Differential Gemcitabine Sensitivity in Primary Human Pancreatic Cancer Cells and Paired Stellate Cells Is Driven by Heterogenous Drug Uptake and Processing.
ABSTRACT: Gemcitabine resistance in pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC) is attributed to cancer cell-intrinsic drug processing and the impact of the tumor microenvironment, especially pancreatic stellate cells (PSCs). This study uses human PDAC-derived paired primary cancer cells (PCCs) and PSCs from four different tumors, and the PDAC cell lines BxPC-3, Mia PaCa-2, and Panc-1, to assess the fate of gemcitabine by measuring its cellular uptake, cytotoxicity, and LC-MS/MS-based metabolite analysis. Expression analysis and siRNA-mediated knockdown of key regulators of gemcitabine (hENT1, CDA, DCK, NT5C1A) was performed. Compared to PSCs, both the paired primary PCCs and cancer cell lines showed gemcitabine-induced dose-dependent cytotoxicity, high uptake, as well as high and variable intracellular levels of gemcitabine metabolites. PSCs were gemcitabine-resistant and demonstrated significantly lower drug uptake, which was not influenced by co-culturing with their paired PCCs. Expression of key gemcitabine regulators was variable, but overall strong in the cancer cells and significantly lower or undetectable in PSCs. In cancer cells, hENT1 inhibition significantly downregulated gemcitabine uptake and cytotoxicity, whereas DCK knockdown reduced cytotoxicity. In conclusion, heterogeneity in gemcitabine processing among different pancreatic cancer cells and stellate cells results from the differential expression of molecular regulators which determines the effect of gemcitabine.
Project description:Pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC) is a lethal cancer in part due to inherent resistance to chemotherapy, including the first-line drug gemcitabine. Although low expression of the nucleoside transporters hENT1 and hCNT3 that mediate cellular uptake of gemcitabine has been linked to gemcitabine resistance, the mechanisms regulating their expression in the PDAC tumor microenvironment are largely unknown. Here, we report that the matricellular protein cysteine-rich angiogenic inducer 61 (CYR61) negatively regulates the nucleoside transporters hENT1 and hCNT3. CRISPR/Cas9-mediated knockout of CYR61 increased expression of hENT1 and hCNT3, increased cellular uptake of gemcitabine and sensitized PDAC cells to gemcitabine-induced apoptosis. In PDAC patient samples, expression of hENT1 and hCNT3 negatively correlates with expression of CYR61 . We demonstrate that stromal pancreatic stellate cells (PSCs) are a source of CYR61 within the PDAC tumor microenvironment. Transforming growth factor-? (TGF-?) induces the expression of CYR61 in PSCs through canonical TGF-?-ALK5-Smad2/3 signaling. Activation of TGF-? signaling or expression of CYR61 in PSCs promotes resistance to gemcitabine in PDAC cells in an in vitro co-culture assay. Our results identify CYR61 as a TGF-?-induced stromal-derived factor that regulates gemcitabine sensitivity in PDAC and suggest that targeting CYR61 may improve chemotherapy response in PDAC patients.
Project description: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:The present study was performed to investigate the capability of gemcitabine and pemetrexed to synergistically interact with respect to cytotoxicity and apoptosis in T24 and J82 bladder cancer cells, and to establish a correlation between drug activity and gene expression of selected genes in tumour samples. The interaction between gemcitabine and pemetrexed was synergistic; indeed, pemetrexed favoured gemcitabine cytotoxicity by increasing cellular population in S-phase, reducing Akt phosphorylation as well as by inducing the expression of a major gemcitabine uptake system, the human equilibrative nucleoside transporter-1 (hENT1), and the key activating enzyme deoxycytidine kinase (dCK) in both cell lines. Bladder tumour specimens showed an heterogeneous gene expression pattern and patients with higher levels of dCK and hENT1 had better response. Moreover, human nucleoside concentrative transporter-1 was detectable only in 3/12 patients, two of whom presented a complete response to gemcitabine. These data provide evidence that the chemotherapeutic activity of the combination of gemcitabine and pemetrexed is synergistic against bladder cancer cells in vitro and that the assessment of the expression of genes involved in gemcitabine uptake and activation might be a possible determinant of bladder cancer response and may represent a new tool for treatment optimization.
