Chemokines are involved in cellular interactions and tropism in situations frequently associated with inflammation. Recently, the importance of chemokines and chemokine receptors in inflammation associated with carcinogenesis has been highlighted. Increasing evidence suggests that chemokines are produced by tumor cells and also by cells of the tumor microenvironment including cancer-associated fibroblasts, mesenchymal stem cells, endothelial cells, tumor-associated macrophages and more recently tumor-associated neutrophils. In addition to having effects on tumor cell proliferation, angiogenesis and metastasis, chemokines also appear to modulate senescence and cell survival. Here, we review recent progress on the roles of chemokines and chemokine receptors in cancer-related inflammation, and we discuss the mechanisms underlying chemokine action in cancer that might facilitate the development of novel therapies in the future.
chemokines; receptors; cancer; metastasis; proliferation; senescence; angiogenesis; apoptosis; tumor associated macrophages; tumor associated neutrophils; cancer associated fibroblasts
Accumulating evidence attests to the important roles of both macrophages and chemokines in angiogenesis. Tumor-associated macrophages or TAMS constitute the major fraction of tumor-infiltrating leukocytes and are recruited by a number of chemoattractants that are produced by the tumor and tumor-associated stroma. This heterogeneous cell population is activated by a variety of stimuli and becomes polarized to result in functionally different phenotypes regarding tumor progression. As opposed to classically activated or M1 macrophages that exhibit anti-tumor functions, most TAMS are considered to be of the alternatively activated or M2 phenotype, and express multiple cytokines, proteases, and chemokines that promote tumor angiogenesis. Chemokines also have disparate effects on angiogenesis regulation, as several members of the CXC and CC chemokine families are potent inducers of angiogenesis, while a subset of CXC chemokines are angiostatic. This review summarizes the current literature regarding the roles and modes of action of macrophage-derived chemokines as mediators of angiogenesis.
angiogenesis; chemokines; chemokine receptors; macrophages; tumor-associated macrophages; tumors
Bone serves one of the most congenial metastatic microenvironments for multiple types of solid tumors, but its role in this process remains under-explored. Among many cell populations constituting the bone and bone marrow microenvironment, osteoblasts (originated from mesenchymal stem cells) and osteoclasts (originated from hematopoietic stem cells) have been the main research focus for pro-tumorigenic roles. Recently, increasing evidence further elucidates that hematopoietic lineage cells as well as stromal cells in the bone marrow mediate distinct but critical functions in tumor growth, metastasis, angiogenesis and apoptosis in the bone microenvironment. This review article summarizes the key evidence describing differential roles of bone marrow cells, including hematopoietic stem cells (HSCs), megakaryocytes, macrophages and myeloid-derived suppressor cells in the development of metastatic bone lesions. HSCs promote tumor growth by switching on angiogenesis, but at the same time compete with metastatic tumor cells for occupancy of osteoblastic niche. Megakaryocytes negatively regulate the extravasating tumor cells by inducing apoptosis and suppressing proliferation. Macrophages and myeloid cells have pro-tumorigenic roles in general, suggesting a similar effect in the bone marrow. Hematopoietic and stromal cell populations in the bone marrow, previously considered as simple by-standers in the context of tumor metastasis, have distinct and active roles in promoting or suppressing tumor growth and metastasis in bone. Further investigation on the extended roles of bone marrow cells will help formulate better approaches to treatment through improved understanding of the metastatic bone microenvironment.
Bone marrow; Metastasis; Hematopoietic stem cells; Megakaryocytes; Macrophages; Myeloid-derived suppressor cells
Cancer stem cell biology is tightly connected to the regulation of the pro-inflammatory cytokine network. The concept of cancer stem cells “inflammatory addiction” leads to envisage the potential role of anti-inflammatory molecules as new anti-cancer targets. Here we report on the relationship between nuclear receptors activity and the modulation of the pro-inflammatory phenotype in breast cancer stem cells.
