bims-cagime Biomed News
on Cancer, aging and metabolism
Issue of 2022‒05‒29
twenty papers selected by
Kıvanç Görgülü
Technical University of Munich

  1. Trends Cancer. 2022 May 23. pii: S2405-8033(22)00094-2. [Epub ahead of print]
      Cancer cells are plastic - they can assume a wide range of distinct phenotypes. Plasticity is integral to cancer initiation and progression, as well as to the emergence and maintenance of intratumoral heterogeneity. Furthermore, plastic cells can rapidly adapt to and evade therapy, which poses a challenge for effective cancer treatment. As such, targeting plasticity in cancer holds tremendous promise. Yet, the principles governing plasticity in cancer cells remain poorly understood. Here, we provide an overview of the fundamental molecular and cellular mechanisms that underlie plasticity in cancer and in other biological contexts, including development and regeneration. We propose a key role for high-plasticity cell states (HPCSs) as crucial nodes for cell state transitions and enablers of intra-tumoral heterogeneity.
    Keywords:  cancer therapy; cell state transition; differentiation; intratumoral heterogeneity; plasticity; tumor evolution
  2. Cells. 2022 May 11. pii: 1607. [Epub ahead of print]11(10):
      Skeletal muscle wasting critically impairs the survival and quality of life in patients with pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC). To identify the local factors initiating muscle wasting, we studied inflammation, fiber cross-sectional area (CSA), composition, amino acid metabolism and capillarization, as well as the integrity of neuromuscular junctions (NMJ, pre-/postsynaptic co-staining) and mitochondria (electron microscopy) in the hindlimb muscle of LSL-KrasG12D/+; LSL-TrP53R172H/+; Pdx1-Cre mice with intraepithelial-neoplasia (PanIN) 1-3 and PDAC, compared to wild-type mice (WT). Significant decreases in fiber CSA occurred with PDAC but not with PanIN 1-3, compared to WT: These were found in the gastrocnemius (type 2x: -20.0%) and soleus (type 2a: -21.0%, type 1: -14.2%) muscle with accentuation in the male soleus (type 2a: -24.8%, type 1: -17.4%) and female gastrocnemius muscle (-29.6%). Significantly higher densities of endomysial CD68+ and cyclooxygenase-2+ (COX2+) cells were detected in mice with PDAC, compared to WT mice. Surprisingly, CD68+ and COX2+ cell densities were also higher in mice with PanIN 1-3 in both muscles. Significant positive correlations existed between muscular and hepatic CD68+ or COX2+ cell densities. Moreover, in the gastrocnemius muscle, suppressor-of-cytokine-3 (SOCS3) expressions was upregulated >2.7-fold with PanIN 1A-3 and PDAC. The intracellular pools of proteinogenic amino acids and glutathione significantly increased with PanIN 1A-3 compared to WT. Capillarization, NMJ, and mitochondrial ultrastructure remained unchanged with PanIN or PDAC. In conclusion, the onset of fiber atrophy coincides with the manifestation of PDAC and high-grade local (and hepatic) inflammatory infiltration without compromised microcirculation, innervation or mitochondria. Surprisingly, muscular and hepatic inflammation, SOCS3 upregulation and (proteolytic) increases in free amino acids and glutathione were already detectable in mice with precancerous PanINs. Studies of initial local triggers and defense mechanisms regarding cachexia are warranted for targeted anti-inflammatory prevention.
    Keywords:  cancer cachexia; cytokines; gastrointestinal cancer; muscle atrophy; sarcopenia; weight loss
  3. Nat Rev Cancer. 2022 May 25.
      Cancer cells acquire distinct metabolic preferences based on their tissue of origin, genetic alterations and degree of interaction with systemic hormones and metabolites. These adaptations support the increased nutrient demand required for increased growth and proliferation. Diet is the major source of nutrients for tumours, yet dietary interventions lack robust evidence and are rarely prescribed by clinicians for the treatment of cancer. Well-controlled diet studies in patients with cancer are rare, and existing studies have been limited by nonspecific enrolment criteria that inappropriately grouped together subjects with disparate tumour and host metabolic profiles. This imprecision may have masked the efficacy of the intervention for appropriate candidates. Here, we review the metabolic alterations and key vulnerabilities that occur across multiple types of cancer. We describe how these vulnerabilities could potentially be targeted using dietary therapies including energy or macronutrient restriction and intermittent fasting regimens. We also discuss recent trials that highlight how dietary strategies may be combined with pharmacological therapies to treat some cancers, potentially ushering a path towards precision nutrition for cancer.
