bims-tucedo Biomed News
on Tumor cell dormancy
Issue of 2021‒03‒21
28 papers selected by
Isabel Puig Borreil
Vall d’Hebron Institute of Oncology

  1. Nat Rev Urol. 2021 Mar 19.
      The introduction of second-generation androgen receptor antagonists (SG-ARAs) has greatly impacted the treatment of metastatic prostate cancer, providing tolerable and efficacious alternatives to chemotherapy. SG-ARAs provide similar therapeutic benefit to abiraterone, a potent CYP17 inhibitor, and do not require the co-administration of prednisone. Despite considerable improvements in clinical outcomes in the settings of both castration sensitivity and castration resistance, the durability of clinical response to the SG-ARAs enzalutamide, apalutamide and darolutamide, similar to abiraterone, is limited by inevitable acquired resistance. Genomic aberrations that confer resistance to SG-ARAs or provide potential alternative treatment modalities have been identified in numerous studies, including alterations of the androgen receptor, DNA repair, cell cycle, PI3K-AKT-mTOR and Wnt-β-catenin pathways. To combat resistance, researchers have explored approaches to optimizing the utility of available treatments, as well as the use of alternative agents with a variety of targets, including AR-V7, AKT, EZH2 and HIF1α. Ongoing research to establish predictive biomarkers for the treatment of tumours with resistance to SG-ARAs led to the approval of the PARP inhibitors olaparib and rucaparib in pre-treated metastatic castration-resistant prostate cancer. The results of ongoing studies will help to shape precision medicine in prostate cancer and further optimize treatment paradigms to maximize clinical outcomes.
  2. Nat Commun. 2021 03 17. 12(1): 1714
      Advanced prostate cancer (PCa) often develops bone metastasis, for which therapies are very limited and the underlying mechanisms are poorly understood. We report that bone-borne TGF-β induces the acetylation of transcription factor KLF5 in PCa bone metastases, and acetylated KLF5 (Ac-KLF5) causes osteoclastogenesis and bone metastatic lesions by activating CXCR4, which leads to IL-11 secretion, and stimulating SHH/IL-6 paracrine signaling. While essential for maintaining the mesenchymal phenotype and tumorigenicity, Ac-KLF5 also causes resistance to docetaxel in tumors and bone metastases, which is overcome by targeting CXCR4 with FDA-approved plerixafor. Establishing a mechanism for bone metastasis and chemoresistance in PCa, these findings provide a rationale for treating chemoresistant bone metastasis of PCa with inhibitors of Ac-KLF5/CXCR4 signaling.
  3. Front Cell Dev Biol. 2021 ;9 625221
      Pre-metastatic niches provide favorable conditions for tumor cells to disseminate, home to and grow in otherwise unfamiliar and distal microenvironments. Tumor-derived extracellular vesicles are now recognized as carriers of key messengers secreted by primary tumors, signals that induce the formation of pre-metastatic niches. Recent evidence suggests that tumor cells can disseminate from the very earliest stages of primary tumor development. However, once they reach distal sites, tumor cells can persist in a dormant state for long periods of time until their growth is reactivated and they produce metastatic lesions. In this new scenario, the question arises as to whether extracellular vesicles could influence the formation of these metastatic niches with dormant tumor cells? (here defined as "sleepy niches"). If so, what are the molecular mechanisms involved? In this perspective-review article, we discuss the possible influence of extracellular vesicles in early metastatic dissemination and whether they might play a role in tumor cell dormancy. In addition, we comment whether extracellular vesicle-mediated signals may be involved in tumor cell awakening, considering the possibility that extracellular vesicles might serve as biomarkers to detect early metastasis and/or minimal residual disease (MRD) monitoring.
