Breaching the Castle Walls: Hyaluronan Depletion as a Therapeutic Approach to Cancer Therapy.
ABSTRACT: Hyaluronan (HA) has many functions in the extracellular milieu of normal and diseased tissues. Disease-associated HA accumulation has been shown to predict a worsened prognosis in cancer patients, with tumors having a high-extracellular HA content (HA-high) being more aggressive than their HA-low counterparts. HA-high tumor aggressiveness is derived from the specialized biomechanical and molecular properties of the HA-based assembly of HA binding proteins and the growth-promoting factors that accumulate in it. Biophysical characteristics of an HA-high tumor microenvironment include high tumor interstitial pressure, compression of tumor vasculature, and resulting tumor hypoxia. Within the tumor cell membrane, HA receptors, primarily CD44 and RHAMM, anchor the HA-high extracellular network. HA-CD44 association on the tumor cell surface enhances receptor tyrosine kinase activity to drive tumor progression and treatment resistance. Together, malignant cells in this HA-high matrix may evolve dependency on it for growth. This yields the hypothesis that depleting HA in HA-high tumors may be associated with a therapeutic benefit. A pegylated form of recombinant human hyaluronidase PH20 (PEGPH20) has been deployed as a potential cancer therapeutic in HA-high tumors. PEGPH20 can collapse this matrix by degrading the HA-assembled tumor extracellular framework, leading to tumor growth inhibition, preferentially in HA-high tumors. Enzymatic depletion of HA by PEGPH20 results in re-expansion of the tumor vasculature, reduction in tumor hypoxia, and increased penetration of therapeutic molecules into the tumor. Finally, HA-depletion results in reduced signaling via CD44/RHAMM. Taken together, HA-depletion strategies accomplish their antitumor effects by multiple mechanisms that include targeting both biophysical and molecular signaling pathways. Ongoing clinical trials are examining the potential of PEGPH20 in combination with partner therapeutics in several cancers.
Project description:Fragments of the extracellular matrix component hyaluronan (HA) promote tissue inflammation, fibrosis and tumor progression. HA fragments act through HA receptors including CD44, LYVE1, TLR2, 4 and the receptor for hyaluronan mediated motility (RHAMM/HMMR). RHAMM is a multifunctional protein with both intracellular and extracellular roles in cell motility and proliferation. Extracellular RHAMM binds directly to HA fragments while intracellular RHAMM binds directly to ERK1 and tubulin. Both HA and regions of tubulin (s-tubulin) are anionic and bind to basic amino acid-rich regions in partner proteins, such as in HA and tubulin binding regions of RHAMM. We used this as a rationale for developing bioinformatics and SPR (surface plasmon resonance) based screening to identify high affinity anionic RHAMM peptide ligands. A library of 12-mer peptides was prepared based on the carboxyl terminal tail sequence of s-tubulin isoforms and assayed for their ability to bind to the HA/tubulin binding region of recombinant RHAMM using SPR. This approach resulted in the isolation of three 12-mer peptides with nanomolar affinity for RHAMM. These peptides bound selectively to RHAMM but not to CD44 or TLR2,4 and blocked RHAMM:HA interactions. Furthermore, fluorescein-peptide uptake by PC3MLN4 prostate cancer cells was blocked by RHAMM mAb but not by CD44 mAb. These peptides also reduced the ability of prostate cancer cells to degrade collagen type I. The selectivity of these novel HA peptide mimics for RHAMM suggest their potential for development as HA mimetic imaging and therapeutic agents for HA-promoted disease.
