Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science, and Technology
Ono Cancer Research
Suharakinenzaidan Co., Ltd
Kobayashi Foundation for Cancer Research
Northern Advancement Center for Science and Technology
Technology of Hokkaido Japan
ARTICLE ABSTRACTPurpose: Cancer-initiating cells (CICs) are thought to be essential for tumor maintenance, recurrence, and distant metastasis, and they are therefore reasonable targets for cancer therapy. Cancer immunotherapy is a novel approach to target cancer. In this study, we aimed to establish novel CIC-targeting immunotherapy.Experimental Design: Colorectal cancer (CRC) CICs were isolated as side population (SP) cells. The gene expression profile of CRC CICs was analyzed by cDNA microarray and RT-PCR. Protein expression of olfactory receptor family 7 subfamily C member 1 (OR7C1) were analyzed by Western blot and immunohistochemical staining. The functions of OR7C1 were analyzed by gene overexpression and gene knockdown using siRNAs. OR7C1-positive cells were isolated by a flow cytometer and analyzed. CTLs specific for OR7C1 peptide were generated, and the antitumor effect was addressed by mice adoptive transfer model.Results: OR7C1 has essential roles in the maintenance of colon CICs, and the OR7C1-positive population showed higher tumorigenicity than that of the OR7C1-negative population, indicating that OR7C1 is a novel functional marker for colon CIC. Immunohistochemical staining revealed that OR7C1 high expression was correlated with poorer prognosis in CRC patients. OR7C1-derived antigenic peptide-specific CTLs showed specific cytotoxicity for CICs, and an OR7C1-specific CTL clone showed a greater antitumor effect than did a CTL clone targeting all cancer cells in a CTL adoptive transfer mouse model.Conclusions: OR7C1 is a novel marker for colon CICs and can be a target of potent CIC-targeting immunotherapy. Clin Cancer Res; 22(13); 3298–309. ©2016 AACR.