bims-instec Biomed News
on Intestinal stem cells and chemoresistance in colon cancer and intestinal regeneration
Issue of 2023‒09‒10
six papers selected by
Maria-Virginia Giolito, Université Catholique de Louvain

  1. bioRxiv. 2023 Aug 21. pii: 2023.08.18.553925. [Epub ahead of print]
      Metastasis is the principal cause of cancer death, yet we lack an understanding of metastatic cell states, their relationship to primary tumor states, and the mechanisms by which they transition. In a cohort of biospecimen trios from same-patient normal colon, primary and metastatic colorectal cancer, we show that while primary tumors largely adopt LGR5 + intestinal stem-like states, metastases display progressive plasticity. Loss of intestinal cell states is accompanied by reprogramming into a highly conserved fetal progenitor state, followed by non-canonical differentiation into divergent squamous and neuroendocrine-like states, which is exacerbated by chemotherapy and associated with poor patient survival. Using matched patient-derived organoids, we demonstrate that metastatic cancer cells exhibit greater cell-autonomous multilineage differentiation potential in response to microenvironment cues than their intestinal lineage-restricted primary tumor counterparts. We identify PROX1 as a stabilizer of intestinal lineage in the fetal progenitor state, whose downregulation licenses non-canonical reprogramming.
  2. Nat Commun. 2023 Sep 05. 14(1): 5411
      Intestinal stem cells (ISCs) maintain the epithelial lining of the intestines, but mechanisms regulating ISCs and their niche after damage remain poorly understood. Utilizing radiation injury to model intestinal pathology, we report here that the Interleukin-33 (IL-33)/ST2 axis, an immunomodulatory pathway monitored clinically as an intestinal injury biomarker, regulates intrinsic epithelial regeneration by inducing production of epidermal growth factor (EGF). Three-dimensional imaging and lineage-specific RiboTag induction within the stem cell compartment indicated that ISCs expressed IL-33 in response to radiation injury. Neighboring Paneth cells responded to IL-33 by augmenting production of EGF, which promoted ISC recovery and epithelial regeneration. These findings reveal an unknown pathway of niche regulation and crypt regeneration whereby the niche responds dynamically upon injury and the stem cells orchestrate regeneration by regulating their niche. This regenerative circuit also highlights the breadth of IL-33 activity beyond immunomodulation and the therapeutic potential of EGF administration for treatment of intestinal injury.
  3. J Pathol. 2023 Sep 08.
      The consensus molecular subtype (CMS) classification divides colorectal cancer (CRC) into four distinct subtypes based on RNA expression profiles. The biological differences between CMSs are already present in CRC precursor lesions, but not all CMSs pose the same risk of malignant transformation. To fully understand the path to malignant transformation and to determine whether CMS is a fixed entity during progression, genomic and transcriptomic data from two regions of the same CRC lesion were compared: the precursor region and the carcinoma region. In total, 24 patients who underwent endoscopic removal of T1-2 CRC were included. Regions were subtyped for CMS and DNA mutation analysis was performed. Additionally, a set of 85 benign adenomas was CMS-subtyped. This analysis revealed that almost all benign adenomas were classified as CMS3 (91.8%). In contrast, CMS2 was the most prevalent subtype in precursor regions (66.7%), followed by CMS3 (29.2%). CMS4 was absent in precursor lesions and originated at the carcinoma stage. Importantly, CMS switching occurred in a substantial number of cases and almost all (six out of seven) CMS3 precursor regions showed a shift to a different subtype in the carcinoma part of the lesion, which in four cases was classified as CMS4. In conclusion, our data indicate that CMS3 is related to a more indolent type of precursor lesion that less likely progresses to CRC and when this occurs, it is often associated with a subtype change that includes the more aggressive mesenchymal CMS4. In contrast, an acquired CMS2 signature appeared to be rather fixed during early CRC development. Combined, our data show that subtype changes occur during progression and that CMS3 switching is related to changes in the genomic background through acquisition of a novel driver mutation (TP53) or selective expansion of a clone, but also occurred independently of such genetic changes. © 2023 The Authors. The Journal of Pathology published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd on behalf of The Pathological Society of Great Britain and Ireland.
