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Special Issue "Tumor Microenvironment and Metabolism"

A special issue of International Journal of Molecular Sciences (ISSN 1422-0067). This special issue belongs to the section "Molecular Pathology, Diagnostics, and Therapeutics".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (30 November 2016).

Special Issue Editor

Guest Editor
Prof. Dr. Li Yang Website E-Mail
Department of Internal Medicine, Brody School of Medicine, East Carolina University, Greenville, NC 27834, USA
Interests: cancer biology; tumor microenvironment; inflammation; vascular biology; acidosis; pH sensing; G protein-coupled receptor; signal transduction

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

The tumor microenvironment has characteristic features of hypoxia, acidosis, nutrient deprivation, and high interstitial fluid pressure. In the process of tumor development and progression, the interactions between cancer cells and their microenvironment follow the principles of Darwinian selection, helping shape the somatic evolution of cancer cells. The biochemical features of the tumor microenvironment, including hypoxia, acidosis, and nutrient deprivation, also significantly regulate cancer cell metabolism, in which increased aerobic glycolysis (Warburg effect) is commonly observed. Reciprocally, deregulated cancer cell metabolism leads to accumulation of metabolic by-products, such as lactate and protons, in a tumor, which substantially modulate the tumor microenvironment. In addition to the effects on cancer cells, the tumor microenvironment also impacts the function of other cell types, including endothelial cells, immune cells, and fibroblasts in a tumor. Further understanding of the tumor microenvironment and metabolism will be advantageous for a comprehensive view of cancer biology and the improvement of cancer therapy.

This Special Issue will cover research topics on the tumor microenvironment, cancer cell metabolism, and the implications in cancer therapy, as indicated, but not limited, by the keywords below. Original research papers, review articles, theories, hypotheses, and commentaries are all welcome.

Assoc. Prof. Dr. Li Yang
Guest Editor

Manuscript Submission Information

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Keywords

  • tumor microenvironment
  • cancer cell metabolism
  • hypoxia
  • acidosis
  • nutrient deprivation
  • angiogenesis
  • inflammation
  • chemotherapy
  • radiotherapy
  • immunotherapy

Published Papers (31 papers)

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Editorial

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Open AccessEditorial
Tumor Microenvironment and Metabolism
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2017, 18(12), 2729; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms18122729 - 16 Dec 2017
Abstract
The tumor microenvironment has profound effects on cancer development, progression, and therapeutic response. [...]
Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Tumor Microenvironment and Metabolism)

