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      Down-regulation of epithelial cadherin is required to initiate metastatic outgrowth of breast cancer

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          Abstract

          Transforming growth factor β and its regulation of epithelial mesenchymal transition contribute to the initiation of pulmonary metastatic outgrowth specifically through the down-regulation of epithelial cadherin.

          Abstract

          Reduced epithelial cadherin (E-cad) is a hallmark of invasive carcinomas that have acquired epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT) phenotypes. Here we show that down-regulated E-cad expression induced by transforming growth factor-β (TGF-β) and EMT preceded breast cancer outgrowth in three-dimensional (3D) organotypic assays and in the lungs of mice. Pharmacological inhibitors against focal adhesion kinase prevented metastatic outgrowth of newly seeded organoids, but not that of their fully established counterparts. Interrogating the D2-HAN (hyperplastic alveolar nodule) model of breast cancer dormancy and metastasis showed that dormant D2.OR cells produced branched organoid morphologies in 3D-cultures, and expressed robust quantities of E-cad that was uncoupled from regulation by TGF-β. In contrast, metastatic D2.A1 organoids were spherical and wholly lacked E-cad expression. Interestingly, D2.A1 cells engineered to re-express E-cad formed branched organoids, down-regulated β1 integrin expression, and failed to undergo metastatic outgrowth. The tumor-suppressing function of E-cad was inactivated by increased microenvironmental rigidity, and was not recapitulated by expression of an E-cad mutant lacking its extracellular domain. Twist expression, but not that of Snail, reinitiated metastatic outgrowth in dormant D2.OR cells. Our findings show that EMT and its down-regulated expression of E-cad circumvent breast cancer dormancy in part by facilitating β1 integrin expression necessary for metastatic outgrowth.

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          Most cited references44

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          Identification of selective inhibitors of cancer stem cells by high-throughput screening.

          Screens for agents that specifically kill epithelial cancer stem cells (CSCs) have not been possible due to the rarity of these cells within tumor cell populations and their relative instability in culture. We describe here an approach to screening for agents with epithelial CSC-specific toxicity. We implemented this method in a chemical screen and discovered compounds showing selective toxicity for breast CSCs. One compound, salinomycin, reduces the proportion of CSCs by >100-fold relative to paclitaxel, a commonly used breast cancer chemotherapeutic drug. Treatment of mice with salinomycin inhibits mammary tumor growth in vivo and induces increased epithelial differentiation of tumor cells. In addition, global gene expression analyses show that salinomycin treatment results in the loss of expression of breast CSC genes previously identified by analyses of breast tissues isolated directly from patients. This study demonstrates the ability to identify agents with specific toxicity for epithelial CSCs.
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            Selective events in the metastatic process defined by analysis of the sequential dissemination of subpopulations of a mouse mammary tumor.

            To identify selective steps in metastasis, those that eliminate nonmetastatic tumor cells more efficiently than metastatic cells, we have evaluated the sequential dissemination of tumor cells from a mammary fatpad, using both metastatic (4T1 and 66cl4) and nonmetastatic (67NR, 168FARN, and 4TO7) subpopulations of a single mouse mammary tumor. Each of these variant subpopulations is resistant to one or more selective drugs so they could be quantitatively identified by colony formation in selective media. We found that the 2 metastatic cell lines metastasized by different routes and that the nonmetastatic tumor cell lines failed at different points in dissemination. Line 67NR did not leave the primary site; clonogenic tumor cells were not detected in the nodes, blood, or lungs during the experiment (7 weeks). Tumor line 168FARN disseminated from the primary tumor because clonogenic cells were cultured from the draining lymph nodes throughout the experiment. However, dissemination essentially stopped in the node as cells were rarely isolated from blood, lungs, or lives. Whether 168FARN cells failed to reach these tissues or were killed very rapidly after traversing the lymph node is unknown. Line 4TO7 cells disseminated via the blood and were consistently recovered from lungs by day 19 but failed to proliferate. This panel of 5 subpopulations thus identifies different points of selective failure in tumor cell dissemination and should be valuable in the assessment of antimetastatic therapies.
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              Induction of EMT by twist proteins as a collateral effect of tumor-promoting inactivation of premature senescence.

              Twist1 and Twist2 are major regulators of embryogenesis. Twist1 has been shown to favor the metastatic dissemination of cancer cells through its ability to induce an epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT). Here, we show that a large fraction of human cancers overexpress Twist1 and/or Twist2. Both proteins override oncogene-induced premature senescence by abrogating key regulators of the p53- and Rb-dependent pathways. Twist1 and Twist2 cooperate with Ras to transform mouse embryonic fibroblasts. Interestingly, in epithelial cells, the oncogenic cooperation between Twist proteins and activated mitogenic oncoproteins, such as Ras or ErbB2, leads to complete EMT. These findings suggest an unanticipated direct link between early escape from failsafe programs and the acquisition of invasive features by cancer cells.
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                Author and article information

                Contributors
                Role: Monitoring Editor
                Journal
                Mol Biol Cell
                molbiolcell
                mbc
                Mol. Bio. Cell
                Molecular Biology of the Cell
                The American Society for Cell Biology
                1059-1524
                1939-4586
                15 July 2011
                : 22
                : 14
                : 2423-2435
                Affiliations
                Case Comprehensive Cancer Center, Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland, OH 44106
                University of California, Berkeley
                Author notes
                *Address correspondence to: William P. Schiemann ( william.schiemann@ 123456case.edu ).
                Article
                E11-04-0306
                10.1091/mbc.E11-04-0306
                3135469
                21613543
                c63399ae-5cc0-4c3e-8c2b-a0c3b8df4934
                © 2011 Wendt et al. This article is distributed by The American Society for Cell Biology under license from the author(s). Two months after publication it is available to the public under an Attribution–Noncommercial–Share Alike 3.0 Unported Creative Commons License ( http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/3.0).

                “ASCB®,” “The American Society for Cell Biology®,” and “Molecular Biology of the Cell®” are registered trademarks of The American Society of Cell Biology.

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                Molecular biology
                Molecular biology

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