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Treatment with decitabine induces the expression of stemness markers, PD-L1 and NY-ESO-1 in colorectal cancer: potential for combined chemoimmunotherapy

journal contribution
submitted on 2024-01-04, 09:34 and posted on 2024-01-04, 10:38 authored by Nassiba Taib, Maysaloun Merhi, Varghese Inchakalody, Sarra Mestiri, Shereena Hydrose, Karama Makni-Maalej, Afsheen Raza, Fairooz Sahir, Fouad Azizi, Parveen B. Nizamuddin, Queenie Fernandes, Zeenath Safira K. M. Yoosuf, Salam Almoghrabi, Lobna Al-Zaidan, Alaaeldin Shablak, Shahab Uddin, Cristina Maccalli, Mohammed Ussama Al Homsi, Said Dermime

Background

The mechanism of tumor immune escape and progression in colorectal cancer (CRC) is widely investigated in-vitro to help understand and identify agents that might play a crucial role in response to treatment and improve the overall survival of CRC patients. Several mechanisms of immune escape and tumor progression, including expression of stemness markers, inactivation of immunoregulatory genes by methylation, and epigenetic silencing, have been reported in CRC, indicating the potential of demethylating agents as anti-cancer drugs. Of these, a chemotherapeutic demethylating agent, Decitabine (DAC), has been reported to induce a dual effect on both DNA demethylation and histone changes leading to an increased expression of target biomarkers, thus making it an attractive anti-tumorigenic drug.

Methods

We compared the effect of DAC in primary 1076 Col and metastatic 1872 Col cell lines isolated and generated from patients’ tumor tissues. Both cell lines were treated with DAC, and the expression of the NY-ESO-1 cancer-testis antigen, the PD-L1 immunoinhibitory marker, and the CD44, Nanog, KLF-4, CD133, MSI-1 stemness markers were analyzed using different molecular and immunological assays.

Results

DAC treatment significantly upregulated stemness markers in both primary 1076 Col and meta-static 1872 Col cell lines, although a lower effect occurred on the latter: CD44 (7.85 fold; ***p = 0.0001 vs. (4.19 fold; *p = 0.0120), Nanog (4.1 fold; ***p < 0.0001 vs.1.69 fold; ***p = 0.0008), KLF-4 (4.33 fold; ***p < 0.0001 vs.2.48 fold; ***p = 0.0005), CD133 (16.77 fold; ***p = 0.0003 vs.6.36 fold; *p = 0.0166), and MSI-1 (2.33 fold; ***p = 0.0003 vs.2.3 fold; ***p = 0.0004), respectively. Interestingly, in the metastatic 1872 Col cells treated with DAC, the expression of both PD-L1 and NY-ESO-1 was increased tenfold (*p = 0.0128) and fivefold (***p < 0.0001), respectively.

Conclusions

We conclude that the upregulation of both stemness and immune checkpoint markers by DAC treatment on CRC cells might represent a mechanism of immune evasion. In addition, induction of NY-ESO-1 may represent an immuno-therapeutic option in metastatic CRC patients. Finally, the combination of DAC and anti-PD-1/anti-PD-L1 antibodies treatment should represent a potential therapeutic intervention for this group of patients.


Other Information

Published in: Journal of Translational Medicine
License: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0
See article on publisher's website: https://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s12967-023-04073-y

Funding

Open Access funding provided by the Qatar National Library.

History

Language

  • English

Publisher

Springer Nature

Publication Year

  • 2023

License statement

This Item is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

Institution affiliated with

  • Hamad Medical Corporation
  • National Center for Cancer Care and Research - HMC
  • Interim Translational Research Institute - HMC
  • Dermatology Institute - HMC
  • Qatar University
  • Laboratory Animal Research Center - QU
  • College of Medicine - QU HEALTH
  • Sidra Medicine
  • Hamad Bin Khalifa University
  • College of Health and Life Sciences - HBKU

Methodology

We compared the effect of DAC in primary 1076 Col and metastatic 1872 Col cell lines isolated and generated from patients’ tumor tissues. Both cell lines were treated with DAC, and the expression of the NY-ESO-1 cancer-testis antigen, the PD-L1 immunoinhibitory marker, and the CD44, Nanog, KLF-4, CD133, MSI-1 stemness markers were analyzed using different molecular and immunological assays.

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