Farnesoid X receptor (FXR) has been recently reported to enhance chemoresistance through bile acid-independent mechanisms. Thus, FXR transfection plus activation with GW4064 resulted in reduced sensitivity to cisplatin-induced toxicity. This is interesting because primary tumors of the liver, an organ where FXR is expressed, exhibit marked refractoriness to pharmacological treatment. Here we have determined whether FXR is upregulated in hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC), cholangiocarcinoma (CGC) and hepatoblastoma (HPB) and whether this is related with the expression of genes involved in mechanisms of chemoresistance. Using RT-QPCR and Taqman low density arrays we have analyzed biopsies from healthy livers or surgically removed tumors from naive patients and cell lines derived from HCC (SK-HEP-1, Alexander and Huh7), CGC (TFK1) and HPB (HepG2), before and after exposure to cisplatin at IC50 for 72 h. In liver tumors FXR expression was not enhanced but significantly decreased (healthy liver > HCC > HPB ≈ CGC). Except for CGC, this was not accompanied by changes in the proportions of FXR isoforms. Changes in 36 genes involved in drug uptake/efflux and metabolism, expression/function of molecular targets, and survival/apoptosis balance were found. Changes affecting SLC22A1, CYP2A1 and BIRC5 were shared by HCC, CGC and HPB. Similarity in gene expression profiles between cell lines and parent tumors was found. Pharmacological challenge with cisplatin induced changes that increased this resemblance. This was not dependent upon FXR expression. Thus, although FXR may play a role in inducing chemoresistance under certain circumstances, its upregulation does not seem to be involved in the multidrug resistance phenotype characteristic of HCC, CGC and HPB.
Reduced drug uptake is an important mechanism of chemoresistance. Down-regulation of SLC22A1 encoding the organic cation transporter-1 (OCT1) may affect the response of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) and cholangiocarcinoma (CGC) to sorafenib, a cationic drug. Here we investigated whether SLC22A1 variants may contribute to sorafenib chemoresistance. Complete sequencing and selective variant identification were carried out to detect single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in SLC22A1 complementary DNA (cDNA). In HCC and CGC biopsies, in addition to previously described variants, two novel alternative spliced variants and three SNPs were identified. To study their functional consequences, these variants were mimicked by directed mutagenesis and expressed in HCC (Alexander and SK-Hep-1) and CGC (TFK1) cells. The two novel described variants, R61S fs*10 and C88A fs*16, encoded truncated proteins unable to reach the plasma membrane. Both variants abolished OCT1-mediated uptake of tetraethylammonium, a typical OCT1 substrate, and were not able to induce sorafenib sensitivity. In cells expressing functional OCT1 variants, OCT1 inhibition with quinine prevented sorafenib-induced toxicity. Expression of OCT1 variants in Xenopus laevis oocytes and determination of quinine-sensitive sorafenib uptake by high-performance liquid chromatography-dual mass spectrometry confirmed that OCT1 is able to transport sorafenib and that R61S fs*10 and C88A fs*16 abolish this ability. Screening of these SNPs in 23 HCC and 15 CGC biopsies revealed that R61S fs*10 was present in both HCC (17%) and CGC (13%), whereas C88A fs*16 was only found in HCC (17%). Considering all SLC22A1 variants, at least one inactivating SNP was found in 48% HCC and 40% CGC. Conclusion: Development of HCC and CGC is accompanied by the appearance of aberrant OCT1 variants that, together with decreased OCT1 expression, may dramatically affect the ability of sorafenib to reach active intracellular concentrations in these tumors. (HEPATOLOGY 2013;58:1065-1073 H epatocellular carcinoma (HCC) and cholangiocarcinoma (CGC) are important causes of cancer-related death worldwide. Although surgery is potentially curative for patients with localized disease, these tumors are often in an advanced stage at the time of diagnosis, when surgery is no longer the
Cholangiocarcinoma (CCA) is an aggressive tumor with a poor prognosis due to its late clinical presentation and the lack of effective non-surgical therapies. Unfortunately, most of the patients are not eligible for curative surgery owing to the presence of metastases at the time of diagnosis. Therefore, it is important to understand the steps leading to cell dissemination in patients with CCA. To metastasize from the primary site, cancer cells must acquire migratory and invasive properties by a cell plasticity-promoting phenomenon known as epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT). EMT is a reversible dynamic process by which epithelial cells gradually adopt structural and functional characteristics of mesenchymal cells, and has lately become a center of attention in the field of metastatic dissemination. In the present review, we aim to provide an extensive overview of the current clinical data and the prognostic value of different EMT markers that have been analyzed in CCA. We summarize all the regulatory networks implicated in EMT from the membrane receptors to the main EMT-inducing transcription factors (SNAIL, TWIST and ZEB). Furthermore, since a tumor is a complex structure not exclusively formed by tumor cells, we also address the prominent role of the main cell types of the desmoplastic stroma that characterizes CCA in the regulation of EMT. Finally, we discuss the therapeutic considerations and difficulties faced to develop an effective anti-EMT treatment due to the redundancies and bypasses among the pathways regulating EMT. 4Key Point Box -EMT is an early event of metastasis that endows tumor cells with invasive properties enabling them to spread toward other territories.-EMT contributes to CCA progression and chemoresistance.-The three families of transcription factors that regulate epithelial and mesenchymal marker expression during EMT (SNAIL, TWIST and ZEB) contribute to CCA progression.-Cells of CCA microenvironment, and not only cancer cells, lead to the activation of EMT.
