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Platelets can be considered as the "guardian of hemostasis" where their main function is to maintain vascular integrity. In pathological conditions, the hemostatic role of platelets may be hijacked to stimulate disease progression. In 1865, Armand Trousseau was a pioneer in establishing the platelet-cancer metastasis relationship, which he eventually termed as Trousseau's Syndrome to describe the deregulation of the hemostasis-associated pathways induced by cancer progression (Varki, Blood. 110(6):1723-9, 2007). Since these early studies, there has been an increase in experimental evidence not only to elucidate the role of platelets in cancer metastasis but also to create novel cancer therapies by targeting the platelet's impact in metastasis. In this chapter, we discuss the contribution of platelets in facilitating tumor cell transit from the primary tumor to distant metastatic sites as well as novel cancer therapies based on platelet interactions.
Metastasis is the most lethal aspect of cancer, yet current therapeutic strategies do not target its key rate-limiting steps. We have previously shown that the entry of cancer cells into the blood stream, or intravasation, is highly dependent upon in vivo cancer cell motility, making it an attractive therapeutic target. To systemically identify genes required for tumor cell motility in an in vivo tumor microenvironment, we established a novel quantitative in vivo screening platform based on intravital imaging of human cancer metastasis in ex ovo avian embryos. Utilizing this platform to screen a genome-wide shRNA library, we identified a panel of novel genes whose function is required for productive cancer cell motility in vivo, and whose expression is closely associated with metastatic risk in human cancers. The RNAi-mediated inhibition of these gene targets resulted in a nearly total (>99.5%) block of spontaneous cancer metastasis in vivo.
Pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC) adopts several unique metabolic strategies to support primary tumor growth. Whether additional metabolic strategies are adopted to support metastatic tumorigenesis is less clear. This could be particularly relevant for distant metastasis, which often follows a rapidly progressive clinical course. Here we report that PDAC distant metastases evolve a unique series of metabolic reactions to maintain activation of the anabolic glucose enzyme phosphogluconate dehydrogenase (PGD). PGD catalytic activity was recurrently elevated across distant metastases, and modulating PGD activity levels dictated tumorigenic capacity. Metabolomics data raised the possibility that distant metastases evolved a core pentose conversion pathway (PCP) that converted glucose-derived metabolites into PGD substrate, thereby hyperactivating the enzyme. Consistent with this, each individual metabolite in the PCP stimulated PGD catalysis in distant metastases, and knockdown of each individual PCP enzyme selectively impaired tumorigenesis. We propose that the PCP manufactures PGD substrate outside of the rate-limiting oxidative pentose phosphate pathway (oxPPP). This enables PGD-dependent tumorigenesis by providing adequate substrate to fuel high catalytic activity, and raises the possibility that PDAC distant metastases adopt their own unique metabolic strategies to support tumor growth.
Both the American Joint Committee on Cancer (AJCC) and Musculoskeletal Tumor Society (MSTS) staging systems for skeletal sarcomas have major weaknesses. A revised staging system for osteosarcoma (the Vanderbilt system) was developed based on exploratory analyses of the relative prognostic impacts of histologic grade, tumor size, local tumor extension, and specific anatomic sites of metastasis using case records from the National Cancer Database (N = 4,285). AJCC, MSTS, and Vanderbilt staging schemes were then compared using a separate, population-based cancer registry (the Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results database; N = 2,246) as a validation dataset. Predictive accuracy for 5-year sarcoma-specific survival was evaluated by comparing areas under receiver-operating characteristic curves generated from logistic regression. Three different concordance indices and Bayesian information criteria were also calculated for model comparisons. The Vanderbilt staging system showed comparable predictive accuracy for 5-year disease-specific survival (65%) compared to the AJCC (67%) and MSTS (67%) staging systems. Most cross-comparisons of model concordance were not significantly different either. Bayesian information criterion was lowest for the MSTS staging system. Substaging osteosarcoma by current anatomical criteria is ineffectual. A simplified staging system based only on histologic grade and the presence of distant metastasis to any anatomic site performs similarly to the current AJCC and MSTS staging systems by multiple statistical criteria and is proposed for clinical and pathological staging of osteosarcomas of the non-pelvic appendicular and non-spinal axial skeleton. © 2018 Orthopaedic Research Society. Published by Wiley Periodicals, Inc. J Orthop Res 36:2802-2808, 2018.
