Secretion of fibronectin by human pancreatic stellate cells promotes chemoresistance to gemcitabine in pancreatic cancer cells.
ABSTRACT: BACKGROUND:Gemcitabine remains a cornerstone in chemotherapy of pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC) despite suboptimal clinical effects that are partly due to the development of chemoresistance. Pancreatic stellate cells (PSCs) of the tumor stroma are known to interact with pancreatic cancer cells (PCCs) and influence the progression of PDAC through a complex network of signaling molecules that involve extracellular matrix (ECM) proteins. To understand tumor-stroma interactions regulating chemosensitivity, the role of PSC-secreted fibronectin (FN) in the development of gemcitabine resistance in PDAC was examined. METHODS:PSC cultures obtained from ten different human PDAC tumors were co-cultured with PCC lines (AsPC-1, BxPC-3, Capan-2, HPAF-II, MIA PaCa-2, PANC-1 and SW-1990) either directly, or indirectly via incubation with PSC-conditioned medium (PSC-CM). Gemcitabine dose response cytotoxicity was determined using MTT based cell viability assays. Protein expression was assessed by western blotting and immunofluorescence. PSC-CM secretome analysis was performed by proteomics-based LC-MS/MS, and FN content in PSC-CM was determined with ELISA. Radiolabeled gemcitabine was used to determine the capacity of PCCs to uptake the drug. RESULTS:In both direct and indirect co-culture, PSCs induced varying degrees of resistance to the cytotoxic effects of gemcitabine among all cancer cell lines examined. A variable degree of increased phosphorylation of ERK1/2 was observed across all PCC lines upon incubation with PSC-CM, while activation of AKT was not detected. Secretome analysis of PSC-CM identified 796 different proteins, including several ECM-related proteins such as FN and collagens. Soluble FN content in PSC-CM was detected in the range 175-350?ng/ml. Neither FN nor PSC-CM showed any effect on PCC uptake capacity of gemcitabine. PCCs grown on FN-coated surface displayed higher resistance to gemcitabine compared to cells grown on non-coated surface. Furthermore, a FN inhibitor, synthetic Arg-Gly-Asp-Ser (RGDS) peptide significantly inhibited PSC-CM-induced chemoresistance in PCCs via downregulation of ERK1/2 phosphorylation. CONCLUSIONS:The findings of this study suggest that FN secreted by PSCs in the ECM plays a key role in the development of resistance to gemcitabine via activation of ERK1/2. FN-blocking agents added to gemcitabine-based chemotherapy might counteract chemoresistance in PDAC and provide better clinical outcomes.
Project description:Pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC) is characterized by an extremely poor prognosis, and its treatment remains a challenge. As the existing in vitro experimental models offer only a limited resemblance to human PDAC, there is a strong need for additional research tools to better understand PDAC tumor biology, particularly the impact of the tumor stroma. Here, we report for the first time the establishment and characterization of human PDAC-derived paired primary monolayer cultures of (epithelial) cancer cells (PCCs) and mesenchymal stellate cells (PSCs) derived from the same tumor by the outgrowth method. Characterization of cell morphology, cytostructural, and functional profiles and proteomics-based secretome analysis were performed. All PCCs harbored KRAS and TP53 mutations, and expressed cytokeratin 19, ki-67, and p53, while the expression of EpCAM and vimentin was variable. All PSCs expressed ?-smooth muscle actin (?-SMA) and vimentin. PCCs showed a significantly higher growth rate and proliferation than PSCs. Secretome analysis confirmed the distinct nature of PCCs as compared to PSCs and allowed identification of potential molecular regulators of PSC-conditioned medium (PSC-CM)-induced migration of PCCs. Paired primary cultures of PCCs and PSCs derived from the same tumor specimen represent a novel experimental model for basic research in PDAC tumor biology.
Project description:Pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC) is characterized by a strong desmoplastic reaction where the stromal compartment often accounts for more than half of the tumor volume. Pancreatic stellate cells (PSC) are a central mediator of desmoplasia. There is increasing evidence that desmoplasia is contributing to the poor therapeutic response of PDAC. We show that PSCs promote radioprotection and stimulate proliferation in pancreatic cancer cells (PCC) in direct coculture. Our in vivo studies show PSC-dependent radioprotection in response to a single dose and to fractionated radiation. Abrogating ?1-integrin signaling abolishes the PSC-mediated radioprotection in PCCs. Furthermore, this effect is independent of PI3K (phosphoinositide 3-kinase) but dependent on FAK. Taken together, we show for the first time that PSCs promote radioprotection of PCCs in a ?1-integrin-dependent manner.
