Inflammation and angiogenesis in the tumor microenvironment are increasingly implicated in tumorigenesis. Endogenously produced lipid autacoids, locally acting small-molecule mediators, play a central role in inflammation and tissue homeostasis. These lipid mediators, collectively referred to as eicosanoids, have recently been implicated in cancer. Although eicosanoids, including prostaglandins and leukotrienes, are best known as products of arachidonic acid metabolism by cyclooxygenases and lipoxygenases, arachidonic acid is also a substrate for another enzymatic pathway, the cytochrome P450 (CYP) system. This eicosanoid pathway consists of two main branches: ω-hydroxylases which converts arachidonic acid to hydroxyeicosatetraenoic acids (HETEs) and epoxygenases which converts it to four regioisomeric epoxyeicosatrienoic acids (EETs; 5,6-EET, 8,9-EET, 11,12-EET, and 14,15-EET). EETs regulate inflammation and vascular tone. The bioactive EETs are produced predominantly in the endothelium and are mainly metabolized by soluble epoxide hydrolase to less active dihydroxyeicosatrienoic acids. EET signaling was originally studied in conjunction with inflammatory and cardiovascular disease. Arachidonic acid and its metabolites have recently stimulated great interest in cancer biology. To date, most research on eicosanoids in cancer has focused on the COX and LOX pathways. In contrast, the role of cytochrome P450-derived eicosanoids, such as EETs and HETEs, in cancer has received little attention. While CYP epoxygenases are expressed in human cancers and promote human cancer metastasis, the role of EETs (the direct products of CYP epoxygenases) in cancer remains poorly characterized. In this review, the emerging role of EET signaling in angiogenesis, inflammation, and cancer is discussed.
Cytochrome P450 epoxygenase; EETs; Cancer; Metastasis; Arachidonic acid
Cancer initiation and progression are multistep events that require cell proliferation, migration, extravasation to the blood or lymphatic vessels, arrest to the metastatic site, and ultimately secondary growth. Tumor cell functions at both primary or secondary sites are controlled by many different factors, including growth factors and their receptors, chemokines, nuclear receptors, cell–cell interactions, cell–matrix interactions, as well as oxygenated metabolites of arachidonic acid. The observation that cyclooxygenases and lipoxygenases and their arachidonic acid-derived eicosanoid products (prostanoids and HETEs) are expressed and produced by tumor cells, together with the finding that these enzymes can regulate cell growth, survival, migration, and invasion, has prompted investigators to analyze the roles of these enzymes in cancer progression. In this review, we focus on the contribution of cyclooxygenase- and lipoxygenase-derived eicosanoids to tumor cell function in vitro and in vivo and discuss hope and tribulations of targeting these enzymes for cancer prevention and treatment.
Cancer; Eicosanoids; Thromboxane; Prostacyclin; Prostaglandins; Inhibitors
Protein tyrosine phosphatase, PTPL1, (also known as PTPN13, FAP-1, PTP-BAS, PTP1E) is a non-receptor type PTP and, at 270 kDa, is the largest phosphatase within this group. In addition to the well-conserved PTP domain, PTPL1 contains at least 7 putative macromolecular interaction domains. This structural complexity indicates that PTPL1 may modulate diverse cellular functions, perhaps exerting both positive and negative effects. In accordance with this idea, while certain studies suggest that PTPL1 can act as a tumor-promoting gene other experimental studies have suggested that PTPL1 may function as a tumor suppressor. The role of PTPL1 in the cancer cell is therefore likely to be both complex and context dependent with possible roles including the modulation of growth, stress-response, and cytoskeletal remodeling pathways. Understanding the nature of molecular complexes containing PTPL1, its interaction partners, substrates, regulation and subcellular localization are key to unraveling the complex personality of this protein phosphatase.