    Keywords:  disseminated tumor cells; dormancy; exosome; extracellular vesicle; metastasis
  4. Nat Cancer. 2021 Jan;2(1): 66-82
      Despite objective responses to PARP inhibition and improvements in progression-free survival compared to standard chemotherapy in patients with BRCA-associated triple-negative breast cancer (TNBC), benefits are transitory. Using high dimensional single-cell profiling of human TNBC, here we demonstrate that macrophages are the predominant infiltrating immune cell type in BRCA-associated TNBC. Through multi-omics profiling we show that PARP inhibitors enhance both anti- and pro-tumor features of macrophages through glucose and lipid metabolic reprogramming driven by the sterol regulatory element-binding protein 1 (SREBP-1) pathway. Combined PARP inhibitor therapy with CSF-1R blocking antibodies significantly enhanced innate and adaptive anti-tumor immunity and extends survival in BRCA-deficient tumors in vivo and is mediated by CD8+ T-cells. Collectively, our results uncover macrophage-mediated immune suppression as a liability of PARP inhibitor treatment and demonstrate combined PARP inhibition and macrophage targeting therapy induces a durable reprogramming of the tumor microenvironment, thus constituting a promising therapeutic strategy for TNBC.
  5. Nat Commun. 2021 Mar 19. 12(1): 1747
      Despite the increasing number of effective anti-cancer therapies, successful treatment is limited by the development of drug resistance. While the contribution of genetic factors to drug resistance is undeniable, little is known about how drug-sensitive cells first evade drug action to proliferate in drug. Here we track the responses of thousands of single melanoma cells to BRAF inhibitors and show that a subset of cells escapes drug via non-genetic mechanisms within the first three days of treatment. Cells that escape drug rely on ATF4 stress signalling to cycle periodically in drug, experience DNA replication defects leading to DNA damage, and yet out-proliferate other cells over extended treatment. Together, our work reveals just how rapidly melanoma cells can adapt to drug treatment, generating a mutagenesis-prone subpopulation that expands over time.
  6. Trends Cancer. 2021 Mar 15. pii: S2405-8033(21)00046-7. [Epub ahead of print]
      Overcoming anticancer drug resistance is a major challenge in cancer therapy, requiring innovative strategies that consider the extensive tumor heterogeneity and adaptability. We provide recent evidence highlighting the key role of amino acid (AA) metabolic reprogramming in cancer cells and the supportive microenvironment in driving resistance to anticancer therapies. AAs sustain the acquisition of anticancer resistance by providing essential building blocks for biosynthetic pathways and for maintaining a balanced redox status, and modulating the epigenetic profile of both malignant and non-malignant cells. In addition, AAs support the reduced intrinsic susceptibility of cancer stem cells to antineoplastic therapies. These findings shed new light on the possibility of targeting nonresponding tumors by modulating AA availability through pharmacological or dietary interventions.
    Keywords:  amino acids; anticancer drug resistance; cancer metabolism
  7. Genomics Proteomics Bioinformatics. 2021 Mar 11. pii: S1672-0229(21)00033-4. [Epub ahead of print]
      Although DNA 5-hydroxymethylcytosine (5hmC) is recognized as an important epigenetic mark in cancer; its precise role in lymph node metastasis remains elusive. In this study, we investigated how 5hmC associates with lymph node metastasis in breast cancer. Accompanying with high expression of TET1 and TET2 proteins, large numbers of genes in the metastasis-positive primary tumors (MT) exhibit higher 5hmC levels than those in the non-metastatic primary tumors (PT). In contrast, the TETs protein expression and DNA 5hmC decrease significantly within the metastatic lesions in the lymph nodes (MLN) compared to those in their matched primary tumors. Through genome-wide analysis of 8 sets of primary tumors, we identified 100 high-confidence metastasis-associated 5hmC signatures, and it is found that increased levels of DNA 5hmC and gene expression of MAP7D1 associate with high risk of lymph node metastasis. Furthermore, we demonstrate that MAP7D1, regulated by TET1, promotes tumor growth and metastasis. In conclusion, the dynamic 5hmC profiles during lymph node metastasis suggest a link between DNA 5hmC and lymph node metastasis. Meanwhile, the role of MAP7D1 in breast cancer progression suggests that the metastasis-associated 5hmC signatures are potential biomarkers to predict the risk for lymph node metastasis, which may serve as diagnostic and therapeutic targets for metastatic breast cancer.