  4. Gut. 2022 May 27. pii: gutjnl-2021-325117. [Epub ahead of print]
      OBJECTIVE: Pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC) is an aggressive disease with limited therapeutic options. However, metabolic adaptation to the harsh PDAC environment can expose liabilities useful for therapy. Targeting the key metabolic regulator mechanistic target of rapamycin complex 1 (mTORC1) and its downstream pathway shows efficacy only in subsets of patients but gene modifiers maximising response remain to be identified.DESIGN: Three independent cohorts of PDAC patients were studied to correlate PI3K-C2γ protein abundance with disease outcome. Mechanisms were then studied in mouse (KPC mice) and cellular models of PDAC, in presence or absence of PI3K-C2γ (WT or KO). PI3K-C2γ-dependent metabolic rewiring and its impact on mTORC1 regulation were assessed in conditions of limiting glutamine availability. Finally, effects of a combination therapy targeting mTORC1 and glutamine metabolism were studied in WT and KO PDAC cells and preclinical models.
    RESULTS: PI3K-C2γ expression was reduced in about 30% of PDAC cases and was associated with an aggressive phenotype. Similarly, loss of PI3K-C2γ in KPC mice enhanced tumour development and progression. The increased aggressiveness of tumours lacking PI3K-C2γ correlated with hyperactivation of mTORC1 pathway and glutamine metabolism rewiring to support lipid synthesis. PI3K-C2γ-KO tumours failed to adapt to metabolic stress induced by glutamine depletion, resulting in cell death.
    CONCLUSION: Loss of PI3K-C2γ prevents mTOR inactivation and triggers tumour vulnerability to RAD001 (mTOR inhibitor) and BPTES/CB-839 (glutaminase inhibitors). Therefore, these results might open the way to personalised treatments in PDAC with PI3K-C2γ loss.
  5. Commun Biol. 2022 May 27. 5(1): 509
      Pancreatic stellate cells (PSCs) are resident cells in the exocrine pancreas which contribute to pancreatic fibrogenesis and inflammation. Studies on NF-κB in pancreatitis so far focused mainly on the parenchymal and myeloid compartments. Here we show a protective immunomodulatory function of NF-κB in PSCs. Conditional deletion of NEMO (IKKγ) in PSCs leads to spontaneous pancreatitis with elevated circulating IgM, IgG and antinuclear autoantibodies (ANA) within 18 weeks. When further challenged with caerulein, NEMOΔCol1a2 mice show an exacerbated autoimmune phenotype characterized by increased infiltration of eosinophils, B and T lymphocytes with reduced latency period. Transcriptomic profiling shows that NEMOΔCol1a2 mice display molecular signatures resembling autoimmune pancreatitis patients. Mechanistically, we show that PSCΔNEMO cells produce high levels of CCL24 ex vivo which contributes to eosinophil recruitment, as neutralization with a CCL24 antibody abolishes the transwell migration of eosinophils. Our findings uncover an unexpected immunomodulatory role specifically of NF-κB in PSCs during pancreatitis.
  6. Curr Biol. 2022 May 23. pii: S0960-9822(22)00568-1. [Epub ahead of print]32(10): R448-R452
      Cellular senescence defines a state of stable and generally irreversible proliferative arrest associated with various morphological, structural and functional changes (Figure 1), including enhanced expression and secretion of pro-inflammatory and tissue-remodelling mediators. This state is crucial in tissue physiology and pathology and arises as a response to potentially damaging stress signals. Whether the activation of a senescence state provides benefits or detriments for tissue function and homeostasis is strictly dependent on the context. Cell senescence acts as a potent tumour-suppressive mechanism limiting the proliferation of cells at risk of malignant transformation and supports the repair of acute tissue damage, but also represents a key driver of ageing and age-related diseases.
