Co-culture of periodontal ligament (PDL) fibroblasts and SCC-25 oral squamous carcinoma cells (OSCC), results in conversion of PDLs into carcinoma-associated fibroblasts (CAFs). Paracrin circuits between CAFs and OSCC cells were hypothesized to regulate the gene expression of matrix remodeling enzymes in their co-culture, which was performed for 7 days, followed by analysis of the mRNA/protein expression and activity of metalloproteinases (MMPs), their tissue inhibitors (TIMPs) and other relevant genes. Interleukin1-β, transforming growth factor-β1, fibronectin and αvβ6 integrin have shown to be involved in the regulation of the MMP and TIMP gene expression in co-culture of CAFs and tumor cells. In addition, these cells also cooperated in activation of MMP pro-enzymes. It is particularly interesting that the fibroblast-produced inactive MMP-2 has been activated by the tumor-cell-produced membrane-type 1 matrix metalloproteinase (MT1-MMP). The crosstalk between cancer- and the surrounding fibroblast stromal-cells is essential for the fine tuning of cancer cells invasivity.
Summary of the suggested mechanism for the regulation of MMPs and TIMPs in the paracrine interplay between SCC-25 cells and fibroblasts. MMP-9 showed a tumor specific expression, regulated presumably by the fibronectin ITGA5B6 pathway. The ITGA5 was inducible in both SCC-25 and PDL fibroblasts in co-culture, but ITGB6 expression was tumor (SCC-25) specific. Based on a previous report , MMP-9 might be activated in the interaction with CD-44, and according to our gelatinase assay results, it remains bound with the tumor cells (A). The results of this study suggest that MMP-2 is secreted in its pro- (inactive-) form by CAFs surrounding the tumor cells, and at a lower extent also by the tumor cells themselves. Activation of MMP-2 either requires MT1-MMP localized on the SCC-25 cancer cells , or integrins, where the involvement of αv integrins (ITGA5) is expected (A).
MMPs-1, 3 and TIMPs-1, 3 are produced in the PDL fibroblasts, and their expression might be regulated by inflammatory cytokines, including IL1-β produced by SCC-25 cells. The expression of TIMP-1 and TIMP-3 is 20–70-times higher than that of MMPs-1 and 3. The gene expression of MMP-1; 2, TIMP-1 and TIMP-3 was reduced by dexamethasone (DEX) (B).
CAFs, carcinoma-associated fibroblasts; COX-2, prostaglandin-endoperoxide synthase 2; DEX, dexamethasone; ECM, extracellular matrix; EMT, epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition; FBS, foetal bovine serum; FN, fibronectin; HNSCC, head and neck squamous cell carcinoma; IL, interleukin; IMVD, intratumoral microvessel density; LTBP-1, latent-transforming growth factor beta-binding protein; 1MMP, matrix metalloproteinase; MT1-MMP, membrane-type 1 matrix metalloproteinase; OSCC, oral squamous cell carcinoma; PDL, periodontal ligament (PDL) fibroblasts; TGF-β1, transforming growth factor-β1; TIMP, tissue inhibitor of metalloproteinases; HNSCC; Co-culture insert; Metastasis; Matrix remodeling
Fibroblasts located adjacent to the tumor [cancer-associated fibroblasts (CAFs)] that constitute a large proportion of the cancer-associated stroma facilitate the transformation process. In this study, we compared the biological behavior of CAFs that were isolated from a prostate tumor to their normal-associated fibroblast (NAF) counterparts. CAFs formed more colonies when seeded at low cell density, exhibited a higher proliferation rate and were less prone to contact inhibition. In contrast to the general notion that high levels of α-smooth muscle actin serve as a marker for CAFs, we found that prostate CAFs express it at a lower level compared with prostate NAFs. Microarray analysis revealed a set of 161 genes that were altered in CAFs compared with NAFs. We focused on whey acidic protein four-disulfide core domain 1 (WFDC1), a known secreted protease inhibitor, and found it to be downregulated in the CAFs. WFDC1 expression was also dramatically downregulated in highly prolific mesenchymal cells and in various cancers including fibrosarcomas and in tumors of the lung, bladder and brain. Overexpression of WFDC1 inhibited the growth rate of the fibrosarcoma HT1080 cell line. Furthermore, WFDC1 level was upregulated in senescent fibroblasts. Taken together, our data suggest an important role for WFDC1 in inhibiting proliferation of both tumors and senescent cells. Finally, we suggest that the downregulation of WFDC1 might serve as a biomarker for cellular transformation.
We isolate and culture carcinoma-associated fibroblasts (CAFs) from primary tumour (CAFpt), CAFs from corresponding synchronous liver metastasis (CAFlm) as well as normal colonic fibroblasts (NCF) from the same patient. From these cultures, conditioned media (CM) was obtained. Culture of a wide panel of colorectal and pancreatic cell lines in CM from CAFlm resulted in overexpression of mRNA PRL-3 and higher overexpression in CAFs than in non-activated fibroblasts. Moreover PRL-3 mRNA expression correlates with expression of α-SMA and deposition of collagen fibrils in the stroma. We demonstrate that products secreted by CAFs trigger PRL-3 overexpression in cancer cells. Identification of these factors may contribute to new stroma-targeted therapies for desmoplastic tumours.
