Carcinoma-associated fibroblasts promote the stemness and chemoresistance of colorectal cancer by transferring exosomal lncRNA H19.
ABSTRACT: Long non-coding RNAs (lncRNAs) are involved in the pathology of various tumors, including colorectal cancer (CRC). The crosstalk between carcinoma- associated fibroblasts (CAFs) and cancer cells in the tumor microenvironment promotes tumor development and confers chemoresistance. In this study, we further investigated the underlying tumor-promoting roles of CAFs and the molecular mediators involved in these processes. Methods: The AOM/DSS-induced colitis-associated cancer (CAC) mouse model was established, and RNA sequencing was performed. Small interfering RNA (siRNA) sequences were used to knock down H19. Cell apoptosis was measured by flow cytometry. SW480 cells with H19 stably knocked down were used to establish a xenograft model. The indicated protein levels in xenograft tumor tissues were confirmed by immunohistochemistry assay, and cell apoptosis was analyzed by TUNEL apoptosis assay. RNA-FISH and immunofluorescence assays were performed to assess the expression of H19 in tumor stroma and cancer nests. The AldeRed ALDH detection assay was performed to detect intracellular aldehyde dehydrogenase (ALDH) enzyme activity. Isolated exosomes were identified by transmission electron microscopy, nanoparticle tracking and Western blotting. Results: H19 was highly expressed in the tumor tissues of CAC mice compared with the expression in normal colon tissues. The up-regulation of H19 was also confirmed in CRC patient samples at different tumor node metastasis (TNM) stages. Moreover, H19 was associated with the stemness of colorectal cancer stem cells (CSCs) in CRC specimens. H19 promoted the stemness of CSCs and increased the frequency of tumor-initiating cells. RNA-FISH showed higher expression of H19 in tumor stroma than in cancer nests. Of note, H19 was enriched in CAF-derived conditioned medium and exosomes, which in turn promoted the stemness of CSCs and the chemoresistance of CRC cells in vitro and in vivo. Furthermore, H19 activated the ?-catenin pathway via acting as a competing endogenous RNA sponge for miR-141 in CRC, while miR-141 significantly inhibited the stemness of CRC cells. Conclusion: CAFs promote the stemness and chemoresistance of CRC by transferring exosomal H19. H19 activated the ?-catenin pathway via acting as a competing endogenous RNA sponge for miR-141, while miR-141 inhibited the stemness of CRC cells. Our findings indicate that H19 expressed by CAFs of the colorectal tumor stroma contributes to tumor development and chemoresistance.
Project description:Accumulating evidence suggests that cancer cells with stem cell-like features have higher resistance to chemotherapeutic agents. Herein, we identified T-lymphoma invasion and metastasis-inducing protein-1 (TIAM1) as one of the Wnt-signaling associated genes which drives self-renewal and its expression is upregulated by cancer associated fibroblasts (CAFs). TIAM1 expression was assessed in resected colorectal cancer (CRC) tissues from 300 patients who did or did not respond to chemotherapy. siRNA and CRISPR/Cas9 was used to examine whether the inhibition of TIAM1 affects chemosensitivity of CRC. We demonstrate that stemness through Wnt signaling regulates chemosensitivity and this phenomenon occurs exclusively in cancer stem cells. Subsequently, we established patient-derived CAFs and tested whether the drug sensitivity of CRC cell lines is altered with CAF-derived conditioned medium. High-TIAM1 expression correlated significantly with poor prognosis of CRC patients, and was overexpressed in patients who did not respond to chemotherapy. We demonstrated that the inhibition of TIAM1 enhanced sensitivity to chemotherapeutic drugs and reduced tumor invasiveness in a series of experiments in vitro. Moreover, CAF-derived conditioned media increased stemness and chemoresistance in CRC cell lines through TIAM1 overexpression. In addition, we validated TIAM1 associated drug sensitivity using a xenograft model. We have demonstrated that TIAM1 is overexpressed in CRC tumors from patients who did not respond to chemotherapeutic drugs and levels of TIAM1 expression served as an independent prognostic factor. Mechanistically, CAFs enhanced CRC chemoresistance through TIAM1 overexpression. Collectively, these results suggest that TIAM1 regulates chemosensitivity in tumors and stroma and thus may be an attractive therapeutic target.
