[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Stem cells reside in niches that regulate the balance between self-renewal and differentiation. The identity of a stem cell is linked with the ability to interact with its niche through adhesion mechanisms. To identify targets that disrupt cancer stem cell (CSC) adhesion, we performed a flow cytometry screen on patient-derived glioblastoma (GBM) cells and identified junctional adhesion molecule A (JAM-A) as a CSC adhesion mechanism essential for self-renewal and tumor growth. JAM-A was dispensable for normal neural stem/progenitor cell (NPC) function, and JAM-A expression was reduced in normal brain versus GBM. Targeting JAM-A compromised the self-renewal of CSCs. JAM-A expression negatively correlated to GBM patient prognosis. Our results demonstrate that GBM-targeting strategies can be identified through screening adhesion receptors and JAM-A represents a mechanism for niche-driven CSC maintenance.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Identifying genomic alterations in cancer does not guarantee therapeutic benefit. A new study combining DNA and RNA sequencing with functional validation uncovers new genetic driver alterations in glioblastoma with potential for clinical translation.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Glioblastomas (GBMs) are highly vascular and lethal brain tumors that display cellular hierarchies containing self-renewing tumorigenic glioma stem cells (GSCs). Because GSCs often reside in perivascular niches and may undergo mesenchymal differentiation, we interrogated GSC potential to generate vascular pericytes. Here, we show that GSCs give rise to pericytes to support vessel function and tumor growth. In vivo cell lineage tracing with constitutive and lineage-specific fluorescent reporters demonstrated that GSCs generate the majority of vascular pericytes. Selective elimination of GSC-derived pericytes disrupts the neovasculature and potently inhibits tumor growth. Analysis of human GBM specimens showed that most pericytes are derived from neoplastic cells. GSCs are recruited toward endothelial cells via the SDF-1/CXCR4 axis and are induced to become pericytes predominantly by transforming growth factor β. Thus, GSCs contribute to vascular pericytes that may actively remodel perivascular niches. Therapeutic targeting of GSC-derived pericytes may effectively block tumor progression and improve antiangiogenic therapy.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Glioblastomas (GBMs) are lethal cancers that display cellular hierarchies parallel to normal brain. At the apex are GBM stem cells (GSCs), which are relatively resistant to conventional therapy. Interactions with the adjacent perivascular niche are an important driver of malignancy and self-renewal in GSCs. Extracellular matrix (ECM) cues instruct neural stem/progenitor cell-niche interactions, and the objective of our study was to elucidate its composition and contribution to GSC maintenance in the perivascular niche.
We interrogated human tumor tissue for immunofluorescence analysis and derived GSCs from tumor tissues for functional studies. Bioinformatics analyses were conducted by mining publicly available databases.
We find that laminin ECM proteins are localized to the perivascular GBM niche and inform negative patient prognosis. To identify the source of laminins, we characterized cellular elements within the niche and found that laminin α chains were expressed by nonstem tumor cells and tumor-associated endothelial cells (ECs). RNA interference targeting laminin α2 inhibited GSC growth and self-renewal. In co-culture studies of GSCs and ECs, laminin α2 knockdown in ECs resulted in decreased tumor growth.
Our studies highlight the contribution of nonstem tumor cell-derived laminin juxtracrine signaling. As laminin α2 has recently been identified as a molecular marker of aggressive ependymoma, we propose that the brain vascular ECM promotes tumor malignancy through maintenance of the GSC compartment, providing not only a molecular fingerprint but also a possible therapeutic target. ANN NEUROL 2012;72:766-778.
Annals of Neurology 11/2012; 72(5):766-78. · 11.19 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Growth factor-mediated proliferation and self-renewal maintain tissue-specific stem cells and are frequently dysregulated in cancers. Platelet-derived growth factor (PDGF) ligands and receptors (PDGFRs) are commonly overexpressed in gliomas and initiate tumors, as proven in genetically engineered models. While PDGFRα alterations inform intertumoral heterogeneity toward a proneural glioblastoma (GBM) subtype, we interrogated the role of PDGFRs in intratumoral GBM heterogeneity. We found that PDGFRα is expressed only in a subset of GBMs, while PDGFRβ is more commonly expressed in tumors but is preferentially expressed by self-renewing tumorigenic GBM stem cells (GSCs). Genetic or pharmacological targeting of PDGFRβ (but not PDGFRα) attenuated GSC self-renewal, survival, tumor growth, and invasion. PDGFRβ inhibition decreased activation of the cancer stem cell signaling node STAT3, while constitutively active STAT3 rescued the loss of GSC self-renewal caused by PDGFRβ targeting. In silico survival analysis demonstrated that PDGFRB informed poor prognosis, while PDGFRA was a positive prognostic factor. Our results may explain mixed clinical responses of anti-PDGFR-based approaches and suggest the need for integration of models of cancer as an organ system into development of cancer therapies.
