Cancer stem cells (CSC) are a subpopulation of tumor cells with properties of high tumorigenicity and drug resistance, which lead to recurrence and poor prognosis. Although a better understanding of CSC is essential for developing cancer therapies, scarcity of the CSC population has hindered such analyses. The aim of the present study was to elucidate whether the E-cadherin-Fc chimera protein (E-cad-Fc) enhances cancer stem-like properties because studies show that soluble E-cadherin stimulates human epithelial growth factor receptor (EGFR) and downstream signaling pathways that are reported to play a crucial role in CSC. For this purpose, we used ornithine decarboxylase (ODC)-degron–transduced (Degron(+)) KM12SM cells as a CSC model that retains relatively low CSC properties. Compared to cultures without E-cad-Fc treatment, we found that E-cad-Fc treatment further suppressed proteasome activity and largely enhanced cancer stem-like properties of ODC-degron–transduced KM12SM cells. These results include increased expression of stem cell markers Lgr5, Bmi-1, SOX9, CD44, and CD44v9, aldehyde dehydrogenase (ALDH), and enhancement of robust spheroid formation, and chemoresistance to 5-fluorouracil (5-FU) and oxaliplatin (L-OHP). These effects could be attributed to activation of the EGFR pathway as identified by extensive phosphorylation of EGFR, ERK, PI3K, AKT, and mTOR. In SW480 cells, E-cad-Fc matrix induced some CSC markers such as CD44v9 and ALDH. We also found that E-cad-Fc matrix showed high efficiency of inducing mesenchymal changes in colon cancer cells. Our data suggest that the E-cad-Fc matrix may enhance CSC properties such as enhancement of chemoresistance and sphere formation.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Cancer Research