bims-stacyt Biomed News
on Paracrine crosstalk between cancer and the organism
Issue of 2020‒12‒06
six papers selected by
Cristina Muñoz Pinedo
L’Institut d’Investigació Biomèdica de Bellvitge


  1. Front Oncol. 2020 ;10 594782
    Böttcher M, Baur R, Stoll A, Mackensen A, Mougiakakos D.
      Lymphomas represent a diverse group of malignancies that emerge from lymphocytes. Despite improvements in diagnosis and treatment of lymphomas of B-cell origin, relapsed and refractory disease represents an unmet clinical need. Therefore, it is of utmost importance to better understand the lymphomas' intrinsic features as well as the interactions with their cellular microenvironment for developing novel therapeutic strategies. In fact, the role of immune-based approaches is steadily increasing and involves amongst others the use of monoclonal antibodies against tumor antigens, inhibitors of immunological checkpoints, and even genetically modified T-cells. Metabolic reprogramming and immune escape both represent well established cancer hallmarks. Tumor metabolism as introduced by Otto Warburg in the early 20th century promotes survival, proliferation, and therapeutic resistance. Simultaneously, malignant cells employ a plethora of mechanisms to evade immune surveillance. Increasing evidence suggests that metabolic reprogramming does not only confer cell intrinsic growth and survival advantages to tumor cells but also impacts local as well as systemic anti-tumor immunity. Tumor and immune cells compete over nutrients such as carbohydrates or amino acids that are critical for the immune cell function. Moreover, skewed metabolic pathways in malignant cells can result in abundant production and release of bioactive metabolites such as lactic acid, kynurenine or reactive oxygen species (ROS) that affect immune cell fitness and function. This "metabolic re-modeling" of the tumor microenvironment shifts anti-tumor immune reactivity toward tolerance. Here, we will review molecular events leading to metabolic alterations in B-cell lymphomas and their impact on anti-tumor immunity.
    Keywords:  B-cell-derived Non-Hodgkin lymphoma; chronic lymphocytic leukemia; immune escape; immune therapeutics; metabolism
    DOI:  https://doi.org/10.3389/fonc.2020.594782
  2. Cancers (Basel). 2020 Dec 02. pii: E3599. [Epub ahead of print]12(12):
    Ludwig N, Rubenich DS, Zaręba Ł, Siewiera J, Pieper J, Braganhol E, Reichert TE, Szczepański MJ.
      Extracellular vesicles (EVs) are produced and released by all cells and are present in all body fluids. They exist in a variety of sizes, however, small extracellular vesicles (sEVs), the EV subset with a size range from 30 to 150 nm, are of current interest. They are characterized by a distinct biogenesis and complex cargo composition, which reflects the cytosolic contents and cell-surface molecules of the parent cells. This cargo consists of proteins, nucleic acids, and lipids and is competent in inducing signaling cascades in recipient cells after surface interactions or in initiating the generation of a functional protein by delivering nucleic acids. Based on these characteristics, sEVs are now considered as important mediators of intercellular communication. One hallmark of sEVs is the promotion of angiogenesis. It was shown that sEVs interact with endothelial cells (ECs) and promote an angiogenic phenotype, ultimately leading to increased vascularization of solid tumors and disease progression. It was also shown that sEVs reprogram cells in the tumor microenvironment (TME) and act in a functionally cooperative fashion to promote angiogenesis by a paracrine mechanism involving the differential expression and secretion of angiogenic factors from other cell types. In this review, we will focus on the distinct functions of tumor-cell-derived sEVs (TEX) in promotion of angiogenesis and describe their potential as a therapeutic target for anti-angiogenic therapies. Also, we will focus on non-cancer stroma-cell-derived small extracellular vesicles and their potential role in stimulating a pro-angiogenic TME.
    Keywords:  angiogenesis; cancer; small extracellular vesicles; tumor microenvironment; tumor-derived exosomes
    DOI:  https://doi.org/10.3390/cancers12123599
  3. Curr Opin Biotechnol. 2020 Nov 25. pii: S0958-1669(20)30160-9. [Epub ahead of print]68 124-143
    Flerin NC, Cappellesso F, Pretto S, Mazzone M.
      Cancer immunotherapy aims to augment the response of the patient's own immune system against cancer cells. Despite effective for some patients and some cancer types, the therapeutic efficacy of this treatment is limited by the composition of the tumor microenvironment (TME), which is not well-suited for the fitness of anti-tumoral immune cells. However, the TME differs between cancer types and tissues, thus complicating the possibility of the development of therapies that would be effective in a large range of patients. A possible scenario is that each type of cancer cell, granted by its own mutations and reminiscent of the functions of the tissue of origin, has a specific metabolism that will impinge on the metabolic composition of the TME, which in turn specifically affects T cell fitness. Therefore, targeting cancer or T cell metabolism could increase the efficacy and specificity of existing immunotherapies, improving disease outcome and minimizing adverse reactions.
    DOI:  https://doi.org/10.1016/j.copbio.2020.10.011
  4. Sci Rep. 2020 Dec 04. 10(1): 21244
    Acevedo-Acevedo S, Millar DC, Simmons AD, Favreau P, Cobra PF, Skala M, Palecek SP.
