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      Microenvironment-induced PTEN loss by exosomal microRNA primes brain metastasis outgrowth

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          Abstract

          The development of life-threatening cancer metastases at distant organs requires disseminated tumour cells' adaptation to, and co-evolution with, the drastically different microenvironments of metastatic sites. Cancer cells of common origin manifest distinct gene expression patterns after metastasizing to different organs. Clearly, the dynamic interaction between metastatic tumour cells and extrinsic signals at individual metastatic organ sites critically effects the subsequent metastatic outgrowth. Yet, it is unclear when and how disseminated tumour cells acquire the essential traits from the microenvironment of metastatic organs that prime their subsequent outgrowth. Here we show that both human and mouse tumour cells with normal expression of PTEN, an important tumour suppressor, lose PTEN expression after dissemination to the brain, but not to other organs. The PTEN level in PTEN-loss brain metastatic tumour cells is restored after leaving the brain microenvironment. This brain microenvironment-dependent, reversible PTEN messenger RNA and protein downregulation is epigenetically regulated by microRNAs from brain astrocytes. Mechanistically, astrocyte-derived exosomes mediate an intercellular transfer of PTEN-targeting microRNAs to metastatic tumour cells, while astrocyte-specific depletion of PTEN-targeting microRNAs or blockade of astrocyte exosome secretion rescues the PTEN loss and suppresses brain metastasis in vivo. Furthermore, this adaptive PTEN loss in brain metastatic tumour cells leads to an increased secretion of the chemokine CCL2, which recruits IBA1-expressing myeloid cells that reciprocally enhance the outgrowth of brain metastatic tumour cells via enhanced proliferation and reduced apoptosis. Our findings demonstrate a remarkable plasticity of PTEN expression in metastatic tumour cells in response to different organ microenvironments, underpinning an essential role of co-evolution between the metastatic cells and their microenvironment during the adaptive metastatic outgrowth. Our findings signify the dynamic and reciprocal cross-talk between tumour cells and the metastatic niche; importantly, they provide new opportunities for effective anti-metastasis therapies, especially of consequence for brain metastasis patients.

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          Most cited references 30

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          Cancers develop in complex tissue environments, which they depend on for sustained growth, invasion and metastasis. Unlike tumor cells, stromal cell types within the tumor microenvironment (TME) are genetically stable and thus represent an attractive therapeutic target with reduced risk of resistance and tumor recurrence. However, specifically disrupting the pro-tumorigenic TME is a challenging undertaking, as the TME has diverse capacities to induce both beneficial and adverse consequences for tumorigenesis. Furthermore, many studies have shown that the microenvironment is capable of normalizing tumor cells, suggesting that re-education of stromal cells, rather than targeted ablation per se, may be an effective strategy for treating cancer. Here we discuss the paradoxical roles of the TME during specific stages of cancer progression and metastasis, as well as recent therapeutic attempts to re-educate stromal cells within the TME to have anti-tumorigenic effects.
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            Melanoma exosomes educate bone marrow progenitor cells toward a pro-metastatic phenotype through MET.

            Tumor-derived exosomes are emerging mediators of tumorigenesis. We explored the function of melanoma-derived exosomes in the formation of primary tumors and metastases in mice and human subjects. Exosomes from highly metastatic melanomas increased the metastatic behavior of primary tumors by permanently 'educating' bone marrow progenitors through the receptor tyrosine kinase MET. Melanoma-derived exosomes also induced vascular leakiness at pre-metastatic sites and reprogrammed bone marrow progenitors toward a pro-vasculogenic phenotype that was positive for c-Kit, the receptor tyrosine kinase Tie2 and Met. Reducing Met expression in exosomes diminished the pro-metastatic behavior of bone marrow cells. Notably, MET expression was elevated in circulating CD45(-)C-KIT(low/+)TIE2(+) bone marrow progenitors from individuals with metastatic melanoma. RAB1A, RAB5B, RAB7 and RAB27A, regulators of membrane trafficking and exosome formation, were highly expressed in melanoma cells. Rab27A RNA interference decreased exosome production, preventing bone marrow education and reducing, tumor growth and metastasis. In addition, we identified an exosome-specific melanoma signature with prognostic and therapeutic potential comprised of TYRP2, VLA-4, HSP70, an HSP90 isoform and the MET oncoprotein. Our data show that exosome production, transfer and education of bone marrow cells supports tumor growth and metastasis, has prognostic value and offers promise for new therapeutic directions in the metastatic process.
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              Microenvironmental regulation of metastasis.

              Metastasis is a multistage process that requires cancer cells to escape from the primary tumour, survive in the circulation, seed at distant sites and grow. Each of these processes involves rate-limiting steps that are influenced by non-malignant cells of the tumour microenvironment. Many of these cells are derived from the bone marrow, particularly the myeloid lineage, and are recruited by cancer cells to enhance their survival, growth, invasion and dissemination. This Review describes experimental data demonstrating the role of the microenvironment in metastasis, identifies areas for future research and suggests possible new therapeutic avenues.
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                Author and article information

                Journal
                Nature
                Nature
                Springer Science and Business Media LLC
                0028-0836
                1476-4687
                November 2015
                October 19 2015
                November 2015
                : 527
                : 7576
                : 100-104
                Article
                10.1038/nature15376
                26479035
                © 2015

                http://www.springer.com/tdm

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