Year of publication 2020
A subset of activated fibroblasts is associated with distant relapse in early luminal breast cancerBreast Cancer Research : DOI : 10.1186/s13058-020-01311-9 Learn more
Early luminal breast cancer (BC) represents 70% of newly diagnosed BC cases. Among them, small (under 2 cm) BC without lymph node metastasis (classified as T1N0) have been rarely studied, as their prognosis is generally favorable. Nevertheless, up to 5% of luminal T1N0 BC patients relapse with distant metastases that ultimately prove fatal. The aim of our work was to identify the mechanisms involved in metastatic recurrence in these patients.
Our study addresses the role that autonomous and non-autonomous tumor cell features play with regard to distant recurrence in early luminal BC patients. We created a cohort of T1N0 luminal BC patients (tumors between 0.5–2 cm without lymph node metastasis) with metastatic recurrence (“cases”) and corresponding “controls” (without relapse) matched 1:1 on main prognostic factors: age, grade, and proliferation. We deciphered different characteristics of cancer cells and their tumor micro-environment (TME) by deep analyses using immunohistochemistry. We performed in vitro functional assays and highlighted a new mechanism of cooperation between cancer cells and one particular subset of cancer-associated fibroblasts (CAF).
We found that specific TME features are indicative of relapse in early luminal BC. Indeed, quantitative histological analyses reveal that “cases” are characterized by significant accumulation of a particular CAF subset (CAF-S1) and decrease in CD4+ T lymphocytes, without any other association with immune cells. In multivariate analysis, TME features, in particular CAF-S1 enrichment, remain significantly associated with recurrence, thereby demonstrating their clinical relevance. Finally, by performing functional analyses, we demonstrated that CAF-S1 pro-metastatic activity is mediated by the CDH11/osteoblast cadherin, consistent with bones being a major site of metastases in luminal BC patients.
This study shows that distant recurrence in T1N0 BC is strongly associated with the presence of CAF-S1 fibroblasts. Moreover, we identify CDH11 as a key player in CAF-S1-mediated pro-metastatic activity. This is independent of tumor cells and represents a new prognostic factor. These results could assist clinicians in identifying luminal BC patients with high risk of relapse. Targeted therapies against CAF-S1 using anti-FAP antibody or CDH11-targeting compounds might help in preventing relapse for such patients with activated stroma.Fold up
Single-Cell Analysis Reveals Fibroblast Clusters Linked to Immunotherapy Resistance in CancerCancer Discovery : DOI : 10.1158/2159-8290.CD-19-1384 Learn more
A subset of cancer-associated fibroblasts (FAP+/CAF-S1) mediates immunosup-
pression in breast cancers, but its heterogeneity and its impact on immunotherapy response remain unknown. Here, we identify 8 CAF-S1 clusters by analyzing more than 19,000 single CAF-S1 fibroblasts from breast cancer. We validate the five most abundant clusters by flow cytometry and in silico analyses in other cancer types, highlighting their relevance. Myofibroblasts from clusters 0 and 3, characterized by extracellular matrix proteins and TGFβ signaling, respectively, are indicative of primary resistance to immunotherapies. Cluster 0/ecm-myCAF upregulates PD-1 and CTLA4 protein levels in regulatory T lymphocytes (Tregs), which, in turn, increases CAF-S1 cluster 3/TGFβ-myCAF cel- lular content. Thus, our study highlights a positive feedback loop between specific CAF-S1 clusters and Tregs and uncovers their role in immunotherapy resistance.
