Paracrine signalling between intestinal epithelial and tumour cells induces a regenerative programme
Tumours are complex ecosystems composed of different types of cells that communicate and influence each other. While the critical role of stromal cells in affecting tumour growth is well established, the impact of mutant cancer cells on healthy surrounding tissues remains poorly defined. Here, using mouse intestinal organoids, we uncover a paracrine mechanism by which intestinal cancer cells reactivate foetal and regenerative YAP-associated transcriptional programmes in neighbouring wildtype epithelial cells, rendering them adapted to thrive in the tumour context. We identify the glycoprotein thrombospondin-1 (THBS1) as the essential factor that mediates non-cell-autonomous morphological and transcriptional responses. Importantly, Thbs1 is associated with bad prognosis in several human cancers. This study reveals the THBS1-YAP axis as the mechanistic link mediating paracrine interactions between epithelial cells in intestinal tumours.