Project description:<h4>Background</h4>Cancer associated fibroblasts (CAFs) are key stroma cells that play dominant roles in tumor progression. However, the CAFs-derived molecular determinants that regulate colorectal cancer (CRC) metastasis and chemoresistance have not been fully characterized.<h4>Methods</h4>CAFs and NFs were obtained from fresh CRC and adjacent normal tissues. Exosomes were isolated from conditioned medium and serum of CRC patients using ultracentrifugation method and ExoQuick Exosome Precipitation Solution kit, and characterized by transmission electronic microscopy, nanosight and western blot. MicroRNA microarray was employed to identify differentially expressed miRNAs in exosomes secreted by CAFs or NFs. The internalization of exosomes, transfer of miR-92a-3p was observed by immunofluorescence. Boyden chamber migration and invasion, cell counting kit-8, flow cytometry, plate colony formation, sphere formation assays, tail vein injection and primary colon cancer liver metastasis assays were employed to explore the effect of NFs, CAFs and exosomes secreted by them on epithelial-mesenchymal transition, stemness, metastasis and chemotherapy resistance of CRC. Luciferase report assay, real-time qPCR, western blot, immunofluorescence, and immunohistochemistry staining were employed to explore the regulation of CRC metastasis and chemotherapy resistance by miR-92a-3p, FBXW7 and MOAP1.<h4>Results</h4>CAFs promote the stemness, epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT), metastasis and chemotherapy resistance of CRC cells. Importantly, CAFs exert their roles by directly transferring exosomes to CRC cells, leading to a significant increase of miR-92a-3p level in CRC cells. Mechanically, increased expression of miR-92a-3p activates Wnt/?-catenin pathway and inhibits mitochondrial apoptosis by directly inhibiting FBXW7 and MOAP1, contributing to cell stemness, EMT, metastasis and 5-FU/L-OHP resistance in CRC. Clinically, miR-92a-3p expression is significantly increased in CRC tissues and negatively correlated with the levels of FBXW7 and MOAP1 in CRC specimens, and high expression of exosomal miR-92a-3p in serum was highly linked with metastasis and chemotherapy resistance in CRC patients.<h4>Conclusions</h4>CAFs secreted exosomes promote metastasis and chemotherapy resistance of CRC. Inhibiting exosomal miR-92a-3p provides an alternative modality for the prediction and treatment of metastasis and chemotherapy resistance in CRC.
Project description:Colorectal cancer patients often relapse after chemotherapy, owing to the survival of stem or progenitor cells referred to as cancer stem cells (CSCs). Although tumor stromal factors are known to contribute to chemoresistance, it remains not fully understood how CSCs in the hypoxic tumor microenvironment escape the chemotherapy. Here, we report that hypoxia-inducible factor (HIF-1?) and cancer-associated fibroblasts (CAFs)-secreted TGF-?2 converge to activate the expression of hedgehog transcription factor GLI2 in CSCs, resulting in increased stemness/dedifferentiation and intrinsic resistance to chemotherapy. Genetic or small-molecule inhibitor-based ablation of HIF-1?/TGF-?2-mediated GLI2 signaling effectively reversed the chemoresistance caused by the tumor microenvironment. Importantly, high expression levels of HIF-1?/TGF-?2/GLI2 correlated robustly with the patient relapse following chemotherapy, highlighting a potential biomarker and therapeutic target for chemoresistance in colorectal cancer. Our study thus uncovers a molecular mechanism by which hypoxic colorectal tumor microenvironment promotes cancer cell stemness and resistance to chemotherapy and suggests a potentially targeted treatment approach to mitigating chemoresistance.
Project description:Colorectal cancer stem cells (CSCs), characterized by self-renewal ability and high expression of proliferative genes, contribute to the chemoresistance of colorectal cancer (CRC). We aimed to identify the molecular mechanisms underlying CRC chemoresistance through comprehensive bioinformatics screenings and experimental confirmation of gene functions. We found that high expression of FGF1 intracellular binding protein (FIBP) was correlated with chemoresistance and poor prognosis in CRC patients. Therefore, the chemoresistant CRC cell line HCT116-CSC with high expression of the stem cell markers CD44 and CD133 was established for further phenotypic tests. FIBP knockdown inhibited proliferation, enhanced chemotherapy effects, and attenuated the stemness markers of CRC cells in vivo and in vitro. Through RNA-seq and gene set enrichment analysis, we identified cyclin D1 as a key downstream target in FIBP-regulated cell cycle progression and proliferation. Moreover, FIBP bound to GSK3?, inhibited its phosphorylation at Tyr216, and activated ?-catenin/TCF/cyclin D1 signaling in HCT116-CSCs. Additional GSK3? knockdown reversed the FIBP silencing-induced inhibition of proliferation and decreased stemness marker expression in HCT116-CSCs. Furthermore, DNA methylation profiling suggested that FIBP regulated the stemness of CRC cells via methylation activity that was dependent on GSK3? but independent of ?-catenin signaling. Our data illuminate the potential of FIBP as a novel therapeutic target for treating chemoresistant CRC through inhibition of GSK3?-related signaling.
