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1.  Overexpression of MMP-9 and HIF-1α in Breast Cancer Cells under Hypoxic Conditions 
Journal of Breast Cancer  2011;14(2):88-95.
Hypoxia, which is a loss of oxygen in tissues, is a common condition in solid tumors due to the tumor outgrowing existing vasculature. Under hypoxic conditions, hypoxia-inducible factor (HIF)-1α rapidly accumulates and transactivates hundreds of genes, such as matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs). MMPs contribute to invasion and metastasis of tumor cells by degrading the surrounding basement membrane and extracellular matrix barriers, which enables the easy migration and spread of cancer cells. We examined whether hypoxia increases tumor cell invasion, and whether increased invasiveness was due to HIF-1α and MMP-9 expression.
Transwell invasion assays were performed to demonstrate whether hypoxia enhance tumor invasion by use of MDA-MB-231 breast cancer cells. An immunofluorescence assay was used to demonstrate expression of HIF-1α and MMP-9 under hypoxic conditions. Luciferase and ChiP assays were performed to demonstrate that MMP-9 promoter activity was regulated by HIF-1α.
HIF-1α was stabilized under hypoxic conditions and stimulated MMP-9 expression, which affected the tumor invasiveness of breast cancer cells. HIF-1α transactivated the MMP-9 promoter by forming a transcriptional unit with p300, thus increasing expression of MMP-9 transcripts. Zymography indicated that MMP-9 had more gelatinase activity under hypoxic conditions than normoxic conditions. Furthermore, the small GTPase Ras was also activated in response to hypoxia, which then aids stabilization of HIF-1α, and in turn upregulates MMP-9 expression. We also demonstrate that MMP-9 is upregulated concurrently with HIF-1α in tumor tissues from patients with breast cancer.
These results suggest that HIF-1α promotes cell invasion through a MMP-9-dependent mechanism and that future antitumor agents could be used to target HIF-1α and MMP-9.
PMCID: PMC3148536  PMID: 21847402
Angiogenesis; Breast neoplasms; Hypoxia-inducible factor 1 alpha subunit; Matrix metalloproteinases
2.  RNAi-mediated Downregulation of Urokinase Plasminogen Activator Receptor (uPAR) and Matrix Metalloprotease-9 (MMP-9) in Human Breast Cancer Cells Results in Decreased Tumor Invasion, Angiogenesis and Growth 
The serine protease urokinase-type plasminogen activator (uPA) plays a significant role in tumor cell invasion and metastasis when bound to its specific receptor, uPAR (also known as CD87). In addition to the uPA-uPAR system, matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs) are involved in tumor cell invasion and metastasis. In this study, we achieved specific inhibition of uPAR and MMP-9 using RNAi technology. We introduced small interfering RNA (siRNA) to downregulate the expression of uPAR and MMP-9 (pUM) in breast cancer cell lines (MDA MB 231 and ZR 75 1). In vitro angiogenesis studies indicated a decrease in the angiogenic potential of the treated cells; in particular, a remarkable decrease was observed in the cells treated with bicistronic construct (pUM) in comparision to the controls. Additionally, bicistronic construct inhibited the formation of capillary-like structures in in vivo models of angiogenesis. Similarly, the invasive potential and migration decreased dramatically when treated with the bicistronic construct as shown by matrigel invasion and migration assays. These results suggest a synergistic effect from the simultaneous downregulation of uPAR and MMP-9. We also assessed the levels of phosphorylated forms of MAPK, ERK, and AKT signaling pathway molecules and found reduction in the levels of these molecules in cells treated with the bicistronic construct as compared to the control cells. Furthermore, targeting both uPAR and MMP-9 totally regressed orthotopic breast tumors in nude mice. In conclusion, our results provide evidence that the simultaneous downregulation of uPAR and MMP-9 using RNAi technology may provide an effective tool for breast cancer therapy.
PMCID: PMC2396459  PMID: 17657740
RNAi; uPAR; MMP-9; Invasion; Angiogenesis; Tumor growth
3.  Inhibition of invasion, angiogenesis, tumor growth and metastasis by adenovirus-mediated transfer of antisense uPAR and MMP-9 in non-small cell lung cancer cells 
Molecular cancer therapeutics  2005;4(9):1399-1408.
Lung cancer is currently the leading cause of cancer deaths in this country. Conventional therapeutic treatments including surgery, chemotherapy and radiation therapy, have achieved only limited success. The overexpression of proteases such as urokinase-type plasminogen activator (uPA), its receptor (uPAR) and matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs), is correlated with the progression of lung cancer. In the present study, we used a replication-deficient adenovirus capable of expressing antisense uPAR and antisense MMP-9 transcripts to simultaneously downregulate uPAR and MMP-9 in H1299 cells. Ad-uPAR-MMP-9 infection of H1299 cells resulted in a dose-and time-dependent decrease of uPAR protein levels and MMP-9 activity as determined by western blotting and gelatin zymography respectively. Corresponding immunohistochemical analysis also demonstrated that Ad-uPAR-MMP-9 infection inhibited uPAR and MMP-9 expression. As shown by Boyden chamber assay, Ad-uPAR-MMP-9 infection significantly decreased the invasive capacity of H1299 cells compared to mock and Ad-CMV (empty vector)-infected cells in vitro. Furthermore, Ad-uPAR-MMP-9 infection inhibited capillary-like structure formation in H1299 cells co-cultured with endothelial cells in a dose-dependent manner compared with mock- and Ad-CMV-infected cells. Ad-uPAR-MMP-9 injection caused the regression of subcutaneously induced tumors after subcutaneous injection with H1299 lung cancer cells and inhibited lung metastasis in the metastatic model with A549 cells. These data suggest that Ad-uPAR-MMP-9 demonstrates its antitumor activity against both established and early phases of lung cancer metastases by causing the destruction of the tumor vasculature. In summary, adenovirus-mediated inhibition of uPA-uPAR interaction and MMP-9 on the cell surface may be a promising anti-invasion and anti-metastasis strategy for cancer gene therapy.
PMCID: PMC1343495  PMID: 16170032
lung; invasion; MMP-9; uPAR; antisense; angiogenesis; uPA (urokinase-type plasminogen activator); uPAR (uPA receptor); CMV (cytomegalovirus); SV40 (simian virus type 40); PBS (phosphate-buffered saline); MMP-9 (matrix metalloprotease-9); metastasis
4.  Matrix Metalloproteinase 8 (Collagenase 2) Induces the Expression of Interleukins 6 and 8 in Breast Cancer Cells* 
The Journal of Biological Chemistry  2013;288(23):16282-16294.
