bims-instec Biomed News
on Intestinal stem cells and chemoresistance in colon cancer and intestinal regeneration
Issue of 2022‒12‒25
twelve papers selected by
Maria-Virginia Giolito
Free University of Brussels

  1. Cell Metab. 2022 Dec 12. pii: S1550-4131(22)00504-6. [Epub ahead of print]
      Effective therapies are lacking for patients with advanced colorectal cancer (CRC). The CRC tumor microenvironment has elevated metabolic waste products due to altered metabolism and proximity to the microbiota. The role of metabolite waste in tumor development, progression, and treatment resistance is unclear. We generated an autochthonous metastatic mouse model of CRC and used unbiased multi-omic analyses to reveal a robust accumulation of tumoral ammonia. The high ammonia levels induce T cell metabolic reprogramming, increase exhaustion, and decrease proliferation. CRC patients have increased serum ammonia, and the ammonia-related gene signature correlates with altered T cell response, adverse patient outcomes, and lack of response to immune checkpoint blockade. We demonstrate that enhancing ammonia clearance reactivates T cells, decreases tumor growth, and extends survival. Moreover, decreasing tumor-associated ammonia enhances anti-PD-L1 efficacy. These findings indicate that enhancing ammonia detoxification can reactivate T cells, highlighting a new approach to enhance the efficacy of immunotherapies.
    Keywords:  ammonia; cancer metabolism; immunotherapy; tumor microenvironment
  2. J Clin Med. 2022 Dec 19. pii: 7523. [Epub ahead of print]11(24):
      Colorectal cancer (CRC) is the third most common cause of cancer-related deaths worldwide, and 20% of patients with CRC present at diagnosis with metastases. The treatment of metastatic CRC is based on a fluoropyrimidine-based chemotherapy plus additional agents such as oxaliplatin and irinotecan. To date, on the basis of the molecular background, targeted therapies (e.g., monoclonal antibodies against epidermal growth factor receptor or inhibiting angiogenesis) are administered to improve the treatment of metastatic CRC. In addition, more recently, immunological agents emerged as effective in patients with a defective mismatch repair system. The administration of targeted therapies and immunotherapy lead to a significant increase in the survival of patients; however these drugs do not always prove effective. In most cases the lack of effectiveness is due to the development of primary resistance, either a resistance-inducing factor is already present before treatment or resistance is acquired when it occurs after treatment initiation. In this review we describe the most relevant targeted therapies and immunotherapies and expand on the reasons for resistance to the different approved or under development targeted drugs. Then we showed the possible mechanisms and drugs that may lead to overcoming the primary or acquired resistance in metastatic CRC.
    Keywords:  gene fusions; gene mutations; immunotherapies; microsatellite instability; resistance; targeted therapies
  3. J Cell Biochem. 2022 Dec 24.
      Radiotherapy is one of the most common modalities for the treatment of a wide range of tumors, including colorectal cancer (CRC); however, radioresistance of cancer cells remains a major limitation for this treatment. Following radiotherapy, the activities of various cellular mechanisms and cell signaling pathways are altered, resulting in the development of radioresistance, which leads to therapeutic failure and poor prognosis in patients with cancer. Furthermore, even though several inhibitors have been developed to target tumor resistance, these molecules can induce side effects in nontumor cells due to low specificity and efficiency. However, the role of these mechanisms in CRC has not been extensively studied. This review discusses recent studies regarding the relationship between radioresistance and the alterations in a series of cellular mechanisms and cell signaling pathways that lead to therapeutic failure and tumor recurrence. Our review also presents recent advances in the in vitro/in vivo study models aimed at investigating the radioresistance mechanism in CRC. Furthermore, it provides a relevant biochemical basis in theory, which can be useful to improve radiotherapy sensitivity and prolong patient survival.
    Keywords:  autophagy; cancer stem cells; colorectal cancer; epithelial-mesenchymal transition; polyploid giant cancer cells; radioresistance
  4. EMBO Rep. 2022 Dec 22. e54261
      CDK8 and CDK19 form a conserved cyclin-dependent kinase subfamily that interacts with the essential transcription complex, Mediator, and also phosphorylates the C-terminal domain of RNA polymerase II. Cells lacking either CDK8 or CDK19 are viable and have limited transcriptional alterations, but whether the two kinases redundantly control cell proliferation and differentiation is unknown. Here, we find in mice that CDK8 is dispensable for regulation of gene expression, normal intestinal homeostasis, and efficient tumourigenesis, and is largely redundant with CDK19 in the control of gene expression. Their combined deletion in intestinal organoids reduces long-term proliferative capacity but is not lethal and allows differentiation. However, double-mutant organoids show mucus accumulation and increased secretion by goblet cells, as well as downregulation of expression of the cystic fibrosis transmembrane conductance regulator (CFTR) and functionality of the CFTR pathway. Pharmacological inhibition of CDK8/19 kinase activity in organoids and in mice recapitulates several of these phenotypes. Thus, the Mediator kinases are not essential for cell proliferation and differentiation in an adult tissue, but they cooperate to regulate specific transcriptional programmes.
