Competing Influences Of The Tumor Microenvironment On CD26 And The Cancer Phenotype Of Colorectal Carcinoma Cells
In Canada, colorectal cancer is the second leading cause of cancer death for both men and women. There are many different factors that contribute to the progression and spread of the disease. However, increasing evidence now suggests that the tumor microenvironment plays a paramount role in these processes. CD26 is a multifunctional, cell-surface glycoprotein that has intrinsic enzyme activity, binds adenosine deaminase and interacts with the extracellular matrix. Through its various functions it serves to constrain cancer progression. For example, it is known to cleave CXCL12, the ligand for CXCR4. The CXCL12:CXCR4 axis is normally involved in cancer metastasis by promoting cancer cell migration, invasion and proliferation. Down-regulation of CD26 is observed in certain cancers - this has been shown in vitro to occur in response to certain soluble mediators. The first part of this study looked at the effects of glucose and its metabolic product lactate on CD26 expression in colorectal carcinoma cells. Our study showed that CD26 expression is lower in cancer cells that are grown in low-glucose, high-lactate conditions, which replicates the situation within a tumor. The second part of this study examined the effect of adenosine, a purine nucleoside, on colorectal carcinoma cells and supportive stromal cells - cancer-associated HS675.T fibroblasts (CAFs) and Met-5a mesothelial cells. Adenosine increased the proliferation of CAFs and increased CXCL12 mRNA in both stromal cell lines. It also increased MMP-13 mRNA in stromal cells as well as colorectal cancer cells, suggesting that adenosine may promote progression and metastasis through various mechanisms. The last section focused on the ability of cellular products and 3-dimensional tissue topology to coordinate and affect the behaviour of the different cell populations. Here we show that secretory products from colorectal cancer cells promote CAF proliferation but inhibit mesothelial cell proliferation, and are also able to modulate MMP-13 expression. Finally, certain responses are enhanced in multicellular spheroids. In conclusion, the tumor microenvironment represents a major consideration in the treatment of solid tumors. Our data suggest that various soluble mediators, such as adenosine, may have therapeutic implications in cancer treatment and might represent novel targets for future research.