Breast cancer stem cells were expanded as mammospheres from normal and tumor human breast tissues and from tumorigenic (MCF7) and non tumorigenic (MCF10) human breast cell lines. Mammospheres were exposed to the supernatant of breast tumor and normal mammary gland tissue fibroblasts.
In mammospheres exposed to the breast tumor fibroblasts supernatant, autocrine tumor necrosis factor-α signalling engenders the functional interplay between peroxisome proliferator activated receptor-α and hypoxia inducible factor-1α (PPARα/HIF1α). The two proteins promote mammospheres formation and enhance each other expression via miRNA130b/miRNA17-5p-dependent mechanism which is antagonized by PPARγ. Further, the PPARα/HIF1α interplay regulates the expression of the pro-inflammatory cytokine interleukin-6, the hypoxia survival factor carbonic anhydrase IX and the plasma lipid carrier apolipoprotein E.
Our data demonstrate the importance of exploring the role of nuclear receptors (PPARα/PPARγ) in the regulation of pro-inflammatory pathways, with the aim to thwart breast cancer stem cells functioning.
Tumor formation is an extensive process requiring complex interactions that involve both tumor cell-intrinsic pathways and soluble mediators within the microenvironment. Tumor cells exploit the intrinsic functions of many soluble molecules, including chemokines and their receptors, to regulate pro-tumorigenic phenotypes that are required for growth and progression of the primary tumor. Previous studies have shown that activation of inducible FGFR1 (iFGFR1) in mammary epithelial cells resulted in increased proliferation, migration, and invasion in vitro and tumor formation in vivo. These studies also demonstrated that iFGFR1 activation stimulated recruitment of macrophages to the epithelium where macrophages contributed to iFGFR1-mediated epithelial cell proliferation and angiogenesis. The studies presented here further utilize this model to identify the mechanisms that regulate FGFR1-induced macrophage recruitment. Results from this study elucidate a novel role for the inflammatory chemokine CX3CL1 in FGFR1-induced macrophage migration. Specifically, we illustrate that activation of both the inducible FGFR1 construct in mouse mammary epithelial cells and endogenous FGFR in the triple negative breast cancer cell line, HS578T, leads to expression of the chemokine CX3CL1. Furthermore, we demonstrate that FGFR-induced CX3CL1 is sufficient to recruit CX3CR1-expressing macrophages in vitro. Finally, blocking CX3CR1 in vivo leads to decreased iFGFR1-induced macrophage recruitment, which correlates with decreased angiogenesis. While CX3CL1 is a known target of FGF signaling in the wound healing environment, these studies demonstrate that FGFR activation also leads to induction of CX3CL1 in a tumor setting. Furthermore, these results define a novel role for CX3CL1 in promoting macrophage recruitment during mammary tumor formation, suggesting that the CX3CL1/CX3CR1 axis may represent a potential therapeutic approach for targeting breast cancers associated with high levels of tumor-associated macrophages.
The construction of an inflammatory microenvironment provides the fuel for cancer development and progression. Hence, solid tumors promote the expansion and the recruitment of leukocyte populations, among which tumor-associated myeloid cells (TAMCs) represent a paradigm for cancer-promoting inflammation. TAMCs group heterogeneous phagocytic populations stemming from a common myeloid progenitor (CMP), that orchestrate various aspects of cancer, including: diversion and skewing of adaptive responses; immunosuppression; cell growth; angiogenesis; matrix deposition and remodelling; construction of a metastatic niche and actual metastasis. Several evidence indicate that TAMCs show plasticity and/or functional heterogeneity, suggesting that tumour-derived factors promote their functional “reprogramming” towards protumoral activities. While recent studies have attempted to address the role of microenvironment signals, the interplay between cancer cells, innate and adaptive immunity is now emerging as a crucial step of the TAMCs reprogramming. Here we discuss the evidence for the differentiation of TAMCs during the course of tumor progression and the molecular mechanisms that regulate such event.
