Impaired immunomodulatory function of chronic myeloid leukemia cancer stem cells and the possible mechanism involved in it

Journal Article

Cancer stem cells (CSCs) are proposed to persist in tumors as a distinct population and cause relapse and metastasis by giving rise to new tumors. Development of specific therapies targeted at CSCs holds hope for the improvement of survival and quality of life of cancer patients, especially for sufferers of metastatic disease. This is particularly true in chronic myeloid leukemia (CML). In this study, we isolated fetal liver kinase-1-positive (Flk1(+)) cells carrying the BCR/ABL fusion gene from the bone marrow of Philadelphia chromosome-positive (Ph+) patients with stem cells property. We examined their biological characteristics as well as immunological function and further detected the possible molecular mechanism involved in the leukemia genesis. We showed that CML patient-derived Flk1(+)CD31(-)CD34(-) MSCs had normal morphology, phenotype and karyotype but appeared impaired immunomodulatory function. The capacity of Flk1(+)CD31(-)CD34(-) MSCs from CML patients to inhibit T lymphocyte activation and proliferation was impaired in vitro. CML patient-derived MSCs have dampening immunomodulatory functions, suggesting that the dysregulation of hematopoiesis and immune response might originate from MSCs rather than HSCs. These Ph+ putative CML hemangioblast upregulated TGF-beta 1 and resultantly activated matrix metalloproteinase-9 (MMP-9) to enhance s-KitL and s-ICAM-1 secretion, which activated c-kit(+) HSCs from the quiescent state to proliferative state. Further studies showed that phosphatidylinositol-3 kinase (PI3K)/Akt/nuclear factor (NF)-kappa B signaling pathway was involved in CML pathogenesis. Flk1(+)CD31(-)CD34(-) MSCs that express BCR/ABL leukemia oncogene are CSCs of CML and they play a critical role in the progression of CML through PI3K/Akt/NF-kappa B/MMP-9/s-ICAM-1/s-KitL signaling pathway beyond HSCs.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Zhu, XS; Zhou, XN; He, BX; Ren, J

Published Date

  • 2013

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 62 /

Start / End Page

  • 689 - 703

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 0340-7004

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1007/s00262-012-1367-5