Identification and editing of stem-like cells in methylcholanthrene-induced sarcomas.
ABSTRACT: The cancer stem cell (CSC) paradigm posits that specific cells within a tumor, so-called CSC-like cells, have differing levels of tumorigenicity and chemoresistance. Original studies of CSCs identified them in human cancers and utilized mouse xenograft models to define the cancer initiating properties of these cells, thereby hampering the understanding of how immunity could affect CSCs. Indeed, few studies have characterized CSCs in the context of cancer immunoediting, and it is currently not clear how immunity could impact on the levels or stem-like behavior of CSCs. Using the well-studied 3'methylcholanthrene (MCA) model of primary sarcoma formation, we have defined a CSC-like population within MCA-induced sarcomas as expressing high levels of stem cell antigen-1 (Sca-1) and low levels of CD90. These Sca-1+CD90- CSC-like cells had higher tumor initiating ability, could spontaneously give rise to Sca-1-negative cells, and formed more sarcospheres than corresponding non-CSC-like cells. Moreover, when examining MCA-induced sarcomas that were in the equilibrium phase of cancer growth, higher levels of CSC-like cells were found compared to MCA-induced sarcomas in the escape phase of cancer progression. Notably, CSC-like cells also emerged during escape from anti-PD-1 or anti-CTLA4 therapy, thus suggesting that CSC-like cells could evade immune therapy. Finally, we demonstrate that paradoxically, interferon (IFN)-? produced in vivo by immune cells could promote the emergence of CSC-like cells. Our findings define the existence of a Sca1+CD90- CSC-like population in the MCA-sarcoma model capable of differentiation, tumorsphere formation, and increased tumor initiation in vivo. These cells may also act as mediators of immune resistance during cancer immunoediting and immune therapy.
Project description:OBJECTIVES:The goal of this study is to characterize resident cardiac stem cells (CSCs) and investigate their therapeutic efficacy in myocardial infarction by molecular imaging methods. BACKGROUND:CSCs have been isolated and characterized in vitro. These cells offer a provocative method to regenerate the damaged myocardium. However, the survival kinetics and function of transplanted CSCs have not been fully elucidated. METHODS:CSCs were isolated from L2G85 transgenic mice (FVB strain background) that constitutively express both firefly luciferase and enhanced green fluorescence protein reporter gene. CSCs were characterized in vitro and transplanted in vivo into murine infarction models. Multimodality noninvasive imaging techniques were used to assess CSC survival and therapeutic efficacy for restoration of cardiac function. RESULTS:CSCs can be isolated from L2G85 mice, and fluorescence-activated cell sorting analysis showed expression of resident CSC markers (Sca-1, c-Kit) and mesenchymal stem cell markers (CD90, CD106). Afterwards, 5 x 10(5) CSCs (n = 30) or phosphate-buffered saline control (n = 15) was injected into the hearts of syngeneic FVB mice undergoing left anterior descending artery ligation. Bioluminescence imaging showed poor donor cell survival by week 8. Echocardiogram, invasive hemodynamic pressure-volume analysis, positron emission tomography imaging with fluorine-18-fluorodeoxyglucose, and cardiac magnetic resonance imaging demonstrated no significant difference in cardiac contractility and viability between the CSC and control group. Finally, postmortem analysis confirmed transplanted CSCs integrated with host cardiomyocytes by immunohistology. CONCLUSIONS:In a mouse myocardial infarction model, Sca-1-positive CSCs provide no long-term engraftment and benefit to cardiac function as determined by multimodality imaging.
