BSCI-03 - Inbal Greenberg.mp4

Adaptation of colorectal cancer cells to the brain microenvironment: The role of IRS2

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Inbal Greenberg1,2, Anat Klein1, Rachel Grossman1, Ethan Sokol3, Eilam Yeini2, Paula Ofek2, Ronit Satchi-Fainaro2, Bertrand Liang4, Hadas Reuveni5, Tami Rubinek1,2, Ido Wolf1,2

1Tel Aviv Sourasky Medical Center, Tel Aviv, Israel. 2Tel Aviv University, Tel Aviv, Israel. 3Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Massachusetts, USA. 4Purple Biotech Ltd., Rehovot, Israel. 5TyrNovo Ltd., Rehovot, Israel

Colorectal cancer (CRC) reflects the fourth most frequent etiology of brain metastasis (BM). Yet, molecular mechanisms supporting it are unknown. We aimed to explore drivers enabling adaptation of CRC cells to the brain and decipher mechanisms facilitating the process.

We analyzed the FoundationOne database, which contains genomic alterations data of cancer-related genes in over 16,000 human CRC primary and metastasis samples. Increased prevalence of IRS2 gene amplification was observed in 13% of BM, compared to only 3% of primary tumors or other metastatic sites. IRS2 is a cytoplasmic adaptor mediating effects of insulin and IGF-1 receptors and is involved in more aggressive behavior of different cancer types. In agreement with the genomic data, immunohistochemistry of human clinical samples showed increased expression of IRS2 protein in BM. We constructed an in-vitro system mimicking the brain microenvironment using cultured human astrocytes or their conditioned media. Under these conditions, IRS2-overexpressed CRC cells survived better and formed larger 3D spheres. IRS2-silenced CRC cells showed a mirror image. Moreover, in an intracranial CRC BM mouse model, IRS2-overexpressed cells generated larger brain lesions, while silencing IRS2 dramatically decreased tumor outgrowth and extended survival. Interestingly, transcriptomic analysis revealed enrichment of oxidative phosphorylation (OXPHOS) and Wnt/β-catenin pathways by IRS2. Indeed, IRS2-expressing cells showed increased mitochondrial activity and glycolysis-independent viability. Furthermore, IRS2-expressing cells had increased β-catenin transcriptional activity. Interestingly, β-catenin or IRS2 inhibition (using NT219) in IRS2-expressing cells decreased their viability, β-catenin transcriptional activity, and OXPHOS gene expression, suggesting involvement of IRS2 in modulating OXPHOS through β-catenin. β-catenin is known to confer 5-FU resistance; consequently, we showed that combination of 5-FU and NT219 worked in synergy, inhibited the formation of BM, and extended animal survival.

These data reveal the unique genomic profile of CRC BM and suggest IRS2 inhibition as a novel target for treatment of these patients.

Duration: 04:57

Posted: Monday, August 9, 2021

Video tags: 3rd Annual Conference on Brain Metastases - Pre-Records