HOTAIR is a long intervening non-coding RNA (lincRNA) that associates with the Polycomb Repressive Complex 2 (PRC2) and overexpression is correlated with poor survival for breast, colon and liver cancer patients. In this study, we show that HOTAIR expression is increased in pancreatic tumors compared with non-tumor tissue and is associated with more aggressive tumors. Knockdown of HOTAIR (siHOTAIR) by RNA interference shows that HOTAIR has an important role in pancreatic cancer cell invasion, as reported in other cancer cell lines. In contrast, HOTAIR knockdown in Panc1 and L3.6pL pancreatic cancer cells that overexpress this lincRNA decreased cell proliferation, altered cell cycle progression and induced apoptosis, demonstrating an expanded function of HOTAIR in pancreatic cancer cells compared with other cancer cell lines. Results of gene array studies showed that there was minimal overlap between HOTAIR-regulated genes in pancreatic cells and breast cancer cells, and HOTAIR uniquely suppressed several interferon-related genes and gene sets related to cell cycle progression in pancreatic cancer cells and tumors. Analysis of selected genes suppressed by HOTAIR in Panc1 and L3.6pL cells showed by knockdown of EZH2 and chromatin immunoprecipitation assays that HOTAIR- mediated gene repression was both PRC2-dependent and -independent. HOTAIR knockdown in L3.6pL cells inhibited tumor growth in mouse xenograft model, further demonstrating the pro-oncogenic function of HOTAIR in pancreatic cancer. Oncogene (2013) 32, 1616-1625; doi: 10.1038/onc.2012.193; published online 21 May 2012
Circular RNAs (circRNAs) represent a class of non-coding RNAs that are widely expressed in mammals. However, it is largely unknown about the function of human circRNAs and the roles of circRNAs in human oral squamous cell carcinomas (OSCC). Here we performed a comprehensive study of circRNAs in human OSCC using circRNA and mRNA microarrays, and identified many circRNAs that are differentially expressed between OSCC tissue and paired non-cancerous matched tissue. We further found a circRNA termed circRNA_100290 that served as a critical regulator in OSCC development. We discovered that circRNA_100290 was upregulated and co-expressed with CDK6 in OSCC tissue. Knockdown of circRNA_100290 decreased expression of CDK6 and inhibited proliferation of OSCC cell lines in vitro and in vivo. Via luciferase reporter assays, circRNA_100290 was observed to directly bind to miR-29 family members. Further EGFP/ RFP reporter assays showed that CDK6 was the direct target of miR-29b. Taken together, we conclude that circRNA_100290 may function as a competing endogenous RNA to regulate CDK6 expression through sponging up miR-29b family members. Taken together, it indicates that circRNAs may exert regulatory functions in OSCC and may be a potential target for OSCC therapy.
A 42 kb region on human chromosome 9p21 encodes for three distinct tumor suppressors, p16(INK4A), p14(ARF) and p15(INK4B), and is altered in an estimated 30-40% of human tumors. The expression of the INK4A-ARF-INK4B gene cluster is silenced by polycomb during normal cell growth and is activated by oncogenic insults and during aging. How the polycomb is recruited to repress this gene cluster is unclear. Here, we show that expression of oncogenic Ras, which stimulates the expression of p15(INK4B) and p(16INK4A), but not p14ARF, inhibits the expression of ANRIL (antisense non-coding RNA in the INK4 locus), a 3.8 kblong non-coding RNA expressed in the opposite direction from INK4A-ARF-INK4B. We show that the p15(INK4B) locus is bound by SUZ12, a component of polycomb repression complex 2 (PRC2), and is H3K27-trimethylated. Notably, depletion of ANRIL disrupts the SUZ12 binding to the p15(INK4B) locus, increases the expression of p15(INK4B), but not p16(INK4A) or p14(ARF), and inhibits cellular proliferation. Finally, RNA immunoprecipitation demonstrates that ANRIL binds to SUZ12 in vivo. Collectively, these results suggest a model in which ANRIL binds to and recruits PRC2 to repress the expression of p15INK4B locus. Oncogene (2011) 30, 1956-1962; doi: 10.1038/onc.2010.568; published online 13 December 2010
