NANOG signaling promotes metastatic capability of immunoedited tumor cells

Hyo Jung Lee, Kyung Hee Noh, Young Ho Lee, Kwon Ho Song, Se Jin Oh, So Youn Kim, Tae Woo Kim

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Citations (Scopus)


Metastatic recurrence after cancer treatments with radiation, cancer drugs, or even immunotherapeutic agents (cytokine, antibody, lymphocyte etc.) is often intractable and fatal for cancer patients. Therefore, molecular understanding of metastatic recurrence is necessary. Recently, these recurrent and metastatic tumor cells with resistance to cancer drugs have been reported to possess stem-like attributes and epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT) phenotype. Previously, we also found that antigen-specific cytotoxic T lymphocyte (CTL)-mediated immunotherapy conferred tumor cells with immune-resistant and stem-like phenotypes by hyper-activating NANOG/TCL1/AKT signaling axis. In this study, we report that these immunoedited cells have high metastatic capability and phenotypes. These cells exhibit enhanced migration, infiltration, and invasiveness in vitro as well as formation of metastatic lung nodules in vivo. Moreover, they display EMT-like features characterized by increased expression of BMI1 and TWIST1. Importantly, these pleiotropic phenotypes of metastasis through the expression of the EMT-associated molecules were critically dependent on the NANOG/TCL1A/AKT signaling axis, which was also conserved across multiple types of human cancer. Thus, we provide proof of the principle that inhibition of the NANOG axis is an effective strategy to control metastasis of immunoedited cancer, particularly, after CTL-based immunotherapy.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)429-439
Number of pages11
JournalClinical and Experimental Metastasis
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 2015 Jun 10


  • EMT
  • Immunoedited cancer
  • Metastasis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


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