Publications by authors named "Michael W Pickup"

23 Publications

  • Page 1 of 1

A bulky glycocalyx fosters metastasis formation by promoting G1 cell cycle progression.

Elife 2017 12 21;6. Epub 2017 Dec 21.

Department of Chemistry, Stanford University, California, United States.

Metastasis depends upon cancer cell growth and survival within the metastatic niche. Tumors which remodel their glycocalyces, by overexpressing bulky glycoproteins like mucins, exhibit a higher predisposition to metastasize, but the role of mucins in oncogenesis remains poorly understood. Here we report that a bulky glycocalyx promotes the expansion of disseminated tumor cells in vivo by fostering integrin adhesion assembly to permit G1 cell cycle progression. We engineered tumor cells to display glycocalyces of various thicknesses by coating them with synthetic mucin-mimetic glycopolymers. Cells adorned with longer glycopolymers showed increased metastatic potential, enhanced cell cycle progression, and greater levels of integrin-FAK mechanosignaling and Akt signaling in a syngeneic mouse model of metastasis. These effects were mirrored by expression of the ectodomain of cancer-associated mucin MUC1. These findings functionally link mucinous proteins with tumor aggression, and offer a new view of the cancer glycocalyx as a major driver of disease progression.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.7554/eLife.25752DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5739539PMC
December 2017

Development of Aggressive Pancreatic Ductal Adenocarcinomas Depends on Granulocyte Colony Stimulating Factor Secretion in Carcinoma Cells.

Cancer Immunol Res 2017 09 3;5(9):718-729. Epub 2017 Aug 3.

Department of Cancer Biology and the Vanderbilt-Ingram Comprehensive Cancer Center, Vanderbilt University, Nashville, Tennessee.

The survival rate for pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC) remains low. More therapeutic options to treat this disease are needed, for the current standard of care is ineffective. Using an animal model of aggressive PDAC (Kras/p48), we discovered an effect of TGFβ signaling in regulation of G-CSF secretion in pancreatic epithelium. Elevated concentrations of G-CSF in PDAC promoted differentiation of Ly6G cells from progenitors, stimulated IL10 secretion from myeloid cells, and decreased T-cell proliferation via upregulation of Arg, iNOS, VEGF, IL6, and IL1b from CD11b cells. Deletion of in PDAC cells or use of a G-CSF-blocking antibody decreased tumor growth. Anti-G-CSF treatment in combination with the DNA synthesis inhibitor gemcitabine reduced tumor size, increased the number of infiltrating T cells, and decreased the number of Ly6G cells more effectively than gemcitabine alone. Human analysis of human datasets from The Cancer Genome Atlas and tissue microarrays correlated with observations from our mouse model experiments, especially in patients with grade 1, stage II disease. We propose that in aggressive PDAC, elevated G-CSF contributes to tumor progression through promoting increases in infiltration of neutrophil-like cells with high immunosuppressive activity. Such a mechanism provides an avenue for a neoadjuvant therapeutic approach for this devastating disease. .
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1158/2326-6066.CIR-16-0311DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5581681PMC
September 2017

Integrin-mediated traction force enhances paxillin molecular associations and adhesion dynamics that increase the invasiveness of tumor cells into a three-dimensional extracellular matrix.

Mol Biol Cell 2017 Jun 5;28(11):1467-1488. Epub 2017 Apr 5.

Center for Bioengineering and Tissue Regeneration, Department of Surgery, University of California, San Francisco, San Francisco, CA 94143

