PLoS One 2018 23;13(1):e0188847. Epub 2018 Jan 23.
Oral Cancer Research Institute, Department of Oral Pathology, Yonsei University College of Dentistry, Seoul, Republic of Korea.
Cancer-associated fibroblasts (CAFs) have emerged as one of the main factors related to cancer progression, however, the conversion mechanism of normal fibroblasts (NOFs) to CAFs has not been well elucidated. The aim of this study was to investigate the underlying mechanism of CAF transformation from NOFs in oral squamous cell carcinoma (OSCC). This study found that NOFs exposed to OSCC cells transformed to senescent cells. The cytokine antibody array showed the highest secretion levels of IL-6 and CXCL1 in NOFs co-cultured with OSCC cells. Despite that both IL-6 and CXCL1 induced the senescent phenotype of CAFs, CXCL1 secretion showed a cancer-specific response to transform NOFs into CAFs in OSCC, whereas IL-6 secretion was eventuated by common co-culture condition. Further, CXCL1 was released from NOFs co-cultured with OSCC cells, however, CXCL1 was undetectable in mono-cultured NOFs or co-cultured OSCC cells with NOFs. Taken together, this study demonstrates that CXCL1 can transform NOFs into senescent CAFs via an autocrine mechanism. These data might contribute to further understanding of CAFs and to development of a potential therapeutic approach targeting cancer cells-CAFs interactions.