Research

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Open AccessArticle
Role of uL3 in Multidrug Resistance in p53-Mutated Lung Cancer Cells
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2017, 18(3), 547; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms18030547 - 03 Mar 2017
Cited by 19
Abstract
Cancer is one of the most common causes of death among adults. Chemotherapy is crucial in determining patient survival and quality of life. However, the development of multidrug resistance (MDR) continues to pose a significant challenge in the management of cancer. In this [...] Read more.
Cancer is one of the most common causes of death among adults. Chemotherapy is crucial in determining patient survival and quality of life. However, the development of multidrug resistance (MDR) continues to pose a significant challenge in the management of cancer. In this study, we analyzed the role of human ribosomal protein uL3 (formerly rpL3) in multidrug resistance. Our studies revealed that uL3 is a key determinant of multidrug resistance in p53-mutated lung cancer cells by controlling the cell redox status. We established and characterized a multidrug resistant Calu-6 cell line. We found that uL3 down-regulation correlates positively with multidrug resistance. Restoration of the uL3 protein level re-sensitized the resistant cells to the drug by regulating the reactive oxygen species (ROS) levels, glutathione content, glutamate release, and cystine uptake. Chromatin immunoprecipitation experiments and luciferase assays demonstrated that uL3 coordinated the expression of stress-response genes acting as transcriptional repressors of solute carrier family 7 member 11 (xCT) and glutathione S-transferase α1 (GST-α1), independently of Nuclear factor erythroid 2-related factor 2 (Nrf2). Altogether our results describe a new function of uL3 as a regulator of oxidative stress response genes and advance our understanding of the molecular mechanisms underlying multidrug resistance in cancers. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Tumor Microenvironment and Metabolism)
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Open AccessArticle
The Expression and Functional Significance of Runx2 in Hepatocellular Carcinoma: Its Role in Vasculogenic Mimicry and Epithelial–Mesenchymal Transition
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2017, 18(3), 500; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms18030500 - 27 Feb 2017
Cited by 14
Abstract
The transcription factor Runx2 has been reported to promote epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT) in many tumors. Vasculogenic mimicry (VM) is described as the mimicry of endothelial cells by tumor cells to form microvascular tubes in aggressive tumors. Galectin-3 has been reported to regulate cell [...] Read more.
The transcription factor Runx2 has been reported to promote epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT) in many tumors. Vasculogenic mimicry (VM) is described as the mimicry of endothelial cells by tumor cells to form microvascular tubes in aggressive tumors. Galectin-3 has been reported to regulate cell invasion, migration, and VM formation; it could be regulated by Runx2. However, the relationship between Runx2, Galectin-3, EMT, and VM has not been studied in hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). We examined Runx2 expression in 89 human HCC samples and found Runx2 expression was associated with VM. Clinical-pathological data analysis revealed that Runx2 expression was associated with a shorter survival period. Overexpression of Runx2 promoted EMT and enhanced cell migration, invasion, and VM formation in HepG2 cells. Conversely, the downregulation of Runx2 inhibited EMT and reduced cell invasion, migration, and VM formation in SMMC7721. Galectin-3 expression declined following the downregulation of Runx2 in HepG2 cells, and increased in SMMC7721 cells after Runx2 knockdown. We consistently demonstrated that the downregulation of LGALS3 in HepG2-Runx2 cells reduced cell migration; invasion and VM formation; while upregulation of LGALS3 in SMMC7721-shRunx2 cells enhanced cell migration, invasion, and VM formation. The results indicate that Runx2 could promote EMT and VM formation in HCC and Galectin-3 might have some function in this process. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Tumor Microenvironment and Metabolism)
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Open AccessArticle
Dietary ω-3 Polyunsaturated Fatty Acids Inhibit Tumor Growth in Transgenic ApcMin/+ Mice, Correlating with CB1 Receptor Up-Regulation
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2017, 18(3), 485; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms18030485 - 24 Feb 2017
Cited by 11
Abstract
Mediterranean diet components, such as olive oil and ω-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (ω-3 PUFAs), can arrest cell growth and promote cell apoptosis. Recently, olive oil has been demonstrated to modulate type-1 cannabinoid (CB1) receptor gene expression in both human colon cancer [...] Read more.
Mediterranean diet components, such as olive oil and ω-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (ω-3 PUFAs), can arrest cell growth and promote cell apoptosis. Recently, olive oil has been demonstrated to modulate type-1 cannabinoid (CB1) receptor gene expression in both human colon cancer cells and rat colon. The aim of this study was to investigate a possible link between olive oil and ω-3 PUFAs effects and CB1 receptor expression in both intestinal and adipose tissue of ApcMin/+ mice. To confirm the role for the CB1 receptor as a negative modulator of cell proliferation in human colon cancer, CB1 receptor gene expression was also detected in tumor tissue and in surrounding normal mucosa of patients with colorectal cancer (CRC). Dietary ω-3 PUFAs significantly inhibited intestinal polyp growth in mice, correlating with CB1 receptor gene and protein expression induction. CB1 receptor gene up-regulation was also detected in adipose tissue, suggesting a close communication between cancer cells and the surrounding environment. Tissue CB1 receptor induction was associated with a concurrent inactivation of the Wnt/β-catenin pathway. Moreover, there was a significant reduction in CB1 receptor gene expression levels in cancer tissue compared to normal surrounding mucosa of patients with CRC, confirming that in cancer the “protective” action of the CB1 receptor is lost. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Tumor Microenvironment and Metabolism)
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Open AccessArticle
Acidosis Activates Endoplasmic Reticulum Stress Pathways through GPR4 in Human Vascular Endothelial Cells
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2017, 18(2), 278; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms18020278 - 27 Jan 2017
Cited by 19
Abstract
Acidosis commonly exists in the tissue microenvironment of various pathophysiological conditions such as tumors, inflammation, ischemia, metabolic disease, and respiratory disease. For instance, the tumor microenvironment is characterized by acidosis and hypoxia due to tumor heterogeneity, aerobic glycolysis (the “Warburg effect”), and the [...] Read more.
