bims-instec Biomed News
on Intestinal stem cells and chemoresistance in colon cancer and intestinal regeneration
Issue of 2024‒01‒21
eleven papers selected by
Maria-Virginia Giolito, Université Catholique de Louvain

  1. Stem Cell Res Ther. 2024 Jan 17. 15(1): 16
      BACKGROUND: Intestinal epithelial cells derived from human pluripotent stem cells (hPSCs) are generally maintained and cultured as organoids in vitro because they do not exhibit adhesion when cultured. However, the three-dimensional structure of organoids makes their use in regenerative medicine and drug discovery difficult. Mesenchymal stromal cells are found near intestinal stem cells in vivo and provide trophic factors to regulate stem cell maintenance and proliferation, such as BMP inhibitors, WNT, and R-spondin. In this study, we aimed to use mesenchymal stromal cells isolated from hPSC-derived intestinal organoids to establish an in vitro culture system that enables stable proliferation and maintenance of hPSC-derived intestinal epithelial cells in adhesion culture.METHODS: We established an isolation protocol for intestinal epithelial cells and mesenchymal stromal cells from hPSCs-derived intestinal organoids and a co-culture system for these cells. We then evaluated the intestinal epithelial cells and mesenchymal stromal cells' morphology, proliferative capacity, chromosomal stability, tumorigenicity, and gene expression profiles. We also evaluated the usefulness of the cells for pharmacokinetic and toxicity studies.
    RESULTS: The proliferating intestinal epithelial cells exhibited a columnar form, microvilli and glycocalyx formation, cell polarity, and expression of drug-metabolizing enzymes and transporters. The intestinal epithelial cells also showed barrier function, transporter activity, and drug-metabolizing capacity. Notably, small intestinal epithelial stem cells cannot be cultured in adherent culture without mesenchymal stromal cells and cannot replaced by other feeder cells. Organoid-derived mesenchymal stromal cells resemble the trophocytes essential for maintaining small intestinal epithelial stem cells and play a crucial role in adherent culture.
    CONCLUSIONS: The high proliferative expansion, productivity, and functionality of hPSC-derived intestinal epithelial cells may have potential applications in pharmacokinetic and toxicity studies and regenerative medicine.
    Keywords:  Adherent culture; Epithelium-mesenchyme co-culture; GREM1; Intestinal stem cells; Mesenchyme; Organoids; Pharmacokinetics; Pluripotent stem cells; Regeneration; Trophocytes
  2. Cell Rep Med. 2024 Jan 08. pii: S2666-3791(23)00605-5. [Epub ahead of print] 101376
      The bacterial genotoxin colibactin promotes colorectal cancer (CRC) tumorigenesis, but systematic assessment of its impact on DNA repair is lacking, and its effect on response to DNA-damaging chemotherapeutics is unknown. We find that CRC cell lines display differential response to colibactin on the basis of homologous recombination (HR) proficiency. Sensitivity to colibactin is induced by inhibition of ATM, which regulates DNA double-strand break repair, and blunted by HR reconstitution. Conversely, CRC cells chronically infected with colibactin develop a tolerant phenotype characterized by restored HR activity. Notably, sensitivity to colibactin correlates with response to irinotecan active metabolite SN38, in both cell lines and patient-derived organoids. Moreover, CRC cells that acquire colibactin tolerance develop cross-resistance to SN38, and a trend toward poorer response to irinotecan is observed in a retrospective cohort of CRCs harboring colibactin genomic island. Our results shed insight into colibactin activity and provide translational evidence on its chemoresistance-promoting role in CRC.
    Keywords:  DNA repair; chemotherapy; colibactin; colorectal cancer; microbiota; resistance
  3. Dig Liver Dis. 2024 Jan 16. pii: S1590-8658(24)00001-X. [Epub ahead of print]
      BACKGROUND: Triplet chemotherapy plus cetuximab showed promising results in phase II trials in unsystematically selected RAS population. We evaluated FOLFIRINOX+cetuximab efficacy as first-line treatment in extended RAS wild-type metastatic colorectal cancer (mCRC) patients.METHODS: We retrospectively analyzed patients treated with FOLFIRINOX+cetuximab, using data from clinical trials and real-life practice. Extended mutation analysis was performed when RAS/BRAF status was unavailable. The primary endpoint was progression-free survival (PFS).