Project description:UNLABELLED:Recent evidence suggests that hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) is organized by a subset of cells with stem cell features (cancer stem cells; CSCs). CSCs are considered a pivotal target for the eradication of cancer, and liver CSCs have been identified by the use of various stem cell markers. However, little information is known about the expression patterns and characteristics of marker-positive CSCs, hampering the development of personalized CSC-targeted therapy. Here, we show that CSC markers EpCAM and CD90 are independently expressed in liver cancer. In primary HCC, EpCAM+ and CD90+ cells resided distinctively, and gene-expression analysis of sorted cells suggested that EpCAM+ cells had features of epithelial cells, whereas CD90+ cells had those of vascular endothelial cells. Clinicopathological analysis indicated that the presence of EpCAM+ cells was associated with poorly differentiated morphology and high serum alpha-fetoprotein (AFP), whereas the presence of CD90+ cells was associated with a high incidence of distant organ metastasis. Serial xenotransplantation of EpCAM+ /CD90+ cells from primary HCCs in immune-deficient mice revealed rapid growth of EpCAM+ cells in the subcutaneous lesion and a highly metastatic capacity of CD90+ cells in the lung. In cell lines, CD90+ cells showed abundant expression of c-Kit and in vitro chemosensitivity to imatinib mesylate. Furthermore, CD90+ cells enhanced the motility of EpCAM+ cells when cocultured in vitro through the activation of transforming growth factor beta (TGF-?) signaling, whereas imatinib mesylate suppressed TGFB1 expression in CD90+ cells as well as CD90+ cell-induced motility of EpCAM+ cells. CONCLUSION:Our data suggest the discrete nature and potential interaction of EpCAM+ and CD90+ CSCs with specific gene-expression patterns and chemosensitivity to molecular targeted therapy. The presence of distinct CSCs may determine the clinical outcome of HCC.
Project description:Patients with advanced hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) or metastatic colorectal cancer (mCRC) have a very poor prognosis due to the lack of efficient treatments. As observed in several other tumors, the effectiveness of treatments is mainly hampered by the presence of a highly tumorigenic sub-population of cancer cells called cancer stem cells (CSCs). Indeed, CSCs are resistant to chemotherapy and radiotherapy and can regenerate the tumor bulk. Hence, innovative drugs that are efficient against both bulk tumor cells and CSCs would likely improve cancer treatment. In this study, we demonstrated that GNS561, a new autophagy inhibitor that induces lysosomal cell death, showed significant activity against not only the whole tumor population but also a sub-population displaying CSC features (high ALDH activity and tumorsphere formation ability) in HCC and in liver mCRC cell lines. These results were confirmed <i>in vivo</i> in HCC from a DEN-induced cirrhotic rat model in which GNS561 decreased tumor growth and reduced the frequency of CSCs (CD90<sup>+</sup>CD45<sup>-</sup>). Thus, GNS561 offers great promise for cancer therapy by exterminating both the tumor bulk and the CSC sub-population. Accordingly, a global phase 1b clinical trial in liver cancers was recently completed.
Project description:Cancer stem cells (CSCs) are a pivotal target for eradicating hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). We previously reported that distinctive CSCs regulating tumorigenicity (EpCAM<sup>+</sup> CSCs) and metastasis (CD90<sup>+</sup> CSCs) have different epithelial/mesenchymal gene expression signatures. Here, we examined the influence of sorafenib, a multiple-receptor tyrosine kinase inhibitor used as a first-line treatment for advanced HCC, on EpCAM<sup>+</sup> and CD90<sup>+</sup> CSCs. CD90<sup>+</sup> cells showed higher c-Kit gene/protein expression than EpCAM<sup>+</sup> cells. Sorafenib treatment reduced the number of CD90<sup>+</sup> cells with attenuated c-Kit phosphorylation, whereas it enriched the EpCAM<sup>+</sup> cell population. We evaluated the role of CD90<sup>+</sup> and EpCAM<sup>+</sup> CSCs in vivo by subcutaneously injecting these CSCs together in immune-deficient mice. We observed that sorafenib subtly affected the suppression of primary tumor growth maintained by EpCAM<sup>+</sup> CSCs, but completely inhibited the lung metastasis mediated by CD90<sup>+</sup> CSCs. We further evaluated the effect of sorafenib on extracellular vesicle (EV) production and found that sorafenib suppressed the production of EVs containing TGF-? mRNA in CD90<sup>+</sup> cells and inhibited the cell-cell communication and motility of EpCAM<sup>+</sup> cells. Our data suggest the following novel effects of sorafenib: suppressing CD90<sup>+</sup> CSCs and inhibiting the production of EVs regulating distant metastasis.