Acidosis commonly exists in the tissue microenvironment of various pathophysiological conditions such as tumors, inflammation, ischemia, metabolic disease, and respiratory disease. For instance, the tumor microenvironment is characterized by acidosis and hypoxia due to tumor heterogeneity, aerobic glycolysis (the “Warburg effect”), and the defective vasculature that cannot efficiently deliver oxygen and nutrients or remove metabolic acid byproduct. How the acidic microenvironment affects the function of blood vessels, however, is not well defined. GPR4 (G protein-coupled receptor 4) is a member of the proton-sensing G protein-coupled receptors and it has high expression in endothelial cells (ECs). We have previously reported that acidosis induces a broad inflammatory response in ECs. Acidosis also increases the expression of several endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress response genes such as CHOP (C/EBP homologous protein) and ATF3 (activating transcription factor 3). In the current study, we have examined acidosis/GPR4- induced ER stress pathways in human umbilical vein endothelial cells (HUVEC) and other types of ECs. All three arms of the ER stress/unfolded protein response (UPR) pathways were activated by acidosis in ECs as an increased expression of phosphorylated eIF2α (eukaryotic initiation factor 2α), phosphorylated IRE1α (inositol-requiring enzyme 1α), and cleaved ATF6 upon acidic pH treatment was observed. The expression of other downstream mediators of the UPR, such as ATF4, ATF3, and spliced XBP-1 (X box-binding protein 1), was also induced by acidosis. Through genetic and pharmacological approaches to modulate the expression level or activity of GPR4 in HUVEC, we found that GPR4 plays an important role in mediating the ER stress response induced by acidosis. As ER stress/UPR can cause inflammation and cell apoptosis, acidosis/GPR4-induced ER stress pathways in ECs may regulate vascular growth and inflammatory response in the acidic microenvironment. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Tumor Microenvironment and Metabolism)
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Open AccessArticle
Tumor-Derived Tissue Factor Aberrantly Activates Complement and Facilitates Lung Tumor Progression via Recruitment of Myeloid-Derived Suppressor Cells
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2017, 18(1), 22; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms18010022 - 19 Jan 2017
Cited by 8
Abstract
The initiator of extrinsic coagulation, tissue factor (TF), and its non-coagulant isoform alternatively spliced TF (asTF) are closely associated with tumor development. In the tumor microenvironment, the role of TF-induced coagulation in tumor progression remains to be fully elucidated. Using TF-knockdown lung tumor [...] Read more.
The initiator of extrinsic coagulation, tissue factor (TF), and its non-coagulant isoform alternatively spliced TF (asTF) are closely associated with tumor development. In the tumor microenvironment, the role of TF-induced coagulation in tumor progression remains to be fully elucidated. Using TF-knockdown lung tumor cells, we showed that TF is the dominant component of procoagulant activity but is dispensable in the cellular biology of tumor cells. In a xenograft model, using immunohistochemical analysis and flow cytometry analysis of the tumor microenvironment, we demonstrated that TF-induced fibrin deposition, which is correlated with complement activation and myeloid-derived suppressor cell (MDSC) recruitment, is positively associated with tumor progression. C5aR antagonism blunted the effect of TF on tumor progression and decreased MDSC recruitment. In conclusion, our data suggested that in tumor microenvironment, TF-induced coagulation activated the complement system and subsequently recruited myeloid-derived suppressor cells to promote tumor growth, which brings new insights into the coagulation-induced complement activation within the tumor microenvironment during tumor progression. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Tumor Microenvironment and Metabolism)
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Open AccessArticle
Characterization of the Microenvironment of Nodular Lymphocyte Predominant Hodgkin Lymphoma
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2016, 17(12), 2127; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms17122127 - 16 Dec 2016
Cited by 3
Abstract
Nodular lymphocyte predominant Hodgkin lymphoma (NLPHL) is characterized by a low percentage of neoplastic lymphocyte predominant (LP) cells in a background of lymphocytes. The goal of this study is to characterize the microenvironment in NLPHL. Ten NLPHL cases and seven reactive lymph nodes [...] Read more.
Nodular lymphocyte predominant Hodgkin lymphoma (NLPHL) is characterized by a low percentage of neoplastic lymphocyte predominant (LP) cells in a background of lymphocytes. The goal of this study is to characterize the microenvironment in NLPHL. Ten NLPHL cases and seven reactive lymph nodes (RLN) were analyzed by flow cytometry for the main immune cells and multiple specific subpopulations. To discriminate between cells in or outside the tumor cell area, we used CD26. We observed significantly lower levels of CD20+ B-cells and CD56+ NK cells and higher levels of CD4+ T-cells in NLPHL in comparison to RLN. In the subpopulations, we observed increased numbers of PD-1+CD4+ T follicular helper cells (TFH), CD69+CD4+ and CD69+CD8+ T-cells and CCR7-CD45RA-CD4+ effector memory T-cells, while FoxP3+CD4+ T regulatory cells (Tregs) and CCR7-CD45RA+ terminally differentiated CD4+ T-cells were decreased in NLPHL compared to RLN. CD69+ cells were increased in the tumor cell area in CD4+ and CD8+ T-cells, while FoxP3+CD25+CD4+ Tregs and CD25+CD8+ T-cells were significantly increased outside the tumor area. Thus, we show a markedly altered microenvironment in NLPHL, with lower numbers of NK cells and Tregs. PD-1+CD4+ and CD69+ T-cells were located inside, and Tregs and CD25+CD8+ cells outside the tumor cell area. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Tumor Microenvironment and Metabolism)
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Open AccessCommunication
Gene-Specific Methylation Analysis in Thymomas of Patients with Myasthenia Gravis
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2016, 17(12), 2121; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms17122121 - 16 Dec 2016
Cited by 3
Abstract
Thymomas are uncommon neoplasms that arise from epithelial cells of the thymus and are often associated with myasthenia gravis (MG), an autoimmune disease characterized by autoantibodies directed to different targets at the neuromuscular junction. Little is known, however, concerning epigenetic changes occurring in [...] Read more.
Thymomas are uncommon neoplasms that arise from epithelial cells of the thymus and are often associated with myasthenia gravis (MG), an autoimmune disease characterized by autoantibodies directed to different targets at the neuromuscular junction. Little is known, however, concerning epigenetic changes occurring in thymomas from MG individuals. To further address this issue, we analyzed DNA methylation levels of genes involved in one-carbon metabolism (MTHFR) and DNA methylation (DNMT1, DNMT3A, and DNMT3B) in blood, tumor tissue, and healthy thymic epithelial cells from MG patients that underwent a surgical resection of a thymic neoplasm. For the analyses we applied the methylation-sensitive high-resolution melting technique. Both MTHFR and DNMT3A promoters showed significantly higher methylation in tumor tissue with respect to blood, and MTHFR also showed significantly higher methylation levels in tumor tissue respect to healthy adjacent thymic epithelial cells. Both DNMT1 and DNMT3B promoter regions were mostly hypomethylated in all the investigated tissues. The present study suggests that MTHFR methylation is increased in thymomas obtained from MG patients; furthermore, some degrees of methylation of the DNMT3A gene were observed in thymic tissue with respect to blood. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Tumor Microenvironment and Metabolism)
