Bio: Cinzia Cocola is an academic researcher from National Research Council. The author has contributed to research in topics: Stem cell & Cancer stem cell. The author has an hindex of 7, co-authored 11 publications receiving 147 citations.
TL;DR: A canine model system to isolate and characterize normal and CSCs from dog mammary gland is generated and it is shown that cells obtained from spheres that display self-renewing properties, have multi-lineage differentiation potential, could generate complex branched tubular structures in vitro and form tumours in NOD/SCID mice.
Abstract: Recent data suggest that mammary carcinogenesis may be driven by cancer stem cells (CSCs) derived from mutated adult stem cells, which have acquired aberrant cell self-renewal or by progenitor cells that have acquired the capacity for cell self-renewal. Spontaneous mammary cancers in cats and dogs are important models for the understanding of human breast cancer and may represent alternative species model systems that can significantly contribute to the study of human oncogenesis. With the goal of identifying markers for isolating human breast CSCs, we have generated a canine model system to isolate and characterize normal and CSCs from dog mammary gland. Insight into the hierarchical organization of canine tumours may contribute to the development of universal concepts in oncogenesis by CSCs. Cells with stem cell properties were isolated from normal and tumoural canine breast tissue and propagated as mammospheres and tumourspheres in long-term non-adherent culture conditions. We showed that cells obtained from spheres that display self-renewing properties, have multi-lineage differentiation potential, could generate complex branched tubular structures in vitro and form tumours in NOD/SCID mice. We analysed these cells for the expression of human stem and CSC markers and are currently investigating the tumour-initiating properties of these cells and the hierarchical organization of normal and neoplastic canine mammary tissue.
TL;DR: Data show that polygonal cells are CSCs, whereas epithelial elongated cells are lineage-committed progenitors with tumorigenic potential, and suggest that tumor progenitor cells, although lacking indefinite self-renewal potential, nevertheless may make a substantial contribution to tumor development.
Abstract: Tumors derived from rat LA7 cancer stem cells (CSCs) contain a hierarchy of cells with different capacities to generate self-renewing spheres and tubules serially ex vivo and to evoke tumors in vivo. We isolated two morphologically distinct cell types with distinct tumorigenic potential from LA7-evoked tumors: cells with polygonal morphology that are characterized by expression of p21/WAF1 and p63 and display hallmarks of CSCs and elongated epithelial cells, which generate tumors with far less heterogeneity than LA7 CSCs. Serial transplantation of elongated epithelial cells results in progressive loss of tumorigenic potential; tumor heterogeneity; CD44, E-cadherin, and epithelial cytokeratin expression and increased α-smooth muscle actin I and vimentin expression. In contrast, serial transplantation of LA7 CSCs can be performed indefinitely and results in tumors that maintain their heterogeneity, consistent with self-renewal and multilineage differentiation potential. Collectively, our data show that polygonal cells are CSCs, whereas epithelial elongated cells are lineage-committed progenitors with tumorigenic potential, and suggest that tumor progenitors, although lacking indefinite self-renewal potential, nevertheless may make a substantial contribution to tumor development. Because LA7 cells can switch between conditions that favor maintenance of pure CSCs vs. differentiation into other tumor cell types, this cell system provides the opportunity to study factors that influence CSC self-renewal and differentiation. One factor, p63, was identified as a key gene regulating the transition between CSCs and early progenitor cells.
TL;DR: The property of sphere formation is utilized to develop culture conditions for propagating stem/progenitor cells from canine normal and tumor tissue and it is shown that cells from dissociated mammospheres retain sphere reformation capacity for several serial passages and have the capacity to generate organoid structures ex situ.
Abstract: Recent studies suggest that human tumors are generated from cancer cells with stem cell (SC) properties. Spontaneously occurring cancers in dogs contain a diversity of cells that like for human tumors suggest that certain canine tumors are also generated from cancer stem cells (CSCs). CSCs, like normal SCs, have the capacity for self-renewal as mammospheres in suspension cultures. To understand how cells with SC properties contribute to canine mammary gland tumor development and progression, comparative analysis between normal SCs and CSCs, obtained from the same individual, is essential. We have utilized the property of sphere formation to develop culture conditions for propagating stem/progenitor cells from canine normal and tumor tissue. We show that cells from dissociated mammospheres retain sphere reformation capacity for several serial passages and have the capacity to generate organoid structures ex situ. Utilizing various culture conditions for passaging SCs and CSCs, fibroblast growth factor 2 (FGF2) and epidermal growth factor (EGF) were found to positively or negatively regulate mammosphere regeneration, organoid formation, and multi-lineage differentiation potential. The response of FGF2 and EGF on SCs and CSCs was different, with increased FGF2 and EGF self-renewal promoted in SCs and repressed in CSCs. Our protocol for propagating SCs from normal and tumor canine breast tissue will provide new opportunities in comparative mammary gland stem cell analysis between species and anticancer treatment and therapies for dogs. J. Cell. Biochem. 118: 570-584, 2017. © 2016 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.
