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Publications

by Keyword: Invasion

Sauer F, Grosser S, Shahryari M, Hayn A, Guo J, Braun J, Briest S, Wolf B, Aktas B, Horn LC, Sack I, Käs JA, (2023). Changes in Tissue Fluidity Predict Tumor Aggressiveness In Vivo Advanced Science 10, e2303523

Cancer progression is caused by genetic changes and associated with various alterations in cell properties, which also affect a tumor's mechanical state. While an increased stiffness has been well known for long for solid tumors, it has limited prognostic power. It is hypothesized that cancer progression is accompanied by tissue fluidization, where portions of the tissue can change position across different length scales. Supported by tabletop magnetic resonance elastography (MRE) on stroma mimicking collagen gels and microscopic analysis of live cells inside patient derived tumor explants, an overview is provided of how cancer associated mechanisms, including cellular unjamming, proliferation, microenvironment composition, and remodeling can alter a tissue's fluidity and stiffness. In vivo, state-of-the-art multifrequency MRE can distinguish tumors from their surrounding host tissue by their rheological fingerprints. Most importantly, a meta-analysis on the currently available clinical studies is conducted and universal trends are identified. The results and conclusions are condensed into a gedankenexperiment about how a tumor can grow and eventually metastasize into its environment from a physics perspective to deduce corresponding mechanical properties. Based on stiffness, fluidity, spatial heterogeneity, and texture of the tumor front a roadmap for a prognosis of a tumor's aggressiveness and metastatic potential is presented.© 2023 The Authors. Advanced Science published by Wiley-VCH GmbH.

JTD Keywords: brain, cancer, cells, collective migration, elastic energy, elastography, in vivo magnetic resonance elastography, invasion, medical imaging, solid stress, tissue fluidity, tumor mechanics, viscoelastic properties, Cancer, Extracellular-matrix, In vivo magnetic resonance elastography, Medical imaging, Tissue fluidity, Tumor mechanics


Almici, E, Arshakyan, M, Carrasco, JL, Martinez, A, Ramirez, J, Enguita, AB, Monso, E, Montero, J, Samitier, J, Alcaraz, J, (2023). Quantitative Image Analysis of Fibrillar Collagens Reveals Novel Diagnostic and Prognostic Biomarkers and Histotype-Dependent Aberrant Mechanobiology in Lung Cancer Modern Pathology 36, 100155

Fibrillar collagens are the most abundant extracellular matrix components in non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC). However, the potential of collagen fiber descriptors as a source of clinically relevant biomarkers in NSCLC is largely unknown. Similarly, our understanding of the aberrant collagen organization and associated tumor-promoting effects is very scarce. To address these limitations, we identified a digital pathology approach that can be easily implemented in pa-thology units based on CT-FIRE software (version 2; https://loci.wisc.edu/software/ctfire) analysis of Picrosirius red (PSR) stains of fibrillar collagens imaged with polarized light (PL). CT-FIRE set-tings were pre-optimized to assess a panel of collagen fiber descriptors in PSR-PL images of tissue microarrays from surgical NSCLC patients (106 adenocarcinomas [ADC] and 89 squamous cell carcinomas [SCC]). Using this approach, we identified straightness as the single high-accuracy diagnostic collagen fiber descriptor (average area under the curve 1/4 0.92) and fiber density as the single descriptor consistently associated with a poor prognosis in both ADC and SCC inde-pendently of the gold standard based on the TNM staging (hazard ratio, 2.69; 95% CI, 1.55-4.66; P < .001). Moreover, we found that collagen fibers were markedly straighter, longer, and more aligned in tumor samples compared to paired samples from uninvolved pulmonary tissue, particularly in ADC, which is indicative of increased tumor stiffening. Consistently, we observed an increase in a panel of stiffness-associated processes in the high collagen fiber density patient group selectively in ADC, including venous/lymphatic invasion, fibroblast activation (a-smooth muscle actin), and immune evasion (programmed death-ligand 1). Similarly, a transcriptional correlation analysis supported the potential involvement of the major YAP/TAZ pathway in ADC. Our results provide a proof-of-principle to use CT-FIRE analysis of PSR-PL images to assess new collagen fiber-based diagnostic and prognostic biomarkers in pathology units, which may improve the clinical management of patients with surgical NSCLC. Our findings also unveil an aberrant stiff micro -environment in lung ADC that may foster immune evasion and dissemination, encouraging future work to identify therapeutic opportunities. (c) 2023 THE AUTHORS. Published by Elsevier Inc. on behalf of the United States & Canadian Academy of Pathology. This is an open access article under the CC BY-NC-ND license (http://creativecommo ns.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/).