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Open AccessArticle
CAPS1 Negatively Regulates Hepatocellular Carcinoma Development through Alteration of Exocytosis-Associated Tumor Microenvironment
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2016, 17(10), 1626; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms17101626 - 27 Sep 2016
Cited by 3
Abstract
The calcium-dependent activator protein for secretion 1 (CAPS1) regulates exocytosis of dense-core vesicles (DCVs) in neurons and neuroendocrine cells. The role of CAPS1 in cancer biology remains unknown. The purpose of this study was to investigate the role of CAPS1 in hepatocellular carcinoma [...] Read more.
The calcium-dependent activator protein for secretion 1 (CAPS1) regulates exocytosis of dense-core vesicles (DCVs) in neurons and neuroendocrine cells. The role of CAPS1 in cancer biology remains unknown. The purpose of this study was to investigate the role of CAPS1 in hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). We determined the levels of CAPS1 in eight hepatoma cell lines and 141 HCC specimens. We evaluated the prognostic value of CAPS1 expression and its association with clinical parameters. We investigated the biological consequences of CAPS1 overexpression in two hepatoma cell lines in vitro and in vivo. The results showed that loss of CAPS1 expression in HCC tissues was markedly correlated with aggressive tumor phenotypes, such as high-grade tumor node metastasis (TNM) stage (p = 0.003) and absence of tumor encapsulation (p = 0.016), and was associated with poor overall survival (p = 0.008) and high recurrence (p = 0.015). CAPS1 overexpression inhibited cell proliferation and migration by changing the exocytosis-associated tumor microenvironment in hepatoma cells in vitro. The in vivo study showed that CAPS1 overexpression inhibited xenograft tumor growth. Together, these results identified a previously unrecognized tumor suppressor role for CAPS1 in HCC development. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Tumor Microenvironment and Metabolism)
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Open AccessArticle
CD133 Modulate HIF-1α Expression under Hypoxia in EMT Phenotype Pancreatic Cancer Stem-Like Cells
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2016, 17(7), 1025; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms17071025 - 28 Jun 2016
Cited by 11
Abstract
Although CD133 is a known representative cancer stem cell marker, its function in tumor aggressiveness under hypoxia is not fully known. The aim of this study is to demonstrate that CD133 regulates hypoxia inducible factor (HIF)-1α expression with tumor migration. The CD133+ [...] Read more.
Although CD133 is a known representative cancer stem cell marker, its function in tumor aggressiveness under hypoxia is not fully known. The aim of this study is to demonstrate that CD133 regulates hypoxia inducible factor (HIF)-1α expression with tumor migration. The CD133+ pancreatic cancer cell line, Capan1M9, was compared with the CD133 cell line, shCD133M9, under hypoxia. HIF-1α expression levels were compared by Western blot, HIF-1α nucleus translocation assay and real-time (RT)-PCR. The hypoxia responsive element (HRE) was observed by luciferase assay. The migration ability was analyzed by migration and wound healing assays. Epithelial mesenchymal transition (EMT) related genes were analyzed by real-time RT-PCR. HIF-1α was highly expressed in Capan1M9 compared to shCD133M9 under hypoxia because of the high activation of HRE. Furthermore, the migration ability of Capan1M9 was higher than that of shCD133M9 under hypoxia, suggesting higher expression of EMT related genes in Capan1M9 compared to shCD133M9. Conclusion: HIF-1α expression under hypoxia in CD133+ pancreatic cancer cells correlated with tumor cell migration through EMT gene expression. Understanding the function of CD133 in cancer aggressiveness provides a novel therapeutic approach to eradicate pancreatic cancer stem cells. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Tumor Microenvironment and Metabolism)
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Open AccessArticle
The Role of Genetic Polymorphisms as Related to One-Carbon Metabolism, Vitamin B6, and Gene–Nutrient Interactions in Maintaining Genomic Stability and Cell Viability in Chinese Breast Cancer Patients
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2016, 17(7), 1003; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms17071003 - 24 Jun 2016
Cited by 4
Abstract
Folate-mediated one-carbon metabolism (FMOCM) is linked to DNA synthesis, methylation, and cell proliferation. Vitamin B6 (B6) is a cofactor, and genetic polymorphisms of related key enzymes, such as serine hydroxymethyltransferase (SHMT), methionine synthase reductase (MTRR), and methionine synthase (MS), in FMOCM may govern [...] Read more.
Folate-mediated one-carbon metabolism (FMOCM) is linked to DNA synthesis, methylation, and cell proliferation. Vitamin B6 (B6) is a cofactor, and genetic polymorphisms of related key enzymes, such as serine hydroxymethyltransferase (SHMT), methionine synthase reductase (MTRR), and methionine synthase (MS), in FMOCM may govern the bioavailability of metabolites and play important roles in the maintenance of genomic stability and cell viability (GSACV). To evaluate the influences of B6, genetic polymorphisms of these enzymes, and gene–nutrient interactions on GSACV, we utilized the cytokinesis-block micronucleus assay (CBMN) and PCR-restriction fragment length polymorphism (PCR-RFLP) techniques in the lymphocytes from female breast cancer cases and controls. GSACV showed a significantly positive correlation with B6 concentration, and 48 nmol/L of B6 was the most suitable concentration for maintaining GSACV in vitro. The GSACV indexes showed significantly different sensitivity to B6 deficiency between cases and controls; the B6 effect on the GSACV variance contribution of each index was significantly higher than that of genetic polymorphisms and the sample state (tumor state). SHMT C1420T mutations may reduce breast cancer susceptibility, whereas MTRR A66G and MS A2756G mutations may increase breast cancer susceptibility. The role of SHMT, MS, and MTRR genotype polymorphisms in GSACV is reduced compared with that of B6. The results appear to suggest that the long-term lack of B6 under these conditions may increase genetic damage and cell injury and that individuals with various genotypes have different sensitivities to B6 deficiency. FMOCM metabolic enzyme gene polymorphism may be related to breast cancer susceptibility to a certain extent due to the effect of other factors such as stress, hormones, cancer therapies, psychological conditions, and diet. Adequate B6 intake may be good for maintaining genome health and preventing breast cancer. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Tumor Microenvironment and Metabolism)
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Open AccessArticle
Mast Cell Tryptase Contributes to Pancreatic Cancer Growth through Promoting Angiogenesis via Activation of Angiopoietin-1
