[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: IntroductionTransforming growth factor beta (TGFß) plays a major role in the regulation of tumor initiation, progression, and metastasis. It is depended on the type II TGFß receptor (TßRII) for signaling. Previously, we have shown that deletion of TßRII in mammary epithelial of MMTV-PyMT mice results in shortened tumor latency and increased lung metastases. In MMTV-Neu mouse model, which is related to human epidermal growth factor 2 (HER2)¿+¿human breast cancer, active TGFß signaling increased the number of circulating tumor cells and metastases. Therefore, the loss-of-function experiments suppressed metastasis in Neu-induced tumors. In the current study, we describe a newly discovered connection between attenuated TGFß signaling and HER2 signaling in mammary tumor progression.Methods
All studies were performed on MMTV-Neu mice with and without dominant-negative TßRII (DNIIR) in mammary epithelium. Mammary tumors were analyzed by flow cytometry, immunohistochemistry, and immunofluorescence staining. The levels of secreted proteins were measured by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay. Whole-lung mount staining was used to quantitate lung metastasis. The Cancer Genome Atlas (TCGA) datasets were used to determine the relevance of our findings to human breast cancer.ResultsAttenuated TGFß signaling led to a delay of HER2+ tumor onset, but increased the number of metastases. The DNIIR tumors were characterized by increased vasculogenesis, vessel leakage, and increased expression of vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF). During DNIIR tumor progression, both the levels of CXCL1/5 and the number of CD11b+Gr1+ cells and T cells decreased. Analysis of TCGA datasets demonstrated a significant negative correlation between TGFBR2 and VEGF genes expression. Higher VEGFA expression correlated with shorter distant metastasis-free survival only in HER2+ patients with no differences in HER2-, estrogen receptor +/- or progesterone receptor +/- breast cancer patients.Conclusion
Our studies provide insights into a novel mechanism by which epithelial TGFß signaling modulates the tumor microenvironment, and by which it is involved in lung metastasis in HER2+ breast cancer patients. The effects of pharmacological targeting of the TGFß pathway in vivo during tumor progression remain controversial. The targeting of TGFß signaling should be a viable option, but because VEGF has a protumorigenic effect on HER2+ tumors, the targeting of this protein could be considered when it is associated with attenuated TGFß signaling.
Breast cancer research: BCR 10/2014; 16(5):425. · 5.88 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: There is growing evidence that generation of adenosine from ATP, which is mediated by the CD39/CD73 enzyme pair, predetermines immunosuppressive and proangiogenic properties of myeloid cells. We have previously shown that the deletion of the TGF-β type II receptor gene (Tgfbr2) expression in myeloid cells is associated with decreased tumor growth, suggesting protumorigenic effect of TGF-β signaling. In this study, we tested the hypothesis that TGF-β drives differentiation of myeloid-derived suppressor cells into protumorigenic terminally differentiated myeloid mononuclear cells (TDMMCs) characterized by high levels of cell-surface CD39/CD73 expression. We found that TDMMCs represent a major cell subpopulation expressing high levels of both CD39 and CD73 in the tumor microenvironment. In tumors isolated from mice with spontaneous tumor formation of mammary gland and conditional deletion of the type II TGF-β receptor in mammary epithelium, an increased level of TGF-β protein was associated with further increase in number of CD39(+)CD73(+) TDMMCs compared with MMTV-PyMT/TGFβRII(WT) control tumors with intact TGF-β signaling. Using genetic and pharmacological approaches, we demonstrated that the TGF-β signaling mediates maturation of myeloid-derived suppressor cells into TDMMCs with high levels of cell surface CD39/CD73 expression and adenosine-generating capacity. Disruption of TGF-β signaling in myeloid cells resulted in decreased accumulation of TDMMCs, expressing CD39 and CD73, and was accompanied by increased infiltration of T lymphocytes, reduced density of blood vessels, and diminished progression of both Lewis lung carcinoma and spontaneous mammary carcinomas. We propose that TGF-β signaling can directly induce the generation of CD39(+)CD73(+) TDMMCs, thus contributing to the immunosuppressive, proangiogenic, and tumor-promoting effects of this pleiotropic effector in the tumor microenvironment.
