Recurrent metastatic epithelial ovarian cancer (EOC) is challenging and associated with treatment limitations, as the mechanisms governing the metastatic behavior of chemoresistant EOC cells remain elusive. Using orthotopic xenograft mouse models of sensitive and acquired platinum-taxol-resistant A2780 EOC cells, we studied the mechanistic role of insulin like growth factor 1 receptor (IGF1R) signaling in the regulation of organ-specific metastasis of EOC cells undergoing acquirement of chemoresistance. Biochemical assays and organ-specific fibroblast-EOC cell co-culture were used to study the differential metastatic characteristics of sensitive vs. chemoresistant EOC cells, and the key molecule/s underlying the organ-specific homing of chemoresistant EOC cells were identified through subtractive LC/MS profiling of the co-culture secretome. The role of the identified molecule was validated through genetic/pharmacologic perturbation experiments. Acquired chemoresistance augmented organ-specific metastasis of EOC cells and enhanced lung homing, particularly for the late-stage chemoresistant cells, which was abrogated after IGF1R silencing. Escalation of chemoresistance (intrinsic and acquired) conferred EOC cells with higher adhesion toward primary lung fibroblasts, largely governed by the α6 integrin-IGF1R dual signaling axes. Subtractive analysis of the co-culture secretome revealed that interaction with lung fibroblasts induced the secretion of S100A4 from highly resistant EOC cells, which reciprocally activated lung fibroblasts. Genetic and pharmacologic inhibition of S100A4 significantly lowered distant metastases and completely abrogated lung-tropic nature of late-stage chemoresistant EOC cells. These results indicate that chemoresistance exacerbates organ-specific metastasis of EOC cells via the IGF1R-α6 integrin-S100A4 molecular network, of which S100A4 may serve as a potential target for the treatment of recurrent metastatic EOC.
Copyright © 2021. Published by Elsevier B.V.