Project description:Cancer stem cells (CSCs), a subset of tumor cells, contribute to an aggressive biological behavior, which is also affected by the tumor stroma. Despite the role of CSCs and the tumor stroma in hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC), features of stemness have not yet been studied in relation to tumor stromal alterations in multistep hepatocarcinogenesis. We investigated the expression status of stemness markers and tumor stromal changes in B viral carcinogenesis, which is the main etiology of HCC in Asia. Stemness features of tumoral hepatocytes (EpCAM, K19, Oct3/4, c-KIT, c-MET, and CD133), and tumor stromal cells expressing ?-smooth muscle actin (?-SMA), CD68, CD163, and IL-6 were analyzed in 36 low grade dysplastic nodules (DNs), 48 high grade DNs, 30 early HCCs (eHCCs), and 51 progressed HCCs (pHCCs) by immunohistochemistry or real-time PCR. Stemness features (EpCAM and K19 in particular) were progressively acquired during hepatocarcinogenesis in combination with enrichment of stromal cells (CAFs, TAMs, IL-6+ cells). Stemness features were seen sporadically in DNs, more consistent in eHCCs, and peaked in pHCCs. Likewise, stromal cells were discernable in DNs, showed up as consistent cell densities in eHCCs and peaked in pHCCs. The stemness features and tumor stromal alterations also peaked in less differentiated or larger HCCs. In conclusion, progression of B viral multistep hepatocarcinogenesis is characterized by an enrichment of stemness features of neoplastic hepatocytes and a parallel alteration of the tumor stroma. The modulation of neoplastic hepatocytes and stromal cells was at low levels in precancerous lesions (DNs), consistently increased in incipient cancer (eHCCs) and peaked in pHCCs. Thus, in B viral hepatocarcinogenesis, interactions between CSCs and the tumor stroma, although starting early, seem to play a major role in tumor progression.
Project description:Among cells present in the tumor microenvironment, activated fibroblasts termed cancer-associated fibroblasts (CAFs), play a critical role in the complex process of tumor-stroma interaction. CAFs, one of the prominent stromal cell populations in most types of human carcinomas, have been involved in tumor growth, angiogenesis, cancer stemness, extracellular matrix remodeling, tissue invasion, metastasis, and even chemoresistance. During the past decade, these activated tumor-associated fibroblasts have also been involved in the modulation of the anti-tumor immune response on various levels. In this review, we describe our current understanding of how CAFs accomplish this task as well as their potential therapeutic implications.
Project description:Purpose:Cancer-associated fibroblasts (CAFs) activated by cancer cells has a central role in development and malignant biological behavior in colorectal cancer (CRC). Adult fibroblasts do not express Snail, but Snail-positive fibroblasts are discovered in the stroma of malignant CRC and reported to be the key role to chemoresistance. However, the reciprocal effect of CAFs expressed Snail to chemoresistance on CRC cells and the underlying molecular mechanisms are not fully characterized. Materials and Methods:Snail-overexpressed 3T3 stable cell lines were generated by lipidosome and CT26 mixed with 3T3-Snail subcutaneous transplanted CRC models were established by subcutaneous injection. Cell Counting Kit-8, flow cytometry and western blotting assays were performed, and immunohistochemistry staining was studied. The cytokines participated in chemoresistance was validated with reverse transcriptase-polymerase chain reaction and heatmap. Results:Snail-expression fibroblasts are discovered in human and mouse spontaneous CRCs. Overexpression of Snail induces 3T3 fibroblasts transdifferentiation to CAFs. CT26 co-cultured with 3T3-Snail resisted the impairment from 5-fluorouracil and paclitaxel in vitro. The subcutaneous transplanted tumor models included 3T3-Snail cells develop without restrictions even after treating with 5-fluorouracil or paclitaxel. Moreover, these chemoresistant processes may be mediated by CCL1 secreted by Snail-expression fibroblasts via transforming growth factor ?/nuclear factor-?B signaling pathways. Conclusion:Taken together, Snail-expressing 3T3 fibroblasts display CAFs properties that support 5-fluorouracil and paclitaxel chemoresistance in CRC via participation of CCL1 and suggest that inhibition of the Snail-expression fibroblasts in tumor may be a useful strategy to limit chemoresistance.
