bims-instec Biomed News
on Intestinal stem cells and chemoresistance in colon cancer and intestinal regeneration
Issue of 2022‒01‒30
nine papers selected by
Maria-Virginia Giolito

  1. Oncogene. 2022 Jan 24.
      Local invasion is the initial step towards metastasis, the main cause of cancer mortality. In human colorectal cancer (CRC), malignant cells predominantly invade as cohesive collectives and may undergo partial epithelial-mesenchymal transition (pEMT) at the invasive front. How this particular mode of stromal infiltration is generated is unknown. Here we investigated the impact of oncogenic transformation and the microenvironment on tumor cell invasion using genetically engineered organoids as CRC models. We found that inactivation of the Apc tumor suppressor combined with expression of oncogenic KrasG12D and dominant-negative Trp53R172H did not cell-autonomously induce invasion in vitro. However, oncogenic transformation primed organoids for activation of a collective invasion program upon exposure to the prototypical microenvironmental factor TGFβ1. Execution of this program co-depended on a permissive extracellular matrix which was further actively remodeled by invading organoids. Although organoids shed some epithelial properties particularly at the invasive edge, TGFβ1-stimulated organoids largely maintained epithelial gene expression while additionally implementing a mesenchymal transcription pattern, resulting in a pEMT phenotype that did not progress to a fully mesenchymal state. Notably, while TGFβ1 induced pEMT and promoted collective invasion, it abrogated self-renewal capacity of TKA organoids which correlated with the downregulation of intestinal stem cell (ISC) marker genes. Mechanistically, induction of the non-progressive pEMT required canonical TGFβ signaling mediated by Smad transcription factors (TFs), whereas the EMT master regulators Snail1 and Zeb1 were dispensable. Gene expression profiling provided further evidence for pEMT of TGFβ1-treated organoids and showed that their transcriptomes resemble those of human poor prognosis CMS4 cancers which likewise exhibit pEMT features. We propose that collective invasion in colorectal carcinogenesis is triggered by microenvironmental stimuli through activation of a novel, transcription-mediated form of non-progressive pEMT independently of classical EMT regulators.
  2. Immunity. 2022 Jan 20. pii: S1074-7613(21)00552-5. [Epub ahead of print]
      The Th17 cell-lineage-defining cytokine IL-17A contributes to host defense and inflammatory disease by coordinating multicellular immune responses. The IL-17 receptor (IL-17RA) is expressed by diverse intestinal cell types, and therapies targeting IL-17A induce adverse intestinal events, suggesting additional tissue-specific functions. Here, we used multiple conditional deletion models to identify a role for IL-17A in secretory epithelial cell differentiation in the gut. Paneth, tuft, goblet, and enteroendocrine cell numbers were dependent on IL-17A-mediated induction of the transcription factor ATOH1 in Lgr5+ intestinal epithelial stem cells. Although dispensable at steady state, IL-17RA signaling in ATOH1+ cells was required to regenerate secretory cells following injury. Finally, IL-17A stimulation of human-derived intestinal organoids that were locked into a cystic immature state induced ATOH1 expression and rescued secretory cell differentiation. Our data suggest that the cross talk between immune cells and stem cells regulates secretory cell lineage commitment and the integrity of the mucosa.
    Keywords:  ATOH1; IL-17A; Lgr5; Th17; intestine; organoids; progenitor cells; secretory cell lineage; stem cell
  3. Cancer Lett. 2022 Jan 21. pii: S0304-3835(22)00002-7. [Epub ahead of print]
      The abnormal expression or mutation of the plant homeodomain finger protein 14 (PHF14), a recently discovered PHD finger protein, has been reported to link to a wide range of disorders, like the aetiology and pathophysiology of multiple malignancies. Its detailed biological functions, however, still remain unclear. Herein, we discovered that PHF14 expression is strongly associated with the gastrointestinal tumor grade and gastrointestinal disorders, especially colorectal cancer (CRC), with high PHF14 expressions indicating a poor prognosis. Additionally, the mutation rate of PHF14 in CRC patients accounts for a striking proportion of 18%. PHF14 is also implicated in the expression of several oncogenes. In vitro, PHF14 was significantly expressed in patient tissues and in various CRC cell lines, and its expression was closely associated with cell proliferation and growth. Knockdown of PHF14 mediated severe DNA damage and activation of the ATR-CHK1-H2A.X pathway, leading to apoptosis. Strikingly, PHF14 interacted with KIF4A and contributes to the formation of BRCA2/Rad51 foci, indicating that PHF14 is a newly discovered factor that may participate in the formation and recruitment of DNA damage response complexes. These impairments, however, could be alleviated by restoring PHF14 expression. Importantly, inhibiting PHF14 expression in CRC cells might reduce carcinogenesis in vivo. In conclusion, PHF14 is necessary for CRC cell proliferation and growth, and therefore, it might be used as a novel biomarker and therapeutic target for the disease.
