-mut-associated protein involved in actin cytoskeleton remodeling. The purpose of the present study is to dissect the role of SEMA6A in the biology of BRAF-mut melanoma, and to explore its predictive potential towards dual BRAF/MEK inhibition. Methods: SEMA6A expression was assessed by immunohistochemistry in melanoma cohort RECI1 (N = 112) and its prognostic potential was investigated in BRAF-mut melanoma patients from DFCI and TCGA datasets (N = 258). The molecular mechanisms regulated by SEMA6A to sustain tumor aggressiveness and targeted therapy resistance were investigated in vitro by using BRAF-mut and BRAF-wt melanoma cell lines, an inducible SEMA6A silencing cell model and a microenvironment-mimicking fibroblasts-coculturing model. Finally, SEMA6A prediction of benefit from dual BRAF/MEK inhibition was investigated in melanoma cohort RECI2 (N = 14). Results: Our results indicate higher protein expression of SEMA6A in BRAF-mut compared with BRAF-wt melanoma patients and show that SEMA6A is a prognostic indicator in BRAF-mut melanoma from TCGA and DFCI patients cohorts. In BRAF-mut melanoma cells, SEMA6A coordinates actin cytoskeleton remodeling by the RhoA-dependent activation of YAP and dual BRAF/MEK inhibition by dabrafenib+trametinib induces SEMA6A/RhoA/YAP axis. In microenvironment-mimicking co-culture condition, fibroblasts confer to melanoma cells a proliferative stimulus and protect them from targeted therapies, whereas SEMA6A depletion rescues the efficacy of dual BRAF/MEK inhibition. Finally, in BRAF-mut melanoma patients treated with dabrafenib+trametinib, high SEMA6A predicts shorter recurrence-free interval. Conclusions: Overall, our results indicate that SEMA6A contributes to microenvironment-coordinated evasion of melanoma cells from dual BRAF/MEK inhibition and it might be a good candidate predictor of short-term benefit from dual BRAF/MEK inhibition.
Actin cytoskeleton remodeling
Dual BRAF/MEK inhibition
Melanoma
Semaphorin SEMA6A
Tumor microenvironment
YAP
Antineoplastic Combined Chemotherapy Protocols
Humans
Mitogen-Activated Protein Kinase Kinases
Mutation
Prognosis
Protein Kinase Inhibitors
Proto-Oncogene Proteins B-raf
Tumor Microenvironment
rhoA GTP-Binding Protein
Melanoma
Semaphorins
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11562/1063632
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