Co-culture of periodontal ligament fibroblasts (PDLs) and SCC-25 oral squamous carcinoma cells (OSCC) results in conversion of PDLs into carcinoma-associated fibroblasts (CAFs) and induces epithelial-to mesenchymal transition (EMT) of OSCC tumor cells. We hypothesized that Curcumin targets this dynamic mutual interaction between CAFs and tumor cells. Normal and 2 μM Curcumin-treated co-culture were performed for 4 days, followed by analysis of tumor cell invasivity, mRNA/protein expression of EMT-markers and mediators, activity measure of matrix metalloproteinase 9 (MMP-9), and western blot analysis of signal transduction in tumor cells and fibroblasts. In Curcumin-treated co-culture, in tumor cells, the levels of nuclear factor κB (NFκBα) and early response kinase (ERK)—decreased, in fibroblasts, integrin αv protein synthesis decreased compared to corresponding cells in normal co-culture. The signal modulatory changes induced by Curcumin caused decreased release of EMT-mediators in CAFs and reversal of EMT in tumor cells, which was associated with decreased invasion. These data confirm the palliative potential of Curcumin in clinical application.
Co-culture of periodontal ligament fibroblasts (PDLs) and SCC-25 oral squamous carcinoma cells (OSCC) results in conversion of PDLs into carcinoma-associated fibroblasts (CAFs) and induces epithelial-to mesenchymal transition (EMT) of tumor cells. Curcumin targets this dynamic mutual interaction between CAFs and tumor cells by inhibiting the production of EMT mediators in CAFs and by modification of intracellular signaling in tumor cells. This causes less invasivity and reversal of EMT in tumor cells.
► Curcumin targets tumor–fibroblast interaction in head and neck cancer. ► Curcumin suppresses mediators of epithelial–mesenchymal transition. ► Curcumin decreases the invasivity of tumor cells.
AKT, another kinase of transcription; AP-1, activator protein-1; bcl2, B-cell lymphoma-2; BDNF, brain-derived neurotrophic factor; CAFs, carcinoma-associated fibroblasts; COX-2, prostaglandin-endoperoxide synthase 2; DMSO, dimethyl sulfoxide; ECM, extracellular matrix; EMT, epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition; ERK, early response kinase; FBS, fetal bovine serum; HNSCC, head and neck squamous cell carcinoma; IL, interleukin; ITGA5, integrin αV; MMP, matrix metalloproteinase; MTT, 3-(4,5-dimethylthiazol-2-yl)2,5diphenyltetrazolium bromide; NFkBα, nuclear factor kBα; OSCC, oral squamous cell carcinoma; PDLs, periodontal ligament (PDL) fibroblasts; TGF-β1, transforming growth factor-β1; TrkB, neurothrophin receptor B; Head and neck cancer; Curcuma longa; Polyphenol; Targeting; Tumor microenvironment
Carcinoma-associated fibroblasts (CAFs) can promote the progression of tumours in many ways. They can remodel the extracellular matrix to generate an environment that enables the invasion of cancer cells. We hypothesised that compounds that prevent matrix remodelling by CAFs would block their ability to promote carcinoma cell invasion.
We designed a screen for compounds that interfere with CAF-promoted matrix remodelling. Hits from this screen were investigated in organotypic invasion models of squamous cell carcinoma (SCC).
We find that lovastatin and simvastatin reduce matrix remodelling by fibroblasts and thereby reduce SCC invasion. This class of compounds exert their effects partly through disrupting the function of Rab proteins, and we show a new role for Rab21 in promoting cancer cell invasion promoted by CAFs.
Rab21 is required for CAFs to promote the invasion of cancer cells. It enables the accumulation of integrin α5 at the plasma membrane and subsequent force-mediated matrix remodelling.
actomyosin contractility; cancer invasion; stromal fibroblast; matrix remodelling; Rab
Esophageal squamous cell carcinoma (ESCC) is an aggressive cancer with a poor prognosis. Cancer-associated fibroblasts (CAFs) affect tumorigenesis by creating an environment primed for growth and invasion through the secretion of factors, including hepatocyte growth factor (HGF) and transforming growth factor β1 (TGFβ1). In the present study, the levels of α-smooth muscle actin (α-SMA), TGFβ1 and HGF were determined immunohistochemically in oesophageal precancerous lesions (low- and high-grade intraepithelial neoplasia; LGIEN and HGIEN, respectively), carcinoma in situ (CIS) and squamous cell carcinoma (SCC). Immunoreactivity was observed in the cytoplasm of oesophageal epithelial cells and stromal fibroblasts. Expression levels of α-SMA, TGFβ1 and HGF increased significantly in the following order: normal, LGIEN, HGIEN, CIS and SCC. In addition, linear correlations between the expression of α-SMA, TGFβ1 and HGF and different lesions were observed. Microvessel density (MVD) was measured in all specimens and increased gradually in the normal, LGIEN, HGIEN, CIS and SCC specimens, successively. A linear correlation between MVD and pathological grade was also observed and the MVD in α-SMA-, HGF- and TGFβ1-positive groups was higher when compared with that of their negative counterparts. The results of the present study indicated that the frequent overexpression of TGFβ1 and HGF proteins, secreted by oesophageal epithelium and stromal fibroblasts, promoted the progression of oesophageal precancerous lesions via the proliferation of epithelial cells and angiogenesis, through the upregulation of vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) expression.