Tumor-associated myeloid cells (TAMCs); Polarized inflammation; Tumor-associated macrophages (TAMs); Myeloid-derived suppressor cells (MDSCs); Angiogenic monocytes Tie2+ (TEMs); Tumor-associated neutrophils (TANs)
Tumor microenvironment (TME) is important in tumor development and may be a target for anti-cancer therapy. The genesis of TME is a dynamic process that is regulated by intrinsic and extrinsic factors and coordinated by multiple genes, cells, and signal pathways. Cancer anaerobic metabolism and various oncogenes may stimulate the genesis of TME. Tumor cells and cancer stem cells actively participate in the genesis of the cancer stem cell niche and tumor neovascularization, important in the initiation of the TME. Various cancer-associated stromal cells, derived niche factors, and tumor-associated macrophages may function as promoters in the genesis of the TME. Dicer1 gene-deleted stromal cells can induce generation of cancer stem cells and initiate tumorigenesis, suggesting that stromal cells also may promote the genesis of the TME. Therefore, the key features of TME include niche-driving oncogenes, cancer anaerobic metabolism, niche-driving cancer stem cells, neovascularization, tumor-associated inflammatory cells, and cancer-associated stromal cells. These features are potential targets for normalization of the malignant TME and effective anti-cancer therapy.
Stem cell; Niche; Oncogene; Metabolism; Angiogenesis; Stromal cells
Infiltration of myeloid cells in the tumor microenvironment is often associated with enhanced angiogenesis and tumor progression, resulting in poor prognosis in many types of cancer. The polypeptide chemokine PK2 (Bv8, PROK2) has been shown to regulate myeloid cell mobilization from the bone marrow, leading to activation of the angiogenic process, as well as accumulation of macrophages and neutrophils in the tumor site. Neutralizing antibodies against PK2 were shown to display potent anti-tumor efficacy, illustrating the potential of PK2-antagonists as therapeutic agents for the treatment of cancer. In this study we demonstrate the anti-tumor activity of a small molecule PK2 antagonist, PKRA7, in the context of glioblastoma and pancreatic cancer xenograft tumor models. For the highly vascularized glioblastoma, PKRA7 was associated with decreased blood vessel density and increased necrotic areas in the tumor mass. Consistent with the anti-angiogenic activity of PKRA7 in vivo, this compound effectively reduced PK2-induced microvascular endothelial cell branching in vitro. For the poorly vascularized pancreatic cancer, the primary anti-tumor effect of PKRA7 appears to be mediated by the blockage of myeloid cell migration/infiltration. At the molecular level, PKRA7 inhibits PK2-induced expression of certain pro-migratory chemokines and chemokine receptors in macrophages. Combining PKRA7 treatment with standard chemotherapeutic agents resulted in enhanced effects in xenograft models for both types of tumor. Taken together, our results indicate that the anti-tumor activity of PKRA7 can be mediated by two distinct mechanisms that are relevant to the pathological features of the specific type of cancer. This small molecule PK2 antagonist holds the promise to be further developed as an effective agent for combinational cancer therapy.
Chemokines and chemokine receptors play an important role in immune homeostasis and surveillance. Altered or defective expression of chemokines and/or chemokine receptors could lead to a disease state including autoimmune disorder or cancer. Tumors from glioblastoma, melanoma, and neuroblastoma secrete high levels of chemokines that can promote tumor growth and progression or induce stromal cells present in the tumor microenvironment to produce cytokines or chemokines which, in turn, can regulate angiogenesis, tumor growth, and metastasis. On the other hand, chemokines secreted by tumor or stromal cells can also attract leukocytes such as dendritic cells, macrophages, neutrophils, and lymphocytes which may downmodulate tumor growth. New therapies that are aimed at limiting tumor growth and progression by attracting immune effector cells to the tumor site with chemokines may hold the key to the successful treatment of cancer, although this approach may be hampered by possible tumor growth-stimulating effects of chemokines.
