G0S2 represses PI3K/mTOR signaling and increases sensitivity to PI3K/mTOR pathway inhibitors in breast cancer

<p>G0/G1 switch gene 2 (G0S2) is a direct retinoic acid target implicated in cancer biology and therapy based on frequent methylation-mediated silencing in diverse solid tumors. We recently reported that low G0S2 expression in breast cancer, particularly estrogen receptor-positive (ER+) breast cancer, correlates with increased rates of recurrence, indicating that G0S2 plays a role in breast cancer progression. However, the function(s) and mechanism(s) of G0S2 tumor suppression remain unclear. In order to determine potential mechanisms of G0S2 anti-oncogenic activity, we performed genome-wide expression analysis that revealed an enrichment of gene signatures related to PI3K/mTOR pathway activation in G0S2 null cells as compared to G0S2 wild-type cells. G0S2 null cells also exhibited a dramatic decreased sensitivity to PI3K/mTOR pathway inhibitors. Conversely, restoring G0S2 expression in human ER+ breast cancer cells decreased basal mTOR signaling and sensitized the cells to pharmacologic mTOR pathway inhibitors. Notably, we provide evidence here that the increase in recurrence seen with low G0S2 expression is especially prominent in patients who have undergone antiestrogen therapy. Further, ER+ breast cancer cells with restored G0S2 expression had a relative increased sensitivity to tamoxifen. These findings reveal that in breast cancer G0S2 functions as a tumor suppressor in part by repressing PI3K/mTOR activity, and that G0S2 enhances therapeutic responses to PI3K/mTOR inhibitors. Recent studies implicate hyperactivation of PI3K/mTOR signaling as promoting resistance to antiestrogen therapies in ER+ breast cancer. Our data establishes G0S2 as opposing this form of antiestrogen resistance. This promotes further investigation of the role of G0S2 as an antineoplastic breast cancer target and a biomarker for recurrence and therapy response.</p>