Project description:BACKGROUND AND AIMS: The standard palliative chemotherapy for pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC) is gemcitabine-based chemotherapy; however, PDAC still presents a major therapeutic challenge. The aims of this study were to investigate the expression pattern of genes involved in gemcitabine sensitivity in resected PDAC tissues and to determine correlations of gene expression with treatment outcome. MATERIALS AND METHODS: We obtained formalin-fixed paraffin-embedded (FFPE) tissue samples from 70 patients with PDAC. Of the 70 patients, 40 received gemcitabine-based adjuvant chemotherapy (AC). We measured hENT1, dCK, CDA, RRM1, and RRM2 messenger RNA (mRNA) levels by quantitative real-time reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction and determined the combined score (GEM score), based on the expression levels of hENT1, dCK, RRM1, and RRM2, to investigate the association with survival time. By determining the expression levels of these genes in endoscopic ultrasound-guided fine needle aspiration (EUS-FNA) cytologic specimens, we investigated the feasibility of individualized chemotherapy. RESULTS: High dCK (P = .0067), low RRM2 (P = .003), and high GEM score (P = .0003) groups had a significantly longer disease-free survival in the gemcitabine-treated group. A low GEM score (<2) was an independent predictive marker for poor outcome to gemcitabine-based AC as shown by multivariate analysis (P = .0081). Altered expression levels of these genes were distinguishable in microdissected neoplastic cells from EUS-FNA cytologic specimens. CONCLUSIONS: Quantitative analyses of hENT1, dCK, RRM1, and RRM2 mRNA levels using FFPE tissue samples and microdissected neoplastic cells from EUS-FNA cytologic specimens may be useful in predicting the gemcitabine sensitivity of patients with PDAC.
Project description:<h4>Background</h4>Hepatocyte nuclear factor 4? (HNF4?) is a tissue-specific transcription factor that regulates the expression of numerous genes in hepatocytes and pancreatic ? cells. HNF4? has been reported to affect cell proliferation and chemoresistance in several cancers. However, the role of HNF4? in pancreatic adenocarcinoma (PDAC) has not been studied extensively and remains unclear.<h4>Methods</h4>By utilizing immunohistochemical (IHC) staining, we measured the expression of HNF4? in PDAC tissues. By silencing HNF4? in PDAC cell lines, we assessed the impact of HNF4? on pancreatic cancer cell proliferation and gemcitabine sensitivity. We used CCK8 and colony formation assays to examine the effect of HNF4? on cell proliferation. A flow cytometry assay was used to assess cell apoptosis. The expression of gemcitabine-related genes was detected by quantitative real?time PCR (qRT-PCR) and Western blotting. IHC was utilized to assess the correlation between HNF4? and human equilibrative nucleoside transporter 1 (hENT1) expression in PDAC patients. Chromatin immunoprecipitation (ChIP) and dual?luciferase reporter assays were used to confirm that hENT1 is a target gene of HNF4?.<h4>Results</h4>Increased HNF4? expression was detected in PDAC tissues; patients with higher HNF4? expression displayed worse prognosis. To elucidate the function of HNF4?, we examined its role in pancreatic cancer cell proliferation, apoptosis and gemcitabine resistance. In HNF4?-silenced Capan-1 and MiaPaCa-2 cells, we observed decreased cell proliferation and increased sensitivity to gemcitabine compared to those of controls. The mechanism of HNF4? in gemcitabine-related chemosensitivity was then explored. In response to HNF4? silencing, the expression levels of gemcitabine-related proteins, hENT1 and deoxycytidine kinase (dCK) were significantly increased. Additionally, hENT1 was negatively correlated with HNF4? in PDAC tissue samples. Moreover, we identified hENT1 as a downstream target of HNF4?.<h4>Conclusion</h4>HNF4? is a prognostic marker for overall survival, is required for pancreatic cancer cell proliferation and promotes resistance to gemcitabine by downregulating hENT1. Therefore, targeting HNF4? might reverse gemcitabine resistance and provide novel treatment strategies for PDAC.
Project description:Putative biomarkers of gemcitabine response have been extensively studied in pancreatic cancer, but less so in other types of periampullary adenocarcinoma. The most studied biomarker is human equilibrative nucleoside transporter 1 (hENT1), and the activating enzyme deoxycytidine kinase (dCK) has also been linked to treatment response. The RNA-binding protein human antigen R (HuR) has been demonstrated to confer increased dCK levels in vitro and to predict gemcitabine response in vivo. Here, we investigated the prognostic impact of hENT1, dCK and HuR in pancreatobiliary (PB) and intestinal (I) type periampullary cancers, respectively.Immunohistochemical expression of hENT1, dCK and HuR was evaluated in tissue microarrays with all primary tumours and 103 paired lymph node metastases from a consecutive retrospective cohort of 175 patients with resected periampullary adenocarcinomas.In patients with PB-type tumours, neither hENT1 nor dCK expression was prognostic. A high HuR cytoplasmic/nuclear ratio was associated with a significantly reduced five-year overall survival (OS) in patients receiving adjuvant gemcitabine (HR 2.07, 95% CI 1.03-4.17) but not in untreated patients (pinteraction?=?0.028). In patients with I-type tumours receiving adjuvant chemotherapy, high dCK expression was significantly associated with a prolonged recurrence-free survival (RFS) (HR 0.09, 95% CI 0.01-0.73, pinteraction?=?0.023). Furthermore, HuR expression was associated with a prolonged OS and RFS in unadjusted but not in adjusted analysis and hENT1 expression was an independent predictor of a prolonged RFS (HR 0.24, 95% CI 0.10-0.59), regardless of adjuvant treatment.hENT1 expression is a favourable prognostic factor in I-type, but not in PB-type tumours. High dCK expression is a favourable prognostic factor in patients with I-type tumours receiving adjuvant treatment and a high cytoplasmic/nuclear HuR ratio is a negative prognostic factor in gemcitabine-treated PB-type tumours. Morphological subtype should always be considered in biomarker studies on periampullary cancer.