Genes & development 06/2012; 26(11):1247-62. · 12.08 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: REST/NRSF (the RE-1 silencing transcription factor or neuron-restrictive silencer factor) was originally identified as a transcriptional repressor of a number of neuronal-specific genes in neural stem cells and non-neuronal cells. REST functions as a master regulator in the maintenance of neural stem cells. During tumorigenesis, REST shows opposing roles in different type of cells. In human epithelial cancers such as colon cancer, REST acts as a tumor suppressor. In contrast, REST plays an oncogenic role in the development of brain tumors and other cancers. Abnormal upregulation of REST has been found in medulloblastoma, neuroblastoma and glioblastoma (GBM). Recent studies in GBMs suggest that REST exerts its oncogenic function by maintaining self-renewal potential of glioma stem cells (GSCs).
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Glioblastomas display cellular hierarchies containing tumor-propagating glioblastoma stem cells (GSCs). STAT3 is a critical signaling node in GSC maintenance but molecular mechanisms underlying STAT3 activation in GSCs are poorly defined. Here we demonstrate that the bone marrow X-linked (BMX) nonreceptor tyrosine kinase activates STAT3 signaling to maintain self-renewal and tumorigenic potential of GSCs. BMX is differentially expressed in GSCs relative to nonstem cancer cells and neural progenitors. BMX knockdown potently inhibited STAT3 activation, expression of GSC transcription factors, and growth of GSC-derived intracranial tumors. Constitutively active STAT3 rescued the effects of BMX downregulation, supporting that BMX signals through STAT3 in GSCs. These data demonstrate that BMX represents a GSC therapeutic target and reinforces the importance of STAT3 signaling in stem-like cancer phenotypes.
Cancer cell 04/2011; 19(4):498-511. · 25.29 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Glioblastomas (GBMs) are the most lethal and common types of primary brain tumors. The hallmark of GBMs is their highly infiltrative nature. The cellular and molecular mechanisms underlying the aggressive cancer invasion in GBMs are poorly understood. GBM displays remarkable cellular heterogeneity and hierarchy containing self-renewing glioblastoma stem cells (GSCs). Whether GSCs are more invasive than non-stem tumor cells and contribute to the invasive phenotype in GBMs has not been determined. Here we provide experimental evidence supporting that GSCs derived from GBM surgical specimens or xenografts display greater invasive potential in vitro and in vivo than matched non-stem tumor cells. Furthermore, we identified several invasion-associated proteins that were differentially expressed in GSCs relative to non-stem tumor cells. One of such proteins is L1CAM, a cell surface molecule shown to be critical to maintain GSC tumorigenic potential in our previous study. Immunohistochemical staining showed that L1CAM is highly expressed in a population of cancer cells in the invasive fronts of primary GBMs. Collectively, these data demonstrate the invasive nature of GSCs, suggesting that disrupting GSCs through a specific target such as L1CAM may reduce GBM cancer invasion and tumor recurrence.
Biochemical and Biophysical Research Communications 02/2011; 406(4):643-8. · 2.41 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Glioblastomas (GBMs) are highly lethal brain tumours with current therapies limited to palliation due to therapeutic resistance. We previously demonstrated that GBM stem cells (GSCs) display a preferential activation of DNA damage checkpoint and are relatively resistant to radiation. However, the molecular mechanisms underlying the preferential checkpoint response in GSCs remain undefined. Here, we show that L1CAM (CD171) regulates DNA damage checkpoint responses and radiosensitivity of GSCs through nuclear translocation of L1CAM intracellular domain (L1-ICD). Targeting L1CAM by RNA interference attenuated DNA damage checkpoint activation and repair, and sensitized GSCs to radiation. L1CAM regulates expression of NBS1, a critical component of the MRE11-RAD50-NBS1 (MRN) complex that activates ataxia telangiectasia mutated (ATM) kinase and early checkpoint response. Ectopic expression of NBS1 in GSCs rescued the decreased checkpoint activation and radioresistance caused by L1CAM knockdown, demonstrating that L1CAM signals through NBS1 to regulate DNA damage checkpoint responses. Mechanistically, nuclear translocation of L1-ICD mediates NBS1 upregulation via c-Myc. These data demonstrate that L1CAM augments DNA damage checkpoint activation and radioresistance of GSCs through L1-ICD-mediated NBS1 upregulation and the enhanced MRN-ATM-Chk2 signalling.