The Journal of Immunology 08/2014; · 5.36 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Bone Morphogenetic Protein (BMP) receptors mediate a diverse range of signals to regulate both development and disease. BMP activity has been linked to both tumor promoting and suppressive functions in both tumor cells and their surrounding microenvironment. We sought to investigate the requirement for BMPR2 in stromal fibroblasts during mammary tumor formation and metastasis. We utilized FSP1 (Fibroblast Specific Protein-1) promoter driven Cre to genetically delete BMPR2 in mice expressing the MMTV.PyVmT mammary carcinoma oncogene. We found that abrogation of stromal BMPR2 expression via FSP1 driven Cre resulted in increased tumor metastasis. Additionally, similar to epithelial BMPR2 abrogation, stromal loss of BMPR2 results in increased inflammatory cell infiltration. We proceeded to isolate and establish fibroblast cell lines without BMPR2 and found a cell autonomous increase in inflammatory cytokine secretion. Fibroblasts were co-implanted with syngeneic tumor cells and resulted in accelerated tumor growth and increased metastasis when fibroblasts lacked BMPR2. We observed that the loss of BMPR2 results in increased chemokine expression, which facilitates inflammation by a sustained increase in myeloid cells. The chemokines increased in BMPR2 deleted cells correlated with poor outcome in human breast cancer patients. We conclude that BMPR2 has tumor suppressive functions in the stroma by regulating inflammation.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: There is a major need to better understand the molecular basis of triple negative breast cancer (TNBC) in order to develop effective therapeutic strategies. Using gene expression data from 587 TNBC patients we previously identified six subtypes of the disease, among which a mesenchymal-stem like (MSL) subtype. The MSL subtype has significantly higher expression of the transforming growth factor beta (TGF-beta) pathway-associated genes relative to other subtypes, including the TGF-beta receptor type III (TbetaRIII). We hypothesize that TbetaRIII is tumor promoter in mesenchymal-stem like TNBC cells.
Breast cancer research: BCR 07/2014; 16(4):R69. · 5.88 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Therapeutic interventions that target critical elements of the tumor stromal microenvironment may improve blockades to metastatic progression. Here we report characterization of a mechanism that address this opportunity, based on studies of the polyoma middle T-induced mouse model of mammary carcinoma that exhibits aggressive metastases due to lack of the type II TGF-ß receptor (PyMTmgko mice). We hypothesized that PyMTmgko-activated stroma interacts with carcinoma cells to promote invasion and metastasis. Extracellular matrix associated with PyMTmgko tumors was found to exhibit increased stiffness, fibrillar collagen levels and expression of the collagen crosslinking enzyme lysyl oxidase (LOX), compared to polyoma middle T-induced mammary carcinomas in mice expressing the type II TGF-ß receptor (PyMTfl/fl). Inhibiting LOX activity in PyMTmgko mice had no effect on tumor latency or size, but decreased tumor metastasis by inhibiting tumor cell intravasation. This phenotype was associated with a decrease in keratin 14-positive myoepithelial cells in PyMTmgko tumors following LOX inhibition along with a decrease in focal adhesion formation. Interestingly, the primary source of LOX was determined to be activated fibroblasts. LOX expression was driven at this site by myeloid cell-derived TGF-ß, which is linked to human breast cancer. Our results suggested that stromal expansion in PyMTmgko tumors was elicited by immune cell infiltrates that promoted fibroblast activation, leading to metastatic behavior by modulating phenotypic characteristics of basal epithelial cells. More broadly, these findings argue that microenvironmental changes triggered by epithelial cells can drive tumor pathogenicity and offer important therapeutic targets to inhibit metastasis.