Clinical Interest of Combining Transcriptomic and Genomic Signatures in High-Grade Serous Ovarian CancerFrontiers in Genetics : DOI : 10.3389/fgene.2020.00219 Learn more
High-grade serous ovarian cancer is one of the deadliest gynecological malignancies and remains a clinical challenge. There is a critical need to effectively define patient stratification in a clinical setting. In this study, we address this question and determine the optimal number of molecular subgroups for ovarian cancer patients. By studying several independent patient cohorts, we observed that classifying high-grade serous ovarian tumors into four molecular subgroups using a transcriptomic-based approach did not reproducibly predict patient survival. In contrast, classifying these tumors into only two molecular subgroups, fibrosis and non-fibrosis, could reliably inform on patient survival. In addition, we found complementarity between transcriptomic data and the genomic signature for homologous recombination deficiency (HRD) that helped in defining prognosis of ovarian cancer patients. We also established that the transcriptomic and genomic signatures underlined independent biological processes and defined four different risk populations. Thus, combining genomic and transcriptomic information appears as the most appropriate stratification method to reliably subgroup high-grade serous ovarian cancer patients. This method can easily be transferred into the clinical setting.
Cancer-associated fibroblast heterogeneity in axillary lymph nodes drives metastases in breast cancer through complementary mechanismsNature Communication : 11 : 1-20 : DOI : 10.1038/s41467-019-14134-w Learn more
Although fibroblast heterogeneity is recognized in primary tumors, both its characterization in and its impact on metastases remain unknown. Here, combining flow cytometry, immu- nohistochemistry and RNA-sequencing on breast cancer samples, we identify four Cancer- Associated Fibroblast (CAF) subpopulations in metastatic lymph nodes (LN). Two myofi- broblastic subsets, CAF-S1 and CAF-S4, accumulate in LN and correlate with cancer cell invasion. By developing functional assays on primary cultures, we demonstrate that these subsets promote metastasis through distinct functions. While CAF-S1 stimulate cancer cell migration and initiate an epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition through CXCL12 and TGFβ pathways, highly contractile CAF-S4 induce cancer cell invasion in 3-dimensions via NOTCH signaling. Patients with high levels of CAFs, particularly CAF-S4, in LN at diagnosis are prone to develop late distant metastases. Our findings suggest that CAF subset accumulation in LN is a prognostic marker, suggesting that CAF subsets could be examined in axillary LN at diagnosis.
Year of publication 2019
PML-Regulated Mitochondrial Metabolism Enhances Chemosensitivity in Human Ovarian CancersCell Metabolism Learn more
High-grade serous ovarian cancer (HGSOC) remains an unmet medical challenge. Here, we unravel an unanticipated metabolic heterogeneity in HGSOC. By combining proteomic, metabolomic, and bioergenetic analyses, we identify two molecular subgroups, low- and high-OXPHOS. While low-OXPHOS exhibit a glycolytic metabolism, high-OXPHOS HGSOCs rely on oxidative phosphorylation, supported by glutamine and fatty acid oxidation, and show chronic oxidative stress. We identify an important role for the PML-PGC-1α axis in the metabolic features of high-OXPHOS HGSOC. In high-OXPHOS tumors, chronic oxidative stress promotes aggregation of PML-nuclear bodies, resulting in activation of the transcriptional co-activator PGC-1α. Active PGC-1α increases synthesis of electron transport chain complexes, thereby promoting mitochondrial respiration. Importantly, high-OXPHOS HGSOCs exhibit increased response to conventional chemotherapies, in which increased oxidative stress, PML, and potentially ferroptosis play key functions. Collectively, our data establish a stress-mediated PML-PGC-1α-dependent mechanism that promotes OXPHOS metabolism and chemosensitivity in ovarian cancer.Fold up
Year of publication 2018
miR200-regulated CXCL12β promotes fibroblast heterogeneity and immunosuppression in ovarian cancers.Nature communications : DOI : 10.1038/s41467-018-03348-z. Learn more