esophageal squamous cell carcinoma; fibroblast; transforming growth factor-β1; α-smooth muscle actin; hepatocyte growth factor
Carcinoma-associated fibroblasts (CAFs) contribute to both tumor growth and cancer progression. In this report, we applied an emerging transcription factor (TF) activity array to fibroblasts to capture the activity of the intracellular signaling network and to define a signature that distinguishes mammary CAFs from normal mammary fibroblasts. Normal fibroblasts that restrained cancer cell invasion developed into an invasion-promoting CAF phenotype through exposure to conditioned medium from MDA-MB-231 breast cancer cells. A myofibroblast-like CAF cell line expressing high levels of smooth muscle actin was compared to normal mammary fibroblasts before and after induction. Comparison of TF activity profiles for all three fibroblast types identified a TF activity signature common to CAFs which included activation of reporters for TFs ELK1, GATA1, retinoic acid receptor (RAR), serum response factor (SRF), and vitamin D receptor (VDR). Additionally, CAFs resembling myofibroblasts, relative to normal fibroblasts, had elevated activation corresponding to NF-kappaB, RUNX2, and YY1, and distinct activity patterns for several differentiation-related TF reporters. Induction of CAFs by exposure of normal fibroblasts to conditioned medium from MDA-MB-231 cells resulted in increased activation of reporters for HIF1, several STAT TFs, and proliferation-related TFs such as AP1. Myofibroblast-like CAFs and induced normal mammary fibroblasts promoted invasion of breast cancer cells by distinct mechanisms, consistent with their distinct patterns of TF activation. The TF activity profiles of CAF subtypes provide an overview of intracellular signaling associated with the induction of a pro-invasive stroma, and provide a mechanistic link between the microenvironmental stimuli and phenotypic response.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1007/s12307-012-0121-z) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
Carcinoma-associated fibroblasts; Breast cancer; Transcription factors; Gene regulation; Induction
Fibroblasts (Fibs) contribution to neoplastic progression, tumor growth, angiogenesis, and metastasis has been recently reported by several research groups. In this study it was investigated if fibroblasts are the source of brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), which plays a crucial role in the progression of oral squamous cell carcinoma.
In a novel in vitro system oral Fibs were cultured with SCC-25 lingual squamous cell carcinoma cells for 7 days. Factors related with this interaction were investigated by quantitative PCR and western blot.
In the co-culture, fibroblasts were converted to carcinoma-associated fibroblasts (CAFs), which in return initiated epithelial–mesenchymal transition (EMT) of SCC-25 cells. The induced CAFs produced increased levels of BDNF, which interacted with the increased-expressed neurothrophin receptor B (TrkB) on EMT-converted SCC-25 cells. Possible regulatory factors of BDNF expression (tumor necrosis factor-α and interleukin-1-β) were detected both in CAFs and EMT-tumor cells. In CAFs: IL-1β-, in SCC-25 cells TNF-α-gene-expression was significantly increased in co-culture conditions.
Activated fibroblasts (CAFs) and mesenchymal transitioned tumor cells might use the BDNF-TrkB axis and its regulation to harmonize their interaction in the process of tumor progression.
HNSCC; Neurotrophin; Metastasis; Tumor progression; SDF; Co-culture insert; Oral cancer
It has been well documented that microenvironment consisting of stroma affects breast cancer progression. However, the mechanisms by which cancer cells and fibroblasts, the major cell type in stroma, interact with each other during tumor development remains to be elucidated. Here, we show that the human cancer-associated fibroblasts (CAFs) had higher activity in enhancing breast tumorigenecity compared to the normal tissue-associated fibroblasts (NAFs) isolated from the same patients. The expression level of hepatocyte growth factor (HGF) in these fibroblasts was positively correlated with their ability to enhance breast tumorigenesis in mice. Deprivation of HGF using a neutralizing antibody reduced CAF-mediated colony formation of human breast cancer cells, indicating that CAFs enhanced cancer cell colony formation mainly through HGF secretion. Co-culture with human breast cancer MDA-MB-468 cells in a transwell system enhanced NAFs to secret HGF as well as promote tumorigenecity. The newly gained ability of these “educated” NAFs became irreversible after continuing this process till fourth passage. These results suggested that breast cancer cells could alter the nature of its surrounding fibroblasts to secrete HGF to support its own progression through paracrine signaling.