  7. Dev Cell. 2022 May 15. pii: S1534-5807(22)00306-9. [Epub ahead of print]
      The changes that drive differentiation facilitate the emergence of abnormal cells that need to be removed before they contribute to further development or the germline. Consequently, in mice in the lead-up to gastrulation, ∼35% of embryonic cells are eliminated. This elimination is caused by hypersensitivity to apoptosis, but how it is regulated is poorly understood. Here, we show that upon exit of naive pluripotency, mouse embryonic stem cells lower their mitochondrial apoptotic threshold, and this increases their sensitivity to cell death. We demonstrate that this enhanced apoptotic response is induced by a decrease in mitochondrial fission due to a reduction in the activity of dynamin-related protein 1 (DRP1). Furthermore, we show that in naive pluripotent cells, DRP1 prevents apoptosis by promoting mitophagy. In contrast, during differentiation, reduced mitophagy levels facilitate apoptosis. Together, these results indicate that during early mammalian development, DRP1 regulation of mitophagy determines the apoptotic response.
    Keywords:  apoptosis; early development; embryonic stem cell differentiation; mitochondrial dynamics; mitophagy; pluripotency
  8. Nature. 2022 May 25.
      Mitochondria are epicentres of eukaryotic metabolism and bioenergetics. Pioneering efforts in recent decades have established the core protein componentry of these organelles1 and have linked their dysfunction to more than 150 distinct disorders2,3. Still, hundreds of mitochondrial proteins lack clear functions4, and the underlying genetic basis for approximately 40% of mitochondrial disorders remains unresolved5. Here, to establish a more complete functional compendium of human mitochondrial proteins, we profiled more than 200 CRISPR-mediated HAP1 cell knockout lines using mass spectrometry-based multiomics analyses. This effort generated approximately 8.3 million distinct biomolecule measurements, providing a deep survey of the cellular responses to mitochondrial perturbations and laying a foundation for mechanistic investigations into protein function. Guided by these data, we discovered that PIGY upstream open reading frame (PYURF) is an S-adenosylmethionine-dependent methyltransferase chaperone that supports both complex I assembly and coenzyme Q biosynthesis and is disrupted in a previously unresolved multisystemic mitochondrial disorder. We further linked the putative zinc transporter SLC30A9 to mitochondrial ribosomes and OxPhos integrity and established RAB5IF as the second gene harbouring pathogenic variants that cause cerebrofaciothoracic dysplasia. Our data, which can be explored through the interactive online resource, suggest biological roles for many other orphan mitochondrial proteins that still lack robust functional characterization and define a rich cell signature of mitochondrial dysfunction that can support the genetic diagnosis of mitochondrial diseases.
  9. Trends Mol Med. 2022 May 24. pii: S1471-4914(22)00111-3. [Epub ahead of print]
      Extracellular vesicles (EVs) are actively shed into the circulation from both cancer and host cells. EVs are emerging as one of the diagnostic frontrunners for early cancer detection, disease monitoring, and treatment evaluation. The advantages of EVs rely on the fact that vesicles are being shed by dividing tumor cells, with indications that human and viral oncogenes, cellular metabolic rate, and tumor characteristics such as pH and hypoxia contribute to the high shed rates in cancer. In this review, we provide an overview of EVs and the rationale for using them for early cancer detection. We examine emerging technologies for single EV analysis (sEVA) and why these technologies will be necessary for early cancer detection.
    Keywords:  cancer; early detection; exosome; extracellular vesicle
  10. Clin Cancer Res. 2022 May 26. pii: clincanres.1083.2022. [Epub ahead of print]
      The patient-derived organoids (PDOs) platform recapitulates the phenotype, genotype, and molecular characteristics of primary tumors. High-throughput drug screening in terms of pharmacotyping using standard of care chemotherapy agents in the PDOs platform has shown promising sensitivities to guide precision medicine for individual PDAC patients within a clinically relevant time frame.