Metastasis requires tumor cells to navigate through a stiff stroma and squeeze through confined microenvironments. Whether tumors exploit unique biophysical properties to metastasize remains unclear. Data show that invading mammary tumor cells, when cultured in a stiffened three-dimensional extracellular matrix that recapitulates the primary tumor stroma, adopt a basal-like phenotype. Metastatic tumor cells and basal-like tumor cells exert higher integrin-mediated traction forces at the bulk and molecular levels, consistent with a motor-clutch model in which motors and clutches are both increased. Basal-like nonmalignant mammary epithelial cells also display an altered integrin adhesion molecular organization at the nanoscale and recruit a suite of paxillin-associated proteins implicated in invasion and metastasis. Phosphorylation of paxillin by Src family kinases, which regulates adhesion turnover, is similarly enhanced in the metastatic and basal-like tumor cells, fostered by a stiff matrix, and critical for tumor cell invasion in our assays. Bioinformatics reveals an unappreciated relationship between Src kinases, paxillin, and survival of breast cancer patients. Thus adoption of the basal-like adhesion phenotype may favor the recruitment of molecules that facilitate tumor metastasis to integrin-based adhesions. Analysis of the physical properties of tumor cells and integrin adhesion composition in biopsies may be predictive of patient outcome.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1091/mbc.E16-09-0654DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5449147PMC
June 2017

TGF-β, Bone Morphogenetic Protein, and Activin Signaling and the Tumor Microenvironment.

Cold Spring Harb Perspect Biol 2017 May 1;9(5). Epub 2017 May 1.

Department of Cancer Biology and Vanderbilt-Ingram Comprehensive Cancer Center, Nashville, Tennessee 37232.

The cellular and noncellular components surrounding the tumor cells influence many aspects of tumor progression. Transforming growth factor β (TGF-β), bone morphogenetic proteins (BMPs), and activins have been shown to regulate the phenotype and functions of the microenvironment and are attractive targets to attenuate protumorigenic microenvironmental changes. Given the pleiotropic nature of the cytokines involved, a full understanding of their effects on numerous cell types in many contexts is necessary for proper clinical intervention. In this review, we will explore the various effects of TGF-β, BMP, and activin signaling on stromal phenotypes known to associate with cancer progression. We will summarize these findings in the context of their tumor suppressive or promoting effects, as well as the molecular changes that these cytokines induce to influence stromal phenotypes.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1101/cshperspect.a022285DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5411701PMC
May 2017

From transformation to metastasis: deconstructing the extracellular matrix in breast cancer.

Cancer Metastasis Rev 2016 12;35(4):655-667

Center for Bioengineering and Tissue Regeneration, Department of Surgery, UCSF, San Francisco, CA, USA.

The extracellular matrix (ECM) is a guiding force that regulates various developmental stages of the breast. In addition to providing structural support for the cells, it mediates epithelial-stromal communication and provides cues for cell survival, proliferation, and differentiation. Perturbations in ECM architecture profoundly influence breast tumor progression and metastasis. Understanding how a dysregulated ECM can facilitate malignant transformation is crucial to designing treatments to effectively target the tumor microenvironment. Here, we address the contribution of ECM mechanics to breast cancer progression, metastasis, and treatment resistance and discuss potential therapeutic strategies targeting the ECM.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10555-016-9650-0DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5215979PMC
December 2016

TβRIII Expression in Human Breast Cancer Stroma and the Role of Soluble TβRIII in Breast Cancer Associated Fibroblasts.

Cancers (Basel) 2016 Nov 4;8(11). Epub 2016 Nov 4.

Department of Cancer Biology, Vanderbilt University, Nashville, TN 37232, USA.

The TGF-β pathway plays a major role in tumor progression through regulation of epithelial and stromal cell signaling. Dysfunction of the pathway can lead to carcinoma progression and metastasis. To gain insight into the stromal role of the TGF-β pathway in breast cancer, we performed laser capture microdissection (LCM) from breast cancer patients and reduction mammoplasty patients. Microdissected tumor stroma and normal breast stroma were examined for gene expression. Expression of the TGF-β type III receptor () was greatly decreased in the tumor stroma compared to control healthy breast tissue. These results demonstrated a 44-fold decrease in mRNA in tumor stroma in comparison to control tissue. We investigated publicly available databases, and have identified that mRNA levels are decreased in tumor stroma. We next investigated fibroblast cell lines derived from cancerous and normal breast tissue and found that in addition to mRNA levels, TβRIII protein levels were significantly reduced. Having previously identified that cancer-associated fibroblasts secrete greater levels of tumor promoting cytokines, we investigated the consequences of soluble-TβRIII (sTβRIII) on fibroblasts. Fibroblast conditioned medium was analyzed for 102 human secreted cytokines and distinct changes in response to sTβRIII were observed. Next, we used the fibroblast-conditioned medium to stimulate human monocyte cell line THP-1. These results indicate a distinct transcriptional response depending on sTβRIII treatment and whether it was derived from normal or cancerous breast tissue. We conclude that the effect of TβRIII has distinct roles not only in cancer-associated fibroblasts but that sTβRIII has distinct paracrine functions in the tumor microenvironment.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/cancers8110100DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5126760PMC
November 2016

Tissue mechanics promote IDH1-dependent HIF1α-tenascin C feedback to regulate glioblastoma aggression.