PTPL1; FAP1; PTPN13; Cancer; Tumor suppressor; Tumor promoter
Inherited mutations are known to cause familial cancers. However, the cause of sporadic cancers, which likely represent the majority of cancers, is yet to be elucidated. Sporadic cancers contain somatic mutations (including oncogenic mutations), however, the origin of these mutations is unclear. An intriguing possibility is that a stable alteration occurs in somatic cells prior to oncogenic mutations and promotes the subsequent accumulation of oncogenic mutations. This review explores the possible role of prions and protein-only inheritance in cancer. Genetic studies using lower eukaryotes, primarily yeast, have identified a large number of proteins as prions that confer dominant phenotypes with cytoplasmic (non-Mendelian) inheritance. Many of these have mammalian functional homologs. The human prion protein (PrP) is known to cause neurodegenerative diseases and has now been found to be up-regulated in multiple cancers. PrP expression in cancer cells contributes to cancer progression and resistance to various cancer therapies. Epigenetic changes in gene expression and hyper-activation of MAP kinase (MAPK) signalling, processes that in lower eukaryotes are affected by prions, play important roles in oncogenesis in humans. Prion phenomena in yeast appear to be influenced by stresses and there is considerable evidence for association of some amyloids with biologically positive functions. This suggests that if protein-only somatic inheritance exists in mammalian cells, it might contribute to cancer phenotypes. Here we highlight evidence in the literature for an involvement of prion or prion-like mechanisms in cancer and how they may in the future be viewed as diagnostic markers and potential therapeutic targets.
drug resistance; exosomes; genetic instability; heterogeneity; hyperthermia; metastasis
Almost all human cancers display dysregulated expression and/or function of one or more receptor tyrosine kinases (RTKs). The strong causative association between altered RTK function and cancer progression has translated into novel therapeutic strategies that target these cell surface receptors in the treatment of cancer. Yet, the full spectrum of RTKs that may alter the oncogenic process is not completely understood. Accumulating evidence suggests that a unique set of RTKs known as the Discoidin Domain Receptors (DDRs) play a role in cancer progression by regulating the interactions of tumor cells with their surrounding collagen matrix. The DDRs are the only RTKs that specifically bind to, and are activated by collagen. Hence, the DDRs are part of the signaling networks that translate information from the extracellular matrix thereby acting as key regulators of cell-matrix interactions. Under physiological conditions, DDRs control cell and tissue homeostasis by acting as collagen sensors, transducing signals that regulate cell polarity, tissue morphogenesis, and cell differentiation. In cancer, DDRs are hijacked by tumor cells to disrupt normal cell-matrix communication and initiate pro-migratory and pro-invasive programs. Importantly, several cancer types exhibit DDR mutations, which are thought to alter receptor function and contribute to cancer progression. Other evidence suggests that the actions of DDRs in cancer are complex, either promoting or suppressing tumor cell behavior in a DDR type/isoform specific and context dependent manner. Thus, there is still a considerable gap in our knowledge of DDR actions in cancer tissues. This review summarizes the current knowledge on DDR expression and function in cancer and discusses the potential implications of DDRs in cancer biology. It is hoped that this effort will encourage more research into these poorly understood but unique RTKs, which have the potential of becoming novel therapeutics targets in cancer.
discoidin domain receptor; tyrosine kinase; collagen; extracellular matrix; signaling; cell migration; metastasis
Galectin-3 (Gal-3), a member of the β-galactoside-binding gene family, distributes inside and outside the cell and has pleiotropic biological functions such as cell growth, cell adhesion, cell–cell interaction, and mRNA processing in a specific situation. In particular, Gal-3 in the nucleus plays a pivotal role in the regulation of cancer-related gene expression, including cyclin D1, TTF-1 and MUC2, presumably associated with tumor progression. Therefore, to understand the mechanism of nuclear import of Gal-3 is very significant and might be developed to the new approach for the cancer treatment. In this review, we focus on the role of Gal-3 in the nucleus and the molecular mechanism of nuclear import pathways of Gal-3, providing the hints for the inhibition of Gal-3 function.
