bims-instec Biomed News
on Intestinal stem cells and chemoresistance in colon cancer and intestinal regeneration
Issue of 2021‒11‒28
five papers selected by
Maria-Virginia Giolito

  1. Int J Mol Sci. 2021 Nov 16. pii: 12364. [Epub ahead of print]22(22):
      p130 Crk-associated substrate (p130Cas) is associated with poor prognosis and treatment resistance in breast and lung cancers. To elucidate p130Cas functional and clinical role in colorectal cancer (CRC) progression/therapy resistance, we performed cell culture experiments and bioinformatic/statistical analyses of clinical data sets. p130Cas expression was associated with poor survival in the cancer genome atlas (TCGA) data set. Knockdown/reconstitution experiments showed that p130Cas drives migration but, unexpectedly, inhibits proliferation in CRC cells. TCGA data analyses identified the growth factor epiregulin (EREG) as inversely correlated with p130Cas. p130Cas knockdown and simultaneous EREG treatment further enhanced proliferation. RNA interference and EREG treatment experiments suggested that p130Cas/EREG limit each other's expression/activity. Inverse p130Cas/EREG Spearman correlations were prominent in right-sided and earlier stage CRC. p130Cas was inducible by 5-fluorouracil (5-FU) and FOLFIRI (folinic acid, 5-FU, irinotecan), and p130Cas and EREG were upregulated in distant metastases (GSE121418). Positive p130Cas/EREG correlations were observed in metastases, preferentially in post-treatment samples (especially pulmonary metastases). p130Cas knockdown sensitized CRC cells to FOLFIRI independent of EREG treatment. RNA sequencing and gene ontology analyses revealed that p130Cas is involved in cytochrome P450 drug metabolism and epithelial-mesenchymal transition. p130Cas expression was associated with poor survival in right-sided, stage I/II, MSS (microsatellite stable), or BRAF-mutated CRC. In summary, p130Cas represents a prognostic factor and potential therapeutic target in CRC.
    Keywords:  BCAR1; EREG; FOLFIRI; colorectal cancer; metastasis; p130Cas; therapy resistance
  2. Cells. 2021 Oct 28. pii: 2928. [Epub ahead of print]10(11):
      BACKGROUND: Previous studies in mice indicated that Paneth cells and c-Kit-positive goblet cells represent the stem cell niche of the small intestine and colon, respectively, partly by supporting Wnt and Notch activation. Whether these cell populations play a similar role in human intestinal cancer remains unexplored.METHODS: We performed histopathological evaluation and immunohistochemical analysis of early colorectal adenomas and carcinoma adenoma from patients at the Hospital del Mar in Barcelona. We then determined the possible correlation between the different parameters analyzed and with patient outcomes.
    RESULTS: Paneth cells accumulate in a subset of human colorectal adenomas directly associated with Notch and Wnt/β-catenin activation. Adenoma areas containing Paneth cells display increased vessel density in the lamina propria and higher levels of the stem cell marker EphB2. In an in-house cohort of 200 colorectal adenoma samples, we also observed a significant correlation between the presence of Paneth cells and Wnt activation. Kaplan-Meier analysis indicated that early adenoma patients carrying Paneth cell-positive tumors display reduced disease-free survival compared with patients with Paneth cell-free lesions.
    CONCLUSIONS: Our results indicate that Paneth cells contribute to the initial steps of cancer progression by providing the stem cell niche to adenoma cells, which could be therapeutically exploited.