JTD Keywords: biomarkers, collagen, ct-fire, lung cancer, mechanobiology, Adenocarcinoma, Association, Biomarkers, Collagen, Ct-fire, Differentiation, Expression, Extracellular-matrix, I collagen, Invasion, Lung cancer, Mechanobiology, Microenvironment, Signature, Survival, Tumor microenvironment


González-Callejo P, Gener P, Díaz-Riascos ZV, Conti S, Cámara-Sánchez P, Riera R, Mancilla S, García-Gabilondo M, Peg V, Arango D, Rosell A, Labernadie A, Trepat X, Albertazzi L, Schwartz S, Seras-Franzoso J, Abasolo I, (2023). Extracellular vesicles secreted by triple-negative breast cancer stem cells trigger premetastatic niche remodeling and metastatic growth in the lungs International Journal Of Cancer 152, 2153-2165

Tumor secreted extracellular vesicles (EVs) are potent intercellular signaling platforms. They are responsible for the accommodation of the premetastatic niche (PMN) to support cancer cell engraftment and metastatic growth. However, complex cancer cell composition within the tumor increases also the heterogeneity among cancer secreted EVs subsets, a functional diversity that has been poorly explored. This phenomenon is particularly relevant in highly plastic and heterogenous triple-negative breast cancer (TNBC), in which a significant representation of malignant cancer stem cells (CSCs) is displayed. Herein, we selectively isolated and characterized EVs from CSC or differentiated cancer cells (DCC; EVsCSC and EVsDCC , respectively) from the MDA-MB-231 TNBC cell line. Our results showed that EVsCSC and EVsDCC contain distinct bioactive cargos and therefore elicit a differential effect on stromal cells in the TME. Specifically, EVsDCC activated secretory cancer associated fibroblasts (CAFs), triggering IL-6/IL-8 signaling and sustaining CSC phenotype maintenance. Complementarily, EVsCSC promoted the activation of α-SMA+ myofibroblastic CAFs subpopulations and increased the endothelial remodeling, enhancing the invasive potential of TNBC cells in vitro and in vivo. In addition, solely the EVsCSC mediated signaling prompted the transformation of healthy lungs into receptive niches able to support metastatic growth of breast cancer cells.© 2023 The Authors. International Journal of Cancer published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd on behalf of UICC.

JTD Keywords: chemoresistance, dormancy, drives, extracellular vesicles, invasion, plasticity, premetastatic niche, triple-negative breast cancer, tumor microenvironment, Cancer cell plasticity, Extracellular vesicles, Fibroblasts, Premetastatic niche, Triple-negative breast cancer, Tumor microenvironment


Clark, AG, Maitra, A, Jacques, C, Bergert, M, Perez-Gonzalez, C, Simon, A, Lederer, L, Diz-Munoz, A, Trepat, X, Voituriez, R, Vignjevic, DM, (2022). Self-generated gradients steer collective migration on viscoelastic collagen networks Nature Materials 21, 1200-+

Growing evidence suggests that the physical properties of the cellular microenvironment influence cell migration. However, it is not currently understood how active physical remodelling by cells affects migration dynamics. Here we report that cell clusters seeded on deformable collagen-I networks display persistent collective migration despite not showing any apparent intrinsic polarity. Clusters generate transient gradients in collagen density and alignment due to viscoelastic relaxation of the collagen networks. Combining theory and experiments, we show that crosslinking collagen networks or reducing cell cluster size results in reduced network deformation, shorter viscoelastic relaxation time and smaller gradients, leading to lower migration persistence. Traction force and Brillouin microscopy reveal asymmetries in force distributions and collagen stiffness during migration, providing evidence of mechanical cross-talk between cells and their substrate during migration. This physical model provides a mechanism for self-generated directional migration on viscoelastic substrates in the absence of internal biochemical polarity cues.; Cell clusters mechanically reorganize viscoelastic collagen networks, resulting in transient gradients in collagen density, alignment and stiffness that promote spontaneous persistent migration.