High-grade serous ovarian cancers (HGSOC) have been subdivided into molecular subtypes. The mesenchymal HGSOC subgroup, defined by stromal-related gene signatures, is invariably associated with poor patient survival. We demonstrate that stroma exerts a key function in mesenchymal HGSOC. We highlight stromal heterogeneity in HGSOC by identifying four subsets of carcinoma-associated fibroblasts (CAF-S1-4). Mesenchymal HGSOC show high content in CAF-S1 fibroblasts, which exhibit immunosuppressive functions by increasing attraction, survival, and differentiation of CD25+FOXP3+T lymphocytes. The beta isoform of the CXCL12 chemokine (CXCL12β) specifically accumulates in the immunosuppressive CAF-S1 subset through a miR-141/200a dependent-mechanism. Moreover, CXCL12β expression in CAF-S1 cells plays a crucial role in CAF-S1 immunosuppressive activity and is a reliable prognosis factor in HGSOC, in contrast to CXCL12α. Thus, our data highlight the differential regulation of the CXCL12α and CXCL12β isoforms in HGSOC, and reveal a CXCL12β-associated stromal heterogeneity and immunosuppressive environment in mesenchymal HGSOC.Fold up
Fibroblast Heterogeneity and Immunosuppressive Environment in Human Breast Cancer.Cancer Cell : 463-479 : DOI : 10.1016/j.ccell.2018.01.011 Learn more
Carcinoma-associated fibroblasts (CAF) are key players in the tumor microenvironment. Here, we characterize four CAF subsets in breast cancer with distinct properties and levels of activation. Two myofibroblastic subsets (CAF-S1, CAF-S4) accumulate differentially in triple-negative breast cancers (TNBC). CAF-S1 fibroblasts promote an immunosuppressive environment through a multi-step mechanism. By secreting CXCL12, CAF-S1 attracts CD4+CD25+T lymphocytes and retains them by OX40L, PD-L2, and JAM2. Moreover, CAF-S1 increases T lymphocyte survival and promotes their differentiation into CD25HighFOXP3High, through B7H3, CD73, and DPP4. Finally, in contrast to CAF-S4, CAF-S1 enhances the regulatory T cell capacity to inhibit T effector proliferation. These data are consistent with FOXP3+ T lymphocyte accumulation in CAF-S1-enriched TNBC and show how a CAF subset contributes to immunosuppression.Fold up
Year of publication 2017
Modulating BAP1 expression affects ROS homeostasis, cell motility and mitochondrial function.Oncotarget : 72513-72527 : DOI : 10.18632/oncotarget.19872 Learn more
The tumor suppressor BAP1 associates with ASXL1/2 to form the core Polycomb complex PR-DUB, which catalyzes the removal of mono-ubiquitin from several substrates including histone H2A. This complex also mediates the poly-deubiquitination of HCFC1, OGT and PCG1-α, preventing them from proteasomal degradation. Surprisingly, considering its role in a Polycomb complex, no transcriptional signature was consistently found among BAP1-inactivated tumor types. It was hypothesized that BAP1 tumor suppressor activity could reside, at least in part, in stabilizing proteins through its poly-deubiquitinase activity. Quantitative mass spectrometry and gene expression arrays were used to investigate the consequences of BAP1 expression modulation in the NCI-H226 mesothelioma cell line. Analysis of differentially expressed proteins revealed enrichment in cytoskeleton organization, mitochondrial activity and ROS management, while gene expression analysis revealed enrichment in the epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition pathway. Functional assessments in BAP1 inactivated, BAP1 wild-type and BAP1 catalytically dead-expressing NCI-H226 and QR mesothelioma cell lines confirmed alteration of these pathways and demonstrated that BAP1 deubiquitinase activity was mandatory to maintain these phenotypes. Interestingly, monitoring intracellular ROS levels partly restored the morphology and the mitochondrial activity. Finally, the study suggests new tumorigenic and cellular functions of BAP1 and shows for the first time the interest of studying the proteome as readout of BAP1 inactivation.Fold up
Heterogeneity in Cancer Metabolism: New Concepts in an Old Field.Antioxidants & Redox Signaling : 26 : DOI : 10.1089/ars.2016.6750 Learn more
In the last years, metabolic reprogramming, fluctuations in bioenergetic fuels, and modulation of oxidative stress became newkey hallmarks of tumor development. In cancer, elevated glucose uptake and high glycolytic rate, as a source of adenosine triphosphate, constitute a growth advantage for tumors. This represents the universally known Warburg effect, which gave rise to one major clinical application for detecting cancercells using glucose analogs: the positron emission tomography scan imaging. Recent Advances: Glucose utilization and carbon sources in tumors are much more heterogeneous than initially thought. Indeed, newstudies emerged and revealed a dual capacity of tumor cells for glycolytic and oxidative phosphorylation (OXPHOS) metabolism. OXPHOS metabolism, which relies predominantly on mitochondrial respiration, exhibits fine-tuned regulation of respiratory chain complexes and enhanced antioxidant response or detoxification capacity.
