Secreted proteins play crucial roles in mediating tumor-stroma interactions during metastasis of cancer to different target organs. To comprehensively profile secreted proteins involved in lung metastasis, we applied quantitative mass spectrometry-based proteomics and identified 392 breast cancer-derived and 302 melanoma-derived proteins secreted from highly lung metastatic cells. The cancer-specific lung metastasis secretome signatures (LMSSs) displayed significant prognostic value in multiple cancer clinical data sets. Moreover, we observed a significant overlap of enriched pathways between the LMSSs of breast cancer and melanoma despite an overall small overlap of specific proteins, suggesting that common biological processes are executed by different proteins to enable the two cancer types to metastasize to the lung. Among the novel candidate lung metastasis proteins, Nidogen 1 (NID1) was confirmed to promote lung metastasis of breast cancer and melanoma, and its expression is correlated with poor clinical outcomes. In vitro functional analysis further revealed multiple prometastatic functions of NID1, including enhancing cancer cell migration and invasion, promoting adhesion to the endothelium and disrupting its integrity, and improving vascular tube formation capacity. As a secreted prometastatic protein, NID1 may be developed as a new biomarker for disease progression and therapeutic target in breast cancer and melanoma
Lower glycolysis involves a series of reversible reactions, which interconvert intermediates that also feed anabolic pathways. 3-phosphoglycerate (3-PG) is an abundant lower glycolytic intermediate that feeds serine biosynthesis via the enzyme phosphoglycerate dehydrogenase, which is genomically amplified in several cancers. Phosphoglycerate mutase 1 (PGAM1) catalyzes the isomerization of 3-PG into the downstream glycolytic intermediate 2-phosphoglycerate (2-PG). PGAM1 needs to be histidine phosphorylated to become catalytically active. We show that the primary PGAM1 histidine phosphate donor is 2,3-bisphosphoglycerate (2,3-BPG), which is made from the glycolytic intermediate 1,3-bisphosphoglycerate (1,3-BPG) by bisphosphoglycerate mutase (BPGM). When BPGM is knocked out, 1,3-BPG can directly phosphorylate PGAM1. In this case, PGAM1 phosphorylation and activity are decreased, but nevertheless sufficient to maintain normal glycolytic flux and cellular growth rate. 3-PG, however, accumulates, leading to increased serine synthesis. Thus, one biological function of BPGM is controlling glycolytic intermediate levels and thereby serine biosynthetic flux.
Prostate cancer bone metastases are primarily osteoblastic, but the source of bone-forming cells in these lesions remains poorly defined. In this issue of Developmental Cell, Lin et al. (2017) demonstrate that tumor-associated endothelial cells can give rise to osteoblasts in prostate cancer through endothelial-to-osteoblast (EC-to-OSB) conversion
Tumour-initiating cells, or cancer stem cells (CSCs), possess stem-cell-like properties observed in normal adult tissue stem cells. Normal and cancerous stem cells may therefore share regulatory mechanisms for maintaining self-renewing capacity and resisting differentiation elicited by cell-intrinsic or microenvironmental cues. Here, we show that miR-199a promotes stem cell properties in mammary stem cells and breast CSCs by directly repressing nuclear receptor corepressor LCOR, which primes interferon (IFN) responses. Elevated miR-199a expression in stem-cell-enriched populations protects normal and malignant stem-like cells from differentiation and senescence induced by IFNs that are produced by epithelial and immune cells in the mammary gland. Importantly, the miR-199a-LCOR-IFN axis is activated in poorly differentiated ER- breast tumours, functionally promotes tumour initiation and metastasis, and is associated with poor clinical outcome. Our study therefore reveals a common mechanism shared by normal and malignant stem cells to protect them from suppressive immune cytokine signalling.
The ability to prospectively identify metastasis-initiating cells is essential for developing new anti-metastasis therapeutics. In a recent issue of Nature, Pascual et al. (2017) demonstrate that the fatty acid receptor CD36 marks a subpopulation of cancer cells with unique metastasis-initiating potential, highlighting a key role of lipid metabolism in metastatic colonization.
Long noncoding RNAs (lncRNAs) are increasingly recognized for their role in cancer progression. The previously uncharacterized lncRNA MAYA is now shown to promote bone metastasis by bridging ROR1-HER3 and Hippo-YAP pathways. Neuregulin-induced HER3 phosphorylation by ROR1 recruits a MAYA-containing protein complex to methylate Hippo/MST1 and activate YAP target genes that are essential for bone metastasis.
Tumor cells have to overcome challenges in the host tissue microenvironment to metastasize successfully to distant organs. In a recent Nature study, a genome-wide functional screen demonstrated that deficiency of the sphingosine-1-phoshate (S1P) transporter gene Spns2 in endothelium increased immune-mediated cell killing by T cells and natural killer (NK) cells, thereby suppressing metastatic colonization.
