bims-instec Biomed News
on Intestinal stem cells and chemoresistance in colon cancer and intestinal regeneration
Issue of 2022‒10‒16
27 papers selected by
Maria-Virginia Giolito
Free University of Brussels

  1. Cancer Res. 2022 Oct 11. pii: CAN-22-1247. [Epub ahead of print]
      Growth and metastasis of colorectal cancer (CRC) is closely connected to the biosynthetic capacity of tumor cells, and CRC stem cells that reside at the top of the intratumoral hierarchy are especially dependent on this feature. By performing disease modeling on patient-derived tumor organoids, we found that elevated expression of the ribosome biogenesis factor NLE1 occurs upon SMAD4 loss in TGF-β1-exposed CRC organoids. TGF-β signaling-mediated downregulation of NLE1 was prevented by ectopic expression of c-MYC, which occupied an E-box-containing region within the NLE1 promoter. Elevated levels of NLE1 were found in CRC cohorts compared to normal tissues and in CRC subtypes characterized by Wnt/MYC and intestinal stem cell gene expression. In CRC cells and organoids, NLE1 was limiting for de novo protein biosynthesis. Upon NLE1 ablation, CRC cell lines activated p38/MAPK signaling, accumulated p62 and LC3-positive structures indicative of impaired autophagy, and displayed more reactive oxygen species. Phenotypically, knockout of NLE1 inhibited proliferation, migration and invasion, clonogenicity, and anchorage-independent growth. NLE1 loss also increased the fraction of apoptotic tumor cells, and deletion of TP53 further sensitized NLE1-deficient CRC cells to apoptosis. In an endoscopy-guided orthotopic mouse transplantation model, ablation of NLE1 impaired tumor growth in the colon and reduced primary tumor-derived liver metastasis. In CRC patients, NLE1 mRNA levels predicted overall and relapse-free survival. Taken together, these data reveal a critical role of NLE1 in CRC growth and progression and suggest that NLE1 represents a potential therapeutic target in CRC patients.
  2. Sci Adv. 2022 Oct 14. 8(41): eabm1847
      Niche-derived factors regulate tissue stem cells, but apart from the mechanosensory pathways, the effect of niche geometry is not well understood. We used organoids and bioengineered tissue culture platforms to demonstrate that the conical shape of Lgr5+ small intestinal stem cells (ISCs) facilitate their self-renewal and function. Inhibition of non-muscle myosin II (NM II)-driven apical constriction altered ISC shape and reduced niche curvature and stem cell capacity. Niche curvature is decreased in aged mice, suggesting that suboptimal interactions between old ISCs and their niche develop with age. We show that activation of NM IIC or physical restriction to young topology improves in vitro regeneration by old epithelium. We propose that the increase in lateral surface area of ISCs induced by apical constriction promotes interactions between neighboring cells, and the curved topology of the intestinal niche has evolved to maximize signaling between ISCs and neighboring cells.
  3. J Cell Sci. 2022 Oct 11. pii: jcs.259272. [Epub ahead of print]
      Mutated in Colorectal Cancer (MCC) encodes a coiled-coil protein implicated, as its name suggests, in the pathogenesis of hereditary human colon cancer. To date, however, the contributions of MCC to intestinal homeostasis and disease remain unclear. Here, we examine the subcellular localization of MCC, both at the mRNA and protein levels, in the adult intestinal epithelium. Our findings reveal that Mcc transcripts are restricted to proliferating crypt cells, including Lgr5+ stem cells, where the Mcc protein is distinctly associated with the centrosome. Upon intestinal cellular differentiation, Mcc is redeployed to the apical domain of polarized villus cells where non-centrosomal microtubule organizing centers (ncMTOCs) are positioned. Using intestinal organoids, we show that the shuttling of the Mcc protein depends on phosphorylation by Casein Kinases 1δ/ɛ, which are critical modulators of WNT signaling. Together, our findings support a role for MCC in establishing and maintaining the cellular architecture of the intestinal epithelium as a component of both the centrosome and ncMTOC.
    Keywords:  CSNK1; Centrosome; MCC; Phosphorylation; Relocalization; ncMTOC
  4. Mol Oncol. 2022 Jul 31.
      The THRA gene, encoding the thyroid hormone nuclear receptor TRα1, is expressed in an increasing gradient at the bottom of intestinal crypts, overlapping with high Wnt and Notch activities. Importantly, THRA is upregulated in colorectal cancers, particularly in the high-Wnt molecular subtype. The basis of this specific and/or altered expression pattern has remained unknown. To define the mechanisms controlling THRA transcription and TRα1 expression, we used multiple in vitro and ex vivo approaches. Promoter analysis demonstrated that transcription factors important for crypt homeostasis and altered in colorectal cancers, such as transcription factor 7-like 2 (TCF7L2; Wnt pathway), recombining binding protein suppressor of hairless (RBPJ; Notch pathway), and homeobox protein CDX2 (epithelial cell identity), modulate THRA activity. Specifically, although TCF7L2 and CDX2 stimulated THRA, RBPJ induced its repression. In-depth analysis of the Wnt-dependent increase showed direct regulation of the THRA promoter in cells and of TRα1 expression in murine enteroids. Given our previous results on the control of the Wnt pathway by TRα1, our new results unveil a complex regulatory loop and synergy between these endocrine and epithelial-cell-intrinsic signals. Our work describes, for the first time, the regulation of the THRA gene in specific cell and tumor contexts.