    Keywords:  CDK19; CDK8; CFTR; Mediator; intestinal epithelium
  5. Am J Physiol Gastrointest Liver Physiol. 2022 Dec 20.
      Small intestinal neuroendocrine tumor SI-NETs are serotonin-secreting well-differentiated neuroendocrine tumors of putative enterochromaffin (EC) cell origin. However, EC cell-derived tumorigenesis remains poorly understood. Here we examined whether the gain of Myc and the loss of RB1 and Trp53 function in EC cells result in SI-NET using tryptophan hydroxylase 1 (TPH1) Cre-ERT2-driven RB1fl Trp53fl MycLSL (RPM) mice. TPH1-Cre induced gain of Myc and loss of RB1 and Trp53 function resulted in endocrine or neuronal tumors in pancreas, lung, enteric neurons, and brain. Lineage tracing indicated that the cellular origin for these tumors was TPH1-expressing neuroendocrine, neuronal or their precursor cells in these organs. However, despite that TPH1 is most highly expressed in EC cells, we observed no incidence of EC cell tumors. Instead, the tumor of epithelial cell-origin in the intestine was exclusively non-endocrine adenocarcinoma, suggesting dedifferentiation of EC cells into intestinal stem cells (ISC). Further, ex-vivo organoid studies indicated that loss of functions of Rb1 and Trp53 accelerated dedifferentiation of EC cells that were susceptible to apoptosis with expression of activated MycT58A, suggesting that the rare dedifferentiating cells escaping cell death went on to develop adenocarcinomas. Lineage tracing demonstrated that EC cells were short-lived compared to neuroendocrine or neuronal cells in other organs. In contrast, EC cell-derived ISCs were long-lasting and actively cycling and thus susceptible to transformation. These results suggest that tissue- and cell-specific properties of EC cells affect the fate and rate of tumorigenesis induced by genetic alterations and provide important insights into EC cell-derived tumorigenesis.
    Keywords:  dedifferentiation; enterochromaffin; neuroendocrine; p53; tumor
  6. J Immunother Cancer. 2022 Dec;pii: e005345. [Epub ahead of print]10(12):
      BACKGROUND: The immunogenic nature of metastatic colorectal cancer (CRC) with high microsatellite instability (MSI-H) underlies their responsiveness to immune checkpoint blockade (ICB). However, resistance to ICB is commonly observed, and is associated with the presence of peritoneal-metastases and ascites formation. The mechanisms underlying this site-specific benefit of ICB are unknown.METHODS: We created a novel model for spontaneous multiorgan metastasis in MSI-H CRC tumors by transplanting patient-derived organoids (PDO) into the cecum of humanized mice. Anti-programmed cell death protein-1 (PD-1) and anti-cytotoxic T-lymphocytes-associated protein 4 (CTLA-4) ICB treatment effects were analyzed in relation to the immune context of primary tumors, liver metastases, and peritoneal metastases. Immune profiling was performed by immunohistochemistry, flow cytometry and single-cell RNA sequencing. The role of B cells was assessed by antibody-mediated depletion. Immunosuppressive cytokine levels (interleukin (IL)-10, transforming growth factor (TGF)b1, TGFb2, TGFb3) were determined in ascites and serum samples by ELISA.
    RESULTS: PDO-initiated primary tumors spontaneously metastasized to the liver and the peritoneum. Peritoneal-metastasis formation was accompanied by the accumulation of ascites. ICB completely cleared liver metastases and reduced primary tumor mass but had no effect on peritoneal metastases. This mimics clinical observations. After therapy discontinuation, primary tumor masses progressively decreased, but peritoneal metastases displayed unabated growth. Therapy efficacy correlated with the formation of tertiary lymphoid structures (TLS)-containing B cells and juxtaposed T cells-and with expression of an interferon-γ signature together with the B cell chemoattractant CXCL13. B cell depletion prevented liver-metastasis clearance by anti-CTLA-4 treatment. Peritoneal metastases were devoid of B cells and TLS, while the T cells in these lesions displayed a dysfunctional phenotype. Ascites samples from patients with cancer with peritoneal metastases and from the mouse model contained significantly higher levels of IL-10, TGFb1, TGFb2 and TGFb3 than serum samples.
    CONCLUSIONS: By combining organoid and humanized mouse technologies, we present a novel model for spontaneous multiorgan metastasis by MSI-H CRC, in which the clinically observed organ site-dependent benefit of ICB is recapitulated. Moreover, we provide empirical evidence for a critical role for B cells in the generation of site-dependent antitumor immunity following anti-CTLA-4 treatment. High levels of immunosuppressive cytokines in ascites may underlie the observed resistance of peritoneal metastases to ICB.
