Article

Circulating Breast Tumor Cells Exhibit Dynamic Changes in Epithelial and Mesenchymal Composition.

Massachusetts General Hospital Cancer Center, Harvard Medical School, Charlestown, MA 02129, USA.
Science (Impact Factor: 31.2). 02/2013; 339(6119):580-584. DOI: 10.1126/science.1228522
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT) of adherent epithelial cells to a migratory mesenchymal state has been implicated in tumor metastasis in preclinical models. To investigate its role in human cancer, we characterized EMT in circulating tumor cells (CTCs) from breast cancer patients. Rare primary tumor cells simultaneously expressed mesenchymal and epithelial markers, but mesenchymal cells were highly enriched in CTCs. Serial CTC monitoring in 11 patients suggested an association of mesenchymal CTCs with disease progression. In an index patient, reversible shifts between these cell fates accompanied each cycle of response to therapy and disease progression. Mesenchymal CTCs occurred as both single cells and multicellular clusters, expressing known EMT regulators, including transforming growth factor (TGF)-β pathway components and the FOXC1 transcription factor. These data support a role for EMT in the blood-borne dissemination of human breast cancer.

0 Bookmarks
 · 
233 Views
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Background Many current therapies for metastatic castration-resistant prostate cancer (mCRPC) are aimed at AR signaling; however, resistance to these therapies is inevitable. To personalize CRPC therapy in an individual with clinical progression despite maximal AR signaling blockade, it is important to characterize the status of AR activity within their cancer. Biopsies of bone metastases are invasive and frequently fail to yield sufficient tissue for further study. Evaluation of circulating tumor cells (CTCs) offers an alternative, minimally invasive mechanism to characterize and study late-stage disease. The goal of this study was to evaluate the utility of CTC interrogation with respect to the AR as a potential novel therapeutic biomarker in patients with mCRPC.Methods Fifteen mL of whole blood was collected from patients with progressive, metastatic mCRPC, the mononuclear cell portion was isolated, and fluorescence-activated cell sorting (FACS) was used to isolate and evaluate CTCs. A novel protocol was optimized to use ImageStreamX to quantitatively analyze AR expression and subcellular localization within CTCs. Co-expression of AR and the proliferation marker Ki67 was also determined using ImageStreamX.ResultsWe found inter-patient and intra-patient heterogeneity in expression and localization of AR. Increased AR expression and nuclear localization are associated with elevated co-expression of Ki-67, consistent with the continued role for AR in castration-resistant disease. Despite intra-patient heterogeneity, CTCs from patients with prior exposure to abiraterone had increased AR expression compared to CTCs from patients who were abiraterone-naïve.Conclusions As our toolbox for targeting AR function expands, our ability to evaluate AR expression and function within tumor samples from patients with late-stage disease will likely be a critical component of the personalized management of advanced prostate cancer. AR expression and nuclear localization varies within patients and between patients; however it remains associated with markers of proliferation. This supports a molecularly diverse AR-centric pathobiology imparting castration-resistance.
    Journal of translational medicine. 11/2014; 12(1):313.
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: INTRODUCTION: Incisional biopsies, including the diagnostic core needle biopsy (CNB), routinely performed before surgical excision of breast cancer tumors are hypothesized to increase the risk of metastatic disease. In this study, we experimentally determined whether CNB of breast cancer tumors results in increased distant metastases and examine important resultant changes in the primary tumor and tumor microenvironment associated with this outcome. METHOD: To evaluate the effect of CNB on metastasis development, we implanted murine mammary 4T1 tumor cells in BALB/c mice and performed CNB on palpable tumors in half the mice. Subsequently, emulating the human scenario, all mice underwent complete tumor excision and were allowed to recover, with attendant metastasis development. Tumor growth, lung metastasis, circulating tumor cell (CTC) levels, variation in gene expression, composition of the tumor microenvironment, and changes in immunologic markers were compared in biopsied and non-biopsied mice. RESULTS: Mice with biopsied tumors developed significantly more lung metastases compared to non-biopsied mice. Tumors from biopsied mice contained a higher frequency of myeloid-derived suppressor cells (MDSCs) accompanied by reduced CD4 + T cells, CD8 + T cells, and macrophages, suggesting biopsy-mediated development of an increasingly immunosuppressive tumor microenvironment. We also observed a CNB-dependent up-regulation in the expression of SOX4, Ezh2, and other key epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT) genes, as well as increased CTC levels among the biopsy group. CONCLUSION: CNB creates an immunosuppressive tumor microenvironment, increases EMT, and facilitates release of CTCs, all of which likely contribute to the observed increase in development of distant metastases.
    Neoplasia (New York, N.Y.) 11/2014; · 5.48 Impact Factor
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Circulating tumor cells (CTCs) are prognostic in all stages of breast cancer. However, since they are extremely rare, little is known about the molecular nature of these cells. We report a novel strategy for the isolation and expression profiling of pure populations of CTCs derived from peripheral blood. We developed a method to isolate CTCs based on immunomagnetic capture followed by fluorescence-activated cell sorting (IE/FACS). After assay validation using the BT474 cell line spiked into blood samples in vitro, RNA from CTCs isolated from the blood of five metastatic breast cancer (MBC) patients was linearly amplified and subjected to gene expression profiling via cDNA microarrays. We isolated a range of 9-993 captured CTCs from five MBC patients' blood and profiled their RNA in comparison to a diverse panel of primary breast tumors (n = 55). Unsupervised hierarchical clustering revealed that CTC profiles clustered with more aggressive subtypes of primary breast tumors and were readily distinguishable from peripheral blood (PB) and normal epithelium. Differential expression analysis revealed CTCs to have downregulated apoptosis, and they were distinguishable from PB by the relative absence of immune-related signals. As expected, CTCs from MBC had significantly higher risk of recurrence scores than primary tumors (p = 0.0073). This study demonstrates that it is feasible to isolate CTCs from PB with high purity through IE/FACS and profile them via gene expression analysis. Our approach may inform the discovery of therapeutic predictors and be useful for real-time identification of emerging resistance mechanisms in MBC patients.
    Breast Cancer Research and Treatment 11/2014; · 4.47 Impact Factor

Full-text

Download
31 Downloads
Available from
May 21, 2014