TL;DR: It is shown that a single LA7 cell, derived from rat mammary adenocarcinoma has the ability to serially re-generate mammospheres in long-term non-adherent cultures, the differentiation potential to generate all the cell lineages of the mammary gland and branched duct-like structures that recapitulate morphologically and functionally the ductal–alveolar-like architecture of the Mammary tree.
Abstract: The cancer stem cell hypothesis posits that tumors are derived from a single cancer-initiating cell with stem cell properties. The task of identifying and characterizing cancer-initiating cells with stem cell properties at the single cell level has proven technically difficult because of the scarcity of the cancer stem cells in the tissue of origin and the lack of specific markers for cancer stem cells. Here we show that a single LA7 cell, derived from rat mammary adenocarcinoma has: the ability to serially re-generate mammospheres in long-term non-adherent cultures, the differentiation potential to generate all the cell lineages of the mammary gland and branched duct-like structures that recapitulate morphologically and functionally the ductal–alveolar-like architecture of the mammary tree. The properties of self-renewal, extensive capacity for proliferation, multi-lineage differentiation and the tubular-like structure formation potential suggest that LA7 cells is a cancer stem model system to study the dynamics of tumor formation at the single cell level.
TL;DR: The results improve the understanding of breast CSC function and mark a subtype-specific impact of HS modifications on the CSC phenotype of triple-negative and hormone receptor positive breast cancer model cell lines.
Abstract: Heparan sulfate (HS) is a glycosaminoglycan found mainly in its protein-conjugated form at the cell surface and the extracellular matrix. Its high sulfation degree mediates functional interactions with positively charged amino acids in proteins. 2-O sulfation of iduronic acid and 3-O sulfation of glucosamine in HS are mediated by the sulfotransferases HS2ST and HS3ST, respectively, which are dysregulated in several cancers. Both sulfotransferases regulate breast cancer cell viability and invasion, but their role in cancer stem cells (CSCs) is unknown. Breast CSCs express characteristic markers such as CD44+/CD24-/low , CD133 and ALDH1 and are involved in tumor initiation, formation, and recurrence. We studied the influence of HS2ST1 and HS3ST2 overexpression on the CSC phenotype in breast cancer cell lines representative of the triple-negative (MDA-MB-231) and hormone-receptor positive subtype (MCF-7). The CD44+/CD24-/low phenotype was significantly reduced in MDA-MB-231 cells after overexpression of both enzymes, remaining unaltered in MCF-7 cells. ALDH1 activity was increased after HS2ST1 and HS3ST2 overexpression in MDA-MB-231 cells and reduced after HS2ST1 overexpression in MCF-7 cells. Colony and spheroid formation were increased after HS2ST1 and HS3ST2 overexpression in MCF-7 cells. Moreover, MDA-MB-231 cells overexpressing HS2ST1 formed more colonies and could not generate spheres. The phenotypic changes were associated with complex changes in the expression of the stemness-associated notch and Wnt-signaling pathways constituents, syndecans, heparanase and Sulf1. The results improve our understanding of breast CSC function and mark a subtype-specific impact of HS modifications on the CSC phenotype of triple-negative and hormone receptor positive breast cancer model cell lines.
TL;DR: Research data show that more resistant stem cells than common cancer cells exist in cancer patients, and to identify unrecognized differences between cancer stem cells and cancer cells might be able to develop effective classification, diagnose and treat for cancer.
Abstract: Stem cells are defined as cells able to both extensively self-renew and differentiate into progenitors. Research data show that more resistant stem cells than common cancer cells exist in cancer patients.To identify unrecognized differences between cancer stem cells and cancer cells might be able to develope effective classification,diagnose and treat ment for cancer.
TL;DR: It is shown that the core region of solid tumours displayed glutamine deficiency compared with other amino acids, which led to dramatic histone hypermethylation due to decreased α-ketoglutarate levels, a key cofactor for the Jumonji-domain-containing histone demethylases.
Abstract: Poorly organized tumour vasculature often results in areas of limited nutrient supply and hypoxia. Despite our understanding of solid tumour responses to hypoxia, how nutrient deprivation regionally affects tumour growth and therapeutic response is poorly understood. Here, we show that the core region of solid tumours displayed glutamine deficiency compared with other amino acids. Low glutamine in tumour core regions led to dramatic histone hypermethylation due to decreased α-ketoglutarate levels, a key cofactor for the Jumonji-domain-containing histone demethylases. Using patient-derived ^(V600E)BRAF melanoma cells, we found that low-glutamine-induced histone hypermethylation resulted in cancer cell dedifferentiation and resistance to BRAF inhibitor treatment, which was largely mediated by methylation on H3K27, as knockdown of the H3K27-specific demethylase KDM6B and the methyltransferase EZH2 respectively reproduced and attenuated the low-glutamine effects in vitro and in vivo. Thus, intratumoral regional variation in the nutritional microenvironment contributes to tumour heterogeneity and therapeutic response.
