Cancer stem cells (CSCs) possess self-renewal and chemoresistance activities. However, the manner in which these features are maintained remains obscure. We sought to identify cell surface protein(s) that mark self-renewing and chemoresistant gastric cancer cells using the Explorer Antibody Microarray. We identified PMP22, a target gene of the Wnt/β-catenin pathway, as the most upregulated cell surface protein in gastric cancer xenografts exposed to cisplatin (DDP). PMP22 expression was markedly upregulated in tumorspheric cells and declined with differentiation. Infecting gastric cancer cells with lentivirus expressing PMP22 shRNAs reduced proliferation, tumorsphere formation, and chemoresistance to cisplatin in vitro and in NOD/SCID mice. When combined with bortezomib, a PMP22 inhibitor, the chemotherapeutic sensitivity to cisplatin treatment was dramatically increased by inducing cell apoptosis in cultured cells and xenograft mouse models. Finally, mRNA expression levels of PMP22 were detected in 38 tumor specimens from patients who received 6 cycles of perioperative chemotherapy. A strong correlation between PMP22 level and tumor recurrence was revealed, thus showing a pivotal role of PMP22 in the clinical chemoresistance of gastric cancer. Our study is the first to show the role of PMP22 in gastric cancer stemness and chemoresistance and reveals a potential new target for the diagnosis and treatment of recurrent gastric cancer.
- Received November 8, 2016.
- Revision received March 1, 2017.
- Accepted March 3, 2017.
- Copyright ©2017, American Association for Cancer Research.