Category

Archives

Estrogen promotes the brain metastatic colonization of triple negative breast cancer cells via an astrocyte-mediated paracrine mechanism

Brain metastases (BM) are a devastating consequence of breast cancer. BM occur more frequently in patients with estrogen receptor-negative (ER-) breast cancer subtypes; HER2 overexpressing (HER2+) tumors and triple-negative (TN) (ER-, progesterone receptor-negative (PR-) and normal HER2) tumors. Young age is an independent risk factor for the development of BM, thus we speculated that higher circulating estrogens in young, pre-menopausal women could exert paracrine effects through the highly estrogen-responsive brain microenvironment. Using a TN experimental metastases model, we demonstrate that ovariectomy decreased the frequency of magnetic resonance imaging-detectable lesions by 56% as compared with estrogen supplementation, and that the combination of ovariectomy and letrozole further reduced the frequency of large lesions to 14.4% of the estrogen control. Human BM expressed 4.2-48.4% ER+ stromal area, particularly ER+ astrocytes. In vitro, E2-treated astrocytes increased proliferation, migration and invasion of 231BR-EGFP cells in an ER-dependent manner. E2 upregulated epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) ligands Egf, Ereg and Tgfa mRNA and protein levels in astrocytes, and activated EGFR in brain metastatic cells. Co-culture of 231BR-EGFP cells with E2-treated astrocytes led to the upregulation of the metastatic mediator S100 Calcium-binding protein A4 (S100A4) (1.78-fold, P<0.05). Exogenous EGF increased S100A4 mRNA levels in 231BR-EGFP cells (1.40±0.02-fold, P<0.01 compared with vehicle control) and an EGFR/HER2 inhibitor blocked this effect, suggesting that S100A4 is a downstream effector of EGFR activation. Short hairpin RNA-mediated S100A4 silencing in 231BR-EGFP cells decreased their migration and invasion in response to E2-CM, abolished their increased proliferation in co-cultures with E2-treated astrocytes and decreased brain metastatic colonization. Thus, S100A4 is one effector of the paracrine action of E2 in brain metastatic cells. These studies provide a novel mechanism by which estrogens, acting through ER+ astrocytes in the brain microenvironment, can promote BM of TN breast cancers, and suggests existing endocrine agents may provide some clinical benefit towards reducing and managing BM.

Related Products

Cat.No. Product Name Information Publications Customer Product Validation
S1235 Letrozole Letrozole is a third generation inhibitor of aromatase with IC50 of 0.07-20 nM in cell-free assays.It has no effect on the plasma levels of 17α-OH progesterone, thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH), luteinizing hormone (LH), follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH), or androstenedione and does not affect normal urine electrolyte excretion or thyroid function in clinical studies. (13) (5)

Related Targets