    Keywords:  B-lymphocytes; CTLA-4 antigen; immunotherapy; programmed cell death 1 receptor; tumor microenvironment
  7. Biomolecules. 2022 Dec 12. pii: 1860. [Epub ahead of print]12(12):
      BACKGROUND: The incidence of sporadic young-onset colorectal cancer (yCRC) is increasing. Compared with old-onset colorectal cancer (oCRC), yCRC has different clinical and molecular characteristics. However, the difference in the tumor microenvironment (TME) between yCRC and oCRC remains unclear.METHODS: Fourteen untreated CRC tumor samples were subjected to single-cell RNA sequencing analysis.
    RESULTS: B cells and naïve T cells are enriched in yCRC, while effector T cells and plasma cells are enriched in oCRC. Effector T cells of yCRC show decreased interferon-gamma response and proliferative activity; meanwhile, Treg cells in yCRC show stronger oxidative phosphorylation and TGF-β signaling than that in oCRC. The down-regulated immune response of T cells in yCRC may be regulated by immune and malignant cells, as we observed a downregulation of antigen presentation and immune activations in B cells, dendritic cells, and macrophages. Finally, we identified malignant cells in yCRC and oCRC with high heterogeneity and revealed their interactions with immune cells in the TME.
    CONCLUSIONS: Our data reveal significant differences of TME between yCRC and oCRC, of which the TME of yCRC is more immunosuppressive than oCRC. Malignant cells play an essential role in the formation of the suppressive tumor immune microenvironment.
    Keywords:  age; colorectal cancer; single-cell RNA sequencing; tumor microenvironment
  8. Cell Mol Gastroenterol Hepatol. 2022 Dec 20. pii: S2352-345X(22)00247-8. [Epub ahead of print]
  9. Cancers (Basel). 2022 Dec 10. pii: 6086. [Epub ahead of print]14(24):
      Colorectal cancer (CRC) is a relatively slow-growing tumor that can be treated successfully when identified in the early stages [...].
  10. JCI Insight. 2022 Dec 20. pii: e164489. [Epub ahead of print]
      Chronic exposure to high-fat diets (HFD) worsens intestinal disease pathology, but acute effects of HFD in tissue damage remain unclear. Here, we used short-term HFD feeding in a model of intestinal injury and found sustained damage with increased cecal dead neutrophil accumulation, along with dietary lipid accumulation. Neutrophil depletion rescued enhanced pathology. Macrophages from HFD treated mice showed reduced capacity to engulf dead neutrophils. Macrophage clearance of dead neutrophils activates critical barrier repair and anti-inflammatory pathways including IL10, which was lost after acute HFD feeding and intestinal injury. IL10 overexpression restored intestinal repair after HFD feeding and intestinal injury. Macrophage exposure to lipids from the HFD prevented tethering and uptake of apoptotic cells and Il10 induction. Milk fat globule-EGF factor-8 (MFGE8) is a bridging molecule that facilitates macrophage uptake of dead cells. MFGE8 also facilitates lipid uptake, and we demonstrate that dietary lipids interfere with MFGE8-mediated macrophage apoptotic neutrophil uptake and subsequent Il10 production. Our findings demonstrate that HFD promotes intestinal pathology by interfering with macrophage clearance of dead neutrophils, leading to unresolved tissue damage.
    Keywords:  Immunology; Macrophages; Neutrophils
  11. Int J Mol Sci. 2022 Dec 19. pii: 16197. [Epub ahead of print]23(24):
      The liver is the most common metastatic site in colorectal cancer (CRC) patients. Indeed, 25-30% of the cases develop colorectal liver metastasis (CLM), showing an extremely poor 5-year survival rate and resistance to conventional anticancer therapies. Tumor-associated macrophages (TAMs) provide a nurturing microenvironment for CRC metastasis, promoting epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition (EMT) through the TGF-β signaling pathway, thus driving tumor cells to acquire mesenchymal properties that allow them to migrate from the primary tumor and invade the new metastatic site. EMT is known to contribute to the disruption of blood vessel integrity and the generation of circulating tumor cells (CTCs), thus being closely related to high metastatic potential in numerous solid cancers. Despite the fact that it is well-recognized that the crosstalk between tumor cells and the inflammatory microenvironment is crucial in the EMT process, the association between the EMT and the role of TAMs is still poorly understood. In this review, we elaborated on the role that TAMs exert in the induction of EMT during CLM development. Since TAMs are the major source of TGF-β in the liver, we also focused on novel insights into their role in TGF-β-induced EMT.
    Keywords:  TGF-β signaling; colorectal liver metastases; epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition; tumor-associated macrophages