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New Study Finds Polymeric Immunoglobulin Receptor Increases Cancer Stemness

In HCC patients, polymeric immunoglobulin receptor increases cancer stemness and carcinogenesis.

New Study Finds Polymeric Immunoglobulin Receptor Increases Cancer Stemness
Image: Cancer Stemness | InStyleHealth

According to a new study, extracellular vesicles (EVs) loaded with the polymeric immunoglobulin receptor (pIgR) protein aid carcinogenesis and cancer stemness in patients with hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC).

Serum samples from healthy donors with no liver disorders, those with chronic hepatitis B virus infections, and untreated patients with liver diseases such cirrhosis and early and late HCC were included in the study. EVs were extracted from the sera and put through a series of functional tests. The components of EVs were also determined using a proteomic analysis.

In addition, researchers used quantitative polymerase chain reaction, enzyme-linked immunosorbent assays, and other immune-based assays to compare the levels of EV pIgR in tumor and nontumor tissues in HCC patients.

Patients with late HCC showed circulating EVs with higher levels of pIgR expression than healthy controls, according to the researchers. Furthermore, EVs from late-stage HCC patients were the most effective at encouraging tumor cell migration, invasiveness, and colony formation, as well as tumor development in recipient cells.

The enhancing effect of late HCC EVs on cancer stemness and tumorigenesis was significantly reduced by an anti-pIgR neutralizing antibody.

"We show here that tumors release nanometer-sized extracellular vesicles that promote cancer stemness and carcinogenesis." "We discovered a crucial component within these oncogenic vesicles that acts as a powerful regulator of cancer aggressiveness," the researchers added.

"Tumor growth in mice was significantly slowed after a neutralizing antibody was used to disrupt this functional component of EVs. This suggests a potentially viable therapeutic option for cancer patients," they noted.

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