For decades, sodium/iodide symporter NIS-mediated iodide uptake has played a crucial role in the radioactive ablation of thyroid cancer cells. NIS-based gene therapy has also become a promising tool for the treatment of tumors of extrathyroidal origin. But its applicability has been hampered by reduced expression of NIS, resulting in a moderated capacity to accumulate 131I and in inefficient ablation. Despite numerous preclinical enhancement strategies, the understanding of NIS expression within tumors remains limited. This study aims at a better understanding of the functional behavior of exogenous NIS expression in the context of malignant solid tumors that are characterized by rapid growth with an insufficient vasculature, leading to hypoxia and quiescence. Using subcutaneous HT29NIS and K7M2NIS tumors, we show that NIS-mediated uptake and NIS expression at the plasma membrane of cancer cells are impaired in the intratumoral regions. For a better understanding of the underlying molecular mechanisms induced by hypoxia and quiescence (separately and in combination), we performed experiments on HT29NIS cancer cells. Hypoxia and quiescence were both found to impair NIS-mediated uptake through mechanisms including NIS mis-localization. Modifications in the expression of proteins and metabolites involved in plasma membrane localization and in energy metabolism were found using untargeted proteomics and metabolomics approaches. In conclusion, our results provide evidence that hypoxia and quiescence impair NIS expression at the plasma membrane, and iodide uptake. Our study also shows that the tumor microenvironment is an important parameter for successful NIS-based cancer treatment.
Keywords: Hypoxia; Protein trafficking; Quiescence; Sodium/Iodide symporter (NIS); Tumor microenvironment.
Copyright © 2020. Published by Elsevier Inc.