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: INTRODUCTION: Transforming growth factor beta (TGF-β) has a dual role during tumor progression, initially as a suppressor and then as a promoter. Epithelial TGF-β signaling regulates fibroblast recruitment and activation. Concurrently, TGF-β signaling in stromal fibroblasts suppresses tumorigenesis in adjacent epithelia, while its ablation potentiates tumor formation. Much is known about the contribution of TGF-β signaling to tumorigenesis, yet the role of TGF-β in epithelial-stromal migration during tumor progression is poorly understood. We hypothesize that TGF-β is a critical regulator of tumor-stromal interactions that promote mammary tumor cell migration and invasion. METHODS: Fluorescently labeled murine mammary carcinoma cells, isolated from either MMTV-PyVmT transforming growth factor-beta receptor II knockout (TβRII KO) or TβRIIfl/fl control mice, were combined with mammary fibroblasts and xenografted onto the chicken embryo chorioallantoic membrane. These combinatorial xenografts were used as a model to study epithelial-stromal crosstalk. Intravital imaging of migration was monitored ex ovo, and metastasis was investigated in ovo. Epithelial RNA from in ovo tumors was isolated by laser capture microdissection and analyzed to identify gene expression changes in response to TGF-β signaling loss. RESULTS: Intravital microscopy of xenografts revealed that mammary fibroblasts promoted two migratory phenotypes dependent on epithelial TGF-β signaling: single cell/strand migration or collective migration. At epithelial-stromal boundaries, single cell/strand migration of TβRIIfl/fl carcinoma cells was characterized by expression of α-smooth muscle actin and vimentin, while collective migration of TβRII KO carcinoma cells was identified by E-cadherin+/p120+/β-catenin+ clusters. TβRII KO tumors also exhibited a twofold greater metastasis than TβRIIfl/fl tumors, attributed to enhanced extravasation ability. In TβRII KO tumor epithelium compared with TβRIIfl/fl epithelium, Igfbp4 and Tspan13 expression was upregulated while Col1α2, Bmp7, Gng11, Vcan, Tmeff1, and Dsc2 expression was downregulated. Immunoblotting and quantitative PCR analyses on cultured cells validated these targets and correlated Tmeff1 expression with disease progression of TGF-β-insensitive mammary cancer. CONCLUSION: Fibroblast-stimulated carcinoma cells utilize TGF-β signaling to drive single cell/strand migration but migrate collectively in the absence of TGF-β signaling. These migration patterns involve the signaling regulation of several epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition pathways. Our findings concerning TGF-β signaling in epithelial-stromal interactions are important in identifying migratory mechanisms that can be targeted as recourse for breast cancer treatment.
Breast cancer research: BCR 07/2012; 14(4):R98. · 5.88 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: By crossing LysM-Cre and TGF-β type II receptor (Tgfbr2) floxed mice we achieved specific deletion of Tgfbr2 in myeloid cells (Tgfbr2(MyeKO) mice). S.c.-injected (LLC, EL4-OVA) and implanted (MMTV-PyMT) carcinoma cells grow slower in Tgfbr2(MyeKO) mice. The number of CD45(+) cells in the tumor tissue was the same in both genotypes of mice, but upon analysis, the percentage of T cells (CD45(+)CD3(+)) in the KO mice was increased. By flow cytometry analysis, we did not detect any differences in the number and phenotype of TAMs, CD11b(+)Gr1(+), and DCs in Tgfbr2(MyeKO) compared with Tgfbr2(MyeWT) mice. ELISA and qRT-PCR data showed differences in myeloid cell functions. In Tgfbr2(MyeKO) TAMs, TNF-α secretion was increased, basal IL-6 secretion was down-regulated, TGF-β did not induce any VEGF response, and there was decreased MMP9 and increased MMP2 and iNOS expression. TGF-β did not have any effect on CD11b(+)Gr1(+) cells isolated from Tgfbr2(MyeKO) mice in the regulation of Arg, iNOS, VEGF, and CXCR4, and moreover, these cells have decreased suppressive activity relative to T cell proliferation. Also, we found that DCs from tumor tissue of Tgfbr2(MyeKO) mice have increased antigen-presented properties and an enhanced ability to stimulate antigen-specific T cell proliferation. We conclude that Tgfbr2 in myeloid cells has a negative role in the regulation of anti-tumorigenic functions of these cells, and deletion of this receptor decreases the suppressive function of CD11b(+)Gr1(+) cells and increases antigen-presenting properties of DCs and anti-tumorigenic properties of TAMs.
