Chemotherapy-generated cell debris stimulates colon carcinoma tumor growth via osteopontin.

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The FASEB journal : official publication of the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology


angiogenesis; cancer; macrophage


Colon cancer recurrence after therapy, such as 5-fluorouracil (5-FU), remains a challenge in the clinical setting. Chemotherapy reduces tumor burden by inducing cell death; however, the resulting dead tumor cells, or debris, may paradoxically stimulate angiogenesis, inflammation, and tumor growth. Here, we demonstrate that 5-FU-generated colon carcinoma debris stimulates the growth of a subthreshold inoculum of living tumor cells in subcutaneous and orthotopic models. Debris triggered the release of osteopontin (OPN) by tumor cells and host macrophages. Both coinjection of debris and systemic treatment with 5-FU increased plasma OPN levels in tumor-bearing mice. RNA expression levels of secreted phosphoprotein 1, the gene that encodes OPN, correlate with poor prognosis in patients with colorectal cancer and are elevated in chemotherapy-treated patients who experience tumor recurrence vs. no recurrence. Pharmacologic and genetic ablation of OPN inhibited debris-stimulated tumor growth. Systemic treatment with a combination of a neutralizing OPN antibody and 5-FU dramatically inhibited tumor growth. These results demonstrate a novel mechanism of tumor progression mediated by OPN released in response to chemotherapy-generated tumor cell debris. Neutralization of debris-stimulated OPN represents a potential therapeutic strategy to overcome the inherent limitation of cytotoxic therapies as a result of the generation of cell debris.-Chang, J., Bhasin, S. S., Bielenberg, D. R., Sukhatme, V. P., Bhasin, M., Huang, S., Kieran, M. W., Panigrahy, D. Chemotherapy-generated cell debris stimulates colon carcinoma tumor growth via osteopontin.

Clinical Institute





Institute for Systems Biology