Nat Cell Biol 2016 Dec 7;18(12):1336-1345. Epub 2016 Nov 7.

Center for Bioengineering and Tissue Regeneration, Department of Surgery, University of California San Francisco, San Francisco, California 94143, USA.

Increased overall survival for patients with glioma brain tumours is associated with mutations in the metabolic regulator isocitrate dehydrogenase 1 (IDH1). Gliomas develop within a mechanically challenged microenvironment that is characterized by a dense extracellular matrix (ECM) that compromises vascular integrity to induce hypoxia and activate HIF1α. We found that glioma aggression and patient prognosis correlate with HIF1α levels and the stiffness of a tenascin C (TNC)-enriched ECM. Gain- and loss-of-function xenograft manipulations demonstrated that a mutant IDH1 restricts glioma aggression by reducing HIF1α-dependent TNC expression to decrease ECM stiffness and mechanosignalling. Recurrent IDH1-mutant patient gliomas had a stiffer TNC-enriched ECM that our studies attributed to reduced miR-203 suppression of HIF1α and TNC mediated via a tension-dependent positive feedback loop. Thus, our work suggests that elevated ECM stiffness can independently foster glioblastoma aggression and contribute to glioblastoma recurrence via bypassing the protective activity of IDH1 mutational status.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/ncb3429DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5361403PMC
December 2016

Genotype tunes pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma tissue tension to induce matricellular fibrosis and tumor progression.

Nat Med 2016 05 18;22(5):497-505. Epub 2016 Apr 18.

Center for Bioengineering and Tissue Regeneration, Department of Surgery, University of California, San Francisco, San Francisco, California, USA.

Fibrosis compromises pancreatic ductal carcinoma (PDAC) treatment and contributes to patient mortality, yet antistromal therapies are controversial. We found that human PDACs with impaired epithelial transforming growth factor-β (TGF-β) signaling have high epithelial STAT3 activity and develop stiff, matricellular-enriched fibrosis associated with high epithelial tension and shorter patient survival. In several KRAS-driven mouse models, both the loss of TGF-β signaling and elevated β1-integrin mechanosignaling engaged a positive feedback loop whereby STAT3 signaling promotes tumor progression by increasing matricellular fibrosis and tissue tension. In contrast, epithelial STAT3 ablation attenuated tumor progression by reducing the stromal stiffening and epithelial contractility induced by loss of TGF-β signaling. In PDAC patient biopsies, higher matricellular protein and activated STAT3 were associated with SMAD4 mutation and shorter survival. The findings implicate epithelial tension and matricellular fibrosis in the aggressiveness of SMAD4 mutant pancreatic tumors and highlight STAT3 and mechanics as key drivers of this phenotype.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/nm.4082DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4860133PMC
May 2016

Deletion of the BMP receptor BMPR1a impairs mammary tumor formation and metastasis.

Oncotarget 2015 Sep;6(26):22890-904

Department of Cancer Biology, Vanderbilt Ingram Cancer Center, Vanderbilt University, Nashville, TN, USA.

