E-cadherin-Fc chimera protein matrix enhances cancer stem-like properties and induces mesenchymal features in colon cancer cells

Yamin Qian, Xin Wu, Yuhki Yokoyama, Daisuke Okuzaki, Mai Taguchi, Haruka Hirose, Jiaqi Wang, Tsuyoshi Hata, Akira Inoue, Masayuki Hiraki, Masahisa Ohtsuka, Hidekazu Takahashi, Naotsugu Haraguchi, Tsunekazu Mizushima, Shinji Tanaka, Masaki Mori, Hirofumi Yamamoto

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Citations (Scopus)


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.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3520-3532
Number of pages13
JournalCancer Science
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - Nov 1 2019

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


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