    Keywords:  Apoptosis; Colorectal cancer; DNA damage repair complex; Plant homeodomain finger 14
  4. Front Surg. 2021 ;8 790380
      Objective: It has been shown that LIM-domain-binding protein 1 (LDB1) is involved in the tumorigenesis of several cancers, but its function in colorectal cancer (CRC) has not been fully explained. This study is aimed to investigate whether LDB1 is involved in regulating the cell growth and drug sensitivity of CRC. Methods: To analyze the protein expression of LDB1 in CRC tissues, western blot was used. KM plotter and UALCAN databases were used to predict the prognosis of CRC patients with low or high LDB1 expression. To do the correlation analysis in CRC tissues, GEPIA database was used. CCK-8 assay and xenograft models were used to evaluate the effects of LDB1 in CRC cell growth. An oxaliplatin-resistant cell line was constructed to evaluate the effect of LDB1 in drug sensitivity of CRC cells. Results: Our current research confirmed that LDB1 was upregulated in CRC tumor tissues, and its elevation predicted a poor prognosis for CRC patients. LDB1 was also found positively correlated with CCNA1, BCL2 and BCLW, but negatively correlated with the pro-apoptotic signals (BID, BAX and BAK). Silence of LDB1 significantly inhibited CRC cell growth in vitro, and CRC cells with low expression of LDB1 had a lower tumorigenesis rate in tumor-bearing nude mice. Our experiments also showed that LDB1 silence enhanced the anti-tumor activity of oxaliplatin in CRC cells. The expression of LDB1 was also found increased in oxaliplatin-resistant CRC cell lines, and silence of LDB1 partly restored the antitumor effect of oxaliplatin in an oxaliplatin-resistant CRC cell line. Conclusion: Our current results revealed the roles of LDB1 in the growth and drug resistance of CRC cells, and may provide the new theoretical support for LDB1 as a potential target for the treatment of CRC in the future.
    Keywords:  LIM-domain-binding protein 1; cell growth; colorectal cancer; drug sensitivity; oxaliplatin
  5. Ther Adv Med Oncol. 2022 ;14 17588359211068737
      Background: FOLFIRI [irinotecan, folinic acid (CF), and fluorouracil] is considered a standard second-line chemotherapy regimen for patients with metastatic colorectal cancer (mCRC) who failed first-line XELOX/FOLFOX regimens. However, it remains unknown whether fluorouracil is still necessary in this case. This trial was designed to test the superiority of FOLFIRI over single-agent irinotecan as a second-line treatment for patients with mCRC.Methods: This randomized clinical trial was conducted in five hospitals in China. From 4 November 2016 to 17 January 2020, patients aged 18 years or older with histologically confirmed unresectable mCRC and who had failed first-line XELOX/FOLFOX regimens were screened and enrolled. Patients were randomized to receive either FOLFIRI or irinotecan. The primary endpoint was progression-free survival (PFS). Secondary endpoints included overall survival (OS), objective response rate (ORR), and toxicity. Data were analyzed on an intention-to-treat basis.
    Results: A total of 172 patients with mCRC were randomly treated with FOLFIRI (n = 88) or irinotecan (n = 84). The median PFS was 104 and 112 days (3.5 and 3.7 months) in the FOLFIRI and irinotecan groups, respectively [hazard ratio (HR) = 1.084, 95% confidence interval (CI) = 0.7911-1.485; p = 0.6094], and there was also no significant difference in OS and ORR between the two groups. The incidence of the following adverse events (AEs) was significantly higher in the FOLFIRI group than in the irinotecan group: any grade AEs including leucopenia (73.9% versus 55.4%), neutropenia (72.7% versus 56.6%), thrombocytopenia (31.8% versus 18.1%), jaundice (18.2% versus 7.2%), mucositis (40.9% versus 14.5%), vomiting (37.5% versus 21.7%), and fever (19.3% versus 7.2%) and grade 3-4 neutropenia (47.7% versus 21.7%).
    Conclusion: This is the first head-to-head trial showing that single-agent irinotecan yielded PFS, OS, and ORR similar to FOLFIRI, with a more favorable toxicity profile; therefore, it might be a more favorable standard chemotherapy regimen for mCRC patients who failed first-line XELOX/FOLFOX regimens.
    Trial registration: This study is registered with, number NCT02935764, registered 17 October 2016,
    Keywords:  FOLFIRI; chemotherapy; irinotecan; metastatic colorectal cancer
  6. J Gastrointest Oncol. 2021 Dec;12(6): 2823-2837
      Background: Colorectal cancer (CRC) is one of the deadliest cancers worldwide. It is the fourth most deadly cancer in the world with nearly 900,000 people die every year, the progression of polyps into cancer as one of its most common developmental pathways.Methods: This study obtained gene chip data collections from the Gene Expression Omnibus for colorectal adenoma (GSE8671) and colorectal cancer (GSE32323). Differentially expressed genes (DEGs) in normal tissue and different stages of CRC were analyzed for clustering, comparison, and visualization using R software. The Cytoscape plugin DyNetViewer was used to construct a dynamic protein-protein interaction network. Subsequently, through the Database for Annotation, Visualization and Integrated Discovery, the DEGs were functionally annotated and path enriched.
