Comparative Study of Organoids from Patient-Derived Normal and Tumor Colon and Rectal Tissue.
ABSTRACT: Colon and rectal tumors, often referred to as colorectal cancer, show different gene expression patterns in studies that analyze whole tissue biopsies containing a mix of tumor and non-tumor cells. To better characterize colon and rectal tumors, we investigated the gene expression profile of organoids generated from endoscopic biopsies of rectal tumors and adjacent normal colon and rectum mucosa from therapy-naive rectal cancer patients. We also studied the effect of vitamin D on these organoid types. Gene profiling was performed by RNA-sequencing. Organoids from a normal colon and rectum had a shared gene expression profile that profoundly differed from that of rectal tumor organoids. We identified a group of genes of the biosynthetic machinery as rectal tumor organoid-specific, including those encoding the RNA polymerase II subunits POLR2H and POLR2J. The active vitamin D metabolite 1?,25-dihydroxyvitamin D3/calcitriol upregulated stemness-related genes (LGR5, LRIG1, SMOC2, and MSI1) in normal rectum organoids, while it downregulated differentiation marker genes (TFF2 and MUC2). Normal colon and rectum organoids share similar gene expression patterns and respond similarly to calcitriol. Rectal tumor organoids display distinct and heterogeneous gene expression profiles, with differences with respect to those of colon tumor organoids, and respond differently to calcitriol than normal rectum organoids.
Project description:Intestine is a major target of vitamin D and several studies indicate an association between vitamin D deficiency and inflammatory bowel diseases (IBD), but also increased colorectal cancer (CRC) risk and mortality. However, the putative effects of 1?,25-dihydroxyvitamin D3 (calcitriol), the active vitamin D metabolite, on human colonic stem cells are unknown. Here we show by immunohistochemistry and RNAscope in situ hybridization that vitamin D receptor (VDR) is unexpectedly expressed in LGR5+ colon stem cells in human tissue and in normal and tumor organoid cultures generated from patient biopsies. Interestingly, normal and tumor organoids respond differentially to calcitriol with profound and contrasting changes in their transcriptomic profiles. In normal organoids, calcitriol upregulates stemness-related genes, such as LGR5, SMOC2, LRIG1, MSI1, PTK7, and MEX3A, and inhibits cell proliferation. In contrast, in tumor organoids calcitriol has little effect on stemness-related genes while it induces a differentiated phenotype, and variably reduces cell proliferation. Concordantly, electron microscopy showed that calcitriol does not affect the blastic undifferentiated cell phenotype in normal organoids but it induces a series of differentiated features in tumor organoids. Our results constitute the first demonstration of a regulatory role of vitamin D on human colon stem cells, indicating a homeostatic effect on colon epithelium with relevant implications in IBD and CRC.
Project description:Immunotherapy using chimeric antigen receptor (CAR)-engineered lymphocytes has shown impressive results in leukemia. However, for solid tumors such as colorectal cancer (CRC), new preclinical models are needed that allow to test CAR-mediated cytotoxicity in a tissue-like environment. Here, we developed a platform to study CAR cell cytotoxicity against 3-dimensional (3D) patient-derived colon organoids. Luciferase-based measurement served as a quantitative read-out for target cell viability. Additionally, we set up a confocal live imaging protocol to monitor effector cell recruitment and cytolytic activity at a single organoid level. As proof of principle, we demonstrated efficient targeting in diverse organoid models using CAR-engineered NK-92 cells directed toward a ubiquitous epithelial antigen (EPCAM). Tumor antigen-specific cytotoxicity was studied with CAR-NK-92 cells targeting organoids expressing EGFRvIII, a neoantigen found in several cancers. Finally, we tested a novel CAR strategy targeting FRIZZLED receptors that show increased expression in a subgroup of CRC tumors. Here, comparative killing assays with normal organoids failed to show tumor-specific activity. Taken together, we report a sensitive in vitro platform to evaluate CAR efficacy and tumor specificity in a personalized manner.