  11. Nature. 2022 May 25.
      Only a small proportion of patients with cancer show lasting responses to immune checkpoint blockade (ICB)-based monotherapies. The RNA-editing enzyme ADAR1 is an emerging determinant of resistance to ICB therapy and prevents ICB responsiveness by repressing immunogenic double-stranded RNAs (dsRNAs), such as those arising from the dysregulated expression of endogenous retroviral elements (EREs)1-4. These dsRNAs trigger an interferon-dependent antitumour response by activating A-form dsRNA (A-RNA)-sensing proteins such as MDA-5 and PKR5. Here we show that ADAR1 also prevents the accrual of endogenous Z-form dsRNA elements (Z-RNAs), which were enriched in the 3' untranslated regions of interferon-stimulated mRNAs. Depletion or mutation of ADAR1 resulted in Z-RNA accumulation and activation of the Z-RNA sensor ZBP1, which culminated in RIPK3-mediated necroptosis. As no clinically viable ADAR1 inhibitors currently exist, we searched for a compound that can override the requirement for ADAR1 inhibition and directly activate ZBP1. We identified a small molecule, the curaxin CBL0137, which potently activates ZBP1 by triggering Z-DNA formation in cells. CBL0137 induced ZBP1-dependent necroptosis in cancer-associated fibroblasts and reversed ICB unresponsiveness in mouse models of melanoma. Collectively, these results demonstrate that ADAR1 represses endogenous Z-RNAs and identifies ZBP1-mediated necroptosis as a new determinant of tumour immunogenicity masked by ADAR1. Therapeutic activation of ZBP1-induced necroptosis provides a readily translatable avenue for rekindling the immune responsiveness of ICB-resistant human cancers.
  12. Trends Cancer. 2022 May 19. pii: S2405-8033(22)00093-0. [Epub ahead of print]
      The mammalian cell cycle has been extensively studied regarding cancer etiology, progression, and therapeutic intervention. The canonical cell cycle framework is supported by a plethora of data pointing to a relatively simple linear pathway in which mitogenic signals are integrated in a stepwise fashion to allow progression through G1/S with coordinate actions of cyclin-dependent kinases (CDK)4/6 and CDK2 on the RB tumor suppressor. Recent work on adaptive mechanisms and intrinsic heterogeneous dependencies indicates that G1/S control of the cell cycle is a variable signaling pathway rather than an invariant engine that drives cell division. These alterations can limit the effectiveness of pharmaceutical agents but provide new avenues for therapeutic interventions. These findings support a dystopian view of the cell cycle in cancer where the canonical utopian cell cycle is often not observed. However, recognizing the extent of cell cycle heterogeneity likely creates new opportunities for precision therapeutic approaches specifically targeting these states.
    Keywords:  CDK4; CDK6; CHK1; RB; abemaciclib; ambra1; aurora kinase; cyclin D1; cyclin E; p16(INK4A); p27(KIP1); palbociclib
  13. Anticancer Agents Med Chem. 2022 May 19.
      Tumour relapse, chemotherapy resistance, and metastasis continue to be unsolved issues in cancer therapy. A recent approach has been to scrutinise drugs used in the clinic for other illnesses and modify their structure to increase selectivity to cancer cells. Chloroquine (CQ) and hydroxychloroquine (HCQ), known antimalarials, have successfully treated autoimmune and neoplastic diseases. CQ and HCQ, well-known lysosomotropic agents, induce apoptosis, downregulate autophagy, and modify the tumour microenvironment. Moreover, they affect the Toll 9 / NF-κB receptor pathway, activate stress response pathways, enhance p53 activity and CXCR4-CXCL12 expression in cancer cells, which would help explain their effects in cancer treatment. These compounds can normalise the tumour-associated vasculature, promote the activation of the immune system, change the phenotype of tumour-associated macrophages (from M2 to M1), and stimulate cancer-associated fibroblasts. We aim to review the historical aspects of CQ and its derivatives and the most relevant mechanisms that support the therapeutic use of CQ and HCQ for the treatment of cancer.
