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Influence of Ionizing Radiation on Stromal-Epithelial Intercellular Communication in Esophageal CarcinogenesisEsophageal cancer is the 6th leading cause of cancer death worldwide. Its development is associated with a variety of risk factors including tobacco use, heavy alcohol consumption, human papilloma virus infection, and certain dietary factors such as trace mineral and vitamin deficiencies. An association with ionizing radiation exposure is revealed by the high excess relative risk for squamous cell carcinoma of the esophagus observed in the survivors of the atomic bomb detonations in Japan. It is also seen as a secondary malignancy in patients who received radiotherapy for breast and thoracic cancers; additionally, patients with head/neck and oral squamous cell cancers are at increased risk for metachronous esophageal squamous cell cancers. This malignancy is rapidly fatal, mainly because it remains asymptomatic until late, advanced stages when the disease is rarely curable. The stromal microenvironment plays an essential role in the maintenance and modulation of normal epithelial cell growth and differentiation and cross talk between the epithelial and stromal compartments can influence many aspects of malignant progression, including tumor cell proliferation, migration, invasion and recruitment of new blood vessels. To test the hypothesis that radiation exposure plays a role in esophageal carcinogenesis via non-targeted mechanisms involving stromal-epithelial cell communication, we are studying radiation effects on hTERT-immortalized human esophageal epithelial cells and genetic variants grown in co-culture with human esophageal stromal fibroblasts (Okawa et al., Genes & Dev. 2007. 21: 2788-2803). We examined how radiation treatment of stromal fibroblasts affected epithelial migration and invasion, behaviors associated with cancer promotion and progression. Chemotactic and haptotactic migration of epithelial cells stimulated by conditioned media from irradiated fibroblasts was measured using assays conducted in Transwell cell culture chambers. Our results using low LET radiation showed a dose-dependent increase in migration of epithelial cells when exposed to conditioned media from irradiated vs. non-irradiated fibroblasts. We also observed enhanced invasion through a basement membrane simulant. To identify chemotactic proteins secreted by irradiated stromal fibroblasts, we used antibody capture cytokine arrays and have identified several proteins as candidates. Increased secretion of these factors by irradiated fibroblasts was confirmed using ELISA. We are currently analyzing the contribution of these individual factors on epithelial migration and invasion, as well as their influence on cell survival and DNA repair. Studies using high-LET radiation will help determine radiation quality effects on these processes. These results should further our understanding of the mechanisms by which radiation impacts the tissue microenvironment and how it influences cancer development processes.
Document ID
Document Type
Patel, Zarana S. (NASA Johnson Space Center Houston, TX, United States)
Kalabis, Jiri (Pennsylvania Univ. Philadelphia, PA, United States)
Rustgi, Anil K. (Pennsylvania Univ. Philadelphia, PA, United States)
Cucinotta, Francis A. (NASA Johnson Space Center Houston, TX, United States)
Huff, Janice L. (NASA Johnson Space Center Houston, TX, United States)
Date Acquired
August 25, 2013
Publication Date
January 1, 2010
Subject Category
Life Sciences (General)
Report/Patent Number
Meeting Information
COSPAR 2010(Bremen)
Distribution Limits