Background: Matrix metalloproteinase 8 is a metastasis-suppressing metalloprotease that regulates neutrophil chemotaxis in inflammation.
Results: MMP-8 expression by breast cancer cells is deleterious to long-term growth, but it induces IL-6 and IL-8, factors that conventionally promote malignancy.
Conclusion: MMP-8 influences signaling that regulates expression of proinflammatory factors.
Significance: These effects may contribute to how MMP-8 controls the onset and resolution of inflammation.
Matrix metalloproteinase 8 (MMP-8) is a tumor-suppressive protease that cleaves numerous substrates, including matrix proteins and chemokines. In particular, MMP-8 proteolytically activates IL-8 and, thereby, regulates neutrophil chemotaxis in vivo. We explored the effects of expression of either a WT or catalytically inactive (E198A) mutant version of MMP-8 in human breast cancer cell lines. Analysis of serum-free conditioned media from three breast cancer cell lines (MCF-7, SK-BR-3, and MDA-MB-231) expressing WT MMP-8 revealed elevated levels of IL-6 and IL-8. This increase was mirrored at the mRNA level and was dependent on MMP-8 catalytic activity. However, sustained expression of WT MMP-8 by breast cancer cells was non-permissive for long-term growth, as shown by reduced colony formation compared with cells expressing either control vector or E198A mutant MMP-8. In long-term culture of transfected MDA-MB-231 cells, expression of WT but not E198A mutant MMP-8 was lost, with IL-6 and IL-8 levels returning to base line. Rare clonal isolates of MDA-MB-231 cells expressing WT MMP-8 were generated, and these showed constitutively high levels of IL-6 and IL-8, although production of the interleukins was no longer dependent upon MMP-8 activity. These studies support a causal connection between MMP-8 activity and the IL-6/IL-8 network, with an acute response to MMP-8 involving induction of the proinflammatory mediators, which may in part serve to compensate for the deleterious effects of MMP-8 on breast cancer cell growth. This axis may be relevant to the recognized ability of MMP-8 to orchestrate the innate immune system in inflammation in vivo.
PMCID: PMC3675567  PMID: 23632023
Breast Cancer; Cancer Biology; Chemokines; Cytokine; Matrix Metalloproteinase (MMP); Neutrophil Collagenase
5.  Inhibition of metastasis, angiogenesis, and tumor growth by Chinese herbal cocktail Tien-Hsien Liquid 
BMC Cancer  2010;10:175.
Advanced cancer is a multifactorial disease that demands treatments targeting multiple cellular pathways. Chinese herbal cocktail which contains various phytochemicals may target multiple dys-regulated pathways in cancer cells and thus may provide an alternative/complementary way to treat cancers. Previously we reported that the Chinese herbal cocktail Tien-Hsien Liguid (THL) can specifically induce apoptosis in various cancer cells and have immuno-modulating activity. In this study, we further evaluated the anti-metastatic, anti-angiogenic and anti-tumor activities of THL with a series of in vitro and in vivo experiments.
The migration and invasion of cancer cells and endothelial cells was determined by Boyden chamber transwell assays. The effect of THL on pulmonary metastasis was done by injecting CT-26 colon cancer cells intravenously to syngenic mice. The in vitro and in vivo microvessel formation was determined by the tube formation assay and the Matrigel plug assay, respectively. The in vivo anti-tumor effect of THL was determined by a human MDA-MB-231 breast cancer xenograft model. The expression of metalloproteinase (MMP)-2, MMP-9, and urokinase plasminogen activator (uPA) was measured by gelatin zymography. The expression of HIF-1α and the phosphorylation of ERK1/2 were determined by Western blot.
THL inhibited the migration and invasion ability of various cancer cells in vitro, decreased the secretion of MMP-2, MMP-9, and uPA and the activity of ERK1/2 in cancer cells, and suppressed pulmonary metastasis of CT-26 cancer cells in syngenic mice. Moreover, THL inhibited the migration, invasion, and tube formation of endothelial cells in vitro, decreased the secretion of MMP-2 and uPA in endothelial cells, and suppressed neovascularization in Matrigel plugs in mice. Besides its inhibitory effect on endothelial cells, THL inhibited hypoxia-induced HIF-1α and vascular endothelial growth factor-A expression in cancer cells. Finally, our results show that THL inhibited the growth of human MDA-MB-231 breast cancer xenografts in NOD-SCID mice. This suppression of tumor growth was associated with decreased microvessel formation and increased apoptosis caused by THL.
Our data demonstrate that THL had broad-spectra anti-cancer activities and merits further evaluation for its use in cancer therapy.
PMCID: PMC2880989  PMID: 20429953
6.  In vitro and in vivo MMP gene expression localisation by In Situ-RT-PCR in cell culture and paraffin embedded human breast cancer cell line xenografts 
BMC Cancer  2006;6:18.
Members of the matrix metalloproteinase (MMP) family of proteases are required for the degradation of the basement membrane and extracellular matrix in both normal and pathological conditions. In vitro, MT1-MMP (MMP-14, membrane type-1-MMP) expression is higher in more invasive human breast cancer (HBC) cell lines, whilst in vivo its expression has been associated with the stroma surrounding breast tumours. MMP-1 (interstitial collagenase) has been associated with MDA-MB-231 invasion in vitro, while MMP-3 (stromelysin-1) has been localised around invasive cells of breast tumours in vivo. As MMPs are not stored intracellularly, the ability to localise their expression to their cells of origin is difficult.
We utilised the unique in situ-reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (IS-RT-PCR) methodology to localise the in vitro and in vivo gene expression of MT1-MMP, MMP-1 and MMP-3 in human breast cancer. In vitro, MMP induction was examined in the MDA-MB-231 and MCF-7 HBC cell lines following exposure to Concanavalin A (Con A). In vivo, we examined their expression in archival paraffin embedded xenografts derived from a range of HBC cell lines of varied invasive and metastatic potential. Mouse xenografts are heterogenous, containing neoplastic human parenchyma with mouse stroma and vasculature and provide a reproducible in vivo model system correlated to the human disease state.
In vitro, exposure to Con A increased MT1-MMP gene expression in MDA-MB-231 cells and decreased MT1-MMP gene expression in MCF-7 cells. MMP-1 and MMP-3 gene expression remained unchanged in both cell lines. In vivo, stromal cells recruited into each xenograft demonstrated differences in localised levels of MMP gene expression. Specifically, MDA-MB-231, MDA-MB-435 and Hs578T HBC cell lines are able to influence MMP gene expression in the surrounding stroma.
