HIF2?/EFEMP1 cascade mediates hypoxic effects on breast cancer stem cell hierarchy.
ABSTRACT: Breast cancer stem cells (BCSCs) have been shown to contribute to tumor growth, metastasis, and recurrence. They are also markedly resistant to conventional cancer treatments, such as chemotherapy and radiation. Recent studies have suggested that hypoxia is one of the prominent micro-environmental factors that increase the self-renewal ability of BCSCs, partially by enhancing CSC phenotypes. Thus, the identification and development of new therapeutic approaches based on targeting the hypoxia-dependent responses in BCSCs is urgent. Through various in vitro studies, we found that hypoxia specifically up-regulates BCSC sphere formation and a subset of CD44+/CD24-/low CSCs. Hypoxia inducible factors 2? (HIF2?) depletion suppressed CSC-like phenotypes and CSC-mediated drug resistance in breast cancer. Furthermore, the stimulatory effects of hypoxia-induced HIF2? on BCSC sphere formation were successfully attenuated by epidermal growth factor-containing fibulin-like extracellular matrix protein 1 (EFEMP1) knockdown. Taken together, these data suggest that HIF2? mediates hypoxia-induced cancer growth/metastasis and that EFEMP1 is a downstream effector of hypoxia-induced HIF2? during breast tumorigenesis.
Project description:Cancer stem cells (CSCs) have been shown to promote tumorigenesis of many tumor types, including breast, although their relevance to cancer metastasis remains unclear. While subpopulations of CSCs required for metastasis have been identified, to date there are no known molecular regulators of breast CSC (BCSC) metastasis. Here we identify RhoC GTPase as an important regulator of BCSC metastasis, and present evidence suggesting that RhoC also modulates the frequency of BCSCs within a population. Using an orthotopic xenograft model of spontaneous metastasis we discover that RhoC is both necessary and sufficient to promote SUM149 and MCF-10A BCSC metastasis--often independent from primary tumor formation--and can even induce metastasis of non-BCSCs within these cell lines. The relationship between RhoC and BCSCs persists in breast cancer patients, as expression of RhoC and the BCSC marker ALDH1 are highly correlated in clinical specimens. These results suggest new avenues to combating the deadliest cells driving the most lethal stage of breast cancer progression.
Project description:<h4>Background</h4>Patients with triple negative breast cancer (TNBC) exhibit poor prognosis and are at high risk of tumour relapse, due to the resistance to chemotherapy. These aggressive phenotypes are in part attributed to the presence of breast cancer stem cells (BCSCs). Therefore, targeting BCSCs is a priority to overcoming chemotherapy failure in TNBCs.<h4>Methods</h4>We generated paclitaxel (pac)-resistant TNBC cells which displayed higher sphere forming potential and percentage of BCSC subpopulations compared to the parental cells. A screen with various kinase inhibitors revealed dasatinib, a Src kinase family inhibitor, as a potent suppressor of BCSC expansion/sphere formation in pac-resistant TNBC cells.<h4>Results</h4>We found dasatinib to block pac-induced BCSC enrichment and Src activation in both parental and pac-resistant TNBC cells. Interestingly, dasatinib induced an epithelial differentiation of the pac-resistant mesenchymal cells, resulting in their enhanced sensitivity to paclitaxel. The combination treatment of dasatinib and paclitaxel not only decreased the BCSCs numbers and their sphere forming capacity but also synergistically reduced cell viability of pac-resistant cells. Preclinical models of breast cancer further demonstrated the efficiency of the dasatinib/paclitaxel combination treatment in inhibiting tumour growth.<h4>Conclusions</h4>Dasatinib is a promising anti-BCSC drug that could be used in combination with paclitaxel to overcome chemoresistance in TNBC.