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2016, 17(6), 834; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms17060834 - 27 May 2016
Cited by 15
Abstract
Pancreatic cancer is a highly lethal malignancy and one of the leading causes of cancer-related death. During the development and progression of cancer, tumor angiogenesis plays a crucial role. A great deal of evidence has revealed that human mast cells (MCs) contributed to [...] Read more.
Pancreatic cancer is a highly lethal malignancy and one of the leading causes of cancer-related death. During the development and progression of cancer, tumor angiogenesis plays a crucial role. A great deal of evidence has revealed that human mast cells (MCs) contributed to tumor angiogenesis through releasing several pro-angiogenetic factors, among which tryptase is one of the most active. However, the role of mast cell tryptase (MCT) in human pancreatic cancer angiogenesis is still not well documented. In this study, we examined the MCT levels in serum from pancreatic cancer patients and evaluated the correlationship of the MCT level and tumor angiogenesis. In addition, the effect of MCT on endothelial cell proliferation and tube formation was investigated both in vitro and in nude mice bearing pancreatic tumor. It was found that MCT contributes to endothelial cell growth and tube formation via up-regulation of angiopoietin-1 expression. Moreover, using the MCT inhibitor nafamostat, tryptase-induced angiogenesis was obviously suppressed both in vitro and in vivo. Our findings suggest that MCT plays an important role in pancreatic cancer angiogenesis and tumor growth via activating the angiopoietin-1 pathway, and tryptase inhibitors may be evaluated as an effective anti-angiogenetic approach in pancreatic cancer therapy. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Tumor Microenvironment and Metabolism)
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Open AccessArticle
Role of Mitochondrial DNA Copy Number Alteration in Human Renal Cell Carcinoma
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2016, 17(6), 814; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms17060814 - 25 May 2016
Cited by 22
Abstract
We investigated the role of mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) copy number alteration in human renal cell carcinoma (RCC). The mtDNA copy numbers of paired cancer and non-cancer parts from five resected RCC kidneys after radical nephrectomy were determined by quantitative polymerase chain reaction (Q-PCR). [...] Read more.
We investigated the role of mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) copy number alteration in human renal cell carcinoma (RCC). The mtDNA copy numbers of paired cancer and non-cancer parts from five resected RCC kidneys after radical nephrectomy were determined by quantitative polymerase chain reaction (Q-PCR). An RCC cell line, 786-O, was infected by lentiviral particles to knock down mitochondrial transcriptional factor A (TFAM). Null target (NT) and TFAM-knockdown (TFAM-KD) represented the control and knockdown 786-O clones, respectively. Protein or mRNA expression levels of TFAM; mtDNA-encoded NADH dehydrogenase subunit 1 (ND1), ND6 and cytochrome c oxidase subunit 2 (COX-2); nuclear DNA (nDNA)-encoded succinate dehydrogenase subunit A (SDHA); v-akt murine thymoma viral oncogene homolog 1 gene (AKT)-encoded AKT and v-myc myelocytomatosis viral oncogene homolog gene (c-MYC)-encoded MYC; glycolytic enzymes including hexokinase II (HK-II), glucose 6-phosphate isomerase (GPI), phosphofructokinase (PFK), and lactate dehydrogenase subunit A (LDHA); and hypoxia-inducible factors the HIF-1α and HIF-2α, pyruvate dehydrogenase kinase 1 (PDK1), and pyruvate dehydrogenase E1 component α subunit (PDHA1) were analyzed by Western blot or Q-PCR. Bioenergetic parameters of cellular metabolism, basal mitochondrial oxygen consumption rate (mOCRB) and basal extracellular acidification rate (ECARB), were measured by a Seahorse XFe-24 analyzer. Cell invasiveness was evaluated by a trans-well migration assay and vimentin expression. Doxorubicin was used as a chemotherapeutic agent. The results showed a decrease of mtDNA copy numbers in resected RCC tissues (p = 0.043). The TFAM-KD clone expressed lower mtDNA copy number (p = 0.034), lower mRNA levels of TFAM (p = 0.008), ND1 (p = 0.007), and ND6 (p = 0.017), and lower protein levels of TFAM and COX-2 than did the NT clone. By contrast, the protein levels of HIF-2α, HK-II, PFK, LDHA, AKT, MYC and vimentin; trans-well migration activity (p = 0.007); and drug resistance to doxorubicin (p = 0.008) of the TFAM-KD clone were significantly higher than those of the NT clone. Bioenergetically, the TFAM-KD clone expressed lower mOCRB (p = 0.009) but higher ECARB (p = 0.037) than did the NT clone. We conclude that a reduction of mtDNA copy number and decrease of respiratory function of mitochondria in RCC might be compensated for by an increase of enzymes and factors that are involved in the upregulation of glycolysis to confer RCC more invasive and a drug-resistant phenotype in vitro. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Tumor Microenvironment and Metabolism)
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Open AccessArticle
Pathways Regulating Spheroid Formation of Human Follicular Thyroid Cancer Cells under Simulated Microgravity Conditions: A Genetic Approach
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2016, 17(4), 528; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms17040528 - 08 Apr 2016
Cited by 16
Abstract
Microgravity induces three-dimensional (3D) growth in numerous cell types. Despite substantial efforts to clarify the underlying mechanisms for spheroid formation, the precise molecular pathways are still not known. The principal aim of this paper is to compare static 1g-control cells with [...] Read more.
Microgravity induces three-dimensional (3D) growth in numerous cell types. Despite substantial efforts to clarify the underlying mechanisms for spheroid formation, the precise molecular pathways are still not known. The principal aim of this paper is to compare static 1g-control cells with spheroid forming (MCS) and spheroid non-forming (AD) thyroid cancer cells cultured in the same flask under simulated microgravity conditions. We investigated the morphology and gene expression patterns in human follicular thyroid cancer cells (UCLA RO82-W-1 cell line) after a 24 h-exposure on the Random Positioning Machine (RPM) and focused on 3D growth signaling processes. After 24 h, spheroid formation was observed in RPM-cultures together with alterations in the F-actin cytoskeleton. qPCR indicated more changes in gene expression in MCS than in AD cells. Of the 24 genes analyzed VEGFA, VEGFD, MSN, and MMP3 were upregulated in MCS compared to 1g-controls, whereas ACTB, ACTA2, KRT8, TUBB, EZR, RDX, PRKCA, CAV1, MMP9, PAI1, CTGF, MCP1 were downregulated. A pathway analysis revealed that the upregulated genes code for proteins, which promote 3D growth (angiogenesis) and prevent excessive accumulation of extracellular proteins, while genes coding for structural proteins are downregulated. Pathways regulating the strength/rigidity of cytoskeletal proteins, the amount of extracellular proteins, and 3D growth may be involved in MCS formation. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Tumor Microenvironment and Metabolism)
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Review

