Features | Partner Sites | Information | LinkXpress
Sign In
GLOBETECH PUBLISHING LLC
PZ HTL SA
GLOBETECH PUBLISHING LLC

Factors in the Tumor Microenvironment Promote Cancer Growth and Metastasis

By BiotechDaily International staff writers
Posted on 13 Aug 2014
Cancer researchers have found that procancerous HSF1 (Heat shock factor 1) drives a transcriptional program in cancer-associated fibroblasts (CAFs) that complements, yet is completely different from, the program it drives in adjacent cancer cells.

Stromal cells within the tumor microenvironment are essential for tumor progression and metastasis, but little is known about the factors that drive the transcriptional reprogramming of stromal cells within tumors. Investigators at the Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research (Cambridge, MA, USA) recently reported that the transcriptional regulator heat shock factor 1 (HSF1) was frequently activated in cancer-associated fibroblasts (CAFs), where it was a potent enabler of malignancy. HSF1 activity was found in a variety of human tumors, including breast, lung, skin, esophageal, colon, and prostate cancers.

HSF1 is the major regulator of heat shock protein transcription in eukaryotes. In the absence of cellular stress, HSF1 is inhibited by association with the heat shock proteins Hsp40/Hsp70 and Hsp90 and is therefore not active. Cellular stresses, such as increased temperature, can cause misfolding of proteins in the cell. Heat shock proteins bind to the misfolded proteins and dissociate from HSF1. This allows HSF1 to form trimers and translocate to the cell nucleus where it is hyperphosphorylated, binds to DNA containing heat shock elements, and activates transcription.

The investigators reported in the July 31, 2014, issue of the journal Cell that analysis of tumor samples from breast cancer and non-small-cell lung cancer patients revealed that HSF1 activation in the stroma was associated with poor patient outcomes, including reduced disease-free survival and overall survival. Thus, stromal HSF1 is considered to be a possible biomarker for cancer diagnosis and prognosis as well as a potential drug target.

“This is actually a beautiful example of evolution,” said Dr. Ruth Scherz-Shouval, a postdoctoral researcher at the Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research. “It is recognizing that the tumor is like an organism that adheres to evolutionary principles. HSF1 has been highly conserved over time, supporting the survival of organisms ranging from yeast to human, so it makes sense that it is coopted here. Both cancer cells and the microenvironment are sensing changes in the tumor and responding, signaling to one another to help the “organism,” albeit to the detriment of the host. These are different programs, but they are both controlled by HSF1 and serve the same purpose.”

“It is important to find HSF1 operating this way in the stroma,” said Dr. Scherz-Shouval. “The tumor microenvironment tends to be more genetically stable and less prone to mutation, suggesting that even if cancer cells could mutate to evade therapeutic disruption of HSF1, supportive cells in the stroma could still be susceptible.”

Related Links:

Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research



comments powered by Disqus

Channels

Drug Discovery

view channel
Image: The nano-cocoon drug delivery system is biocompatible, specifically targets cancer cells, can carry a large drug load, and releases the drugs very quickly once inside the cancer cell. Ligands on the surface of the \"cocoon\" trick cancer cells into consuming it. Enzymes (the “worms\" in this image) inside the cocoon are unleashed once inside the cell, destroying the cocoon and releasing anticancer drugs into the cell (Photo courtesy of Dr. Zhen Gu, North Carolina State University).

Novel Anticancer Drug Delivery System Utilizes DNA-Based Nanocapsules

A novel DNA-based drug delivery system minimizes damage to normal tissues by utilizing the acidic microenvironment inside cancer cells to trigger the directed release of the anticancer drug doxorubicin (DOX).... Read more

Lab Technologies

view channel

Experimental Physicists Find Clues into How Radiotherapy Kills Cancer Cells

A new discovery in experimental physics has implications for a better determination of the process in which radiotherapy destroys cancer cells. Dr. Jason Greenwood from Queen’s University Belfast (Ireland) Center for Plasma Physics collaborated with scientists from Italy and Spain on the work on electrons, and published... Read more

Business

view channel

Interest in Commercial Applications for Proteomics Continues to Grow

Increasing interest in the field of proteomics has led to a series of agreements between private proteomic companies and academic institutions as well as deals between pharmaceutical companies and novel proteomics innovator biotech companies. Proteomics is the study of the structure and function of proteins.... Read more
 
Copyright © 2000-2014 Globetech Media. All rights reserved.