Journal of leukocyte biology 06/2012; 92(3):641-51. · 4.99 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: We report that IL-17 significantly increases the secretion of CXCL1 and CXCL5 from mammary carcinoma cells, which is downregulated by TGF-β through the type II TGF-β receptor (TβRII). Carcinoma cells with conditional knockout of TβRII (Tgfbr2(KO)) have enhanced sensitivity to IL-17a in the stimulation of chemokine secretion. During polyoma middle T (PyMT) induced tumor progression, levels of Th17 inducing cytokines TGF-β, IL-6, IL-23 were increased in PyMT/Tgfbr2(KO) tumors, which was associated with an increased number of Th17 cells. IL-17 increased the suppressive function of MDSCs on T cells through the upregulation of Arg, IDO, and COX2. Treatment of PyMT/Tgfbr2(KO) mice with anti-IL-17 Ab decreased carcinoma growth and metastatic burden. Analysis of human breast cancer transcriptome databases showed a strong association between IL-17 gene expression and poor outcome in lymph node positive, estrogen receptor negative or luminal B subtypes suggesting potential therapeutic approaches.
Cancer Discovery 10/2011; 1(5):430-41. · 15.93 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC), one of the most lethal neoplasms, is characterized by an expanded stroma with marked fibrosis (desmoplasia). We previously generated pancreas epithelium-specific TGF-β receptor type II (Tgfbr2) knockout mice in the context of Kras activation (mice referred to herein as Kras+Tgfbr2KO mice) and found that they developed aggressive PDAC that recapitulated the histological manifestations of the human disease. The mouse PDAC tissue showed strong expression of connective tissue growth factor (Ctgf), a profibrotic and tumor-promoting factor, especially in the tumor-stromal border area, suggesting an active tumor-stromal interaction. Here we show that the PDAC cells in Kras+Tgfbr2KO mice secreted much higher levels of several Cxc chemokines compared with mouse pancreatic intraepithelial neoplasia cells, which are preinvasive. The Cxc chemokines induced Ctgf expression in the pancreatic stromal fibroblasts, not in the PDAC cells themselves. Subcutaneous grafting studies revealed that the fibroblasts enhanced growth of PDAC cell allografts, which was attenuated by Cxcr2 inhibition. Moreover, treating the Kras+Tgfbr2KO mice with the CXCR2 inhibitor reduced tumor progression. The decreased tumor progression correlated with reduced Ctgf expression and angiogenesis and increased overall survival. Taken together, our data indicate that tumor-stromal interactions via a Cxcr2-dependent chemokine and Ctgf axis can regulate PDAC progression. Further, our results suggest that inhibiting tumor-stromal interactions might be a promising therapeutic strategy for PDAC.
The Journal of clinical investigation 09/2011; 121(10):4106-17. · 15.39 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Bone morphogenetic proteins (BMPs) are members of the TGF-β superfamily of signaling molecules. BMPs can elicit a wide range of effects in many cell types and have previously been shown to induce growth inhibition in carcinoma cells as well as normal epithelia. Recently, it has been demonstrated that BMP4 and BMP7 are overexpressed in human breast cancers and may have tumor suppressive and promoting effects. We sought to determine whether disruption of the BMP receptor 2 (BMPR2) would alter mammary tumor progression in mice that express the Polyoma middle T antigen. Mice expressing Polyoma middle T antigen under the mouse mammary tumor virus promoter were combined with mice that have doxycycline-inducible expression of a dominant-negative (DN) BMPR2. We did not observe any differences in tumor latency. However, mice expressing the BMPR2-DN had a fivefold increase in lung metastases. We characterized several cell autonomous changes and found that BMPR2-DN-expressing tumor cells had higher rates of proliferation. We also identified unique changes in inflammatory cells and secreted chemokines/cytokines that accompanied BMPR2-DN-expressing tumors. By immunohistochemistry, it was found that BMPR2-DN primary tumors and metastases had an altered reactive stroma, indicating specific changes in the tumor microenvironment. Among the changes we discovered were increased myeloid derived suppressor cells and the chemokine CCL9. BMP was shown to directly regulate CCL9 expression. We conclude that BMPR2 has tumor-suppressive function in mammary epithelia and microenvironment and that disruption can accelerate mammary carcinoma metastases.
