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Inhibition of proprotein convertases activity results in repressed stemness and invasiveness of cancer stem cells in gastric cancer.

Gastric Cancer 2024 January 28
BACKGROUND: Gastric cancer (GC), the fourth leading cause of cancer-related death worldwide, with most deaths caused by advanced and metastatic disease, has limited curative options. Here, we revealed the importance of proprotein convertases (PCs) in the malignant and metastatic potential of GC cells through the regulation of the YAP/TAZ/TEAD pathway and epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition (EMT) in cancer stem cells (CSC).

METHODS: The general PCs inhibitor, decanoyl-RVKR-chloromethyl-ketone (CMK), was used to repress PCs activity in CSCs of various GC cell lines. Their tumorigenic properties, drug resistance, YAP/TAZ/TEAD pathway activity, and invasive properties were then investigated in vitro, and their metastatic properties were explored in a mouse xenograft model. The prognostic value of PCs in GC patients was also explored in molecular databases of GC.

RESULTS: Inhibition of PCs activity in CSCs in all GC cell lines reduced tumorsphere formation and growth, drug efflux, EMT phenotype, and invasive properties that are associated with repressed YAP/TAZ/TEAD pathway activity in vitro. In vivo, PCs' inhibition in GC cells reduced their metastatic spread. Molecular analysis of tumors from GC patients has highlighted the prognostic value of PCs.

CONCLUSIONS: PCs are overexpressed in GC and associated with poor prognosis. PCs are involved in the malignant and metastatic potential of CSCs via the regulation of EMT, the YAP/TAZ/TEAD oncogenic pathway, and their stemness and invasive properties. Their repression represents a new strategy to target CSCs and impair metastatic spreading in GC.

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