Project description:Pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC) is one of the most aggressive cancers with a low response to treatment and a five-year survival rate below 5%. The ineffectiveness of treatment is partly because of an immunosuppressive tumor microenvironment, which comprises tumor-supportive pancreatic stellate cells (PSCs). Therefore, new therapeutic strategies are needed to tackle both the immunosuppressive PSC and pancreatic cancer cells (PCCs). Recently, physical cold atmospheric plasma consisting of reactive oxygen and nitrogen species has emerged as a novel treatment option for cancer. In this study, we investigated the cytotoxicity of plasma-treated phosphate-buffered saline (pPBS) using three PSC lines and four PCC lines and examined the immunogenicity of the induced cell death. We observed a decrease in the viability of PSC and PCC after pPBS treatment, with a higher efficacy in the latter. Two PCC lines expressed and released damage-associated molecular patterns characteristic of the induction of immunogenic cell death (ICD). In addition, pPBS-treated PCC were highly phagocytosed by dendritic cells (DCs), resulting in the maturation of DC. This indicates the high potential of pPBS to trigger ICD. In contrast, pPBS induced no ICD in PSC. In general, pPBS treatment of PCCs and PSCs created a more immunostimulatory secretion profile (higher TNF-? and IFN-?, lower TGF-?) in coculture with DC. Altogether, these data show that plasma treatment via pPBS has the potential to induce ICD in PCCs and to reduce the immunosuppressive tumor microenvironment created by PSCs. Therefore, these data provide a strong experimental basis for further in vivo validation, which might potentially open the way for more successful combination strategies with immunotherapy for PDAC.
Project description:BACKGROUND:Extracellular signal-regulated kinases (ERKs) have been related to multiple cancers, including breast cancer, hepatocellular cancer, lung cancer and colorectal cancer. ERK1/2 inhibitor can suppress growth of KRAS-mutant pancreatic tumors by targeting cancer cell. However, no studies have shown the expression of ERK1/2 on pancreatic stromal and its effect on pancreatic cancer-stromal interaction. METHODS:Immunohistochemistry and western blotting were performed to detect the expression of p-ERK1/2 in pancreatic tissues and cells. Cell viability assay was used to study IC50 of ERK inhibitor on pancreatic cancer cells (PCCs) and primary cancer-associated pancreatic stellate cells (PSCs). Transwell migration, invasion, cell viability assay, senescence ?-galactosidase staining were performed to determine the effect of ERK inhibitor on PCCs and PSCs in vitro and in vivo. The expression of key factors involved in autophagy and epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition (EMT) process were evaluated by western blotting. The expression of key factors related to cell invasiveness and malignancy were confirmed by qRT-PCR. Co-transplantation of PCC Organoid and PSC using a splenic xenograft mouse model was used to evaluated combined treatment of ERK inhibitor and autophagy inhibitor. RESULTS:Immunohistochemical staining in pancreatic tumor samples and transgenetic mice detected p-ERK1/2 expression in both cancer cells and stromal cells. In pancreatic tissues, p-ERK1/2 was strongly expressed in cancer-associated PSCs compared with cancer cells and normal PSCs. PSCs were also significantly more sensitive to ERK1/2 inhibitor treatment. Inhibition of ERK1/2 suppressed EMT transition in HMPCCs, upregulated cellular senescence markers, activated autophagy in cancer-associated PSCs; and suppressed cancer-stromal interaction, which enhanced invasiveness and viability of cancer cells. We also found that chloroquine, an autophagy inhibitor, suppressed ERK inhibition-induced autophagy and promoted PSC cellular senescence, leading to significantly decreased cell proliferation. The combination of an ERK inhibitor and autophagy inhibitor suppressed liver metastasis in a splenic pancreatic cancer organoid xenograft mouse model. CONCLUSIONS:These data indicate that inhibition of ERK1/2 in cancer-associated pancreatic stellate cells suppresses cancer-stromal interaction and metastasis.
