Self-renewal and circulating capacities of metastatic hepatocarcinoma cells required for collaboration between TM4SF5 and CD44

  • Lee, Doohyung (Department of Pharmacy, College of Pharmacy, Seoul National University) ;
  • Lee, Jung Weon (Department of Pharmacy, College of Pharmacy, Seoul National University)
  • Received : 2015.03.09
  • Published : 2015.03.31


Tumor metastasis involves circulating and tumor-initiating capacities of metastatic cancer cells. Hepatic TM4SF5 promotes EMT for malignant growth and migration. Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) biomarkers remain unexplored for metastatic potential throughout metastasis. Here, novel TM4SF5/CD44 interaction-mediated self-renewal and circulating tumor cell (CTC) capacities were mechanistically explored. TM4SF5-dependent sphere growth was correlated with $CD133^+$, $CD24^-$, ALDH activity, and a physical association between CD44 and TM4SF5. The TM4SF5/CD44 interaction activated c-Src/STAT3/ Twist1/ B mi1 signaling for spheroid formation, while disturbing the interaction, expression, or activity of any component in this signaling pathway inhibited spheroid formation. In serial xenografts of less than 5,000 cells/injection, TM4SF5-positive tumors exhibited locally-increased CD44 expression, suggesting tumor cell differentiation. TM4SF5-positive cells were identified circulating in blood 4 to 6 weeks after orthotopic liver-injection. Anti-TM4SF reagents blocked their metastasis to distal intestinal organs. Altogether, our results provide evidence that TM4SF5 promotes self-renewal and CTC properties supported by $CD133^+/TM4SF5^+/CD44^+^{(TM4SF5-bound)}/ALDH^+/CD24^-$ markers during HCC metastasis.


Supported by : NRF

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