JTD Keywords: Cell-migration, Design, Invasion, Limits, Mechanics, Microscopy, Morphogenesis, Motility, Rear, Rigidity


Deborde, Sylvie, Gusain, Laxmi, Powers, Ann, Marcadis, Andrea, Yu, Yasong, Chen, Chun-Hao, Frants, Anna, Kao, Elizabeth, Tang, Laura H., Vakiani, Efsevia, Amisaki, Masataka, Balachandran, Vinod P., Calo, Annalisa, Omelchenko, Tatiana, Jessen, Kristjan R., Reva, Boris, Wong, Richard J., (2022). Reprogrammed Schwann cells organize into dynamic tracks that promote pancreatic cancer invasion Cancer Discovery 12, 2454-2473

Abstract Nerves are a component of the tumor microenvironment contributing to cancer progression, but the role of cells from nerves in facilitating cancer invasion remains poorly understood. Here we show that Schwann cells (SCs) activated by cancer cells collectively function as Tumor Activated Schwann cell Tracks (TASTs) that promote cancer cell migration and invasion. Non-myelinating SCs form TASTs and have cell gene expression signatures that correlate with diminished survival in patients with pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma. In TASTs, dynamic SCs form tracks that serve as cancer pathways and apply forces on cancer cells to enhance cancer motility. These SCs are activated by c-Jun, analogous to their reprogramming during nerve repair. This study reveals a mechanism of cancer cell invasion that co-opts a wound repair process and exploits the ability of SCs to collectively organize into tracks. These findings establish a novel paradigm of how cancer cells spread and reveal therapeutic opportunities.

JTD Keywords: dissemination, escape, mechanisms, progression, Perineural invasion


Ojosnegros, S, Seriola, A, Godeau, AL, Veiga, A, (2021). Embryo implantation in the laboratory: an update on current techniques Human Reproduction Update 27, 501-530

BACKGROUND: The embryo implantation process is crucial for the correct establishment and progress of pregnancy. During implantation, the blastocyst trophectoderm cells attach to the epithelium of the endometrium, triggering intense cell-to-cell crosstalk that leads to trophoblast outgrowth, invasion of the endometrial tissue, and formation of the placenta. However, this process, which is vital for embryo and foetal development in utero, is still elusive to experimentation because of its inaccessibility. Experimental implantation is cumbersome and impractical in adult animal models and is inconceivable in humans. OBJECTIVE AND RATIONALE: A number of custom experimental solutions have been proposed to recreate different stages of the implantation process in vitro, by combining a human embryo (or a human embryo surrogate) and endometrial cells (or a surrogate for the endometrial tissue). In vitro models allow rapid high-throughput interrogation of embryos and cells, and efficient screening of molecules, such as cytokines, drugs, or transcription factors, that control embryo implantation and the receptivity of the endometrium. However, the broad selection of available in vitro systems makes it complicated to decide which system best fits the needs of a specific experiment or scientific question. To orient the reader, this review will explore the experimental options proposed in the literature, and classify them into amenable categories based on the embryo/cell pairs employed. The goal is to give an overview of the tools available to study the complex process of human embryo implantation, and explain the differences between them, including the advantages and disadvantages of each system. SEARCH METHODS: We performed a comprehensive review of the literature to come up with different categories that mimic the different stages of embryo implantation in vitro, ranging from initial blastocyst apposition to later stages of trophoblast invasion or gastrulation. We will also review recent breakthrough advances on stem cells and organoids, assembling embryo-like structures and endometrial tissues. OUTCOMES: We highlight the most relevant systems and describe the most significant experiments. We focus on in vitro systems that have contributed to the study of human reproduction by discovering molecules that control implantation, including hormones, signalling molecules, transcription factors and cytokines. WIDER IMPLICATIONS: The momentum of this field is growing thanks to the use of stem cells to build embryo-like structures and endometrial tissues, and the use of bioengineering to extend the life of embryos in culture. We propose to merge bioengineering methods derived from the fields of stem cells and reproduction to develop new systems covering a wider window of the implantation process.