The TET (ten eleven translocation) family of alpha-ketoglutarate (alpha-KG)-dependent dioxygenases catalyzes the sequential oxidation of 5-methylcytosine (5mC) to 5-hydroxymethylcytosine (5hmC), 5-formyleytosine and 5-carboxylcytosine, leading to eventual DNA demethylation. The TET2 gene is a bona fide tumor suppressor frequently mutated in leukemia, and TET enzyme activity is inhibited in IDH1/2-mutated tumors by the oncometabolite 2-hydroxyglutarate, an antagonist of alpha-KG, linking 5mC oxidation to cancer development. We report here that the levels of 5hmC are dramatically reduced in human breast, liver, lung, pancreatic and prostate cancers when compared with the matched surrounding normal tissues. Associated with the 5hmC decrease is the substantial reduction of the expression of all three TET genes, revealing a possible mechanism for the reduced 5hmC in cancer cells. The decrease of 5hmC was also observed during tumor development in different genetically engineered mouse models. Together, our results identify 5hmC as a biomarker whose decrease is broadly and tightly associated with tumor development. Oncogene (2013) 32, 663-669; doi:10.1038/onc.2012.67;published online 5 March 2012
The human genome is replete with long non-coding RNAs (lncRNA), many of which are transcribed and likely to have a functional role. Microarray analysis of 423 000 lncRNAs revealed downregulation of 712 (similar to 3%) lncRNA in malignant hepatocytes, among which maternally expressed gene 3 (MEG3) was downregulated by 210-fold relative to expression in non-malignant hepatocytes. MEG3 expression was markedly reduced in four human hepatocellular cancer (HCC) cell lines compared with normal hepatocytes by real-time PCR. RNA in situ hybridization showed intense cytoplasmic expression of MEG3 in non-neoplastic liver with absent or very weak expression in HCC tissues. Enforced expression of MEG3 in HCC cells significantly decreased both anchorage-dependent and -independent cell growth, and induced apoptosis. MEG3 promoter hypermethylation was identified by methylation-specific PCR and MEG3 expression was increased with inhibition of methylation with either 5-Aza-2-Deoxycytidine, or siRNA to DNA Methyltransferase (DNMT) 1 and 3b in HCC cells. MiRNA-dependent regulation of MEG3 expression was studied by evaluating the involvement of miR-29, which can modulate DNMT 1 and 3. Overexpression of mir-29a increased expression of MEG3. GTL2, the murine homolog of MEG3, was reduced in liver tissues from hepatocyte-specific miR-29a/b1 knock-out mice compared with wild-type controls. These data show that methylation-dependent tissue-specific regulation of the lncRNA MEG3 by miR-29a may contribute to HCC growth and highlight the inter-relationship between two classes of non-coding RNA, miRNAs and lncRNAs, and epigenetic regulation of gene expression. Oncogene (2011) 30, 4750-4756; doi:10.1038/onc.2011.193; published online 30 May 2011
Cancer-associated fibroblasts (CAFs) comprise the majority of the tumor bulk of pancreatic ductal adenocarcinomas (PDACs). Current efforts to eradicate these tumors focus predominantly on targeting the proliferation of rapidly growing cancer epithelial cells. We know that this is largely ineffective with resistance arising in most tumors following exposure to chemotherapy. Despite the long-standing recognition of the prominence of CAFs in PDAC, the effect of chemotherapy on CAFs and how they may contribute to drug resistance in neighboring cancer cells is not well characterized. Here, we show that CAFs exposed to chemotherapy have an active role in regulating the survival and proliferation of cancer cells. We found that CAFs are intrinsically resistant to gemcitabine, the chemotherapeutic standard of care for PDAC. Further, CAFs exposed to gemcitabine significantly increase the release of extracellular vesicles called exosomes. These exosomes increased chemoresistance-inducing factor, Snail, in recipient epithelial cells and promote proliferation and drug resistance. Finally, treatment of gemcitabine-exposed CAFs with an inhibitor of exosome release, GW4869, significantly reduces survival in co-cultured epithelial cells, signifying an important role of CAF exosomes in chemotherapeutic drug resistance. Collectively, these findings show the potential for exosome inhibitors as treatment options alongside chemotherapy for overcoming PDAC chemoresistance.
Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) is one of the leading causes of cancer-related mortality worldwide. Despite progress in diagnostics and treatment of HCC, its prognosis remains poor. Emerging studies showed that long noncoding RNAs (lncRNAs) have crucial regulatory roles in cancer biology. In the current study, differentially expressed lncRNAs between HCC and paired non-tumor tissues were identified using microarrays. The effects of a specific differentially expressed lncRNA (termed ZEB1-AS1) on tumor progression were investigated in vitro and in vivo. We found that ZEB1-AS1 is frequently upregulated in HCC samples, especially in metastatic tumor tissues. DNA methylation analysis shows a tumor-specific ZEB1-AS1 promoter hypomethylation. Aberrant methylation is tightly correlated with overexpression of ZEB1-AS1 in HCC. Patients with ZEB1-AS1 hypomethylation or with high ZEB1-AS1 expression have poor recurrence-free survival. Functionally, ZEB1-AS1 promotes tumor growth and metastasis, acts as an oncogene in HCC. The ZEB1-AS1 gene is located in physical contiguity with ZEB1 and positively regulates the ZEB1 expression. ZEB1 inhibition partially abrogates ZEB1-AS1-induced epithelial to mesenchymal transition (EMT) and cancer metastasis. Our results provide novel insights into the function of lncRNA-driven hepatocarcinogenesis, highlight the important role of ZEB1-AS1 and ZEB1 in HCC progression, and indicate that ZEB1-AS1 may be served as a valuable prognostic biomarker for HCC.
Transcript fusions as a result of chromosomal rearrangements have been a focus of attention in cancer as they provide attractive therapeutic targets. To identify novel fusion transcripts with the potential to be exploited therapeutically, we analyzed RNA sequencing, DNA copy number and gene mutation data from 4366 primary tumor samples. To avoid false positives, we implemented stringent quality criteria that included filtering of fusions detected in RNAseq data from 364 normal tissue samples. Our analysis identified 7887 high confidence fusion transcripts across 13 tumor types. Our fusion prediction was validated by evidence of a genomic rearrangement for 78 of 79 fusions in 48 glioma samples where whole-genome sequencing data were available. Cancers with higher levels of genomic instability showed a corresponding increase in fusion transcript frequency, whereas tumor samples harboring fusions contained statistically significantly fewer driver gene mutations, suggesting an important role for tumorigenesis. We identified at least one in-frame protein kinase fusion in 324 of 4366 samples (7.4%). Potentially druggable kinase fusions involving ALK, ROS, RET, NTRK and FGFR gene families were detected in bladder carcinoma (3.3%), glioblastoma (4.4%), head and neck cancer (1.0%), low-grade glioma (1.5%), lung adenocarcinoma (1.6%), lung squamous cell carcinoma (2.3%) and thyroid carcinoma (8.7%), suggesting a potential for application of kinase inhibitors across tumor types. Inframe fusion transcripts involving histone methyltransferase or histone demethylase genes were detected in 111 samples (2.5%) and may additionally be considered as therapeutic targets. In summary, we described the landscape of transcript fusions detected across a large number of tumor samples and revealed fusion events with clinical relevance that have not been previously recognized. Our results support the concept of basket clinical trials where patients are matched with experimental therapies based on their genomic profile rather than the tissue where the tumor originated.
It has recently been shown that the upregulation of a pseudogene specific to a protein-coding gene could function as a sponge to bind multiple potential targeting microRNAs (miRNAs), resulting in increased gene expression. Similarly, it was recently demonstrated that circular RNAs can function as sponges for miRNAs, and could upregulate expression of mRNAs containing an identical sequence. Furthermore, some mRNAs are now known to not only translate protein, but also function to sponge miRNA binding, facilitating gene expression. Collectively, these appear to be effective mechanisms to ensure gene expression and protein activity. Here we show that expression of a member of the forkhead family of transcription factors, Foxo3, is regulated by the Foxo3 pseudogene (Foxo3P), and Foxo3 circular RNA, both of which bind to eight miRNAs. We found that the ectopic expression of the Foxo3P, Foxo3 circular RNA and Foxo3 mRNA could all suppress tumor growth and cancer cell proliferation and survival. Our results showed that at least three mechanisms are used to ensure protein translation of Foxo3, which reflects an essential role of Foxo3 and its corresponding non-coding RNAs.