Cancer-associated fibroblasts (CAF), comprised of activated fibroblasts or myofibroblasts, are found in stroma surrounding solid tumors; these myofibroblasts promote invasion and metastasis of cancer cells. Activation of stromal fibroblasts into myofibroblasts is induced by expression of cystoskeleton protein, palladin, at early stages in tumorigenesis and increases with neoplastic progression. Expression of palladin in fibroblasts is triggered by paracrine signaling from adjacent k-ras-expressing epithelial cells. Three-dimensional co-cultures of palladin-expressing fibroblasts and pancreatic cancer cells reveals that the activated fibroblasts lead the invasion by creating tunnels through the extracellular matrix through which the cancer cells follow. Invasive tunneling occurs as a result of the development of invadopodia-like cellular protrusions in the palladin-activated fibroblasts and the addition of a wounding/inflammatory trigger. Abrogation of palladin reduces the invasive capacity of these cells. CAF also play a role in cancer resistance and immuno-privilege, making the targeting of activators of these cells of interest for oncologists.
cancer associated fibroblast; palladin; stroma; pancreatic cancer; myofibroblasts; invadopodia; ras mutation; cancer metastasis; invasion
The stromal microenvironment has key roles in prostate development and cancer, and cancer-associated fibroblasts (CAFs) stimulate tumourigenesis via several mechanisms including the expression of pro-tumourigenic factors. Mesenchyme (embryonic stroma) controls prostate organogenesis, and in some circumstances can re-differentiate prostate tumours. We have applied next-generation Tag profiling to fetal human prostate, normal human prostate fibroblasts (NPFs) and CAFs to identify molecules expressed in prostatic stroma. Comparison of gene expression profiles of a patient-matched pair of NPFs vs CAFs identified 671 transcripts that were enriched in CAFs and 356 transcripts whose levels were decreased, relative to NPFs. Gene ontology analysis revealed that CAF-enriched transcripts were associated with prostate morphogenesis and CAF-depleted transcripts were associated with cell cycle. We selected mRNAs to follow-up by comparison of our data sets with published prostate cancer fibroblast microarray profiles as well as by focusing on transcripts encoding secreted and peripheral membrane proteins, as well as mesenchymal transcripts identified in a previous study from our group. We confirmed differential transcript expression between CAFs and NPFs using QrtPCR, and defined protein localization using immunohistochemistry in fetal prostate, adult prostate and prostate cancer. We demonstrated that ASPN, CAV1, CFH, CTSK, DCN, FBLN1, FHL1, FN, NKTR, OGN, PARVA, S100A6, SPARC, STC1 and ZEB1 proteins showed specific and varied expression patterns in fetal human prostate and in prostate cancer. Colocalization studies suggested that some stromally expressed molecules were also expressed in subsets of tumour epithelia, indicating that they may be novel markers of EMT. Additionally, two molecules (ASPN and STC1) marked overlapping and distinct subregions of stroma associated with tumour epithelia and may represent new CAF markers.
prostate; stromal/epithelial interactions; cancer-associated fibroblasts; cancer microenvironment; Tag profiling
Objective: Cancer-associated fibroblasts (CAFs) are one of the hallmarks of the cancer microenvironment. Recent evidence has indicated that CAFs are more competent in enhancing cancer cell growth and migration than normal fibroblasts. However, the unique protein expression of CAFs has not been fully elucidated. This study aims to investigate the characterizations of colon CAFs by comparing the differential protein expression between CAFs and normal fibroblasts. Methods: Primary fibroblasts were isolated from surgical specimen of human colon cancer and matched normal colonic tissue. Purity of the cell population was verified through immunostain analysis. Total cell lysates and conditioned media from each group of cells were extracted, and protein expression analysis was conducted using the surface-enhanced laser desorption/ionization time-of-flight mass spectrometry (SELDI-TOF-MS) ProteinChip platform. Results: Most primary cells showed typical fibroblast-like features after two weeks. Increased proportion of α-smooth muscle actin-positive myofibroblasts was detected within the CAFs in four of the six pairs of primary cells. Fibroblast activation protein was weakly expressed in most cells without differences. Using SELDI-TOF-MS ProteinChip platform, four protein peaks mass over charge ratio (m/z) 1142, 3011, 4035, and 4945 were detected in the total cell lysates, and two protein peaks m/z 1368 and 1389 were detected in the conditioned media. The potential candidate proteins found in the Swiss-Prot database include morphogenetic neuropeptides, FMRFamide-related peptides, insulin-like growth factor II, thymosin β-4-like protein 3, and tight junction-associated protein 1. Conclusions: Using the SELDI-ProteinChip platform, differential protein expressions were identified in colon CAFs compared with normal colonic stromal fibroblasts. The complex proteomic alternations in colon CAFs may play important roles related to the colon cancer microenvironment.
Colon cancer; Cancer microenvironment; Cancer-associated fibroblasts; Proteomics; Surface-enhanced laser desorption/ionization time-of-flight mass spectrometry (SELDI-TOF-MS)
Recently we described a co-culture model of periodontal ligament (PDL) fibroblasts and SCC-25 lingual squamous carcinoma cells, which resulted in conversion of normal fibroblasts into carcinoma-associated fibroblasts (CAFs), and in epithelial–mesenchymal transition (EMT) of SCC-25 cells. We have found a constitutive high interleukin-1β (IL1-β) expression in SCC-25 cells in normal and in co-cultured conditions. In our hypothesis a constitutive IL1-β expression in SCC-25 regulates gene expression in fibroblasts during co-culture. Co-cultures were performed between PDL fibroblasts and SCC-25 cells with and without dexamethasone (DEX) treatment; IL1-β processing was investigated in SCC-25 cells, tumor cells and PDL fibroblasts were treated with IL1-β. IL1-β signaling was investigated by western blot and immunocytochemistry. IL1-β-regulated genes were analyzed by real-time qPCR.