JTD Keywords: in vitro models, blastocyst, blastocyst-like structures, early-pregnancy, endometrial cells, epidermal-growth-factor, gene-expression, implantation, in vitro models, in-vitro model, indian hedgehog, organoids, receptivity, self-organization, spheroids, trophoblast, trophoblast invasion, uterine receptivity, Blastocyst, Blastocyst-like structures, Early-pregnancy, Endometrial cells, Endometrial stromal cells, Epidermal-growth-factor, Gene-expression, Implantation, In vitro models, In-vitro model, Indian hedgehog, Organoids, Receptivity, Self-organization, Spheroids, Trophoblast, Trophoblast invasion, Uterine receptivity


Conti, S, Kato, T, Park, D, Sahai, E, Trepat, X, Labernadie, A, (2021). CAFs and cancer cells co-migration in 3D spheroid invasion assay Methods In Molecular Biology 2179, 243-256

© 2020, Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature. In many solid tumors, collective cell invasion prevails over single-cell dissemination strategies. Collective modes of invasion often display specific front/rear cellular organization, where invasive leader cells arise from cancer cell populations or the tumor stroma. Collective invasion involves coordinated cellular movements which require tight mechanical crosstalk through specific combinations of cell–cell interactions and cell–matrix adhesions. Cancer Associated Fibroblasts (CAFs) have been recently reported to drive the dissemination of epithelial cancer cells through ECM remodeling and direct intercellular contact. However, the cooperation between tumor and stromal cells remains poorly understood. Here we present a simple spheroid invasion assay to assess the role of CAFs in the collective migration of epithelial tumor cells. This method enables the characterization of 3D spheroid invasion patterns through live cell fluorescent labeling combined with spinning disc microscopy. When embedded in extracellular matrix, the invasive strands of spheroids can be tracked and leader/follower organization of CAFs and cancer cells can be quantified.

JTD Keywords: 3d spheroid invasion, cancer associated fibroblasts, collective migration, dissemination, epithelial cancer cells, leader/follower cells, 3d spheroid invasion, Cancer associated fibroblasts, Collective invasion, Collective migration, Epithelial cancer cells, Leader/follower cells


Conti, S., Kato, T., Park, D., Sahai, E., Trepat, X., Labernadie, A., (2020). CAFs and cancer cells co-migration in 3D spheroid invasion assay Methods in Molecular Biology (ed. Campbell, K., Thevenea, E.), Humana Press (New York, USA) 2179, 243-256

In many solid tumors, collective cell invasion prevails over single-cell dissemination strategies. Collective modes of invasion often display specific front/rear cellular organization, where invasive leader cells arise from cancer cell populations or the tumor stroma. Collective invasion involves coordinated cellular movements which require tight mechanical crosstalk through specific combinations of cell–cell interactions and cell–matrix adhesions. Cancer Associated Fibroblasts (CAFs) have been recently reported to drive the dissemination of epithelial cancer cells through ECM remodeling and direct intercellular contact. However, the cooperation between tumor and stromal cells remains poorly understood. Here we present a simple spheroid invasion assay to assess the role of CAFs in the collective migration of epithelial tumor cells. This method enables the characterization of 3D spheroid invasion patterns through live cell fluorescent labeling combined with spinning disc microscopy. When embedded in extracellular matrix, the invasive strands of spheroids can be tracked and leader/follower organization of CAFs and cancer cells can be quantified.

JTD Keywords: 3D spheroid invasion, Cancer associated fibroblasts, Collective migration, Epithelial cancer cells, Leader/follower cells