    Keywords:  5-Hydroxymethylcytosine (5hmC); Biomarker; Breast cancer; Lymph node metastasis; MAP7D1
  8. Methods Mol Biol. 2021 ;2294 43-58
      In cancer research, availability of clinically relevant tumor models is still essential for drug testing, proof of concept studies, and also molecular analyses. To achieve this, models are of advantage, which more closely reflect heterogeneity of tumors. In this regard, patient-derived xenograft (PDX) models more closely recapitulate the native tumor biology, tissue composition, and molecular characteristics. Since metastasis is still the major challenge of tumor therapy, models are pivotal, which resemble this particular property. In this context, PDX model-derived metastasis is of particular interest for testing antimetastatic therapies for their efficacy to better target this systemic disease. This protocol describes the establishment of PDX models from tumor specimen and their applicability for PDX-derived metastasis at metastatic sites such as liver and lung, which are also clinically relevant for the systemic spread of cancer. Analysis of metastasis and methods for quantification of metastatic spread are provided.
    Keywords:  Breast cancer; Colorectal cancer; Lung cancer; Metastasis; Patient-derived xenograft (PDX); Solid cancer
  9. Nat Commun. 2021 Mar 19. 12(1): 1786
      The majority of breast cancers express the estrogen receptor (ERα) and agents targeting this pathway represent the main treatment modality. Endocrine therapy has proven successful in the treatment of hormone-responsive breast cancer since its early adoption in the 1940s as an ablative therapy. Unfortunately, therapeutic resistance arises, leading to disease recurrence and relapse. Recent studies increased our understanding in how changes to the chromatin landscape and deregulation of epigenetic factors orchestrate the resistant phenotype. Here, we will discuss how the epigenome is an integral determinant in hormone therapy response and why epigenetic factors are promising targets for overcoming clinical resistance.
  10. Methods Mol Biol. 2021 ;2294 111-132
      Cancer metastasis is a multistep process during which tumor cells leave the primary tumor mass and form distant secondary colonies that are lethal. Circulating tumor cells (CTCs) are transported by body fluids to reach distant organs, where they will extravasate and either remain dormant or form new tumor foci. Development of methods to study the behavior of CTCs at the late stages of the intravascular journey is thus required to dissect the molecular mechanisms at play. Using recently developed microfluidics approaches, we have demonstrated that CTCs arrest intravascularly, through a two-step process: (a) CTCs stop using low energy and rapidly activated adhesion receptors to form transient metastable adhesions and (b) CTCs stabilize their adhesions to the endothelial layer with high energy and slowly activated adhesion receptors. In this methods chapter, we describe these easy-to-implement quantitative methods using commercially available microfluidic channels. We detail the use of fast live imaging combined to fine-tuned perfusion to measure the adhesion potential of CTC depending on flow velocities. We document how rapidly engaged early metastable adhesion can be discriminated from slower activated stable adhesion using microfluidics. Finally, CTC extravasation potential can be assessed within this setup using long-term cell culture under flow. Altogether, this experimental pipeline can be adapted to probe the adhesion (to the endothelial layer) and extravasation potential of any circulating cell.