    Keywords:  adenoma; colorectal cancer; consensus molecular subtypes; gene expression profiling; molecular stratification; mutational profiling
  4. Nat Commun. 2023 Sep 04. 14(1): 5391
      Precision medicine has revolutionised cancer treatments; however, actionable biomarkers remain scarce. To address this, we develop the Oncology Biomarker Discovery (OncoBird) framework for analysing the molecular and biomarker landscape of randomised controlled clinical trials. OncoBird identifies biomarkers based on single genes or mutually exclusive genetic alterations in isolation or in the context of tumour subtypes, and finally, assesses predictive components by their treatment interactions. Here, we utilise the open-label, randomised phase III trial (FIRE-3, AIO KRK-0306) in metastatic colorectal carcinoma patients, who received either cetuximab or bevacizumab in combination with 5-fluorouracil, folinic acid and irinotecan (FOLFIRI). We systematically identify five biomarkers with predictive components, e.g., patients with tumours that carry chr20q amplifications or lack mutually exclusive ERK signalling mutations benefited from cetuximab compared to bevacizumab. In summary, OncoBird characterises the molecular landscape and outlines actionable biomarkers, which generalises to any molecularly characterised randomised controlled trial.
  5. Cell Rep. 2023 Sep 07. pii: S2211-1247(23)01121-X. [Epub ahead of print]42(9): 113110
      The crosstalk between ferroptosis and cancer metastasis remains unclear. Here, we identify AMER1 as a key regulator of ferroptosis. AMER1 loss causes resistance to ferroptosis in colorectal cancer (CRC) cells. Interestingly, AMER1-deficient CRC cells preferentially form distant metastases, while AMER1-naive CRC cells mainly invade lymph nodes. Moreover, the ferroptosis inhibitor liproxstatin-1 effectively promotes hematogenous transfer of AMER1-naive cells. Mechanistically, AMER1 binds to SLC7A11 and ferritin light chain (FTL) and recruits β-TrCP1/2, which degrade SLC7A11 and FTL by ubiquitination. Therefore, AMER1 deficiency increases cellular cystine levels but decreases the pool of labile free iron, thereby enhancing resistance to ferroptosis in CRC cells. Thus, AMER1 deficiency increases the survival of CRC cells in the blood under conditions of high oxidative stress and then promotes hematogenous metastasis of CRC. In conclusion, AMER1 mediates the crosstalk between ferroptosis and cancer metastasis, which provides a window of opportunity for treating metastatic colorectal cancer patients with AMER1 mutations.
    Keywords:  AMER1; CP: Cancer; FTL; SLC7A11; colorectal cancer; ferroptosis; metastasis
  6. Am J Physiol Cell Physiol. 2023 Sep 04.
      Although the metabolic phenotype within tumors is known to differ significantly from that of the surrounding normal tissue, the importance of this heterogeneity is just becoming widely recognized. Colorectal cancer (CRC) is often classified as the Warburg phenotype, a metabolic type in which the glycolytic system is predominant over oxidative phosphorylation (OXPHOS) in mitochondria for energy production. However, this dichotomy (glycolysis vs OXPHOS) may be too simplistic and not accurately represent the metabolic characteristics of CRC. Therefore, in this review, we decompose metabolic phenomena into factors based on their source/origin and reclassify them into two categories: extrinsic and intrinsic. In the CRC context, extrinsic factors include those based on the environment, such as hypoxia, nutrient deprivation, and the tumor microenvironment, whereas intrinsic factors include those based on subpopulations, such as pathological subtypes and cancer stem cells. These factors form multiple layers inside and outside the tumor, affecting them additively, dominantly, or mutually exclusively. Consequently, the metabolic phenotype is a heterogeneous and fluid phenomenon reflecting the spatial distribution and temporal continuity of these factors. This allowed us to redefine the characteristics of specific metabolism-related factors in CRC and summarize and update our accumulated knowledge on their heterogeneity. Furthermore, we positioned tumor budding in CRC as an intrinsic factor and a novel form of metabolic heterogeneity, and predicted its metabolic dynamics, noting its similarity to circulating tumor cells and epithelial-mesenchymal transition. Finally, the possibilities and limitations of using human tumor tissue as research material to investigate and assess metabolic heterogeneity are discussed.
    Keywords:  colorectal cancer; extrinsic factor; intrinsic factor; metabolic heterogeneity; multilayered model