OXPHOS-dependent cancercells use alternative oxidizable substrates, such as glutamine and fatty acids. The diversity of carbon substrates fueling neoplastic cells is indicative of metabolic heterogeneity, even within tumors sharing the same clinical diagnosis. Metabolic switch supports cancercell stemness and their bioenergy-consuming functions, such as proliferation, survival, migration, and invasion. Moreover, reactive oxygen species-induced mitochondrial metabolismand nutrient availability are important for interaction with tumor microenvironment components. Carcinoma-associated fibroblasts and immune cells participate in the metabolic interplay with neoplastic cells. They collectively adapt in a dynamic manner to the metabolic needs of cancercells, thus participating in tumorigenesis and resistance to treatments.Fold up
CXCR4 inhibitors could benefit to HER2 but not to triple-negative breast cancer patientsOncogene : 1211–1222 : DOI : 10.1038 Learn more
The CXCR4 receptor and its ligand CXCL12 (also named stromal cell-derived factor 1, SDF1) have a critical role in chemotaxis and homing, key steps in cancer metastasis. Although myofibroblasts expressing CXCL12 are associated with the presence of axillary metastases in HER2 breast cancers (BC), the therapeutic interest of targeting CXCR4/CXCL12 axis in the different BC subtypes remains unclear. Here, we investigate this question by testing antitumor activity of CXCR4 inhibitors in patient-derived xenografts (PDX), which faithfully reproduce human tumor properties. We observed that two CXCR4 inhibitors, AMD3100 and TN14003, efficiently impair tumor growth and metastasis dissemination in both Herceptin-sensitive and Herceptin-resistant HER2 BC. Conversely, blocking CXCR4/CXCL12 pathway in triple-negative (TN) BC does not reduce tumor growth, and can even increase metastatic spread. Moreover, although CXCR4 inhibitors significantly reduce myofibroblast content in all BC subtypes, they decrease angiogenesis only in HER2 BC. Thus, our findings suggest that targeting CXCR4 could provide some therapeutic interest for HER2 BC patients, whereas it has no impact or could even be detrimental for TN BC patients.Fold up
Year of publication 2016
CXCR4 inhibitors could benefit to HER2 but not to triple-negative breast cancer patients.Oncogene : DOI : 10.1038/onc.2016.284 Learn more
The CXCR4 receptor and its ligand CXCL12 (also named stromal cell-derived factor 1, SDF1) have a critical role in chemotaxis and homing, key steps in cancer metastasis. Although myofibroblasts expressing CXCL12 are associated with the presence of axillary metastases in HER2 breast cancers (BC), the therapeutic interest of targeting CXCR4/CXCL12 axis in the different BC subtypes remains unclear. Here, we investigate this question by testing antitumor activity of CXCR4 inhibitors in patient-derived xenografts (PDX), which faithfully reproduce human tumor properties. We observed that two CXCR4 inhibitors, AMD3100 and TN14003, efficiently impair tumor growth and metastasis dissemination in both Herceptin-sensitive and Herceptin-resistant HER2 BC. Conversely, blocking CXCR4/CXCL12 pathway in triple-negative (TN) BC does not reduce tumor growth, and can even increase metastatic spread. Moreover, although CXCR4 inhibitors significantly reduce myofibroblast content in all BC subtypes, they decrease angiogenesis only in HER2 BC. Thus, our findings suggest that targeting CXCR4 could provide some therapeutic interest for HER2 BC patients, whereas it has no impact or could even be detrimental for TN BC patients.Oncogene advance online publication, 26 September 2016; doi:10.1038/onc.2016.284.Fold up