Project description:BACKGROUND:Pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC) is a stroma-rich carcinoma, and pancreatic stellate cells (PSCs) are a major component of this dense stroma. PSCs play significant roles in metastatic progression and chemoresistance through cross-talk with cancer cells. Preclinical in vitro tumor model of invasive phenotype should incorporate three-dimensional (3D) culture of cancer cells and PSCs in extracellular matrix (ECM) for clinical relevance and predictability. METHODS:PANC-1 cells were cultured as tumor spheroids (TSs) using our previously developed minipillar chips, and co-cultured with PSCs, both embedded in collagen gels. Effects of PSC co-culture on ECM fiber network, invasive migration of cancer cells, and expression of epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT)-related proteins were examined. Conditioned media was also analyzed for secreted factors involved in cancer cell-PSC interactions. Inhibitory effect on cancer cell invasion was compared between gemcitabine and paclitaxel at an equitoxic concentration in PANC-1 TSs co-cultured with PSCs. RESULTS:Co-culture condition was optimized for the growth of TSs, activation of PSCs, and their interaction. Increase in cancer cell invasion via ECM remodeling, invadopodia formation and EMT, as well as drug resistance was recapitulated in the TS-PSC co-culture, and appeared to be mediated by cancer cell-PSC interaction via multiple secreted factors, including IL-6, IL-8, IGF-1, EGF, TIMP-1, uPA, PAI-1, and TSP-1. Compared to gemcitabine, paclitaxel showed a greater anti-invasive activity, which was attributed to suppresion of invadopodia formation in cancer cells as well as to PSC-specific cytotoxicity abrogating its paracrine signaling. CONCLUSIONS:Here, we established 3D co-culture of TSs of PANC-1 cells and PSCs using minipillar histochips as a novel tumoroid model of PDAC. Our results indicate usefulness of the present co-culture model and multiplex quantitative analysis method not only in studying the role of PSCs and their interactions with tumor cell towards metastatic progression, but also in the drug evaluation of stroma-targeting drugs.
Project description:Pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC) is characterized by excessive desmoplasia and autophagy-dependent tumorigenic growth. Pancreatic stellate cells (PSCs) as a predominant stromal cell type play a critical role in PDAC biology. Autophagy facilitates PSC activation. However, the mechanism remains unknown. To investigate the mechanism of autophagy in PSC activation, gene expression profiles between patient-derived PSCs from pancreatic cancer and chronic pancreatitis were compared using a gene expression microarray. Here, we found that endoplasmic reticulum aminopeptidase 2 (ERAP2), which resides in the endoplasmic reticulum (ER) membrane, was highly expressed in both cancer-associated PSCs and pancreatic cancer cells (PCCs). We found that high stromal ERAP2 expression is associated with a poor prognosis of PDAC patients. Knockdown of ERAP2 inhibited autophagy of PSCs and PCCs. In PSCs, inhibition of autophagy by ERAP2 knockdown led to inactivation of PSCs and attenuated tumor-stromal interactions. This process was mediated by ER stress and consequent IRE1α and PERK unfolded protein response (UPR) signaling pathways. In orthotopic models, ERAP2 knockdown in PSCs inhibited growth and fibrosis of xenografted tumor compared with coimplantation of PSCs without ERAP2 knockdown, and gemcitabine treatment further inhibited tumor growth. Our findings demonstrate a novel mechanism of PSCs activation regulated by autophagy. ERAP2 as a promising therapeutic target may provide a novel strategy for the treatment of PDAC. Overall design: Human primary cultured PSCs were established from fresh surgical specimens of patients with pancreatic cancer or chronic pancreatitis using the outgrowth method.
Project description:Activated pancreatic stellate cells (PSCs) play a central role in the tumor stroma of pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC). Given the limited availability of patient-derived PSCs from PDAC, immortalized PSC cell lines of murine and human origin have been established; however, it is not elucidated whether differences in species, organ disease status, donor age, and immortalization alter the PSC phenotype and behavior compared to that of patient-derived primary PSC cultures. Therefore, a panel of commonly used PSC cultures was examined for important phenotypical and functional features: three primary cultures from human PDAC, one primary from normal human pancreas, and three immortalized (one from human, two from murine pancreas). Growth rate was considerably lower in primary PSCs from human PDAC. Basal collagen synthesis varied between the PSC cultures, and TGF-? stimulation increased collagen synthesis only in non-immortalized cultures. Differences in secretome composition were observed along with a divergence in the DNA synthesis, migration, and response to gemcitabine of PDAC cell lines that were grown in conditioned medium from the various PSC cultures. The findings reveal considerable differences in features and functions that are key to PSCs and in the interactions with PDAC. These observations may be relevant to researchers when selecting the most appropriate PSC culture for their experiments.