    Keywords:  THRA; TRα1; colon cancer; intestinal organoids; thyroid hormone nuclear receptor
  5. JCI Insight. 2022 Oct 10. pii: e156612. [Epub ahead of print]7(19):
      Intestinal epithelial integrity is commonly disrupted in patients with critical disorders, but the exact underlying mechanisms are unclear. Long noncoding RNAs transcribed from ultraconserved regions (T-UCRs) control different cell functions and are involved in pathologies. Here, we investigated the role of T-UCRs in intestinal epithelial homeostasis and identified T-UCR uc.230 as a major regulator of epithelial renewal, apoptosis, and barrier function. Compared with controls, intestinal mucosal tissues from patients with ulcerative colitis and from mice with colitis or fasted for 48 hours had increased levels of uc.230. Silencing uc.230 inhibited the growth of intestinal epithelial cells (IECs) and organoids and caused epithelial barrier dysfunction. Silencing uc.230 also increased IEC vulnerability to apoptosis, whereas increasing uc.230 levels protected IECs against cell death. In mice with colitis, reduced uc.230 levels enhanced mucosal inflammatory injury and delayed recovery. Mechanistic studies revealed that uc.230 increased CUG-binding protein 1 (CUGBP1) by acting as a natural decoy RNA for miR-503, which interacts with Cugbp1 mRNA and represses its translation. These findings indicate that uc.230 sustains intestinal mucosal homeostasis by promoting epithelial renewal and barrier function and that it protects IECs against apoptosis by serving as a natural sponge for miR-503, thereby preserving CUGBP1 expression.
    Keywords:  Gastroenterology; Inflammatory bowel disease; Surgery
  6. Cancers (Basel). 2022 Sep 30. pii: 4812. [Epub ahead of print]14(19):
      FOLFOXIRI, i.e., the combination of folinic acid, 5-fluorouracil, oxaliplatin, and irinotecan, is a first-line treatment for colorectal carcinoma (CRC), yet non-personalized and aggressive. In this study, to mimic the clinical situation of patients diagnosed with advanced CRC and exposed to a chronic treatment with FOLFOXIRI, we have generated the CRC cell clones chronically treated with FOLFOXIRI. A significant loss in sensitivity to FOLFOXIRI was obtained in all four cell lines, compared to their treatment-naïve calls, as shown in 2D cultures and heterotypic 3D co-cultures. Acquired drug resistance induction was observed through morphometric changes in terms of the organization of the actin filament. Bulk RNA sequencing revealed important upregulation of glucose transporter family 5 (GLUT5) in SW620 resistant cell line, while in the LS174T-resistant cell line, a significant downregulation of protein tyrosine phosphatase receptor S (PTPRS) and oxoglutarate dehydrogenase-like gene (OGDHL). This acquired resistance to FOLFOXIRI was overcome with optimized low-dose synergistic drug combinations (ODCs) acting via the Ras-Raf-MEK-ERK pathway. The ODCs inhibited the cell metabolic activity in SW620 and LS174T 3Dcc, respectively by up to 82%.
    Keywords:  FOLFOXIRI; colorectal cancer; drug-resistance
  7. Br J Cancer. 2022 Oct 13.
      BACKGROUND: Immune checkpoint blockade (ICB) results in radiologic tumour response dynamics that differ from chemotherapy efficacy measures and require an early signal of clinical utility.METHODS: Previously untreated, unresectable microsatellite-stable (MSS)/mismatch repair-proficient (pMMR) colorectal cancer (CRC) patients were randomly assigned to the oxaliplatin-based Nordic FLOX regimen (control arm) or repeat sequential two FLOX cycles and two ICB cycles (experimental arm). The radiologic response was assessed every 8 weeks. In this post hoc analysis, we explored early target lesion (TL) dynamics as indicator of ICB responsiveness. Progression-free survival (PFS) was the primary endpoint.
    RESULTS: Using a landmark analysis approach, we categorised experimental-arm patients into ≥10% (N = 19) or <10% (N = 16) TL reduction at the first post-baseline response assessment. Median PFS for the groups was 16.0 (95% confidence interval (CI), 12.3-19.7) and 3.9 months (95% CI, 2.3-5.5), respectively, superior and inferior (both P < 0.01) to the median PFS of 9.8 months (95% CI, 4.9-14.7) for control arm patients (N = 31).
    CONCLUSIONS: Radiologic TL reduction of ≥10% at the first post-baseline response assessment identified patients with ICB-responsive metastatic MSS/pMMR-CRC. This pragmatic measure may be used to monitor patients in investigational ICB schedules, enabling early treatment adaptation for unresponsive cases.
    TRIAL REGISTRATION: number, NCT03388190 (02/01/2018).
  8. Cancers (Basel). 2022 Sep 29. pii: 4755. [Epub ahead of print]14(19):
      The colorectal-cancer (CRC) incidence rate and mortality have remained high for several years. In recent years, immune-checkpoint-inhibitor (ICI) therapy has rapidly developed. However, it is only effective in a few CRC patients with microsatellite-instability-high (MSI-H) or mismatch-repair-deficient (dMMR) CRC. How to improve the efficiency of ICI therapy in CRC patients with microsatellite stability (MSS) remains a huge obstacle. Tumor-associated neutrophils (TANs), which are similar to macrophages, also have N1 and N2 phenotypes. They can be recruited and polarized through different cytokines or chemokines, and then play an antitumor or tumor-promoting role. In CRC, we find that the prognostic significance of TANs is still controversial. In this review, we describe the antitumor regulation of TANs, and their mechanism of promoting tumor progression by boosting the transformation of inflammation into tumors, facilitating tumor-cell proliferation, metastasis and angiogenesis. The targeting of TANs combined with ICIs may be a new treatment model for CRC. Relevant animal experiments have shown good responses, and clinical trials have also been carried out in succession. TANs, as "assistants" of ICI treatment, may become the key to the success of CRC immunotherapy, although no significant results have been obtained.