We have demonstrated the applicability and sensitivity of IS-RT-PCR for the examination of MMP gene expression both in vitro and in vivo. Induction of MMP gene expression in both the epithelial tumour cells and surrounding stromal cells is associated with increased metastatic potential. Our data demonstrate the contribution of the stroma to epithelial MMP gene expression, and highlight the complexity of the role of MMPs in the stromal-epithelial interactions within breast carcinoma.
PMCID: PMC1397851  PMID: 16430785
7.  Identification of the functional role of peroxiredoxin 6 in the progression of breast cancer 
The molecular mechanisms involved in breast cancer metastasis still remain unclear to date. In our previous study, differential expression of peroxiredoxin 6 was found between the highly metastatic MDA-MB-435HM cells and their parental counterparts, MDA-MB-435 cells. In this study, we investigated the effects of peroxiredoxin 6 on the proliferation and metastatic potential of human breast cancer cells and their potential mechanism.
Expression of peroxiredoxin 6 in the highly metastatic MDA-MB-231HM cells was investigated by RT-PCR, real-time PCR and western blot. A recombinant expression plasmid of the human peroxiredoxin 6 gene was constructed and transfected into MDA-MB-231 and MDA-MB-435 cells. The effects of peroxiredoxin 6 on the proliferation and invasion of MDA-MB-231 and MDA-MB-435 cells were investigated by the Cell Counting Kit-8 method, colony-formation assay, adhesion assay, flow cytometry and invasion assay in vitro. miRNA was used to downregulate the expression of peroxiredoxin 6. Genes related to the invasion and metastasis of cancer were determined by RT-PCR, real-time PCR and western blot. The tumorigenicity and spontaneously metastatic capability regulated by peroxiredoxin 6 were determined using an orthotopic xenograft tumor model in athymic mice.
Overexpression of peroxiredoxin 6 in MDA-MB-231HM cells compared with their parental counterparts was confirmed. Upregulation of peroxiredoxin 6 enhanced the in vitro proliferation and invasion of breast cancer cells. The enhancement was associated with decreasing levels of tissue inhibitor of matrix metalloproteinase (TIMP)-2 and increasing levels of the urokinase-type plasminogen activator receptor (uPAR), Ets-1 (E26 transformation-specific-1), matrix metalloproteinase (MMP)-9 and RhoC (ras homolog gene family, member C) expression. The results were further demonstrated by RNA interference experiments in vitro. In an in vivo study, we also demonstrated that peroxiredoxin 6-transfected breast cancer cells grew much faster and had more pulmonary metastases than control cells. By contrast, peroxiredoxin 6 knockdown breast cancer cells grew more slowly and had fewer pulmonary metastases. Effects similar to those of peroxiredoxin 6 on the uPAR, Ets-1, MMP-9, RhoC and TIMP-2 expression observed in in vitro studies were found in the in vivo study.
Overexpression of peroxiredoxin 6 leads to a more invasive phenotype and metastatic potential in human breast cancer, at least in part, through regulation of the levels of uPAR, Ets-1, MMP-9, RhoC and TIMP-2 expression.
PMCID: PMC2246172  PMID: 17980029
8.  Cancer progression by breast tumors with Pit-1-overexpression is blocked by inhibition of metalloproteinase (MMP)-13 
The POU class 1 homeobox 1 transcription factor (POU1F1, also known as Pit-1) is expressed in the mammary gland and its overexpression induces profound phenotypic changes in proteins involved in cell proliferation, apoptosis, and invasion. Patients with breast cancer and elevated expression of Pit-1 show a positive correlation with the occurrence of distant metastasis. In this study we evaluate the relationship between Pit-1 and two collagenases: matrix metalloproteinase-1 (MMP-1) and matrix metalloproteinase-13 (MMP-13), which have been related to metastasis in breast cancer.
We began by transfecting the MCF-7 and MDA-MB-231 human breast adenocarcinoma cell lines with the Pit-1 overexpression vector (pRSV-hPit-1). Afterward, the mRNA, protein, and transcriptional regulation of both MMP-1 and MMP-13 were evaluated by real-time PCR, Western blot, chromatin immunoprecipitation (ChIP), and luciferase reporter assays. We also evaluated Pit-1 overexpression with MMP-1 and MMP-13 knockdown in a severe combined immunodeficiency (SCID) mouse tumor xenograft model. Finally, by immunohistochemistry we correlated Pit-1 with MMP-1 and MMP-13 protein expression in 110 human breast tumors samples.
Our data show that Pit-1 increases mRNA and protein of both MMP-1 and MMP-13 through direct transcriptional regulation. In SCID mice, knockdown of MMP-13 completely blocked lung metastasis in Pit-1-overexpressing MCF-7 cells injected into the mammary fat pad. In breast cancer patients, expression of Pit-1 was found to be positively correlated with the presence of both MMP-1 and MMP-13.
Our data indicates that Pit-1 regulates MMP-1 and MMP-13, and that inhibition of MMP-13 blocked invasiveness to lung in Pit-1-overexpressed breast cancer cells.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/s13058-014-0505-8) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
PMCID: PMC4305241  PMID: 25527274
9.  TGF-β1 modulates the homeostasis between MMPs and MMP inhibitors through p38 MAPK and ERK1/2 in highly invasive breast cancer cells 
BMC Cancer  2012;12:26.
Metastasis is the main factor responsible for death in breast cancer patients. Matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs) and their inhibitors, known as tissue inhibitors of MMPs (TIMPs), and the membrane-associated MMP inhibitor (RECK), are essential for the metastatic process. We have previously shown a positive correlation between MMPs and their inhibitors expression during breast cancer progression; however, the molecular mechanisms underlying this coordinate regulation remain unknown. In this report, we investigated whether TGF-β1 could be a common regulator for MMPs, TIMPs and RECK in human breast cancer cell models.
The mRNA expression levels of TGF-β isoforms and their receptors were analyzed by qRT-PCR in a panel of five human breast cancer cell lines displaying different degrees of invasiveness and metastatic potential. The highly invasive MDA-MB-231 cell line was treated with different concentrations of recombinant TGF-β1 and also with pharmacological inhibitors of p38 MAPK and ERK1/2. The migratory and invasive potential of these treated cells were examined in vitro by transwell assays.
