CD44-high neural crest stem-like cells are associated with tumour aggressiveness and poor survival in neuroblastoma tumours
|Author||Vega Moreno, Francisco Manuel
Colmenero Repiso, Ana
Gómez Muñoz, María A.
Rodríguez Prieto, Ismael
Aguilar Morante, Diana
Ramírez Villar, Gema
Márquez Vega, Catalina
Cabello Laureano, Rosa
Pardal Redondo, Ricardo
|Department||Universidad de Sevilla. Departamento de Biología Celular|
|Published in||EBioMedicine, 5 (54), 1-14.|
Neuroblastoma is a paediatric tumour originated from sympathoadrenal precursors and characterized by its heterogeneity and poor outcome in advanced stages. Intra-tumoral cellular heterogeneity has emerged as ...
BACKGROUND: Neuroblastoma is a paediatric tumour originated from sympathoadrenal precursors and characterized by its heterogeneity and poor outcome in advanced stages. Intra-tumoral cellular heterogeneity has emerged as an important feature in neuroblastoma, with a potential major impact on tumour aggressiveness and response to therapy. CD44 is an adhesion protein involved in tumour progression, metastasis and stemness in different cancers; however, there has been controversies about the significance of CD44 expression in neuroblastoma and its relationship with tumour progression. METHODS: We have performed transcriptomic analysis on patient tumour samples studying the outcome of patients with high CD44 expression. Adhesion, invasion and proliferation assays were performed in sorted CD44high neuroblastoma cells. Tumoursphere cultures have been used to enrich in undifferentiated stem-like cells and to asses self-renewal and differentiation potential. We have finally performed in vivo tumorigenic assays on cell line-derived or Patient-derived xenografts. FINDINGS: We show that high CD44 expression is associated with low survival in high-grade human neuroblastoma, independently of MYCN amplification. CD44 is expressed in a cell population with neural crest stem-like features, and with the capacity to generate multipotent, undifferentiated tumourspheres in culture. These cells are more invasive and proliferative in vitro. CD44 positive cells obtained from tumours are more tumorigenic and metastatic, giving rise to aggressive neuroblastic tumours at high frequency upon transplantation. INTERPRETATION: We describe an unexpected intra-tumoural heterogeneity within cellular entities expressing CD44 in neuroblastoma, and propose that CD44 has a role in neural crest stem-like undifferentiated cells, which can contribute to tumorigenesis and malignancy in this type of cancer. FUNDING: Research supported by grants from the "Asociación Española contra el Cáncer" (AECC), the Spanish Ministry of Science and Innovation SAF program (SAF2016-80412-P), and the European Research Council (ERC Starting Grant to RP).