    Keywords:  colorectal cancer; immune-checkpoint-inhibitor therapy; tumor-associated neutrophils
  9. J Radiat Res. 2022 Oct 10. pii: rrac060. [Epub ahead of print]
      Cancer stem cells (CSCs) are able to survive after cancer therapies, leading to cancer progression and recurrence in colorectal carcinoma (CRC). Therapies targeting CSCs are believed to be promising strategies for efficiently eradicating cancers. This study was to investigate that how retinoic acid receptor beta (RARB) affected the biological characteristics of CSCs and radio-resistance in CRC and the epigenetic mechanism. The sensitivity of CSCs isolated from HCT116 cells to radiotherapy was reduced compared with the parental cells. Using database querying, we found that RARB was one of the most significantly downregulated gene in radio-resistant cells in CRC. Also, RARB was poorly expressed in our isolated CSCs, and overexpression of RARB inhibited the properties of CSCs and enhanced radiotherapy sensitivity. Mechanistically, the methylation of RARB was higher in CSCs compared with HCT116 cells, which was significantly reduced after the application of DNA methylation inhibitor 5-azacytidine (5-azaC). DNA methyltransferases (DNMT1) was found to be recruited into the RARB promoter. 5-AzaC treatment inhibited DNMT1 activity and improved radiotherapy sensitivity by promoting RARB expression. Our results imply that inhibition of DNMT1 can display a new mechanism for the epigenetic mediation of RARB in radio-resistant CRC.
    Keywords:  DNA methyltransferases (DNMT1); cancer stem cells (CSC); colorectal carcinoma (CRC); radiotherapy sensitivity; retinoic acid receptor beta (RARB)
  10. Front Immunol. 2022 ;13 1016646
      Colorectal cancer (CRC) is the third most common cancer in the world. Although there are standard treatment options for CRC, most patients respond poorly to these treatments. Immunotherapies have gradually emerged due to the increasing awareness and understanding of tumor immunity, exhibiting good therapeutic efficacy in various cancers. Immunotherapies include cytokines, immune checkpoint inhibitors (ICIs), and adoptive cell therapies. In particular, ICIs, which are antibodies against cytotoxic T lymphocyte-associated protein 4 (CTLA-4), programmed cell death 1 (PD-1), or its ligand PD-L1, have been successfully applied clinically for solid tumors, relieving the inhibitory effect of the tumor microenvironment on T cells. However, only a minority of patients with cancer achieve a durable clinical response during immunotherapy. Several factors restrict the efficacy of immunotherapy, leading to the development of drug resistance. In this review, we aimed to discuss the current status of immunotherapy for CRC and elaborate on the mechanisms that mediate resistance to immunotherapy and other potential therapeutic strategies.
    Keywords:  colorectal cancer; drug resistance; immune checkpoint inhibitors; immunotherapy; potential therapeutic strategies
  11. Cell Mol Gastroenterol Hepatol. 2022 Oct 07. pii: S2352-345X(22)00212-0. [Epub ahead of print]
      BACKGROUND AND AIMS: Approximately one-third of colorectal cancers develop from serrated lesions (SLs), including hyperplastic polyp (HP), sessile serrated lesion (SSL), traditional serrated adenoma (TSA), and SSL with dysplasia (SSLD) through the serrated neoplasia pathway, which progresses faster than the conventional adenoma-carcinoma pathway. We sought to depict the currently unclarified molecular and immune alterations by the single-cell landscape in SLs.METHODS: We performed single-cell RNA sequencing of 16 SLs (including four proximal HPs, five SSLs, two SSLDs, and five TSAs) versus three normal colonic tissues.
    RESULTS: A total of 60,568 high-quality cells were obtained. Two distinct epithelial clusters with redox imbalance in SLs were observed, along with upregulation of tumor-promoting SerpinB6 that regulated ROS level. Epithelial clusters of SSL and TSA showed distinct molecular features: SSL-specific epithelium manifested overexpressed proliferative markers with Notch pathway activation, while TSA-specific epithelium showed Paneth cell metaplasia with aberrant lysozyme expression. As for immune contexture, enhanced cytotoxic activity of CD8+ T cells was observed in SLs; it was mainly attributable to increased proportion of CD103+CD8+ tissue-resident memory T cells, which might be regulated by retinoic acid metabolism. Microenvironment of SLs was generally immune-activated, while some immunosuppressive cells (regulatory T cells, anti-inflammatory macrophages, MDK+IgA+ plasma cells, MMP11-secreting PDGFRA+ fibroblasts) also emerged at early stage and further accumulated in SSLD.
    CONCLUSION: Epithelial, immune, and stromal components in the serrated pathway undergo fundamental alterations. Future molecular subtypes of SLs and potential immune therapy might be developed.