Galectin-3; Transcription factor; Gene expression; Nuclear import
Cancer is a disease of aging and so with the increasing age of the US population, the incidence of cancer is also increasing. Furthermore the global burden of cancer continues to increase largely because of aging and growth of the world population together with increasing smoking rates in economically developing countries. Tumor formation is critically dependent upon two processes – initiation and progression. The initiation step is mediated by DNA damage, which causes activating mutations in proto-oncogenes and inactivation of tumor suppressor genes in many cancers. This is then thought to facilitate tumor progression and metastasis. Cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2) is up-regulated at an early stage in tumorigenesis and has been implicated as an important mediator of proliferation through the increased formation of bioactive arachidonic acid (AA) metabolites such as prostaglandin (PG) E2. Significantly, we have found that COX-2-mediated AA metabolism also results in the formation of heptanone-etheno (Hε)-DNA-adducts. Furthermore, we showed that the Hε-DNA-adducts arose from the reaction of DNA with the lipid hydroperoxide-derived bifunctional electrophile, 4-oxo-2(E)-nonenal (ONE). Similarly, 5-lipoxoygenase (5-LOX)-mediated arachidonic acid metabolism also results in the formation of ONE-derived DNA-adducts. The resulting Hε-DNA-adducts are highly mutagenic in mammalian cell lines suggesting that these pathways could be (in part) responsible for the somatic mutations observed in tumorigenesis. As approximately 80% of cancers arise from somatic mutations, this provides an additional link between the up-regulation of COX-2 and tumorigenesis.
Lipid peroxidation; DNA-adducts; somatic mutations; tumorigenesis
Peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor-β/δ (PPARβ/δ) is a promising drug target since its agonists increase serum high-density lipoprotein; decrease low-density lipoprotein, triglycerides, and insulin associated with metabolic syndrome; improve insulin sensitivity; and decrease high fat diet-induced obesity. PPARβ/δ agonists also promote terminal differentiation and elicit anti-inflammatory activities in many cell types. However, it remains to be determined whether PPARβ/δ agonists can be developed as therapeutics because there are reports showing either pro- or anti-carcinogenic effects of PPARβ/δ in cancer models. This review examines studies reporting the role of PPARβ/δ in colon, breast, and lung cancers. The prevailing evidence would suggest that targeting PPARβ/δ is not only safe but could have anti-carcinogenic protective effects.
Peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor-β/δ; PPARβ/δ; Colon carcinogenesis; Breast carcinogenesis; Lung carcinogenesis
15-Lipoxygenase-1 (15-LOX-1) is an inducible and highly regulated enzyme in normal human cells that plays a key role in the production of lipid signaling mediators, such as 13-hydroxyoctadecadienoic acid (13-HODE) from linoleic acid. 15-LOX-1 significantly contributes to resolution of inflammation and to terminal differentiation of normal cells. 15-LOX-1 is downregulated in human colorectal polyps and cancers. Emerging data support a tumor suppressor role for 15-LOX-1, especially in colon cancer. These data indicate that 15-LOX-1 promotes various antitumorigenic events, including cell differentiation and apoptosis, and inhibits chronic inflammation, angiogenesis, and metastasis. The transcriptional repression of 15-LOX-1 in colon cancer cells is complex and involves multiple mechanisms (e.g., histone methylation, transcriptional repressor binding). Re-expression of 15-LOX-1 in colon cancer cells can function as an important therapeutic mechanism and could be further exploited to develop novel treatment approaches for this common cancer.
