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      Scavenging of CXCL12 by CXCR7 Promotes Tumor Growth and Metastasis of CXCR4-positive Breast Cancer Cells

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          Abstract

          Chemokine CXCL12 and receptor CXCR4 control multiple steps in primary tumor growth and metastasis in breast cancer and more than 20 other human malignancies. Mechanisms that regulate availability of CXCL12 in tumor microenvironments will substantially impact cancer progression and ongoing efforts to target the CXCL12-CXCR4 pathway for cancer chemotherapy. We used dual luciferase imaging to investigate CXCR7 dependent scavenging of CXCL12 in breast tumors in vivo and quantify effects of CXCR7 on tumor growth and metastasis of a separate population of CXCR4+ breast cancer cells. In a mouse xenograft model of human breast cancer, in vivo imaging showed that malignant cells expressing CXCR7 reduced bioluminescent CXCL12 secreted in the primary tumor microenvironment. Capitalizing on sensitive detection of bioluminescent CXCL12, we also demonstrated that CXCR7+ cells reduced amounts of chemokine released from orthotopic tumors into the circulation. Immunofluorescence staining of human primary breast cancers showed expression of CXCR4 and CXCR7 on malignant cells in ≈ 30% of cases. In most cases, CXCR4 and CXCR7 predominantly were expressed on separate populations of malignant cells in a tumor. We modeled these cases of human breast cancer by co-implanting tumor xenografts with CXCR4+ breast cancer cells, human mammary fibroblasts secreting CXCL12, and CXCR7+ or control breast cancer cells. Bioluminescence imaging showed that CXCR7+ breast cancer cells enhanced proliferation of CXCR4+ breast cancer cells in orthotopic tumors and spontaneous metastases. Treatment with a small molecule inhibitor of CXCR7 chemokine scavenging limited growth of CXCR4+ breast cancer cells in tumors that also contained malignant CXCR7+ cells. These studies establish a new in vivo imaging method to quantify chemokine scavenging by CXCR7 in the tumor microenvironment and identify that CXCR7+ cells promote growth and metastasis of CXCR4+ breast cancer cells.

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          Most cited references 23

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          Molecular characterization of the tumor microenvironment in breast cancer.

          Here we describe the comprehensive gene expression profiles of each cell type composing normal breast tissue and in situ and invasive breast carcinomas using serial analysis of gene expression. Based on these data, we determined that extensive gene expression changes occur in all cell types during cancer progression and that a significant fraction of altered genes encode secreted proteins and receptors. Despite the dramatic gene expression changes in all cell types, genetic alterations were detected only in cancer epithelial cells. The CXCL14 and CXCL12 chemokines overexpressed in tumor myoepithelial cells and myofibroblasts, respectively, bind to receptors on epithelial cells and enhance their proliferation, migration, and invasion. Thus, chemokines may play a role in breast tumorigenesis by acting as paracrine factors.
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            CXCR7 (RDC1) promotes breast and lung tumor growth in vivo and is expressed on tumor-associated vasculature.

            Chemokines and chemokine receptors have been posited to have important roles in several common malignancies, including breast and lung cancer. Here, we demonstrate that CXCR7 (RDC1, CCX-CKR2), recently deorphanized as a chemokine receptor that binds chemokines CXCL11 and CXCL12, can regulate these two common malignancies. Using a combination of overexpression and RNA interference, we establish that CXCR7 promotes growth of tumors formed from breast and lung cancer cells and enhances experimental lung metastases in immunodeficient as well as immunocompetent mouse models of cancer. These effects did not depend on expression of the related receptor CXCR4. Furthermore, immunohistochemistry of primary human tumor tissue demonstrates extensive CXCR7 expression in human breast and lung cancers, where it is highly expressed on a majority of tumor-associated blood vessels and malignant cells but not expressed on normal vasculature. In addition, a critical role for CXCR7 in vascular formation and angiogenesis during development is demonstrated by using morpholino-mediated knockdown of CXCR7 in zebrafish. Taken together, these data suggest that CXCR7 has key functions in promoting tumor development and progression.
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              CXCR4 regulates growth of both primary and metastatic breast cancer.

              The chemokine receptor CXCR4 and its cognate ligand CXCL12 recently have been proposed to regulate the directional trafficking and invasion of breast cancer cells to sites of metastases. However, effects of CXCR4 on the growth of primary breast cancer tumors and established metastases and survival have not been determined. We used stable RNAi to reduce expression of CXCR4 in murine 4T1 cells, a highly metastatic mammary cancer cell line that is a model for stage IV human breast cancer. Using noninvasive bioluminescence and magnetic resonance imaging, we showed that knockdown of CXCR4 significantly limited the growth of orthotopically transplanted breast cancer cells. Mice in which parental 4T1 cells were implanted had progressively enlarging tumors that spontaneously metastasized, and these animals all died from metastatic disease. Remarkably, RNAi of CXCR4 prevented primary tumor formation in some mice, and all mice transplanted with CXCR RNAi cells survived without developing macroscopic metastases. To analyze effects of CXCR4 on metastases to the lung, an organ commonly affected by metastatic breast cancer, we injected tumor cells intravenously and monitored cell growth with bioluminescence imaging. Inhibiting CXCR4 with RNAi, or the specific antagonist AMD3100, substantially delayed the growth of 4T1 cells in the lung, although neither RNAi nor AMD3100 prolonged overall survival in mice with experimental lung metastases. These data indicate that CXCR4 is required to initiate proliferation and/or promote survival of breast cancer cells in vivo and suggest that CXCR4 inhibitors will improve treatment of patients with primary and metastatic breast cancer.
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                Author and article information

                Journal
                8711562
                6325
                Oncogene
                Oncogene
                Oncogene
                0950-9232
                1476-5594
                15 December 2011
                23 January 2012
                8 November 2012
                08 May 2013
                : 31
                : 45
                : 4750-4758
                Affiliations
                [1 ]Center for Molecular Imaging, Department of Radiology, University of Michigan Medical School, Ann Arbor, MI, USA
                [2 ]Department of Pathology, University of Michigan Medical School, Ann Arbor, MI, USA
                [3 ]Department of Microbiology and Immunology, University of Michigan Medical School, Ann Arbor, MI, USA
                Author notes
                [4 ]Address correspondence to: Center for Molecular Imaging, University of Michigan Medical School, 109 Zina Pitcher Place, A526 BSRB, Ann Arbor, MI, USA 48109-2200. gluker@ 123456umich.edu . Phone: 734-763-5476. Fax: 734-763-5447.
                Article
                NIHMS343998
                10.1038/onc.2011.633
                3337948
                22266857

                Users may view, print, copy, download and text and data- mine the content in such documents, for the purposes of academic research, subject always to the full Conditions of use: http://www.nature.com/authors/editorial_policies/license.html#terms

                Funding
                Funded by: National Cancer Institute : NCI
                Award ID: R24 CA083099-08 || CA
                Funded by: National Cancer Institute : NCI
                Award ID: R01 CA136829-04 || CA
                Funded by: National Cancer Institute : NCI
                Award ID: R01 CA136553-05 || CA
                Funded by: National Cancer Institute : NCI
                Award ID: P50 CA093990-11 || CA
                Categories
                Article

                Oncology & Radiotherapy

                luciferase, chemokines, bioluminescence, breast cancer, chemokine receptor

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