Secretome from senescent melanoma engages the STAT3 pathway to favor reprogramming of naive melanoma towards a tumor-initiating cell phenotype

Ohanna M, Cheli Y, Bonet C, Bonazzi VF, Allegra M, Giuliano S, Bille K, Bahadoran P, Giacchero D, Lacour JP, Boyle GM, Hayward NF, Bertolotto C, Ballotti R

Oncotarget 2013 Dec;4(12):2212-24


PMID: 24344100

Here, we showed that the secretome of senescent melanoma cells drives basal melanoma cells towards a mesenchymal phenotype, with characteristic of stems illustrated by increased level of the prototype genes FN1, SNAIL, OCT4 and NANOG. This molecular reprogramming leads to an increase in the low-MITF and slow-growing cell population endowed with melanoma-initiating cell features. The secretome of senescent melanoma cells induces a panel of 52 genes, involved in cell movement and cell/cell interaction, among which AXL and ALDH1A3 have been implicated in melanoma development. We found that the secretome of senescent melanoma cells activates the STAT3 pathway and STAT3 inhibition prevents secretome effects, including the acquisition of tumorigenic properties. Collectively, the findings provide insights into how the secretome of melanoma cells entering senescence upon chemotherapy treatments increases the tumorigenicity of naïve melanoma cells by inducing, through STAT3 activation, a melanoma-initiating cell phenotype that could favor chemotherapy resistance and relapse.