• Cytokine production and inflammation drive autophagy in the tumor microenvironment: role of stromal caveolin-1 as a key regulator.

      Martinez-Outschoorn, U E; Whitaker-Menezes, D; Lin, Z; Flomenberg, N; Howell, Anthony; Pestell, R G; Lisanti, M P; Sotgia, F; Thomas Jefferson University, Philadelphia, PA, USA. (2011-06-01)
      Recently, we proposed a new paradigm for understanding the role of the tumor microenvironment in breast cancer onset and progression. In this model, cancer cells induce oxidative stress in adjacent fibroblasts. This, in turn, results in the onset of stromal autophagy, which produces recycled nutrients to "feed" anabolic cancer cells. However, it remains unknown how autophagy in the tumor microenvironment relates to inflammation, another key driver of tumorigenesis. To address this issue, here we employed a well-characterized co-culture system in which cancer cells induce autophagy in adjacent fibroblasts via oxidative stress and NFκB-activation. We show, using this co-culture system, that the same experimental conditions that result in an autophagic microenvironment, also drive in the production of numerous inflammatory mediators (including IL-6, IL-8, IL-10, MIP1a, IFNg, RANTES (CCL5) and GMCSF). Furthermore, we demonstrate that most of these inflammatory mediators are individually sufficient to directly induce the onset of autophagy in fibroblasts. To further validate the in vivo relevance of these findings, we assessed the inflammatory status of Cav-1 (-/-) null mammary fat pads, which are a model of a bonafide autophagic microenvironment. Notably, we show that Cav-1 (-/-) mammary fat pads undergo infiltration with numerous inflammatory cell types, including lymphocytes, T-cells, macrophages and mast cells. Taken together, our results suggest that cytokine production and inflammation are key drivers of autophagy in the tumor microenvironment. These results may explain why a loss of stromal Cav-1 is a powerful predictor of poor clinical outcome in breast cancer patients, as it is a marker of both (1) autophagy and (2) inflammation in the tumor microenvironment. Lastly, hypoxia in fibroblasts was not sufficient to induce the full-blown inflammatory response that we observed during the co-culture of fibroblasts with cancer cells, indicating that key reciprocal interactions between cancer cells and fibroblasts may be required.
    • Hydrogen peroxide fuels aging, inflammation, cancer metabolism and metastasis: the seed and soil also needs "fertilizer".

      Lisanti, Michael P; Martinez-Outschoorn, U E; Lin, Z; Pavlides, S; Whitaker-Menezes, D; Pestell, R G; Howell, Anthony; Sotgia, F; The Jefferson Stem Cell Biology and Regenerative Medicine Center, Kimmel Cancer Center, Thomas Jefferson University, Philadelphia, PA, USA. (2011-08-01)
      In 1889, Dr. Stephen Paget proposed the "seed and soil" hypothesis, which states that cancer cells (the seeds) need the proper microenvironment (the soil) for them to grow, spread and metastasize systemically. In this hypothesis, Dr. Paget rightfully recognized that the tumor microenvironment has an important role to play in cancer progression and metastasis. In this regard, a series of recent studies have elegantly shown that the production of hydrogen peroxide, by both cancer cells and cancer-associated fibroblasts, may provide the necessary "fertilizer," by driving accelerated aging, DNA damage, inflammation and cancer metabolism, in the tumor microenvironment. By secreting hydrogen peroxide, cancer cells and fibroblasts are mimicking the behavior of immune cells (macrophages/neutrophils), driving local and systemic inflammation, via the innate immune response (NFκB). Thus, we should consider using various therapeutic strategies (such as catalase and/or other anti-oxidants) to neutralize the production of cancer-associated hydrogen peroxide, thereby preventing tumor-stroma co-evolution and metastasis. The implications of these findings for overcoming chemo-resistance in cancer cells are also discussed in the context of hydrogen peroxide production and cancer metabolism.