    Keywords:  colorectal cancer; neoplasia; scRNA-Seq; serrated pathway
  12. Int J Mol Sci. 2022 Oct 06. pii: 11890. [Epub ahead of print]23(19):
      Polyphyllin II (PPII) is a natural steroidal saponin occurring in Rhizoma Paridis. It has been demonstrated to exhibit anti-cancer activity against a variety of cancer cells. However, the anti-colorectal cancer (CRC) effects and mechanism of action of PPII are rarely reported. In the present study, we showed that PPII inhibited the proliferation of HCT116 and SW620 cells. Moreover, PPII induced G2/M-phase cell cycle arrest and apoptosis, as well as protective autophagy, in CRC cells. We found that PPII-induced autophagy was associated with the inhibition of PI3K/AKT/mTOR signaling. Western blotting results further revealed that PPII lowered the protein levels of phospho-Src (Tyr416), phospho-JAK2 (Tyr1007/1008), phospho-STAT3 (Tyr705), and STAT3-targeted molecules in CRC cells. The overactivation of STAT3 attenuated the cytotoxicity of PPII against HCT116 cells, indicating the involvement of STAT3 inhibition in the anti-CRC effects of PPII. PPII (0.5 mg/kg or 1 mg/kg, i.p. once every 3 days) suppressed HCT116 tumor growth in nude mice. In alignment with the in vitro results, PPII inhibited proliferation, induced apoptosis, and lowered the protein levels of phospho-STAT3, phospho-AKT, and phospho-mTOR in xenografts. These data suggest that PPII could be a potent therapeutic agent for the treatment of CRC.
    Keywords:  PI3K/AKT/mTOR; STAT3; apoptosis; autophagy; cell cycle arrest; colorectal cancer; polyphyllin II
  13. Cancers (Basel). 2022 Oct 05. pii: 4874. [Epub ahead of print]14(19):
      Radiotherapy is an important component of current treatment options for colorectal cancer (CRC). It is either applied as neoadjuvant radiotherapy to improve local disease control in rectal cancers or for the treatment of localized metastatic lesions of CRC. DNA double-strand breaks (DSBs) are the major critical lesions contributing to ionizing radiation (IR)-induced cell death. However, CRC stem cells promote radioresistance and tumor cell survival through activating cell-cycle checkpoints to trigger the DNA damage response (DDR) and DNA repair after exposure to IR. A promising strategy to overcome radioresistance is to target the DDR and DNA repair pathways with drugs that inhibit activated cell-cycle checkpoint proteins, thereby improving the sensitivity of CRC cells to radiotherapy. In this review, we focus on the preclinical studies and advances in clinical trials of DNA-dependent protein kinase catalytic subunit (DNA-PKcs), ataxia telangiectasia mutated (ATM), ataxia telangiectasia and Rad3-related kinase (ATR), checkpoint kinase 1 (CHK1), checkpoint kinase 2 (CHK2), WEE1 and poly (ADP-ribose) polymerase 1 (PARP1) kinase inhibitors in CRC. Importantly, we also discuss the selective radiosensitization of CRC cells provided by synthetic lethality of these inhibitors and the potential for widening the therapeutic window by targeting the DDR and DNA repair pathways in combination with radiotherapy and immunotherapy.
    Keywords:  DNA damage response; DNA repair; cell-cycle checkpoint inhibitors; colorectal cancer; radiosensitivity
  14. Microbiol Spectr. 2022 Oct 12. e0167722
      5-Fluorouracil (5-FU), irinotecan (CPT-11), oxaliplatin (L-OHP), and calcium folinate (CF) are widely used chemotherapeutic drugs to treat colorectal cancer. However, chemotherapeutic use is often accompanied by intestinal inflammation and gut microbiota disorder. Changes in gut microbiota may destroy the intestinal barrier, which contributes to the severity of intestinal injury. However, intestinal injury and gut microbiota disorder have yet to be compared among 5-FU, CPT-11, L-OHP, and CF in detail, thereby limiting the development of targeted detoxification therapy after chemotherapy. In this study, a model of chemotherapy-induced intestinal injury in tumor-bearing mice was established by intraperitoneally injecting chemotherapeutic drugs at a clinically equivalent dose. 16S rRNA gene sequencing was used to detect gut microbiota. We found that 5-FU, CPT-11, and l-OHP caused intestinal injury, inflammatory cytokine (gamma interferon [IFN-γ], tumor necrosis factor alpha [TNF-α], interleukin-1β [IL-1β], and IL-6) secretion, and gut microbiota disorder. We established a complex but clear network between the pattern of changes in gut microbiota and degree of intestinal damage induced by different chemotherapeutic drugs. L-OHP caused the most severe damage in the intestine and disorder of the gut microbiota and showed a considerable overlap of the pattern of changes in microbiota with 5-FU and CPT-11. Analysis by Phylogenetic Investigation of Communities by Reconstruction of Unobserved States (PICRUSt v.1.0) showed that the microbiota disorder pattern induced by 5-FU, CPT-11, and L-OHP was related to the NOD-like signaling pathway. Therefore, we detected the protein expression of the NOD/RIP2/NF-κB signaling pathway and found that L-OHP most activated this pathway. Redundancy analysis/canonical correlation analysis (RDA/CCA) revealed that Bifidobacterium, Akkermansia, Allobaculum, Catenibacterium, Mucispirillum, Turicibacter, Helicobacter, Proteus, Escherichia Shigella, Alloprevotealla, Vagococcus, Streptococcus, and "Candidatus Saccharimonas" were highly correlated with the NOD/RIP2/NF-κB signaling pathway and influenced by chemotherapeutic drugs. IMPORTANCE Chemotherapy-induced intestinal injury limits the clinical use of drugs. Intestinal injury involves multiple signaling pathways and gut microbiota disruption. Our results suggested that the degree of intestinal injury caused by different drugs of the first-line colorectal chemotherapy regimen is related to the pattern of changes in microbiota. The activation of the NOD/RIP2/NF-κB signaling pathway was also related to the pattern of changes in microbiota. l-OHP caused the most severe damage to the intestine and showed a considerable overlap of the pattern of changes in microbiota with 5-FU and CPT-11. Thirteen bacterial genera were related to different levels of intestinal injury and correlated with the NOD/RIP2/NF-κB pathway. Here, we established a network of different chemotherapeutic drugs, gut microbiota, and the NOD/RIP2/NF-κB signaling pathway. This study likely provided a new basis for further elucidating the mechanism and clinical treatment of intestinal injury caused by chemotherapy.