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Open AccessReview
A Tox21 Approach to Altered Epigenetic Landscapes: Assessing Epigenetic Toxicity Pathways Leading to Altered Gene Expression and Oncogenic Transformation In Vitro
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2017, 18(6), 1179; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms18061179 - 01 Jun 2017
Cited by 7
Abstract
An emerging vision for toxicity testing in the 21st century foresees in vitro assays assuming the leading role in testing for chemical hazards, including testing for carcinogenicity. Toxicity will be determined by monitoring key steps in functionally validated molecular pathways, using tests designed [...] Read more.
An emerging vision for toxicity testing in the 21st century foresees in vitro assays assuming the leading role in testing for chemical hazards, including testing for carcinogenicity. Toxicity will be determined by monitoring key steps in functionally validated molecular pathways, using tests designed to reveal chemically-induced perturbations that lead to adverse phenotypic endpoints in cultured human cells. Risk assessments would subsequently be derived from the causal in vitro endpoints and concentration vs. effect data extrapolated to human in vivo concentrations. Much direct experimental evidence now shows that disruption of epigenetic processes by chemicals is a carcinogenic mode of action that leads to altered gene functions playing causal roles in cancer initiation and progression. In assessing chemical safety, it would therefore be advantageous to consider an emerging class of carcinogens, the epigenotoxicants, with the ability to change chromatin and/or DNA marks by direct or indirect effects on the activities of enzymes (writers, erasers/editors, remodelers and readers) that convey the epigenetic information. Evidence is reviewed supporting a strategy for in vitro hazard identification of carcinogens that induce toxicity through disturbance of functional epigenetic pathways in human somatic cells, leading to inactivated tumour suppressor genes and carcinogenesis. In the context of human cell transformation models, these in vitro pathway measurements ensure high biological relevance to the apical endpoint of cancer. Four causal mechanisms participating in pathways to persistent epigenetic gene silencing were considered: covalent histone modification, nucleosome remodeling, non-coding RNA interaction and DNA methylation. Within these four interacting mechanisms, 25 epigenetic toxicity pathway components (SET1, MLL1, KDM5, G9A, SUV39H1, SETDB1, EZH2, JMJD3, CBX7, CBX8, BMI, SUZ12, HP1, MPP8, DNMT1, DNMT3A, DNMT3B, TET1, MeCP2, SETDB2, BAZ2A, UHRF1, CTCF, HOTAIR and ANRIL) were found to have experimental evidence showing that functional perturbations played “driver” roles in human cellular transformation. Measurement of epigenotoxicants presents challenges for short-term carcinogenicity testing, especially in the high-throughput modes emphasized in the Tox21 chemicals testing approach. There is need to develop and validate in vitro tests to detect both, locus-specific, and genome-wide, epigenetic alterations with causal links to oncogenic cellular phenotypes. Some recent examples of cell-based high throughput chemical screening assays are presented that have been applied or have shown potential for application to epigenetic endpoints. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Tumor Microenvironment and Metabolism)
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Nanomedicine Strategies to Target Tumor-Associated Macrophages
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2017, 18(5), 979; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms18050979 - 04 May 2017
Cited by 23
Abstract
In recent years, the influence of the tumor microenvironment (TME) on cancer progression has been better understood. Macrophages, one of the most important cell types in the TME, exist in different subtypes, each of which has a different function. While classically activated M1 [...] Read more.
In recent years, the influence of the tumor microenvironment (TME) on cancer progression has been better understood. Macrophages, one of the most important cell types in the TME, exist in different subtypes, each of which has a different function. While classically activated M1 macrophages are involved in inflammatory and malignant processes, activated M2 macrophages are more involved in the wound-healing processes occurring in tumors. Tumor-associated macrophages (TAM) display M2 macrophage characteristics and support tumor growth and metastasis by matrix remodeling, neo-angiogenesis, and suppressing local immunity. Due to their detrimental role in tumor growth and metastasis, selective targeting of TAM for the treatment of cancer may prove to be beneficial in the treatment of cancer. Due to the plastic nature of macrophages, their activities may be altered to inhibit tumor growth. In this review, we will discuss the therapeutic options for the modulation and targeting of TAM. Different therapeutic strategies to deplete, inhibit recruitment of, or re-educate TAM will be discussed. Current strategies for the targeting of TAM using nanomedicine are reviewed. Passive targeting using different nanoparticle systems is described. Since TAM display a number of upregulated surface proteins compared to non-TAM, specific targeting using targeting ligands coupled to nanoparticles is discussed in detail. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Tumor Microenvironment and Metabolism)
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TIM-3 as a Target for Cancer Immunotherapy and Mechanisms of Action
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2017, 18(3), 645; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms18030645 - 16 Mar 2017
Cited by 37
Abstract
Cancer immunotherapy has produced impressive clinical results in recent years. Despite the success of the checkpoint blockade strategies targeting cytotoxic T lymphocyte antigen 4 (CTLA-4) and programmed death receptor 1 (PD-1), a large portion of cancer patients have not yet benefited from this [...] Read more.
Cancer immunotherapy has produced impressive clinical results in recent years. Despite the success of the checkpoint blockade strategies targeting cytotoxic T lymphocyte antigen 4 (CTLA-4) and programmed death receptor 1 (PD-1), a large portion of cancer patients have not yet benefited from this novel therapy. T cell immunoglobulin and mucin domain 3 (TIM-3) has been shown to mediate immune tolerance in mouse models of infectious diseases, alloimmunity, autoimmunity, and tumor Immunity. Thus, targeting TIM-3 emerges as a promising approach for further improvement of current immunotherapy. Despite a large amount of experimental data showing an immune suppressive function of TIM-3 in vivo, the exact mechanisms are not well understood. To enable effective targeting of TIM-3 for tumor immunotherapy, further in-depth mechanistic studies are warranted. These studies will also provide much-needed insight for the rational design of novel combination therapy with other checkpoint blockers. In this review, we summarize key evidence supporting an immune regulatory role of TIM-3 and discuss possible mechanisms of action. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Tumor Microenvironment and Metabolism)
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Targeting Angiogenesis in Biliary Tract Cancers: An Open Option
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2017, 18(2), 418; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms18020418 - 15 Feb 2017
Cited by 11
Abstract
Biliary tract cancers (BTCs) are characterized by a bad prognosis and the armamentarium of drugs for their treatment is very poor. Although the inflammatory status of biliary tract represents the first step in the cancerogenesis, the microenvironment also plays a key role in [...] Read more.
Biliary tract cancers (BTCs) are characterized by a bad prognosis and the armamentarium of drugs for their treatment is very poor. Although the inflammatory status of biliary tract represents the first step in the cancerogenesis, the microenvironment also plays a key role in the pathogenesis of BTCs, promoting tumor angiogenesis, invasion and metastasis. Several molecules, such as vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) and fibroblast growth factor (FGF), are involved in the angiogenesis process and their expression on tumor samples has been explored as prognostic marker in both cholangiocarcinoma and gallbladder cancer. Recent studies evaluated the genomic landscape of BTCs and evidenced that aberrations in several genes enrolled in the pro-angiogenic signaling, such as FGF receptor-2 (FGFR-2), are characteristic of BTCs. New drugs targeting the signaling pathways involved in angiogenesis have been tested in preclinical studies both in vitro and in vivo with promising results. Moreover, several clinical studies tested monoclonal antibodies against VEGF and tyrosine kinase inhibitors targeting the VEGF and the MEK/ERK pathways. Herein, we evaluate both the pathogenic mechanisms of BTCs focused on angiogenesis and the preclinical and clinical data available regarding the use of new anti-angiogenic drugs in these malignancies. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Tumor Microenvironment and Metabolism)
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Open AccessReview
Tumor Microenvironment, a Paradigm in Hepatocellular Carcinoma Progression and Therapy
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2017, 18(2), 405; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms18020405 - 14 Feb 2017
Cited by 27
Abstract
Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) is among the most lethal and prevalent cancers in the human population. Different etiological factors such as hepatitis B and C virus, alcohol and diabetes cause liver injury followed by inflammation, necrosis and hepatocytes proliferation. Continuous cycles of this destructive–regenerative [...] Read more.
Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) is among the most lethal and prevalent cancers in the human population. Different etiological factors such as hepatitis B and C virus, alcohol and diabetes cause liver injury followed by inflammation, necrosis and hepatocytes proliferation. Continuous cycles of this destructive–regenerative process culminates in liver cirrhosis which is characterized by regenerating nodules that progress to dysplastic nodules and ultimately HCC. Despite its significance, there is only an elemental understanding of the pathogenetic mechanisms, and there are only limited therapeutic options. Therefore, the study of the involved molecular mechanisms can open a new insight to define more effective treatment strategies. A variety of alterations have been reported in HCC patients, particularly the cancer-associated microenvironment components including immune cells, fibroblast cells, endothelial cells and extracellular matrix can support the neoplastic cells to proliferate, growth and invade. This review summarizes the current state of knowledge and highlights the principal challenges that are relevant to controlling this milieu. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Tumor Microenvironment and Metabolism)
