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Androgen receptor functions as transcriptional repressor of cancer-associated fibroblast activation


Clocchiatti, Andrea; Ghosh, Soumitra; Procopio, Maria-Giuseppina; Mazzeo, Luigi; Bordignon, Pino; Ostano, Paola; Goruppi, Sandro; Bottoni, Giulia; Katarkar, Atul; Levesque, Mitchell; Kölblinger, Peter; Dummer, Reinhard; Neel, Victor; Özdemir, Berna C; Dotto, G Paolo (2018). Androgen receptor functions as transcriptional repressor of cancer-associated fibroblast activation. Journal of Clinical Investigation, 128(12):5531-5548.

Abstract

The aging-associated increase of cancer risk is linked with stromal fibroblast senescence and concomitant cancer-associated fibroblast (CAF) activation. Surprisingly little is known about the role of androgen receptor (AR) signaling in this context. We have found downmodulated AR expression in dermal fibroblasts underlying premalignant skin cancer lesions (actinic keratoses and dysplastic nevi) as well as in CAFs from the 3 major skin cancer types, squamous cell carcinomas (SCCs), basal cell carcinomas, and melanomas. Functionally, decreased AR expression in primary human dermal fibroblasts (HDFs) from multiple individuals induced early steps of CAF activation, and in an orthotopic skin cancer model, AR loss in HDFs enhanced tumorigenicity of SCC and melanoma cells. Forming a complex, AR converged with CSL/RBP-Jκ in transcriptional repression of key CAF effector genes. AR and CSL were positive determinants of each other's expression, with BET inhibitors, which counteract the effects of decreased CSL, restoring AR expression and activity in CAFs. Increased AR expression in these cells overcame the consequences of CSL loss and was by itself sufficient to block the growth and tumor-enhancing effects of CAFs on neighboring cancer cells. As such, the findings establish AR as a target for stroma-focused cancer chemoprevention and treatment.

Abstract

The aging-associated increase of cancer risk is linked with stromal fibroblast senescence and concomitant cancer-associated fibroblast (CAF) activation. Surprisingly little is known about the role of androgen receptor (AR) signaling in this context. We have found downmodulated AR expression in dermal fibroblasts underlying premalignant skin cancer lesions (actinic keratoses and dysplastic nevi) as well as in CAFs from the 3 major skin cancer types, squamous cell carcinomas (SCCs), basal cell carcinomas, and melanomas. Functionally, decreased AR expression in primary human dermal fibroblasts (HDFs) from multiple individuals induced early steps of CAF activation, and in an orthotopic skin cancer model, AR loss in HDFs enhanced tumorigenicity of SCC and melanoma cells. Forming a complex, AR converged with CSL/RBP-Jκ in transcriptional repression of key CAF effector genes. AR and CSL were positive determinants of each other's expression, with BET inhibitors, which counteract the effects of decreased CSL, restoring AR expression and activity in CAFs. Increased AR expression in these cells overcame the consequences of CSL loss and was by itself sufficient to block the growth and tumor-enhancing effects of CAFs on neighboring cancer cells. As such, the findings establish AR as a target for stroma-focused cancer chemoprevention and treatment.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:04 Faculty of Medicine > University Hospital Zurich > Dermatology Clinic
Dewey Decimal Classification:610 Medicine & health
Language:English
Date:5 November 2018
Deposited On:27 Nov 2018 15:05
Last Modified:03 Dec 2018 02:05
Publisher:American Society for Clinical Investigation
ISSN:0021-9738
OA Status:Green
Free access at:Publisher DOI. An embargo period may apply.
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1172/JCI99159
PubMed ID:30395538

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