Project description:<h4>Background</h4>Cancer stem cells (CSCs) are highly tumorigenic and are responsible for tumor progression and chemoresistance. Noninvasive imaging methods for the visualization of CSC populations within tumors in vivo will have a considerable impact on the development of new CSC-targeting therapeutics.<h4>Methodology/principal findings</h4>In this study, human breast cancer stem cells (BCSCs) transduced with dual reporter genes (human ferritin heavy chain [FTH] and enhanced green fluorescence protein [EGFP]) were transplanted into NOD/SCID mice to allow noninvasive tracking of BCSC-derived populations. No changes in the properties of the BCSCs were observed due to ferritin overexpression. Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) revealed significantly different signal intensities (R(2)* values) between BCSCs and FTH-BCSCs in vitro and in vivo. In addition, distinct populations of pixels with high R(2)* values were detected in docetaxel-treated FTH-BCSC tumors compared with control tumors, even before the tumor sizes changed. Histological analysis revealed that areas showing high R(2)* values in docetaxel-treated FTH-BCSC tumors by MRI contained EGFP+/FTH+ viable cell populations with high percentages of CD44+/CD24- cells.<h4>Conclusions/significance</h4>These findings suggest that ferritin-based MRI, which provides high spatial resolution and tissue contrast, can be used as a reliable method to identify viable cell populations derived from BCSCs after chemotherapy and may serve as a new tool to monitor the efficacy of CSC-targeting therapies in vivo.
Project description:Glycolysis is critical for cancer stem cell reprogramming; however, the underlying regulatory mechanisms remain elusive. Here, we show that pyruvate dehydrogenase kinase 1 (PDK1) is enriched in breast cancer stem cells (BCSCs), whereas depletion of PDK1 remarkably diminishes ALDH<sup>+</sup> subpopulations, decreases stemness-related transcriptional factor expression, and inhibits sphere-formation ability and tumor growth. Conversely, high levels of PDK1 enhance BCSC properties and are correlated with poor overall survival. In mouse xenograft tumor, PDK1 is accumulated in hypoxic regions and activates glycolysis to promote stem-like traits. Moreover, through screening hypoxia-related long non-coding RNAs (lncRNAs) in PDK1-positive tissue, we find that lncRNA H19 is responsible for glycolysis and BCSC maintenance. Furthermore, H19 knockdown decreases PDK1 expression in hypoxia, and ablation of PDK1 counteracts H19-mediated glycolysis and self-renewal ability in vitro and in vivo. Accordingly, H19 and PDK1 expression exhibits strong correlations in primary breast carcinomas. H19 acting as a competitive endogenous RNA sequesters miRNA let-7 to release Hypoxia-inducible factor 1α, leading to an increase in PDK1 expression. Lastly, aspirin markedly attenuates glycolysis and cancer stem-like characteristics by suppressing both H19 and PDK1. Thus, these novel findings demonstrate that the glycolysis gatekeeper PDK1 has a critical role in BCSC reprogramming and provides a potential therapeutic strategy for breast malignancy.
Project description:Tumor initiation, development, and relapse may be closely associated with cancer stem cells (CSCs). The complicated mechanisms underlying the maintenance of CSCs are keeping in illustration. Long noncoding RNAs (lncRNAs), due to their multifunction in various biological processes, have been indicated to play a crucial role in CSC renewal and stemness maintenance. Using lncRNA array, we identified a novel lncRNA (named lnc408) in epithelial-mesenchymal transition-related breast CSCs (BCSCs). The lnc408 is high expressed in BCSCs in vitro and in vivo. The enhanced lnc408 is critical to BCSC characteristics and tumorigenesis. Lnc408 can recruit transcript factor SP3 to CBY1 promoter to serve as an inhibitor in CBY1 transcription in BCSCs. The high expressed CBY1 in non-BCSC interacts with 14-3-3 and β-catenin to form a ternary complex, which leads a translocation of the ternary complex into cytoplasm from nucleus and degradation of β-catenin in phosphorylation-dependent pattern. The lnc408-mediated decrease of CBY1 in BCSCs impairs the formation of 14-3-3/β-catenin/CBY1 complex, and keeps β-catenin in nucleus to promote CSC-associated CD44, SOX2, Nanog, Klf4, and c-Myc expressions and contributes to mammosphere formation; however, restoration of CBY1 expression in tumor cells reduces BCSC and its enrichment, thus lnc408 plays an essential role in maintenance of BCSC stemness. In shortly, these findings highlight that the novel lnc408 functions as an oncogenic factor by recruiting SP3 to inhibit CBY1 expression and β-catenin accumulation in nucleus to maintain stemness properties of BCSCs. Lnc408-CBY1-β-catenin signaling axis might serve as a new diagnostic and therapeutic target for breast cancer.
