bims-instec Biomed News
on Intestinal stem cells and chemoresistance in colon cancer and intestinal regeneration
Issue of 2021‒08‒22
twenty-four papers selected by
Maria-Virginia Giolito

  1. Nat Commun. 2021 08 18. 12(1): 5006
      Obesity is a strong risk factor for cancer progression, posing obesity-related cancer as one of the leading causes of death. Nevertheless, the molecular mechanisms that endow cancer cells with metastatic properties in patients affected by obesity remain unexplored.Here, we show that IL-6 and HGF, secreted by tumor neighboring visceral adipose stromal cells (V-ASCs), expand the metastatic colorectal (CR) cancer cell compartment (CD44v6 + ), which in turn secretes neurotrophins such as NGF and NT-3, and recruits adipose stem cells within tumor mass. Visceral adipose-derived factors promote vasculogenesis and the onset of metastatic dissemination by activation of STAT3, which inhibits miR-200a and enhances ZEB2 expression, effectively reprogramming CRC cells into a highly metastatic phenotype. Notably, obesity-associated tumor microenvironment provokes a transition in the transcriptomic expression profile of cells derived from the epithelial consensus molecular subtype (CMS2) CRC patients towards a mesenchymal subtype (CMS4). STAT3 pathway inhibition reduces ZEB2 expression and abrogates the metastatic growth sustained by adipose-released proteins. Together, our data suggest that targeting adipose factors in colorectal cancer patients with obesity may represent a therapeutic strategy for preventing metastatic disease.
  2. J Pathol. 2021 Jul 19.
      Tumor cells capable of self-renewal and continuous production of progeny cells are called tumor stem cells (TSCs) and are considered to be potential therapeutic targets. However, the mechanisms underlying the survival and function of TSCs are not fully understood. We previously reported that chromatin remodeling regulator Brg1 is essential for intestinal stem cells in mice and Dclk1 is an intestinal TSC marker. In this study, we investigated the role of Brg1 in Dclk1+ intestinal tumor cells for the maintenance of intestinal tumors in mice. Specific ablation of Brg1 in Dclk1+ intestinal tumor cells reduced intestinal tumors in ApcMin mice, and continuous ablation of Brg1 maintained the reduction of intestinal tumors. Lineage tracing in the context of Brg1 ablation in Dclk1+ intestinal tumor cells revealed that Brg1-null Dclk1+ intestinal tumor cells did not give rise to their descendent tumor cells, indicating that Brg1 is essential for the self-renewal of Dclk1+ intestinal tumor cells. Five days after Brg1 ablation, we observed increased apoptosis in Dclk1+ tumor cells. Furthermore, Brg1 was crucial for the stemness of intestinal tumor cells in a spheroid culture system. BRG1 knockdown also impaired cell proliferation and increased apoptosis in human colorectal cancer (CRC) cells. Microarray analysis revealed that apoptosis-related genes were upregulated and stem cell-related genes were downregulated in human CRC cells by BRG1 suppression. Consistently, high BRG1 expression correlated with poor disease-specific survival in human CRC patients. These data indicate that Brg1 plays a crucial role in intestinal TSCs in mice by inhibiting apoptosis and is critical for cell survival and stem cell features in human CRC cells. Thus, BRG1 represents a new therapeutic target for human CRC. © 2021 The Pathological Society of Great Britain and Ireland. Published by John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
    Keywords:  Brg1; chromatin remodeling regulator; colorectal cancer; tumor stem cell
  3. EMBO Mol Med. 2021 Aug 19. e14123
      In colorectal cancer, oncogenic mutations transform a hierarchically organized and homeostatic epithelium into invasive cancer tissue lacking visible organization. We sought to define transcriptional states of colorectal cancer cells and signals controlling their development by performing single-cell transcriptome analysis of tumors and matched non-cancerous tissues of twelve colorectal cancer patients. We defined patient-overarching colorectal cancer cell clusters characterized by differential activities of oncogenic signaling pathways such as mitogen-activated protein kinase and oncogenic traits such as replication stress. RNA metabolic labeling and assessment of RNA velocity in patient-derived organoids revealed developmental trajectories of colorectal cancer cells organized along a mitogen-activated protein kinase activity gradient. This was in contrast to normal colon organoid cells developing along graded Wnt activity. Experimental targeting of EGFR-BRAF-MEK in cancer organoids affected signaling and gene expression contingent on predictive KRAS/BRAF mutations and induced cell plasticity overriding default developmental trajectories. Our results highlight directional cancer cell development as a driver of non-genetic cancer cell heterogeneity and re-routing of trajectories as a response to targeted therapy.