Chemokines; chemokine receptors; leukocyte migration; stroma; tumor cells
Although tumor-associated macrophages (TAMs) are involved in tumor growth and metastasis, the mechanisms controlling their pro-tumoral activities remain largely unknown. The transcription factor c-MYC has been recently shown to regulate in vitro human macrophage polarization and be expressed in macrophages infiltrating human tumors. In this study, we exploited the predominant expression of LysM in myeloid cells to generate c-Mycfl/fl LysMcre/+ mice, which lack c-Myc in macrophages, to investigate the role of macrophage c-MYC expression in cancer. Under steady-state conditions, immune system parameters in c-Mycfl/fl LysMcre/+ mice appeared normal, including the abundance of different subsets of bone marrow hematopoietic stem cells, precursors and circulating cells, macrophage density, and immune organ structure. In a model of melanoma, however, TAMs lacking c-Myc displayed a delay in maturation and showed an attenuation of pro-tumoral functions (e.g., reduced expression of VEGF, MMP9, and HIF1α) that was associated with impaired tissue remodeling and angiogenesis and limited tumor growth in c-Mycfl/fl LysMcre/+ mice. Macrophage c-Myc deletion also diminished fibrosarcoma growth. These data identify c-Myc as a positive regulator of the pro-tumoral program of TAMs and suggest c-Myc inactivation as an attractive target for anti-cancer therapy.
Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) is one of the most common and aggressive human cancers worldwide. HCC is an example of inflammation-related cancer and represents a paradigm of the relation occurring between tumor microenvironment and tumor development. Tumor-associated macrophages (TAMs) are a major component of leukocyte infiltrate of tumors and play a pivotal role in tumor progression of inflammation-related cancer, including HCC. Several studies indicate that, in the tumor microenvironment, TAMs acquire an M2-polarized phenotype and promote angiogenesis, metastasis, and suppression of adaptive immunity through the expression of cytokines, chemokines, growth factors, and matrix metalloproteases. Indeed, an established M2 macrophage population has been associated with poor prognosis in HCC. The molecular links that connect cancer cells and TAMs are not completely known, but recent studies have demonstrated that NF-κB, STAT-3, and HIF-1 signaling pathways play key roles in this crosstalk. In this paper, we discuss the current knowledge about the role of TAMs in HCC development, highlighting the role of TAM-derived cytokines, chemokines, and growth factors in the initiation and progression of liver cancer and outlining the signaling pathways involved in the interplay between cancer cells and TAMs.
CCL2 is a chemokine known to recruit monocytes and macrophages to sites of inflammation. A growing body of research suggests CCL2 is progressively overexpressed in tumor beds and may play a role in the clinical progression of solid tumors. Cancer cells derived from several solid tumor types demonstrate functional receptors for CCL2, suggesting this chemokine may achieve tumorigenicity through direct effects on malignant cells; however, a variety of normal host cells that co-exist with cancer in the tumor microenvironment also respond to CCL2. These cells include macrophages, osteoclasts, endothelial cells, T-lymphocytes, and myeloid-derived immune suppressor cells (MDSCs). CCL2 mediated interactions between normal and malignant cells in the tumor microenvironment and plays a multi-faceted role in tumor progression.
