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Avnet S.,Orthopaedic Pathophysiology and Regenerative Medicine Unit | Cortini M.,Orthopaedic Pathophysiology and Regenerative Medicine Unit | Cortini M.,University of Bologna
Stem Cell Reviews and Reports | Year: 2016

Cancer stem cells (CSC) are a prominent component of the tumor bulk and extensive research has now identified them as the subpopulation responsible for tumor relapse and resistance to anti-cancer treatments. Surrounding the bulk formed of tumor cells, an extracellular matrix contributes to cancer growth; the main component of the tumor micro-environment is hyaluronan, a large disaccharide forming a molecular network surrounding the cells. The hyaluronan-dependent coat can regulate cell division and motility in cancer progression and metastasis. One of the receptors of hyaluronan is CD44, a surface protein frequently used as a CSC marker. Indeed, tumor cells with high levels of CD44 appear to exhibit CSC properties and are characterized by elevated relapse rate. The CD44-hyaluronan-dependent interactions are Janus-faced: on one side, they have been shown to be crucial in both malignancy and resistance to therapy; on the other, they represent a potential value for future therapies, as disturbing the CD44-hyaluronan axis would not only impair the pericellular matrix but also the subpopulation of self-renewing oncogenic cells. Here, we will review the key roles of HA and CD44 in CSC maintenance and propagation and will show that CSC-like spheroids from a rabdhomyosarcoma cell line, namely RD, have a prominent pericellular coat necessary for sphere formation and for elevated migration. Thus, a better understanding of the hyaluronan-CD44 interactions holds the potential for ameliorating current cancer therapies and eradicating CSC. © 2016 Springer Science+Business Media New York Source


Di Pompo G.,Orthopaedic Pathophysiology and Regenerative Medicine Unit | Di Pompo G.,University of Bologna | Salerno M.,Orthopaedic Pathophysiology and Regenerative Medicine Unit | Salerno M.,University of Bologna | And 8 more authors.
Journal of Medicinal Chemistry | Year: 2015

Musculoskeletal sarcomas are aggressive malignancies of bone and soft tissues often affecting children and adolescents. Histone deacetylase inhibitors (HDACi) have been proposed to counteract cancer stem cells (CSCs) in solid neoplasms. When tested in human osteosarcoma, rhabdomyosarcoma, and Ewing's sarcoma stem cells, the new HDACi MC1742 (1) and MC2625 (2) increased acetyl-H3 and acetyl-tubulin levels and inhibited CSC growth by apoptosis induction. At nontoxic doses, 1 promoted osteogenic differentiation. Further investigation with 1 will be done in preclinical sarcoma models. © 2015 American Chemical Society. Source


Salerno M.,Orthopaedic Pathophysiology and Regenerative Medicine Unit | Salerno M.,University of Bologna | Avnet S.,Orthopaedic Pathophysiology and Regenerative Medicine Unit | Bonuccelli G.,Orthopaedic Pathophysiology and Regenerative Medicine Unit | And 6 more authors.
PLoS ONE | Year: 2014

Rhabdomyosarcoma is the most frequent soft tissue sarcoma in children and adolescents, with a high rate of relapse that dramatically affects the clinical outcome. Multiagent chemotherapy, in combination with surgery and/or radiation therapy, is the treatment of choice. However, the relapse rate is disappointingly high and identification of new therapeutic tools is urgently needed. Under this respect, the selective block of key features of cancer stem cells (CSC) appears particularly promising. In this study, we isolated rhabdomyosarcoma CSC with stem-like features (high expression of NANOG and OCT3/ 4, self-renewal ability, multipotency). Rhabdomyosarcoma CSC showed higher invasive ability and a reduced cytotoxicity to doxorubicin in comparison to native cells, through a mechanism unrelated to the classical multidrug resistance process. This was dependent on a high level of lysosome acidity mediated by a high expression of vacuolar ATPase (V-ATPase). Since it was not associated with other paediatric cancers, like Ewing's sarcoma and neuroblastoma, V-ATPase higher expression in CSC was rhabdomyosarcoma specific. Inhibition of lysosomal acidification by the V-ATPase inhibitor omeprazole, or by specific siRNA silencing, significantly enhanced doxorubicin cytoxicity. Unexpectedly, lysosomal targeting also blocked cell growth and reduced the invasive potential of rhabdomyosarcoma CSC, even at very low doses of omeprazole (10 and 50 μM, respectively). Based on these observations, we propose lysosome acidity as a valuable target to enhance chemosensitivity of rhabdomyosarcoma CSC, and suggest the use of anti-V-ATPase agents in combination with standard regimens as a promising tool for the eradication of minimal residual disease or the prevention of metastatic disease. Copyright: © 2014 Salerno et al. Source

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