Project description:Higher levels of hyaluronan (HA) and its receptors CD44 and RHAMM have been associated with poor prognosis and metastasis in NSCLC. In the current study, our goal was to define, using cellular and orthotopic lung tumor models, the role of HA-CD44/RHAMM signaling in lung carcinogenesis and to assess the potential of triptolide to block HA-CD44/RHAMM signaling and thereby suppress the development and progression of lung cancer. Triptolide reduced the viability of five non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) cells, the proliferation and self-renewal of pulmospheres, and levels of HA synthase 2 (HAS2), HAS3, HA, CD44, RHAMM, EGFR, Akt and ERK, but increased the cleavage of caspase 3 and PARP. Silencing of HAS2, CD44 or RHAMM induced similar effects. Addition of excess HA to the culture media completely abrogated the effects of triptolide and siRNAs targeting HAS2, CD44, or RHAMM. In an orthotopic lung cancer model in nude rats, intranasal administration of liposomal triptolide (400 ?g/kg) for 8 weeks significantly reduced lung tumor growth as determined by bioluminescence imaging, lung weight measurements and gross and histopathological analysis of tumor burden. Also, triptolide suppressed expressions of Ki-67, a marker for cell proliferation, HAS2, HAS3, HA, CD44, and RHAMM in lung tumors. Overall, our results provide a strong rationale for mitigating lung cancer by targeting the HA-CD44/RHAMM signaling axis.
Project description:Hyaluronic acid (HA) is an extracellular matrix (ECM) component that has been shown to play a significant role in regulating muscle cell behavior during repair and regeneration. For instance, ECM remodeling after muscle injury involves an upregulation in HA expression that is coupled with skeletal muscle precursor cell recruitment. However, little is known about the role of HA during skeletal muscle development. To gain insight into the way in which HA mediates embryonic myogenesis, we first determined the spatial distribution and gene expression of CD44, RHAMM and other HA related proteins in embryonic day (E)10.5 to E12.5 murine forelimbs. While HA and CD44 expression remained high, RHAMM decreased at both the protein (via immunohistochemistry) and RNA (via qPCR) levels. Next, we determined that 4-methylumbelliferone-mediated knockdown of HA synthesis inhibited the migration and proliferation of E11.5/E12.5 forelimb-derived cells. Then, the influence of CD44 and RHAMM on myoblast and connective tissue cell behavior was investigated using antibodies against these receptors. Anti-RHAMM, but not anti-CD44, significantly decreased the total distance myogenic progenitors migrated over 24?h, whereas both inhibited connective tissue cell migration. In contrast, anti-CD44 inhibited the proliferation of connective tissue cells and muscle progenitors, but anti-RHAMM had no effect. However, when myoblasts and connective tissue cells were depleted of CD44 and RHAMM by shRNA, motility and proliferation were significantly inhibited in both cells indicating that blocking cell surface-localized CD44 and RHAMM does not have as pronounced effect as global shRNA-mediated depletion of these receptors. These results show, for the first time, the distribution and activity of RHAMM in the context of skeletal muscle. Furthermore, our data indicate that HA, through interactions with CD44 and RHAMM, promotes myogenic progenitor migration and proliferation. Confirmation of the role of HA and its receptors in directing myogenesis will be useful for the design of regenerative therapies that aim to promote the restoration of damaged or diseased muscle.
Project description:Pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDA) is characterised by stromal desmoplasia and vascular dysfunction, which critically impair drug delivery. This study examines the role of an abundant extracellular matrix component, the megadalton glycosaminoglycan hyaluronan (HA), as a novel therapeutic target in PDA.Using a genetically engineered mouse model of PDA, the authors enzymatically depleted HA by a clinically formulated PEGylated human recombinant PH20 hyaluronidase (PEGPH20) and examined tumour perfusion, vascular permeability and drug delivery. The preclinical utility of PEGPH20 in combination with gemcitabine was assessed by short-term and survival studies.PEGPH20 rapidly and sustainably depleted HA, inducing the re-expansion of PDA blood vessels and increasing the intratumoral delivery of two chemotherapeutic agents, doxorubicin and gemcitabine. Moreover, PEGPH20 triggered fenestrations and interendothelial junctional gaps in PDA tumour endothelia and promoted a tumour-specific increase in macromolecular permeability. Finally, combination therapy with PEGPH20 and gemcitabine led to inhibition of PDA tumour growth and prolonged survival over gemcitabine monotherapy, suggesting immediate clinical utility.The authors demonstrate that HA impedes the intratumoral vasculature in PDA and propose that its enzymatic depletion be explored as a means to improve drug delivery and response in patients with pancreatic cancer.
