EpCAM is a transmembrane glycoprotein typically overexpressed in cancer of epithelial origin and mainly involved in the epithelial-to–mesenchymal transition (EMT) of tumor cells that spread and disseminate. Strategies for the targeting and capture of EpCAM-expressing tumor cells are showing promise in cancers prone to metastatize, both as diagnostic tools and potential therapies. Sarcomas are among the most aggressive tumors in children, with a common mesenchymal origin that comprises both soft tissue sarcomas (STS) and bone sarcomas. The aim of this study was to assess EpCAM expression in pediatric sarcomas and correlate its expression with disease progression. To do so, we analyzed a set of cell lines and primary tumor tissues from rhabdomyosarcoma (RMS), Ewing sarcoma (ES), synovial sarcoma (SS) and desmoplastic small round cell tumor (DSRCT) STS, or osteosarcoma (OS) bone cancer. We demonstrated that EpCAM was variably expressed in pediatric sarcomas, with DSRCT, a rare, aggressive and almost fatal tumor type, characterized by the highest EpCAM expression levels. Interestingly, although EpCAM expression was lower in RMS tumors, high levels at diagnosis correlated with reduced patients' overall survival (p < 0.05). Indeed, membrane-bound EpCAM was detected in circulating sarcoma tumor cells, revealing its potential to be used as dissemination biomarker in this type of childhood cancers. This reinforces the concept that pediatric sarcomas do express both epithelial and mesenchymal markers and reside in an intermediate condition that most likely contributes to their aggressive phenotype and low survival rate.

Pediatric sarcomas display a variable EpCAM expression in a histology-dependent manner

Tombolan L.;Zin A.;Santoro L.;Bonvini P.;Bisogno G.
2020

Abstract

EpCAM is a transmembrane glycoprotein typically overexpressed in cancer of epithelial origin and mainly involved in the epithelial-to–mesenchymal transition (EMT) of tumor cells that spread and disseminate. Strategies for the targeting and capture of EpCAM-expressing tumor cells are showing promise in cancers prone to metastatize, both as diagnostic tools and potential therapies. Sarcomas are among the most aggressive tumors in children, with a common mesenchymal origin that comprises both soft tissue sarcomas (STS) and bone sarcomas. The aim of this study was to assess EpCAM expression in pediatric sarcomas and correlate its expression with disease progression. To do so, we analyzed a set of cell lines and primary tumor tissues from rhabdomyosarcoma (RMS), Ewing sarcoma (ES), synovial sarcoma (SS) and desmoplastic small round cell tumor (DSRCT) STS, or osteosarcoma (OS) bone cancer. We demonstrated that EpCAM was variably expressed in pediatric sarcomas, with DSRCT, a rare, aggressive and almost fatal tumor type, characterized by the highest EpCAM expression levels. Interestingly, although EpCAM expression was lower in RMS tumors, high levels at diagnosis correlated with reduced patients' overall survival (p < 0.05). Indeed, membrane-bound EpCAM was detected in circulating sarcoma tumor cells, revealing its potential to be used as dissemination biomarker in this type of childhood cancers. This reinforces the concept that pediatric sarcomas do express both epithelial and mesenchymal markers and reside in an intermediate condition that most likely contributes to their aggressive phenotype and low survival rate.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11577/3353828
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