Project description:Cancer stem cells (CSCs) are considered the roots of cancer metastasis and recurrence (CSCs), due in part to their self-renewal and therapy resistance properties. However, the underlying mechanisms for the regulation of CSC stemness are poorly understood. Recently, increasing evidence shows that long non-coding RNAs (lncRNAs) are critical regulators for cancer cell function in various malignancies including breast cancer, but how lncRNAs regulate the function of breast cancer stem cells (BCSCs) remains to be determined. Herein, using lncRNA/mRNA microarray assays, a novel lncRNA (named lnc030) is identified, which is highly expressed in BCSCs in vitro and in vivo, as a pivotal regulator in maintaining BCSC stemness and promoting tumorigenesis. Mechanistically, lnc030 cooperates with poly(rC) binding protein 2(PCBP2) to stabilize squalene epoxidase (SQLE) mRNA, resulting in an increase of cholesterol synthesis. The increased cholesterol in turn actives PI3K/Akt signaling, which governs BCSC stemness. In summary, these findings demonstrate that a new, lnc030-based mechanism for regulating cholesterol synthesis and stemness properties of BCSCs. The lnc030-SQLE-cholesterol synthesis pathway may serve as an effective therapeutic target for BCSC elimination and breast cancer treatment.
Project description:Increasing evidence suggesting breast cancer stem cells (BCSCs) drive metastasis and evade traditional therapies underscores a critical need to exploit the untapped potential of nanotechnology to develop innovative therapies that will significantly improve patient survival. Photothermal therapy (PTT) to induce localized hyperthermia is one of few nanoparticle-based treatments to enter clinical trials in human cancer patients, and has recently gained attention for its ability to induce a systemic immune response targeting distal cancer cells in mouse models. Here, we first conduct classic cancer stem cell (CSC) assays, both in vitro and in immune-compromised mice, to demonstrate that PTT mediated by highly crystallized iron oxide nanoparticles effectively eliminates BCSCs in translational models of triple negative breast cancer. PTT in vitro preferentially targets epithelial-like ALDH + BCSCs, followed by mesenchymal-like CD44+/CD24- BCSCs, compared to bulk cancer cells. PTT inhibits BCSC self-renewal through reduction of mammosphere formation in primary and secondary generations. Secondary implantation in NOD/SCID mice reveals the ability of PTT to impede BCSC-driven tumor formation. Next, we explore the translational potential of PTT using metastatic and immune-competent mouse models. PTT to inhibit BCSCs significantly reduces metastasis to the lung and lymph nodes. In immune-competent BALB/c mice, PTT effectively eliminates ALDH + BCSCs. These results suggest the feasibility of incorporating PTT into standard clinical treatments such as surgery to enhance BCSC destruction and inhibit metastasis, and the potential of such combination therapy to improve long-term survival in patients with metastatic breast cancer.