Project description:Tumor heterogeneity confounds cancer diagnosis and the outcome of therapy, necessitating analysis of tumor cell subsets within the tumor mass. Elevated expression of hyaluronan (HA) and HA receptors, receptor for HA-mediated motility (RHAMM)/HA-mediated motility receptor and cluster designation 44 (CD44), in breast tumors correlates with poor outcome. We hypothesized that a probe for detecting HA-HA receptor interactions may reveal breast cancer (BCa) cell heterogeneity relevant to tumor progression. A fluorescent HA (F-HA) probe containing a mixture of polymer sizes typical of tumor microenvironments (10-480 kDa), multiplexed profiling, and flow cytometry were used to monitor HA binding to BCa cell lines of different molecular subtypes. Formulae were developed to quantify binding heterogeneity and to measure invasion in vivo. Two subsets exhibiting differential binding (HA(-/low) vs. HA(high)) were isolated and characterized for morphology, growth, and invasion in culture and as xenografts in vivo. F-HA-binding amounts and degree of heterogeneity varied with BCa subtype, were highest in the malignant basal-like cell lines, and decreased upon reversion to a nonmalignant phenotype. Binding amounts correlated with CD44 and RHAMM displayed but binding heterogeneity appeared to arise from a differential ability of HA receptor-positive subpopulations to interact with F-HA. HA(high) subpopulations exhibited significantly higher local invasion and lung micrometastases but, unexpectedly, lower proliferation than either unsorted parental cells or the HA(-/low) subpopulation. Querying F-HA binding to aggressive tumor cells reveals a previously undetected form of heterogeneity that predicts invasive/metastatic behavior and that may aid both early identification of cancer patients susceptible to metastasis, and detection/therapy of invasive BCa subpopulations.
Project description:CD44 interactions with hyaluronan (HA) play a key role in various malignancies, supporting tumor cell migration, adhesion, and survival. In contrast to solid tumors, the expression of CD44 standard and variant forms and their functional interplay with HA is less understood in hematological malignancies. Chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) is a highly abundant B-cell malignancy with a well coordinated balance between cell cycle-arrest and proliferation of tumor subpopulations. The long-term survival and proliferation of CLL cells requires their dynamic interactions with stromal and immune cells in lymphoid organs. Interactions of HA with CD44 and HA-mediated motility receptor (RHAMM) contribute to CLL cell localization, and hence CLL pathophysiology, by shaping homing, interstitial migration, and adhesion of the tumor cells. CD44 can complex with key prognostic factors of CLL, particularly CD38 and CD49d, bridging the gap between prognosis and cellular function. Here, we review the current evidence for the individual and associated contributions of CD44 to CLL pathophysiology, the dynamic functional regulation of CD44 upon CLL cell activation, and possible therapeutic strategies targeting CD44 in CLL.
Project description:It remains a substantial challenge to targetedly deliver drug to both primary tumors and metastatic lesions employing a single nanoparticle delivery system. Here aiming at the receptor for hyaluronic acid mediated motility (RHAMM or CD168), a specific receptor for hyaluronic acid (HA), the bioreductive responsive HA nanogels loaded doxorubicin were prepared. The targeting effects of HA nanogels in high RHAMM-expressed cancer cells, primary and metastatic tumors were investigated. It was found that HA nanogels show a strong in vitro and in vivo RHAMM-mediated cellular uptake and drug delivery. The cellular uptake of HA nanogels in high RHAMM-expressed LNCaP and H22 cells was far more than the uptake in low RHAMM-expressed NIH3T3 cells. The IC50 value of drug-loaded HA nanogels against H22 cells was lower than that of free drug. In vivo antitumor activity examinations showed that the HA nanogels not only had significantly superior antitumor efficacy in murine H22 and human LNCaP tumor-bearing mice but also exhibited much deep tumor penetration. The drug delivery of lymph node metastasis by systemically administering HA nanogels demonstrated that the HA nanogels could sufficiently increase drug concentration in metastatic lymph node by RHAMM-HA interaction and inhibit the growth of metastatic lymph node, even completely heal malignant lymph node metastasis. Thus, RHAMM-directed drug delivery is a promising therapy route for treating both primary and metastatic tumors.