    Keywords:  5-fluorouracil; NOD/RIP2/NF-κB signaling pathway; calcium folinate; chemotherapeutic drugs; colorectal cancer; gut microbiota disorder; intestinal injury; irinotecan; oxaliplatin
  15. Biol Methods Protoc. 2022 ;7(1): bpac024
      While subcutaneous tumor models remain the standard for studying drug efficacy in vivo, these tumors rarely metastasize and lack physiological relevance due to differences in the tumor microenvironment, vascularization, immune landscape, and physiological cues associated with the organ of interest. Orthotopic tumors, grown from the organ corresponding with the cancer type, provide a more translational approach to study disease progression and drug efficacy. Utilization of a syngeneic mouse model allows for a complete immune landscape, key for adaptive immunotherapy studies. MC38 and CT26 cells are commonly used murine colorectal cancer cell lines with clinically relevant mutations. While CT26 cells have been orthotopically implanted with high fidelity, successful engraftment of orthotopic MC38 tumors varies greatly between studies. Thus, we have developed a detailed protocol for MC38 orthotopic tumor inoculation via intracecal injection. Nine C57BL/6 mice were injected with 2 × 106 cells into the cecal wall and sacrificed after 7 weeks. Survival after surgery was 100%, and one mouse died before the 7-week study end point from tumor burden and metastatic spread. We observed a successful tumor engraftment rate of 67%. Half of mice presenting with tumors were found to have macroscopic metastatic lesions in clinically relevant foci, including the mesenteric lymph nodes, liver, and peritoneum. These mice also presented with very large tumors and an enlarged spleen. The other half of the mice presented with small, localized tumors that did not metastasize. Herein, we describe tips specific for the intracecal injection of MC38 cells to improve the engraftment rate consistency in this model.
    Keywords:  MC38; colorectal; model; mouse; orthotopic; syngeneic
  16. Exp Cell Res. 2022 Oct 05. pii: S0014-4827(22)00368-8. [Epub ahead of print]421(1): 113375
      MRG domain binding protein (MRGBP) has been proposed to participate in the development of multiple tumors. However, the role of MRGBP in colorectal cancer (CRC) still remains largely unknown. Here, we found that MRGBP expression is significantly elevated in CRC, and that higher MRGBP expression correlates with poorer survival in CRC patients. Experiments in vivo and in vitro indicated that MRGBP promotes CRC cells proliferation, migration, invasion, epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT) and xenograft tumor growth. Mechanically, for one thing, we discovered that MRGBP suppresses DKK1 expression, thus further activating the Wnt/β-catenin pathway in CRC cells. For another, MRGBP also enhances acetylation of NF-kB/p65 pathway. Treatment with Wnt/β-catenin and NF-kB pathways inhibitors further confirmed the mediation of these two pathways in MRGBP-promoted CRC cell processes. In conclusion, these findings together suggest that MRGBP promotes CRC progression via DKK1/Wnt/β-catenin and NF-kB/p65 pathways mediated EMT, identifying MRGBP as a promising prognostic and therapeutic target for CRC.
    Keywords:  CRC; DKK1; EMT; MRGBP; NF-kB/p65; Wnt/β-catenin
  17. Pharmacol Res. 2022 Oct 11. pii: S1043-6618(22)00452-2. [Epub ahead of print] 106506
      Clinical and experimental evidence sustain the role of cyclooxygenase (COX)-1 in intestinal tumorigenesis. However, the cell type expressing the enzyme involved and molecular mechanism(s) have not been clarified yet. We aimed to elucidate the role of platelet COX-1 (the target of low-dose aspirin in humans) in intestinal tumorigenesis of ApcMin/+ mice, considered a clinically relevant model. To realize this objective, we generated an ApcMin/+ mouse with a specific deletion of Ptgs1(COX-1 gene name) in megakaryocytes/platelets (ApcMin/+;pPtgs1-/-mice) characterized by profound inhibition of thromboxane(TX)A2 biosynthesis ex vivo (serum TXB2; by 99%) and in vivo [urinary 2,3-dinor-TXB2(TXM), by 79%]. ApcMin/+ mice with the deletion of platelet COX-1 showed a significantly reduced number (67%) and size (32%) of tumors in the small intestine. The intestinal adenomas of these mice had decreased proliferative index associated with reduced COX-2 expression and systemic prostaglandin(PG)E2 biosynthesis (urinary PGEM) vs. ApcMin/+mice. Extravasated platelets were detected in the intestine of ApcMin/+mice. Thus, we explored their contribution to COX-2 induction in fibroblasts, considered the primary polyp cell type expressing the protein. In the coculture of human platelets and myofibroblasts, platelet-derived TXA2 was involved in the induction of COX-2-dependent PGE2 in myofibroblasts since it was prevented by the selective inhibition of platelet COX-1 by aspirin or by a specific antagonist of TXA2 receptors. In conclusion, our results support the platelet hypothesis of intestinal tumorigenesis and provide experimental evidence that selective inhibition of platelet COX-1 can mitigate early events of intestinal tumorigenesis by restraining COX-2 induction.