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The Pleiotropic Role of L1CAM in Tumor Vasculature
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2017, 18(2), 254; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms18020254 - 26 Jan 2017
Cited by 3
Abstract
Angiogenesis, the formation of new vessels, is a key step in the development, invasion, and dissemination of solid tumors and, therefore, represents a viable target in the context of antitumor therapy. Indeed, antiangiogenic approaches have given promising results in preclinical models and entered [...] Read more.
Angiogenesis, the formation of new vessels, is a key step in the development, invasion, and dissemination of solid tumors and, therefore, represents a viable target in the context of antitumor therapy. Indeed, antiangiogenic approaches have given promising results in preclinical models and entered the clinical practice. However, in patients, the results obtained so far with antiangiogenic drugs have not completely fulfilled expectations, especially because their effect has been transient with tumors developing resistance and evasion mechanisms. A better understanding of the mechanisms that underlie tumor vascularization and the functional regulation of cancer vessels is a prerequisite for the development of novel and alternative antiangiogenic treatments. The L1 cell adhesion molecule (L1CAM), a cell surface glycoprotein previously implicated in the development and plasticity of the nervous system, is aberrantly expressed in the vasculature of various cancer types. L1CAM plays multiple pro-angiogenic roles in the endothelial cells of tumor-associated vessels, thus emerging as a potential therapeutic target. In addition, L1CAM prevents the maturation of cancer vasculature and its inhibition promotes vessel normalization, a process that is thought to improve the therapeutic response of tumors to cytotoxic drugs. We here provide an overview on tumor angiogenesis and antiangiogenic therapies and summarize the current knowledge on the biological role of L1CAM in cancer vasculature. Finally, we highlight the clinical implications of targeting L1CAM as a novel antiangiogenic and vessel-normalizing approach. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Tumor Microenvironment and Metabolism)
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Cross-Talk between Cancer Cells and the Tumour Microenvironment: The Role of the 5-Lipoxygenase Pathway
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2017, 18(2), 236; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms18020236 - 24 Jan 2017
Cited by 31
Abstract
5-lipoxygenase is an enzyme responsible for the synthesis of a range of bioactive lipids signalling molecules known collectively as eicosanoids. 5-lipoxygenase metabolites such as 5-hydroxyeicosatetraenoic acid (5-HETE) and a number of leukotrienes are mostly derived from arachidonic acid and have been shown to [...] Read more.
5-lipoxygenase is an enzyme responsible for the synthesis of a range of bioactive lipids signalling molecules known collectively as eicosanoids. 5-lipoxygenase metabolites such as 5-hydroxyeicosatetraenoic acid (5-HETE) and a number of leukotrienes are mostly derived from arachidonic acid and have been shown to be lipid mediators of inflammation in different pathological states including cancer. Upregulated 5-lipoxygenase expression and metabolite production is found in a number of cancer types and has been shown to be associated with increased tumorigenesis. 5-lipoxygenase activity is present in a number of diverse cell types of the immune system and connective tissue. In this review, we discuss potential routes through which cancer cells may utilise the 5-lipoxygenase pathway to interact with the tumour microenvironment during the development and progression of a tumour. Furthermore, immune-derived 5-lipoxygenase signalling can drive both pro- and anti-tumour effects depending on the immune cell subtype and an overview of evidence for these opposing effects is presented. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Tumor Microenvironment and Metabolism)
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Tumor Microenvironment Modulation via Gold Nanoparticles Targeting Malicious Exosomes: Implications for Cancer Diagnostics and Therapy
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2017, 18(1), 162; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms18010162 - 14 Jan 2017
Cited by 13
Abstract
Exosomes are nanovesicles formed in the endosomal pathway with an important role in paracrine and autocrine cell communication. Exosomes secreted by cancer cells, malicious exosomes, have important roles in tumor microenvironment maturation and cancer progression. The knowledge of the role of exosomes in [...] Read more.
Exosomes are nanovesicles formed in the endosomal pathway with an important role in paracrine and autocrine cell communication. Exosomes secreted by cancer cells, malicious exosomes, have important roles in tumor microenvironment maturation and cancer progression. The knowledge of the role of exosomes in tumorigenesis prompted a new era in cancer diagnostics and therapy, taking advantage of the use of circulating exosomes as tumor biomarkers due to their stability in body fluids and targeting malignant exosomes’ release and/or uptake to inhibit or delay tumor development. In recent years, nanotechnology has paved the way for the development of a plethora of new diagnostic and therapeutic platforms, fostering theranostics. The unique physical and chemical properties of gold nanoparticles (AuNPs) make them suitable vehicles to pursuit this goal. AuNPs’ properties such as ease of synthesis with the desired shape and size, high surface:volume ratio, and the possibility of engineering their surface as desired, potentiate AuNPs’ role in nanotheranostics, allowing the use of the same formulation for exosome detection and restraining the effect of malicious exosomes in cancer progression. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Tumor Microenvironment and Metabolism)
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Lysyl Oxidase and the Tumor Microenvironment
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2017, 18(1), 62; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms18010062 - 29 Dec 2016
Cited by 24
Abstract
The lysyl oxidase (LOX) family of oxidases contains a group of extracellular copper-dependent enzymes that catalyze the cross-linking of collagen and elastin by oxidation, thus maintaining the rigidity and structural stability of the extracellular matrix (ECM). Aberrant expression or activation of LOX alters [...] Read more.
The lysyl oxidase (LOX) family of oxidases contains a group of extracellular copper-dependent enzymes that catalyze the cross-linking of collagen and elastin by oxidation, thus maintaining the rigidity and structural stability of the extracellular matrix (ECM). Aberrant expression or activation of LOX alters the cellular microenvironment, leading to many diseases, including atherosclerosis, tissue fibrosis, and cancer. Recently, a number of studies have shown that LOX is overexpressed in most cancers and that it is involved in the regulation of tumor progression and metastasis. In contrast, a few reports have also indicated the tumor-suppressing role of LOX. In this short review, we discuss recent research on the correlations between LOX and cancer. Further, the role of LOX in tumor microenvironment remodeling, tumorigenesis, and metastasis and the underlying mechanisms have also been elucidated. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Tumor Microenvironment and Metabolism)
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Open AccessReview
Lymph Nodes and Cancer Metastasis: New Perspectives on the Role of Intranodal Lymphatic Sinuses
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2017, 18(1), 51; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms18010051 - 28 Dec 2016
Cited by 18
Abstract
The lymphatic system is essential for transporting interstitial fluid, soluble antigen, and immune cells from peripheral tissues to lymph nodes (LNs). Functional integrity of LNs is dependent on intact lymphatics and effective lymph drainage. Molecular mechanisms that facilitate interactions between tumor cells and [...] Read more.
The lymphatic system is essential for transporting interstitial fluid, soluble antigen, and immune cells from peripheral tissues to lymph nodes (LNs). Functional integrity of LNs is dependent on intact lymphatics and effective lymph drainage. Molecular mechanisms that facilitate interactions between tumor cells and lymphatic endothelial cells (LECs) during tumor progression still remain to be identified. The cellular and molecular structures of LNs are optimized to trigger a rapid and efficient immune response, and to participate in the process of tumor metastasis by stimulating lymphangiogenesis and establishing a premetastatic niche in LNs. Several molecules, e.g., S1P, CCR7-CCL19/CCL21, CXCL12/CXCR4, IL-7, IFN-γ, TGF-β, and integrin α4β1 play an important role in controlling the activity of LN stromal cells including LECs, fibroblastic reticular cells (FRCs) and follicular dendritic cells (DCs). The functional stromal cells are critical for reconstruction and remodeling of the LN that creates a unique microenvironment of tumor cells and LECs for cancer metastasis. LN metastasis is a major determinant for the prognosis of most human cancers and clinical management. Ongoing work to elucidate the function and molecular regulation of LN lymphatic sinuses will provide insight into cancer development mechanisms and improve therapeutic approaches for human malignancy. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Tumor Microenvironment and Metabolism)
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Open AccessReview
Lipid Droplets: A Key Cellular Organelle Associated with Cancer Cell Survival under Normoxia and Hypoxia
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2016, 17(9), 1430; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms17091430 - 31 Aug 2016
Cited by 46
Abstract
The Warburg effect describes the phenomenon by which cancer cells obtain energy from glycolysis even under normoxic (O2-sufficient) conditions. Tumor tissues are generally exposed to hypoxia owing to inefficient and aberrant vasculature. Cancer cells have multiple molecular mechanisms to adapt to [...] Read more.