It is well established that organs of future metastasis are not passive receivers of circulating tumour cells, but are instead selectively and actively modified by the primary tumour before metastatic spread has even occurred. Sowing the 'seeds' of metastasis requires the action of tumour-secreted factors and tumour-shed extracellular vesicles that enable the 'soil' at distant metastatic sites to encourage the outgrowth of incoming cancer cells. In this Review, we summarize the main processes and new mechanisms involved in the formation of the pre-metastatic niche.
BACKGROUND & AIMS: Patients chronically infected with the hepatitis B virus (HBV) and receiving long-term treatment with nucleoside or nucleotide analogues are at risk of selecting HBV strains with complex mutational patterns. We herein report two cases of HBV-infected patients with insufficient viral suppression, despite dual antiviral therapy with entecavir (ETV) and tenofovir (TDF). One patient died from aggressive hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC).
METHODS: Serum samples from the two patients at different time points were analyzed using ultra-deep pyrosequencing analysis. HBV mutations were identified and transiently transfected into hepatoma cells in vitro using replication-competent HBV vectors, and functionally analyzed. We assessed replication efficacy, resistance to antivirals and potential impact on HBV secretion (viral particles, exosomes).
RESULTS: Sequencing analyses revealed the selection of the rtS78T HBV polymerase mutation in both cases that simultaneously creates a premature stop codon at sC69 and thereby deletes almost the entire small HBV surface protein. One of the patients had an additional 261bp deletion in the preS1/S2 region. Functional analyses of the mutations in vitro revealed that the rtS78T/sC69∗ mutation, but not the preS1/S2 deletion, significantly enhanced viral replication and conferred reduced susceptibility to ETV and TDF. The sC69∗ mutation caused truncation of HBs protein, leading to impaired detection by commercial HBsAg assay, without causing intracellular HBsAg retention or affecting HBV secretion.
CONCLUSIONS: The rtS78T/sC69∗ HBV mutation, associated with enhanced replication and insufficient response to antiviral treatment, may favor long-term persistence of these isolates. In addition to the increased production of HBV transcripts and the sustained secretion of viral particles in the absence of antigenic domains of S protein, this HBV mutation may predispose patients to carcinogenic effects.
LAY SUMMARY: Long-term treatment with antiviral drugs carries the risk of selecting mutations in the hepatitis B virus (HBV). We herein report two cases of patients with insufficient response to dual tenofovir and entecavir therapy. Molecular analyses identified a distinct mutation, rtS78T/sC69∗, that abolishes HBsAg detection, enhances replication, sustains exosome-mediated virion secretion and decreases susceptibility to antivirals, thereby representing a potentially high-risk mutation for HBV-infected individuals.
Metastasis and associated complications are the major cause of death for cancer patients. The incidence of bone metastasis is among the highest in cancers arising from breast, prostate, and lung. Common skeletal-related events caused by bone metastasis include aberrant bone remodeling (osteolytic, osteoblastic, and mixed), bone pain, fracture, spinal cord compression, and life-threatening hypercalcemia. It is now known that interactions between tumor cells and bone stroma lie at the core of major steps of bone-metastasis progression. Approved pharmaceutical drugs for the treatment of bone metastasis, including bisphosphonate and denosumab, were designed to target bone stromal cell components. In recent years, research in our laboratory and others has revealed intricate tumor-stroma interactions as the driving force behind osteolytic bone-metastasis development, providing a set of new candidates for future drug development. Moreover, recent studies also indicate existence of distinct bone niches in supporting hematopoietic stem cell renewal and differentiation. These niche components are likely utilized by metastatic cancer cells for seeding, progression, and therapy resistance of bone metastasis. Future studies in this direction may discover additional therapeutic targets for bone-metastasis treatment.
Metastatic spread of cancer cells from the primary tumors to distant vital organs, such as lung, liver, brain, and bone, is responsible for the majority of cancer-related deaths. Development of metastatic lesions is critically dependent on the interaction of tumor cells with the stromal microenvironment. As a multifunctional paracrine signaling factor that is abundantly produced by both tumor and stromal cells, TGFβ has been well established as an important mediator of tumor-stromal interaction during cancer metastasis. Imaging the in vivo dynamic of TGFβ signaling activity during cancer metastasis is critical for understanding the pathogenesis of the disease, and for the development of effective anti-metastasis treatments. In this chapter, I describe several xenograft methods to introduce human breast cancer cells into nude mice in order to generate spontaneous and experimental metastases, as well as the luciferase-based bioluminescence imaging method for quantitative imaging analysis of TGFβ signaling in tumor cells during metastasis.
The ability for tumor cells to spread and metastasize to distant organs requires proteolytic degradation of extracellular matrix (ECM). This activity is mediated by invadopodia, actin-rich membrane protrusions that are enriched for proteases. However, the mechanisms underlying invadopodia activity are not fully understood. Here, we report that a specific CD44 splice isoform, CD44s, is an integral component in invadopodia. We show that CD44s, but not another splice isoform CD44v, is localized in invadopodia. Small hairpin (sh)RNA-mediated depletion of CD44s abolishes invadopodia activity, prevents matrix degradation and decreases tumor cell invasiveness. Our results suggest that CD44s promotes cortactin phosphorylation and recruits MT1-MMP (also known as MMP14) to sites of matrix degradation, which are important activities for invadopodia function. Importantly, we show that depletion of CD44s inhibits breast cancer cell metastasis to the lung in animals. These findings suggest a crucial mechanism underlying the role of the CD44s splice isoform in breast cancer metastasis.