Project description:Tumor sidedness has emerged as an important prognostic and predictive factor in the treatment of colorectal cancer. Recent studies demonstrate that patients with advanced right-sided colon cancers have a worse prognosis than those with left-sided colon or rectal cancers, and these patient subgroups respond differently to biological therapies. Historically, management of patients with metastatic colon and rectal cancers has been similar, and colon and rectal cancer patients have been grouped together in large clinical trials. Clearly, the differences in molecular biology among right-sided colon, left-sided colon, and rectal cancers should be further studied in order to account for disparities in clinical outcomes. We profiled 10,570 colorectal tumors (of which 2,413 were identified as arising from the left colon, right colon, or rectum) using next-generation sequencing, immunohistochemistry, chromogenic in-situ hybridization, and fragment analysis (Caris Life Sciences, Phoenix, AZ). Right-sided colon cancers had higher rates of microsatellite instability, more frequent aberrant activation of the EGFR pathway including higher BRAF and PIK3CA mutation rates, and increased mutational burden compared to left-sided colon and rectal cancers. Rectal cancers had higher rates of TOPO1 expression and Her2/neu amplification compared to both left- and right-sided colon cancers. Molecular variations among right-sided colon, left-sided colon, and rectal tumors may contribute to differences in clinical behavior. The site of tumor origin (left colon, right colon, or rectum) should certainly be considered when selecting treatment regimens and stratifying patients for future clinical trials.
Project description:Organoid technology provides the possibility of culturing patient-derived colon tissue and colorectal cancers (CRCs) while maintaining all functional and phenotypic characteristics. Labeling stem cells, especially in normal and benign tumor organoids of human colon, is challenging and therefore limits maximal exploitation of organoid libraries for human stem cell research. Here, we developed STAR (stem cell Ascl2 reporter), a minimal enhancer/promoter element that reports transcriptional activity of ASCL2, a master regulator of LGR5+ intestinal stem cells. Using lentiviral infection, STAR drives specific expression in stem cells of normal organoids and in multiple engineered and patient-derived CRC organoids of different genetic makeup. STAR reveals that differentiation hierarchies and the potential for cell fate plasticity are present at all stages of human CRC development. Organoid technology, in combination with the user-friendly nature of STAR, will facilitate basic research into human adult stem cell biology.
Project description:Several human and murine colon cancer cell lines have been established, physiologic integrity of colon tumors such as multiple cell layers, basal-apical polarity, ability to differentiate, and anoikis are not maintained in colon cancer derived cell lines. The present study demonstrates a method for culturing primary mouse colon tumor organoids adapted from Sato T et al. (1), which retains important physiologic features of colon tumors. This method consists of mouse colon tumor tissue collection, adjacent normal colon epithelium dissociation, colon tumor cells digestion into single cells, embedding colon tumor cells into matrigel, and selective culture based on the principle that tumor cells maintain growth on limiting nutrient conditions compared to normal epithelial cells. The primary tumor organoids if isolated from genetically modified mice provide a very useful system to assess tumor autonomous function of specific genes. Moreover, the tumor organoids are amenable to genetic manipulation by virus meditated gene delivery; therefore signaling pathways involved in the colon tumorigenesis could also be extensively investigated by overexpression or knockdown. Primary tumor organoids culture provides a physiologic relevant and feasible means to study the mechanisms and therapeutic modalities for colon tumorigenesis.
Project description:Most genetically engineered mouse models (GEMMs) of colorectal cancer are limited by tumor formation in the small intestine, a high tumor burden that limits metastasis, and the need to generate and cross mutant mice. Cell line or organoid transplantation models generally produce tumors in ectopic locations-such as the subcutaneous space, kidney capsule, or cecal wall-that do not reflect the native stromal environment of the colon mucosa. Here, we describe detailed protocols to rapidly and efficiently induce site-directed tumors in the distal colon of mice that are based on colonoscopy-guided mucosal injection. These techniques can be adapted to deliver viral vectors carrying Cre recombinase, CRISPR-Cas9 components, CRISPR-engineered mouse tumor organoids, or human cancer organoids to mice to model the adenoma-carcinoma-metastasis sequence of tumor progression. The colonoscopy injection procedure takes ?15 min, including preparation. In our experience, anyone with reasonable hand-eye coordination can become proficient with mouse colonoscopy and mucosal injection with a few hours of practice. These approaches are ideal for a wide range of applications, including assessment of gene function in tumorigenesis, examination of tumor-stroma interactions, studies of cancer metastasis, and translational research with patient-derived cancers.