In general, TGF-β2, TβRI and TβRII are over-expressed in more aggressive cells, except for TβRI, which was also highly expressed in ZR-75-1 cells. In addition, TGF-β1-treated MDA-MB-231 cells presented significantly increased mRNA expression of MMP-2, MMP-9, MMP-14, TIMP-2 and RECK. TGF-β1 also increased TIMP-2, MMP-2 and MMP-9 protein levels but downregulated RECK expression. Furthermore, we analyzed the involvement of p38 MAPK and ERK1/2, representing two well established Smad-independent pathways, in the proposed mechanism. Inhibition of p38MAPK blocked TGF-β1-increased mRNA expression of all MMPs and MMP inhibitors analyzed, and prevented TGF-β1 upregulation of TIMP-2 and MMP-2 proteins. Moreover, ERK1/2 inhibition increased RECK and prevented the TGF-β1 induction of pro-MMP-9 and TIMP-2 proteins. TGF-β1-enhanced migration and invasion capacities were blocked by p38MAPK, ERK1/2 and MMP inhibitors.
Altogether, our results support that TGF-β1 modulates the mRNA and protein levels of MMPs (MMP-2 and MMP-9) as much as their inhibitors (TIMP-2 and RECK). Therefore, this cytokine plays a crucial role in breast cancer progression by modulating key elements of ECM homeostasis control. Thus, although the complexity of this signaling network, TGF-β1 still remains a promising target for breast cancer treatment.
PMCID: PMC3277461  PMID: 22260435
10.  The combination of sorafenib and radiation preferentially inhibits breast cancer stem cells by suppressing HIF-1α expression 
Oncology Reports  2013;29(3):917-924.
The importance of anticancer stem cell research for breast cancer lies in the possibility of providing new approaches for an improved understanding of anticancer activity and cancer treatment. In this study, we demonstrated that the preclinical therapeutic efficacy of combining the multikinase inhibitor sorafenib with radiation was more effective in hypoxia-exposed breast cancer stem cells. We assessed cell viability and Annexin V to evaluate the combined effect of sorafenib and radiation following exposure to hypoxia. Our results showed that the synergistic cytotoxicity increased tumor cell apoptosis significantly and reduced cell proliferation in MDA-MB-231 and MCF-7 cells under hypoxic conditions compared to sorafenib or radiation alone in vitro. Additionally, the combined treatment induced G2/M cell cycle arrest. Notably, the combination of sorafenib and radiation eliminated CD44+CD24−/low cells preferentially, which highly expressed hypoxia-inducible factor (HIF)-1α and effectively inhibited primary and secondary mammosphere formation in MDA-MB-231 cells. A combined effect on MDA-MB-231 cells in response to hypoxia was shown by inhibiting angiogenesis and metastasis by suppression of HIF-1α and matrix metalloproteinase-2 (MMP-2). Collectively, these results indicate that the efficacy of sorafenib combined with radiation for treating human breast cancer cells is synergistic and suggest a new therapeutic approach to prevent breast cancer progression by eliminating breast cancer stem cells.
PMCID: PMC3597559  PMID: 23314174
breast cancer stem cell; sorafenib; radiation; hypoxia
11.  MMP-13 stimulates osteoclast differentiation and activation in tumour breast bone metastases 
Breast Cancer Research : BCR  2011;13(5):R105.
The increased bone degradation in osteolytic metastases depends on stimulation of mature osteoclasts and on continuous differentiation of new pre-osteoclasts. Metalloproteinases (MMP)-13 is expressed in a broad range of primary malignant tumours and it is emerging as a novel biomarker. Recent data suggest a direct role of MMP-13 in dissolving bone matrix complementing the activity of MMP-9 and other enzymes. Tumour-microenvironment interactions alter gene expression in malignant breast tumour cells promoting osteolytic bone metastasis. Gene expression profiles revealed that MMP-13 was among the up-regulated genes in tumour-bone interface and its abrogation reduced bone erosion. The precise mechanism remained not fully understood. Our purpose was to further investigate the mechanistic role of MMP-13 in bone osteolytic lesions.
MDA-MB-231 breast cancer cells that express MMP-13 were used as a model for in vitro and in vivo experiments. Conditioned media from MDA-MB-231 cells were added to peripheral blood mononuclear cultures to monitor pre-osteoclast differentiation and activation. Bone erosion was evaluated after injection of MMP-13-silenced MDA-MB-231 cells into nude mice femurs.
MMP-13 was co-expressed by human breast tumour bone metastases with its activator MT1-MMP. MMP-13 was up-regulated in breast cancer cells after in vitro stimulation with IL-8 and was responsible for increased bone resorption and osteoclastogenesis, both of which were reduced by MMP inhibitors. We hypothesized that MMP-13 might be directly involved in the loop promoting pre-osteoclast differentiation and activity. We obtained further evidence for a direct role of MMP-13 in bone metastasis by a silencing approach: conditioned media from MDA-MB-231 after MMP-13 abrogation or co-cultivation of silenced cells with pre-osteoclast were unable to increase pre-osteoclast differentiation and resorption activity. MMP-13 activated pre-MMP-9 and promoted the cleavage of galectin-3, a suppressor of osteoclastogenesis, thus contributing to pre-osteoclast differentiation. Accordingly, MMP-13 abrogation in tumour cells injected into the femurs of nude mice reduced the differentiation of TRAP positive cells in bone marrow and within the tumour mass as well as bone erosion.
These results indicate that within the inflammatory bone microenvironment MMP-13 production was up-regulated in breast tumour cells leading to increased pre-osteoclast differentiation and their subsequent activation.
PMCID: PMC3262218  PMID: 22032644
12.  Inhibition of Matrix Metalloproteinase-2 Enhances Radiosensitivity by Abrogating Radiation-induced FoxM1-mediated G2/M Arrest in A549 Lung Cancer Cells 
Matrix metalloproteinase-2 (MMP-2) is known to degrade the collagen IV, play a role in radiation-induced lung injury. We therefore investigated the anti-tumor effects of combining MMP-2 inhibition using an adenovirus expressing siRNA against MMP-2 (Ad-MMP-2-Si) with radiation therapy (IR) on A549 lung cancer cells in vitro and in vivo. IR increased MMP-2 mRNA, protein and activity in lung cancer cells. MMP-2 inhibition along with IR enhanced radiosensitivity as determined by clonogenic assay, flow cytometry, and TUNEL assay. We show that MMP-2 inhibition prior to irradiation reduced p53 phosphorylation, with a corresponding reduction in the expression of the p53 downstream target gene p21Cip1/Waf1. Irradiated tumor cells induced the FoxM1-mediated DNA repair gene, XRCC1 and Checkpoint-2/1, which were abrogated with combined treatment of Ad-MMP-2-Si and IR. Further, the combination of Ad-MMP-2-Si with radiotherapy significantly increased anti-tumor efficacy in vivo compared to either agent alone. Indeed, histological analysis of tumor sections collected from the combination group revealed more apoptotic cells. These studies suggest that MMP-2 inhibition in combination with radiotherapy abrogates G2 cell cycle arrest leading to apoptosis and provide evidence of the anti-tumor efficacy of combining MMP-2 inhibition with irradiation as a new therapeutic strategy for the effective treatment of NSCLC patients.