Bone metastasis is a frequent occurrence in breast cancer, affecting more than 70% of late stage cancer patients with severe complications such as fracture, bone pain, and hypercalcemia. The pathogenesis of osteolytic bone metastasis depends on cross-communications between tumor cells and various stromal cells residing in the bone microenvironment. Several growth factor signaling pathways, secreted micro RNAs (miRNAs) and exosomes are functional mediators of tumor-stromal interactions in bone metastasis. We developed a functional genomic approach to systemically identified molecular pathways utilized by breast cancer cells to engage the bone stroma in order to generate osteolytic bone metastasis. We showed that elevated expression of vascular cell adhesion molecule 1 (VCAM1) in disseminated breast tumor cells mediates the recruitment of pre-osteoclasts and promotes their differentiation to mature osteoclasts during the bone metastasis formation. Transforming growth factor β (TGF-β) is released from bone matrix upon bone destruction, and signals to breast cancer to further enhance their malignancy in developing bone metastasis. We furthered identified Jagged1 as a TGF-β target genes in tumor cells that engaged bone stromal cells through the activation of Notch signaling to provide a positive feedback to promote tumor growth and to activate osteoclast differentiation. Substantially change in miRNA expression was observed in osteoclasts during their differentiation and maturation, which can be exploited as circulating biomarkers of emerging bone metastasis and therapeutic targets for the treatment of bone metastasis. Further research in this direction may lead to improved diagnosis and treatment strategies for bone metastasis.
Primary tumors are known to constantly shed a large number of cancer cells into systemic dissemination, yet only a tiny fraction of these cells is capable of forming overt metastases. The tremendous rate of attrition during the process of metastasis implicates the existence of a rare and unique population of metastasis-initiating cells (MICs). MICs possess advantageous traits that may originate in the primary tumor but continue to evolve during dissemination and colonization, including cellular plasticity, metabolic reprogramming, the ability to enter and exit dormancy, resistance to apoptosis, immune evasion, and co-option of other tumor and stromal cells. Better understanding of the molecular and cellular hallmarks of MICs will facilitate the development and deployment of novel therapeutic strategies.
Metastasis is the underlying cause of death for the majority of breast cancer patients. Despite significant advances in recent years in basic research and clinical development, therapies that specifically target metastatic breast cancer remain inadequate, and represents the single greatest obstacle to reducing mortality of late-stage breast cancer. Recent efforts have leveraged genomic analysis of breast cancer and molecular dissection of tumor-stromal cross-talk to uncover a number of promising candidates for targeted treatment of metastatic breast cancer. Rational combinations of therapeutic agents targeting tumor-intrinsic properties and microenvironmental components provide a promising strategy to develop precision treatments with higher specificity and less toxicity. In this review, we discuss the emerging therapeutic targets in breast cancer metastasis, from tumor-intrinsic pathways to those that involve the host tissue components, including the immune system.
In this paper, we investigate the five-species Jungle game in the framework of evolutionary game theory. We address the coexistence and biodiversity of the system using mean-field theory and Monte Carlo simulations. Then, we find that the inhibition from the bottom-level species to the top-level species can be critical factors that affect biodiversity, no matter how it is distributed, whether homogeneously well mixed or structured. We also find that predators' different preferences for food affect species' coexistence.
MicroRNAs are important in cancer development and progression. In the present study, the clinical significance and function of microRNA-711 (miR-711) expression in breast cancer were investigated. The expression level of miR-711 was analyzed in breast cancer tissue samples using reverse transcription-quantitative polymerase chain reaction. Cell proliferation, colony formation, apoptosis and Transwell assays were performed in breast cancer cell lines transfected with miR-711 mimics or inhibitors, or control sequence. miR-711 was found to be upregulated in 30 formalin-fixed paraffin-embedded breast cancer tissue samples compared with paired non-cancerous breast tissues (P<0.05). Furthermore, a higher miR-711 expression was demonstrated to be associated with poor overall and disease-free survival times in 161 breast cancer patients, and miR-711 was identified as an independent prognostic factor using multivariate Cox regression analysis. In vitro, overexpression of miR-711 resulted in a significant increase in proliferation, colony formation, migration and invasion of breast cancer cells. By contrast, downregulating miR-711 inhibited cell proliferation, colony formation, migration and invasion and enhanced the rate of apoptosis of breast cancer cells. To the best of our knowledge, the present study is the first to demonstrate that miR-711 is an independent prognostic factor and serves an important oncogenic function in breast cancer, suggesting that miR-711 is a potential biomarker of prognosis and a molecular therapeutic target in breast cancer.