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Conventionally, Cancer-associated fibroblasts (CAFs) are considered as an inducer of chemoresistance in cancer cells. However, the underlying mechanism by which carcinomas induce chemoresistance in CAFs through tumor-stroma cross-talk is largely unknown. Henceforth, we uncovered a network of paracrine signals between carcinoma and CAFs that drives chemoresistance in CAFs. Acquired tamoxifen and 5-Fu resistant cell lines MCF-7 and MDA-MB-468 respectively showed higher apoptotic resistance compared to the parental cell. Besides, chemoresistant breast cancer cells showed overexpression of TGF-β1 and have the higher potential to induce CAF phenotype in the normal dermal fibroblasts in a paracrine manner through the TGF-β1 cytokine, compared to their parental cell. Moreover, the chemoresistant cancer cells augmented the EMT markers with a reduction of E-cadherin in the CAFs. Importantly we found out that the TGF- β1 enriched conditioned media from both of the resistant cells triggered chemoresistance in the CAFs by p44/42 MAPK signaling axis. Mechanistically, pharmacological and genetic blockade of TGF-β1 inhibits p44/42 MAPK activation with the subsequent restoration of chemosensitivity in the CAFs. Altogether we ascertained that chemoresistant cancer cells have tremendous potential to modulate the CAFs compared to the parental counterpart. Targeting TGF-β1 and p44/42 MAPK signaling in the future may help to abrogate the chemoresistance in the CAFs. Copyright © 2021 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.


Bikash Chandra Jena, Chandan Kanta Das, Indranil Banerjee, Subhayan Das, Deblina Bharadwaj, Ranabir Majumder, Mahitosh Mandal. Paracrine TGF-β1 from breast cancer contributes to chemoresistance in cancer associated fibroblasts via upregulation of the p44/42 MAPK signaling pathway. Biochemical pharmacology. 2021 Apr;186:114474

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PMID: 33607074

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