CCL2; CCR2; tumorigenesis; metastasis; prostate cancer
In the pathogenesis of breast cancer, tumor-associated macrophages have the capacity to impinge upon clinical outcomes. In light of this, reconciling mechanisms by which macrophages are primed to facilitate tumor growth and progression provide clinically relevant therapeutic targets. Given the recent linkage between activation of the endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress response and breast cancer progression, we postulated that, similar to other carcinomas, mammary carcinoma cells undergoing ER stress re-program macrophages in order to foster both tumor cell growth and survival, and tumor angiogenesis. To test this, we modeled the interaction between ER-stressed tumor cells and macrophages in the tumor microenvironment by culturing macrophages in the conditioned medium of mammary carcinoma cells undergoing ER stress. In response to these stimuli, macrophages not only invoked a similar stress response but also adopted a pro-inflammatory phenotype. Additionally, macrophages produced the pro-angiogenic molecule, vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF), thereby establishing the macrophage phenotype invoked by ER-stressed breast cancer cells as being pro-angiogenic. In aggregate, these findings delineate a role for ER stress-dependent cross-talk between breast tumor cells and TAMs as a potential catalyst for tumor cell growth and tumor-associated angiogenesis. Hence, by suggesting that mammary carcinoma cells cope with ER stress by influencing TAM functionality, we have partially elucidated why enhanced tumor progression and angiogenesis accompany the ER stress response in breast cancer.
Breast cancer; macrophages; endoplasmic reticulum stress; angiogenesis
Macrophages within the tumor microenvironment promote angiogenesis, extracellular matrix breakdown, and tumor cell migration, invasion, and metastasis. Activation of the urokinase plasminogen activator (uPA) and its receptor (uPAR) axis promotes prostate cancer tumorigenicity, invasion, metastasis, and survival within the tumor microenvironment. The link between macrophage infiltration and the uPA/uPAR axis in prostate cancer development has not been established, although it has been reported that uPA plays a critical role inmonocyte and macrophage chemotaxis. In this study, murine prostate cancer RM-1 cells were subcutaneously inoculated into wild-type (WT), uPA-/-, and uPAR-/- mice. Tumor volume was significantly diminished in both uPA-/- and uPAR-/- mice compared with WT controls. Greater inhibition of tumor volume was also observed in uPA-/- mice compared with uPAR-/- mice, suggesting the important contribution of stromal-derived uPA to sustain the tumor growth. Immunohistochemical staining revealed that tumors in uPA-/- and uPAR-/- mice displayed significantly lower proliferative indices, higher apoptotic indices, and less neovascularity compared with the tumors in WT mice. Tumors in uPA-/- and uPAR-/- mice displayed significantly less macrophage infiltration as demonstrated by F4/80 staining and MAC3+ cell numbers by flow cytometry compared with the tumors from WT mice. These findings suggest that the uPA/uPAR axis acts in both autocrine and paracrine manners in the tumor microenvironment, and activation of uPA/uPAR axis is essential for macrophage infiltration into prostate tumors.
Macrophages are the dominant leukocyte population found in the tumor microenvironment. Accumulating evidence suggests that these tumor-associated macrophages (TAMs) actively promote all aspects of tumor initiation, growth, and development. However, TAMs are not a single uniform population; instead, they are composed of multiple distinct pro- and anti-tumoral subpopulations with overlapping features depending on a variety of external factors. Defining and differentiating these subsets remains a challenging work-in-progress. These difficulties are apparent in prognostic studies in lung cancer that initially demonstrated conflicting evidence regarding the significance of TAMs but which have more recently clarified and confirmed the clinical importance of these subsets through improved phenotypic capabilities. Thus, these cells represent potential targets for cancer therapeutic initiatives through translational approaches. In this review, we summarize the current understanding of how the tumor microenvironment takes advantage of macrophage plasticity to mold an immunosuppressive population, the phenotypic heterogeneity of TAMs, and their link to prognosis in human lung cancer.
Myeloid cells; tumor-associated macrophages; tumor microenvironment; lung cancer; phenotype; prognosis
Therapy resistance is a major concern while treating breast cancer. Various mechanisms have been proposed, but so far nothing has been able to effectively address this problem. Accumulating evidences suggest that a subset of cancer cells provides survival benefits to the tumor and are responsible for therapy resistance and relapse of cancer. These so called the cancer stem cells, are known to be regulated by several pathways. Evidences shows that the tumor microenvironment plays a crucial role in maintaining the cancer stem cell pool. Signaling within the tumor is modulated by surrounding cells which secrete signals favoring tumor growth and metastasis. In breast cancer, the cancer stem cells have recently been reported to be influenced by tumor microenvironment via cytokines which act as chemoattractants for leukocytes. This review elucidates the emerging role of chemokine receptor and receptor activator of NFκB (RANK) ligand/RANK signaling pathways in mediating therapy resistance of breast cancer by maintaining the cancer stem cell pool.