PMCID: PMC2663016  PMID: 19165865
MMP-2; FoxM1; G2/M arrest; radiosensitization; A549
13.  Suberoylanilide Hydroxamic Acid, an Inhibitor of Histone Deacetylase, Enhances Radiosensitivity and Suppresses Lung Metastasis in Breast Cancer In Vitro and In Vivo 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(10):e76340.
Triple-negative breast cancer (TNBC), defined by the absence of an estrogen receptor, progesterone receptor, and human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 expression, is associated with an early recurrence of disease and poor outcome. Furthermore, the majority of deaths in breast cancer patients are from metastases instead of from primary tumors. In this study, MCF-7 (an estrogen receptor-positive human breast cancer cell line), MDA-MB-231 (a human TNBC cell line) and 4T1 (a mouse TNBC cell line) were used to investigate the anti-cancer effects of ionizing radiation (IR) combined with suberoylanilide hydroxamic acid (SAHA, an inhibitor of histone deacetylase (HDAC)) and to determine the underlying mechanisms of these effects in vitro and in vivo. We also evaluated the ability of SAHA to inhibit the metastasis of 4T1 cells. We found that IR combined with SAHA showed increased therapeutic efficacy when compared with either treatment alone in MCF-7, MDA-MB-231 and 4T1 cells. Moreover, the combined treatment enhanced DNA damage through the inhibition of DNA repair proteins. The combined treatment was induced primarily through autophagy and ER stress. In an orthotopic breast cancer mouse model, the combination treatment showed a greater inhibition of tumor growth. In addition, SAHA inhibited the migration and invasion abilities of 4T1 cells and inhibited breast cancer cell migration by inhibiting the activity of MMP-9. In an in vivo experimental metastasis mouse model, SAHA significantly inhibited lung metastasis. SAHA not only enhances radiosensitivity but also suppresses lung metastasis in breast cancer. These novel findings suggest that SAHA alone or combined with IR could serve as a potential therapeutic strategy for breast cancer.
PMCID: PMC3794942  PMID: 24130769
14.  Protein kinase D1 regulates matrix metalloproteinase expression and inhibits breast cancer cell invasion 
The biological and molecular events that regulate the invasiveness of breast tumour cells need to be further revealed to develop effective therapies that stop breast cancer from expanding and metastasising.
Human tissue samples of invasive breast cancer and normal breast, as well as breast cancer cell lines, were evaluated for protein kinase D (PKD) expression, to test if altered expression could serve as a marker for invasive breast cancer. We further utilised specific PKD1-shRNA and a system to inducibly-express PKD1 to analyse the role of PKD1 in the invasive behaviour of breast cancer cell lines in two-dimensional (2D) and three-dimensional (3D) culture. Invasive behaviour in breast cancer cell lines has been linked to matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs), so we also determined if PKD1 regulates the expression and activity of these enzymes.
We found that the serine/threonine kinase, PKD1, is highly expressed in ductal epithelial cells of normal human breast tissue, but is reduced in its expression in more than 95% of all analysed samples of human invasive breast tumours. Additionally, PKD1 is not expressed in highly invasive breast cancer cell lines, whereas non-invasive or very low-invasive breast cancer cell lines express PKD1. Our results further implicate that in MDA-MB-231 cells PKD1 expression is blocked by epigenetic silencing via DNA methylation. The re-expression of constitutively-active PKD1 in MDA-MB-231 cells drastically reduced their ability to invade in 2D and 3D cell culture. Moreover, MCF-7 cells acquired the ability to invade in 2D and 3D cell culture when PKD1 expression was knocked-down by shRNA. PKD1 also regulated the expression of breast cancer cell MMPs, MMP-2, MMP-7, MMP-9, MMP-10, MMP-11, MMP-13, MMP-14 and MMP-15, providing a potential mechanism for PKD1 mediation of the invasive phenotype.
Our results identify decreased expression of the PKD1 as a marker for invasive breast cancer. They further suggest that the loss of PKD1 expression increases the malignant potential of breast cancer cells. This may be due to the function of PKD1 as a negative regulator of MMP expression. Our data suggest re-expression of PKD1 as a potential therapeutic strategy.
PMCID: PMC2687718  PMID: 19243594
15.  Anti-Metastatic and Anti-Tumor Growth Effects of Origanum majorana on Highly Metastatic Human Breast Cancer Cells: Inhibition of NFκB Signaling and Reduction of Nitric Oxide Production 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(7):e68808.
We have recently reported that Origanummajorana exhibits anticancer activity by promoting cell cycle arrest and apoptosis of the metastatic MDA-MB-231 breast cancer cell line. Here, we extended our study by investigating the effect of O. majorana on the migration, invasion and tumor growth of these cells.
We demonstrate that non-cytotoxic concentrations of O. majorana significantly inhibited the migration and invasion of the MDA-MB-231 cells as shown by wound-healing and matrigel invasion assays. We also show that O. majorana induce homotypic aggregation of MDA-MB-231 associated with an upregulation of E-cadherin protein and promoter activity. Furthermore, we show that O. majorana decrease the adhesion of MDA-MB-231 to HUVECs and inhibits transendothelial migration of MDA-MB-231 through TNF-α-activated HUVECs. Gelatin zymography assay shows that O. majorana suppresses the activities of matrix metalloproteinase-2 and -9 (MMP-2 and MMP-9). ELISA, RT-PCR and Western blot results revealed that O. majorana decreases the expression of MMP-2, MMP-9, urokinase plasminogen activator receptor (uPAR), ICAM-1 and VEGF. Further investigation revealed that O. majorana suppresses the phosphorylation of IκB, downregulates the nuclear level of NFκB and reduces Nitric Oxide (NO) production in MDA-MB-231 cells. Most importantly, by using chick embryo tumor growth assay, we also show that O. majorana promotes inhibition of tumor growth and metastasis in vivo.
Our findings identify Origanummajorana as a promising chemopreventive and therapeutic candidate that modulate breast cancer growth and metastasis.
PMCID: PMC3707896  PMID: 23874773
16.  Inhibition of MMP14 potentiates the therapeutic effect of temozolomide and radiation in gliomas 
Cancer Medicine  2013;2(4):457-467.