The EMBO Journal 02/2011; 30(5):800-13. · 9.82 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The repressor element 1-silencing transcription factor (REST) functions as a master regulator to maintain neural stem/progenitor cells (NPCs). REST undergoes proteasomal degradation through β-TrCP-mediated ubiquitylation during neuronal differentiation. However, reciprocal mechanisms that stabilize REST in NPCs are undefined. Here we show that the deubiquitylase HAUSP counterbalances REST ubiquitylation and prevents NPC differentiation. HAUSP expression declines concordantly with REST on neuronal differentiation and reciprocally with β-TrCP levels. HAUSP knockdown in NPCs decreases REST and induces differentiation. In contrast, HAUSP overexpression upregulates REST by overriding β-TrCP-mediated ubiquitylation. A consensus site (310-PYSS-313) in human REST is required for HAUSP-mediated REST deubiquitylation. Furthermore, REST overexpression in NPCs rescues the differentiation phenotype induced by HAUSP knockdown. These data demonstrate that HAUSP stabilizes REST through deubiquitylation and antagonizes β-TrCP in regulating REST at the post-translational level. Thus, HAUSP-mediated deubiquitylation represents a critical regulatory mechanism involved in the maintenance of NPCs.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Glioblastomas (GBMs) are highly lethal primary brain tumors. Despite current therapeutic advances in other solid cancers, the treatment of these malignant gliomas remains essentially palliative. GBMs are extremely resistant to conventional radiation and chemotherapies. We and others have demonstrated that a highly tumorigenic subpopulation of cancer cells called GBM stem cells (GSCs) promotes therapeutic resistance. We also found that GSCs stimulate tumor angiogenesis by expressing elevated levels of VEGF and contribute to tumor growth, which has been translated into a useful therapeutic strategy in the treatment of recurrent or progressive GBMs. Furthermore, stem cell-like cancer cells (cancer stem cells) have been shown to promote metastasis. Although GBMs rarely metastasize beyond the central nervous system, these highly infiltrative cancers often invade into normal brain tissues preventing surgical resection, and GSCs display an aggressive invasive phenotype. These studies suggest that targeting GSCs may effectively reduce tumor recurrence and significantly improve GBM treatment. Recent studies indicate that cancer stem cells share core signaling pathways with normal somatic or embryonic stem cells, but also display critical distinctions that provide important clues into useful therapeutic targets. In this review, we summarize the current understanding and advances in glioma stem cell research, and discuss potential targeting strategies for future development of anti-GSC therapies.
Protein & Cell 07/2010; 1(7):638-55. · 3.22 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Glioblastoma is the most common and lethal type of primary brain tumor. Despite recent therapeutic advances in other cancers, the treatment of glioblastomas remains ineffective and essentially palliative. The treatment failure is a result of a number of causes, but we and others have demonstrated that a highly tumorigenic subpopulation of cancer cells called glioblastoma stem cells (GSCs) display relative resistance to radiation and chemotherapy. GSCs also contribute to tumor growth through the stimulation of angiogenesis, which has been shown to be a useful therapeutic target in the treatment of recurrent or progressive malignant gliomas. Cancer stem cells also have been hypothesized as a contributor to systemic metastases. While glioblastomas rarely metastasize beyond the central nervous system, glioblastomas invade into brain structures to prevent surgical cure and GSCs have an extremely invasive phenotype. Collectively, these studies and others suggest that GSCs may be important therapeutic targets not only to achieve cure but even reduce tumor relapse and improve overall survival. Many recent studies suggest that GSCs share core regulatory pathways with normal embryonic and somatic stem cells, but display important distinctions that provide clues into useful treatment targets. The cancer stem cell hypothesis may also modify our approaches in tumor imaging and biomarker development, but clinical validation waits. In this review, we summarize the current understanding of GSC biology with a focus on potential anti-GSC therapies.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Oxygen is an essential regulator of cellular metabolism, survival, and proliferation. Cellular responses to oxygen levels are monitored, in part, by the transcriptional activity of the hypoxia inducible factors (HIFs). Under hypoxia, HIFs regulate a variety of pro-angiogenic and pro-glycolysis pathways. In solid cancers, regions of hypoxia are commonly present throughout the tissue because of the chaotic vascular architecture and regions of necrosis. In these regions, the hypoxic state fluctuates in a spatial and temporal manner. Transient hypoxic cycling causes an increase in the activity of the HIF proteins above what is typical for non-pathologic tissue. The extent of hypoxia strongly correlates to poor patient survival, therapeutic resistance and an aggressive tumour phenotype, but the full contribution of hypoxia and the HIFs to tumour biology is an area of active investigation. Recent reports link resistance to conventional therapies and the metastatic potential to a stem-like tumour population, termed cancer stem cells (CSCs). We and others have shown that within brain tumours CSCs reside in two niches, a perivascular location and the surrounding necrotic tissue. Restricted oxygen conditions increase the CSC fraction and promote acquisition of a stem-like state. Cancer stem cells are critically dependant on the HIFs for survival, self-renewal, and tumour growth. These observations and those from normal stem cell biology provide a new mechanistic explanation for the contribution of hypoxia to malignancy. Further, the presence of hypoxia in tumours may present challenges for therapy because of the promotion of CSC phenotypes even upon successful killing of CSCs. The current experimental evidence suggests that CSCs are plastic cell states governed by microenvironmental conditions, such as hypoxia, that may be critical for the development of new therapies targeted to disrupt the microenvironment.