Breast cancer stem cells; chemokines; NFκB (RANK) ligand; therapy resistance
Solid tumors are complex “organs” of cancer cells and a heterogeneous population of hematopoietic cells, mesenchymal cells, and endothelial cells. The cancer stem cell model proposes that tumor growth and progression is driven by rare populations of cancer stem cells; however, nontumor-forming stem and progenitor cells are also present within the tumor microenvironment. These adult stem cells do not form tumors when injected into experimental animals, but they may augment tumor growth through juxtacrine and paracrine regulation of tumor cells and by contributing to neovascularization. Thus, cancer cells may actively co-opt nontumor-forming stem cells distally from the bone marrow or proximally from nearby tissue and subvert their abilities to differentiate and maintain tissue growth, repair, and angiogenesis. This review will cover the roles of nontumor-forming vascular stem cells in tumor growth and angiogenesis. Stem Cells 2011;29:163–168
Tumor; Angiogenesis; Stem cells; Adult stem cells; Mesenchymal stem cells; Bone marrow; Tumor stroma; Hematopoietic stem cells; Endothelial progenitor cells; Tumor microenvironment
Macrophages are cells with many important functions in both innate and adaptive immune responses and have been shown to play a complex role in tumor progression since they harbour both tumor preventing (M1 macrophages) and tumor promoting (M2 macrophages) activities. In many human cancers, infiltrating macrophages have been associated with a poor patient prognosis, and therefore suggested to be mainly of an M2 phenotype. However, we and others have previously shown that increased macrophage density in colorectal cancer (CRC) instead is correlated with an improved prognosis. It is an intriguing question if the different roles played by macrophages in various cancers could be explained by variations in the balance between M1 and M2 macrophage attributes, driven by tumor- or organ-specific factors in the tumor microenvironment of individual cancers. Here, we utilized an in vitro cell culture system of macrophage differentiation to compare differences and similarities in the phenotype (morphology, antigen-presentation, migration, endocytosis, and expression of cytokine and chemokine genes) between M1/M2 and tumor activated macrophages (TAMs), that could explain the positive role of macrophages in CRC. We found that secreted factors from CRC cells induced TAMs of a “mixed” M1/M2 phenotype, which in turn could contribute to a “good inflammatory response”. This suggests that re-education of macrophages might allow for important therapeutic advances in the treatment of human cancer.
Infiltration of immune cells, specifically macrophages, into the tumor microenvironment has been linked to increased mammary tumor formation and progression. Activation of growth factor receptor signaling pathways within mammary epithelial cells, such as the fibroblast growth factor receptor 1 (FGFR1) pathway, induces recruitment of macrophages to the mammary epithelium. These macrophages promote increased epithelial cell proliferation and angiogenesis. However, the specific mechanisms by which these macrophages are regulated by the preneoplastic epithelial cells and the mechanisms of action of the macrophages within the developing FGFR1-driven tumor microenvironment remain unknown. In this study, we demonstrate that activation of inducible FGFR1 in mammary glands leads to decreased activity of the transforming growth factor beta (TGFβ)/Smad3 pathway in macrophages associated with early stage lesions. Further studies demonstrate that macrophages have increased expression of inflammatory chemokines that bind Cxcr2 following exposure to conditioned media from mammary epithelial and tumor cells in which the FGF pathway had been activated. The increase in these ligands is inhibited following activation of the TGFβ pathway, suggesting that decreased TGFβ signaling contributes to the upregulation of these chemokines. Using co-culture studies, we further demonstrate that macrophages are capable of promoting epithelial and tumor cell migration and invasion through activation of Cxcr2. These results indicate that macrophage-derived Cxcr2 ligands may be important for promoting mammary tumor formation regulated by FGFR signaling. Furthermore, these results suggest that targeting Cxcr2 may represent a novel therapeutic strategy for breast cancers that are associated with high levels of infiltrating macrophages.
