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EMBO Mol Med. 2018 Apr;10(4). pii: e8163. doi: 10.15252/emmm.201708163.

An FGFR3/MYC positive feedback loop provides new opportunities for targeted therapies in bladder cancers.

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Institut Curie, CNRS, UMR144, Equipe Labellisée Ligue contre le Cancer, PSL Research University, Paris, France.
CNRS, UMR144, Sorbonne Universités UPMC Université Paris 06, Paris, France.
UROLEAD SAS, School of Medicine, Strasbourg, France.
Department of Urology, Nouvel Hôpital Civil, Hôpitaux Universitaires de Strasbourg, Strasbourg, France.
Institut Curie, Orsay, France.
CNRS UMR3347 Centre Universitaire, Orsay, France.
INSERM U1021 Centre Universitaire, Orsay, France.
INSERM UMR_S1113, Section of Cell Signalization and Communication in Kidney and Prostate Cancer, School of Medicine, Fédération de Médecine Translationnelle de Strasbourg (FMTS), INSERM and University of Strasbourg, Strasbourg, France.
Institut Curie, CNRS, UMR144, Equipe Labellisée Ligue contre le Cancer, PSL Research University, Paris, France


FGFR3 alterations (mutations or translocation) are among the most frequent genetic events in bladder carcinoma. They lead to an aberrant activation of FGFR3 signaling, conferring an oncogenic dependence, which we studied here. We discovered a positive feedback loop, in which the activation of p38 and AKT downstream from the altered FGFR3 upregulates MYC mRNA levels and stabilizes MYC protein, respectively, leading to the accumulation of MYC, which directly upregulates FGFR3 expression by binding to active enhancers upstream from FGFR3 Disruption of this FGFR3/MYC loop in bladder cancer cell lines by treatment with FGFR3, p38, AKT, or BET bromodomain inhibitors (JQ1) preventing MYC transcription decreased cell viability in vitro and tumor growth in vivo A relevance of this loop to human bladder tumors was supported by the positive correlation between FGFR3 and MYC levels in tumors bearing FGFR3 mutations, and the decrease in FGFR3 and MYC levels following anti-FGFR treatment in a PDX model bearing an FGFR3 mutation. These findings open up new possibilities for the treatment of bladder tumors displaying aberrant FGFR3 activation.


MYC ; BET inhibitors; FGFR3; bladder cancer; p38

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