Project description:Carcinoma-associated fibroblasts (CAFs) consist of heterogeneous subpopulations that play a critical role in the dynamics of the tumor microenvironment. The extracellular signals of CAFs have been attributed to the extracellular matrix, cytokines, cell surface checkpoints, and exosomes. In the present study, it is demonstrated that the CD10 transmembrane hydrolase expressed on a subset of CAFs supports tumor stemness and induces chemoresistance. Mechanistically, CD10 degenerates an antitumoral peptide termed osteogenic growth peptide (OGP). OGP restrains the expression of rate-limiting desaturase SCD1 and inhibits lipid desaturation, which is required for cancer stem cells (CSCs). Targeting CD10 significantly improves the efficacy of chemotherapy in vivo. Clinically, CD10-OGP signals are associated with the response to neoadjuvant chemotherapy in patients with breast cancer. The collective data suggest that a nexus between the niche and lipid metabolism in CSCs is a promising therapeutic target for breast cancer.
Project description:Sex-determining region Y-box2 (SOX2), a master regulator of embryonic and induced pluripotent stem cells, drives cancer stem cells (CSCs) properties, fuels tumor initiation, and contributes to tumor aggressiveness. Our previous study has demonstrated the oncogenic role of SOX2 in colorectal cancer (CRC). In this study, we sought to elucidate the underlying mechanisms. Cell function experiments were performed to detect chemoresistance, proliferation, stemness, migration, and invasion in vitro. Chromatin immunoprecipitation, co-immunoprecipitation, luciferase reporter assay, and immunofluorescence were performed to explore the regulation of ABCC2, β-catenin, and Beclin1 by SOX2. The carcinogenic role of SOX2-β-catenin/Beclin1-ABCC2 axis in vivo was analyzed by CRC tissues and xenograft models. Here, we reported that SOX2 sustained chemoresistance by transcriptional activation of ABCC2 expression. Suppressing either β-catenin or autophagy signaling curbed SOX2-driven chemoresistance, stemness, and epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT). Mechanistically, SOX2 combined with β-catenin and increased its nuclear expression and transcriptional activity. Transcriptional activation of Beclin1 expression by SOX2 consequently activating autophagy and inducing malignant phenotype. Furthermore, overexpression of β-catenin or Beclin1 facilitated ABCC2 expression. The clinical analyses showed that high expression of ABCC2 and Beclin1 were positively correlated with SOX2 and were associated with poor prognosis in CRC patients. Finally, xenograft models revealed that inhibition of SOX2 expression and autophagy restrained tumor growth and chemoresistance in vivo. Conclusively, we demonstrated a novel mechanism by which the SOX2-β-catenin/Beclin1/autophagy signaling axis regulates chemoresistance, stemness, and EMT in CRC. Our findings provide novel insights into CRC carcinogenesis and may help develop potential therapeutic candidates for CRC.
Project description:The tumorous niche may drive the plasticity of heterogeneity and cancer stemness, leading to drug resistance and metastasis, which is the main reason of treatment failure in most cancer patients. The aim of this study was to establish a tumor microenvironment (TME)-based screening to identify drugs that can specifically target cancer stem cells (CSCs) and cancer-associated fibroblasts (CAFs) in the TME. <b>Methods:</b> Lung cancer patient-derived cancer cell and CAFs were utilized to mimic the TME and reproduce the stemness properties of CSCs <i>in vitro</i> and develop a high-throughput drug screening platform with phenotypical parameters. Limiting dilution assay, sphere-forming and ALDH activity assay were utilized to measure the cancer stemness characteristics. <i>In vivo</i> patient-derived xenograft (PDX) models and single-cell RNA sequencing were used to evaluate the mechanisms of the compounds in CSCs and CAFs. <b>Results:</b> The TME-based drug screening platform could comprehensively evaluate the response of cancer cells, CSCs and CAFs to different treatments. Among the 1,524 compounds tested, several drugs were identified to have anti-CAFs, anticancer and anti-CSCs activities. Aloe-emodin and digoxin both show anticancer and anti-CSCs activity <i>in vitro</i> and <i>in vivo</i>, which was further confirmed in the lung cancer PDX model. The combination of digoxin and chemotherapy improved therapeutic efficacy. The single-cell transcriptomics analysis revealed that digoxin could suppress the CSCs subpopulation in CAFs-cocultured cancer cells and cytokine production in CAFs. <b>Conclusions:</b> The TME-based drug screening platform provides a tool to identify and repurpose compounds targeting cancer cells, CSCs and CAFs, which may accelerate drug development and therapeutic application for lung cancer patients.