      Breast cancer metastasis occurs via blood and lymphatic vessels. Breast cancer cells 'educate' lymphatic endothelial cells (LECs) to support tumor vascularization and growth. However, despite known metabolic alterations in breast cancer, it remains unclear how lymphatic endothelial cell metabolism is altered in the tumor microenvironment and its effect in lymphangiogenic signaling in LECs. We analyzed metabolites inside LECs in co-culture with MCF-7, MDA-MB-231, and SK-BR-3 breast cancer cell lines using [Formula: see text] nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) metabolomics, Seahorse, and the spatial distribution of metabolic co-enzymes using optical redox ratio imaging to describe breast cancer-LEC metabolic crosstalk. LECs co-cultured with breast cancer cells exhibited cell-line dependent altered metabolic profiles, including significant changes in lactate concentration in breast cancer co-culture. Cell metabolic phenotype analysis using Seahorse showed LECs in co-culture exhibited reduced mitochondrial respiration, increased reliance on glycolysis and reduced metabolic flexibility. Optical redox ratio measurements revealed reduced NAD(P)H levels in LECs potentially due to increased NAD(P)H utilization to maintain redox homeostasis. [Formula: see text]-labeled glucose experiments did not reveal lactate shuttling into LECs from breast cancer cells, yet showed other [Formula: see text] signals in LECs suggesting internalized metabolites and metabolic exchange between the two cell types. We also determined that breast cancer co-culture stimulated lymphangiogenic signaling in LECs, yet activation was not stimulated by lactate alone. Increased lymphangiogenic signaling suggests paracrine signaling between LECs and breast cancer cells which could have a pro-metastatic role.
    DOI:  https://doi.org/10.1038/s41598-020-76394-7
  5. Biology (Basel). 2020 Dec 01. pii: E434. [Epub ahead of print]9(12):
    Finetti F, Travelli C, Ercoli J, Colombo G, Buoso E, Trabalzini L.
      The involvement of inflammation in cancer progression has been the subject of research for many years. Inflammatory milieu and immune response are associated with cancer progression and recurrence. In different types of tumors, growth and metastatic phenotype characterized by the epithelial mesenchymal transition (EMT) process, stemness, and angiogenesis, are increasingly associated with intrinsic or extrinsic inflammation. Among the inflammatory mediators, prostaglandin E2 (PGE2) supports epithelial tumor aggressiveness by several mechanisms, including growth promotion, escape from apoptosis, transactivation of tyrosine kinase growth factor receptors, and induction of angiogenesis. Moreover, PGE2 is an important player in the tumor microenvironment, where it suppresses antitumor immunity and regulates tumor immune evasion, leading to increased tumoral progression. In this review, we describe the current knowledge on the pro-tumoral activity of PGE2 focusing on its role in cancer progression and in the regulation of the tumor microenvironment.
    Keywords:  EP receptor; angiogenesis; cancer-related inflammation; immunosuppression; metastasis; prostaglandin E2; tumor inflammation; tumor microenvironment
    DOI:  https://doi.org/10.3390/biology9120434
  6. Thyroid. 2020 Nov 30.
    Kang YE, Kim JM, Lim MA, Lee SE, Yi S, Kim JT, Oh C, Liu L, Jin Y, Jung SN, Won HR, Chang JW, Lee JH, Kim HJ, Koh HY, Jun S, Cho SW, Shong M, Koo BS.
      BACKGROUND: Mitochondrial stress is known to activate the mitochondrial unfolded protein response (UPRmt). The UPRmt results in the secretion of mitochondrial cytokines (mitokines), which can promote a hormetic response cell-nonautonomously, and has been reported to be pro-tumorigenic. Growth differentiation factor 15 (GDF15) is a well-characterized mitokine which is reported to have a mitohormetic effect. Thus, we investigated whether GDF15 induction could prime a subpopulation of thyroid cancer cells to provide invasive advantages.METHODS: The UPRmt, including mitokine expression, was assessed in the context of thyroid cancer in vitro and in vivo. GDF15 expression in 266 patients with papillary thyroid carcinoma (PTC) was determined by immunohistochemistry. The serum levels of GDF15 were measured in healthy subjects and PTC patients. In addition, our own and The Cancer Genome Atlas (TCGA) data were analyzed to observe the expression of GDF15 in thyroid cancers. The role of GDF15 in tumor aggressiveness was investigated by observing the effects of GDF15 knock-down in BCPAP, TPC-1, 8505C, and FRO cells.
    RESULTS: Pharmacological inhibition of mitochondrial oxidative phosphorylation function in thyroid cancer cells robustly increased GDF15 expression. The expression of GDF15 was associated with activation of the mitochondrial integrated stress response pathway in PTC patients. Circulating GDF15 levels were significantly higher in PTC patients than in the controls, and tumor expression of GDF15 was related to tumor aggressiveness. In vitro and in vivo knockdown of GDF15 in a thyroid cancer model showed decreased viability, migration, and invasion compared with the control cells via regulation of STAT3.
    CONCLUSIONS: Here we demonstrated that GDF15 is a mitokine induced by thyroid cancer cells upon mitochondrial stress. GDF15-induced STAT3 activation determined tumor progression in thyroid cancer. The GDF15-STAT3 signaling axis may be a target for controlling the aggressiveness of thyroid cancer.
    DOI:  https://doi.org/10.1089/thy.2020.0034