    Keywords:  Apc(Min/+) mice; cyclooxygenases; intestinal tumors; platelets; prostaglandinE(2); thromboxaneA(2)
  18. Cancers (Basel). 2022 Sep 30. pii: 4798. [Epub ahead of print]14(19):
      Preoperative concurrent chemoradiotherapy (CCRT) is a standard treatment for locally advanced rectal cancer patients, but 20-30% do not benefit from the desired therapeutic effects. Previous reports indicate that high levels of ERCC1 reduce the effectiveness of cisplatin-based CCRT; however, it remains unclear as to whether ERCC1 overexpression increases radiation resistance. To clarify the correlation between ERCC1 levels and radiation (RT) resistance, we established two cell lines (HCT116-Tet-on and COLO205-Tet-on), induced them to overexpress ERCC1, detected cell survival following exposure to radiation, established HCT116-Tet-on and COLO205-Tet-on heterotopic cancer animal models, and detected tumor volume following exposure to radiation. We found that ERCC1 overexpression increased radiation resistance. After regulating ERCC1 levels and radiation exposure to verify the correlation, we noted that increased radiation resistance was dependent on ERCC1 upregulation in both cell lines. For further verification, we exposed HCT116-Tet-on and COLO205-Tet-on heterotopic cancer animal models to radiation and observed that ERCC1 overexpression increased colorectal cancer tumor radioresistance in both. Combined, our results suggest that ERCC1 overexpression may serve as a suitable CCRT prognostic marker for colorectal cancer patients.
    Keywords:  COLO205-Tet-on; ERCC1; HCT116-Tet-on; preoperative concurrent chemoradiotherapy; radiation resistance
  19. Cancers (Basel). 2022 Oct 03. pii: 4828. [Epub ahead of print]14(19):
      Colorectal cancer (CRC) is the third most frequent cancer worldwide, and its incidence is steadily increasing. During the last two decades, a tremendous improvement in outcome has been achieved, mainly due to the introduction of novel drugs, targeted treatment, immune checkpoint inhibitors (CPIs) and biomarker-driven patient selection. Moreover, progress in molecular diagnostics but also improvement in surgical techniques and local ablative treatments significantly contributed to this success. However, novel therapeutic approaches are needed to further improve outcome in patients diagnosed with metastatic CRC. Besides the established biomarkers for mCRC, such as microsatellite instability (MSI) or mismatch repair deficiency (dMMR), RAS/BRAF, sidedness and HER2 amplification, new biomarkers have to be identified to better select patients who derive the most benefit from a specific treatment. In this review, we provide an overview about therapeutic relevant and established biomarkers but also shed light on potential promising markers that may help us to better tailor therapy to the individual mCRC patient in the near future.
    Keywords:  biomarker; colorectal cancer; metastatic; personalized treatment; precision medicine
  20. Front Cell Dev Biol. 2022 ;10 912001
      Epithelial homeostasis is an emergent property of both physical and biochemical signals emanating from neighboring cells and across tissue. A recent study reveals that Scribble, an apico-basal polarity determinant, cooperates with α-Catenin, an adherens junction component, to regulate tissue homeostasis in the Drosophila wing imaginal disc. However, it remains to be addressed whether similar mechanisms are utilized in vertebrates. In this study, we first address how α-Catenin cooperates with Scribble to regulate epithelial homeostasis and growth in mammalian cells. Our data show that α-Catenin and Scribble interact physically in mammalian cells. We then found that both α-Catenin and Scribble are required for regulating nuclear translocation of YAP, an effector of the Hippo signaling pathway. Furthermore, ectopic Scribble suffices to suppress YAP in an α-Catenin-dependent manner. Then, to test our hypothesis that Scribble amounts impact epithelial growth, we use the Drosophila wing imaginal disc. We show that Scribble expression is complementary to Yorkie signal, the Drosophila ortholog of YAP. Ectopic expression of full-length Scribble or Scribble Leucine Rich Region (LRR):α-Catenin chimera sufficiently down-regulates Yorkie signal, leading to smaller wing size. Moreover, Scribble LRR:α-Catenin chimera rescues scribble mutant clones in the wing imaginal disc to maintain tissue homeostasis. Taken together, our studies suggest that the association of cell polarity component Scribble with α-Catenin plays a conserved role in epithelial homeostasis and growth.
    Keywords:  Drosophila melanogaster; adherens junction; cell polarity; epithelial cells; homeostasis; mammalian cells
  21. J Transl Med. 2022 Oct 08. 20(1): 462
      BACKGROUND: Single-cell transcription data provided unprecedented molecular information, enabling us to directly encode the ecosystem of colorectal cancer (CRC). Characterization of the diversity of epithelial cells and how they cooperate with tumor microenvironment cells (TME) to endow CRC with aggressive characteristics at single-cell resolution is critical for the understanding of tumor progression mechanism.METHODS: In this study, we comprehensively analyzed the single-cell transcription data, bulk-RNA sequencing data and pathological tissue data. In detail, cellular heterogeneity of TME and epithelial cells were analyzed by unsupervised classification and consensus nonnegative matrix factorization analysis, respectively. Functional status of epithelial clusters was annotated by CancerSEA and its crosstalk with TME cells was investigated using CellPhoneDB and correlation analysis. Findings from single-cell transcription data were further validated in bulk-RNA sequencing data and pathological tissue data.