SCC-25 cells produced 16 kD active IL1-β, its receptor was upregulated in PDL fibroblasts during co-culture, which induced phosphorylation of interleukin-1 receptor-associated kinase-1 (IRAK-1), and nuclear translocalization of NFκBα. Several genes, including interferon regulatory factor 1 (IRF1) interleukin-6 (IL-6) and prostaglandin-endoperoxide synthase 2 (COX-2) were induced in CAFs during co-culture. The most enhanced induction was found for IL-6 and COX-2. Treatment of PDL fibroblasts with IL1-β reproduced a time- and dose-dependent upregulation of IL1-receptor, IL-6 and COX-2. A further proof was achieved by DEX inhibition for IL1-β-stimulated IL-6 and COX-2 gene expression. Constitutive expression of IL1-β in the tumor cells leads to IL1-β-stimulated gene expression changes in tumor-associated fibroblasts, which are involved in tumor progression.
SCC-25 cells produce active, processed IL1-β. PDL fibroblasts possess receptor for IL1-β, and its expression is increased 4.56-times in the presence of SCC-25 tumor cells. IL1-β receptor expression in fibroblasts, especially in CAFs represents a major option in coordination of fibroblast and tumor behavior. A key event in IL1-β signaling, the phosphorylation of IRAK1, occurred in co-cultured fibroblasts, which has lead to nuclear translocation of NFκBα, and finally to induction of several genes, including BDNF, IRF1, IL-6 and COX-2. The most enhanced induction was found for IL-6 and COX-2.
BDNF, brain-derived neurotrophic factor; CAFs, carcinoma-associated fibroblasts; DEX, dexamethasone; EMT, epithelial–mesenchymal transition; HNSCC, head and neck squamous cell carcinoma; IL1-β, interleukin-1 beta; IRAK-1, interleukin-1 receptor-associated kinase-1; IRF1, interferon regulatory factor 1; NFkBα, nuclear factor kappa beta; IL-6, interleukin-6; PAI1, Plasminogen-activator inhibitor-1; PDLs, periodontal ligament fibroblasts; COX-2, prostaglandin-endoperoxide synthase 2; SDF1, stromal-derived factor 1; TrkB, tropomyosin-like kinase B receptor; TNF-α, tumor necrosis factor alpha; Interleukin-1 receptor-associated kinase-1 (IRAK-1); Nuclear factor kappa beta (NFκBα); Interferon regulatory factor 1 (IRF1); Interleukin-6 (IL-6); Prostaglandin-endoperoxide synthase 2 (COX-2); Carcinoma-associated fibroblasts (CAFs)
Carcinoma associated fibroblasts (CAFs) that express α-smooth-muscle-actin (αSMA) contribute to cancer progression, but their precise origin and role is unclear. Using mouse models of inflammation-induced gastric cancer, we show that at least 20% of CAFs originate from bone marrow (BM) and derive from mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs). αSMA+ myofibroblasts (MF) are niche cells normally present in BM and increase markedly during cancer progression. MSC-derived CAFs that are recruited to the dysplastic stomach express IL-6, Wnt5α and BMP4, show DNA-hypomethylation, and promote tumor growth. Moreover, CAFs are generated from MSCs and are recruited to the tumor in TGF-β- and SDF-1α-dependent manner. Carcinogenesis therefore involves expansion and relocation of BM-niche cells to the tumor to create a niche to sustain cancer progression.
Tumor microenvironment; Stem Cells; Bone Marrow-derived Cells (BMDC); MSC; CAF; MF; Carcinogenesis
Diagnosis of ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS) in breast cancer cases is challenging for pathologist due to a variety of in situ patterns and artefacts, which could be misinterpreted as stromal invasion. Microinvasion is detected by the presence of cytologically malignant cells outside the confines of the basement membrane and myoepithelium. When malignant cells invade the stroma, there is tissue remodeling induced by perturbed stromal-epithelial interactions. Carcinoma-associated fibroblasts (CAFs) are main cells in the microenvironment of the remodeled tumor-host interface. They are characterized by the expression of the specific fibroblast activation protein-alpha (FAP-α), and differ from that of normal fibroblasts exhibiting an immunophenotype of CD34. We hypothesized that staining for FAP-α may be helpful in determining whether DCIS has microinvasion.
349 excised breast specimens were immunostained for smooth muscle actin SMA, CD34, FAP-α, and Calponin. Study material was divided into 5 groups: group 1: normal mammary tissues of healthy women after plastic surgery; group 2: usual ductal hyperplasia (UDH); group 3: DCIS without microinvasion on H & E stain; group 4: DCIS with microinvasion on H & E stain (DCIS-MI), and group 5: invasive ductal carcinoma (IDC). A comparative evaluation of the four immunostains was conducted.
Our results demonstrated that using FAP-α and Calponin adjunctively improved the sensitivity of pathological diagnosis of DCIS-MI by 11.29%, whereas the adjunctive use of FAP-α and Calponin improved the sensitivity of pathological diagnosis of DCIS by 13.6%.