    Keywords:  Notch; Paneth cells; Wnt; adenomas; colorectal cancer; stem cell niche
  3. Front Mol Biosci. 2021 ;8 727203
      Alternative splicing is a common physiologic mechanism to generate numerous distinct gene products from one gene locus, which can result in unique gene products with differing important functional outcomes depending on cell context. Aberrant alternative splicing is a hallmark of cancer that can contribute to oncogenesis and aggressiveness of the disease as well as resistance to therapy. However, aberrant splicing might also result in novel targets for cancer therapy. ASPP2 is a haplo-insufficient tumor suppressor, that functions through both p53-dependent as well as p53-independent mechanisms to enhance cell death after stress. Interestingly, the common human tumor TP53 mutations result in a loss of the binding sites to ASPP2, leading to impaired induction of apoptosis. Vice versa, attenuation of ASPP2 has been described to be associated with high-risk disease, therapy failure and poor clinical outcome especially in tumors harboring the TP53 wildtype (WT) isoform. We have recently identified a novel, dominant-negative splicing variant of ASPP2, named ASPP2κ, with oncogenic potential. Exon-skipping results in a reading-frame shift with a premature translation stop, omitting most of the ASPP2 C-terminus - which harbors the p53-binding domain. Consequently, the ASPP2-p53 interaction is abrogated, which in part impacts on oncogenesis, aggressiveness of disease and response to therapy. Since ASPP2κ has been shown in hematologic malignancies to promote tumorigenesis, we further wished to determine if aberrant ASPP2κ expression plays a role in human solid tumors. In this report, we find that ASPP2κ is frequently expressed in human colorectal tumors (CRC). Using ASPP2κ overexpressing and interference CRC models, we demonstrate a functional role of ASPP2κ in contributing to oncogenesis and resistance to therapy in CRC by 1) enhancing proliferation, 2) promoting cell migration and, 3) conferring resistance to chemotherapy induced apoptosis. Our findings have far-reaching consequences for future diagnostic and therapeutic strategies for ASPP2κ expressing colorectal cancer patients and provide proof-of-principle to further explore ASPP2κ as potential predictive marker and target for therapy in clinical trials.
    Keywords:  ASPP2; ASPP2κ; TP53; alternative splicing; apoptosis; colon cancer; therapy resistance; tumorigenesis
  4. Cancers (Basel). 2021 Nov 19. pii: 5817. [Epub ahead of print]13(22):
      To enable rapid proliferation, colorectal tumor cells up-regulate epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) signaling and aerobic glycolysis, resulting in substantial lactate release into the tumor microenvironment and impaired anti-tumor immune responses. We hypothesized that a nutritional intervention designed to reduce aerobic glycolysis may boost the EGFR-directed antibody (Ab)-based therapy of pre-existing colitis-driven colorectal carcinoma (CRC). CRC development was induced by azoxymethane (AOM) and dextran sodium sulfate (DSS) administration to C57BL/6 mice. AOM/DSS-treated mice were fed a glucose-free, high-protein diet (GFHPD) or an isoenergetic control diet (CD) in the presence or absence of an i.p. injection of an anti-EGFR mIgG2a or respective controls. AOM/DSS-treated mice on a GFHPD displayed a reduced systemic glucose metabolism associated with reduced oxidative phosphorylation (OXPHOS) complex IV expression and diminished tumor loads. Comparable but not additive to an anti-EGFR-Ab therapy, the GFHPD was accompanied by enhanced tumoral goblet cell differentiation and decreased colonic PD-L1 and splenic CD3ε, as well as PD-1 immune checkpoint expression. In vitro, glucose-free, high-amino acid culture conditions reduced proliferation but improved goblet cell differentiation of murine and human CRC cell lines MC-38 and HT29-MTX in combination with down-regulation of PD-L1 expression. We here found GFHPD to systemically dampen glycolysis activity, thereby reducing CRC progression with a similar efficacy to EGFR-directed antibody therapy.
    Keywords:  AOM/DSS; EGFR; PD-1; PD-L1; amino acid metabolism; colorectal cancer; goblet cell differentiation
  5. Life (Basel). 2021 Oct 24. pii: 1131. [Epub ahead of print]11(11):
      Disease relapse caused by drug resistance still represents a major clinical hurdle in cancer treatments. Tumor cells may take advantage of different intracellular and genetic systems attenuating the drug effects. Resistant cells or minimal residual disease (MRD) cells have strong clinical relevance, as they might give rise to secondary tumors when the therapy is concluded. Thus, MRDs are crucial therapeutic targets in order to prevent tumor relapse. Therefore, several groups aim at understanding how MRDs are orginated, characterizing their molecular features, and eradicating them. In this review, we will describe MRD from a genetic, evolutionary, and molecular point of view. Moreover, we will focus on the new in vitro, in vivo, preclinical, and clinical studies that aim at eradicating tumor resistance.
    Keywords:  in vitro and in vivo studies; preclinical studies; tumor resistance