    RESULTS: Seventy patients (61.4 % male, median age 58.7 years) were analyzed. Eighty percent had left-sided mCRC and 97.1 % had liver metastases. Median PFS and overall survival (OS) were 13.3 and 48.5 months, respectively. The objective response rate was 85.7 %, with 20 % complete response. Primary tumor location did not affect OS and PFS. BRAF wild-type patients (n = 65) had longer PFS (13.3 vs. 6.0 months; p = 0.005) and OS (50.1 vs. 21.2 months; p = 0.007) than BRAF mutated patients (n = 5, including four BRAFV600E). Median OS was significantly longer in resected patients (n = 39, 55.1 vs. 30.7 months; p = 0.030). Main toxicities were diarrhea (31.4 %) and neutropenia (21.4 %).
    CONCLUSION: FOLFIRINOX+cetuximab provides good PFS, high response rate and prolonged disease control in initially unresectable extended RAS wild-type mCRC. This combination is particularly interesting for selected patients with liver-limited disease eligible to secondary resection.
    Keywords:  Cetuximab; FOLFIRINOX; Metastatic colorectal cancer; Triplet chemotherapy
  4. Cancer Treat Rev. 2024 Jan 12. pii: S0305-7372(24)00001-X. [Epub ahead of print]124 102683
      Despite recent molecular and immunological advancements, prognosis of metastatic colorectal cancer (mCRC) patients remains poor. In this context, several retrospective and phase II studies suggested that after failure of an upfront anti-EGFR based regimen, a subset of patients can still benefit from further anti-EGFR blockade. Several translational studies involving circulating tumor DNA (ctDNA) analysis demonstrated that cancer clones harboring mutations driving anti-EGFR resistance, which can arise under anti-EGFR agents selective pressure, often decay after anti-EGFR discontinuation potentially restoring sensitivity to this therapeutic strategy. Accordingly, several retrospective analyses and a recent prospective trial demonstrated that ctDNA RAS and BRAF wild-type mCRC patients are those benefitting the most from anti-EGFR rechallenge. Indeed, in molecularly selected patients, anti-EGFR rechallenge strategy achieved up to 30 % response rate, with a progression free survival longer than 4 months and an overall survival longer than 1 year, which favorably compared with other standard therapeutic options available for heavily pretreated patients. Anti-EGFR is also well tolerated with no unexpected toxicities compared to the upfront setting. However, several open questions remain to be addressed towards a broader applicability of anti-EGFR strategy in the everyday clinical practice such as the identification of the best rechallenge regimen, the right placement in mCRC therapeutic algorithm, the best ctDNA screening panel. In our systematic review, we revised available data from clinical trials assessing anti-EGFR rechallenge activity in chemo-refractory mCRC patients, discussing as well potential future scenarios and development to implement this therapeutic approach. Particularly, we discussed the role of ctDNA as a safe, timely and comprehensive tool to refine patient's selection and the therapeutic index of anti-EGFR rechallenge.
    Keywords:  Cetuximab; Circulating tumor DNA; Metastatic colorectal cancer; Panitumumab; Rechallenge
  5. Nat Commun. 2024 Jan 16. 15(1): 546
      Aging in mammals is accompanied by an imbalance of intestinal homeostasis and accumulation of mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) mutations. However, little is known about how accumulated mtDNA mutations modulate intestinal homeostasis. We observe the accumulation of mtDNA mutations in the small intestine of aged male mice, suggesting an association with physiological intestinal aging. Using polymerase gamma (POLG) mutator mice and wild-type mice, we generate male mice with progressive mtDNA mutation burdens. Investigation utilizing organoid technology and in vivo intestinal stem cell labeling reveals decreased colony formation efficiency of intestinal crypts and LGR5-expressing intestinal stem cells in response to a threshold mtDNA mutation burden. Mechanistically, increased mtDNA mutation burden exacerbates the aging phenotype of the small intestine through ATF5 dependent mitochondrial unfolded protein response (UPRmt) activation. This aging phenotype is reversed by supplementation with the NAD+ precursor, NMN. Thus, we uncover a NAD+ dependent UPRmt triggered by mtDNA mutations that regulates the intestinal aging.