Heterogeneity in Cancer Metabolism: New Concepts in an old Field.Antioxidants & redox signaling Learn more
In the last years, metabolic reprogramming, fluctuations in bioenergetic fuels and modulation of oxidative stress became new key hallmarks of tumor development. In cancer, elevated glucose uptake and high glycolytic rate, as source of ATP, constitute a growth advantage for tumors. This represents the universally known “Warburg effect”, which gave rise to one major clinical application for detecting cancer cells using glucose analogues: the PET-scan imaging.Fold up
Chronic oxidative stress promotes H2AX protein degradation and enhances chemosensitivity in breast cancer patients.EMBO molecular medicine : 527-49 : DOI : 10.15252/emmm.201505891 Learn more
Anti-cancer drugs often increase reactive oxygen species (ROS) and cause DNA damage. Here, we highlight a new cross talk between chronic oxidative stress and the histone variant H2AX, a key player in DNA repair. We observe that persistent accumulation of ROS, due to a deficient JunD-/Nrf2-antioxidant response, reduces H2AX protein levels. This effect is mediated by an enhanced interaction of H2AX with the E3 ubiquitin ligase RNF168, which is associated with H2AX poly-ubiquitination and promotes its degradation by the proteasome. ROS-mediated H2AX decrease plays a crucial role in chemosensitivity. Indeed, cycles of chemotherapy that sustainably increase ROS reduce H2AX protein levels in Triple-Negative breast cancer (TNBC) patients. H2AX decrease by such treatment is associated with an impaired NRF2-antioxidant response and is indicative of the therapeutic efficiency and survival of TNBC patients. Thus, our data describe a novel ROS-mediated regulation of H2AX turnover, which provides new insights into genetic instability and treatment efficacy in TNBC patients.Fold up
AMOTL1 integrates Hippo signaling to promote breast cancer progression by inducing tumor cell proliferation and migrationNeoplasia (New York, N.Y.) : 10-24 : DOI : 10.1016/j.neo.2015.11.010 Learn more
The Hippo signaling network is a key regulator of cell fate. In the recent years, it was shown that its implication in cancer goes well beyond the sole role of YAP transcriptional activity and its regulation by the canonical MST/LATS kinase cascade. Here we show that the motin family member AMOTL1 is an important effector of Hippo signaling in breast cancer. AMOTL1 connects Hippo signaling to tumor cell aggressiveness. We show that both canonical and noncanonical Hippo signaling modulates AMOTL1 levels. The tumor suppressor Merlin triggers AMOTL1 proteasomal degradation mediated by the NEDD family of ubiquitin ligases through direct interaction. In parallel, YAP stimulates AMOTL1 expression. The loss of Merlin expression and the induction of Yap activity that are frequently observed in breast cancers thus result in elevated AMOTL1 levels. AMOTL1 expression is sufficient to trigger tumor cell migration and stimulates proliferation by activating c-Src. In a large cohort of human breast tumors, we show that AMOTL1 protein levels are upregulated during cancer progression and that, importantly, the expression of AMOTL1 in lymph node metastasis appears predictive of the risk of relapse. Hence we uncover an important mechanism by which Hippo signaling promotes breast cancer progression by modulating the expression of AMOTL1.Fold up
Guidelines for the use and interpretation of assays for monitoring autophagy (3rd edition).Autophagy : 1-222 : DOI : 10.1080/15548627.2015.1100356 Learn more