Immune vulnerability of ovarian cancer stem-like cells due to low CD47 expression is protected by surrounding bulk tumor cells

Chih Long Chang, Chao Chih Wu, Yun Ting Hsu, Yi Chiung Hsu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations

Abstract

Recurrence of advanced epithelial ovarian cancer is common despite optimal surgical debulking and initial favorable responses to chemotherapy. Evidences suggest that cancer stem cells (CSCs) have inherent resistance to conventional therapies such as chemotherapy and play a decisive role in cancer recurrence. Cancer stem cells are also believed to be able to evade immunological attack. However, this study showed a different scenario in which cancer stem-like cells are more vulnerable to immunosurveillance. Our study demonstrated that isolated murine cancer stem-like cells, stem cell antigen (SCA)-1+ ID8 and CD133+ HM-1 cells, were susceptible to phagocytosis by macrophages and consequent CD8+ T cell immunity. The increased phagocytosis of these stem cell-like cells is attributed to low CD47 protein expression. SCA-1+ ID8 cells were able to grow in syngeneic mice but were soon rejected. Restoring CD47 expression delayed this immune-mediated rejection. SCA-1+ ID8 cells showed rapid growth by mixing with bulk ID8 cells. These results suggest that stem-like cells could be protected by surrounding non-stem cancer cells from immune attack. Similarly, both isolated human CD24−/low SKOV3 stem-like cells and spheroid OVCAR3 cells expressed lower CD47 levels. Our study provided novel insights into the immune characteristics of CSCs within a tumor microenvironment. The results might lead to the design of more effective treatment strategies for ovarian cancer.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1803530
JournalOncoImmunology
Volume9
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2020

Keywords

  • CD47
  • Cancer stem cell
  • ovarian cancer
  • tumor microenvironment

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