    RESULTS: A distinct cellular composition was observed between tumor and normal tissues, and tumors exhibited immunosuppressive phenotypes. Regarding epithelial cells, we identified one highly invasiveQuery cluster, C4, that correlated closely with tumor-associated macrophages (TAMs) and cancer-associated fibroblasts (CAFs). Further analysis emphasized the TAMs subclass TAM1 and CAFs subclass S5 are closely related with C4.
    CONCLUSIONS: In summary, our study elaborates on the cellular heterogeneity of CRC, revealing that TAMs and CAFs were critical for crosstalk network epithelial cells and TME cells. This in-depth understanding of cancer cell-TME network provided theoretical basis for the development of new drugs targeting this sophisticated network in CRC.
    Keywords:  Cancer-associated fibroblasts; Colorectal cancer; Epithelium-microenvironment communication; Tumor heterogeneity; Tumor-associated macrophages; scRNA-seq
  22. Mol Cell Biochem. 2022 Oct 13.
      Heat shock factors (HSFs) are a family of transcription factors, composed of HSF1, HSF2, and HSF4, to regulate cell stress reaction for maintaining cellular homeostasis in response to adverse stimuli. Recent studies have disclosed the roles of HSF1 and HSF2 in modulating tumor development, including colorectal cancer (CRC). However, HSF4, which is closely associated with pathology of congenital cataracts, remains less studied in tumors. In this study, we aimed to describe the regulatory effects of HSF4 and underlying molecular mechanism in CRC progression. By bioinformatic analysis of TCGA database and TMA-IHC assay, we identified that the expression of HSF4 was significantly upregulated in CRCs compared with normal colonic tissues and was a prognostic factor of poor outcomes of CRC patients. Function assays, including CCK-8, colony formation, transwell assays, and xenografted mouse model, were employed to verify that HSF4 promoted cell growth, colony formation, invasion of CRC cells in vitro, and tumor growth in vivo as a potential oncogenic factor. Mechanistically, results of Chromatin immunoprecipitation (ChIP) and immunoblotting assays revealed that HSF4 associated directly to MET promoter to enhance expression of c-MET, a well-known oncogene in multiple cancers, thus fueling the activity of downstream ERK1/2 and AKT signaling pathways. In further rescue experiments, restoration of c-MET expression abolished inhibitory cell growth and invasion induced by downregulated HSF4 expression. To sum up, our findings describe a crucial role of HSF4 in CRC progression by enhancing activity of c-MET and downstream ERK1/2 and AKT signaling pathways, and highlight HSF4 as a potential therapeutic target for anti-CRC treatment.
    Keywords:  Colorectal cancer; HSF4; Transactivation; Transcription factor; c-MET
  23. Cancers (Basel). 2022 Sep 28. pii: 4735. [Epub ahead of print]14(19):
      Autophagy is elevated in colorectal cancer (CRC) and is generally associated with poor prognosis. However, the role of autophagy core-protein Beclin 1 remains controversial in CRC development. Here, we show that the expression of nuclear Beclin 1 protein is upregulated in CRC with a negative correlation to retinoblastoma (RB) protein expression. Silencing of BECN1 upregulates RB resulting in cell cycle G1 arrest and growth inhibition of CRC cells independent of p53. Furthermore, ablation of BECN1 inhibits xenograft tumor growth through elevated RB expression and reduced autophagy, while simultaneous silencing of RB1 restores tumor growth but has little effect on autophagy. Mechanistically, knockdown of BECN1 promotes the complex formation of MDM2 and MDMX, resulting in MDM2-dependent MDMX instability and RB stabilization. Our results demonstrate that nuclear Beclin 1 can promote cell cycle progression through modulation of the MDM2/X-RB pathway and suggest that Beclin 1 promotes CRC development by facilitating both cell cycle progression and autophagy.
    Keywords:  Beclin 1; MDMX; cell cycle; colorectal cancer; retinoblastoma protein
  24. Clin Cancer Res. 2022 Oct 14. pii: CCR-22-2041. [Epub ahead of print]
      PURPOSE: The liver is the most frequent metastatic site for colorectal cancer (CRC). Its microenvironment is modified to provide a niche that is conducive for CRC cell growth.This study focused on characterizing the cellular changes in the metastatic CRC (mCRC) liver tumor microenvironment (TME).EXPERIMENTAL DESIGN: We analyzed a series of microsatellite stable (MSS) mCRCs to the liver, paired normal liver tissue and peripheral blood mononuclear cells using single cell RNA-seq (scRNA-seq). We validated our findings using multiplexed spatial imaging and bulk gene expression with cell deconvolution.
    RESULTS: We identified TME-specific SPP1-expressing macrophages with altered metabolism features, foam cell characteristics and increased activity in extracellular matrix (ECM) organization. SPP1+ macrophages and fibroblasts expressed complementary ligand receptor pairs with the potential to mutually influence their gene expression programs. TME lacked dysfunctional CD8 T cells and contained regulatory T cells, indicative of immunosuppression. Spatial imaging validated these cell states in the TME. Moreover, TME macrophages and fibroblasts had close spatial proximity, which is a requirement for intercellular communication and networking.In an independent cohort of mCRCs in the liver, we confirmed the presence of SPP1+ macrophages and fibroblasts using gene expression data. An increased proportion of TME fibroblasts was associated with a worst prognosis in these patients.