    Keywords:  ERK; RNA velocity; SLAM-Seq; cancer profiling; single-cell RNA sequencing
  4. J Natl Compr Canc Netw. 2021 Aug 01. pii: jnccn20596. [Epub ahead of print]19(8): 986-992
      The human gut microbiome has an ever-increasing role in the instigation and progression of colorectal cancer (CRC). Recent investigations have focused on identifying the key causative bacterial species and the composition and structure of the microbiome as a whole that ultimately lead to tumorigenesis in the colon. Understanding the bacterial mechanisms that promote CRC provides a rich area for the development of new screening modalities and therapeutics that may improve patient outcomes. This article reviews the various mechanisms that bacteria in the gut use to induce and/or promote tumor formation, discusses the application of the microbiome in the prevention and therapy of CRC, and provides directions for future research endeavors aiming to develop a more complete understanding of this complex phenomenon.
  5. Int J Oncol. 2021 Sep;pii: 74. [Epub ahead of print]59(3):
      Microsatellite instability‑high/deficient mismatch repair colorectal cancer (MSI‑H/dMMR CRC) is a molecular subtype characterized by high‑frequency mutations within DNA mismatch repair genes. Defects in the DNA mismatch repair machinery lead to subsequent frame‑shift mutations, resulting in the generation of frame‑shift peptides that serve as neoantigens. This has translated into exquisite sensitivity to immune checkpoint inhibitors (ICIs) and a significant clinical benefit from immune therapies in this patient population. The present article provides a comprehensive review of the advances in the field of immune therapies for MSI‑H/dMMR metastatic CRC, with a focus on the major randomized clinical trials that led to Food and Drug Administration approval of specific ICIs for this population, a detailed review of the molecular background responsible for tumor response, as well as the mechanisms of resistance to ICI therapy. Finally, ongoing investigations of other immunotherapeutic strategies to address and overcome the challenges that currently limit response and long‑term response to ICIs were presented.
    Keywords:  DNA mismatch repair; colorectal neoplasm; immune checkpoint inhibitors; immunotherapy; microsatellite instability
  6. Cell. 2021 Aug 13. pii: S0092-8674(21)00888-6. [Epub ahead of print]
      Group 3 innate lymphoid cells (ILC3s) regulate immunity and inflammation, yet their role in cancer remains elusive. Here, we identify that colorectal cancer (CRC) manifests with altered ILC3s that are characterized by reduced frequencies, increased plasticity, and an imbalance with T cells. We evaluated the consequences of these changes in mice and determined that a dialog between ILC3s and T cells via major histocompatibility complex class II (MHCII) is necessary to support colonization with microbiota that subsequently induce type-1 immunity in the intestine and tumor microenvironment. As a result, mice lacking ILC3-specific MHCII develop invasive CRC and resistance to anti-PD-1 immunotherapy. Finally, humans with dysregulated intestinal ILC3s harbor microbiota that fail to induce type-1 immunity and immunotherapy responsiveness when transferred to mice. Collectively, these data define a protective role for ILC3s in cancer and indicate that their inherent disruption in CRC drives dysfunctional adaptive immunity, tumor progression, and immunotherapy resistance.
    Keywords:  checkpoint blockade immunotherapy; colorectal cancer; innate lymphoid cells; intestinal inflammation; microbiota
  7. Stem Cell Res. 2021 Aug 11. pii: S1873-5061(21)00346-9. [Epub ahead of print]55 102499
      Modulation of global mRNA translation, which is essential for intestinal stem cell function, is controlled by Wnt signaling. Loss of tumor supressor APC in stem cells drives adenoma formation through hyperactivion of Wnt signaling and dysregulated translational control. It is unclear whether factors that coordinate global translation in the intestinal epithelium are needed for APC-driven malignant transformation. Here we identified nucleotide exchange factor eIF2Bε as a translation initiation factor involved in Wnt-mediated intestinal epithelial stemness. Using eIF2BεArg191His mice with a homozygous point mutation that leads to dysfunction in the enzymatic activity, we demonstrate that eIF2Bε is involved in small intestinal crypt formation, stemness marker expression, and secreted Paneth cell-derived granule formation. Wnt hyperactivation in ex vivo eIF2BεArg191His organoids, using a GSK3β inhibitor to mimic Apc driven transformation, shows that eIF2Bε is essential for Wnt-mediated clonogenicity and associated increase of the global translational capacity. Finally, we observe high eIF2Bε expression in human colonic adenoma tissues, exposing eIF2Bε as a potential target of CRC stem cells with aberrant Wnt signaling.
