Research Papers:

Crosstalk between stromal components and tumor cells of TNBC via secreted factors enhances tumor growth and metastasis

Kideok Jin _, Niranjan B. Pandey and Aleksander S. Popel

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Oncotarget. 2017; 8:60210-60222. https://doi.org/10.18632/oncotarget.19417

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Kideok Jin1, Niranjan B. Pandey1 and Aleksander S. Popel1,2

1Department of Biomedical Engineering, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore, Maryland, USA

2Department of Oncology and Sidney Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore, Maryland, USA

Correspondence to:

Kideok Jin, email: [email protected]

Keywords: IL-8, TNBC, CXCR1/2, breast cancer, tumor microenvironment

Received: February 17, 2017     Accepted: July 11, 2017     Published: July 21, 2017


Triple negative breast cancer (TNBC) as a metastatic disease is currently incurable. Reliable and reproducible methods for testing drugs against metastasis are not available. Stromal cells may play a critical role in tumor progression and metastasis. In this study, we determined that fibroblasts and macrophages secreted IL-8 upon induction by tumor cell-conditioned media (TCM) from MDA-MB-231 cancer cells. Our data showed that the proliferation of MDA-MB-231 cells co-cultured with fibroblasts or macrophages was enhanced compared to the monoculture. Furthermore, TNBC cell migration, a key step in tumor metastasis, was promoted by conditioned media (CM) from TCM-induced fibroblasts or macrophages. Knockdown of the IL-8 receptor CXCR2 by CRISPR-Cas9 reduces MDA-MB-231 cell proliferation and migration compared to wild type. In a mouse xenograft tumor model, the growth of MDA-MB-231-CXCR2−/− tumor was significantly decreased compared to the growth of tumors from wild-type cells. In addition, the incidence of thoracic metastasis of MDA-MB-231-CXCR2−/− tumors was reduced compared to wild type. We found that the auto- and paracrine loop exists between TNBC cells and stroma, which results in enhanced IL-8 secretion from the stromal components. Significantly, inhibition of the IL-8 signaling pathway by reparixin, an inhibitor of the IL-8 receptor, CXCR1/2, reduced MDA-MB-231 tumor growth and metastasis. Taken together, these findings implicate IL-8 signaling as a critical event in TNBC tumor growth and metastasis via crosstalk with stromal components.

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