Project description:Kcnq1, which encodes for the pore-forming ?-subunit of a voltage-gated potassium channel, was identified as a gastrointestinal (GI) tract cancer susceptibility gene in multiple Sleeping Beauty DNA transposon-based forward genetic screens in mice. To confirm that Kcnq1 has a functional role in GI tract cancer, we created Apc(Min) mice that carried a targeted deletion mutation in Kcnq1. Results demonstrated that Kcnq1 is a tumor suppressor gene as Kcnq1 mutant mice developed significantly more intestinal tumors, especially in the proximal small intestine and colon, and some of these tumors progressed to become aggressive adenocarcinomas. Gross tissue abnormalities were also observed in the rectum, pancreas and stomach. Colon organoid formation was significantly increased in organoids created from Kcnq1 mutant mice compared with wild-type littermate controls, suggesting a role for Kcnq1 in the regulation of the intestinal crypt stem cell compartment. To identify gene expression changes due to loss of Kcnq1, we carried out microarray studies in the colon and proximal small intestine. We identified altered genes involved in innate immune responses, goblet and Paneth cell function, ion channels, intestinal stem cells, epidermal growth factor receptor and other growth regulatory signaling pathways. We also found genes implicated in inflammation and in cellular detoxification. Pathway analysis using Ingenuity Pathway Analysis and Gene Set Enrichment Analysis confirmed the importance of these gene clusters and further identified significant overlap with genes regulated by MUC2 and CFTR, two important regulators of intestinal homeostasis. To investigate the role of KCNQ1 in human colorectal cancer (CRC), we measured protein levels of KCNQ1 by immunohistochemistry in tissue microarrays containing samples from CRC patients with liver metastases who had undergone hepatic resection. Results showed that low expression of KCNQ1 expression was significantly associated with poor overall survival.
Project description:Recent studies have proposed that the major anti-tumor effect of DNA methylation inhibitors is induction of interferon-responsive genes via dsRNAs-containing endogenous retroviruses. Recently, a 3D culture system for stem cells known as organoid culture has been developed. Lgr5-positive stem cells form organoids that closely recapitulate the properties of original tissues. To investigate the effect of DNA demethylation on tumor organoids, we have established organoids from intestinal tumors of Apc(Min/+) (Min) mice and subjected them to 5-aza-2'-deoxycytidine (5-Aza-CdR) treatment and Dnmt1 knockdown. DNA demethylation induced by 5-Aza-CdR treatment and Dnmt1 knockdown significantly reduced the cell proliferation of the tumor organoids. Microarray analyses of the tumor organoids after 5-Aza-CdR treatment and Dnmt1 knockdown revealed that interferon-responsive genes were activated by DNA demethylation. Gene ontology and pathway analyses clearly demonstrated that these genes activated by DNA demethylation are involved in the anti-viral response. These findings indicate that DNA demethylation suppresses the proliferation of intestinal tumor organoids by inducing an anti-viral response including activation of interferon-responsive genes. Treatment with DNA methylation inhibitors to activate a growth-inhibiting immune response may be an effective therapeutic approach for colon cancers.
Project description:In vivo interrogation of the function of genes implicated in tumorigenesis is limited by the need to generate and cross germline mutant mice. Here we describe approaches to model colorectal cancer (CRC) and metastasis, which rely on in situ gene editing and orthotopic organoid transplantation in mice without cancer-predisposing mutations. Autochthonous tumor formation is induced by CRISPR-Cas9-based editing of the Apc and Trp53 tumor suppressor genes in colon epithelial cells and by orthotopic transplantation of Apc-edited colon organoids. Apc?/?;KrasG12D/+;Trp53?/? (AKP) mouse colon organoids and human CRC organoids engraft in the distal colon and metastasize to the liver. Finally, we apply the orthotopic transplantation model to characterize the clonal dynamics of Lgr5+ stem cells and demonstrate sequential activation of an oncogene in established colon adenomas. These experimental systems enable rapid in vivo characterization of cancer-associated genes and reproduce the entire spectrum of tumor progression and metastasis.