    Keywords:  Repurposing Drugs in Oncology; apoptosis; chemotherapy; chloroquine; hydroxychloroquine; metastasis; non-small cell lung cancer
  14. Nature. 2022 May 25.
      Nerve injury leads to chronic pain and exaggerated sensitivity to gentle touch (allodynia) as well as a loss of sensation in the areas in which injured and non-injured nerves come together1-3. The mechanisms that disambiguate these mixed and paradoxical symptoms are unknown. Here we longitudinally and non-invasively imaged genetically labelled populations of fibres that sense noxious stimuli (nociceptors) and gentle touch (low-threshold afferents) peripherally in the skin for longer than 10 months after nerve injury, while simultaneously tracking pain-related behaviour in the same mice. Fully denervated areas of skin initially lost sensation, gradually recovered normal sensitivity and developed marked allodynia and aversion to gentle touch several months after injury. This reinnervation-induced neuropathic pain involved nociceptors that sprouted into denervated territories precisely reproducing the initial pattern of innervation, were guided by blood vessels and showed irregular terminal connectivity in the skin and lowered activation thresholds mimicking low-threshold afferents. By contrast, low-threshold afferents-which normally mediate touch sensation as well as allodynia in intact nerve territories after injury4-7-did not reinnervate, leading to an aberrant innervation of tactile end organs such as Meissner corpuscles with nociceptors alone. Genetic ablation of nociceptors fully abrogated reinnervation allodynia. Our results thus reveal the emergence of a form of chronic neuropathic pain that is driven by structural plasticity, abnormal terminal connectivity and malfunction of nociceptors during reinnervation, and provide a mechanistic framework for the paradoxical sensory manifestations that are observed clinically and can impose a heavy burden on patients.
  15. Am J Physiol Cell Physiol. 2022 May 25.
      Ferroptosis is a form of regulated cell death characterized by the accumulation of lipid peroxides in an iron-dependent manner. Ferroptotic cell death is modulated by many metabolic pathways, such as pathways governing the metabolism of sugars, lipids, amino acids, and iron, as well as mitochondrial activity and redox homeostasis. Tumor metastasis and therapy resistance are the main obstacles to curing cancers. Because tumor cells usually exhibit higher iron dependence than normal cells, they may be more susceptible to ferroptosis despite being resistant to other forms of cell death. Moreover, recent evidence has suggested that ferroptosis is involved in tumor-host interactions, modulates the tumor microenvironment, and serves as an anti-metastatic mechanism. Thus, inducing ferroptosis in tumor cells has the potential to improve cancer treatment. Here, we review ferroptosis-regulating mechanisms and the roles of ferroptosis in malignant progression, including the tumor-host interactions, metastasis, and cancer therapy response.
    Keywords:  Ferroptosis; Metastasis; Therapy response; Tumor-host interactions
  16. Cancers (Basel). 2022 May 17. pii: 2471. [Epub ahead of print]14(10):
      In the eighth edition of the TNM classification for pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC), stages T1 to T3 are defined by tumour size, size measurement being deemed objective and accurate. This study investigated whether various, currently used approaches to tumour measurement result in different tumour sizes and differences in T-stage assignment. In a series of 315 resected PDAC, tumour sizes were measured as follows: macroscopically in a single or in two perpendicular planes and with or without microscopic corroboration. Comparison of the resulting tumour sizes showed that both macroscopic measurement in two planes and microscopic corroboration gave significantly different results (p < 0.001). Compared to the most simple approach (macroscopic measurement in one plane), the comprehensive approach (macroscopic measurement in two planes with microscopic corroboration) resulted in a larger tumour size in 263 (83%) cases (mean absolute size difference: 10 mm; mean relative size change: 36%). T-stage assignment differed in 142 (45%) cases between the simple and comprehensive approach and affected 87%, 38% and 48% of the cases deemed to be stage T1, T2 and T3, respectively. In conclusion, tumour size and T-stage are highly approach-dependent. Consensus on an accurate method is required to ensure comparability of these basic data.
    Keywords:  T-stage; pancreatic cancer; pathology; tumour size
  17. Methods Mol Biol. 2022 ;2456 123-140
      Over the recent years, mass spectrometry (MS)-based proteomics has undergone dramatic advances in sample preparation, instrumentation, and computational methods. Here, we describe in detail, how a workflow quantifies global protein phosphorylation in pancreatic islets and characterizes intracellular organelle composition on protein level by MS-based proteomics.