  6. JCI Insight. 2024 Jan 16. pii: e169716. [Epub ahead of print]
      Circular RNAs (circRNAs) are highly expressed in the mammalian intestinal epithelium, but their functions remain largely unknown. Here we identified the circRNA Cdr1as as a repressor of intestinal epithelial regeneration and defense. Cdr1as levels increase in mouse intestinal mucosa after colitis and septic stress, as well as in human intestinal mucosa from patients with inflammatory bowel diseases and sepsis. Ablation of the Cdr1as locus from the mouse genome enhances renewal of the intestinal mucosa, promotes injury-induced epithelial regeneration, and protects the mucosa against colitis. We found approximately 40 microRNAs, including microRNA miR-195, differentially express between intestinal mucosa of Cdr1as knockout (-/-) versus littermate mice. Increasing the levels of Cdr1as inhibits intestinal epithelial repair after wounding in cultured cells and represses growth of intestinal organoids cultured ex vivo, but this inhibition is abolished by miR-195 silencing. The reduction in miR-195 levels in the Cdr1as-/- intestinal epithelium is the result of reduced stability and processing of the precursor miR-195. These findings indicate that Cdr1as reduces proliferation and repair of the intestinal epithelium at least in part via interaction with miR-195 and highlight a role for induced Cdr1as in the pathogenesis of unhealed wounds and disrupted renewal of the intestinal mucosa.
    Keywords:  Gastroenterology; Surgery
  7. Cell Death Dis. 2024 Jan 17. 15(1): 61
      Acquired drug resistance is one of the most common limitations for the clinical response of colon cancer to 5-Fluorouracil (5-FU)-based chemotherapy. The relevant molecular mechanisms might be diversity, but still not be elucidated clearly. In this study, we aimed to investigate the potential mechanisms of c-Fos, a subfamily of activator protein-1, in 5-FU chemoresistance. We determined that phosphorylated c-Fos promoted colon cancer cells resistance to 5-FU by facilitating the cancer stemness. Mechanically, 5-FU treatment induced autolysosome-dependent degradation of TMPO, which subsequently triggered ERK-mediated phosphorylation of c-Fos. Additionally, c-Fos was found to bind to the promoter of NANOG and phosphorylation of c-Fos at Ser 374 was required for its regulation of NANOG expression. NANOG ablation impaired c-Fos/p-c-Fos induced 5-FU resistance and stemness. Taken together, these findings revealed that TMPO-mediated phosphorylation of c-Fos conferred 5-FU resistance by regulating NANOG expression and promoting cell stemness in colon cancer cells. c-Fos could be as a therapeutic target for colon cancer.
  8. Cell Host Microbe. 2024 Jan 11. pii: S1931-3128(23)00510-3. [Epub ahead of print]
      Aspirin-related gastrointestinal damage is of growing concern. Aspirin use modulates the gut microbiota and associated metabolites, such as bile acids (BAs), but how this impacts intestinal homeostasis remains unclear. Herein, using clinical cohorts and aspirin-treated mice, we identified an intestinal microbe, Parabacteroides goldsteinii, whose growth is suppressed by aspirin. Mice supplemented with P. goldsteinii or its BA metabolite, 7-keto-lithocholic acid (7-keto-LCA), showed reduced aspirin-mediated damage of the intestinal niche and gut barrier, effects that were lost with a P. goldsteinii hdhA mutant unable to generate 7-keto-LCA. Specifically, 7-keto-LCA promotes repair of the intestinal epithelium by suppressing signaling by the intestinal BA receptor, farnesoid X receptor (FXR). 7-Keto-LCA was confirmed to be an FXR antagonist that facilitates Wnt signaling and thus self-renewal of intestinal stem cells. These results reveal the impact of oral aspirin on the gut microbiota and intestinal BA metabolism that in turn modulates gastrointestinal homeostasis.
    Keywords:  FXR; Wnt; aspirin; bile acid; gastrointestinal damage; gut microbiota; intestinal stem cells
  9. J Cell Biochem. 2024 Jan 15.
      Colorectal cancer (CRC) is the third most common and deadliest cancer globally. Regimens using 5-fluorouracil (5FU) and Oxaliplatin (OXA) are the first-line treatment for CRC, but tumor recurrence is frequent. It is plausible to hypothesize that differential cellular responses are triggered after treatments depending on the genetic background of CRC cells and that the rational modulation of cell tolerance mechanisms like autophagy may reduce the regrowth of CRC cells. This study proposes investigating the cellular mechanisms triggered by CRC cells exposed to 5FU and OXA using a preclinical experimental design mimicking one cycle of the clinical regimen (i.e., 48 h of treatment repeated every 2 weeks). To test this, we treated CRC human cell lines HCT116 and HT29 with the 5FU and OXA, combined or not, for 48 h, followed by analysis for two additional weeks. Compared to single-drug treatments, the co-treatment reduced tumor cell regrowth, clonogenicity and stemness, phenotypes associated with tumor aggressiveness and poor prognosis in clinics. This effect was exerted by the induction of apoptosis and senescence only in the co-treatment. However, a week after treatment, cells that tolerated the treatment had high levels of autophagy features and restored the proliferative phenotype, resembling tumor recurrence. The pharmacologic suppression of early autophagy during its peak of occurrence, but not concomitant with chemotherapeutics, strongly reduced cell regrowth. Overall, our experimental model provides new insights into the cellular mechanisms that underlie the response and tolerance of CRC cells to 5FU and OXA, suggesting optimized, time-specific autophagy inhibition as a new avenue for improving the efficacy of current treatments.
