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Mol Cancer Res. 2014 Apr;12(4):607-21. doi: 10.1158/1541-7786.MCR-13-0469. Epub 2014 Jan 24.

CAF-secreted annexin A1 induces prostate cancer cells to gain stem cell-like features.

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Department of Pathology, University of Southern California, Keck School of Medicine, 2011 Zonal Avenue, HMR 210B, Los Angeles, CA 90033.


Annexin A1 (AnxA1), a phospholipid-binding protein and regulator of glucocorticoid-induced inflammatory signaling, has implications in cancer. Here, a role for AnxA1 in prostate adenocarcinoma was determined using primary cultures and a tumor cell line (cE1), all derived from the conditional Pten deletion mouse model of prostate cancer. AnxA1 secretion by prostate-derived cancer-associated fibroblasts (CAF) was significantly higher than by normal prostate fibroblasts (NPF). Prostate tumor cells were sorted to enrich for epithelial subpopulations based on nonhematopoietic lineage, high SCA-1, and high or medium levels of CD49f. Compared with controls, AnxA1 enhanced stem cell-like properties in high- and medium-expression subpopulations of sorted cE1 and primary cells, in vitro, through formation of greater number of spheroids with increased complexity, and in vivo, through generation of more, larger, and histologically complex glandular structures, along with increased expression of p63, a basal/progenitor marker. The differentiated medium-expression subpopulations from cE1 and primary cells were most susceptible to gain stem cell-like properties as shown by increased spheroid and glandular formation. Further supporting this increased plasticity, AnxA1 was shown to regulate epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition in cE1 cells. These results suggest that CAF-secreted AnxA1 contributes to tumor stem cell dynamics via two separate but complementary pathways: induction of a dedifferentiation process leading to generation of stem-like cells from a subpopulation of cancer epithelial cells and stimulation of proliferation and differentiation of the cancer stem-like cells.


AnxA1 participates in a paradigm in which malignant prostate epithelial cells that are not cancer stem cells are induced to gain cancer stem cell-like properties.

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