Project description:Nodal signaling plays several vital roles in the embryogenesis process. However, its reexpression in breast cancer is correlated with cancer progression, metastasis and poor prognosis. Recently, Nodal has also been reported to regulate self-renewal capacity in pancreatic cancer. This study aimed to explore the role of Nodal in breast cancer stem cells (BCSCs) and the underlying mechanisms. Therefore, the immunohistochemistry staining of Nodal in 135 human breast cancer cases was performed to analyzed the relationship of Nodal signaling, clinical outcomes and BCSC marker. And the results showed that high Nodal expression was positively correlated with poor prognosis and BCSC marker expression in breast cancer samples. We further assessed the effects of Nodal in regulating the BCSC properties in breast cancer cell lines and xenografts. Then, SB431542 was administered in vitro and in vivo to explore the function of the Smad2/3 pathway. And we demonstrated that Nodal signaling up-regulated the expression of ALDH1, CD44, CD133, Sox2, Oct4 and Nanog by activating the Smad2/3 pathway, thereby enhancing the tumorigenicity and sphere-forming ability of breast cancer cells. Furthermore, treatment with SB431542 could inhibit the properties of BCSCs in vitro and in vivo. In conclusion, these findings indicate that Nodal signaling may play a vital role in maintaining the BCSC phenotype in breast cancer and serve as a potential target to explore BCSC-specific therapies.
Project description:Stable breast cancer cell (BCC) lines are valuable tools for the identification of breast cancer stem cell (BCSC) phenotypes that develop in response to several stimuli as well as for studying the basic mechanisms associated with the initiation and maintenance of BCSCs. However, the characteristics of individual, BCC-derived BCSCs varies and these cells show distinct phenotypes depending on the different BCSC markers used for their isolation. Aldehyde dehydrogenase (ALDH) activity is just such a recognized biomarker of BCSCs with a CD44<sup>+</sup> /CD24<sup>-</sup> phenotype. We isolated BCSCs with high ALDH activity (CD44<sup>+</sup> /CD24<sup>-</sup> /Aldefluor<sup>pos</sup> ) from a primary culture of human breast cancer tissue and observed that the cells had stem cell properties compared to BCSCs with no ALDH activity (CD44<sup>+</sup> /CD24<sup>-</sup> /Aldefluor<sup>neg</sup> ). Moreover, we found Aldefluor<sup>pos</sup> BCSCs had a greater hypoxic response and subsequent induction of HIF-1? expression compared to the Aldefluor<sup>neg</sup> BCSCs. We also found that knocking down HIF-1?, but not HIF-2?, in Aldefluor<sup>pos</sup> BCSCs led to a significant reduction of the stem cell properties through a decrease in the mRNA levels of genes associated with the epithelial-mesenchymal transition. Indeed, HIF-1? overexpression in Aldefluor<sup>neg</sup> BCSCs led to Slug and Snail mRNA increase and the associated repression of E-cadherin and increase in Vimentin. Of note, prolonged hypoxic stimulation promoted the phenotypic changes of Aldefluor<sup>neg</sup> BCSCs including ALDH activity, tumorigenesis and metastasis, suggesting that hypoxia in the tumor environment may influence BCSC fate and breast cancer clinical outcomes.
Project description:Triple-negative breast cancer (TNBC) is one of the most aggressive subtypes of breast cancer, with only limited treatment options available. Recently, cancer stem cells (CSCs) have emerged as the potential drivers of tumor progression due to their ability to both self-renew and give rise to differentiated progeny. The CSC state has been linked to the process of epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT) and to the highly flexible state of epithelial-mesenchymal plasticity (EMP). We aimed to establish primary breast cancer stem cell (BCSC) cultures isolated from TNBC specimens. These cells grow as tumor spheres under anchorage-independent culture conditions in vitro and reliably form tumors in mice when transplanted in limiting dilutions in vivo. The BCSC xenograft tumors phenocopy the original patient tumor in architecture and gene expression. Analysis of an EMT-related marker profile revealed the concomitant expression of epithelial and mesenchymal markers suggesting an EMP state for BCSCs of TNBC. Furthermore, BCSCs were susceptible to stimulation with the EMT inducer TGF-?1, resulting in upregulation of mesenchymal genes and enhanced migratory abilities. Overall, primary BCSC cultures are a promising model close to the patient that can be used both in vitro and in vivo to address questions of BCSC biology and evaluate new treatment options for TNBC.