The Warburg effect describes the phenomenon by which cancer cells obtain energy from glycolysis even under normoxic (O2-sufficient) conditions. Tumor tissues are generally exposed to hypoxia owing to inefficient and aberrant vasculature. Cancer cells have multiple molecular mechanisms to adapt to such stress conditions by reprogramming the cellular metabolism. Hypoxia-inducible factors are major transcription factors induced in cancer cells in response to hypoxia that contribute to the metabolic changes. In addition, cancer cells within hypoxic tumor areas have reduced access to serum components such as nutrients and lipids. However, the effect of such serum factor deprivation on cancer cell biology in the context of tumor hypoxia is not fully understood. Cancer cells are lipid-rich under normoxia and hypoxia, leading to the increased generation of a cellular organelle, the lipid droplet (LD). In recent years, the LD-mediated stress response mechanisms of cancer cells have been revealed. This review focuses on the production and functions of LDs in various types of cancer cells in relation to the associated cellular environment factors including tissue oxygenation status and metabolic mechanisms. This information will contribute to the current understanding of how cancer cells adapt to diverse tumor environments to promote their survival. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Tumor Microenvironment and Metabolism)
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One-Carbon Metabolism in Prostate Cancer: The Role of Androgen Signaling
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2016, 17(8), 1208; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms17081208 - 27 Jul 2016
Cited by 12
Abstract
Cancer cell metabolism differs significantly from the metabolism of non-transformed cells. This altered metabolic reprogramming mediates changes in the uptake and use of nutrients that permit high rates of proliferation, growth, and survival. The androgen receptor (AR) plays an essential role in the [...] Read more.
Cancer cell metabolism differs significantly from the metabolism of non-transformed cells. This altered metabolic reprogramming mediates changes in the uptake and use of nutrients that permit high rates of proliferation, growth, and survival. The androgen receptor (AR) plays an essential role in the establishment and progression of prostate cancer (PCa), and in the metabolic adaptation that takes place during this progression. In its role as a transcription factor, the AR directly affects the expression of several effectors and regulators of essential catabolic and biosynthetic pathways. Indirectly, as a modulator of the one-carbon metabolism, the AR can affect epigenetic processes, DNA metabolism, and redox balance, all of which are important factors in tumorigenesis. In this review, we focus on the role of AR-signaling on one-carbon metabolism in tumorigenesis. Clinical implications of one-carbon metabolism and AR-targeted therapies for PCa are discussed in this context. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Tumor Microenvironment and Metabolism)
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Aberrant Lipid Metabolism Promotes Prostate Cancer: Role in Cell Survival under Hypoxia and Extracellular Vesicles Biogenesis
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2016, 17(7), 1061; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms17071061 - 02 Jul 2016
Cited by 26
Abstract
Prostate cancer (PCa) is the leading malignancy among men in United States. Recent studies have focused on the identification of novel metabolic characteristics of PCa, aimed at devising better preventive and therapeutic approaches. PCa cells have revealed unique metabolic features such as higher [...] Read more.
Prostate cancer (PCa) is the leading malignancy among men in United States. Recent studies have focused on the identification of novel metabolic characteristics of PCa, aimed at devising better preventive and therapeutic approaches. PCa cells have revealed unique metabolic features such as higher expression of several enzymes associated with de novo lipogenesis, fatty acid up-take and β-oxidation. This aberrant lipid metabolism has been reported to be important for PCa growth, hormone-refractory progression and treatment resistance. Furthermore, PCa cells effectively use lipid metabolism under adverse environmental conditions for their survival advantage. Specifically, hypoxic cancer cells accumulate higher amount of lipids through a combination of metabolic alterations including high glutamine and fatty acid uptake, as well as decreased fatty acid oxidation. These stored lipids serve to protect cancer cells from oxidative and endoplasmic reticulum stress, and play important roles in fueling cancer cell proliferation following re-oxygenation. Lastly, cellular lipids have also been implicated in extracellular vesicle biogenesis, which play a vital role in intercellular communication. Overall, the new understanding of lipid metabolism in recent years has offered several novel targets to better target and manage clinical PCa. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Tumor Microenvironment and Metabolism)
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Open AccessReview
Cell and Signal Components of the Microenvironment of Bone Metastasis Are Affected by Hypoxia
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2016, 17(5), 706; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms17050706 - 11 May 2016
Cited by 9
Abstract
Bone metastatic cells release bone microenvironment proteins, such as the matricellular protein SPARC (secreted protein acidic and rich in cysteine), and share a cell signaling typical of the bone metabolism controlled by Runx2. The megakaryocytes in the bone marrow engrafted by the metastases [...] Read more.
Bone metastatic cells release bone microenvironment proteins, such as the matricellular protein SPARC (secreted protein acidic and rich in cysteine), and share a cell signaling typical of the bone metabolism controlled by Runx2. The megakaryocytes in the bone marrow engrafted by the metastases seem to be one of the principal microenvironment sources of the biological stimuli, implicated in the formation of an osteoblastic niche, and affecting metastasis phenotype and colonization. Educated platelets in the circulation might derive from megakaryocytes in bone metastasis. The evaluation of predictive markers in the circulating platelets might be useful for the stratification of patients for therapeutic purposes. The hypoxic environment in bone metastasis is one of the key regulators of the network of the biological soluble and structural components of the matrix. In bone metastatic cells under hypoxia, similar patterns of Runx2 and SPARC are observed, both showing downregulation. Conversely, hypoxia induces Endothelin 1, which upregulates SPARC, and these biological stimuli may be considered prognostic markers of bone metastasis in breast carcinoma patients. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Tumor Microenvironment and Metabolism)
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Open AccessReview
The Role of Chemokines in Promoting Colorectal Cancer Invasion/Metastasis
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2016, 17(5), 643; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms17050643 - 28 Apr 2016
Cited by 37
Abstract
Colorectal cancer (CRC) is one of the leading causes of cancer-related death worldwide. Although most of the primary CRC can be removed by surgical resection, advanced tumors sometimes show recurrences in distant organs such as the liver, lung, lymph node, bone or peritoneum [...] Read more.
Colorectal cancer (CRC) is one of the leading causes of cancer-related death worldwide. Although most of the primary CRC can be removed by surgical resection, advanced tumors sometimes show recurrences in distant organs such as the liver, lung, lymph node, bone or peritoneum even after complete resection of the primary tumors. In these advanced and metastatic CRC, it is the tumor-stroma interaction in the tumor microenvironment that often promotes cancer invasion and/or metastasis through chemokine signaling. The tumor microenvironment contains numerous host cells that may suppress or promote cancer aggressiveness. Several types of host-derived myeloid cells reside in the tumor microenvironment, and the recruitment of them is under the control of chemokine signaling. In this review, we focus on the functions of chemokine signaling that may affect tumor immunity by recruiting several types of bone marrow-derived cells (BMDC) to the tumor microenvironment of CRC. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Tumor Microenvironment and Metabolism)
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Open AccessErratum
Erratum: Lydia Visser et al. Characterization of the Microenvironment of Nodular Lymphocyte Predominant Hodgkin Lymphoma, Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2016, 17, 2127
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2018, 19(1), 304; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms19010304 - 19 Jan 2018
Abstract
The authors regret to have made a mistake in publishing this paper [1] with an incorrect author list [...]
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(This article belongs to the Special Issue Tumor Microenvironment and Metabolism)
Open AccessCommentary
PD-L1 Immunohistochemical Detection in Tumor Cells and Tumor Microenvironment: Main Considerations on the Use of Tissue Micro Arrays
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2016, 17(7), 1046; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms17071046 - 30 Jun 2016
Cited by 13
Abstract
PD-1/PD-L1 (programmed death 1/programmed death ligand 1) pathway plays a critical role in immune escape of tumor cells. Recent studies have described that PD-L1 is heterogeneously expressed in various types of cancer, although its prognostic/predictive value is still uncertain. These problems are partly [...] Read more.
PD-1/PD-L1 (programmed death 1/programmed death ligand 1) pathway plays a critical role in immune escape of tumor cells. Recent studies have described that PD-L1 is heterogeneously expressed in various types of cancer, although its prognostic/predictive value is still uncertain. These problems are partly due to a not well defined operating protocol for its detection by immunohistochemistry, but also because most of the studies conducted on large case series were made by Tissue Micro Array (TMA). We are going to discuss this latter point, to highlight that TMA must be set up in an appropriate manner, especially for some markers, such as PD-L1, which, besides being poorly expressed in tumor cells, can be expressed by cells of the tumor microenvironment. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Tumor Microenvironment and Metabolism)
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