    Keywords:  APC; Global mRNA translation; Intestinal stemness; Wnt signaling; eIF2B epsilon
  8. BMC Cancer. 2021 Aug 18. 21(1): 930
      BACKGROUND: Colorectal cancer (CRC) screening reduces CRC incidence and mortality. However, current screening methods are either hampered by invasiveness or suboptimal performance, limiting their effectiveness as primary screening methods. To aid in the development of a non-invasive screening test with improved sensitivity and specificity, we have initiated a prospective biomarker study (CRCbiome), nested within a large randomized CRC screening trial in Norway. We aim to develop a microbiome-based classification algorithm to identify advanced colorectal lesions in screening participants testing positive for an immunochemical fecal occult blood test (FIT). We will also examine interactions with host factors, diet, lifestyle and prescription drugs. The prospective nature of the study also enables the analysis of changes in the gut microbiome following the removal of precancerous lesions.METHODS: The CRCbiome study recruits participants enrolled in the Bowel Cancer Screening in Norway (BCSN) study, a randomized trial initiated in 2012 comparing once-only sigmoidoscopy to repeated biennial FIT, where women and men aged 50-74 years at study entry are invited to participate. Since 2017, participants randomized to FIT screening with a positive test result have been invited to join the CRCbiome study. Self-reported diet, lifestyle and demographic data are collected prior to colonoscopy after the positive FIT-test (baseline). Screening data, including colonoscopy findings are obtained from the BCSN database. Fecal samples for gut microbiome analyses are collected both before and 2 and 12 months after colonoscopy. Samples are analyzed using metagenome sequencing, with taxonomy profiles, and gene and pathway content as primary measures. CRCbiome data will also be linked to national registries to obtain information on prescription histories and cancer relevant outcomes occurring during the 10 year follow-up period.
    DISCUSSION: The CRCbiome study will increase our understanding of how the gut microbiome, in combination with lifestyle and environmental factors, influences the early stages of colorectal carcinogenesis. This knowledge will be crucial to develop microbiome-based screening tools for CRC. By evaluating biomarker performance in a screening setting, using samples from the target population, the generalizability of the findings to future screening cohorts is likely to be high.
    TRIAL REGISTRATION: Identifier: NCT01538550 .
    Keywords:  Adenoma; Advanced neoplasia; Biomarkers; Colonoscopy; Colorectal cancer; Diet; FIT; Gut microbiome; Lifestyle; Metagenomics sequencing; Prescription drugs; Screening; iFOBT
  9. J Cell Mol Med. 2021 Aug 18.
      Colorectal cancer (CRC) is one of the leading causes of death worldwide, and hence, there is a need to elucidate the molecular mechanisms contributing to the progression of CRC. In this study, we aimed at assessing the role of long non-coding RNA NBPF4 on the tumorigenesis of CRC. Silencing or overexpression experiments were performed on HCT116 and SW260 in vitro models. BALB/c athymic female nude mice aged 5-6 weeks were used as in vivo models. To assess the relationship between NBPF4 and its regulatory RNA pull-down assay, RNA immunoprecipitation, luciferase activity, Western blotting and qRT-PCR were employed. Initially, we identified that NBPF4 was downregulated in CRC tissues and cell lines. Furthermore, we observed that NBPF4 decreased tumorigenesis in both in vitro and in vivo models. Additionally, we identified that ETFA was highly expressed in CRCs and was negatively associated with NBPF4. Subsequently, we identified that EZH2, a transcriptional factor, activated ETFA by enhancing the methylation of its promoter, and EZH2 was also highly regulated in CRCs. Using COAD and READ databases, we confirmed that EZH2 and ETFA were positively correlated. Furthermore, we identified NBPF4 and EZH2 were targets for ZFP36, which bound and positively regulated NBPF4. This prevented NBPF4 from binding to its negative regulator miR-17-3p. Our results demonstrated that NBPF4 downregulated EZH2 and stabilized itself by binding to ZFP36, thus escaping from inhibition by miR-17-3p, which allowed mitigation of CRC through inhibition of ETFA.