Mitochondria are highly dynamic and undergo constant fusion and fission that are essential for maintaining physiological functions of cells. Although dysfunction of mitochondria has been implicated in tumorigenesis, little is known about the roles of mitochondrial dynamics in metastasis, the major cause of cancer death. In the present study, we found a marked upregulation of mitochondrial fission protein dynamin-related protein 1 (Drp1) expression in human invasive breast carcinoma and metastases to lymph nodes. Compared with non-metastatic breast cancer cells, mitochondria also were more fragmented in metastatic breast cancer cells that express higher levels of total and active Drp1 and less mitochondrial fusion protein 1 (Mfn1). Silencing Drp1 or overexpression of Mfn1 resulted in mitochondria elongation or clusters, respectively, and significantly suppressed metastatic abilities of breast cancer cells. In contrast, silencing Mfn proteins led to mitochondrial fragmentation and enhanced metastatic abilities of breast cancer cells. Interestingly, these manipulations of mitochondrial dynamics altered the subcellular distribution of mitochondria in breast cancer cells. For example, silencing Drp1 or overexpression of Mfn1 inhibited lamellipodia formation, a key step for cancer metastasis, and suppressed chemoattractant-induced recruitment of mitochondria to lamellipodial regions. Conversely, silencing Mfn proteins resulted in more cell spreading and lamellipodia formation, causing accumulation of more mitochondria in lamellipodia regions. More importantly, treatment with a mitochondrial uncoupling agent or adenosine triphosphate synthesis inhibitor reduced lamellipodia formation and decreased breast cancer cell migration and invasion, suggesting a functional importance of mitochondria in breast cancer metastasis. Together, our findings show a new role and mechanism for regulation of cancer cell migration and invasion by mitochondrial dynamics. Thus targeting dysregulated Drp1-dependent mitochondrial fission may provide a novel strategy for suppressing breast cancer metastasis.
miRNAs act as oncogenes or tumor suppressors in a wide variety of human cancers, including prostate cancer (PCa). We found a severe and consistent downregulation of miRNAs, miR-154, miR-299-5p, miR-376a, miR-376c, miR-377, miR-381, miR-487b, miR-485-3p, miR-495 and miR-654-3p, mapped to the 14q32.31 region in metastatic cell lines as compared with normal prostatic epithelial cells (PrEC). In specimens of human prostate (28 normals, 99 primary tumors and 13 metastases), lower miRNA levels correlated significantly with a higher incidence of metastatic events and higher prostate specific antigen (PSA) levels, with similar trends observed for lymph node invasion and the Gleason score. We transiently transfected 10 members of the 14q32.31 cluster in normal prostatic epithelial cell lines and characterized their affect on malignant cell behaviors, including proliferation, apoptosis, migration and invasion. Finally, we identified FZD4, a gene important for epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition in (PCa), as a target of miR-377.
Tamoxifen, an estrogen receptor (ER) antagonist, is the mainstay treatment of breast cancer and the development of resistance represents a major obstacle for a cure. Although long non-coding RNAs such as HOTAIR have been implicated in breast tumorigenesis, their roles in chemotherapy resistance remain largely unknown. In this study, we report that HOTAIR (HOX antisense intergenic RNA) is upregulated in tamoxifen-resistant breast cancer tissues compared to their primary counterparts. Mechanistically, HOTAIR is a direct target of ER-mediated transcriptional repression and is thus restored upon the blockade of ER signaling, either by hormone deprivation or by tamoxifen treatment. Interestingly, this elevated HOTAIR increases ER protein level and thus enhances ER occupancy on the chromatin and potentiates its downstream gene regulation. HOTAIR overexpression is sufficient to activate the ER transcriptional program even under hormone-deprived conditions. Functionally, we found that HOTAIR overexpression increases breast cancer cell proliferation, whereas its depletion significantly impairs cell survival and abolishes tamoxifen-resistant cell growth. In conclusion, the long non-coding RNA HOTAIR is directly repressed by ER and its upregulation promotes ligand-independent ER activities and contributes to tamoxifen resistance.
