Innate lymphoid cells (ILCs) represent the most recently identified subset of effector lymphocytes, with key roles in the orchestration of early immune responses. Despite their established involvement in the pathogenesis of many inflammatory disorders, the role of ILCs in cancer remains poorly defined. Here we assessed whether human ILCs can actively interact with the endothelium to promote tumor growth control, favoring immune cell adhesion. We show that, among all ILC subsets, ILCPs elicited the strongest upregulation of adhesion molecules in ECs in vitro, mainly in a contact-dependent manner through the TNFR- and RANK-dependent engagement of the NF-κB pathway. Moreover, the ILCP-mediated activation of the ECs resulted to be functional by fostering the adhesion of other innate and adaptive immune cells. Interestingly, pre-exposure of ILCPs to human tumor cell lines strongly impaired this capacity. Hence, the ILCP-EC interaction might represent an attractive target to regulate the immune cell trafficking to tumor sites and, therefore, the establishment of an anti-tumor immune response.
All data generated or analysed during this study are included in the manuscript and supporting files.
- Camilla Jandus
- Pedro Romero
- Pascal Schneider
- Emanuela Marcenaro
- Simona Candiani
- Emanuela Marcenaro
- Simona Candiani
The funders had no role in study design, data collection and interpretation, or the decision to submit the work for publication.
- Vincenzo Cerullo, University of Helsinki, Finland
© 2021, Vanoni 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.