    Keywords:  ETFA; EZH2; NBPF4; colorectal cancer
  10. Expert Rev Endocrinol Metab. 2021 Aug 18. 1-4
      OBJECTIVES: Subcellular alteration of thyroid hormones (THs) signaling is proposed in many types of cancers. Some studies show deiodinase type 3, as an oncofetal protein, re-expresses in some cancer types. Therefore, we aimed to investigate the product of this enzyme, reverse triiodothyronine (rT3) in serum of newly diagnosed colorectal cancer (CRC) patients.METHODS: In this cross-sectional study, blood from 38 laboratory-confirmed cases was taken, and serum levels of rT3, total T3 (triiodothyronine), total T4 (thyroxine), free T3, free T4, and thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH) were detected by using an enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay.
    RESULTS: The results illustrated that rT3 and free T3 levels increased in patients with early stages of colorectal cancer, despite normal levels of total T3, total T4, free T4, and TSH.
    CONCLUSION: The elevation of rT3 in CRC patients can probably be due to the re-expression of deiodinase type 3 in CRC. Further research is needed to study the role of intracellular THs modulation in CRC and its impact on CRC treatment.
    Keywords:  Thyroid hormones; colorectal neoplasms; reverse triiodothyronine; thyrotropin; thyroxine; triiodothyronine
  11. Mol Med Rep. 2021 Oct;pii: 721. [Epub ahead of print]24(4):
      Colorectal cancer (CRC) is one of the main causes of mortality. Recent studies suggest that cancer stem cells (CSCs) can survive after chemotherapy and promote tumor invasiveness and aggression. According to a higher hierarchy complexity of CSC, different protocols for isolation, expansion, and characterization have been used; however, there are no available resistance biomarkers that allow predicting the clinical response of treatment 5‑fluorouracil (5FU) and oxaliplatin. Therefore, the primary aim of the present study was to analyze the expression of gene resistance on tumors and CSC‑derived isolates from patients CRC. In the present study, adenocarcinomas of the colon and rectum (CRAC) were classified based on an in vitro adenosine triphosphate‑based chemotherapy response assay, as sensitive and resistant and the percentage of CD24 and CD44 markers are evaluated by immunohistochemistry. To isolate resistant colon‑CSC, adenocarcinoma tissues resistant to 5FU and oxaliplatin were evaluated. Finally, all samples were sequenced using a custom assay with chemoresistance‑associated genes to find a candidate gene on resistance colon‑CSC. Results showed that 59% of the CRC tissue analyzed was resistant and had a higher percentage of CD44 and CD24 markers. An association was found in the expression of some genes between the tumor‑resistant tissue and CSC. Overall, isolates of the CSC population CD44+ resistant to 5FU and oxaliplatin demonstrated different expression profiles; however, the present study was able to identify overexpression of the KRT‑18 gene, in most of the isolates. In conclusion, the results of the present study showed overexpression of KRT‑18 in CD44+ cells is associated with chemoresistance to 5FU and oxaliplatin in CRAC.
    Keywords:  adenosine triphosphate‑based chemotherapy response assay; cancer stem cells; chemoresistance; colorectal cancer; resistance biomarkers
  12. Cell Rep. 2021 Aug 17. pii: S2211-1247(21)00959-1. [Epub ahead of print]36(7): 109528
      Autophagy sustains cellular homeostasis and metabolism in numerous diseases. By regulating cancer metabolism, both tumor and microenvironmental autophagy promote tumor growth. However, autophagy can support cancer progression through other biological functions such as immune response regulation or cytokine/growth factor secretion. Moreover, autophagy is induced in numerous tumor types as a resistance mechanism following therapy, highlighting autophagy inhibition as a promising target for anti-cancer therapy. Thus, better understanding the mechanisms involved in tumor growth and resistance regulation through autophagy, which are not fully understood, will provide insights into patient treatment.
