Colorectal cancer (CRC) is a major cause of human death. Mortality is primarily due to metastatic organ colonization, with the liver being the primary organ affected. We modeled metastatic CRC (mCRC) liver colonization using patient-derived primary and metastatic tumor xenografts (PDX). Such PDX modeling predicted patient survival outcomes. In vivo selection of multiple PDXs for enhanced metastatic colonization capacity upregulated the gluconeogenic enzyme PCK1, which enhanced liver metastatic hypoxic growth by driving pyrimidine nucleotide biosynthesis under hypoxia. Consistently, highly metastatic tumors upregulated multiple pyrimidine biosynthesis intermediary metabolites. Therapeutic inhibition of the pyrimidine biosynthetic enzyme DHODH with leflunomide substantially impaired CRC liver metastatic colonization and hypoxic growth. Our findings provide a potential mechanistic basis for the epidemiologic association of anti-gluconeogenic drugs with improved CRC metastasis outcomes, reveal the exploitation of a gluconeogenesis enzyme for pyrimidine biosynthesis under hypoxia, and implicate DHODH and PCK1 as metabolic therapeutic targets in colorectal cancer metastatic progression.
Sequencing data have been deposited in GEO under accession codes GSE138248
mRNA sequencing of highly and lowly metastatic human colorectal cancer PDXsNCBI Gene Expression Omnibus, GSE138248.
Gene expression profiling study by RNA-seq in colorectal cancerNCBI Gene Expression Omnibus, GSE50760.
Whole genome analysis for liver metastasis gene signitures in colorectal cancerNCBI Gene Expression Omnibus, GSE6988.
Expression Profile of Primary Colorectal Cancers and associated Liver MetastasesNCBI Gene Expression Omnibus, GSE14297.
Expression data from colorectal cancer patientsNCBI Gene Expression Omnibus, GSE41258.
- Norihiro Yamaguchi
- Ethan M Weinberg
- Norihiro Yamaguchi
- Norihiro Yamaguchi
- Alexander Nguyen
- Hani Goodarzi
- Hani Goodarzi
- Maria V Liberti
- Sohail F Tavazoie
The funders had no role in study design, data collection and interpretation, or the decision to submit the work for publication.
Animal experimentation: This study was performed in strict accordance with the recommendations in the Guide for the Care and Use of Laboratory Animals of the National Institutes of Health. All of the animals were handled according to approved protocol, The Rockefeller University Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (protocol 15783-H).
Human subjects: Approval for the study was obtained through the MSKCC Institutional Review Board/Privacy Board (protocol 10-018A), the MSKCC Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (protocol 04-03-009), The Rockefeller University Institutional Review Board (protocol STA-0681), Written consent was obtained from all human participants who provided samples for patient-derived xenografts.
- William C. Hahn, Dana-Farber Cancer Institue, United States
© 2019, Yamaguchi et al.
This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License permitting unrestricted use and redistribution provided that the original author and source are credited.
Cancer stem cells (CSCs) undergo epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT) to drive metastatic dissemination in experimental cancer models. However, tumour cells undergoing EMT have not been observed disseminating into the tissue surrounding human tumour specimens, leaving the relevance to human cancer uncertain. We have previously identified both EpCAM and CD24 as CSC markers that, alongside the mesenchymal marker Vimentin, identify EMT CSCs in human oral cancer cell lines. This afforded the opportunity to investigate whether the combination of these three markers can identify disseminating EMT CSCs in actual human tumours. Examining disseminating tumour cells in over 12,000 imaging fields from 74 human oral tumours, we see a significant enrichment of EpCAM, CD24 and Vimentin co-stained cells disseminating beyond the tumour body in metastatic specimens. Through training an artificial neural network, these predict metastasis with high accuracy (cross-validated accuracy of 87-89%). In this study, we have observed single disseminating EMT CSCs in human oral cancer specimens, and these are highly predictive of metastatic disease.
Esophageal cancer (EC) is a fatal digestive disease with a poor prognosis and frequent lymphatic metastases. Nevertheless, reliable biomarkers for EC diagnosis are currently unavailable. Accordingly, we have performed a comparative proteomics analysis on cancer and paracancer tissue-derived exosomes from eight pairs of EC patients using label-free quantification proteomics profiling and have analyzed the differentially expressed proteins through bioinformatics. Furthermore, nano-flow cytometry (NanoFCM) was used to validate the candidate proteins from plasma-derived exosomes in 122 EC patients. Of the 803 differentially expressed proteins discovered in cancer and paracancer tissue-derived exosomes, 686 were up-regulated and 117 were down-regulated. Intercellular adhesion molecule-1 (CD54) was identified as an up-regulated candidate for further investigation, and its high expression in cancer tissues of EC patients was validated using immunohistochemistry, real-time quantitative PCR (RT-qPCR), and western blot analyses. In addition, plasma-derived exosome NanoFCM data from 122 EC patients concurred with our proteomic analysis. The receiver operating characteristic (ROC) analysis demonstrated that the AUC, sensitivity, and specificity values for CD54 were 0.702, 66.13%, and 71.31%, respectively, for EC diagnosis. Small interference (si)RNA was employed to silence the CD54 gene in EC cells. A series of assays, including cell counting kit-8, adhesion, wound healing, and Matrigel invasion, were performed to investigate EC viability, adhesive, migratory, and invasive abilities, respectively. The results showed that CD54 promoted EC proliferation, migration, and invasion. Collectively, tissue-derived exosomal proteomics strongly demonstrates that CD54 is a promising biomarker for EC diagnosis and a key molecule for EC development.