This study provides the first evidence that immunostaining with FAP-α and Calponin can serve as a novel marker for pathologically diagnosing whether DCIS has microinvasion.
fibroblast activation protein-alpha; microinvasion breast carcinoma; diagnosis
Fibroblasts play a critical role in tumorigenesis, tumor progression and metastasis. However, their detailed molecular characteristics and clinical significance are still elusive. TAGLN is an actin-binding protein that plays an important role in tumorigenesis.
We investigated the interaction between cancer cells and the tumor microenvironment to determine how the fibroblasts from human gastric carcinoma facilitate tumorigenesis through TAGLN. QRT-PCR and Western blot indicated that TAGLN expression was upregulated in gastric carcinoma-associated fibroblasts (CAFs) that promote gastric cancer cell migration and invasion. Using small interfering RNA (siRNA), we found that CAFs enhanced tumor metastasis through upregulated TAGLN in vitro and in vivo. The expression of matrix metalloproteinase-2 (MMP-2) was significantly lower after TAGLN knock-down by siRNA. TAGLN levels were elevated in human gastric cancer stroma than normal gastric stroma and associated with differentiation and lymph node metastasis of gastric cancer.
CAFs may promote gastric cancer cell migration and invasion via upregulating TAGLN and TAGLN induced MMP-2 production.
TAGLN; Fibroblast; Microenvironment; Tumor metastasis; Gastric carcinoma
Cancer-associated fibroblasts (CAFs), the most abundant and probably the most active
cellular component of breast cancer-associated stroma, promote carcinogenesis through
paracrine effects; however, the molecular basis remains elusive. We have shown here that
p16INK4A expression is reduced in 83% CAFs as compared with their
normal adjacent counterparts cancer-free tissues isolated from the same patients. This
decrease is mainly due to AUF1-dependent higher turnover of the CDKN2A mRNA in
CAFs. Importantly, p16INK4A downregulation using specific siRNA activated
breast fibroblasts and increased the expression/secretion levels of stromal
cell-derived factor 1 (SDF-1) and matrix metalloproteinase (MMP)-2. Consequently, media
conditioned with these cells stimulated the proliferation of epithelial cells.
Furthermore, the migration/invasion of breast cancer cells was also enhanced in an
SDF-1-dependent manner. This effect was mediated through inducing an
epithelial–mesenchymal transition state. By contrast, increase in
p16INK4A level through ectopic expression or AUF1 downregulation, reduced the
secreted levels of SDF-1 and MMP-2 and suppressed the pro-carcinogenic effects of CAFs. In
addition, p16INK4A-defective fibroblasts accelerated breast tumor xenograft
formation and growth rate in mice. Importantly, tumors formed in the presence of
p16INK4A-defective fibroblasts exhibited higher levels of active Akt, Cox-2,
MMP-2 and MMP-9, showing their greater aggressiveness as compared with xenografts formed
in the presence of p16INK4A-proficient fibroblasts. These results provide the
first indication that p16INK4A downregulation in breast stromal fibroblasts is
an important step toward their activation.
AUF1; breast cancer; cell nonautonomous tumor suppression; p16INK4A; stromal fibroblasts
Cancer has long been considered a disease that mimics an “unhealed wound,” with oncogene-induced secretory activation signals from epithelial cancer cells facilitating stromal fibroblast, endothelial, and inflammatory cell participation in tumor progression. However, the underlying mechanisms that orchestrate cooperative interaction between malignant epithelium and the stroma remain largely unknown. Here, we identified interleukin-1β (IL-1β) as a stromal-acting chemokine secreted by ovarian cancer cells, which suppresses p53 protein expression in cancer-associated fibroblasts (CAFs). Elevated expression of IL-1β and cognate receptor IL-1R1 in ovarian cancer epithelial cells and CAFs independently predicted reduced overall patient survival, as did repressed nuclear p53 in ovarian CAFs. Knockdown of p53 expression in ovarian fibroblasts significantly enhanced the expression and secretion of chemokines IL-8, growth regulated oncogene-alpha (GRO-α), IL-6, IL-1β, and vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF), significantly increased in vivo mouse xenograft ovarian cancer tumor growth, and was entirely dependent on interaction with, and transcriptional up-regulation of, nuclear factor-kappaB (NF-κB) p65. Our results have uncovered a previously unrecognized circuit whereby epithelial cancer cells use IL-1β as a communication factor instructing stromal fibroblasts through p53 to generate a protumorigenic inflammatory microenvironment. Attenuation of p53 protein expression in stromal fibroblasts generates critical protumorigenic functionality, reminiscent of the role that oncogenic p53 mutations play in cancer cells. These findings implicate CAFs as an important target for blocking inflammation in the tumor microenvironment and reducing tumor growth.
Breast carcinoma is accompanied by changes in the acellular and cellular components of the microenvironment, the latter typified by a switch from fibroblasts to myofibroblasts.
We utilised conditioned media cultures, Western blot analysis and immunocytochemistry to investigate the differential effects of normal mammary fibroblasts (NMFs) and mammary cancer-associated fibroblasts (CAFs) on the phenotype and behaviour of PMC42-LA breast cancer cells. NMFs were obtained from a mammary gland at reduction mammoplasty, and CAFs from a mammary carcinoma after resection.