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:<h4>Background</h4>High-grade meningiomas are aggressive tumors with high morbidity and mortality rates that frequently recur even after surgery and adjuvant radiotherapy. However, limited information is currently available on the biology of these tumors, and no alternative adjuvant treatment options exist. Although we previously demonstrated that high-grade meningioma cells were highly sensitive to gemcitabine in vitro and in vivo, the underlying molecular mechanisms remain unknown.<h4>Methods</h4>We examined the roles of hENT1 (human equilibrative nucleoside transporter 1) and dCK (deoxycytidine kinase) in the gemcitabine sensitivity and growth of meningioma cells in vitro. Tissue samples from meningiomas (26 WHO grade I and 21 WHO grade II/III meningiomas) were immunohistochemically analyzed for hENT1 and dCK as well as for Ki-67 as a marker of proliferative activity.<h4>Results</h4>hENT1 and dCK, which play critical roles in the intracellular transport and activation of gemcitabine, respectively, were responsible for the high gemcitabine sensitivity of high-grade meningioma cells and were strongly expressed in high-grade meningiomas. hENT1 expression was required for the proliferation and survival of high-grade meningioma cells and dCK expression. Furthermore, high hENT1 and dCK expression levels correlated with stronger tumor cell proliferative activity and shorter survival in meningioma patients.<h4>Conclusions</h4>The present results suggest that hENT1 is a key molecular factor influencing the growth capacity and gemcitabine sensitivity of meningioma cells and also that hENT1, together with dCK, may be a viable prognostic marker for meningioma patients as well as a predictive marker of their responses to gemcitabine.
Project description:Gemcitabine is still one of the standard chemotherapy regimens for pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC). Gemcitabine uptake into tumor cells is mainly through the human equilibrative nucleoside transport 1 (hENT1). It was therefore proposed as a potential predictive biomarker of gemcitabine efficacy but reports are conflicting, with an important heterogeneity in methods to assess hENT1 expression. A multicenter cohort of 471 patients with a resected PDAC was used to assess simultaneously the predictive value of the 2 best described hENT1 antibodies (10D7G2 and SP120). Three additional antibodies and the predictive value of hENT1 mRNA were also tested on 251 and 302 patients, respectively. hENT1 expression was assessed in 54 patients with matched primary tumors and metastases samples. The 10D7G2 clone was the only hENT1 antibody whose high expression was associated with a prolonged progression free survival and overall survival in patients who received adjuvant gemcitabine. hENT1 mRNA level was also predictive of gemcitabine benefit. hENT1 status was concordant in 83% of the cases with the best concordance in synchronous metastases. The 10D7G2 clone has the best predictive value of gemcitabine benefit in PDAC patients. Since it is not commercially available, hENT1 mRNA level could represent an alternative to assess hENT1 status.
Project description:Pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC) is characterized by an abundant desmoplastic reaction driven by pancreatic stellate cells (PSCs) that contributes to tumor progression. Here we sought to characterize the interactions between pancreatic cancer cells (PCCs) and PSCs that affect the inflammatory and immune response in pancreatic tumors. Conditioned media from mono- and cocultures of PSCs and PCCs were assayed for expression of cytokines and growth factors. IP-10/CXCL10 was the most highly induced chemokine in coculture of PSCs and PCCs. Its expression was induced in the PSCs by PCCs. IP-10 was elevated in human PDAC specimens, and positively correlated with high stroma content. Furthermore, gene expression of IP-10 and its receptor CXCR3 were significantly associated with the intratumoral presence of regulatory T cells (Tregs). In an independent cohort of 48 patients with resectable pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma, high IP-10 expression levels correlated with decreased median overall survival. Finally, IP-10 stimulated the ex vivo recruitment of CXCR3+ effector T cells as well as CXCR3+ Tregs derived from patients with PDAC. Our findings suggest that, in pancreatic cancer, CXCR3+ Tregs can be recruited by IP-10 expressed by PSCs in the tumor stroma, leading to immunosuppressive and tumor-promoting effects.