    Keywords:  Poillet-Perez et al. review how both tumor and microenvironmental autophagy promote tumor growth by regulating cancer metabolism and the immune response. Moreover; autophagy is induced as a cell death or resistance mechanism following therapy. Better understanding the role of autophagy and the mechanisms involved will provide insights into patient treatment
  13. J Cancer. 2021 ;12(18): 5473-5485
      Background: Colorectal cancer (CRC) imposes significant health burden and is increasing in incidence. NGPTL4 has been implicated in the development of CRC. The present study aimed to investigate the molecular mechanisms by which ANGPTL4 expression might regulate epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT) and the tumor microenvironment in CRC. Methods: CRC and para-carcinoma tissues were collected from 67 CRC patients. ANGPTL4 expression levels and DNA methylation of ANGPTL4 promoter region were determined. Next, the migration and invasion capacities of CRC cells were assessed. Immunofluorescence and Western blot were used to identify the signaling pathways by which ANGPTL4 mediated tumor metastasis. A tumorigenesis mice model with transplanted fibroblast cells and ANGPTL4 overexpressed CRC cells was established to investigate the effects of ANGPTL4 on the metastasis of cancer cells in vivo. Results: ANGPTL4 was significantly decreased in CRC tissues and DNA hypermethylation was involved in the regulation of ANGPTL4. Mechanistically, ANGPTL4 induced activation of cancer-associated fibroblasts in the tumor microenvironment and promoted EMT in CRC cells through the ERK signaling pathway. In vivo, the overexpression of ANGPTL4 was found to inhibit the metastasis of tumor cells in lung tissues. Conclusion: DNA hypermethylation induced ANGPTL4 downregulation promoted the activation of cancer-associated fibroblasts and epithelial mesenchymal transformation of CRC cells via the ERK signaling pathway, thereby promoting invasion and metastasis in CRC.
    Keywords:  Angiopoietin-like 4; Carcinoma-associated fibroblasts; Colorectal cancer; DNA methylation; Epithelial-mesenchymal transition
  14. Oncol Rep. 2021 Oct;pii: 219. [Epub ahead of print]46(4):
      The presence of cancer stem cells (CSCs) is a major cause of therapeutic failure in a variety of cancer types, including colorectal cancer (CRC). However, the underlying mechanisms that regulate the self‑renewal of colorectal cancer stem cells (CRCSCs) remain unclear. Our previous study utilized CRCSCs and their parent cells; through gene microarray screening and bioinformatics analysis, we hypothesized that microRNA (miR)‑8063 may bind to, and regulate the expression of, heterogeneous nuclear ribonucleoprotein AB (hnRNPAB) to facilitate the regulation of CRCSC self‑renewal. The aim of the present study was to confirm this conjecture through relevant experiments. The results indicated that compared with that in parent cells, miR‑8063 expression was significantly downregulated in CRCSCs, while hnRNPAB expression was increased. Furthermore, hnRNPAB was identified as a direct target of miR‑8063 using a dual‑Luciferase assay. Overexpression of hnRNPAB promoted the acquisition of CSC characteristics in CRC cells (increased colony formation ability, enhanced tumorigenicity, and upregulated expression of CSC markers), as well as the upregulation of key proteins (Wnt3a, Wnt5a and β‑catenin) in the Wnt/β‑catenin signaling pathway. Similarly, after silencing miR‑8063 in CRC cells, the characteristics of CSC were altered, and the expression of hnRNPAB protein was promoted. However, post overexpression of miR‑8063 in CRCSCs, the self‑renewal ability of CSCs was weakened with the downregulation of hnRNPAB protein, Wnt3a, Wnt5a and β‑catenin. These results suggest that as a tumor suppressor, miR‑8063 is involved in regulating the self‑renewal of CRCSCs, where loss of miR‑8063 expression weakens its inhibition on hnRNPAB, which leads to the activation of Wnt/β‑catenin signaling to promote the self‑renewal of CRCSCs.