15-LOX-1; linoleic acid; apoptosis; colon cancer
In 2004, circulating tumor cells (CTC) enumeration by the CellSearch® technique at baseline and during treatment was reported to be associated with prognosis in metastatic breast cancer patients. In 2008, the first evidence of the impact of CTC detection by this technique on survival of cM0(i+) patients were reported. These findings were confirmed by other non-interventional studies, whereas CTC were also investigated as a surrogate for tumor biology, mainly for HER2 expression/amplification. The aim of this report is to present the current prospective large interventional studies that have been specifically designed to demonstrate that CTC enumeration/characterization may improve the management of breast cancer patients: STIC CTC METABREAST (France) and Endocrine Therapy Index (USA) assess the CTC-guided hormone therapy vs chemotherapy decision in M1 patients; SWOG0500 (USA) and CirCe01 (France) assess the CTC count changes during treatment in metastatic patients; DETECT III (M1 patients, Germany) and Treat CTC (cM0(i+) patients, European Organization for Research and Treatment of Cancer/Breast International Group) assess the use of anti-HER2 treatments in HER2-negative breast cancer patients selected on the basis of CTC detection/characterization. These trials have different designs in various patient populations but are expected to be the pivotal trials for CTC implementation in the routine management of breast cancer patients.
Breast cancer; CellSearch®; Circulating tumor cells
This article reviews the current knowledge and experimental research about the mechanisms by which fatty acids and their derivatives control specific gene expression involved during carcinogenesis. Changes in dietary fatty acids, specifically the polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) of the ω-3 and ω-6 families and some derived eicosanoids from lipoxygenases (LOXs), cyclooxygenases (COXs), and cytochrome P-450 (CYP-450), seem to control the activity of transcription factor families involved in cancer cell proliferation or cell death. Their regulation may be carried out either through direct binding to DNA as peroxisome proliferator–activated receptors (PPARs) or via modulation in an indirect manner of signaling pathway molecules (e.g., protein kinase C [PKC]) and other transcription factors (nuclear factor kappa B [NFκB] and sterol regulatory element binding protein [SREBP]). Knowledge of the mechanisms by which fatty acids control specific gene expression may identify important risk factors for cancer, and provide insight into the development of new therapeutic strategies for a better management of whole-body lipid metabolism.
Fatty acids; signaling; gene expression; cancer
Many liness of evidence demonstrate that prostaglandins play an important role in cancer, and enhanced synthesis of prostaglandin E2 (PGE2) is often observed in various human malignancies often associated with poor prognosis. PGE2 synthesis is initiated with the release of arachidonic acid by phospholipase enzymes, where it is then converted into the intermediate prostaglandin prostaglandin H2 (PGH2) by members of the cyclooxygenase family. The synthesis of PGE2 from PGH2 is facilitated by three different PGE synthases, and functional PGE2 can promote tumor growth by binding to four EP receptors to activate signaling pathways that control cell proliferation, migration, apoptosis, and angiogenesis. An integral method of controlling gene expression is by posttranscriptional mechanisms that regulate mRNA stability and protein translation. Messenger RNA regulatory elements typically reside within the 3′ untranslated region (3′UTR) of the transcript and play a critical role in targeting specific mRNAs for posttranscriptional regulation through micro-RNA (miRNA) binding and adenylate- and uridylate-rich element RNA-binding proteins. In this review, we highlight the current advances in our understanding of the impact these RNA sequence elements have upon regulating PGE2 levels. We also identify various RNA sequence elements consistently observed within the 3′UTRs of the genes involved in the PGE2 pathway, indicating these binding sites for miRNAs and RNA-binding proteins to be central regulators of PGE2 synthesis and function. These findings may provide a rationale for the development of new therapeutic approaches to control tumor growth and metastasis promoted by elevated PGE2 levels.