Bone Morphogenetic Proteins (BMPs) are secreted cytokines/growth factors belonging to the Transforming Growth Factor β (TGFβ) family. BMP ligands have been shown to be overexpressed in human breast cancers. Normal and cancerous breast tissue display active BMP signaling as indicated by phosphorylated Smads 1, 5 and 9. We combined mice expressing the MMTV.PyMT oncogene with mice having conditional knockout (cKO) of BMP receptor type 1a (BMPR1a) using whey acidic protein (WAP)-Cre and found this deletion resulted in delayed tumor onset and significantly extended survival. Immunofluorescence staining revealed that cKO tumors co-expressed Keratin 5 and mesenchymal cell markers such as Vimentin. This indicates that epithelial-to-mesenchymal (EMT)-like transitions occurred in cKO tumors. We performed microarray analysis on these tumors and found changes that support EMT-like changes. We established primary tumor cell lines and found that BMPR1a cKO had slower growth in vitro and in vivo upon implantation. cKO tumor cells had reduced migration in vitro. We analyzed human databases from TCGA and survival data from microarrays to confirm BMPR1a tumor promoting functions, and found that high BMPR1a gene expression correlates with decreased survival regardless of molecular breast cancer subtype. In conclusion, the data indicate that BMP signaling through BMPR1a functions as a tumor promoter.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.18632/oncotarget.4413DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4673207PMC
September 2015

TGFβ signaling in myeloid cells regulates mammary carcinoma cell invasion through fibroblast interactions.

PLoS One 2015 28;10(1):e0117908. Epub 2015 Jan 28.

Department of Cancer Biology, Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center, Vanderbilt University, Nashville, TN, United States of America.

Metastasis is the most devastating aspect of cancer, however we know very little about the mechanisms of local invasion, the earliest step of metastasis. During tumor growth CD11b+ Gr1+ cells, known also as MDSCs, have been shown to promote tumor progression by a wide spectrum of effects that suppress the anti-tumor immune response. In addition to immunosuppression, CD11b+ Gr1+ cells promote metastasis by mechanisms that are currently unknown. CD11b+ Gr1+ cells localize near fibroblasts, which remodel the ECM and leave tracks for collective cell migration of carcinoma cells. In this study we discovered that CD11b+ Gr1+ cells promote invasion of mammary carcinoma cells by increasing fibroblast migration. This effect was directed by secreted factors derived from CD11b+ Gr1+ cells. We have identified several CD11b+ Gr1+ cell secreted proteins that activate fibroblast migration, including CXCL11, CXCL15, FGF2, IGF-I, IL1Ra, Resistin, and Shh. The combination of CXCL11 and FGF2 had the strongest effect on fibroblast migration that is associated with Akt1 and ERK1/2 phosphorylation. Analysis of subsets of CD11b+ Gr1+ cells identified that CD11b+ Ly6Chigh Ly6Glow cells increase fibroblast migration more than other myeloid cell populations. Additionally, tumor-derived CD11b+ Gr1+ cells promote fibroblast migration more than splenic CD11b+ Gr1+ cells of tumor-bearing mice. While TGFβ signaling in fibroblasts does not regulate their migration toward CD11b+ Gr1+ cells, however deletion of TGFβ receptor II on CD11b+ Gr1+ cells downregulates CXCL11, Shh, IGF1 and FGF2 resulting in reduced fibroblast migration. These studies show that TGFβ signaling in CD11b+ Gr1+ cells promotes fibroblast directed carcinoma invasion and suggests that perivascular CD11b+ Ly6Chigh Ly6Glow cells may be the stimulus for localized invasion leading to metastasis.
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http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0117908PLOS
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4309578PMC
February 2016

Stromal matrix metalloproteinase 2 regulates collagen expression and promotes the outgrowth of experimental metastases.

J Pathol 2015 Apr 5;235(5):773-83. Epub 2015 Jan 5.

Department of Cancer Biology, Vanderbilt University Medical Center and Vanderbilt Ingram Cancer Center, Nashville, TN, USA.

