bims-instec Biomed News
on Intestinal stem cells and chemoresistance in colon cancer and intestinal regeneration
Issue of 2023‒01‒08
six papers selected by
Maria-Virginia Giolito
Free University of Brussels

  1. Adv Sci (Weinh). 2023 Jan 04. e2203757
      The roles of oncogenic KRAS in tumor immune evasion remain poorly understood. Here, mutant KRAS is identified as a key driver of tumor immune evasion in colorectal cancer (CRC). In human CRC specimens, a significant reduction in cytotoxic CD8+ T-cell tumor infiltration is found in patients with mutant versus wild type KRAS. This phenomenon is confirmed by preclinical models of CRC, and further study showed KRAS mutant tumors exhibited poor response to anti-PD-1 and adoptive T-cell therapies. Mechanistic analysis revealed lactic acid derived from mutant KRAS-expressing tumor cells sensitized tumor-specific cytotoxic CD8+ T-cells to activation-induced cell death via NF-κB inactivation; this may underlie the inverse association between intratumoral cytotoxic CD8+ T-cells and KRAS mutation. Importantly, KRAS mutated tumor resistance to immunotherapies can be overcome by inhibiting KRAS or blocking lactic acid production. Together, this work suggests the KRAS-mediated immune program is an exploitable therapeutic approach for the treatment of patients with KRAS mutant CRC.
    Keywords:  activation-induced cell death; immune evasion; mutant KRAS
  2. Oncol Lett. 2023 Jan;25(1): 41
      Topoisomerase inhibitors are clinically used to treat various cancer types, including colorectal cancer. These drugs also activate signaling pathways that modulate cell survival and immune cell functions. Immunotherapy is promising for certain tumors, including microsatellite instable colorectal cancer, but not for microsatellite stable colorectal cancer. The reasons for this lack of responsiveness are largely unknown. Understanding how colorectal cancer cell-surface proteins interact with tumor-resident immune cells may offer an opportunity to identify molecules that, if targeted, may render tumor cells visible to immune cells. The present study used flow cytometry, fluorescent staining and immunoblotting to examine if inhibition of pathways activated by topoisomerase-targeting drugs may modulate the outcomes of treatment through effects on cell cycle arrest and apoptosis, and by altering surface expression levels of programmed death-ligand 1 (PD-L1) or major histocompatibility complex protein I (MHC I). Inhibition of either NF-κB or DNA-damage response (DDR) potently enhanced cell death in combination with topoisomerase inhibition, while only NF-κB inhibition increased MHC I. PD-L1 upregulation was moderately affected by NF-κB or DDR inhibitors, while both topoisomerase inhibitors and DNA damaging agents may enhance the surface expression of MHC I molecules on colon cancer cells. Such enhanced expression of MHC I may be suppressed by inhibitors of ataxia-telangiectasia mutated or checkpoint kinase kinases. Additionally, adaptive tolerance to topoisomerase inhibition caused altered cell cycle response, and reduced the expression levels of both PD-L1 and MHC I on both microsatellite instable and stable colon cancer cell lines. Therefore, targeted modulation of DDR pathways, PD-L1, MHC I or other immune regulators in colon cancer cells may make them more visible to immune cells and enable rational combination of conventional therapy with immunotherapy.
    Keywords:  DNA damage; NF-κB; chemotherapy; colorectal cancer; major histocompatibility complex; programmed death-ligand 1
  3. J Exp Clin Cancer Res. 2023 Jan 06. 42(1): 8
      BACKGROUND: Patient-derived organoids (PDOs) from advanced colorectal cancer (CRC) patients could be a key platform to predict drug response and discover new biomarkers. We aimed to integrate PDO drug response with multi-omics characterization beyond genomics.METHODS: We generated 29 PDO lines from 22 advanced CRC patients and provided a morphologic, genomic, and transcriptomic characterization. We performed drug sensitivity assays with a panel of both standard and non-standard agents in five long-term cultures, and integrated drug response with a baseline proteomic and transcriptomic characterization by SWATH-MS and RNA-seq analysis, respectively.
    RESULTS: PDOs were successfully generated from heavily pre-treated patients, including a paired model of advanced MSI high CRC deriving from pre- and post-chemotherapy liver metastasis. Our PDOs faithfully reproduced genomic and phenotypic features of original tissue. Drug panel testing identified differential response among PDOs, particularly to oxaliplatin and palbociclib. Proteotranscriptomic analyses revealed that oxaliplatin non-responder PDOs present enrichment of the t-RNA aminoacylation process and showed a shift towards oxidative phosphorylation pathway dependence, while an exceptional response to palbociclib was detected in a PDO with activation of MYC and enrichment of chaperonin T-complex protein Ring Complex (TRiC), involved in proteome integrity. Proteotranscriptomic data fusion confirmed these results within a highly integrated network of functional processes involved in differential response to drugs.
    CONCLUSIONS: Our strategy of integrating PDOs drug sensitivity with SWATH-mass spectrometry and RNA-seq allowed us to identify different baseline proteins and gene expression profiles with the potential to predict treatment response/resistance and to help in the development of effective and personalized cancer therapeutics.