Metalloproteinases are membrane-bound proteins that play a role in the cellular responses to antiglioma therapy. Previously, it has been shown that treatment of glioma cells with temozolomide (TMZ) and radiation (XRT) induces the expression of metalloproteinase 14 (MMP14). To investigate the role of MMP14 in gliomagenesis, we used several chemical inhibitors which affect MMP14 expression. Of all the inhibitors tested, we found that Marimastat not only inhibits the expression of MMP14 in U87 and U251 glioma cells, but also induces cell cycle arrest. To determine the relationship between MMP14 inhibition and alteration of the cell cycle, we used an RNAi technique. Genetic knockdown of MMP14 in U87 and U251 glioma cells induced G2/M arrest and decreased proliferation. Mechanistically, we show that TMZ and XRT regulated expression of MMP14 in clinical samples and in vitro models through downregulation of microRNA374. In vivo genetic knockdown of MMP14 significantly decreased tumor growth of glioma xenografts and improved survival of glioma-bearing mice. Moreover, the combination of MMP14 silencing with TMZ and XRT significantly improved the survival of glioma-bearing mice compared to a single modality treatment group. Therefore, we show that the inhibition of MMP14 sensitizes tumor cells to TMZ and XRT and could be used as a future strategy for antiglioma therapy.
Glioblastoma remains an incurable form of brain cancer. In this manuscript, we show that inhibition of MMP14 can potentiate the efficacy of current standard of care which includes chemo- and radiotherapy.
PMCID: PMC3799280  PMID: 24156018
Brain cancer; glioma; MMP14; radiation; temozolomide
17.  Anti-matrix metalloproteinase-9 DNAzyme decreases tumor growth in the MMTV-PyMT mouse model of breast cancer 
Despite continued improvements in diagnosis, surgical techniques, and chemotherapy, breast cancer patients are still overcome by cancer metastasis. Tumor cell proliferation, invasion and metastasis are mediated, at least in part, through degradation of basement membrane by neutral matrix metalloproteinases (MMP) produced by tumor and stromal cells. Evidence suggests that MMP-9 plays a significant role in breast tumor cell invasion and metastasis. DNAzymes or catalytic oligonucleotides are new classes of gene targeting molecules that bind and cleave a specific mRNA, resulting in decreased protein expression.
The application of anti-MMP-9 DNAzyme (AM9D) for the treatment of primary and metastatic breast cancer was evaluated in vitro and in vivo using MDA-MB-231 cells and the MMTV-PyMT transgenic breast cancer mouse model. Spontaneously developed mammary tumors in MMTV-PyMT transgenic mice were treated intratumorally with naked AM9D, once a week for 4 weeks. The stability of DNAzyme was determined in vitro and in vivo using fluorescently labeled DNAzyme.
AM9D specifically inhibited expression of MMP-9 in MDA-MB-231 cells resulting in reduced invasive property of these cells by 43%. Weekly intratumoral treatment of spontaneously developed mammary tumors in MMTV-PyMT transgenic mice was sufficient to significantly reduce the rate of tumor growth and final tumor load in a dose dependent and statistically significant manner (P < 0.05). This decrease in tumor growth was correlated with decreased MMP-9 protein production within the treated tumor tissues. Tumors treated with AM9D were also less vascularized and contained more apoptotic cells compared to control and untreated tumors.
These results show that targeting and down regulation of MMP-9 by AM9D could prove useful as a therapy against breast carcinoma tumor growth and invasion.
PMCID: PMC3672740  PMID: 23407024
18.  Apoptosis Induced by Knockdown of uPAR and MMP-9 is Mediated by Inactivation of EGFR/STAT3 Signaling in Medulloblastoma 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(9):e44798.
Medulloblastoma is a highly invasive cancer of central nervous system diagnosed mainly in children. Matrix metalloproteinase-9 (MMP-9) and urokinase plasminogen activator receptor (uPAR) are over expressed in several cancers and well established for their roles in tumor progression. The present study is aimed to determine the consequences of targeting these molecules on medulloblastoma progression.
Methodology/Principal Findings
Radiation is one of the foremost methods applied for treating cancer and considerable evidence showed that radiation elevated uPAR and MMP-9 expression in medulloblastoma cell. Therefore efforts are made to target these molecules in non-irradiated and irradiated medulloblastoma cells. Our results showed that siRNA-mediated knockdown of uPAR and MMP-9, either alone or in combination with radiation modulated a series of events leading to apoptosis. Down regulation of uPAR and MMP-9 inhibited the expression of anti-apoptotic molecules like Bcl-2, Bcl-xL, survivin, XIAP and cIAPI; activated BID cleavage, enhanced the expression of Bak and translocated cyctochrome C to cytosol. Capsase-3 and -9 activities were also increased in uPAR- and MMP-9-downregulated cells. The apoptosis induced by targeting MMP-9 and uPAR was initiated by inhibiting epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) mediated activation of STAT3 and NF-κB related signaling molecules. Silencing uPAR and MMP-9 inhibited DNA binding activity of STAT3 and also reduced the recruitment of STAT3 protein at the promoter region of Bcl-2 and survivin genes. Our results suggest that inhibiting uPAR and MMP-9 reduced the expression of anti-apoptotic molecules by inactivating the transcriptional activity of STAT3. In addition, treating pre-established medulloblastoma with siRNAs against uPAR and MMP-9 both alone or in combination with radiation suppressed uPAR, MMP-9, EGFR, STAT3 expression and induced Bak activation leading to apoptosis.
Taken together, our results illustrated that RNAi mediated targeting of uPAR and MMP-9 might have therapeutic potential against medulloblastoma.
PMCID: PMC3440337  PMID: 22984561
19.  In vitro irradiation of basement membrane enhances the invasiveness of breast cancer cells 
British Journal of Cancer  2007;97(11):1505-1512.
Following removal of the primary breast tumour by conservative surgery, patients may still have additional malignant foci scattered throughout the breast. Radiation treatments are not designed to eliminate all these residual cancer cells. Rather, the radiation dose is calculated to optimise long-term results with minimal complications. In a tumour, cancer cells are surrounded by a basement membrane, which plays an important role in the regulation of gene expression. Using an invasion chamber, we have shown that irradiation before cell plating of a reconstituted basement membrane (Matrigel; Becton Dickinson, Bedford, MA, USA) increased the invasiveness of the breast cancer cells MDA-MB-231. This radiation enhancement of invasion was associated with the upregulation of the pro-invasive gene matrix metalloproteinase (MMP)-2. The expression of membrane type 1 matrix metalloproteinase (MT1-MMP) and tissue inhibitor of metalloproteinase-2 (TIMP), which are required to activate the MMP-2, were also increased. Confirming the role of MMP-2 and MT1-MMP, radiation enhancement of cancer cell invasion was prevented by an MMP-2 inhibitor and an anti-MT1-MMP antibody. This study also demonstrated that radiation can potentially enhance the invasion ability by inducing the release of pro-invasive factors stored in the Matrigel. Conversely, no enhancement of invasiveness was observed with the low metastatic cell line MCF-7. This lack of invasiveness correlated with the absence of the MMP-2 activator MT1-MMP in the MCF-7 cells. Radiotherapy is an efficient modality to treat breast cancer which could be further improved by inhibiting the pro-invasive gene upregulated by radiation.