    Keywords:  Mass spectrometry-based phosphoproteomics; Organelles; Pancreatic islets; Protein correlation profiling
  18. Methods Mol Biol. 2022 ;2399 123-149
      Mitochondrial respiratory chain (RC) transforms the reductive power of NADH or FADH2 oxidation into a proton gradient between the matrix and cytosolic sides of the inner mitochondrial membrane, that ATP synthase uses to generate ATP. This process constitutes a bridge between carbohydrates' central metabolism and ATP-consuming cellular functions. Moreover, the RC is responsible for a large part of reactive oxygen species (ROS) generation that play signaling and oxidizing roles in cells. Mathematical methods and computational analysis are required to understand and predict the possible behavior of this metabolic system. Here we propose a software tool that helps to analyze individual steps of respiratory electron transport in their dynamics, thus deepening understanding of the mechanism of energy transformation and ROS generation in the RC. This software's core is a kinetic model of the RC represented by a system of ordinary differential equations (ODEs). This model enables the analysis of complex dynamic behavior of the RC, including multistationarity and oscillations. The proposed RC modeling method can be applied to study respiration and ROS generation in various organisms and naturally extended to explore carbohydrates' metabolism and linked metabolic processes.
    Keywords:  Central energetic metabolism; Electron transport chain; Kinetic model; Ordinary differential equations; ROS generation; Reactive oxygen species; Respiratory chain; Respiratory complexes
  19. Br J Cancer. 2022 May 24.
      BACKGROUND: Outcomes after metastasectomy for metastatic colorectal cancer (mCRC) vary with RAS and BRAF mutational status, but their effects on resectability and conversion rates have not been extensively studied.METHODS: This substudy of the prospective RAXO trial included 906 patients recruited between 2011 and 2018. We evaluated repeated centralised resectability assessment, conversion/resection rates and overall survival (OS), according to RAS and BRAF status.
    RESULTS: Patients included 289 with RAS and BRAF wild-type (RAS and BRAFwt), 529 with RAS mutated (RASmt) and 88 with BRAF mutated (BRAFmt) mCRC. Metastatic prevalence varied between the RAS and BRAFwt/RASmt/BRAFmt groups, for liver (78%/74%/61%), lung (24%/35%/28%) and peritoneal (15%/15%/32%) metastases, respectively. Upfront resectability (32%/29%/15%), conversion (16%/13%/7%) and resection/local ablative therapy (LAT) rates (45%/37%/17%) varied for RASa and BRAFwt/RASmt/BRAFmt, respectively. Median OS for patients treated with resection/LAT (n = 342) was 83/69/30 months, with 5-year OS-rates of 67%/60%/24%, while systemic therapy-only patients (n = 564) had OS of 29/21/15 months with 5-year OS-rates of 11%/6%/2% in RAS and BRAFwt/RASmt/BRAFmt, respectively. Resection/LAT was associated with improved OS in all subgroups.
    CONCLUSIONS: There were significant differences in resectability, conversion and resection/LAT rates according to RAS and BRAF status. OS was also significantly longer for RAS and BRAFwt versus either mutant. Patients only receiving systemic therapy had poorer long-term survival, with variation according to molecular status.
    CLINICAL TRIAL REGISTRATION: NCT01531621/EudraCT2011-003158-24.
  20. Nat Biomed Eng. 2022 May;6(5): 527-540
      In oncology, technologies for clinical molecular imaging are used to diagnose patients, establish the efficacy of treatments and monitor the recurrence of disease. Multiplexed methods increase the number of disease-specific biomarkers that can be detected simultaneously, such as the overexpression of oncogenic proteins, aberrant metabolite uptake and anomalous blood perfusion. The quantitative localization of each biomarker could considerably increase the specificity and the accuracy of technologies for clinical molecular imaging to facilitate granular diagnoses, patient stratification and earlier assessments of the responses to administered therapeutics. In this Review, we discuss established techniques for multiplexed imaging and the most promising emerging multiplexing technologies applied to the imaging of isolated tissues and cells and to non-invasive whole-body imaging. We also highlight advances in radiology that have been made possible by multiplexed imaging.