Mammary tumor; breast cancer; FGFR1; CXCR2
Solid tumors are complex “organs” of cancer cells and a heterogeneous population of hematopoietic cells, mesenchymal cells, and endothelial cells. The cancer stem cell model proposes that tumor growth and progression is driven by rare populations of cancer stem cells; however, nontumor-forming stem and progenitor cells are also present within the tumor microenvironment. These adult stem cells do not form tumors when injected into experimental animals, but they may augment tumor growth through juxtacrine and paracrine regulation of tumor cells and by contributing to neovascularization. Thus, cancer cells may actively co-opt nontumor-forming stem cells distally from the bone marrow or proximally from nearby tissue and subvert their abilities to differentiate and maintain tissue growth, repair, and angiogenesis. This review will cover the roles of nontumor-forming vascular stem cells in tumor growth and angiogenesis.
Tumor; Angiogenesis; Stem cells; Adult stem cells; Mesenchymal stem cells; Bone marrow; Tumor stroma; Hematopoietic stem cells; Endothelial progenitor cells; Tumor microenvironment
Cancer stem-like cell (CSC; also known as tumor initiating cell) is defined as a small subpopulation of cancer cells within a tumor and isolated from various primary tumors and cancer cell lines. CSCs are highly tumorigenic and resistant to anticancer treatments. In this study, we found that prolonged exposure to tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNFα), a major proinflammatory cytokine, enhances CSC phenotype of oral squamous cell carcinoma (OSCC) cells, such as an increase in tumor sphere-forming ability, stem cell-associated genes expression, chemo-radioresistance, and tumorigenicity. Moreover, activation of Notch1 signaling was detected in the TNFα-exposed cells, and suppression of Notch1 signaling inhibited CSC phenotype. Furthermore, we demonstrated that inhibition of a Notch downstream target, Hes-1, led to suppression of CSC phenotype in the TNFα-exposed cells. We also found that Hes1 expression is commonly upregulated in OSCC lesions compared to precancerous dysplastic lesions, suggesting the possible involvement of Hes1 in OSCC progression and CSC in vivo. In conclusion, inflammatory cytokine exposure may enhance CSC phenotype of OSCC, in part by activating the Notch-Hes1 pathway.
TNFα; OSCC; cancer stem cells; Notch; Hes1
Recent studies suggest an association between chronic inflammation, modulating the tissue microenvironment, and tumor biology. Tumor environment consists of tumor, stromal and endothelial cells and infiltrating macrophages, T lymphocytes, and dendritic cells, producing an array of cytokines, chemokines and growth factors, accounting for a complex cell interaction and regulation of differentiation, activation, function and survival of tumor and surrounding cells, responsible for tumor progression and spreading or induction of antitumor immune responses and rejection. Tumor Necrosis Factor (TNF) family members (19 ligands and 29 receptors) represent a pleiotropic family of agents, related to a plethora of cellular events from proliferation and differentiation to apoptosis and tumor reduction. Among these members, BAFF and APRIL (CD257 and CD256 respectively) gained an increased interest, in view of their role in cell protection, differentiation and growth, in a number of lymphocyte, epithelial and mesenchymal structures.
We have assayed by immunohistochemistry 52 human breast cancer biopsies for the expression of BAFF and APRIL and correlated our findings with clinicopathological data and the evolution of the disease.
