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Caveolin-1 accumulation in the tongue cancer tumor microenvironment is significantly associated with poor prognosis: an in-vivo and in-vitro study.

BMC cancer (2015-01-31)
Marilena Vered, Meri Lehtonen, Lari Hotakainen, Emma Pirilä, Susanna Teppo, Pia Nyberg, Raija Sormunen, Ayelet Zlotogorski-Hurvitz, Tuula Salo, Dan Dayan
ABSTRACT

Caveolin-1 (CAV1) may be upregulated by hypoxia and acts in a tumor-dependent manner. We investigated CAV1 in tongue squamous cell carcinoma (TSCC) and its association with clinical outcomes, and studied in vitro possible ways for CAV1 accumulation in the tumor microenvironment (TME). TSCC cases (N = 64) were immunohistochemically stained for CAV1. Scores were separately assessed in the tumor and TME and plotted for association with recurrence and survival (univariate analysis with log-rank test). In vitro studies were performed on a 3D myoma organotypic model, a mimicker of TME. Prior to monoculturing HSC-3 tongue cancer cells, the model underwent modifications in oxygenation level (1%O2 hypoxia to upregulate CAV1) and/or in the amount of natural soluble factors [deleted by 14-day rinsing (rinsed myoma, RM), to allow only HSC-3-derived factors to act]. Controls included normoxia (21%O2) and naturally occurring soluble factors (intact myoma, IM). HSC-3 cells were also co-cultured with CaDEC12 cells (fibroblasts exposed to human tongue cancer). CAV1 expression and cellular distribution were examined in different cellular components in hypoxic and rinsed myoma assays. Twist served as a marker for the process of epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT). Exosomes isolated from HSC-3 media were investigated for containing CAV1. Expression of CAV1 in TSCC had a higher score in TME than in the tumor cells and a negative impact on recurrence (p = 0.01) and survival (p = 0.003). Monocultures of HSC-3 revealed expression of CAV1 mainly in the TME-like myoma assay, similar to TSCC. CAV1+, alpha-smooth muscle actin (αSMA) + and Twist + CAF-like cells were observed surrounding the invading HSC-3, possibly reflecting EMT. RM findings were similar to IM, inferring action of HSC-3 derived factors, and no differences were seen when hypoxia was induced. HSC-3-CaDEC12 co-cultures revealed CAV1+, αSMA+ and cytokeratin-negative CAF-like cells, raising the possibility of CaDEC12 cells gaining a CAF phenotype. HSC-3-derived exosomes were loaded with CAV1. Accumulation of CAV1-TME in TSCC had a negative prognostic value. In vitro studies showed the presence of CAV1 in cancer cells undergoing EMT and in fibroblasts undergoing trans-differentiation to CAFs. CAV1 delivery to the TME involved cancer cell-derived exosomes.

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