Cyclooxygenase; Prostaglandin; MicroRNA; Posttranscriptional regulation; AU-rich element
Preinvasive bronchial lesions defined as dysplasia and carcinoma in situ (CIS) have been considered as precursors of squamous cell carcinoma of the lung. The risk and rate of progression of preinvasive lesions to invasive squamous cell carcinoma as well as the mechanism of progression or regression are incompletely understood. While the evidence for the multistage, stepwise progression model is weak with relatively few documented lesions that progress through various grades of dysplasia to CIS and then to invasive carcinoma, the concept of field carcinogenesis is strongly supported. The presence of high-grade dysplasia or CIS is a risk marker for lung cancer both in the central airways and peripheral lung. Genetic alterations such as loss of heterozygosity in chromosome 3p or chromosomal aneusomy as well as host factors such as the inflammatory load and levels of anti-inflammatory proteins in the lung influence the progression or regression of preinvasive lesions. CIS is different than severe dysplasia at the molecular level and has different clinical outcome. Molecular analysis of dysplastic lesions that progress to CIS or invasive cancer and rare lesions that progress rapidly from hyperplasia or metaplasia to CIS or invasive cancer will shed light on the key molecular determinants driving development to an invasive phenotype versus those associated with tobacco smoke damage.
Preinvasive lesions; Natural history; Lung cancer
Advances in high-throughput, genome-wide profiling technologies have allowed for an unprecedented view of the cancer genome landscape. Specifically, high-density microarrays and sequencing-based strategies have been widely utilized to identify genetic (such as gene dosage, allelic status, and mutations in gene sequence) and epigenetic (such as DNA methylation, histone modification, and micro-RNA) aberrations in cancer. Although the application of these profiling technologies in unidimensional analyses has been instrumental in cancer gene discovery, genes affected by low-frequency events are often overlooked. The integrative approach of analyzing parallel dimensions has enabled the identification of (a) genes that are often disrupted by multiple mechanisms but at low frequencies by any one mechanism and (b) pathways that are often disrupted at multiple components but at low frequencies at individual components. These benefits of using an integrative approach illustrate the concept that the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. As efforts have now turned toward parallel and integrative multidimensional approaches for studying the cancer genome landscape in hopes of obtaining a more insightful understanding of the key genes and pathways driving cancer cells, this review describes key findings disseminating from such high-throughput, integrative analyses, including contributions to our understanding of causative genetic events in cancer cell biology.
Integrative analysis; Cancer genome; Sequencing; Microarray
Access to a wealth of information on the internet has led many cancer patients to use complementary methods as an adjunct to traditional therapy for cancer, with, and more often, without informing their primary caregiver. Of the common complementary modalities, the use of dietary supplements appears to be highly prevalent in patients in active treatment for cancer, and later in cancer survivors. Emerging research suggests that some plant-based agents may, indeed, impact late-stage cancer, influencing molecular processes corrupted by tumor cells to evade detection, expand clonally, and invade surrounding tissues. The intent of this article is to review some of the current science underpinning the use of nutraceuticals in the latter stages of cancer.
Dietary supplements; Nutraceuticals; Cancer treatment; Metastasis
Non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) is the major cause of cancer-related deaths in the USA and worldwide. Most patients present with advanced disease, and treatment options for these patients are generally limited to platinum-based chemotherapy and a few targeted therapies. Targeted agents currently in use for NSCLC inhibit oncogenic receptor tyrosine kinase pathways, such as the epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) pathway. While current EGFR-targeted agents, including erlotinib and gefitinib, may result in dramatic responses, they demonstrate efficacy in only a fraction of patients, and resistance to these agents frequently develops. In order to select patients most likely to benefit from blockade of EGFR pathways, investigators have focused on identifying molecular correlates of response to anti-EGFR therapy. New strategies to minimize the risk of resistance to EGFR inhibition have been employed in the development of next-generation EGFR tyrosine kinase inhibitors, such as PF00299804 and BIBW 2992; these include irreversibility of target binding, inhibition of multiple EGFR family receptors, and/or simultaneous inhibition of EGFR and other oncogenic pathways.