Breast cancer survival rates decrease from 99% for patients with local disease to 25% for those with distant metastases. Matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs), including MMP2, are associated with metastatic progression. We found that loss of host MMP2 reduces the proliferation of experimental metastases in the lungs and identified fibroblasts in tumour-bearing lungs as the major source of MMP2. In vitro, spheroidal mammary tumour growth was increased by co-culture with control fibroblasts isolated from tumour-bearing lungs, but not when fibroblasts with stable Mmp2 knockdown were used. This result prompted us to assess whether MMP2 was responsible for a tumour-proliferative, activated fibroblast phenotype. To test this, we evaluated: (a) fibroblasts from wild-type tumour-bearing lungs, with or without shRNA-mediated MMP2 knockdown; and (b) normal, quiescent fibroblasts isolated from either WT or Mmp2(-/-) mice. Quantitative PCR revealed that Mmp2 knockdown attenuated expression of two markers of activation (α-smooth muscle actin and vimentin), but there was minimal expression in quiescent WT or Mmp2(-/-) fibroblasts, as expected. Placing quiescent fibroblasts under activating conditions led to increases in activation-associated transcripts in WT but not Mmp2(-/-) fibroblasts. Additionally, Mmp2 knockdown fibroblasts showed significantly decreased expression of the matrix transcripts collagen I, collagen IV and fibronectin. Addition of active TGFβ was sufficient to rescue the MMP2-dependent collagen I and IV expression, while MMP2-induced collagen expression was blocked by the addition of TGFβ1-neutralizing antibody. Gene expression data in stromal cells of human breast cancers reveal that MMP2 expression is also positively correlated with activation and matrix transcripts. Thus, we present a model whereby MMP2 production in tumour fibroblasts is important for TGFβ1 activity and subsequent activation of fibroblasts to a matrix-producing, proliferation-supportive phenotype. Overall, our results reveal a previously undefined role for MMP2 in metastatic outgrowth mediated by fibroblasts, and extend the mechanisms by which MMPs contribute to tumour progression.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/path.4493DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4357558PMC
April 2015

The extracellular matrix modulates the hallmarks of cancer.

EMBO Rep 2014 Dec 8;15(12):1243-53. Epub 2014 Nov 8.

Department of Surgery, Center for Bioengineering and Tissue Regeneration UCSF, San Francisco, CA, USA Departments of Anatomy, Bioengineering and Therapeutic Sciences, UCSF, San Francisco, CA, USA Eli and Edythe Broad Center of Regeneration Medicine and Stem Cell Research UCSF, San Francisco, CA, USA UCSF Helen Diller Comprehensive Cancer Center UCSF, San Francisco, CA, USA

The extracellular matrix regulates tissue development and homeostasis, and its dysregulation contributes to neoplastic progression. The extracellular matrix serves not only as the scaffold upon which tissues are organized but provides critical biochemical and biomechanical cues that direct cell growth, survival, migration and differentiation and modulate vascular development and immune function. Thus, while genetic modifications in tumor cells undoubtedly initiate and drive malignancy, cancer progresses within a dynamically evolving extracellular matrix that modulates virtually every behavioral facet of the tumor cells and cancer-associated stromal cells. Hanahan and Weinberg defined the hallmarks of cancer to encompass key biological capabilities that are acquired and essential for the development, growth and dissemination of all human cancers. These capabilities include sustained proliferation, evasion of growth suppression, death resistance, replicative immortality, induced angiogenesis, initiation of invasion, dysregulation of cellular energetics, avoidance of immune destruction and chronic inflammation. Here, we argue that biophysical and biochemical cues from the tumor-associated extracellular matrix influence each of these cancer hallmarks and are therefore critical for malignancy. We suggest that the success of cancer prevention and therapy programs requires an intimate understanding of the reciprocal feedback between the evolving extracellular matrix, the tumor cells and its cancer-associated cellular stroma.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.15252/embr.201439246DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4264927PMC
December 2014

Attenuated transforming growth factor beta signaling promotes metastasis in a model of HER2 mammary carcinogenesis.

Breast Cancer Res 2014 Oct 4;16(5):425. Epub 2014 Oct 4.

Introduction: Transforming growth factor beta (TGFβ) plays a major role in the regulation of tumor initiation, progression, and metastasis. It is depended on the type II TGFβ receptor (TβRII) for signaling. Previously, we have shown that deletion of TβRII in mammary epithelial of MMTV-PyMT mice results in shortened tumor latency and increased lung metastases. However, active TGFβ signaling increased the number of circulating tumor cells and metastases in MMTV-Neu mice. In the current study, we describe a newly discovered connection between attenuated TGFβ signaling and human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 (HER2) signaling in mammary tumor progression.

Methods: All studies were performed on MMTV-Neu mice with and without dominant-negative TβRII (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.

