Purpose: KRAS mutations confer adverse prognosis to colorectal cancer, and no targeted therapies have shown efficacy in this patient subset. Paracrine, nongenetic events induced by KRAS-mutant tumor cells are expected to result in specific deregulation and/or relocation of tumor microenvironment (TME) proteins, which in principle can be exploited as alternative therapeutic targets.
Experimental Design: A multimodal strategy combining ex vivo/in vitro phage display screens with deep-sequencing and bioinformatics was applied to uncover TME-specific targets in KRAS-mutant hepatic metastasis from colorectal cancer. Expression and localization of BCAM and LAMA5 were validated by immunohistochemistry in preclinical models of human hepatic metastasis and in a panel of human specimens (n = 71). The antimetastatic efficacy of two BCAM-mimic peptides was evaluated in mouse models. The role of BCAM in the interaction of KRAS-mutant colorectal cancer cells with TME cells was investigated by adhesion assays.
Results: BCAM and LAMA5 were identified as molecular targets within both tumor cells and TME of KRAS-mutant hepatic metastasis from colorectal cancer, where they were specifically overexpressed. Two BCAM-mimic peptides inhibited KRAS-mutant hepatic metastasis in preclinical models. Genetic suppression and biochemical inhibition of either BCAM or LAMA5 impaired adhesion of KRAS-mutant colorectal cancer cells specifically to endothelial cells, whereas adhesion to pericytes and hepatocytes was unaffected.
Conclusions: These data show that the BCAM/LAMA5 system plays a functional role in the metastatic spreading of KRAS-mutant colorectal cancer by mediating tumor–TME interactions and as such represents a valuable therapeutic candidate for this large, currently untreatable patient group. Clin Cancer Res; 22(19); 4923–33. ©2016 AACR.
Note: Supplementary data for this article are available at Clinical Cancer Research Online (http://clincancerres.aacrjournals.org/).
- Received November 2, 2015.
- Revision received March 10, 2016.
- Accepted March 31, 2016.
- ©2016 American Association for Cancer Research.