Author Insight: Role of Cancer Associated Fibroblasts in Prostate Cancer



January 27, 2022

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  • Dr. Nerymar Ortiz-Otero from the Meinig School of Biomedical Engineering, Cornell University, discusses a research paper she co-authored that was published by Oncotarget in Volume 11, Issue 12, entitled, “Cancer associated fibroblasts confer shear resistance to circulating tumor cells during prostate cancer metastatic progression.” DOI - Correspondence to - Michael R. King - Abstract Previous studies have demonstrated that CTCs do not travel in the bloodstream alone, but rather are accompanied by clusters of stromal cells such as cancer associated fibroblasts (CAFs). Our laboratory has confirmed the presence of CAFs in the peripheral blood of prostate cancer (PC) patients. The observation that CAFs disseminate with CTCs prompts the examination of the role of CAFs in CTC survival under physiological shear stress during the dissemination process using a clinically relevant, three-dimensional (3D) co-culture model. In this study, we found that “reactive CAFs” induce shear resistance to prostate tumor cells via intercellular contact and soluble derived factors. In addition, these reactive CAFs conserve the proliferative capability of tumor cells in the presence of high magnitude fluid shear stress (FSS). This reactive CAF phenotype emerges from normal fibroblasts (NF), which take on the CAF phenotype when co-cultured with tumor cells. The reactive CAFs showed higher expression of α-smooth muscle actin (α-SMA) and fibroblast activation protein (FAP) compared to differentiated CAFs, when co-cultured with PC cells at the same experimental conditions. Together, we found that the activation mechanism of NF to CAF comprises different stages that progress from a reactive to quiescent cellular state in which these two states are differentiated by the fluctuation of intensity in CAF markers. Here we determined that a reactive state of CAFs proved to be important for supporting tumor cell survival and proliferation. These findings suggest the use of CAFs as a marker for cancer progression and a potential target for novel cancer therapeutics to treat metastatic disease. Sign up for free Altmetric alerts about this article - Press release - Keywords - metastasis, cancer associated fibroblasts, circulating tumor cells, cytoprotection, collective migration About Oncotarget Oncotarget is a peer-reviewed, open access biomedical journal covering research on all aspects of oncology. To learn more about Oncotarget, please visit and connect with us: SoundCloud - Facebook - Twitter - Instagram - YouTube - LinkedIn - Pinterest - Reddit - Oncotarget is published by Impact Journals, LLC: Media Contact MEDIA@IMPACTJOURNALS.COM 18009220957

    Cancer ResearchCell CultureCell ScienceMolecular Biology

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