Exosomes Derived from Hypoxic Colorectal Cancer Cells Transfer Wnt4 to Normoxic Cells to Elicit a Prometastatic Phenotype.
Int J Biol Sci. 2018 ;14(14):2094-2102. Epub 2018 Nov 13. PMID: 30585272
Hypoxia is the most common characteristic of solid tumours driving cancer metastasis. Cancer cells release exosomes with various functions into the tumour microenvironment during cancer progression. However, the roles and associated mechanisms of hypoxic colorectal cancer (CRC) cell-derived exosomes remain poorly understood. Here, we found that exosomes secreted by hypoxic CRC cells promoted the migration and invasion abilities of normoxic CRC cells. Inhibition of exosome secretion by GW4869 reduced hypoxic exosome-mediated migration and invasion of normoxic CRC cells. Furthermore, we found that these hypoxic exosomes contained Wnt4 depending on HIF1α. Exosomal Wnt4 mediated hypoxic exosome-mediated migration and invasion of normoxic CRC cells. Moreover, exosomal Wnt4 enhanced β-catenin translocation to the nucleus in normoxic CRC cells. The activation of β-catenin signalling was important for the migration and invasion of normoxic CRC cells, which was eliminated by treatment with the β-catenin inhibitor ICG-001. Taken together, the results of our study indicate that hypoxia may stimulate tumour cells to release Wnt4-rich exosomes that are delivered to normoxic cells to enhance prometastatic behaviours, which might provide new targetsfor CRC treatment.