We found greater expression of myofibroblastic markers in CAFs than in NMFs. Medium from both CAFs and NMFs induced novel expression of α-smooth muscle actin and cytokeratin-14 in PMC42-LA organoids. However, although conditioned media from NMFs resulted in distribution of vimentin-positive cells to the periphery of PMC42-LA organoids, this was not seen with CAF-conditioned medium. Upregulation of vimentin was accompanied by a mis-localization of E-cadherin, suggesting a loss of adhesive function. This was confirmed by visualizing the change in active β-catenin, localized to the cell junctions in control cells/cells in NMF-conditioned medium, to inactive β-catenin, localized to nuclei and cytoplasm in cells in CAF-conditioned medium.
We found no significant difference between the influences of NMFs and CAFs on PMC42-LA cell proliferation, viability, or apoptosis; significantly, we demonstrated a role for CAFs, but not for NMFs, in increasing the migratory ability of PMC42-LA cells. By concentrating NMF-conditioned media, we demonstrated the presence of factor(s) that induce epithelial-mesenchymal transition in NMF-conditioned media that are present at higher levels in CAF-conditioned media. Our in vitro results are consistent with observations in vivo showing that alterations in stroma influence the phenotype and behaviour of surrounding cells and provide evidence for a role for CAFs in stimulating cancer progression via an epithelial-mesenchymal transition. These findings have implications for our understanding of the roles of signalling between epithelial and stromal cells in the development and progression of mammary carcinoma.
The purpose of this study was to assess the expression levels for TβRI, TβRII, and TβRIII in epithelial layers of oral premalignant lesions (oral leukoplakia, OLK) and oral squamous cell carcinoma (OSCC), as well as in oral carcinoma-associated fibroblasts (CAFs), with the final goal of exploring the roles of various types of TβRs in carcinogenesis of oral mucosa.
Normal oral tissues, OLK, and OSCC were obtained from 138 previously untreated patients. Seven primary human oral CAF lines and six primary normal fibroblast (NF) lines were established successfully via cell culture. The three receptors were detected using immunohistochemical (IHC), quantitative RT-PCR, and Western blot approaches.
IHC signals for TβRII and TβRIII in the epithelial layer decreased in tissue samples with increasing disease aggressiveness (P < 0.05); no expression differences were observed for TβRI, in OLK and OSCC (P > 0.05); and TβRII and TβRIII were significantly downregulated in CAFs compared with NFs, at the mRNA and protein levels (P < 0.05). Exogenous expression of TGF-β1 led to a remarkable decrease in the expression of TβRII and TβRIII in CAFs (P < 0.05).
This study provides the first evidence that the loss of TβRII and TβRIII expression in oral epithelium and stroma is a common event in OSCC. The restoration of the expression of TβRII and TβRIII in oral cancerous tissues may represent a novel strategy for the treatment of oral carcinoma.
Activated cancer-associated fibroblasts (CAFs) or myofibroblasts not only facilitate tumor growth and spread but also affect tumor response to therapeutic agents. Therefore, it became clear that efficient therapeutic regimens should also take into account the presence of these supportive cells and inhibit their paracrine effects. To this end, we tested the effect of low concentrations of curcumin, a pharmacologically safe natural product, on patient-derived primary breast CAF cells. We have shown that curcumin treatment upregulates p16INK4A and other tumor suppressor proteins while inactivates the JAK2/STAT3 pathway. This reduced the level of alpha-smooth muscle actin (α-SMA) and the migration/invasion abilities of these cells. Furthermore, curcumin suppressed the expression/secretion of stromal cell-derived factor-1 (SDF-1), interleukin-6 (IL-6), matrix metalloproteinase-2 (MMP-2), MMP-9, and transforming growth factor-β, which impeded their paracrine procarcinogenic potential. Intriguingly, these effects were sustained even after curcumin withdrawal and cell splitting. Therefore, using different markers of senescence [senescence-associated β-galactosidase (SA-β-gal) activity, Ki-67 and Lamin B1 levels, and bromodeoxyuridine incorporation], we have shown that curcumin markedly suppresses Lamin B1 and triggers DNA damage-independent senescence in proliferating but not quiescent breast stromal fibroblasts. Importantly, this curcumin-related senescence was p16INK4A-dependent and occurred with no associated inflammatory secretory phenotype. These results indicate the possible inactivation of cancer-associated myofibroblasts and present the first indication that curcumin can trigger DNA damage-independent and safe senescence in stromal fibroblasts.