The transmission of cellular information requires fine and subtle regulation of proteins that need to interact in a coordinated and specific way to form efficient signaling networks. The spatial and temporal coordination relies on scaffold proteins. Thanks to protein interaction domains such as PDZ domains, scaffold proteins organize multiprotein complexes enabling the proper transmission of cellular information through intracellular networks. NHERF1/EBP50 is a PDZ-scaffold protein that was initially identified as an organizer and regulator of transporters and channels at the apical side of epithelia through actin-binding ezrin-moesin-radixin proteins. Since, NHERF1/EBP50 has emerged as a major regulator of cancer signaling network by assembling cancer-related proteins. The PDZ-scaffold EBP50 carries either anti-tumor or pro-tumor functions, two antinomic functions dictated by EBP50 expression or subcellular localization. The dual function of NHERF1/EBP50 encompasses the regulation of several major signaling pathways engaged in cancer, including the receptor tyrosine kinases PDGFR and EGFR, PI3K/PTEN/AKT and Wnt-β-catenin pathways.
Cholangiocarcinoma (CCA) is a desmoplastic tumor of the biliary tree in which epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) is overexpressed and contributes to cancer progression. Although EGFR has been envisaged as a target for therapy, treatment with tyrosine kinase inhibitors (TKI) such as erlotinib did not provide therapeutic benefit in patients with CCA, emphasizing the need to investigate resistance mechanisms against EGFR inhibition. Resistant CCA cells to EGFR inhibition were obtained upon long-time exposure of cells with erlotinib. Cell signaling, viability, migration, and spheroid growth were determined , and tumor growth was evaluated in CCA xenograft models. Erlotinib-resistant CCA cells displayed metastasis-associated signatures that correlated with a marked change in cell plasticity associated with an epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT) and a cancer stem cell (CSC)-like phenotype. Resistant cells exhibited an upregulation of insulin receptor (IR) and insulin-like growth factor (IGF) 1 receptor (IGF1R), along with an increase in IGF2 expression. IR/IGF1R inhibition reduced EMT and CSC-like traits in resistant cells. , tumors developed from resistant CCA cells were larger and exhibited a more prominent stromal compartment, enriched in cancer-associated fibroblasts (CAF). Pharmacological coinhibition of EGFR and IR/IGF1R reduced tumor growth and stromal compartment in resistant tumors. Modeling of CCA-CAF crosstalk showed that IGF2 expressed by fibroblasts boosted IR/IGF1R signaling in resistant cells. Furthermore, IR/IGF1R signaling positively regulated fibroblast proliferation and activation. To escape EGFR-TKI treatment, CCA tumor cells develop an adaptive mechanism by undergoing an IR/IGF1R-dependent phenotypic switch, involving a contribution of stromal cells. .
Different proinflammatory cytokines enhance the expression of miR-506 in biliary epithelial cells; miR-506 induces PBC-like features in cholangiocytes and promotes immune activation, representing a potential therapeutic target for PBC patients. (Hepatology 2018;67:1420-1440).
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