Detalle Publicación

TMPRSS4 induces cancer stem cell-like properties in lung cancer cells and correlates with ALDH expression in NSCLC patients

Título de la revista: CANCER LETTERS
ISSN: 0304-3835
Volumen: 370
Número: 2
Páginas: 165 - 176
Fecha de publicación: 2016
Metastasis involves a series of changes in cancer cells that promote their escape from the primary tumor and colonization to a new organ. This process is related to the transition from an epithelial to a mesenchymal phenotype (EMT). Recently, some authors have shown that migratory cells with an EMT phenotype share properties of cancer stem cells (CSCs), which allow them to form a new tumor mass. The type II transmembrane serine protease TMPRSS4 is highly expressed in some solid tumors, promotes metastasis and confers EMT features to cancer cells. We hypothesized that TMPRSS4 could also provide CSC properties. Overexpression of TMPRSS4 reduces E-cadherin and induces N-cadherin and vimentin in A549 lung cancer cells, supporting an EMT phenotype. These changes are accompanied by enhanced migration, invasion and tumorigenicity in vivo. TMPRSS4 expression was highly increased in a panel of lung cancer cells cultured as tumorspheres (a typical assay to enrich for CSCs). H358 and H441 cells with knocked-down TMPRSS4 levels were significantly less able to form primary and secondary tumorspheres than control cells. Moreover, they showed a lower proportion of ALDH+ cells (examined by FACS analysis) and lower expression of some CSC markers than controls. A549 cells overexpressing TMPRSS4 conferred the opposite phenotype and were also more sensitive to the CSC-targeted drug salinomycin than control cells, but were more resistant to regular chemotherapeutic drugs (cisplatin, gemcitabine and 5-fluorouracil). Analysis of 70 NSCLC samples from patients revealed a very significant correlation between TMPRSS4 expression and CSC markers ALDH (p¿=¿0.0018) and OCT4 (p¿=¿0.0004), suggesting that TMPRSS4 is associated with a CSC phenotype in patients' tumors. These results show that TMPRSS4, in addition to inducing EMT, can also promote CSC features in lung cancer; therefore, CSC-targeting drugs could be an appropriate treatment for TMPRSS4+ tumors.