    Keywords:  Adhesion; Circulating tumor cells (CTCs); Extravasation; Live imaging; Metastasis; Microfluidics
  11. J Clin Invest. 2021 Mar 15. pii: 143764. [Epub ahead of print]131(6):
      Many solid cancers metastasize to the bone and bone marrow (BM). This process may occur even before the diagnosis of primary tumors, as evidenced by the discovery of disseminated tumor cells (DTCs) in patients without occult malignancies. The cellular fates and metastatic progression of DTCs are determined by complicated interactions between cancer cells and BM niches. Not surprisingly, these niches also play important roles in normal biology, including homeostasis and turnover of skeletal and hematopoiesis systems. In this Review, we summarize recent findings on functions of BM niches in bone metastasis (BoMet), particularly during the early stage of colonization. In light of the rich knowledge of hematopoiesis and osteogenesis, we highlight how DTCs may progress into overt BoMet by taking advantage of niche cells and their activities in tissue turnover, especially those related to immunomodulation and bone repair.
  12. Nat Commun. 2021 Mar 19. 12(1): 1736
      Metastasis is the leading cause of cancer-related death. Despite the recent advancements in cancer treatment, there is currently no approved therapy for metastasis. The present study reveals a potent and selective activity of PRAK in the regulation of tumor metastasis. While showing no apparent effect on the growth of primary breast cancers or subcutaneously inoculated tumor lines, Prak deficiency abrogates lung metastases in PyMT mice or mice receiving intravenous injection of tumor cells. Consistently, PRAK expression is closely associated with metastatic risk in human cancers. Further analysis indicates that loss of function of PRAK leads to a pronounced inhibition of HIF-1α protein synthesis, possibly due to reduced mTORC1 activities. Notably, pharmacological inactivation of PRAK with a clinically relevant inhibitor recapitulates the anti-metastatic effect of Prak depletion, highlighting the therapeutic potential of targeting PRAK in the control of metastasis.
  13. Cell. 2021 Mar 18. pii: S0092-8674(21)00174-4. [Epub ahead of print]184(6): 1650-1650.e1
      Understanding how tumors grow and evolve over time is crucial to help shed light on the underlying reasons why treatments fail and tumors metastasize. This SnapShot provides a brief introduction into the main concepts of tumor evolution. To view this SnapShot, open or download the PDF.
  14. Cancer Res. 2021 Mar 16. pii: canres.2435.2020. [Epub ahead of print]
      Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer mortality worldwide. The treatment of lung cancer patients harboring mutant EGFR with orally administered EGFR tyrosine kinase inhibitors (TKIs) has been a paradigm shift. Osimertinib and rociletinib are third-generation irreversible EGFR TKIs targeting the EGFR T790M mutation. Osimertinib is the current standard of care for patients with EGFR mutations due to increased efficacy, lower side effects, and enhanced brain penetrance. Unfortunately, all patients develop resistance. Genomic approaches have primarily been used to interrogate resistance mechanisms. Here we characterized the proteome and phosphoproteome of a series of isogenic EGFR mutant lung adenocarcinoma cell lines that are either sensitive or resistant to these drugs, comprising the most comprehensive proteomic dataset resource to date to investigate third-generation EGFR TKI resistance in lung adenocarcinoma. Unbiased global quantitative mass spectrometry uncovered alterations in signaling pathways, revealed a proteomic signature of epithelial mesenchymal transition, and identified kinases and phosphatases with altered expression and phosphorylation in TKI-resistant cells. Decreased tyrosine phosphorylation of key sites in the phosphatase SHP2 suggests its inhibition, resulting in subsequent inhibition of RAS/MAPK and activation of PI3K/AKT pathways. Anticorrelation analyses of this phosphoproteomic dataset with published drug-induced P100 phosphoproteomic datasets from the Library of Integrated Network-Based Cellular Signatures program predicted drugs with the potential to overcome EGFR TKI resistance. The PI3K/MTOR inhibitor dactolisib in combination with osimertinib overcame resistance both in vitro and in vivo. Taken together, this study reveals global proteomic alterations upon third-generation EGFR TKI resistance and highlights potential novel approaches to overcome resistance.