© 2018 Orthopaedic Research Society. Published by Wiley Periodicals, Inc.
Metastasis contributes to poor prognosis in many types of cancer and is the leading cause of cancer-related deaths. Tumor cells metastasize to distant sites via the circulatory and lymphatic systems. In this review, we discuss the potential of circulating tumor cells for diagnosis and describe the experimental therapeutics that aim to target these disseminating cancer cells. We discuss the advantages and limitations of such strategies and how they may lead to the development of the next generation of antimetastasis treatments.
Cell migration in a three-dimensional matrix requires that cells either remodel the surrounding matrix fibers and/or squeeze between the fibers to move. Matrix degradation, matrix remodeling, and changes in cell shape each require cells to expend energy. While significant research has been performed to understand the cellular and molecular mechanisms guiding metastatic migration, less is known about cellular energy regulation and utilization during three-dimensional cancer cell migration. Here we introduce the use of the genetically encoded fluorescent biomarkers, PercevalHR and pHRed, to quantitatively assess ATP, ADP, and pH levels in MDA-MB-231 metastatic cancer cells as a function of the local collagen microenvironment. We find that the use of the probe is an effective tool for exploring the thermodynamics of cancer cell migration and invasion. Specifically, we find that the ATP:ADP ratio increases in cells in denser matrices, where migration is impaired, and it decreases in cells in aligned collagen matrices, where migration is facilitated. When migration is pharmacologically inhibited, the ATP:ADP ratio decreases. Together, our data indicate that matrix architecture alters cellular energetics and that intracellular ATP:ADP ratio is related to the ability of cancer cells to effectively migrate.
© 2018 Zanotelli, Goldblatt, Miller, et al. This article is distributed by The American Society for Cell Biology under license from the author(s). Two months after publication it is available to the public under an Attribution–Noncommercial–Share Alike 3.0 Unported Creative Commons License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/3.0).
Selectin-mediated adhesion of circulating tumor cells (CTCs) to the endothelium is a critical step in cancer metastasis, a major factor contributing to the mortality of cancer. The formation of tethers between tumor cells and endothelial selectins initiates cell rolling, which can lead to firm adhesion, extravasation and the formation of secondary metastases. Tumor cells travel through the bloodstream as single cells, or as aggregates known as circulating tumor microemboli (CTM). CTM have increased survivability and metastatic potential relative to CTCs, and the presence of CTM is associated with worse patient prognosis. The motion of cells and cellular aggregates in flow is a function of their size and shape, and these differences influence the frequency and strength of their contact with the endothelium. In this study, a computational model consisting of the hydrodynamic component of the Multiparticle Adhesive Dynamics simulation analyzed the effects of model aggregate conformation and orientation on adhesive binding potential. Model aggregates of the Colo205 colorectal cancer cell line were created, consisting of two, three, and four cells in simple geometrical conformations. Contact time, contact area, and time integral of contact area were measured as a function of fluid shear rate, initial centroid height, and initial orientation for model aggregates that experienced hydrodynamic collisions with the plane wall. It was found that larger CTM conformations with intermediate nonsphericities had the highest adhesion potential. The results of this study shed light on the correlation between environmental conditions and extravasation efficiency, which could inform the development of new anti-metastatic drugs.
Copyright © 2017 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
BACKGROUND - The importance of the mTOR complex 2 (mTORC2) signaling complex in tumor progression is becoming increasingly recognized. HER2-amplified breast cancers use Rictor/mTORC2 signaling to drive tumor formation, tumor cell survival and resistance to human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 (HER2)-targeted therapy. Cell motility, a key step in the metastatic process, can be activated by mTORC2 in luminal and triple negative breast cancer cell lines, but its role in promoting metastases from HER2-amplified breast cancers is not yet clear.