    Keywords:  Wnt/β‑catenin signaling pathway; colorectal cancer; heterogeneous nuclear ribonucleoprotein AB; microRNA‑8063; self‑renewal
  15. Front Mol Biosci. 2021 ;8 692120
      Background: Gastrointestinal cancers patients might experience multiple primary tumors in the digestive tract. Therefore, identifying potential biomarkers can help us better understand the underlying mechanism. From the GEO database, four profiles of gastrointestinal cancers were gathered for the screening process, and six hub genes were found by bioinformatics analysis. Collagen type I alpha 1 chain (COL1A1), one of the hub genes, is a component of the extracellular matrix and is critical for tumor microenvironment. However, the expression level, signaling pathway, prognostic prediction, and immunological value of COL1A1 in different cancers remain unclear. Methods: We comprehensively analyzed gene expression and genetic alteration patterns of COL1A1 among 33 types of malignancies from The Cancer Genome Atlas (TCGA) and the Genotype-Tissue Expression projects. Besides, we explored the correlation of COL1A1 with cancer prognosis, immune infiltrates, PD-L1, tumor mutational burden (TMB)/microsatellite instability status (MSI), and the pathway and drug sensitivity of co-expressed genes. Results: The results showed that COL1A1 was highly expressed and associated with poor prognosis in the majority of cancers. The most common alteration type of COL1A1 was missense mutation, and COL1A1 was associated with poor prognosis in KIRP, LGG, MESO, SKCM, and STAD. For the immunologic significance, COL1A1 expression was closely related to high TMB in THYM, LAML, ACC, KICH, PRAD, and LGG, and high MSI in TGCT, MESO, PRAD, COAD, SARC, and CESC. In addition, COL1A1 was positively correlated with the abundance of CAFs, macrophages, and tumor-infiltrating lymphocytes. However, it was negatively correlated with CD8+ T cells mainly in CESC, HNSC-HPV+, and SKCM. Besides, as a component of the extracellular matrix, COL1A1 was involved in the activation of epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT), and high expression of HTRA1 was resistant to multiple drugs. Conclusion: COL1A1 can serve as a prognostic and immunological biomarker in different cancers.
    Keywords:  COL1A1; gastrointestinal cancers; pan-cancer; prognosis; tumor immune microenvironment
  16. Eur J Med Chem. 2021 Aug 12. pii: S0223-5234(21)00624-3. [Epub ahead of print]225 113775
      5-Fluorouracil (5-FU) and its prodrugs are the essential clinical drugs for colorectal cancer (CRC) treatment. However, the drug resistance of 5-FU has caused high mortality of CRC patients. Thus, it is urgent to develop reversal agents of 5-FU resistance. Sphingosine-1-phosphate receptor 2 (S1PR2) was proved to be a potential target for reversing 5-FU resistance, but the activity of known S1PR2 antagonists JTE-013 were weak in 5-FU-resistant cell lines. To develop more potent S1PR2 antagonists to treat 5-FU-resistant cancer, a series of JTE-013 derivatives were designed and synthesized. The most promising compound 40 could markedly reverse the resistance in 5-FU-resistant HCT116 cells and 5-FU-resistant SW620 cells via inhibiting the expression of dihydropyrimidine dehydrogenase (DPD). The key was that compound 40 with improved pharmacokinetic properties significantly increased the inhibitory rate of 5-FU in the SW620/5-FU cells xenograft model with no observable toxicity by inhibiting the expression of DPD in tumor and liver tissues. Altogether, these results suggest that compound 40 may be a promising drug candidate to reverse 5-FU resistance in the treatment of CRC.
    Keywords:  5-FU-Resistance; Colorectal cancer therapy; Mouse xenograft model; Pharmacokinetic properties; S1PR2 antagonists
  17. Biochim Biophys Acta Rev Cancer. 2021 Aug 12. pii: S0304-419X(21)00110-4. [Epub ahead of print] 188612
      Cancer metastasis and drug resistance are two major obstacles in the treatment of cancer and therefore, the leading cause of cancer-associated mortalities worldwide. Hence, an in-depth understanding of these processes and identification of the underlying key players could help design a better therapeutic regimen to treat cancer. Earlier thought to be merely transcriptional junk and having passive or secondary function, recent advances in the genomic research have unravelled that long noncoding RNAs (lncRNAs) play pivotal roles in diverse physiological as well as pathological processes including cancer metastasis and drug resistance. LncRNAs can regulate various steps of the complex metastatic cascade such as epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT), invasion, migration and metastatic colonization, and also affect the sensitivity of cancer cells to various chemotherapeutic drugs. A substantial body of literature for more than a decade of research evince that lncRNAs can regulate gene expression at different levels such as epigenetic, transcriptional, posttranscriptional, translational and posttranslational levels, depending on their subcellular localization and through their ability to interact with DNA, RNA and proteins. In this review, we mainly focus on how lncRNAs affect cancer metastasis by modulating expression of key metastasis-associated genes at various levels of gene regulation. We also discuss how lncRNAs confer cancer cells either sensitivity or resistance to various chemo-therapeutic drugs via different mechanisms. Finally, we highlight the immense potential of lncRNAs as prognostic and diagnostic biomarkers as well as therapeutic targets in cancer.