TL;DR: Evidence for the first time is presented that the tumor suppressors p53, p63, and p73 function as both positive and negative regulators of the miRNA processing components, and how these regulators inhibit tumorigenesis, EMT, metastasis, and cancer stem cell proliferation.
Abstract: The tumor suppressors p53, p73, and p63 are known to function as transcription factors. They promote either growth arrest or apoptosis, depending upon the DNA damage. A number of microRNAs (miRNAs) have been shown to function as transcriptional targets of p53 and they appear to aid p53 in promoting growth arrest and apoptosis. However, the question of p53/p63/p73 regulating the miRNA processing complex has not been addressed in depth so far. Comparative/computational genomic analysis was performed using Target scan, Mami, and Diana software to identify miRNAs that regulate the miRNA processing complex. Here, I present evidence for the first time that the tumor suppressors p53, p63, and p73 function as both positive and negative regulators of the miRNA processing components. Curated p53-dependent miRNA expression data was used to identify p53-miRs that target the components of the miRNA-processing complex. This analysis suggests that most of the components (mRNAs' 3′UTR) of the miRNA processing complex are targeted by p53-miRs. Remarkably, this data revealed the conserved nature of p53-miRs in targeting a number of components of the miRNA processing complex. p53/p73/p63 appears to regulate the major components of the miRNA processing, such as Drosha-DGCR8, Dicer-TRBP2, and Argonaute proteins. In particular, p53/p73/p63 appears to regulate the processing of miRNAs, such as let-7, miR-200c, miR-143, miR-107, miR-16, miR-145, miR-134, miR-449a, miR-503, and miR-21. Interestingly, there seems to be a phenotypic similarity between p63−/− and dicer−/− mice, suggesting that p63 and dicer could regulate each other. In addition, p63, p73, and the DGCR8 proteins contain a conserved interaction domain. Further, promoters of a number of components of the miRNA processing machinery, including dicer and P2P-R, contain p53-REs, suggesting that they could be direct transcriptional targets of p63/p73/p53. Together, this study provides mechanistic insights into how p53, p63, and p73 regulate the components of the miRNA processing; and how p53, TA-p63, and TA-p73 regulated miRNAs inhibit tumorigenesis, EMT, metastasis, and cancer stem cell proliferation.
TL;DR: Characterizing the epigenetic marks of CSCs and the associated signalling cascades might help in developing therapeutic strategies against chemo-resistant cancers.
Abstract: Background Epigenetic alterations including DNA methylation and histone modifications are the key factors in the differentiation of stem cells into different tissue subtypes. The generation of cancer stem cells (CSCs) in the process of carcinogenesis may also involve similar kind of epigenetic reprogramming where, in contrast, it leads to the loss of expression of genes specific to the differentiated state and regaining of stem cell-specific characteristics. The most important predicament with treatment of cancers includes the non-responsive quiescent CSC. Scope of review The distinctive capabilities of the CSCs make cancer treatment even more difficult as this population of cells tends to remain quiescent for longer intervals and then gets reactivated leading to tumor relapse. Therefore, the current review is aimed to focus on recent advances in understanding the relation of epigenetic reprogramming to the generation, self-renewal and proliferation of CSCs. Major conclusion CSC-targeted therapeutic approaches would improve the chances of patient survival by reducing the frequency of tumor relapse. Differentiation therapy is an emerging therapeutic approach in which the CSCs are induced to differentiate from their quiescent state to a mature differentiated form, through activation of differentiation-related signalling pathways, miRNA-mediated alteration and epigenetic differentiation therapy. Thus, understanding the origin of CSC and their epigenetic regulation is crucial to develop treatment strategy against not only for the heterogeneous population of cancer cells but also to CSCs. General significance Characterizing the epigenetic marks of CSCs and the associated signalling cascades might help in developing therapeutic strategies against chemo-resistant cancers.
TL;DR: The cancer stem cell (CSC) hypothesis suggests that tumors are arranged in a hierarchical structure, with the presence of a small subset of stem-like cells that are responsible for tumor initiation and growth as mentioned in this paper.
Abstract: In the absence of specific treatable mutations, platinum-based chemotherapy remains the gold standard of treatment for lung cancer patients. However, 5-year survival rates remain poor due to the development of resistance and eventual relapse. Resistance to conventional cytotoxic therapies presents a significant clinical challenge in the treatment of this disease. The cancer stem cell (CSC) hypothesis suggests that tumors are arranged in a hierarchical structure, with the presence of a small subset of stem-like cells that are responsible for tumor initiation and growth. This CSC population has a number of key properties such as the ability to asymmetrically divide, differentiate and self-renew, in addition to having increased intrinsic resistance to therapy. While cytotoxic chemotherapy kills the bulk of tumor cells, CSCs are spared and have the ability to recapitulate the heterogenic tumor mass. The identification of lung CSCs and their role in tumor biology and treatment resistance may lead to innovative targeted therapies that may ultimately improve clinical outcomes in lung cancer patients. This review will focus on lung CSC markers, their role in resistance and their relevance as targets for future therapies.