    Keywords:  Colorectal cancer; Drug resistance; Organoids; Precision medicine; Proteotranscriptomics integrative functional network analysis; Quantitative proteomics; Transcriptomics
  4. J Immunother Cancer. 2022 Dec;pii: e005610. [Epub ahead of print]10(12):
      BACKGROUND: Colony-stimulating factor 1 receptor (CSF1R), a classic tyrosine kinase receptor, has been identified as a proto-oncogene in multiple cancers. The CSF1/CSF1R axis is essential for the survival and differentiation of M2-phenotype tumor-associated macrophages (M2 TAMs). However, we found here that the CSF1R expression was abnormally down-regulated in colorectal cancer (CRC), and its biological functions and underlying mechanisms have become elusive in CRC progression.METHODS: The expression of class III receptor tyrosine kinases in CRC and normal intestinal mucosa was accessed using The Cancer Genome Atlas and Gene Expression Omnibus datasets and was further validated by our tested cohort. CSF1R was reconstructed in CRC cells to identify its biological functions in vitro and in vivo. We compared CSF1R expression and methylation differences between CRC cells and macrophages. Furthermore, a co-culture system was used to mimic a competitive mechanism between CSF1R-overexpressed CRC cells and M2-like macrophages. We utilized a CSF1R inhibitor PLX3397 to ablate M2 TAMs and evaluated its efficacy on CRC treatment in animal models.
    RESULTS: We found here that the CSF1R is silenced in CRC, and the reintroduced expression of the receptor in CRC cells can be cleaved by caspases and constrain tumor growth in vitro and in vivo, functioning as a tumor suppressor gene. We further identified CSF1R as a novel dependence receptor, which has the potential to act as either a tumor suppressor gene or an oncogene, depending on its activated state. In CRC tumors, CSF1R expression is enriched in TAMs, and its expression is associated with poor prognosis in patients ith CRC. In a co-culture system, CRC cells expressing CSF1R compete with M2-like macrophages for CSF1R ligands, resulting in a decrease in CSF1R activation and cell proliferation in macrophages. Blocking CSF1R by PLX3397 could deplete M2 TAMs and augments CD8+ T cell infiltration, effectively inhibiting tumor growth and metastasis and improving responses to chemotherapy and immunotherapy.
    CONCLUSION: Our findings revealed that CSF1R is a novel identified dependence receptor silenced in CRC. The silence abalienates its ligands to stimulate CSF1R expressed on M2 TAMs, which is an appealing therapeutic target for M2 TAM depletion and CRC treatment.
    Keywords:  gastrointestinal neoplasms; immunotherapy; macrophages; receptors, immunologic; tumor microenvironment
  5. Cell Rep Methods. 2022 Dec 19. 2(12): 100353
      We describe a mouse model of rectal cancer (RC) involving rapid tumor organoid engraftment via orthotopic transplantation in an immunocompetent setting. This approach uses simple mechanical disruption to allow engraftment, avoiding the use of dextran sulfate sodium. The resulting RC tumors invaded from the mucosal surface and metastasized to distant organs. Histologically, the tumors closely resemble human RC and mirror remodeling of the tumor microenvironment in response to radiation. This murine RC model thus recapitulates key aspects of human RC pathogenesis and presents an accessible approach for more physiologically accurate, preclinical efficacy studies.
    Keywords:  immunocompetent mouse model; radiation; rectal cancer; tumor microenvironment; tumor organoids
  6. J Immunother Cancer. 2023 Jan;pii: e005493. [Epub ahead of print]11(1):
      BACKGROUND: Immune checkpoint inhibitors (ICIs) show a tremendous activity in microsatellite instability-high (MSI-H) metastatic colorectal cancer (mCRC), but a consistent fraction of patients does not respond. Prognostic/predictive markers are needed. Despite previous investigations in other tumor types, immune-related adverse events (irAEs) have not been well evaluated in patients with MSI-H cancers treated with ICIs.METHODS: We conducted an international cohort study at tertiary cancer centers collecting clinic-pathological features from 331 patients with MSI-H mCRC treated with ICIs. Of note, the irAEs were summarized using a 'burden score' constructed in a way that the same score value could be obtained by cumulating many low-grade irAEs or few high-grade irAEs; as a result, the lower the burden the better. Clearly, the irAE burden is not a baseline information, thus it was modeled as a time-dependent variable in univariable and multivariable Cox models.
    RESULTS: Among 331 patients, irAEs were reported in 144 (43.5%) patients. After a median follow-up time of 29.7 months, patients with higher burden of skin, endocrine and musculoskeletal irAEs (the latter two's effect was confirmed at multivariable analysis) had longer overall survival (OS), as opposed to gastrointestinal, pneumonitis, neurological, liver, renal and other irAEs, which showed an harmful effect. Similar results were observed for progression-free survival (PFS). Based on the results retrieved from organ-specific irAEs, 'aggregated' burden scores were developed to distinguish 'protective' (endocrine and musculoskeletal) and 'harmful' (gastrointestinal, pneumonitis, neurological, hepatic) irAEs showing prognostic effects on OS and PFS.
    CONCLUSIONS: Our results demonstrate that not all irAEs could exert a protective effect on oncologic outcome. An easy-to-use model for ICIs toxicity (burden score of protective and harmful irAEs) may be used as surrogate marker of response.
    Keywords:  Gastrointestinal Neoplasms; Immunotherapy; Translational Medical Research; Tumor Biomarkers