    Keywords:  Cancer metastasis; Drug resistance; Gene regulation; LncRNA; Prognostic biomarker; Therapeutic target
  18. PLoS One. 2021 ;16(8): e0251323
      The recent advances in gene chip technology have led to the identification of multiple metabolism-related genes that are closely associated with colorectal cancer (CRC). Nevertheless, none of these genes could accurately diagnose or predict CRC. The prognosis of CRC has been made by previous prognostic models constructed by using multiple genes, however, the predictive function of multi-gene prognostic models using metabolic genes for the CRC prognosis remains unexplored. In this study, we used the TCGA-CRC cohort as the test dataset and the GSE39582 cohort as the experimental dataset. Firstly, we constructed a prognostic model using metabolic genes from the TCGA-CRC cohort, which were also associated with CRC prognosis. We analyzed the advantages of the prognostic model in the prognosis of CRC and its regulatory mechanism of the genes associated with the model. Secondly, the outcome of the TCGA-CRC cohort analysis was validated using the GSE39582 cohort. We found that the prognostic model can be employed as an independent prognostic risk factor for estimating the CRC survival rate. Besides, compared with traditional clinical pathology, it can precisely predict CRC prognosis as well. The high-risk group of the prognostic model showed a substantially lower survival rate as compared to the low-risk group. In addition, gene enrichment analysis of metabolic genes showed that genes in the prognostic model are enriched in metabolism and cancer-related pathways, which may explain its underlying mechanism. Our study identified a novel metabolic profile containing 11 genes for prognostic prediction of CRC. The prognostic model may unravel the imbalanced metabolic microenvironment, and it might promote the development of biomarkers for predicting treatment response and streamlining metabolic therapy in CRC.
  19. NAR Cancer. 2021 Sep;3(3): zcab032
      5-Fluorouracil (5-FU) is a chemotherapeutic drug widely used to treat patients with solid tumours, such as colorectal and pancreatic cancers. Colorectal cancer (CRC) is the second leading cause of cancer-related death and half of patients experience tumour recurrence. Used for over 60 years, 5-FU was long thought to exert its cytotoxic effects by altering DNA metabolism. However, 5-FU mode of action is more complex than previously anticipated since 5-FU is an extrinsic source of RNA modifications through its ability to be incorporated into most classes of RNA. In particular, a recent report highlighted that, by its integration into the most abundant RNA, namely ribosomal RNA (rRNA), 5-FU creates fluorinated active ribosomes and induces translational reprogramming. Here, we review the historical knowledge of 5-FU mode of action and discuss progress in the field of 5-FU-induced RNA modifications. The case of rRNA, the essential component of ribosome and translational activity, and the plasticity of which was recently associated with cancer, is highlighted. We propose that translational reprogramming, induced by 5-FU integration in ribosomes, contributes to 5-FU-driven cell plasticity and ultimately to relapse.
  20. Dev Biol. 2021 Aug 16. pii: S0012-1606(21)00199-8. [Epub ahead of print]
      During postnatal intestinal development, the intestinal epithelium is highly proliferative, and this proliferation is regulated by signaling in the intervillous and crypt regions. This signaling is primarily mediated by Wnt, and requires membrane trafficking. However, the mechanisms by which membrane trafficking regulates signaling during this developmental phase are largely unknown. Endotubin (EDTB, MAMDC4) is an endosomal protein that is highly expressed in the apical endocytic complex (AEC) of villus enterocytes during fetal and postnatal development, and knockout of EDTB results in defective formation of the AEC and giant lysosome. Further, knockout of EDTB in cell lines results in decreased proliferation. However, the role of EDTB in proliferation during the development of the intestine is unknown. Using Villin-CreERT2 in EDTBfl/fl mice, we deleted EDTB in the intestine in the early postnatal period, or in enteroids in vitro after isolation of intervillous cells. Loss of EDTB results in decreased proliferation in the developing intestinal epithelium and decreased ability to form enteroids. EDTB is present in cells that contain the stem cell markers LGR5 and OLFM4, indicating that it is expressed in the proliferative compartment. Further, using immunoblot analysis and TCF/LEF-GFP mice as a reporter of Wnt activity, we find that knockout of EDTB results in decreased Wnt signaling. Our results show that EDTB is essential for normal proliferation during the early stages of intestinal development and suggest that this effect is through modulation of Wnt signaling.
