Tumours recruit mesenchymal stem cells to facilitate healing, which induces their conversion into cancer-associated fibroblasts that facilitate metastasis. However, this process is poorly understood on the molecular level. Here we show that CXCL16, a ligand for CXCR6, facilitates mesenchymal stem cell or very small embryonic-like cells recruitment into prostate tumours. CXCR6 signalling stimulates the conversion of mesenchymal stem cells into cancer-associated fibroblasts, which secrete stromal-derived factor-1, also known as CXCL12. CXCL12 expressed by cancer-associated fibroblasts then binds to CXCR4 on tumour cells and induces an epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition, which ultimately promotes metastasis to secondary tumour sites. Our results provide the molecular basis for mesenchymal stem cell recruitment into tumours and how this process leads to tumour metastasis.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Physics and Astronomy(all)
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)