  15. Cancer Res. 2021 Mar 19. pii: canres.2450.2020. [Epub ahead of print]
      Intestinal crypts are composed of heterogeneous and highly plastic cell populations. Lgr5high-stem cells (SC) are responsible for homeostatic renewal, but other cells can revert to an SC-like phenotype to maintain epithelial integrity. Despite their distinct roles in orchestrating homeostasis, both populations have been designated as the putative "cell-of-origin" of colorectal cancer (CRC). However, their respective involvement in the emergence of drug-resistant cancer-SCs (CSC), responsible for tumor relapse and associated with poor outcome of CRC, remains elusive. In this context, the intestinal SC/progenitor-marker Musashi1 (MSI1) is interesting as it plays important functions in intestinal homeostasis and is frequently overexpressed in human CRC. Therefore, our aims were: 1) to study the impact of chemotherapy on Lgr5-expressing and MSI1-expressing cell populations, 2) to explore the effect of increased MSI1 levels in response to treatment, and 3) to evaluate the relevance in human CRC. Engineered mouse models treated with the therapeutic agent 5-fluorouracil showed that upon increased MSI1 levels, Lgr5high-SCs remain sensitive while Lgr5low-progenitors reprogram to a drug-resistant phenotype. This resulted in the expansion of an MSI1-expressing cell subpopulation with improved resistance to DNA damage and increased detoxification, typical properties of dormant-CSCs that can reactivate after chemotherapy. Analysis in CRC patients revealed a correlation between MSI1 levels and tumor grading, CSC phenotype, and chemoresistance. Altogether, these results shed new light on the biology and plasticity of normal crypt and cancer cell populations and also open new perspectives to target MSI1 to improve chemotherapy outcome.
  16. Nat Rev Cancer. 2021 Mar 17.
      Focal adhesion kinase (FAK) is both a non-receptor tyrosine kinase and an adaptor protein that primarily regulates adhesion signalling and cell migration, but FAK can also promote cell survival in response to stress. FAK is commonly overexpressed in cancer and is considered a high-value druggable target, with multiple FAK inhibitors currently in development. Evidence suggests that in the clinical setting, FAK targeting will be most effective in combination with other agents so as to reverse failure of chemotherapies or targeted therapies and enhance efficacy of immune-based treatments of solid tumours. Here, we discuss the recent preclinical evidence that implicates FAK in anticancer therapeutic resistance, leading to the view that FAK inhibitors will have their greatest utility as combination therapies in selected patient populations.
  17. Cancer Cell. 2021 Mar 10. pii: S1535-6108(21)00118-5. [Epub ahead of print]
      Many cancers, including pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC), depend on autophagy-mediated scavenging and recycling of intracellular macromolecules, suggesting that autophagy blockade should cause tumor starvation and regression. However, until now autophagy-inhibiting monotherapies have not demonstrated potent anti-cancer activity. We now show that autophagy blockade prompts established PDAC to upregulate and utilize an alternative nutrient procurement pathway: macropinocytosis (MP) that allows tumor cells to extract nutrients from extracellular sources and use them for energy generation. The autophagy to MP switch, which may be evolutionarily conserved and not cancer cell restricted, depends on activation of transcription factor NRF2 by the autophagy adaptor p62/SQSTM1. NRF2 activation by oncogenic mutations, hypoxia, and oxidative stress also results in MP upregulation. Inhibition of MP in autophagy-compromised PDAC elicits dramatic metabolic decline and regression of transplanted and autochthonous tumors, suggesting the therapeutic promise of combining autophagy and MP inhibitors in the clinic.