Identification of regulatable mechanisms by which transcription factor NF-E2 p45-related factor 2 (Nrf2) is repressed will allow strategies to be designed that counter drug resistance associated with its upregulation in tumours that harbour somatic mutations in Kelch-like ECH-associated protein-1 (Keap1), a gene that encodes a joint adaptor and substrate receptor for the Cul3-Rbx1/Roc1 ubiquitin ligase. We now show that mouse Nrf2 contains two binding sites for beta-transducin repeat-containing protein (beta-TrCP), which acts as a substrate receptor for the Skp1-Cul1-Rbx1/Roc1 ubiquitin ligase complex. Deletion of either binding site in Nrf2 decreased beta-TrCP-mediated ubiquitylation of the transcription factor. The ability of one of the two beta-TrCP-binding sites to serve as a degron could be both increased and decreased by manipulation of glycogen synthase kinase-3 (GSK-3) activity. Biotinylated-peptide pull-down assays identified DSGIS(338) and DSAPGS(378) as the two beta-TrCP-binding motifs in Nrf2. Significantly, our pull-down assays indicated that beta-TrCP binds a phosphorylated version of DSGIS more tightly than its non-phosphorylated counterpart, whereas this was not the case for DSAPGS. These data suggest that DSGIS, but not DSAPGS, contains a functional GSK-3 phosphorylation site. Activation of GSK-3 in Keap1-null mouse embryonic fibroblasts (MEFs), or in human lung A549 cells that contain mutant Keap1, by inhibition of the phosphoinositide 3-kinase (PI3K)-protein kinase B (PKB)/Akt pathway markedly reduced endogenous Nrf2 protein and decreased to 10-50% of normal the levels of mRNA for prototypic Nrf2-regulated enzymes, including the glutamate-cysteine ligase catalytic and modifier subunits, glutathione S-transferases Alpha-1 and Mu-1, haem oxygenase-1 and NAD(P)H:quinone oxidoreductase-1. Pre-treatment of Keap1(-/-) MEFs or A549 cells with the LY294002 PI3K inhibitor or the MK-2206 PKB/Akt inhibitor increased their sensitivity to acrolein, chlorambucil and cisplatin between 1.9-fold and 3.1-fold, and this was substantially attenuated by simultaneous pre-treatment with the GSK-3 inhibitor CT99021.
Antiangiogenic therapy resistance occurs frequently in patients with metastatic renal cell carcinoma (RCC). The purpose of this study was to understand the mechanism of resistance to sunitinib, an antiangiogenic small molecule, and to exploit this mechanism therapeutically. We hypothesized that sunitinib-induced upregulation of the prometastatic MET and AXL receptors is associated with resistance to sunitinib and with more aggressive tumor behavior. In the present study, tissue microarrays containing sunitinib-treated and untreated RCC tissues were stained with MET and AXL antibodies. The low malignant RCC cell line 786-O was chronically treated with sunitinib and assayed for AXL, MET, epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT) protein expression and activation. Co-culture experiments were used to examine the effect of sunitinib pretreatment on endothelial cell growth. The effects of AXL and MET were evaluated in various cell-based models by short hairpin RNA or inhibition by cabozantinib, the multi-tyrosine kinases inhibitor that targets vascular endothelial growth factor receptor, MET and AXL. Xenograft mouse models tested the ability of cabozantinib to rescue sunitinib resistance. We demonstrated that increased AXL and MET expression was associated with inferior clinical outcome in patients. Chronic sunitinib treatment of RCC cell lines activated both AXL and MET, induced EMT-associated gene expression changes, including upregulation of Snail and beta-catenin, and increased cell migration and invasion. Pretreatment with sunitinib enhanced angiogenesis in 786-0/human umbilical vein endothelial cell co-culture models. The suppression of AXL or MET expression and the inhibition of AXL and MET activation using cabozantinib both impaired chronic sunitinib treatment-induced prometastatic behavior in cell culture and rescued acquired resistance to sunitinib in xenograft models. In summary, chronic sunitinib treatment induces the activation of AXL and MET signaling and promotes prometastatic behavior and angiogenesis. The inhibition of AXL and MET activity may overcome resistance induced by prolonged sunitinib therapy in metastatic RCC.