PMCID: PMC2360264  PMID: 17987037
breast cancer; basement membrane; invasion; matrix metalloproteinase; matrikine; radiation
20.  Modulation of u-PA, MMPs and their inhibitors by a novel nutrient mixture in human female cancer cell lines 
Oncology Reports  2012;28(3):768-776.
Cancers of the breast, cervix, uterus and ovary are the most prevalent cancers in women worldwide. Proteases play a key role in tumor cell invasion and metastasis by digesting the basement membrane and ECM components. Strong clinical and experimental evidence demonstrates association of elevated levels of urokinase plasminogen activators (u-PA) and matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs) with cancer progression, metastasis and shortened patient survival. MMP activities are regulated by specific tissue inhibitors of metalloproteinases (TIMPs). Our main objective was to study the effect of a nutrient mixture (NM) on the activity of u-PA, MMPs and TIMPs in human breast, cervix, uterine and ovarian cancer cell lines. Human breast (MDA-MB-231 and MCF-7), cervical (HeLa), uterine (SK-UT-1) and ovarian (SKOV3) cancer cell lines were cultured in their respective media and treated at confluence with NM at 0, 50, 100, 250, 500 and 1000 μg/ml. Analysis of u-PA activity was carried out by fibrin zymography, MMPs by gelatinase zymography and TIMPs by reverse zymography. Both breast and uterine cancer cell lines expressed u-PA, which was inhibited by NM in a dose-dependent manner. However, no bands corresponding to u-PA were detected for HeLa and SK-OV-3 cell lines. On gelatinase zymography, MDA-MB-231 and MCF-7 showed one band corresponding to MMP-9, HeLa showed two bands, an intense band corresponding to MMP-2 and a faint band corresponding to MMP-9, SK-UT-1 showed PMA-induced MMP-9, and SK-OV-3 showed a band corresponding to MMP-2. NM inhibited their expression in all cell lines. The activity of TIMPs was upregulated in all cancer cell lines in a dose-dependent manner. Analysis revealed a positive correlation between u-PA and MMPs and a negative correlation between u-PA/MMPs and TIMPs. These findings suggest the therapeutic potential of NM in the treatment of female cancers.
PMCID: PMC3583510  PMID: 22736175
breast cancer MDA-MB-231 and MCF-7; cervical cancer HeLa; MMP-2 and MMP-9; nutrient mixture; ovarian cancer SK-OV-3; tissue inhibitors of metalloproteinases; urokinase plasminogen activators; uterine cancer SK-UT-1
21.  Human breast cancer cell-mediated bone collagen degradation requires plasminogen activation and matrix metalloproteinase activity 
Breast cancer cells frequently metastasize to the skeleton and induce extensive bone destruction. Cancer cells produce proteinases, including matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs) and the plasminogen activator system (PAS) which promote invasion of extracellular matrices, but whether these proteinases degrade bone matrix is unclear. To characterize the role that breast cancer cell proteinases play in bone degradation we compared the effects of three human breast cancer cell lines, MDA-MB-231, ZR-75-1 and MCF-7 with those of a normal breast epithelial cell line, HME. The cell lines were cultured atop radiolabelled matrices of either mineralized or non-mineralized bone or type I collagen, the principal organic constituent of bone.
The 3 breast cancer cell lines all produced significant degradation of the 3 collagenous extracellular matrices (ECMs) whilst the normal breast cell line was without effect. Breast cancer cells displayed an absolute requirement for serum to dissolve collagen. Degradation of collagen was abolished in plasminogen-depleted serum and could be restored by the addition of exogenous plasminogen. Localization of plasmin activity to the cell surface was critical for the degradation process as aprotinin, but not α2 antiplasmin, prevented collagen dissolution. During ECM degradation breast cancer cell lines expressed urokinase-type plasminogen activator (u-PA) and uPA receptor, and MMPs-1, -3, -9,-13, and -14. The normal breast epithelial cell line expressed low levels of MMPs-1, and -3, uPA and uPA receptor. Inhibitors of both the PAS (aprotinin and PA inhibitor-1) and MMPs (CT1166 and tisue inhibitor of metalloproteinase) blocked collagen degradation, demonstrating the requirement of both plasminogen activation and MMP activity for degradation. The activation of MMP-13 in human breast cancer cells was prevented by plasminogen activator inhibitor-1 but not by tissue inhibitor of metalloproteinase-1, suggesting that plasmin activates MMP-13 directly.
These data demonstrate that breast cancer cells dissolve type I collagen and that there is an absolute requirement for plasminogen activation and MMP activity in the degradation process.
PMCID: PMC548674  PMID: 15701164
22.  MMP-2 siRNA Induced Fas/CD95 Mediated Extrinsic II Apoptotic Pathway in the A549 Lung Adenocarcinoma Cell Line 
Oncogene  2007;26(55):7675-7683.
We have previously reported that the downregulation of MMP-2 by adenovirus-mediated delivery of MMP-2 siRNA (Ad-MMP-2) reduced spheroid invasion and angiogenesis in vitro, and, metastasis and tumor growth in vivo. In this study, we investigated the mechanism of Ad-MMP-2-mediated growth inhibition in vitro and in vivo. Ad-MMP-2 infection led to the induction of apoptosis as determined by TUNEL assay, Annexin-V staining and PARP-1 cleavage in a dose-dependent manner in A549 cells. Ad-MMP-2 decreased the content of the anti-apoptotic members of the Bcl-2 family proteins (Bcl-2 and Bcl-xL) and increased the content of the pro-apoptotic members of the Bcl-2 family (Bax and Bcl-xS) as determined by immunoblotting analysis. Furthermore, Ad-MMP-2-mediated apoptosis was accompanied by increase in truncated Bid, release of cytochrome-c, and the activation of caspases-8, -9 and -3. Immunoblot analysis showed that Ad-MMP-2 infection caused upregulation of Fas/Fas-L and FADD. And Anti-Fas-L antibody reversed Ad-MMP-2-induced apoptosis. TIMP-3, an endogenous inhibitor of MMP-2, which cleaves Fas-L and activates the Fas/Fas-L inducing apoptotic pathway, was increased in Ad-MMP-2-treated cells. Adenovirus-mediated expression of MMP-2 siRNA in human lung xenografts in vivo resulted in increased immunostaining of Fas, Fas-L, cleaved Bid and TIMP-3. This is the first report, to our knowledge, showing that MMP-2 inhibition upregulates TIMP-3 levels, which in turn, promotes apoptosis in lung cancer.
