7S,15R-Dihydroxy-16S,17S-Epoxy-Docosapentaenoic Acid, a Novel DHA Epoxy Derivative, Inhibits Colorectal Cancer Stemness through Repolarization of Tumor-Associated Macrophage Functions and the ROS/STAT3 Signaling Pathway
Lifang Wang, Hack Sun Choi, Yan Su, Binna Lee, Jae Jun Song, Yong-Suk Jang, Jeong-Woo Seo
Colorectal cancer is a highly malignant cancer that is inherently resistant to many chemotherapeutic drugs owing to the complicated tumor-supportive microenvironment (TME). Tumor-associated macrophages (TAM) are known to mediate colorectal cancer metastasis and relapse and are therefore a promising therapeutic target. In the current study, we first confirmed the anti-inflammatory effect of 7S,15R-dihydroxy-16S,17S-epoxy-docosapentaenoic acid (diHEP-DPA), a novel DHA dihydroxy derivative
... zed in our previous work. We found that diHEP-DPA significantly reduced lipopolysaccharide (LPS)-induced inflammatory cytokines secretion of THP1 macrophages, IL-6, and TNF-α. As expected, diHEP-DPA also modulated TAM polarization, as evidenced by decreased gene and protein expression of the TAM markers, CD206, CD163, VEGF, and TGF-β1. During the polarization process, diHEP-DPA treatment decreased the concentration of TGF-β1, IL-1β, IL-6, and TNF-α in culture supernatants via inhibiting the NF-κB pathway. Moreover, diHEP-DPA blocked immunosuppression by reducing the expression of SIRPα in TAMs and CD47 in colorectal cancer cells. Knowing that an inflammatory TME largely serves to support epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT) and cancer stemness, we tested whether diHEP-DPA acted through polarization of TAMs to regulate these processes. The intraperitoneally injected diHEP-DPA inhibited tumor growth when administered alone or in combination with 5-fluorouracil (5-FU) chemotherapy in vivo. We further found that diHEP-DPA effectively reversed TAM-conditioned medium (TCCM)-induced EMT and enhanced colorectal cancer stemness, as evidenced by its inhibition of colorectal cancer cell migration, invasion and expression of EMT markers, as well as cancer cell tumorspheres formation, without damaging colorectal cancer cells. DiHEP-DPA reduced the population of aldehyde dehydrogenase (ALDH)-positive cells and expression of colorectal stemness marker proteins (CD133, CD44, and Sox2) by modulating TAM polarization. Additionally, diHEP-DPA directly inhibited cancer stemness by inducing the production of reactive oxygen species (ROS), which, in turn, reduced the phosphorylation of nuclear signal transducer and activator of transcription 3 (STAT3). These data collectively suggest that diHEP-DPA has the potential for development as an anticancer agent against colorectal cancer.