Cancer-associated fibroblasts (CAFs), represent a pivotal compartment of solid cancers (desmoplasia), and are causatively implicated in cancer development and progression. CAFs are recruited by growth factors secreted by cancer cells and they present a myofibroblastic phenotype, similar to the one obtained by resident fibroblasts during wound healing. Paracrine signaling between cancer cells and CAFs results in a unique protein expression profile in areas of desmoplastic reaction, which is speculated to drive metastasis. In an attempt to decipher large-scale proteomic profiles of the cancer invasive margins, we developed an in vitro coculture model system, based on tumor-host cell interactions between colon cancer cells and CAFs. Proteomic analysis of conditioned media derived from these cocultures coupled to mass spectrometry and bioinformatic analysis was performed to uncover myofibroblastic signatures of the cancer invasion front. Our analysis resulted in the identification and generation of a desmoplastic protein dataset (DPD), consisting of 152 candidate proteins of desmoplasia. By using monoculture exclusion datasets, a secretome algorithm and gene-expression meta-analysis in DPD, we specified a 22-protein “myofibroblastic signature” with putative importance in the regulation of colorectal cancer metastasis. Of these proteins, we investigated collagen type XII by immunohistochemistry, a fibril-associated collagen with interrupted triple helices (FACIT), whose expression has not been reported in desmoplastic lesions in any type of cancer. Collagen type XII was highly expressed in desmoplastic stroma by and around alpha-smooth muscle actin (α-SMA) positive CAFs, as well as in cancer cells lining the invasion front, in a small cohort of colon cancer patients. Other stromal markers, such as collagen type III, were also expressed in stromal collagen, but not in cancer cells. In a complementary fashion, gene expression meta-analysis revealed that COL12A1 is also an upregulated gene in colorectal cancer. Our proteomic analysis identified previously documented markers of tumor invasion fronts and our DPD could serve as a pool for future investigation of the tumor microenvironment. Collagen type XII is a novel candidate marker of myofibroblasts, and/or cancer cells undergoing dedifferentiation.
Colorectal cancer; Cancer-associated fibroblasts; Desmoplasia; Proteomics; Secretome; Collagen type XII
The complex molecular communications that occur between neoplastic and stromal cells within the tumor microenvironment play an integral role in breast cancer pathogenesis. Carcinoma-associated fibroblasts (CAFs) produce tumor-enhancing factors and have been strongly implicated in breast cancer development. Similar to the way in which tumors have been compared to “wounds that never heal”, CAFs have been equated to activated fibroblasts, which are present in inflammatory environments, where they aid in wound healing through tissue remodeling and repair. Matrix metalloproteinase-1 (MMP-1) and G-protein coupled receptor, CXCR4, are elevated in these activated fibroblasts, where they facilitate angiogenesis and matrix degradation, processes that are also vital to breast cancer metastasis. In this study, we investigated MMP-1 and CXCR4 expression in normal human mammary fibroblasts (HMFs) exposed to soluble breast cancer factors. Historically, elevated CXCR4 expression is associated with breast cancer cells. However, we show that soluble factors secreted by SUM102 breast cancer cells stimulated the expression of MMP-1 and CXCR4 in HMFs. As a result these stromal cells acquired an invasive and migratory phenotype. To confirm the clinical relevancy of our findings, we analyzed CAFs obtained from primary breast cancers. These cells also displayed elevated MMP-1 and CXCR4 levels compared to counterpart fibroblasts, and were more invasive and migratory. Together, our data suggest that soluble breast cancer factors initiate the transdifferentiation of normal HMFs to tumor-promoting CAFs, and that through the induction of MMP-1 and CXCR4 levels, these cells exhibit an invasive and migratory phenotype.
tumor microenvironment; SDF-1; MMPs; invasion; migration
The prognosis of gastric cancer patients is difficult to predict because of defects in establishing the surgical-pathological features. Cancer-associated fibroblasts (CAFs) have been found to play prominent role in promoting tumor growth, invasion and metastasis. Thus raises the hypothesis that the extent of CAFs prevalence may help to establish the prognosis of gastric cancer patients.
Immunochemistry and realtime-PCR experiments were carried out to compare the expression of proteins which are specific markers of CAFs or secreted by CAFs in the tumor and normal tissue specimens. The extent of CAFs' prevalence was graded according to immunochemical staining, and correlation was further analyzed between CAFs' prevalence and other tumor characteristics which may influence the prognosis of gastric cancer patients.
Nearly 80 percent of normal gastric tissues were negative or weak positive for CAFs staining, while more than 60 percent of gastric cancer tissues were moderate or strong positive for CAFs staining. Realtime-PCR results also showed significant elevated expression of FAP, SDF-1 and TGF-β1 in gastric cancer tissues compared to normal gastric tissues. Further analysis showed that CAFs' prevalence was correlated with tumor size, depth of the tumor, lymph node metastasis, liver metastasis or peritoneum metastasis.
Reactive cancer associated fibroblasts (CAFs) were frequently accumulated in gastric cancer tissues, and the prevalence of CAFs was correlated with tumor size, depth of the tumor and tumor metastasis, thus give some supports for establishing the prognosis of the gastric cancer patients.
The aim of the current study was to investigate the correlation of cancer-associated fibroblasts (CAFs) with the migration and invasion abilities of gastric cancer cells. Gastric CAFs were grown in primary cultures. The in vitro model of interaction of SGC7901 gastric cancer cells with gastric CAFs was established by the use of Transwell co-culture cells to analyze the influence of CAFs on the migration and invasion abilities of SGC7901 cells. The results revealed that i) human gastric CAFs highly expressed vimentin, fibroblast-activated protein and smooth muscle actin in the in vitro passage culture process; ii) the migration and invasion ability of SGC-7901 cells in the CAF-conditioned medium group (98.67±13.49, 34.40±4.63) were significantly higher compared to those of the DMEM group without serum (78.47±10.59, 26.93±3.99; P<0.01). The interactions of CAFs and the extracellular matrix with SGC-7901 cells may significantly increase the migration and invasion abilities of SGC-7901 cells.
gastric cancer; cancer-associated fibroblasts; SGC-7901; gastric cancer cells