PMCID: PMC2167629  PMID: 17599056
CD95 (APO/Fas); Fas-L; caspase-8; Cytochrome-c; Apoptosis; MMP-2; TIMP-3
23.  CD44 enhances invasion of basal-like breast cancer cells by upregulating serine protease and collagen-degrading enzymatic expression and activity 
Basal-like breast cancers (BL-BCa) have the worst prognosis of all subgroups of this disease. Hyaluronan (HA) and the HA receptor CD44 have a long-standing association with cell invasion and metastasis of breast cancer. The purpose of this study was to establish the relation of CD44 to BL-BCa and to characterize how HA/CD44 signaling promotes a protease-dependent invasion of breast cancer (BrCa) cells.
CD44 expression was determined with immunohistochemistry (IHC) analysis of a breast cancer tissue microarray (TMA). In vitro experiments were performed on a panel of invasive BL-BCa cell lines, by using quantitative polymerase chain reaction (PCR), immunoblotting, protease activity assays, and invasion assays to characterize the basis of HA-induced, CD44-mediated invasion.
Expression of the hyaluronan (HA) receptor CD44 associated with the basal-like subgroup in a cohort of 141 breast tumor specimens (P = 0.018). Highly invasive cells of the representative BL-BCa cell line, MDA-MB-231 (MDA-MB-231Hi) exhibited increased invasion through a basement membrane matrix (Matrigel) and collagen. In further experiments, HA-induced promotion of CD44 signaling potentiated expression of urokinase plasminogen activator (uPA) and its receptor uPAR, and underpinned an increased cell-associated activity of this serine protease in MDA-MB-231Hi and a further BL-BCa cell line, Hs578T cells. Knockdown of CD44 attenuated both basal and HA-stimulated uPA and uPAR gene expression and uPA activity. Inhibition of uPA activity by using (a) a gene-targeted RNAi or (b) a small-molecule inhibitor of uPA attenuated HA-induced invasion of MDA-MB-231Hi cells through Matrigel. HA/CD44 signaling also was shown to increase invasion of MDA-MB-231 cells through collagen and to potentiate the collagen-degrading activity of MDA-MB-231Hi cells. CD44 signaling was subsequently shown to upregulate expression of two potent collagen-degrading enzymes, the cysteine protease cathepsin K and the matrix metalloprotease MT1-MMP. RNAi- or shRNA-mediated depletion of CD44 in MDA-MB-231Hi cells decreased basal and HA-induced cathepsin K and MT1-MMP expression, reduced the collagen-degrading activity of the cell, and attenuated cell invasion through collagen. Pharmacologic inhibition of cathepsin K or RNAi-mediated depletion of MT1-MMP also attenuated MDA-MB-231Hi cell invasion through collagen.
HA-induced CD44 signaling increases a diverse spectrum of protease activity to facilitate the invasion associated with BL-BCa cells, providing new insights into the molecular basis of CD44-promoted invasion.
PMCID: PMC3446347  PMID: 22621373
24.  Matrix metalloproteinase-1 promotes breast cancer angiogenesis and osteolysis in a novel in vivo model 
Matrix metalloproteinase-1 (MMP-1) is critical for mediating breast cancer metastasis to bone. We investigated the role of MMP-1 in breast cancer invasion of soft tissues and bone using human MDA MB-231 breast cancer cells stably transfected with shRNAs against MMP-1 and a novel murine model of bone invasion. MMP-1 produced by breast cancer cells with control shRNA facilitated invasion of tumors into soft tissue in vivo, which correlated with enhanced blood vessel formation at the invasive edge, compared to tumors with silenced MMP-1 expression. Tumors expressing MMP-1 were also associated with osteolysis in vivo, whereas tumors with inhibited MMP-1 levels were not. Additionally, tumor-secreted MMP-1 activated bone-resorbing osteoclasts in vitro. Together, these data suggest a mechanism for MMP-1 in the activation of osteoclasts in vivo. We conclude that breast cancer-derived MMP-1 mediates invasion through soft tissues and bone via mechanisms involving matrix degradation, angiogenesis, and osteoclast activation.
PMCID: PMC3772530  PMID: 18597171
Breast cancer; Bone; Invasion; Metastasis; MMP; Murine model
25.  The role of MMP-1 in breast cancer growth and metastasis to the brain in a xenograft model 
BMC Cancer  2012;12:583.
Brain metastasis is an increasingly common complication for breast cancer patients; approximately 15– 30% of breast cancer patients develop brain metastasis. However, relatively little is known about how these metastases form, and what phenotypes are characteristic of cells with brain metastasizing potential. In this study, we show that the targeted knockdown of MMP-1 in breast cancer cells with enhanced brain metastatic ability not only reduced primary tumor growth, but also significantly inhibited brain metastasis.
Two variants of the MDA-MB-231 human breast cancer cell line selected for enhanced ability to form brain metastases in nude mice (231-BR and 231-BR3 cells) were found to express high levels of matrix metalloproteinase-1 (MMP-1). Short hairpin RNA-mediated stable knockdown of MMP-1 in 231-BR and 231-BR3 cells were established to analyze tumorigenic ability and metastatic ability.
Short hairpin RNA-mediated stable knockdown of MMP-1 inhibited the invasive ability of MDA-MB 231 variant cells in vitro, and inhibited breast cancer growth when the cells were injected into the mammary fat pad of nude mice. Reduction of MMP-1 expression significantly attenuated brain metastasis and lung metastasis formation following injection of cells into the left ventricle of the heart and tail vein, respectively. There were significantly fewer proliferating cells in brain metastases of cells with reduced MMP-1 expression. Furthermore, reduced MMP-1 expression was associated with decreased TGFα release and phospho-EGFR expression in 231-BR and BR3 cells.
Our results show that elevated expression of MMP-1 can promote the local growth and the formation of brain metastases by breast cancer cells.
PMCID: PMC3526403  PMID: 23217186
Breast cancer; Brain metastasis; MMP-1; TGFα; EGFR

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