Epidermal growth factor receptor; NSCLC; Targeted therapy; Resistance
The tumor stroma is comprised of extracellular matrix, non-malignant cells, and the signaling molecules they produce. It is an integral and vital component of primary tumors that together with the underlying genetic defects in the tumor cells determines the growth characteristics, morphology, and invasiveness of the tumor. In parallel to continuing genetic changes in the tumor cells themselves, the tumor stroma progressively evolves during primary tumor development. Cancer cells that disseminate from primary tumors are dependent on this stromal microenvironment, and therefore the microenvironment they encounter at secondary sites determines their fate. For those cells that survive at these sites, stromal progression can serve to re-establish a supportive tumor stroma, fostering the outgrowth of the cells as metastases. Formation of a metastatic niche that supports the survival and growth of disseminated tumor cells is a key feature of this stromal progression. The endogenous organ microenvironment can provide components of the metastatic niche. In addition, microenvironmental changes in organs prior to receipt of disseminated tumor cells can be induced by factors secreted systemically by primary tumors, causing the formation of pre-metastatic niches. Further maturation of metastatic niches can be responsible for the re-activation of dormant disseminated tumor cells many years after removal of the primary tumor. The concept of the metastatic niche and stromal progression has profound consequences for our understanding of metastatic disease, and promises to open up new strategies for the diagnosis, prognostic evaluation, and therapy of cancer.
Metastatic niche; Pre-metastatic niche; Microenvironment; Stromal progression; Metastasis; Dormancy
The peritoneal metastatic route of cancer dissemination is shared by cancers of the ovary and gastrointestinal tract. Once initiated, peritoneal metastasis typically proceeds rapidly in a feed-forward manner. Several factors contribute to this efficient progression. In peritoneal metastasis, cancer cells exfoliate into the peritoneal fluid and spread locally, transported by peritoneal fluid. Inflammatory cytokines released by tumor and immune cells compromise the protective, anti-adhesive mesothelial cell layer that lines the peritoneal cavity, exposing the underlying extracellular matrix to which cancer cells readily attach. The peritoneum is further rendered receptive to metastatic implantation and growth by myofibroblastic cell behaviors also stimulated by inflammatory cytokines. Individual cancer cells suspended in peritoneal fluid can aggregate to form multicellular spheroids. This cellular arrangement imparts resistance to anoikis, apoptosis, and chemotherapeutics. Emerging evidence indicates that compact spheroid formation is preferentially accomplished by cancer cells with high invasive capacity and contractile behaviors. This review focuses on the pathological alterations to the peritoneum and the properties of cancer cells that in combination drive peritoneal metastasis.
Peritoneum; Mesothelium; Ovarian cancer; Extracellular matrix; Collagen; Spheroid
In order to metastasize, cancer cells must first detach from the primary tumor, migrate, invade through tissues, and attach to a second site. Hakai was discovered as an E3 ubiquitin-ligase that mediates the posttranslational downregulation of E-cadherin, a major component of adherens junctions in epithelial cells that is characterized as a potent tumor suppressor and is modulated during various processes including epithelial–mesenchymal transition. Recent data have provided evidences for novel biological functional role of Hakai during tumor progression and other diseases. Here, we will review the knowledge that has been accumulated since Hakai discovery 10 years ago and its implication in human cancer disease. We will highlight the different signaling pathways leading to the influence on Hakai and suggest its potential usefulness as therapeutic target for cancer.
