Alveolar soft-part sarcoma (ASPS) is a rare neoplasm with chromosomal translocation that results in ASPL-TFE3 fusion. It is a slow-growing lesion associated with a high incidence of pulmonary and brain metastases indicating poor survival. We demonstrated that the ASPS metastases include also stromal myofibroblasts. These cells proliferate, express smooth-muscle genes, and synthesize extracellular matrix proteins, all of which are characteristics of activated myofibroblasts. The tumor cells also exhibited stromal components such as transforming growth factor beta (TGFβ)-dependent, hypoxia-regulated cytoglobin (stellate cell activation association protein, cytg/ STAP) and prolyl 4-hydroxylase, a collagen cross-linking enzyme. The pulmonary ASPS myofibroblasts synthesize serum response factor (SRF), a repressor of Smad3-mediated TGFβ signaling essential for myofibroblast differentiation and Smad3. The phosphorylated active Smad3 was found mostly in the tumor cells. The brain tumor cells express cytg/STAP, but in contrast to the lung metastases, they also express SRF, Smad3, and phospho-Smad3. Halofuginone, an inhibitor of myofibroblasts' activation and Smad3 phosphorylation, inhibited tumor development in xenografts derived from renal carcinoma cells harboring a reciprocal ASPL-TFE3 fusion transcript. This inhibition was associated with the inhibition of TGF(3/SRF signaling, with the inhibition of myofibroblasts' activation, and with the complete loss in TFE3 synthesis by the tumor cells. These results suggest that the myofibroblasts may serve as a novel target for treatment of ASPS metastases.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cancer Research