Research Papers:

The growth of a xenograft breast cancer tumor model with engineered hyaluronan-accumulating stroma is dependent on hyaluronan and independent of CD44

Chunmei Zhao _, Benjamin J. Thompson, Kelly Chen, Feng Gao, Barbara Blouw, Mathieu Marella, Susan Zimmerman, Trevor Kimbler, Sheryl Garrovillo, Jesse Bahn, Lei Huang, Zhongdong Huang, H. Michael Shepard, Sanna Rosengren, Christopher D. Thanos and Daniel C. Maneval

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Oncotarget. 2019; 10:6561-6576. https://doi.org/10.18632/oncotarget.27302

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Chunmei Zhao1, Benjamin J. Thompson1,*, Kelly Chen1, Feng Gao1,*, Barbara Blouw1, Mathieu Marella1,*, Susan Zimmerman1, Trevor Kimbler1,*, Sheryl Garrovillo1,*, Jesse Bahn1, Lei Huang1, Zhongdong Huang1,*, H. Michael Shepard1,*, Sanna Rosengren1,*, Christopher D. Thanos1,* and Daniel C. Maneval1

1 Halozyme Therapeutics, Inc., San Diego, CA, 92121, USA

* Formerly of Halozyme Therapeutics, Inc., San Diego, CA, 92121, USA

Correspondence to:

Chunmei Zhao,email: czhao@halozyme.com

Keywords: hyaluronan; breast cancer; xenograft; tumor microenvironment; CD44

Received: August 05, 2019     Accepted: October 19, 2019     Published: November 12, 2019


Hyaluronan accumulation in the tumor microenvironment is associated with poor prognosis in several solid human cancers. To understand the role of stromal hyaluronan in tumor progression, we engineered 3T3HAS3, a hyaluronan-producing fibroblast cell line, by lentiviral transduction of Balb/c 3T3 cells with the human hyaluronan synthase 3 (HAS3) gene. 3T3HAS3 cells significantly enhanced tumor growth when co-grafted with MDA-MB-468 cells in nude mice. Immunohistochemical analysis of the xenograft tumors showed that MDA-MB-468 cells were surrounded by hyaluronan-accumulating stroma, closely resembling the morphology observed in human breast cancer specimens. Tumor growth of MDA-MB-468 + 3T3HAS3 co-grafts was greatly reduced upon hyaluronan degradation by lentiviral transduction of a human hyaluronidase gene in 3T3HAS3 cells, or by systemic administration of pegvorhyaluronidase alfa (PEGPH20). In contrast, the growth of the co-graft tumors was not inhibited when CD44 expression was reduced or ablated by small hairpin RNA-mediated CD44 knockdown in MDA-MB-468 cells, CD44 CRISPR knockout in 3T3HAS3 cells, or by grafting these cells in CD44 knockout nude mice. Collectively, these data demonstrate that tumor growth of an engineered xenograft breast cancer model with hyaluronan-accumulating stroma can be dependent on hyaluronan and independent of CD44.

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