    CONCLUSIONS: We demonstrated that mCRC in the liver is characterized by transcriptional alterations of macrophages in the TME. Intercellular networking between macrophages and fibroblasts supports CRC growth in the immunosuppressed metastatic niche in the liver. These features can be used to target immune checkpoint resistant MSS tumors.
  25. Int J Mol Sci. 2022 Sep 20. pii: 11014. [Epub ahead of print]23(19):
      The polarization of tumor-associated macrophages (TAMs) plays a key role in tumor development and immunotherapy in colorectal cancer (CRC) patients. However, the impact of apoptosis on TAM polarization and immunotherapy efficacy in patients with different mismatch repair statuses (MMR) remains unclear. Here, we constructed an atlas of macrophage and found a higher rate of infiltration of M2-like TAM subpopulation in pMMR CRC tumor tissues compared with that in dMMR CRC tumor tissues. Importantly, a lower infiltration rate of M2c-like TAMs was associated with immunotherapy response. The M2 polarization trajectory revealed the apoptosis of M2c-like TAMs in dMMR while the differentiation of M2c-like TAMs in pMMR, implying a higher polarization level of M2 in pMMR. Furthermore, we found that a high expression of S100A6 induces the apoptosis of M2c-like TAMs in dMMR. In conclusion, we identified apoptotic TAM subpopulations in the M2 polarization trajectory and found that apoptosis caused by the high expression of S100A6 reduces their infiltration in tumors as well as the level of M2 polarization and contributes to a favorable immunotherapy response. These findings provide new insights into the potential role of apoptosis in suppressing tumors and enhancing immunotherapeutic efficacy.
    Keywords:  S100A6; apoptosis; colorectal cancer; immunotherapy; polarization; tumor-associated macrophages
  26. Transl Cancer Res. 2022 Sep;11(9): 3187-3208
      Background: The TYMP gene encodes an important nucleoside metabolism enzyme which is a rate-limiting enzyme for chemotherapeutic drug metabolism. Previous studies have shown that TYMP is highly expressed in many different tumors, promoting invasiveness and progression, and that it helps to predict the response to chemotherapeutic drugs. However, the role of TYMP in tumor immunity and prognosis remains largely unclear. The purpose of this pan-cancer analysis was to acquire more data on the function of TYMP function and its clinical significance.Methods: To access the TYMP expression, we accessed datasets from The Cancer Genome Atlas (TCGA), Oncomine, Gene Expression Profiling Interactive Analysis (GEPIA), Cancer Cell Line Encyclopedia (CCLE) databases, and analyzed its differential expression between paired tumor and normal samples. We employed PrognoScan and Kaplan-Meier plotter for survival analyses. TYMP mutations were analyzed using cBioPortal. Correlations of TYMP with tumor stage, tumor mutational burden (TMB), microsatellite instability (MSI), immune checkpoint genes (ICGs), and immune cell infiltration were estimated via bioinformatics tools and methods. The CellMiner database was used to predict drug response. Gene set enrichment analysis (GSEA) was applied to explore the biological functions of TYMP in different tumors.
    Results: Our results indicated that TYMP was overexpressed and also significantly associated with a worse prognosis in several human cancers, such as kidney clear cell carcinoma (KIRC) and lower grade glioma (LGG). TYMP was also associated with TMB, MSI, and ICGs across a variety of malignancies. TYMP was most significantly correlated with immune cell infiltration in five tumors, namely, breast cancer (BRCA), cervical cancer (CESC), KIRC, skin cutaneous melanoma (SKCM), and stomach adenocarcinoma (STAD). Moreover, TYMP expression predicted sensitivity to chemotherapy drugs and also influenced relevant biological pathways, according to enrichment analysis.
    Conclusions: According to the results of this comprehensive analysis, TYMP is associated with prognosis and tumor immunology, which might make it be a potential therapeutic target for cancer treatment.
    Keywords:  TYMP; immune infiltration; pan-cancer analysis; prognosis; tumor mutational burden (TMB)
  27. Front Immunol. 2022 ;13 1011498
      Neoadjuvant therapy is the cornerstone of modern rectal cancer treatment. Insights into the biology of tumor responses are essential for the successful implementation of organ-preserving strategies, as different treatments may lead to specific tumor responses. In this study, we aim to explore treatment-specific responses of the tumor microenvironment. Patients with locally advanced adenocarcinoma of the rectum who had received neo-adjuvant chemotherapy (CT), neo-adjuvant radiochemotherapy (RCT), neo-adjuvant radiotherapy with a long-interval (LRT) or short-interval (SRT) or no neoadjuvant therapy (NT) as control were included. Multiplex-immunofluorescence was performed to determine the presence of cytotoxic T-cells (T-cyt; CD3+CD8+), regulatory T-cells (T-reg; CD3+FOXP3+), T-helper cells (T-helper; CD3+CD8-FOXP3-), B cells (CD20+), dendritic cells (CD11c+) and tumor cells (panCK+). A total of 80 rectal cancer patients were included. Treatment groups were matched for gender, tumor location, response to therapy, and TNM stage. The pattern of response (shrinkage vs. fragmentation) was, however, different between treatment groups. Our analyses reveal that RCT-treated patients exhibited lower stromal T-helper, T-reg, and T-cyt cells compared to other treatment regimens. In conclusion, we demonstrated treatment-specific differences in the immune microenvironment landscape of rectal cancer patients. Understanding the underlying mechanisms of this landscape after a specific therapy will benefit future treatment decisions.
    Keywords:  immune landscape; immune microenvironment; neoadjuvant treatment; rectal cancer; response