    Keywords:  NRF2; RAS-driven cancer; autophagy; macropinocytosis; p62/SQSTM1
  18. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2021 Apr 05. pii: e2102057118. [Epub ahead of print]118(14):
  19. EMBO Mol Med. 2021 Mar 16. e13466
      Most genetic alterations that drive melanoma development and resistance to targeted therapy have been uncovered. In contrast, and despite their increasingly recognized contribution, little is known about the non-genetic mechanisms that drive these processes. Here, we performed in vivo gain-of-function CRISPR screens and identified SMAD3, BIRC3, and SLC9A5 as key actors of BRAFi resistance. We show that their expression levels increase during acquisition of BRAFi resistance and remain high in persister cells and during relapse. The upregulation of the SMAD3 transcriptional activity (SMAD3-signature) promotes a mesenchymal-like phenotype and BRAFi resistance by acting as an upstream transcriptional regulator of potent BRAFi-resistance genes such as EGFR and AXL. This SMAD3-signature predicts resistance to both current melanoma therapies in different cohorts. Critically, chemical inhibition of SMAD3 may constitute amenable target for melanoma since it efficiently abrogates persister cells survival. Interestingly, decrease of SMAD3 activity can also be reached by inhibiting the Aryl hydrocarbon Receptor (AhR), another druggable transcription factor governing SMAD3 expression level. Our work highlights novel drug vulnerabilities that can be exploited to develop long-lasting antimelanoma therapies.
    Keywords:  Aryl hydrocarbon Receptor; CRISPR-SAM; SMAD3; melanoma; targeted therapy resistance
  20. Mol Cancer Res. 2021 Mar 19. pii: molcanres.1040.2020. [Epub ahead of print]
      Amplification or activating mutations of c-Kit are a frequent oncogenic alteration that occurs commonly in acral and mucosal melanoma. Among c-Kit inhibitors, dasatinib is the most active due to its ability to bind both active and inactive conformations of the receptor. However, its use as a single agent in melanoma showed limited clinical benefit. We first found that sensitivity to dasatinib is restricted to melanoma cell lines harbouring c-Kit alteration but, unexpectedly, we observed lower effect at higher concentrations that can readily be found in patient blood. We then investigated relevant pathway alterations and found complete inhibition of MAPK and PI3K/AKT pathways but an increase in MITF and its downstream target Bcl-2 through CRTC3 pathway which turn on the CREB regulated transcription of MITF. More importantly, dasatinib up-regulates MITF and Bcl-2 through SIK2 inhibition revealed by CRTC3 reduced phosphorylation, CREB transcription activation of MITF, MITF transcription activation of Bcl-2 as well as pigmentation. Furthermore, overexpression of MITF renders melanoma cells resistant to all dasatinib concentrations. Selective Bcl-2 inhibition by ABT-199 or Bcl-2 knock out restores the sensitivity of melanoma cells to dasatinib, validating the involvement of MITF and Bcl-2 axis in the resistance of melanoma to dasatinib. In conclusion, we showed for the first time that, dasatinib in melanoma stimulate its proper mechanism of resistance, independently of MAPK and PI3K/AKT pathway reactivation commonly associated to secondary c-Kit mutations, but through CRTC3/MITF/Bcl-2 pathway activation at clinically relevant doses which may explain the weak clinical benefit of dasatinib in melanoma patients. Implications: Dasatinib stimulates its proper mechanism of resistance through CRTC3/MITF/Bcl-2 pathway which may explain its modest clinical efficiency in melanoma patients.
  21. J Clin Invest. 2021 Mar 15. pii: 143765. [Epub ahead of print]131(6):
      Treatment resistance leads to cancer patient mortality. Therapeutic approaches that employ synthetic lethality to target mutational vulnerabilities in key tumor cell signaling pathways have proven effective in overcoming therapeutic resistance in some cancers. Yet, tumors are organs composed of malignant cells residing within a cellular and noncellular stroma. Tumor evolution and resistance to anticancer treatment are mediated through a dynamic and reciprocal dialogue with the tumor microenvironment (TME). Accordingly, expanding tumor cell synthetic lethality to encompass contextual synthetic lethality has the potential to eradicate tumors by targeting critical TME circuits that promote tumor progression and therapeutic resistance. In this Review, we summarize current knowledge about the TME and discuss its role in treatment. We outline the concept of tumor cell-specific synthetic lethality and describe therapeutic approaches to expand this paradigm to leverage TME synthetic lethality to improve cancer therapy.