    Results: Our study found that the matrix metalloprotein family and chemokines were the key regulatory genes that drove CRC progression. The Wnt signaling pathway, chemokine signaling pathway, and CRC pathway were the pathological pathways for CRC. Maintenance played an important role in this process. In addition, the related nodes and pathways at various stages may be potential mechanisms for promoting dynamic CRC progression.
    Conclusions: Our study provides a better understanding of the dynamic pattern of molecular interaction networks during CRC progression and provides relevant markers for more accurate screening of cancer in polyps.
    Keywords:  Bioinformatics; colorectal cancer (CRC); dynamic molecular network; polyps; screening
  7. Mol Cancer Res. 2022 Jan 26. pii: molcanres.MCR-21-0628-A.2021. [Epub ahead of print]
      HIPK2 is an evolutionary conserved kinase that has gained attention as a fine tuner of multiple signaling pathways, among which those commonly altered in colorectal cancer (CRC). The aim of this study was to evaluate the relationship of HIPK2 expression with progression markers and mutational pattern and gain insights into the contribution of HIPK2 activity in CRC. We evaluated a retrospective cohort of CRC samples by immunohistochemistry for HIPK2 expression and by NGS for the detection of mutations of cancer associated genes. We show that the percentage of HIPK2 positive cells increases with tumor progression, significantly correlates with TNM staging and associates with a worse outcome. In addition, we observed that high HIPK2 expression significantly associates with KRAS mutations but not with other cancer related genes. Functional characterization of the link between HIPK2 and KRAS show that activation of the RAS pathway either due to KRAS mutation or via upstream receptor stimulation, increases HIPK2 expression at the protein level. Of note, HIPK2 physically participates in the active RAS complex while HIPK2 depletion impairs ERK phosphorylation and the growth of tumors derived from KRAS mutated CRC cells. Overall, this study identifies HIPK2 as a prognostic biomarker candidate in CRC patients and underscores a previously unknown functional link between HIPK2 and the KRAS signaling pathway. Implications: Our data indicate HIPK2 as a new player in the complex picture of the KRAS signaling network, providing rationales for future clinical studies and new treatment strategies for KRAS mutated CRC.
  8. J Cancer. 2022 ;13(2): 373-384
      Loss of ARID1A, a tumor suppressor gene, is associated with the higher grade of colorectal cancer (CRC). However, molecular and cellular mechanisms underlying the progression and aggressiveness of CRC induced by the loss of ARID1A remain poorly understood. Herein, we evaluated cellular mechanisms underlying the effects of ARID1A knockdown on the carcinogenesis features and aggressiveness of CRC cells. A human CRC cell line (Caco-2) was transfected with small interfering RNA (siRNA) specific to ARID1A (siARID1A) or scrambled (non-specific) siRNA (siControl). Cell death, proliferation, senescence, chemoresistance and invasion were then evaluated. In addition, formation of polyploid giant cancer cells (PGCCs), self-aggregation (multicellular spheroid) and secretion of an angiogenic factor, vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF), were examined. The results showed that ARID1A knockdown led to significant decreases in cell death and senescence. On the other hand, ARID1A knockdown enhanced cell proliferation, chemoresistance and invasion. The siARID1A-transfected cells also had greater number of PGCCs and larger spheroid size and secreted greater level of VEGF compared with the siControl-transfected cells. These data, at least in part, explain the cellular mechanisms of ARID1A deficiency in carcinogenesis and aggressiveness features of CRC.
    Keywords:  Chemoresistance; Colorectal cancer; Invasion; Proliferation; Spheroid; VEGF
  9. PLoS Biol. 2022 Jan 27. 20(1): e3001532
      Chronic inflammation is often associated with the development of tissue fibrosis, but how mesenchymal cell responses dictate pathological fibrosis versus resolution and healing remains unclear. Defining stromal heterogeneity and identifying molecular circuits driving extracellular matrix deposition and remodeling stands to illuminate the relationship between inflammation, fibrosis, and healing. We performed single-cell RNA-sequencing of colon-derived stromal cells and identified distinct classes of fibroblasts with gene signatures that are differentially regulated by chronic inflammation, including IL-11-producing inflammatory fibroblasts. We further identify a transcriptional program associated with trans-differentiation of mucosa-associated fibroblasts and define a functional gene signature associated with matrix deposition and remodeling in the inflamed colon. Our analysis supports a critical role for the metalloprotease Adamdec1 at the interface between tissue remodeling and healing during colitis, demonstrating its requirement for colon epithelial integrity. These findings provide mechanistic insight into how inflammation perturbs stromal cell behaviors to drive fibroblastic responses controlling mucosal matrix remodeling and healing.