Molecular crosstalk between cancer cells and tumor microenvironment components suggests potential targets for new therapeutic approaches in mobile tongue cancer

Dan Dayan, Tuula Salo, Sirpa Salo, Pia Nyberg, Sini Nurmenniemi, Daniela Elena Costea, Marilena Vered

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

We characterized tumor microenvironment (TME) components of mobile tongue (MT) cancer patients in terms of overall inflammatory infiltrate, focusing on the protumorigenic/anti-inflammatory phenotypes and on cancer-associated fibroblasts (CAFs) in order to determine their interrelations and associations with clinical outcomes. In addition, by culturing tongue carcinoma cells (HSC-3) on a three-dimensional myoma organotypic model that mimics TME, we attempted to investigate the possible existence of a molecular crosstalk between cancer cells and TME components. Analysis of 64 cases of MT cancer patients revealed that the overall density of the inflammatory infiltrate was inversely correlated to the density of CAFs (P = 0.01), but that the cumulative density of the protumorigenic/anti-inflammatory phenotypes, including regulatory T cells (Tregs, Foxp3+), tumor-associated macrophages (TAM2, CD163+), and potentially Tregs-inducing immune cells (CD80+), was directly correlated with the density of CAFs (P = 0.01). The hazard ratio (HR) for recurrence in a TME rich in CD163+ Foxp3+ CD80+ was 2.9 (95% CI 1.03-8.6, P = 0.043 compared with low in CD163+ Foxp3+ CD80+). The HR for recurrence in a TME rich in CAFs was 4.1 (95% confidence interval [CI] 1.3-12.8, P = 0.012 compared with low in CAFs). In vitro studies showed cancer-derived exosomes, epithelial-mesenchymal transition process, fibroblast-to-CAF-like cell transdifferentiation, and reciprocal interrelations between different cytokines suggesting the presence of molecular crosstalk between cancer cells and TME components. Collectively, these results highlighted the emerging need of new therapies targeting this crosstalk between the cancer cells and TME components in MT cancer.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)128-140
Number of pages13
JournalCancer Medicine
Volume1
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Oct 2012

Keywords

  • Cancer-associated fibroblasts
  • Mobile tongue cancer
  • Molecular crosstalk
  • Myoma model
  • Protumorigenic inflammatory cells

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