Hepatic tumor-stroma crosstalk guides epithelial to mesenchymal transition at the tumor edge.

TitleHepatic tumor-stroma crosstalk guides epithelial to mesenchymal transition at the tumor edge.
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2009
Authorsvan Zijl F, Mair M, Csiszar A, Schneller D, Zulehner G, Huber H, Eferl R, Beug H, Dolznig H, Mikulits W
Date Published2009 Nov 12

The tumor-stroma crosstalk is a dynamic process fundamental in tumor development. In hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC), the progression of malignant hepatocytes frequently depends on transforming growth factor (TGF)-beta provided by stromal cells. TGF-beta induces an epithelial to mesenchymal transition (EMT) of oncogenic Ras-transformed hepatocytes and an upregulation of platelet-derived growth factor (PDGF) signaling. To analyse the influence of the hepatic tumor-stroma crosstalk onto tumor growth and progression, we co-injected malignant hepatocytes and myofibroblasts (MFBs). For this, we either used in vitro-activated p19(ARF) MFBs or in vivo-activated MFBs derived from physiologically inflamed livers of Mdr2/p19(ARF) double-null mice. We show that co-transplantation of MFBs with Ras-transformed hepatocytes strongly enhances tumor growth. Genetic interference with the PDGF signaling decreases tumor cell growth and maintains plasma membrane-located E-cadherin and beta-catenin at the tumor-host border, indicating a blockade of hepatocellular EMT. We further generated a collagen gel-based three dimensional HCC model in vitro to monitor the MFB-induced invasion of micro-organoid HCC spheroids. This invasion was diminished after inhibition of TGF-beta or PDGF signaling. These data suggest that the TGF-beta/PDGF axis is crucial during hepatic tumor-stroma crosstalk, regulating both tumor growth and cancer progression.

Alternate JournalOncogene