    Keywords:  5-fluorouracil; autophagy; colorectal cancer; oxaliplatin; senescence; tolerance
  10. Genomics. 2024 Jan 13. pii: S0888-7543(24)00015-6. [Epub ahead of print] 110794
      BACKGROUND: Accumulating evidence demonstrated that Hippo signaling pathway is implicated in tumor initiation and progression. However, there have been limited studies on establishing signatures utilizing genes related to the Hippo pathway to evaluate prognosis and clinical efficacy in colorectal cancer (CRC) patients.METHODS: Hippo pathway-associated genes with prognostic significance were identified in the TCGA database. Subsequently, a prognostic signature associated with the Hippo pathway was constructed using Cox and LASSO regression analyses. Survival analysis, ROC analysis, and stratified analyses were conducted to appraise the performance effect of our prognostic model. We also explored the relationship between the risk score and tumor immune microenvironment. Furthermore, GO analyses and GSEA were performed for SERPINE1. Additional experiments were conducted to illuminate the underlying function and possible mechanism of SERPINE1 in CRC cell proliferation and migration.
    RESULTS: We identified 58 differentially expressed genes associated with Hippo pathway that have prognostic significance in CRC. Among them, five genes (PPP2CB, SERPINE1, WNT5A, TCF7L1, and LEF1) were selected to establish a prognostic signature for CRC. Multivariate analysis demonstrated that this signature exhibited excellent diagnostic and prognostic performance, providing maximum benefits for CRC patients. In accordance with the prognostic signatures, the cases were divided into low-risk and high-risk groups. Remarkably, the high-risk group displayed lower immune scores, reduced immune cell infiltration, and decreased expression of immune checkpoints. Low-risk group could more possibly benefit from conventional chemotherapeutic and targeted therapies. CRC exhibited significantly elevated expression of SERPINE1, which was linked to worst overall survival. Moreover, inhibition of SERPINE1 suppressed proliferation, invasion, and migration of CRC cells via Notch pathway.
    CONCLUSIONS: To sum up, we established a novel immunological prognostic signature utilizing genes associated with the Hippo pathway. This signature offers accurate prognostic prediction and can guide individualized therapy for patients with CRC.
    Keywords:  Colorectal neoplasms; Hippo signaling pathway; Prognosis; SERPINE1; Tumor microenvironment
  11. Chem Res Toxicol. 2024 Jan 17.
      Human tissue three-dimensional (3D) organoid cultures have the potential to reproduce in vitro the physiological properties and cellular architecture of the organs from which they are derived. The ability of organoid cultures derived from human stomach, liver, kidney, and colon to metabolically activate three dietary carcinogens, aflatoxin B1 (AFB1), aristolochic acid I (AAI), and 2-amino-1-methyl-6-phenylimidazo[4,5-b]pyridine (PhIP), was investigated. In each case, the response of a target tissue (liver for AFB1; kidney for AAI; colon for PhIP) was compared with that of a nontarget tissue (gastric). After treatment cell viabilities were measured, DNA damage response (DDR) was determined by Western blotting for p-p53, p21, p-CHK2, and γ-H2AX, and DNA adduct formation was quantified by mass spectrometry. Induction of the key xenobiotic-metabolizing enzymes (XMEs) CYP1A1, CYP1A2, CYP3A4, and NQO1 was assessed by qRT-PCR. We found that organoids from different tissues can activate AAI, AFB1, and PhIP. In some cases, this metabolic potential varied between tissues and between different cultures of the same tissue. Similarly, variations in the levels of expression of XMEs were observed. At comparable levels of cytotoxicity, organoids derived from tissues that are considered targets for these carcinogens had higher levels of adduct formation than a nontarget tissue.