METHODS - Because Rictor is an obligate cofactor of mTORC2, we genetically engineered Rictor ablation or overexpression in mouse and human HER2-amplified breast cancer models for modulation of mTORC2 activity. Signaling through mTORC2-dependent pathways was also manipulated using pharmacological inhibitors of mTOR, Akt, and Rac. Signaling was assessed by western analysis and biochemical pull-down assays specific for Rac-GTP and for active Rac guanine nucleotide exchange factors (GEFs). Metastases were assessed from spontaneous tumors and from intravenously delivered tumor cells. Motility and invasion of cells was assessed using Matrigel-coated transwell assays.
RESULTS - We found that Rictor ablation potently impaired, while Rictor overexpression increased, metastasis in spontaneous and intravenously seeded models of HER2-overexpressing breast cancers. Additionally, migration and invasion of HER2-amplified human breast cancer cells was diminished in the absence of Rictor, or upon pharmacological mTOR kinase inhibition. Active Rac1 was required for Rictor-dependent invasion and motility, which rescued invasion/motility in Rictor depleted cells. Rictor/mTORC2-dependent dampening of the endogenous Rac1 inhibitor RhoGDI2, a factor that correlated directly with increased overall survival in HER2-amplified breast cancer patients, promoted Rac1 activity and tumor cell invasion/migration. The mTORC2 substrate Akt did not affect RhoGDI2 dampening, but partially increased Rac1 activity through the Rac-GEF Tiam1, thus partially rescuing cell invasion/motility. The mTORC2 effector protein kinase C (PKC)α did rescue Rictor-mediated RhoGDI2 downregulation, partially rescuing Rac-guanosine triphosphate (GTP) and migration/motility.
CONCLUSION - These findings suggest that mTORC2 uses two coordinated pathways to activate cell invasion/motility, both of which converge on Rac1. Akt signaling activates Rac1 through the Rac-GEF Tiam1, while PKC signaling dampens expression of the endogenous Rac1 inhibitor, RhoGDI2.
Constitutive WNT activity drives the growth of various human tumors, including nearly all colorectal cancers (CRCs). Despite this prominence in cancer, no WNT inhibitor is currently approved for use in the clinic largely due to the small number of druggable signaling components in the WNT pathway and the substantial toxicity to normal gastrointestinal tissue. We have shown that pyrvinium, which activates casein kinase 1α (CK1α), is a potent inhibitor of WNT signaling. However, its poor bioavailability limited the ability to test this first-in-class WNT inhibitor in vivo. We characterized a novel small-molecule CK1α activator called SSTC3, which has better pharmacokinetic properties than pyrvinium, and found that it inhibited the growth of CRC xenografts in mice. SSTC3 also attenuated the growth of a patient-derived metastatic CRC xenograft, for which few therapies exist. SSTC3 exhibited minimal gastrointestinal toxicity compared to other classes of WNT inhibitors. Consistent with this observation, we showed that the abundance of the SSTC3 target, CK1α, was decreased in WNT-driven tumors relative to normal gastrointestinal tissue, and knocking down CK1α increased cellular sensitivity to SSTC3. Thus, we propose that distinct CK1α abundance provides an enhanced therapeutic index for pharmacological CK1α activators to target WNT-driven tumors.
Copyright © 2017 The Authors, some rights reserved; exclusive licensee American Association for the Advancement of Science. No claim to original U.S. Government Works.
PURPOSE OF REVIEW - This review highlights our current knowledge of oxygen tensions in the bone marrow, and how low oxygen tensions (hypoxia) regulate tumor metastasis to and colonization of the bone marrow.
RECENT FINDINGS - The bone marrow is a relatively hypoxic microenvironment, but oxygen tensions fluctuate throughout the marrow cavity and across the endosteal and periosteal surfaces. Recent advances in imaging have made it possible to better characterize these fluctuations in bone oxygenation, but technical challenges remain. We have compiled evidence from multiple groups that suggests that hypoxia or hypoxia inducible factor (HIF) signaling may induce spontaneous metastasis to the bone and promote tumor colonization of bone, particularly in the case of breast cancer dissemination to the bone marrow. We are beginning to understand oxygenation patterns within the bone compartment and the role for hypoxia and HIF signaling in tumor cell dissemination to the bone marrow, but further studies are warranted.