The goal of this study is to elucidate the functional consequences of FBXW7 mutations in the context of endometrial carcinoma (EC). EC is a heterogeneous disease, consisting of multiple histological subtypes associated with distinct clinical outcomes. Endometrioid endometrial cancer is the most commonly diagnosed subtype and is associated with an overall favorable prognosis. Less common but more clinically aggressive subtypes that contribute disproportionately to patient deaths include clear cell and serous ECs. We previously reported that FBXW7 is somatically mutated in 10% of endometrioid, 13% of clear cell and 29% of serous ECs. FBXW7 functions as a substrate-recognition protein within a SKP/CUL1/F-Box ubiquitin ligase complex, which targets numerous proteins for ubiquitin-mediated proteosomal degradation. Although FBXW7 is a known tumor suppressor, the functional consequences of these mutations have not yet been fully elucidated in the context of EC. As a means to this end, we utilized shRNA and Western blotting to identify proteins that are upregulated following FBXW7 depletion in ARK1 serous EC cells. Among proteins that were consistently upregulated were cyclin E1 and cMYC. We treated EC cells harboring endogenous FBXW7 mutations and those with wildtype FBXW7 with a proteasome inhibitor to confirm that EC cells regulate cyclin E1 and cMYC through proteasome degradation. Furthermore, we identified three EC cell lines that harbor endogenous mutations in FBXW7 and show that these cell lines exhibit delayed degradation of these substrates compared to EC cells expressing wildtype FBXW7. Finally, we generated expression constructs for wildtype FBXW7α and six recurrent mutants found in EC. We show that transient exogenous overexpression of five out of six recurrent FBXW7 mutant constructs in two different serous EC cell lines resulted in increased levels of phosphorylated cMYC and cyclin E1 compared to wildtype FBXW7α. These results suggest that not all recurrent FBXW7 mutations are functionally equivalent. Our findings begin to reveal the molecular consequences of FBXW7 mutations in EC and ongoing studies are aimed at elucidating additional functional consequences of these aberrations in the context of EC.
Citation Format: Mary Ellen Urick, Bo Hong, Meghan L. Rudd, Daphne W. Bell. Uncovering the functional relevance of FBXW7 mutations in endometrial cancer [abstract]. In: Proceedings of the American Association for Cancer Research Annual Meeting 2017; 2017 Apr 1-5; Washington, DC. Philadelphia (PA): AACR; Cancer Res 2017;77(13 Suppl):Abstract nr 3419. doi:10.1158/1538-7445.AM2017-3419