Giant cell tumors of bone (GCTB) are rare sarcomas with a high rate of unpredictable local relapse. Studies suggest that surgical methods affect recurrence, supporting the idea that local disease develops from re-growth of residual cancer cells. To identify early prognostic markers of individual risk of recurrence, we evaluated the effect of post-surgery fluids from a cohort of GCTB patients on growth of primary and established sarcoma cell lines, and mice xenographts. Post-surgery fluids increased cell growth and enhanced expression of CD44++, the principal receptor for the extracellular matrix component hyaluronan and the mesenchymal stem marker CD117+. Cancer cells became highly invasive and tumorigenic, acquiring stemness properties, and activated AKT/mTOR pathway. Prolonged stimulation with post-surgery fluids down-regulated the mesenchymal gene TWIST1 and Vimentin protein, and transdifferentiated cells into tubule-like structures positive to the endothelial markers VE-Cadherin and CD31+. In mice, post-surgery fluids gave rise to larger and more vascularized tumors than control, while in patients AKT/mTOR pathway activation was associated with recurrence by logistic regression (Kaplan-Meier; P<0.001). These findings indicate that post-surgery fluids are an adjuvant in mechanisms of tumor regrowth, increasing stem cell growth and AKT/mTOR activity.
- Journal Article