Results: Attenuated TGFβ signaling led to a delay tumor onset, but increased the number of metastases in MMTVNeu/DNIIR mice. 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 TGFβ 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 TGFβ pathway in vivo during tumor progression remain controversial. The targeting of TGFβ 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 TGFβ signaling.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s13058-014-0425-7DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4303109PMC
October 2014

BMPR2 loss in fibroblasts promotes mammary carcinoma metastasis via increased inflammation.

Mol Oncol 2015 Jan 23;9(1):179-91. Epub 2014 Aug 23.

Department of Cancer Biology, USA. Electronic address:

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.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.molonc.2014.08.004DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4277920PMC
January 2015

Role of TGF-β signaling in generation of CD39+CD73+ myeloid cells in tumors.

J Immunol 2014 Sep 15;193(6):3155-64. Epub 2014 Aug 15.

Cancer Biology Department, Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center, Nashville, TN 37232

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.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.4049/jimmunol.1400578DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4157098PMC
September 2014

Transforming growth factor beta receptor type III is a tumor promoter in mesenchymal-stem like triple negative breast cancer.

Breast Cancer Res 2014 Jul 1;16(4):R69. Epub 2014 Jul 1.

Introduction: 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-β) pathway-associated genes relative to other subtypes, including the TGF-β receptor type III (TβRIII). We hypothesize that TβRIII is tumor promoter in mesenchymal-stem like TNBC cells.

Methods: Representative MSL cell lines SUM159, MDA-MB-231 and MDA-MB-157 were used to study the roles of TβRIII in the MSL subtype. We stably expressed short hairpin RNAs specific to TβRIII (TβRIII-KD). These cells were then used for xenograft tumor studies in vivo; and migration, invasion, proliferation and three dimensional culture studies in vitro. Furthermore, we utilized human gene expression datasets to examine TβRIII expression patterns across all TNBC subtypes.

Results: TβRIII was the most differentially expressed TGF-β signaling gene in the MSL subtype. Silencing TβRIII expression in MSL cell lines significantly decreased cell motility and invasion. In addition, when TβRIII-KD cells were grown in a three dimensional (3D) culture system or nude mice, there was a loss of invasive protrusions and a significant decrease in xenograft tumor growth, respectively. In pursuit of the mechanistic underpinnings for the observed TβRIII-dependent phenotypes, we discovered that integrin-α2 was expressed at higher level in MSL cells after TβRIII-KD. Stable knockdown of integrin-α2 in TβRIII-KD MSL cells rescued the ability of the MSL cells to migrate and invade at the same level as MSL control cells.

Conclusions: We have found that TβRIII is required for migration and invasion in vitro and xenograft growth in vivo. We also show that TβRIII-KD elevates expression of integrin-α2, which is required for the reduced migration and invasion, as determined by siRNA knockdown studies of both TβRIII and integrin-α2. Overall, our results indicate a potential mechanism in which TβRIII modulates integrin-α2 expression to effect MSL cell migration, invasion, and tumorigenicity.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/bcr3684DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4095685PMC
July 2014

Stromally derived lysyl oxidase promotes metastasis of transforming growth factor-β-deficient mouse mammary carcinomas.

Cancer Res 2013 Sep 15;73(17):5336-46. Epub 2013 Jul 15.

Department of Cancer Biology, Vanderbilt University School of Medicine and Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center, Nashville, TN 37212, USA.