  22. Nat Commun. 2021 Mar 19. 12(1): 1716
      Cancer stem cells (CSCs) are a small but critical cell population for cancer biology since they display inherent resistance to standard therapies and give rise to metastases. Despite accruing evidence establishing a link between deregulation of epitranscriptome-related players and tumorigenic process, the role of messenger RNA (mRNA) modifications in the regulation of CSC properties remains poorly understood. Here, we show that the cytoplasmic pool of fat mass and obesity-associated protein (FTO) impedes CSC abilities in colorectal cancer through its N6,2'-O-dimethyladenosine (m6Am) demethylase activity. While m6Am is strategically located next to the m7G-mRNA cap, its biological function is not well understood and has not been addressed in cancer. Low FTO expression in patient-derived cell lines elevates m6Am level in mRNA which results in enhanced in vivo tumorigenicity and chemoresistance. Inhibition of the nuclear m6Am methyltransferase, PCIF1/CAPAM, fully reverses this phenotype, stressing the role of m6Am modification in stem-like properties acquisition. FTO-mediated regulation of m6Am marking constitutes a reversible pathway controlling CSC abilities. Altogether, our findings bring to light the first biological function of the m6Am modification and its potential adverse consequences for colorectal cancer management.
  23. Mol Cell Biol. 2021 Mar 15. pii: MCB.00517-20. [Epub ahead of print]
      Background: Exosomes are microvesicles secreted by body cells for intercellular communication. Circular RNA circ_0000338 was found to present in extracellular vesicles and improve the chemo-resistance of colorectal cancer (CRC) cells. However, the role of exosomal circ_0000338 in 5-Fluorouracil (5-FU)-resistance in CRC is largely unknown.Methods: The levels of circ_0000338, microRNA (miR)-217 and miR-485-3p were detected using the qRT-PCR. The IC50 values of cells to 5-FU, cell proliferation and apoptosis were evaluated using CCK-8, colony formation, flow cytometry and western blot assays. The interaction between miR-217 or miR-485-3p and circ_0000338 was confirmed by RIP, dual-luciferase reporter and pull-down assays. Exosomes were isolated by ultracentrifugation, and qualified by transmission electron microscopy (TEM), nanosight tracking analysis (NTA) and western blot. Xenograft models were performed to analyze whether circ_0000338 loaded exosomes could re-resist CRC cells to 5-FU in vivo Results: Circ_0000338 was elevated in 5-FU-resistant CRC tissues and cells, and circ_0000338 knockdown sensitized 5-FU-resistant CRC cells to 5-FU through enhancing apoptosis and decreasing proliferation in vitro Mechanistically, circ_0000338 directly bound to miR-217 and miR-485-3p, and the inhibition of miR-217 or miR-485-3p reversed the effects of circ_0000338 knockdown on cell 5-FU resistance in CRC. Additionally, extracellular circ_0000338 could be incorporated into secreted exosomes and transmitted to 5-FU-sensitive cells. Treatment-sensitive cells with exosomes containing circ_0000338 reduced 5-FU response in CRC both in vitro and in vivo Besides that, exosomal circ_0000338 was higher in patients exhibiting resistance to 5-FU, and showed well diagnostic efficiency in 5-FU resistant CRC.Conclusion: The delivery of circ_0000338 via exosomes enhanced 5-FU resistance in CRC through negative regulation of miR-217 and miR-485-3p, indicating a promising diagnostic and therapeutic marker for 5-FU-based chemotherapy in CRC patients.