BAFF was ubiquitely expressed in breast carcinoma cells, DCIS, normal-appearing glands and ducts and peritumoral adipocytes. In contrast, APRIL immunoreactive expression was higher in non-malignant as compared to malignant breast structures. APRIL but not BAFF immunoreactivity was higher in N+ tumors, and was inversely related with the grade of the tumors. Neither parameter was related to DFS or the OS of patients.
Our data show, for the first time, an autocrine secretion of BAFF and APRIL from breast cancer cells, offering new perspectives for their role in neoplastic and normal breast cell biology and offering new perspectives for possible selective intervention in breast cancer.
In many human cancers, tumorigenic potential is not equally shared by all cells but is restricted to phenotypically distinct subpopulations termed cancer stem cells. Cancer stem cells are also capable of both self-renewal and differentiation, and these functional properties have been suggested to play major roles in tumor initiation and progression. The factors responsible for the development of cancer stem cells and their subsequent regulation are unclear, but several chronic inflammatory states have been associated with an increased risk of malignancy. Therefore, it is possible that specific processes associated with chronic inflammation, as well as the adaptation to cellular stress, regulate cancer stem cells. Several factors associated with chronic inflammation, including cytokines, oxidative stress, and hypoxia, induce the activation of specific cellular response programs that can affect the survival, proliferation, metabolism, and differentiation of cancer cells, as well as the self-renewal and quiescence of normal stem cells. In this review, we discuss how these adaptive processes potentially become subverted to enhance the development and function of cancer stem cells.
cancer stem cell; chronic inflammation
The brain is a remarkably complicated organ with complexity derived from cellular and microenvironmental interactions. Similarly, brain tumor cells actively modify and are regulated by their microenvironment. Brain tumors are highly heterogeneous and frequently display a cellular hierarchy with self-renewing tumorigenic brain tumor stem cells (BTSCs) at the apex. While BTSCs are distinct from neural stem cells, they share characteristics including bidirectional interplay with supportive vasculature critical for maintenance of undifferentiated states and survival. BTSCs stimulate angiogenesis through growth factor secretion and are enriched in perivascular niches. Microenvironmental conditions – including hypoxia– drive expression of stem cell genes and pro-angiogenic factors further linking cellular hierarchy regulation and instructive stromal elements. BTSCs may also directly contribute to tumor vasculature through plasticity towards an endothelial lineage. Interrogating the co-dependence of BTSCs and the perivascular niche may directly inform clinical approaches for brain tumor therapy through targeting of highly angiogenic and tumorigenic cellular subsets.
This study demonstrates that low oxygen (O2) levels induce the embryonic protein Nodal. This finding is significant, as low O2 levels characterize the microenvironments associated with both early development and tumor progression, and Nodal has been shown to promote tumorigenicity and to govern stem cell fate.
Low oxygen (O2) levels characterize the microenvironment of both stem cells and rapidly growing tumors. Moreover, hypoxia is associated with the maintenance of stem cell–like phenotypes and increased invasion, angiogenesis and metastasis in cancer patients. Metastatic cancers, such as breast cancer and melanoma, aberrantly express the embryonic morphogen Nodal, and the presence of this protein is correlated with metastatic disease. In this paper, we demonstrate that hypoxia induces Nodal expression in melanoma and breast cancer cells concomitant with increased cellular invasion and angiogenic phenotypes. Of note, Nodal expression remains up-regulated up to 48 h following reoxygenation. The oxygen-mediated regulation of Nodal expression occurs via a combinatorial mechanism. Within the first 24 h of exposure to low O2, there is an increase in protein stability. This increase in stability is accompanied by an induction of transcription, mediated by the HIF-1α–dependent activation of Notch-responsive elements in the node-specific enhancer of the Nodal gene locus. Finally, Nodal expression is maintained upon reoxygenation by a canonical SMAD-dependent feed-forward mechanism. This work provides insight into the O2-mediated regulation of Nodal, a key stem cell–associated factor, and reveals that Nodal may be a target for the treatment and prevention of hypoxia-induced tumor progression.