Project description:The tumor microenvironment (TME) represents a complex interplay between different cellular components, including tumor cells and cancer stem cells (CSCs), with the associated stroma; such interaction promotes tumor immune escape and sustains tumor growth. Several experimental approaches for cancer therapy are focused on TME remodeling, resulting in increased antitumor effects. We previously demonstrated that the hyaluronan synthesis inhibitor 4-methylumbelliferone (4Mu) decreases liver fibrosis and induces antitumor activity in hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). In this work, 4Mu, in combination with an adenovirus encoding interleukin-12 genes (AdIL-12), elicited a potent antitumor effect and significantly prolonged animal survival (p < 0.05) in an orthotopic HCC model established in fibrotic livers. In assessing the presence of CSCs, we found reduced mRNA levels of CD133<sup>+</sup>, CD90<sup>+</sup>, EpCAM<sup>+</sup>, CD44<sup>+</sup>, and CD13<sup>+</sup> CSC markers within HCC tumors (p < 0.01). Additionally, 4Mu downregulated the expression of the CSC marker CD47<sup>+</sup> on HCC cells, promoted phagocytosis by antigen-presenting cells, and, combined with Ad-IL12, elicited a potent cytotoxic-specific T cell response. Finally, animal survival was increased when CD133<sup>low</sup> HCC cells, generated upon 4Mu treatment, were injected in a metastatic HCC model. In conclusion, the combined strategy ameliorates HCC aggressiveness by targeting CSCs and as a result of the induction of anticancer immunity.
Project description:Cholangiocarcinomas (CCAs) comprise a mucin-secreting form, intrahepatic or perihilar, and a mixed form located peripherally. We characterized cancer stem cells (CSCs) in CCA subtypes and evaluated their cancerogenic potential. CSC markers were investigated in 25 human CCAs in primary cultures and established cell lines. Tumorigenic potential was evaluated in vitro or in xenografted mice after s.c. or intrahepatic injection in normal and cirrhotic (carbon tetrachloride-induced) mice. CSCs comprised more than 30% of the tumor mass. Although the CSC profile was similar between mucin-intrahepatic and mucin-perihilar subtypes, CD13(+) CSCs characterized mixed-intrahepatic, whereas LGR5(+) characterized mucin-CCA subtypes. Many neoplastic cells expressed epithelial-mesenchymal transition markers and coexpressed mesenchymal and epithelial markers. In primary cultures, epithelial-mesenchymal transition markers, mesenchymal markers (vimentin, CD90), and CD13 largely predominated over epithelial markers (CD133, EpCAM, and LGR5). In vitro, CSCs expressing epithelial markers formed a higher number of spheroids than CD13(+) or CD90(+) CSCs. In s.c. tumor xenografts, tumors dominated by stromal markers were formed primarily by CD90(+) and CD13(+) cells. By contrast, in intrahepatic xenografts in cirrhotic livers, tumors were dominated by epithelial traits reproducing the original human CCAs. In conclusion, CSCs were rich in human CCAs, implicating CCAs as stem cell-based diseases. CSC subpopulations generate different types of cancers depending on the microenvironment. Remarkably, CSCs reproduce the original human CCAs when injected into cirrhotic livers.
Project description:Cancer stem cells (CSC) maintain both undifferentiated self-renewing CSCs and differentiated, non-self-renewing non-CSCs through cellular division. However, molecular mechanisms that maintain self-renewal in CSCs versus non-CSCs are not yet clear. Here, we report that in a transgenic mouse model of MYC-induced T-cell leukemia, MYC, maintains self-renewal in Sca1+ CSCs versus Sca-1- non-CSCs. MYC preferentially bound to the promoter and activated hypoxia-inducible factor-2? (HIF2?) in Sca-1+ cells only. Furthermore, the reprogramming factors, Nanog and Sox2, facilitated MYC regulation of HIF2? in Sca-1+ versus Sca-1- cells. Reduced expression of HIF2? inhibited the self-renewal of Sca-1+ cells; this effect was blocked through suppression of ROS by N-acetyl cysteine or the knockdown of p53, Nanog, or Sox2. Similar results were seen in ABCG2+ CSCs versus ABCG2- non-CSCs from primary human T-cell lymphoma. Thus, MYC maintains self-renewal exclusively in CSCs by selectively binding to the promoter and activating the HIF2? stemness pathway. Identification of this stemness pathway as a unique CSC determinant may have significant therapeutic implications. SIGNIFICANCE: These findings show that the HIF2? stemness pathway maintains leukemic stem cells downstream of MYC in human and mouse T-cell leukemias. GRAPHICAL ABSTRACT: http://cancerres.aacrjournals.org/content/canres/79/16/4015/F1.large.jpg.