The tumor stromal environment can dictate many aspects of tumor progression. A complete understanding of factors driving stromal activation and their role in tumor metastasis is critical to furthering research with the goal of therapeutic intervention. Polyoma middle T-induced mammary carcinomas lacking the type II TGF-β receptor (PyMT(mgko)) are highly metastatic compared with control PyMT-induced carcinomas (PyMT(fl/fl)). We hypothesized that the PyMT(mgko)-activated stroma interacts with carcinoma cells to promote invasion and metastasis. We show that the extracellular matrix associated with PyMT(mgko) tumors is stiffer and has more fibrillar collagen and increased expression of the collagen crosslinking enzyme lysyl oxidase (LOX) compared with PyMT(fl/fl) mammary carcinomas. Inhibition of LOX activity in PyMT(mgko) mice had no effect on tumor latency and size, but significantly decreased tumor metastasis through inhibition of tumor cell intravasation. This phenotype was associated with a decrease in keratin 14-positive myoepithelial cells in PyMT(mgko) tumors following LOX inhibition as well as a decrease in focal adhesion formation. Interestingly, the primary source of LOX was found to be activated fibroblasts. LOX expression in these fibroblasts can be driven by myeloid cell-derived TGF-β, which is significantly linked to human breast cancer. Overall, stromal expansion in PyMT(mgko) tumors is likely caused through the modulation of immune cell infiltrates to promote fibroblast activation. This feeds back to the epithelium to promote metastasis by modulating phenotypic characteristics of basal cells. Our data indicate that epithelial induction of microenvironmental changes can play a significant role in tumorigenesis and attenuating these changes can inhibit metastasis. Cancer Res; 73(17); 5336-46. ©2013 AACR.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1158/0008-5472.CAN-13-0012DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3766496PMC
September 2013

Bone Morphogenetic Proteins stimulate mammary fibroblasts to promote mammary carcinoma cell invasion.

PLoS One 2013 28;8(6):e67533. Epub 2013 Jun 28.

Department of Cancer Biology and Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center, Vanderbilt University, Nashville, Tennessee, United States of America.

Bone Morphogenetic Proteins (BMPs) are secreted cytokines that are part of the Transforming Growth Factor β (TGFβ) superfamily. BMPs have been shown to be highly expressed in human breast cancers, and loss of BMP signaling in mammary carcinomas has been shown to accelerate metastases. Interestingly, other work has indicated that stimulation of dermal fibroblasts with BMP can enhance secretion of pro-tumorigenic factors. Furthermore, treatment of carcinoma-associated fibroblasts (CAFs) derived from a mouse prostate carcinoma with BMP4 was shown to stimulate angiogenesis. We sought to determine the effect of BMP treatment on mammary fibroblasts. A large number of secreted pro-inflammatory cytokines and matrix-metallo proteases (MMPs) were found to be upregulated in response to BMP4 treatment. Fibroblasts that were stimulated with BMP4 were found to enhance mammary carcinoma cell invasion, and these effects were inhibited by a BMP receptor kinase antagonist. Treatment with BMP in turn elevated pro-tumorigenic secreted factors such as IL-6 and MMP-3. These experiments demonstrate that BMP may stimulate tumor progression within the tumor microenvironment.
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http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0067533PLOS
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3695869PMC
April 2014

Lack of transforming growth factor-β signaling promotes collective cancer cell invasion through tumor-stromal crosstalk.

Breast Cancer Res 2012 Jul 2;14(4):R98. Epub 2012 Jul 2.

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.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/bcr3217DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3680921PMC
July 2012

Deletion of TGF-β signaling in myeloid cells enhances their anti-tumorigenic properties.

J Leukoc Biol 2012 Sep 8;92(3):641-51. Epub 2012 Jun 8.

Department of Cancer Biology, Vanderbilt University School of Medicine and Vanderbilt-Ingram Comprehensive Cancer Center, Nashville, TN 37232, USA.

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.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1189/jlb.1211639DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3427612PMC
September 2012

TGF-β receptor II loss promotes mammary carcinoma progression by Th17 dependent mechanisms.

Cancer Discov 2011 Oct;1(5):430-41

Department of Cancer Biology, Vanderbilt University, Nashville, TN 37212, USA.

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.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1158/2159-8290.CD-11-0100DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3297196PMC
October 2011

Disruption of bone morphogenetic protein receptor 2 (BMPR2) in mammary tumors promotes metastases through cell autonomous and paracrine mediators.

Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 2012 Feb 16;109(8):2814-9. Epub 2011 May 16.

Department of Cancer Biology, Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center, Nashville, TN 37232, USA.

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.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1073/pnas.1101139108DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3286911PMC
February 2012

TGF-beta helps cells fly solo.

Nat Cell Biol 2009 Nov 18;11(11):1281-4. Epub 2009 Oct 18.

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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/ncb1109-1281DOI Listing
November 2009
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