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Oncogene. 2019 Jun;38(23):4637-4654. doi: 10.1038/s41388-019-0747-0. Epub 2019 Feb 11.

MSC-regulated lncRNA MACC1-AS1 promotes stemness and chemoresistance through fatty acid oxidation in gastric cancer.

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Department of Oncology, Nanfang Hospital, Southern Medical University, Guangzhou, China.
Sun Yat-sen University Cancer Center, State Key Laboratory of Oncology in South China, Collaborative Innovation Center for Cancer Medicine, Guangzhou, Guangdong, China.
Department of Oncology, Nanfang Hospital, Southern Medical University, Guangzhou, China.


Chemotherapy is the preferred treatment for advanced stage gastric cancer (GC) patients and chemotherapy resistance is the major obstacle to effective cancer therapy. Increasing evidence suggests that mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) make important contributions to development of drug resistance. However, the underlying mechanism remains elusive. In this study, we discovered that abundant MSCs in tumor tissues predicted a poor prognosis in GC patients. MSCs promoted stemness and chemoresistance in GC cells through fatty acid oxidation (FAO) in vitro and in vivo. Mechanically, transforming growth factor β1 (TGF-β1) secretion by MSCs activated SMAD2/3 through TGF-β receptors and induced long non-coding RNA (lncRNA) MACC1-AS1 expression in GC cells, which promoted FAO-dependent stemness and chemoresistance through antagonizing miR-145-5p. Moreover, pharmacologic inhibition of FAO with etomoxir (ETX) attenuated MSC-induced FOLFOX regiment resistance in vivo. These results suggest that FAO plays an important role in MSC-mediated stemness and chemotherapy resistance in GC and FAO inhibitors in combination with chemotherapeutic drugs present as a promising strategy to overcome chemoresistance.

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