Project description:Pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC) is a gastrointestinal malignancy with a dismal clinical outcome. Accumulating evidence suggests that activated pancreatic stellate cells (PSCs), the major producers of extracellular matrix (ECM), drive the severe stromal/desmoplastic reaction in PDAC. Furthermore, the crosstalk among PSCs, pancreatic cancer cells (PCCs) as well as other stroma cells can establish a growth-supportive tumor microenvironment (TME) of PDAC, thereby enhancing tumor growth, metastasis, and chemoresistance <i>via</i> various pathways. Recently, targeting stroma has emerged as a promising strategy for PDAC therapy, and several novel strategies have been proposed. The aim of our study is to give a profound review of the role of PSCs in PDAC progression and recent advances in stroma-targeting strategies.
Project description:Pancreatic stellate cells (PSCs) are a key component of tumor microenvironment in pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC) and contribute to drug resistance. c-MET receptor tyrosine kinase activation plays an important role in tumorigenesis in different cancers including PDAC. In this study, effects of PSC conditioned medium (PCM) on c-MET phosphorylation (by immunocytochemistry enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA)) and drug response (by sulforhodamine B assay) were investigated in five primary PDAC cells. In novel 3D-spheroid co-cultures of cyan fluorescence protein (CFP)-firefly luciferase (Fluc)-expressing primary human PDAC cells and green fluorescence protein (GFP)-expressing immortalized PSCs, PDAC cell growth and chemosensitivity were examined by luciferase assay, while spheroids' architecture was evaluated by confocal microscopy. The highest phospho-c-MET expression was detected in PDAC5 and its subclone sorted for "stage specific embryonic antigen-4" (PDAC5 (SSEA4)). PCM of cells pre-incubated with PDAC conditioned medium, containing increased hepatocyte growth factor (HGF) levels, made PDAC cells significantly more resistant to gemcitabine, but not to c-MET inhibitors. Hetero-spheroids containing both PSCs and PDAC5 (SSEA4) cells were more resistant to gemcitabine compared to PDAC5 (SSEA4) homo-spheroids. However, c-MET inhibitors (tivantinib, PHA-665752 and crizotinib) were equally effective in both spheroid models. Experiments with primary human PSCs confirmed the main findings. In conclusion, we developed spheroid models to evaluate PSC-PDAC reciprocal interaction, unraveling c-MET inhibition as an important therapeutic option against drug resistant PDAC.
Project description:Activation of pancreatic stellate cells (PSCs) initiates pancreatic fibrosis in chronic pancreatitis and furnishes a niche that enhances the malignancy of pancreatic cancer cells (PCCs) in pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC). Resveratrol (RSV), a natural polyphenol, exhibits potent antioxidant and anticancer effects. However, whether and how RSV influences the biological properties of activated PSCs and the effects of these changes on tumor remain unknown. In the present study, we found that RSV impeded hydrogen peroxide-driven reactive oxygen species- (ROS-) induced activation, invasion, migration, and glycolysis of PSCs. In addition, miR-21 expression in activated PSCs was downregulated after RSV treatment, whereas the PTEN protein level increased. miR-21 silencing attenuated ROS-induced activation, invasion, migration, and glycolysis of PSCs, whereas the overexpression of miR-21 rescued the responses of PSCs treated with RSV. Moreover, RSV or N-acetyl-L-cysteine (NAC) administration or miR-21 knockdown in PSCs reduced the invasion and migration of PCCs in coculture, and the effects of RSV were partly reversed by miR-21 upregulation. Collectively, RSV inhibits PCC invasion and migration through suppression of ROS/miR-21-mediated activation and glycolysis in PSCs. Therefore, targeting miR-21-mediated glycolysis by RSV in tumor stroma may serve as a new strategy for clinical PDAC prevention or treatment.