Project description:The cell-biological program termed the epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT) confers on cancer cells mesenchymal traits and an ability to enter the cancer stem cell (CSC) state. However, the interactions between CSCs and their surrounding microenvironment are poorly understood. Here we show that tumour-associated monocytes and macrophages (TAMs) create a CSC niche through juxtacrine signalling with CSCs. We performed quantitative proteomic profiling and found that the EMT program upregulates the expression of CD90, also known as Thy1, and EphA4, which mediate the physical interactions of CSCs with TAMs by directly binding with their respective counter-receptors on these cells. In response, the EphA4 receptor on the carcinoma cells activates Src and NF-?B. In turn, NF-?B in the CSCs induces the secretion of a variety of cytokines that serve to sustain the stem cell state. Indeed, admixed macrophages enhance the CSC activities of carcinoma cells. These findings underscore the significance of TAMs as important components of the CSC niche.
Project description:Lung cancer (LC) with its different subtypes is generally known as a therapy resistant cancer with the highest morbidity rate worldwide. Therapy resistance of a tumor is thought to be related to cancer stem cells (CSCs) within the tumors. There have been indications that the lung cancer is propagated and maintained by a small population of CSCs. To study this question we established a panel of 15 primary lung cancer cell lines (PLCCLs) from 20 fresh primary tumors using a robust serum-free culture system. We subsequently focused on identification of lung CSCs by studying these cell lines derived from 4 representative lung cancer subtypes such as small cell lung cancer (SCLC), large cell carcinoma (LCC), squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) and adenocarcinoma (AC). We identified a small population of cells strongly positive for CD44 (CD44(high)) and a main population which was either weakly positive or negative for CD44 (CD44(low/-)). Co-expression of CD90 further narrowed down the putative stem cell population in PLCCLs from SCLC and LCC as spheroid-forming cells were mainly found within the CD44(high)CD90(+) sub-population. Moreover, these CD44(high)CD90(+) cells revealed mesenchymal morphology, increased expression of mesenchymal markers N-Cadherin and Vimentin, increased mRNA levels of the embryonic stem cell related genes Nanog and Oct4 and increased resistance to irradiation compared to other sub-populations studied, suggesting the CD44(high)CD90(+) population a good candidate for the lung CSCs. Both CD44(high)CD90(+) and CD44(high)CD90(-) cells in the PLCCL derived from SCC formed spheroids, whereas the CD44(low/-) cells were lacking this potential. These results indicate that CD44(high)CD90(+) sub-population may represent CSCs in SCLC and LCC, whereas in SCC lung cancer subtype, CSC potentials were found within the CD44(high) sub-population.
Project description:Tumors evolve from initial tumorigenic events into increasingly aggressive behaviors in a process usually driven by subpopulations of cancer stem cells (CSCs). Mesenchymal stromal/stem cells (MSCs) may act as the cell-of-origin for sarcomas, and CSCs that present MSC features have been identified in sarcomas due to their ability to grow as self-renewed floating spheres (tumorspheres). Accordingly, we previously developed sarcoma models using human MSCs transformed with relevant oncogenic events. To study the evolution/emergence of CSC subpopulations during tumor progression, we compared the tumorigenic properties of bulk adherent cultures and tumorsphere-forming subpopulations both in the sarcoma cell-of-origin models (transformed MSCs) and in their corresponding tumor xenograft-derived cells. Tumor formation assays showed that the tumorsphere cultures from xenograft-derived cells, but not from the cell-of-origin models, were enriched in CSCs, providing evidence of the emergence of bona fide CSCs subpopulations during tumor progression. Relevant CSC-related factors, such as ALDH1 and SOX2, were increasingly upregulated in CSCs during tumor progression, and importantly, the increased levels and activity of ALDH1 in these subpopulations were associated with enhanced tumorigenicity. In addition to being a CSC marker, our findings indicate that ALDH1 could also be useful for tracking the malignant potential of CSC subpopulations during sarcoma evolution.