    Keywords:  Endotubin; Intestinal proliferation; MAMDC4; Trafficking; Wnt
  21. FASEB J. 2021 Sep;35(9): e21834
      Two distinct genetic mutational pathways characterized by either chromosomal instability or high-frequency microsatellite instability (MSI-H) are recognized in the pathogenesis of colorectal cancer (CRC). Recently, it has been shown that patients with primary CRC that displays MSI-H have a significant, stage-independent, multivariate survival advantage. Biological properties of CMS1 (MSI-H type) can affect therapeutic efficiencies of agents used in the treatment of CRC, and therefore become a new predictive factor of the treatment. But, the predictive impact of MSI-H status for adjuvant chemotherapy remains controversial. This study will assess whether there is any unnecessary or inappropriate use of treatment agents recommended for adjuvant therapy of stage 2 and 3 of disease and for palliative or curative treatment of liver metastatic disease in microsatellite instability high group, a molecular subtype of colon cancer. Within this scope, the efficiencies of fluorouracil- and oxaliplatin-based chemotherapeutic agents will be shown on stage 3 microsatellite instability high colon tumor cell lines first, and then a microfluidic model will be created, imitating the metastasis of colon cancer to the liver. In the microfluidic chip model, we will create in liver tissue, where the metastasis of microsatellite instability high colon cancer will be simulated; the effectiveness of chemotherapeutic agents, immunotherapy agents, and targeted agents on tumor cells as well as drug response will be assessed according to cell viability through released biomarkers from the cells. The proposed hypothesis study includes the modeling and treatment of patient-derived post-metastatic liver cancer in microfluidics which has priority at the global and our region and consequently develop personal medication.
    Keywords:  colon cancer; drug screen platforms; microsatellite instability high type; organ-on-a-chip
  22. J Vis Exp. 2021 Jul 29.
      In the past, intestinal epithelial model systems were limited to transformed cell lines and primary tissue. These model systems have inherent limitations as the former do not faithfully represent original tissue physiology, and the availability of the latter is limited. Hence, their application hampers fundamental and drug development research. Adult stem-cell-based organoids (henceforth referred to as organoids) are miniatures of normal or diseased epithelial tissue from which they are derived. They can be established very efficiently from different gastrointestinal (GI) tract regions, have long-term expandability, and simulate tissue- and patient-specific responses to treatments in vitro. Here, the establishment of intestinal organoid-derived epithelial monolayers has been demonstrated along with methods to measure epithelial barrier integrity, permeability and transport, antimicrobial protein secretion, as well as histology. Moreover, intestinal organoid-derived monolayers can be enriched with proliferating stem and transit-amplifying cells as well as with key differentiated epithelial cells. Therefore, they represent a model system that can be tailored to study the effects of compounds on target cells and their mode of action. Although organoid cultures are technically more demanding than cell lines, once established, they can reduce failures in the later stages of drug development as they truly represent in vivo epithelium complexity and interpatient heterogeneity.
  23. Cancer Discov. 2021 Aug 20. pii: candisc.0316.2021. [Epub ahead of print]
      Liver metastasis, the leading cause of colorectal cancer mortality, exhibits a highly heterogeneous and suppressive immune microenvironment. Here, we sequenced 97 matched samples by using single-cell RNA-seq and Spatial Transcriptomics. Strikingly, metastatic microenvironment underwent remarkable spatial reprogramming of immunosuppressive cells such as MRC1+ CCL18+ M2-like macrophages. We further developed scMetabolism, a computational pipeline for quantifying single-cell metabolism, and observed that those macrophages harbored enhanced metabolic activity. Interestingly, neoadjuvant chemotherapy could block this status and restore the antitumor immune balance in responsive patients, while the non-responsive patients deteriorated into a more suppressive one. Our work described the immune evolution of metastasis and uncovered the black box of how tumors respond to neoadjuvant chemotherapy.
  24. Nat Rev Gastroenterol Hepatol. 2021 Aug 16.
      Over the past two decades, the importance of the microbiota in health and disease has become evident. Pathological changes to the oral bacterial microbiota, such as those occurring during periodontal disease, are associated with multiple inflammatory conditions, including inflammatory bowel disease. However, the degree to which this association is a consequence of elevated oral inflammation or because oral bacteria can directly drive inflammation at distal sites remains under debate. In this Perspective, we propose that in inflammatory bowel disease, oral disease-associated bacteria translocate to the intestine and directly exacerbate disease. We propose a multistage model that involves pathological changes to the microbial and immune compartments of both the oral cavity and intestine. The evidence to support this hypothesis is critically evaluated and the relevance to other diseases in which oral bacteria have been implicated (including colorectal cancer and liver disease) are discussed.