Hakai; E3 ubiquitin-ligase; E-cadherin; Epithelial–mesenchymal transition
Several observations have led us to a new hypothesis for cancer mechanism. First, that cancer appears only on those multicellular organisms with complicated wound-healing capacities. Second, that wounds considered as risk factors can be identified in all cancers in clinics. And finally, that oncogene activation appears not only in cancer, but also in normal physiology and noncancer pathology processes. Our proposed hypothesis is that cancer is a natural wound healing-related process, which includes oncogene activations, cytokine secretions, stem cell recruitment differentiation, and tissue remodeling. Wounds activate oncogenes of some cells and the latter secrete cytokines to recruit stem cells to heal the wounds. However, if the cause of the wound or if the wound persists, such as under the persistent UV and carcinogen exposures, the continuous wound healing process will lead to a clinical cancer mass. There is no system in nature to stop or reverse the wound healing process in the middle stage when the wound exists. The outcome of the cancer mechanism is either healing the wound or exhausting the whole system (death). The logic of this cancer mechanism is consistent with the rationales of the other physiological metabolisms in the body—for survival. This hypothesis helps to understand many cancer mysteries derived from the mutation theory, such as why cancer only exists in a small proportion of multicellular organisms, although they are all under potential mutation risks during DNA replications. The hypothesis can be used to interpret and guide cancer prevention, recurrence, metastasis, in vitro and in vivo studies, and personalized treatments.
Wound; Oncogene; Wound healing; Cancer; Mechanism
Vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) is a key regulator of angiogenesis which drives endothelial cell survival, proliferation, and migration while increasing vascular permeability. Playing an important role in the physiology of normal ovaries, VEGF has also been implicated in the pathogenesis of ovarian cancer. Essentially by promoting tumor angiogenesis and enhancing vascular permeability, VEGF contributes to the development of peritoneal carcinomatosis associated with malignant ascites formation, the characteristic feature of advanced ovarian cancer at diagnosis. In both experimental and clinical studies, VEGF levels have been inversely correlated with survival. Moreover, VEGF inhibition has been shown to inhibit tumor growth and ascites production and to suppress tumor invasion and metastasis. These findings have laid the basis for the clinical evaluation of agents targeting VEGF signaling pathway in patients with ovarian cancer. In this review, we will focus on VEGF involvement in the pathophysiology of ovarian cancer and its contribution to the disease progression and dissemination.
Angiogenesis; Bevacizumab; Malignant ascites; Ovarian cancer; Peritoneal carcinomatosis; Vascular endothelial growth factor
Recent studies have described a small population of self-renewing and multipotent cells within tumors termed “cancer stem cells.” These cells share many traits with somatic and embryonic stem cells and are thought to be responsible for driving tumor progression in a growing list of neoplastic diseases. Cells within solid tumors encounter hypoxia due to poor vascular function. Both long-standing and emerging data describe hypoxic effects on somatic and embryonic stem cells, and it is likely that hypoxia also has profound effects on cancer stem cells. These effects include the activation of pathways that induce the dedifferentiation of cancer cells, the maintenance of stem cell identity, and increased metastatic potential. Hypoxia may contribute to tumor progression by specifically impacting these pathways in cancer stem cells.
Hypoxia; stem cell; tumor; metastasis
One of the most common features of exposure of skin to ultraviolet (UV) light is the induction of inflammation, a contributor to tumorigenesis, which is characterized by the synthesis of cytokines, growth factors and arachidonic acid metabolites, including the prostaglandins (PGs). Studies on the role of the PGs in non-melanoma skin cancer (NMSC) have shown that the cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2) isoform of the cyclooxygenases is responsible for the majority of the pathological effects of PGE2. In mouse skin models, COX-2 deficiency significantly protects against chemical carcinogen- or UV-induced NMSC while overexpression confers endogenous tumor promoting activity. Current studies are focused on identifying which of the G protein-coupled EP receptors mediate the tumor promotion/progression activities of PGE2 and the signaling pathways involved. As reviewed here, the EP1, EP2, and EP4 receptors, but not the EP3 receptor, contribute to NMSC development, albeit through different signaling pathways and with somewhat different outcomes. The signaling pathways activated by the specific EP receptors are context specific and likely depend on the level of PGE2 synthesis, the differential levels of expression of the different EP receptors, as well as the levels of expression of other interacting receptors. Understanding the role and mechanisms of action of the EP receptors potentially offers new targets for the prevention or therapy of NMSCs.
Prostaglandins; EP receptors; Non-melanoma skin cancer; Keratinocytes; Epithelial