British Journal of Cancer 03/2010; 102(5):789-95. · 5.08 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Genistein is a major isoflavonoid in dietary soybean, commonly consumed in Asia. Genistein exerts inhibitory effects on the proliferation of various cancer cells and plays an important role in cancer prevention. However, the molecular and cellular mechanisms of genistein on human ovarian cancer cells are still little known. We show that exposure of human ovarian cancer HO-8910 cells to genistein induces DNA damage, and triggers G2/M phase arrest and apoptosis. Furthermore, we also found that checkpoint proteins ATM and ATR are phosphorylated and activated in the cells treated with genistein. It is also shown that genistein increases the phosphorylation and activation of Chk1 and Chk2, which results in the phosphorylation and inactivation of phosphatases Cdc25C and Cdc25A, and thereby the phosphorylation and inactivation of Cdc2 which arrests cells in G2/M phase. Moreover, genistein enhances the phosphorylation and activation of p53, while decreases the ratio of Bcl-2/Bax and Bcl-xL/Bax and the level of phosphorylated Akt, which result in cells undergoing apoptosis. These results demonstrate that genistein-activated ATM-Chk2-Cdc25 and ATR-Chk1-Cdc25 DNA damage checkpoint pathways can arrest ovarian cancer cells in G2/M phase, and induce apoptosis while the cellular DNA damage is too serious to be repaired. Thus, the antiproliferative, DNA damage-inducing and pro-apoptotic activities of genistein are probably responsible for its genotoxic effects on human ovarian cancer HO-8910 cells.
Cell Biology International 10/2009; 33(12):1237-44. · 1.64 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Glioblastomas are lethal cancers characterized by florid angiogenesis promoted in part by glioma stem cells (GSCs). Because hypoxia regulates angiogenesis, we examined hypoxic responses in GSCs. We now demonstrate that hypoxia-inducible factor HIF2alpha and multiple HIF-regulated genes are preferentially expressed in GSCs in comparison to non-stem tumor cells and normal neural progenitors. In tumor specimens, HIF2alpha colocalizes with cancer stem cell markers. Targeting HIFs in GSCs inhibits self-renewal, proliferation, and survival in vitro, and attenuates tumor initiation potential of GSCs in vivo. Analysis of a molecular database reveals that HIF2A expression correlates with poor glioma patient survival. Our results demonstrate that GSCs differentially respond to hypoxia with distinct HIF induction patterns, and HIF2alpha might represent a promising target for antiglioblastoma therapies.
Cancer cell 07/2009; 15(6):501-13. · 25.29 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Periostin, also called osteoblast-specific factor 2 (OSF-2), is a member of the fasciclin family and a disulfide-linked cell adhesion protein that has been shown to be expressed preferentially in the periosteum and periodontal ligaments, where it acts as a critical regulator of bone and tooth formation and maintenance. Furthermore, periostin plays an important role in cardiac development. Recent clinical evidence has also revealed that periostin is involved in the development of various tumors, such as breast, lung, colon, pancreatic, and ovarian cancers. Periostin interacts with multiple cell-surface receptors, most notably integrins, and signals mainly via the PI3-K/Akt and other pathways to promote cancer cell survival, epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT), invasion, and metastasis. In this review, aspects related to the function of periostin in tumorigenesis are summarized.
Cellular and Molecular Life Sciences CMLS 04/2009; 66(14):2219-30. · 5.62 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Periostin is a secreted protein and has been shown to be frequently overexpressed in various types of human cancers. We have previously reported that periostin potently promotes metastatic growth of colon cancer by augmenting cell survival. However, little is known about the functions of periostin in non-small-cell lung cancer. Here, we revealed that increased expression of periostin in non-small-cell lung cancer A549 cells was one kind of cellular responses to the stress of chemical-mimic hypoxia, and this effect could be regulated by hypoxia inducible growth factors, such as TGF-alpha and bFGF. We further demonstrated that RTK/PI3-K pathway activated by TGF-alpha and bFGF was evoked in upregulating the expression of periostin, and then periostin promoted the survival of A549 cells under hypoxic microenvironment via activation of Akt/PKB pathway. Therefore, periostin and the pathway that it involved might provide a target for lung cancer treatment.
Cancer letters 04/2009; 281(2):213-9. · 4.86 Impact Factor