Project description:Hyaluronan (HA) modulates key cancer cell functions through interaction with its CD44 and receptor for hyaluronic acid-mediated motility (RHAMM) receptors. HA was recently found to regulate the migration of fibrosarcoma cells in a manner specifically dependent on its size. Here, we investigated the effect of HA/RHAMM signaling on the ability of HT1080 fibrosarcoma cells to adhere onto fibronectin. Low molecular weight HA (LMWHA) significantly increased (p ? 0.01) the adhesion capacity of HT1080 cells, which high molecular weight HA inhibited. The ability of HT1080 RHAMM-deficient cells, but not of CD44-deficient ones, to adhere was significantly decreased (p ? 0.001) as compared with control cells. Importantly, the effect of LMWHA on HT1080 cell adhesion was completely attenuated in RHAMM-deficient cells. In contrast, adhesion of RHAMM-deficient cells was not sensitive to high molecular weight HA treatment, which identifies RHAMM as a specific conduit of the LMWHA effect. Western blot and real time-PCR analyses indicated that LMWHA significantly increased RHAMM transcript (p ? 0.05) and protein isoform levels (53%, 95 kDa; 37%, 73 kDa) in fibrosarcoma cells. Moreover, Western blot analyses showed that LMWHA in a RHAMM-dependent manner enhanced basal and adhesion-dependent ERK1/2 and focal adhesion kinase (FAK) phosphorylation in HT1080 cells. Utilization of a specific ERK1/2 inhibitor completely inhibited (p ? 0.001) LMWHA-dependent adhesion, suggesting that ERK1/2 is a downstream effector of LMWHA/RHAMM signaling. Likewise, the utilization of the specific ERK1 inhibitor resulted in a strong down-regulation of FAK activation in HT1080 cells, which identifies ERK1/2 as a FAK upstream activator. In conclusion, our results suggest that RHAMM/HA interaction regulates fibrosarcoma cell adhesion via the activation of FAK and ERK1/2 signaling pathways.
Project description:4-Methylumbelliferone (4-MU) is a hyaluronic acid (HA) synthesis inhibitor with anticancer properties; the mechanism of its anticancer effects is unknown. We evaluated the effects of 4-MU on prostate cancer cells. 4-MU inhibited proliferation, motility, and invasion of DU145, PC3-ML, LNCaP, C4-2B, and/or LAPC-4 cells. At IC(50) for HA synthesis (0.4 mmol/L), 4-MU induced >3-fold apoptosis in prostate cancer cells, which could be prevented by the addition of HA. 4-MU induced caspase-8, caspase-9, and caspase-3 activation, PARP cleavage, upregulation of Fas-L, Fas, FADD and DR4, and downregulation of bcl-2, phosphorylated bad, bcl-XL, phosphorylated Akt, phosphorylated IKB, phosphorylated ErbB2, and phosphorylated epidermal growth factor receptor. At IC(50), 4-MU also caused >90% inhibition of NF-kappaB reporter activity, which was prevented partially by the addition of HA. With the exception of caveolin-1, HA reversed the 4-MU-induced downregulation of HA receptors (CD44 and RHAMM), matrix-degrading enzymes (MMP-2 and MMP-9), interleukin-8, and chemokine receptors (CXCR1, CXCR4, and CXCR7) at the protein and mRNA levels. Expression of myristoylated-Akt rescued 4-MU-induced apoptosis and inhibition of cell growth and interleukin-8, RHAMM, HAS2, CD44, and MMP-9 expression. Oral administration of 4-MU significantly decreased PC3-ML tumor growth (>3-fold) when treatment was started either on the day of tumor cell injection or after the tumors became palpable, without organ toxicity, changes in serum chemistry, or body weight. Tumors from 4-MU-treated animals showed reduced microvessel density ( approximately 3-fold) and HA expression but increased terminal deoxynucleotidyl transferase-mediated dUTP nick end labeling-positive cells and expression of apoptosis-related molecules. Therefore, the anticancer effects of 4-MU, an orally bioavailable and relatively nontoxic agent, are primarily mediated by inhibition of HA signaling.