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Martinez-Outschoorn U.E.,Jefferson Stem Cell Biology and Regenerative Medicine Center | Martinez-Outschoorn U.E.,Thomas Jefferson University | Sotgia F.,Jefferson Stem Cell Biology and Regenerative Medicine Center | Sotgia F.,University of Manchester | And 3 more authors.
Cell Metabolism | Year: 2012

An emerging paradigm in tumor metabolism is that catabolism in host cells "fuels" the anabolic growth of cancer cells via energy transfer. A study in Nature Medicine (Nieman et al., 2011) supports this; they show that triglyceride catabolism in adipocytes drives ovarian cancer metastasis by providing fatty acids as mitochondrial fuels. © 2012 Elsevier Inc.


Martinez-Outschoorn U.E.,Jefferson Stem Cell Biology and Regenerative Medicine Center | Martinez-Outschoorn U.E.,Thomas Jefferson University | Pavlides S.,Jefferson Stem Cell Biology and Regenerative Medicine Center | Pavlides S.,Thomas Jefferson University | And 10 more authors.
International Journal of Biochemistry and Cell Biology | Year: 2011

Cancer cells do not exist as pure homogeneous populations in vivo. Instead they are embedded in "cancer cell nests" that are surrounded by stromal cells, especially cancer associated fibroblasts. Thus, it is not unreasonable to suspect that stromal fibroblasts could influence the metabolism of adjacent cancer cells, and visa versa. In accordance with this idea, we have recently proposed that the Warburg effect in cancer cells may be due to culturing cancer cells by themselves, out of their normal stromal context or tumor microenvironment. In fact, when cancer cells are co-cultured with fibroblasts, then cancer cells increase their mitochondrial mass, while fibroblasts lose their mitochondria. An in depth analysis of this phenomenon reveals that aggressive cancer cells are "parasites" that use oxidative stress as a "weapon" to extract nutrients from surrounding stromal cells. Oxidative stress in fibroblasts induces the autophagic destruction of mitochondria, by mitophagy. Then, stromal cells are forced to undergo aerobic glycolysis, and produce energy-rich nutrients (such as lactate and ketones) to "feed" cancer cells. This mechanism would allow cancer cells to seed anywhere, without blood vessels as a food source, as they could simply induce oxidative stress wherever they go, explaining how cancer cells survive during metastasis. We suggest that stromal catabolism, via autophagy and mitophagy, fuels the anabolic growth of tumor cells, promoting tumor progression and metastasis. We have previously termed this new paradigm "The Autophagic Tumor Stroma Model of Cancer Metabolism", or the "Reverse Warburg Effect". We also discuss how glutamine addiction (glutaminolysis) in cancer cells fits well with this new model, by promoting oxidative mitochondrial metabolism in aggressive cancer cells. © 2011 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.


Martinez-Outschoorn U.E.,Jefferson Stem Cell Biology and Regenerative Medicine Center | Martinez-Outschoorn U.E.,Kimmel Cancer Center | Whitaker-Menezes D.,Jefferson Stem Cell Biology and Regenerative Medicine Center | Whitaker-Menezes D.,Kimmel Cancer Center | And 13 more authors.
Cell Cycle | Year: 2011

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, MIp1α, IFNγ, 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. © 2011 Landes Bioscience.

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