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 05/2011; 109(8):2814-9. · 9.81 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Accumulation of fibroblasts is a phenomenon that significantly correlates with formation of aggressive cancers. While studies have shown that the TGF-β signaling pathway is an important regulator of fibroblast activation, the functional contribution of TGF-β signaling in fibroblasts during multi-step tumor progression remains largely unclear. In previous studies, we used a sub-renal capsule transplantation model to demonstrate that homozygous knockout of the Tgfbr2 gene (Tgbr2(FspKO)) enhanced mammary tumor growth and metastasis. Here, we show for the first time a significant role for loss of one Tgfbr2 allele during multi-step mammary tumor progression. Heterozygous deletion of Tgfbr2 in stromal cells in MMTV-PyVmT transgenic mice (PyVmT/Tgfbr2(hetFspKO) mice) resulted in earlier tumor formation and increased stromal cell accumulation. In contrast to previous studies of Tgbr2(FspKO) fibroblasts, Tgfbr2(hetFspKO) fibroblasts did not significantly increase tumor growth, but enhanced lung metastasis in PyVmT transgenic mice and in co-transplantation studies with PyVmT mammary carcinoma cells. Furthermore, Tgfbr2(hetFspKO) fibroblasts enhanced mammary carcinoma cell invasiveness associated with expression of inflammatory cytokines including CXCL12 and CCL2. Analyses of Tgbr2(FspKO) and Tgfbr2(hetFspKO) fibroblasts revealed differences in the expression of factors associated with metastatic spread, indicating potential differences in the mechanism of action between homozygous and heterozygous deletion of Tgfbr2 in stromal cells. In summary, these studies demonstrate for the first time that loss of one Tgfbr2 allele in fibroblasts enhances mammary metastases in a multi-step model of tumor progression, and demonstrate the importance of clarifying the functional contribution of genetic alterations in stromal cells in breast cancer progression.
Clinical and Experimental Metastasis 03/2011; 28(4):351-66. · 3.46 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The mechanisms by which a primary tumor affects a selected distant organ before tumor cell arrival remain to be elucidated. This report shows that Gr-1+CD11b+ cells are significantly increased in lungs of mice bearing mammary adenocarcinomas before tumor cell arrival. In the premetastatic lungs, these immature myeloid cells significantly decrease IFN-gamma production and increase proinflammatory cytokines. In addition, they produce large quantities of matrix metalloproteinase 9 (MMP9) and promote vascular remodeling. Deletion of MMP9 normalizes aberrant vasculature in the premetastatic lung and diminishes lung metastasis. The production and activity of MMP9 is selectively restricted to lungs and organs with a large number of Gr-1+CD11b+ cells. Our work reveals a novel protumor mechanism for Gr-1+CD11b+ cells that changes the premetastatic lung into an inflammatory and proliferative environment, diminishes immune protection, and promotes metastasis through aberrant vasculature formation. Thus, inhibition of Gr-1+CD11b+ cells could normalize the premetastatic lung environment, improve host immunosurveillance, and inhibit tumor metastasis.