  24. Oncogene. 2021 Mar 19.
      The survival rate in lung cancer remains stubbornly low and there is an urgent need for the identification of new therapeutic targets. In the last decade, several members of the SWI/SNF chromatin remodeling complexes have been described altered in different tumor types. Nevertheless, the precise mechanisms of their impact on cancer progression, as well as the application of this knowledge to cancer patient management are largely unknown. In this study, we performed targeted sequencing of a cohort of lung cancer patients on genes involved in chromatin structure. In addition, we studied at the protein level the expression of these genes in cancer samples and performed functional experiments to identify the molecular mechanisms linking alterations of chromatin remodeling genes and tumor development. Remarkably, we found that 20% of lung cancer patients show ARID2 protein loss, partially explained by the presence of ARID2 mutations. In addition, we showed that ARID2 deficiency provokes profound chromatin structural changes altering cell transcriptional programs, which bolsters the proliferative and metastatic potential of the cells both in vitro and in vivo. Moreover, we demonstrated that ARID2 deficiency impairs DNA repair, enhancing the sensitivity of the cells to DNA-damaging agents. Our findings support that ARID2 is a bona fide tumor suppressor gene in lung cancer that may be exploited therapeutically.
  25. Sci Adv. 2021 Mar;pii: eabf2283. [Epub ahead of print]7(12):
      Breast cancer frequently metastasizes to bone, causing osteolytic lesions. However, how factors secreted by primary tumors affect the bone microenvironment before the osteolytic phase of metastatic tumor growth remains unclear. Understanding these changes is critical as they may regulate metastatic dissemination and progression. To mimic premetastatic bone adaptation, immunocompromised mice were injected with MDA-MB-231-conditioned medium [tumor-conditioned media (TCM)]. Subsequently, the bones of these mice were subjected to multiscale, correlative analysis including RNA sequencing, histology, micro-computed tomography, x-ray scattering analysis, and Raman imaging. In contrast to overt metastasis causing osteolysis, TCM treatment induced new bone formation that was characterized by increased mineral apposition rate relative to control bones, altered bone quality with less matrix and more carbonate substitution, and the deposition of disoriented mineral near the growth plate. Our study suggests that breast cancer-secreted factors may promote perturbed bone growth before metastasis, which could affect initial seeding of tumor cells.
  26. Nat Cell Biol. 2021 Mar;23(3): 257-267
      The complexity of intracellular signalling requires both a diversity of molecular players and the sequestration of activity to unique compartments within the cell. Recent findings on the role of liquid-liquid phase separation provide a distinct mechanism for the spatial segregation of proteins to regulate signalling pathway crosstalk. Here, we discover that DACT1 is induced by TGFβ and forms protein condensates in the cytoplasm to repress Wnt signalling. These condensates do not localize to any known organelles but, rather, exist as phase-separated proteinaceous cytoplasmic bodies. The deletion of intrinsically disordered domains within the DACT1 protein eliminates its ability to both form protein condensates and suppress Wnt signalling. Isolation and mass spectrometry analysis of these particles revealed a complex of protein machinery that sequesters casein kinase 2-a Wnt pathway activator. We further demonstrate that DACT1 condensates are maintained in vivo and that DACT1 is critical to breast and prostate cancer bone metastasis.
  27. Trends Cancer. 2021 Mar 12. pii: S2405-8033(21)00045-5. [Epub ahead of print]
      Patients with extracranial tumors, like lung, breast, and skin cancers, often develop brain metastases (BM) during the course of their diseases and BM commonly represent the terminal stage of cancer progression. Recent insights in the immune biology of BM and the increasing focus of immunotherapy as a therapeutic option for cancer has prompted testing of promising biological immunotherapies, including immune cell-targeting, virotherapy, vaccines, and different cell-based therapies. Here, we review the pathobiology of BM progression and evaluate the potential of next-generation immunotherapies for BM tumors. We also provide future perspectives on the development and implementation of such therapies for brain metastatic cancer patients.
    Keywords:  CAR-T; brain; immunotherapy; metastases; oncolytic virus; stem cells