Recent findings indicate that specific microRNAs (miRNAs), such as those of the miR-17-92 cluster, may be responsible for regulating endothelial gene expression during tumor angiogenesis. Secreted miRNAs enclosed in exosomes also have an important role in cell-cell communication. To elucidate whether miRNAs secreted from neoplastic cells transfer into endothelial cells and are functionally active in the recipient cells, we investigated the effect of exosomal miRNAs derived from leukemia cells (K562) on human umbilical vein endothelial cells (HUVECs). As K562 cells released the miR-17-92 cluster, especially miR-92a, into the extracellular environment, K562 cells, transfected with Cy3-labeled pre-miR-92a, were co-cultured with HUVECs. Cy3-miR-92a derived from K562 cells was detected in the cytoplasm of HUVECs, and the Cy3-miR-92a co-localized with the signals of an exosomal marker, CD63. The expression of integrin alpha 5, a target gene for miR-92a, was significantly reduced in HUVECs by exosomal miR-92a, indicating that exogenous miRNA via exosomal transport can function like endogenous miRNA in HUVECs. The most salient feature of this study is the exosome, derived from K562 cells with enforced miR-92a expression, did not affect the growth of HUVECs but did enhance endothelial cell migration and tube formation. Our results support the idea that exosomal miRNAs have an important role in neoplasia-to-endothelial cell communication.
Activation of myofibroblast rich stroma is a rate-limiting step essential for cancer progression. The responsible factors are not fully understood, but TGF beta 1 is probably critical. A proportion of TGF beta 1 is associated with extracellular nano-vesicles termed exosomes, secreted by carcinoma cells, and the relative importance of soluble and vesicular TGF beta in stromal activation is presented. Prostate cancer exosomes triggered TGF beta 1-dependent fibroblast differentiation, to a distinctive myofibroblast phenotype resembling stromal cells isolated from cancerous prostate tissue; supporting angiogenesis in vitro and accelerating tumour growth in vivo. Myofibroblasts generated using soluble TGF beta 1 were not pro-angiogenic or tumour-promoting. Cleaving heparan sulphate side chains from the exosome surface had no impact on TGF beta levels yet attenuated SMAD-dependent signalling and myofibroblastic differentiation. Eliminating exosomes from the cancer cell secretome, targeting Rab27a, abolished differentiation and lead to failure in stroma-assisted tumour growth in vivo. Exosomal TGF beta 1 is therefore required for the formation of tumour-promoting stroma.
Tumor-suppressor Pdcd4 inhibits transformation and invasion and is downregulated in cancers. So far, it has not been studied as to whether miRNAs, suppressing target expression by binding to the 3'-UTR, regulate Pdcd4 or invasion. The present study was conducted to investigate the regulation of Pdcd4, and invasion/intravasation, by miRNAs. A bioinformatics search revealed a conserved target-site for miR-21 within the Pdcd4-3'UTR at 228-249 nt. In 10 colorectal cell lines, an inverse correlation of miR-21 and Pdcd4-protein was observed. Transfection of Colo206f-cells with miR-21 significantly suppressed a luciferase-reporter containing the Pdcd4-3'-UTR, whereas transfection of RKO with anti-miR-21 increased activity of this construct. This was abolished when a construct mutated at the miR-21/nt228-249 target site was used instead. Anti-miR-21-transfected RKO cells showed an increase of Pdcd4-protein and reduced invasion. Moreover, these cells showed reduced intra-vasation and lung metastasis in a chicken-embryo-metastasis assay. In contrast, overexpression of miR-21 in Colo206f significantly reduced Pdcd4-protein amounts and increased invasion, while Pdcd4-mRNA was unaltered. Resected normal/tumor tissues of 22 colorectal cancer patients demonstrated an inverse correlation between miR-21 and Pdcd4-protein. This is the first study to show that Pdcd4 is negatively regulated by miR-21. Furthermore, it is the first report to demonstrate that miR-21 induces invasion/intravasation/metastasis.
