Project description:The tumor microenvironment is an integral component in promoting tumor development. Cancer-associated fibroblasts (CAFs), which reside in the tumor stroma, produce Hepatocyte Growth Factor (HGF), an important trigger for invasive and metastatic tumor behavior. HGF contributes to a pro-tumorigenic environment by activating its cognate receptor, c-Met, on tumor cells. Tumor cells, in turn, secrete growth factors that upregulate HGF production in CAFs, thereby establishing a dynamic tumor-host signaling program. Using a spatiotemporal multispecies model of tumor growth, we investigate how the development and spread of a tumor is impacted by the initiation of a dynamic interaction between tumor-derived growth factors and CAF-derived HGF. We show that establishment of such an interaction results in increased tumor growth and morphological instability, the latter due in part to increased cell species heterogeneity at the tumor-host boundary. Invasive behavior is further increased if the tumor lowers responsiveness to paracrine pro-differentiation signals, which is a hallmark of neoplastic development. By modeling anti-HGF and anti-c-Met therapy, we show how disruption of the HGF/c-Met axis can reduce tumor invasiveness and growth, thereby providing theoretical evidence that targeting tumor-microenvironment interactions is a promising avenue for therapeutic development.
Project description:Cancer-associated fibroblasts (CAFs) play crucial roles in enhancing cell survival, proliferation, invasion, and metastasis. We previously showed that hepatocellular carcinoma-derived CAFs (H-CAFs) promoted proliferation of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) cells. This study aimed to further explore the role of CAFs in HCC epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT) and the underlying mechanism. High CAF density was significantly associated with liver cirrhosis, inferior clinicopathologic characteristics, elevated EMT-associated markers, and poorer survival in human HCC. Within HCC cells, EMT was induced after co-culture with H-CAFs. Secretomic analysis showed that IL-6 and HGF were the key EMT-stimulating cytokines secreted by H-CAFs. Proteomic analysis revealed that TG2 was significantly upregulated in HCC cells with EMT phenotypes. Overexpression of TG2 promoted EMT of HCC cells, and knockdown of TG2 remarkably attenuated the H-CAF-induced EMT. Furthermore, during EMT, TG2 expression was enhanced after HCC cells were stimulated by IL-6, but not HGF. Inhibition of the IL-6/STAT3 signaling decreased TG2 expression. The principal TG2 transcription control element and a potential STAT3 binding site were identified using promoter analysis. Hence, H-CAFs facilitates HCC cells EMT mediated by IL-6, which in turn activates IL-6/IL6R/STAT3 axis to promote TG2 expression.
Project description:This study investigates for the first time the crosstalk between stromal fibroblasts and cancer stem cell (CSC) biology in head and neck squamous cell carcinomas (HNSCC), with the ultimate goal of identifying effective therapeutic targets. The effects of conditioned media from cancer-associated fibroblasts (CAFs) and normal fibroblasts (NFs) on the CSC phenotype were assessed by combining functional and expression analyses in HNSCC-derived cell lines. Further characterization of CAFs and NFs secretomes by mass spectrometry was followed by pharmacologic target inhibition. We demonstrate that factors secreted by CAFs but not NFs, in the absence of serum/supplements, robustly increased anchorage-independent growth, tumorsphere formation, and CSC-marker expression. Modulators of epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR), insulin-like growth factor receptor (IGFR), and platelet-derived growth factor receptor (PDGFR) activity were identified as paracrine cytokines/factors differentially secreted between CAFs and NFs, in a mass spectrometry analysis. Furthermore, pharmacologic inhibition of EGFR, IGFR, and PDGFR significantly reduced CAF-induced tumorsphere formation and anchorage-independent growth suggesting a role of these receptor tyrosine kinases in sustaining the CSC phenotype. These findings provide novel insights into tumor stroma?CSC communication, and potential therapeutic targets to effectively block the CAF-enhanced CSC niche signaling circuit.
Project description:Cancer-associated fibroblast (CAF)-specific proteins serve as both prognostic biomarkers and targets for anticancer drugs. In this study, we investigated the role of NGFI-A-binding protein (NAB)2 derived from CAFs in the progression of head and neck squamous cell carcinoma (HNSCC). Patient-derived HNSCC and paired metastatic lymph node tissues were examined for NAB2 expression by immunohistochemistry. Primary CAF cultures were established from HNSCC patient tissue, with paired non-tumor fibroblasts (NTFs) serving as a control. CAF or NTF was used to evaluate the effect of NAB2 on HNSCC progression using FaDu cell spheroids and an in vivo mouse xenograft model. NAB2 was detected in interstitial CAFs in primary and metastatic lymph node tissues of HNSCC patients. NAB2 mRNA and protein levels were higher in CAFs as compared to paired NTFs. Conditioned medium (CM) of NAB2-overexpressing CAFs increased the invasion of FaDu spheroids in the Matrigel invasion assay as compared to CM of NTF. Co-injection of NAB2-overexpressing CAFs with FaDu spheroids into mice enhanced the growth of tumors. These data suggest that NAB2-overexpressing CAFs promotes HNSCC progression and is a potential therapeutic target for preventing HNSCC metastasis.