Cancer Research 08/2010; 70(15):6139-49. · 9.28 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Tumor microenvironment constitutes a reservoir for proteins released from tumor cells and the host, which can contribute significantly to tumor growth and invasion. This study aims to apply a method of combining in vivo microdialysis and proteomics to identify proteins in mammary tumor interstitial fluids, a major component of tumor microenvironment. In vivo microdialysis was performed in polyomavirus middle T antigen (PyVmT) transgenic mouse mammary tumors and age-matched control wild-type mammary glands. Over four hundred proteins were identified from the microdialysis perfusates, using the Multidimensional Protein Identification Technology. Osteopontin (OPN) is one of the proteins overexpressed in breast tumor perfusates, as confirmed with immunoassays. OPN was also found to be present in tumor-associated stroma in both PyVmT and human breast tumors, using immunohistochemistry. Specifically, fibroblasts were further shown to express OPN at both mRNA and protein levels. In vitro assays showed that OPN can stimulate PyVmT breast carcinoma cell proliferation and migration. Finally, the expression of OPN was significantly higher in the peripheral blood of mice bearing breast tumors, compared to wild-type mice. Overall, microdialysis combined with proteomics is a unique technique for identifying proteins in a tumor microenvironment in vivo. Mammary fibroblasts can secrete OPN, and its overexpression in mammary tumor microenvironment may contribute significantly to mammary tumor progression. ELECTRONIC SUPPLEMENTARY MATERIAL: The online version of this article (doi:10.1007/s12307-010-0046-3) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: In human breast cancer, loss of carcinoma cell-specific response to TGF-beta signaling has been linked to poor patient prognosis. However, the mechanisms through which TGF-beta regulates these processes remain largely unknown. In an effort to address this issue, we have now identified gene expression signatures associated with the TGF-beta signaling pathway in human mammary carcinoma cells. The results strongly suggest that TGF-beta signaling mediates intrinsic, stromal-epithelial, and host-tumor interactions during breast cancer progression, at least in part, by regulating basal and oncostatin M-induced CXCL1, CXCL5, and CCL20 chemokine expression. To determine the clinical relevance of our results, we queried our TGF-beta-associated gene expression signatures in 4 human breast cancer data sets containing a total of 1,319 gene expression profiles and associated clinical outcome data. The signature representing complete abrogation of TGF-beta signaling correlated with reduced relapse-free survival in all patients; however, the strongest association was observed in patients with estrogen receptor-positive (ER-positive) tumors, specifically within the luminal A subtype. Together, the results suggest that assessment of TGF-beta signaling pathway status may further stratify the prognosis of ER-positive patients and provide novel therapeutic approaches in the management of breast cancer.
The Journal of clinical investigation 06/2009; 119(6):1571-82. · 15.39 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: A subset of neoplastic cells within human high-grade gliomas has features associated with stem cells. These cells may sustain glioma growth, and their stem-like properties may confer resistance to standard glioma treatments. Whether glioma stem cells derive from indigenous neural stem cells (NSC), or from tumor cells that have reacquired stem cell-like properties, is unknown. However, signaling pathways that are tightly regulated and central to NSC biology, including the Ras/Raf/Erk pathway, are hyperactive and pathogenic in gliomagenesis. Furthermore, data in animal models suggests that, in some cases, tumors are initiated in the subventricular zone (SVZ), a stem/progenitor cell niche in the mature brain. We activated oncogenic K-ras in mouse glioneuronal precursor cells and adult SVZ cells using GFAP-Cre. GFAP-Cre+/K-ras(G12D) mice showed a marked expansion of glial fibriallary acidic protein (GFAP)- and TUJ1-expressing cell populations in the SVZ. In addition, mice developed intermediate grade, infiltrating glioma with 100% penetrance. Tumors were consistently located in the amygdalohippocampal region and nearby cortex, often in association with the lateral ventricle and expanded SVZ. Tumor cells expressed markers associated with neural progenitor cells, including Olig2, Bmi-1, and PDGFR-alpha. These data suggest that infiltrating tumor cells may arise from NSC transformed by activation of oncogenic K-ras in vivo.
Molecular Cancer Research 06/2009; 7(5):645-53. · 4.50 Impact Factor