Objectives: Cigarette smoking is involved in the pathogenesis of head and neck squamous cell carcinoma (HNSCC). However, the underlying molecular mechanisms of cigarette smoking-induced HNSCC carcinogenesis are unclear and may involve cancer stem-like cell generation. We examined the effects of cigarette smoke condensate (CSC) on the formation of cancer stem-like cells, which are rich in octamer-binding transcription factor (OCT)-4, inhibitor of differentiation 1 (ID1), nuclear factor (NF)-κB, and B lymphoma Mo-MLV insertion region 1 homolog (BMI-1). Materials and Methods: We used in vitro, in vivo, and archival human HNSCC tissue analysis to evaluate the effects of CSC on cancer stem-like cell formation. Results: We found that CSC regulated OCT-4 expression, which subsequently regulated ID1 and NF-κB, at the promoter, mRNA, and protein levels in vitro. Furthermore, OCT-4 knockdown with siRNA reduced ID1 expression. ID1 and NF-κB synergistically increased the expression of BMI-1 and stimulated keratinocyte sphere generation. In vivo, ID1 and NF-κB acted together to generate malignant xenograft tumors, which were aggressive locally and systemically metastatic. Clinical data confirmed that ID1- and NF-κB-positive patients had poor clinical outcomes and 5-year disease-free survival. Conclusion: Our data suggest that smoking cigarettes promoted cancer stem-like cell generation in the head and neck area via the OCT-4/ID1/NF-κB/BMI-1 signaling pathway.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
This work was supported by National Institutes of Health grants [grant number R03CA107989]; the Brainstorm Award from the University of Minnesota Cancer Center, 5M Lions International Hearing Foundation and Natural Science Foundation of Fujian Province [grant number 2016J01460] for study design, the collection, analysis and interpretation of data; the Industry-University-Research Cooperation Project of Fujian [grant number 2017Y4006]; and Startup Fund for Scientific Research, Fujian Medical University [grant number 2017XQ1021] for analysis and interpretation of data and the decision to submit the article for publication.
- B lymphoma Mo-MLV insertion region 1 homolog
- Cancer stem-like cells
- Cigarette smoking
- Neck squamous cell carcinoma
- Octamer-binding transcription factor-4