Project description:We determined hepatocyte growth factor (HGF) and c-Met expression and signaling in human head and neck squamous cell carcinoma (HNSCC) cells and primary tissues and tested the ability of c-Met tyrosine kinase inhibitors (TKI) to block HGF-induced biological signaling.Expression and signaling were determined using immunoblotting, ELISA, and immunohistochemistry. Biological end points included wound healing, cell proliferation, and invasion. c-Met TKIs were tested for their ability to block HGF-induced signaling and biological effects in vitro and in xenografts established in nude mice.c-Met was expressed and functional in HNSCC cells. HGF was secreted by HNSCC tumor-derived fibroblasts, but not by HNSCC cells. Activation of c-Met promoted phosphorylation of AKT and mitogen-activated protein kinase as well as release of the inflammatory cytokine interleukin-8. Cell growth and wound healing were also stimulated by HGF. c-Met TKIs blocked HGF-induced signaling, interleukin-8 release, and wound healing. Enhanced invasion of HNSCC cells induced by the presence of tumor-derived fibroblasts was completely blocked with a HGF-neutralizing antibody. PF-2341066, a c-Met TKI, caused a 50% inhibition of HNSCC tumor growth in vivo with decreased proliferation and increased apoptosis within the tumors. In HNSCC tumor tissues, both HGF and c-Met protein were increased compared with expression in normal mucosa.These results show that HGF acts mainly as a paracrine factor in HNSCC cells, the HGF/c-Met pathway is frequently up-regulated and functional in HNSCC, and a clinically relevant c-Met TKI shows antitumor activity in vivo. Blocking the HGF/c-Met pathway may be clinically useful for the treatment of HNSCC.
Project description:It has been well documented that microenvironment consisting of stroma affects breast cancer progression. However, the mechanisms by which cancer cells and fibroblasts, the major cell type in stroma, interact with each other during tumor development remains to be elucidated. Here, we show that the human cancer-associated fibroblasts (CAFs) had higher activity in enhancing breast tumorigenecity compared to the normal tissue-associated fibroblasts (NAFs) isolated from the same patients. The expression level of hepatocyte growth factor (HGF) in these fibroblasts was positively correlated with their ability to enhance breast tumorigenesis in mice. Deprivation of HGF using a neutralizing antibody reduced CAF-mediated colony formation of human breast cancer cells, indicating that CAFs enhanced cancer cell colony formation mainly through HGF secretion. Co-culture with human breast cancer MDA-MB-468 cells in a transwell system enhanced NAFs to secret HGF as well as promote tumorigenecity. The newly gained ability of these "educated" NAFs became irreversible after continuing this process till fourth passage. These results suggested that breast cancer cells could alter the nature of its surrounding fibroblasts to secrete HGF to support its own progression through paracrine signaling.
Project description:Protein tyrosine kinase 7 (PTK7) and cancer-associated fibroblasts (CAFs) play important roles in cancer stemness, respectively. However, little is known about interaction between CAFs and PTK7 in cancers. In this study, we showed that PTK7 was significantly correlated with the Wnt/?-Catenin pathway and aggressive clinicopathologic features in human head and neck squamous cell carcinoma (HNSCC). Meanwhile, animal experiments showed that PTK7 enhanced chemoresistance and lung metastasis of HNSCC in vivo. In addition, co-immunoprecipitation (co-IP) assay demonstrated that POSTN secreted by CAFs was a potential upstream ligand of PTK7 which might act as a receptor. Further analysis revealed that POSTN promoted the cancer stem cell (CSC)-like phenotype via PTK7-Wnt/?-Catenin signaling, including the proliferation and invasion of HNSCC cells in vitro, as well as tumor initiation and progression in vivo. Collectively, our study proved that CAF-derived POSTN might promote cancer stemness via interacting with PTK7 in HNSCC, suggesting that the combination of POSTN and PTK7 might be a potential prognostic and diagnostic indicator and a promising therapeutic target.
Project description:Cancer-associated fibroblasts (CAFs) are important components of tumor stroma and play a key role in tumor progression. CAFs involve in crosstalk with tumor cells through various kinds of cytokines. In the present study, we screened hepatocyte growth factor (HGF) as a cytokine predominantly originating from CAFs. CAFs-derived HGF was found to promote MET-unamplified gastric cancer (GC) proliferation, migration, and invasion through the activation of HGF/c-Met/STAT3/twist1 pathway. It also activated interleukin (IL)-6/IL-6R/JAK2/STAT3/twist1 pathway by up-regulating IL-6R expression. As IL-6 was also found to upregulate c-Met expression, we identified the cooperation of HGF and IL-6 in enhancing the characteristics of CAFs. In vivo experiments revealed that CAFs-derived HGF promoted tumorigenesis and metastasis of MET-unamplified GC. Gene set enrichment analysis (GSEA) was performed to confirm our findings. Our study found that the increased expression of HGF in CAFs induced by MET-unamplified GC contributed to the malignant phenotype of both MET-unamplified GC and CAFs in tumor microenvironment.
Project description:Pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC) is extremely stroma-rich. Cancer-associated fibroblasts (CAFs) secrete proteins that activate survival and promote chemoresistance of cancer cells. Our results demonstrate that CAF secretome-triggered chemoresistance is abolished upon inhibition of the protein synthesis mTOR/4E-BP1 regulatory pathway which we found highly activated in primary cultures of ?-SMA-positive CAFs, isolated from human PDAC resections. CAFs selectively express the sst1 somatostatin receptor. The SOM230 analogue (Pasireotide) activates the sst1 receptor and inhibits the mTOR/4E-BP1 pathway and the resultant synthesis of secreted proteins including IL-6. Consequently, tumour growth and chemoresistance in nude mice xenografted with pancreatic cancer cells and CAFs, or with pieces of resected human PDACs, are reduced when chemotherapy (gemcitabine) is combined with SOM230 treatment. While gemcitabine alone has marginal effects, SOM230 is permissive to gemcitabine-induced cancer cell apoptosis and acts as an antifibrotic agent. We propose that selective inhibition of CAF protein synthesis with sst1-directed pharmacological compounds represents an anti-stromal-targeted therapy with promising chemosensitization potential.