Colorectal cancers (CRCs) often show a dense infiltrate of cytokine-producing immune/inflammatory cells. The exact contribution of each immune cell subset and cytokine in the activation of the intracellular pathways sustaining CRC cell growth is not understood. Herein, we isolate tumor-infiltrating leukocytes (TILs) and lamina propria mononuclear cells (LPMCs) from the tumor area and the macroscopically unaffected, adjacent, colonic mucosa of patients who underwent resection for sporadic CRC and show that the culture supernatants of TILs, but not of LPMCs, potently enhance the growth of human CRC cell lines through the activation of the oncogenic transcription factors signal transducer and activator of transcription 3 (STAT3) and nuclear factor-kappa B (NF-kB). Characterization of immune cell complexity of TILs and LPMCs reveals no differences in the percentages of T cells, natural killer T cells, natural killer (NK) cells, macrophages and B cells. However, T cells from TILs show a functional switch compared with those from LPMCs to produce large amounts of T helper type 17 (Th17)-related cytokines (that is, interleukin-17A (IL-17A), IL-17F, IL-21 and IL-22), tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-alpha) and IL-6. Individual neutralization of IL-17A, IL-17F, IL-21, IL-22, TNF-alpha or IL-6 does not change TIL-derived supernatant-driven STAT3 and NF-kB activation, as well as their proproliferative effect in CRC cells. In contrast, simultaneous neutralization of both IL-17A and TNF-alpha, which abrogates NF-kB signaling, and IL-22 and IL-6, which abrogates STAT3 signaling, reduces the mitogenic effect of supernatants in CRC cells. IL-17A, IL-21, IL-22, TNF-alpha and IL-6 are also produced in excess in the early colonic lesions in a mouse model of sporadic CRC, associated with enhanced STAT3/NF-kB activation. Mice therapeutically given BP-1-102, an orally bioavailable compound targeting STAT3/NF-kB activation and cross-talk, exhibit reduced colon tumorigenesis and diminished expression of STAT3/NF-kB-activating cytokines in the neoplastic areas. These data suggest that strategies aimed at the cotargeting of STAT3/NF-kB activation and interaction between them might represent an attractive and novel approach to combat CRC.
The metastatic cascade is a complex and multistep process with many potential barriers. Recent evidence has shown that microRNAs (miRNAs) are involved in carcinogenesis and tumor progression in non-small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC). In this study, by comparing the miRNA expression profiles of SPC-A-1sci (high metastatic) and SPC-A-1 (weakly metastatic) cells, we demonstrated that the downregulation and function of miR-193a-3p and miR-193a-5p in NSCLC metastasis and the expression of these miRNAs was suppressed in NSCLC compared with corresponding non-tumorous tissues. Decreased miR-193a-3p/5p expression was significantly associated with tumor node metastasis (TNM) and lymph node metastasis. Furthermore, functional assays showed that the overexpression of miR-193a-3p/5p inhibited NSCLC cell migration, invasion and epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT) in vitro and lung metastasis formation in vivo. In addition, we discovered that ERBB4 and S6K2 were the direct targets of miR-193a-3p and that PIK3R3 and mTOR were the direct targets of miR-193a-5p in NSCLC. We also observed that miR-193a-3p/5p could inactivate the AKT/mTOR signaling pathway. Thus, miR-193a-3p/5p functions as a tumor suppressor and has an important role in NSCLC metastasis through ERBB signaling pathway.
The cancer stem cell (CSC) model does not imply that tumours are generated from transformed tissue stem cells. The target of transformation could be a tissue stem cell, a progenitor cell, or a differentiated cell that acquires self-renewal ability. The observation that induced pluripotency reprogramming and cancer are related has lead to the speculation that CSCs may arise through a reprogramming-like mechanism. Expression of pluripotency genes (Oct4, Nanog and Sox2) was tested in breast tumours by immunohistochemistry and it was found that Sox2 is expressed in early stage breast tumours. However, expression of Oct4 or Nanog was not found. Mammosphere formation in culture was used to reveal stem cell properties, where expression of Sox2, but not Oct4 or Nanog, was induced. Over-expression of Sox2 increased mammosphere formation, effect dependent on continuous Sox2 expression; furthermore, Sox2 knockdown prevented mammosphere formation and delayed tumour formation in xenograft tumour initiation models. Induction of Sox2 expression was achieved through activation of the distal enhancer of Sox2 promoter upon sphere formation, the same element that controls Sox2 transcription in pluripotent stem cells. These findings suggest that reactivation of Sox2 represents an early step in breast tumour initiation, explaining tumour heterogeneity by placing the tumour-initiating event in any cell along the axis of mammary differentiation.Oncogene (2012) 31, 1354-1365; doi:10.1038/onc.2011.338; published online 8 August 2011