Human breast cancer invasion and aggression correlates with ECM stiffening and immune cell infiltration.
ABSTRACT: Tumors are stiff and data suggest that the extracellular matrix stiffening that correlates with experimental mammary malignancy drives tumor invasion and metastasis. Nevertheless, the relationship between tissue and extracellular matrix stiffness and human breast cancer progression and aggression remains unclear. We undertook a biophysical and biochemical assessment of stromal-epithelial interactions in noninvasive, invasive and normal adjacent human breast tissue and in breast cancers of increasingly aggressive subtype. Our analysis revealed that human breast cancer transformation is accompanied by an incremental increase in collagen deposition and a progressive linearization and thickening of interstitial collagen. The linearization of collagen was visualized as an overall increase in tissue birefringence and was most striking at the invasive front of the tumor where the stiffness of the stroma and cellular mechanosignaling were the highest. Amongst breast cancer subtypes we found that the stroma at the invasive region of the more aggressive Basal-like and Her2 tumor subtypes was the most heterogeneous and the stiffest when compared to the less aggressive luminal A and B subtypes. Intriguingly, we quantified the greatest number of infiltrating macrophages and the highest level of TGF beta signaling within the cells at the invasive front. We also established that stroma stiffness and the level of cellular TGF beta signaling positively correlated with each other and with the number of infiltrating tumor-activated macrophages, which was highest in the more aggressive tumor subtypes. These findings indicate that human breast cancer progression and aggression, collagen linearization and stromal stiffening are linked and implicate tissue inflammation and TGF beta.
Project description:The reduction in breast cancer risk attributed to early-age pregnancy is mediated in part by changes in the mammary epithelium. Here, we address the role of the mammary stroma in this protection. Utilizing tumor cells capable of transitioning from indolent to proliferative or invasive states, we demonstrate that mammary extracellular matrix (ECM) from parous rats (parous matrix) decreases tumor growth and impedes cellular phenotypes associated with tumor cell invasion compared with that observed using nulliparous matrix. Proteomic analysis identifies an increased abundance of collagen I in parous matrix, an observation extended to breast tissue of parous women. Given the pro-tumorigenic attributes of fibrillar collagen, these results were unexpected. Second-harmonic generation imaging and atomic force microscopy revealed that the abundant collagen observed in the mammary glands of parous rats is less linearized and associated with a decrease in stromal stiffness, implicating collagen organization and stiffness in parity-induced protection. Using 3D cell culture models, we demonstrate that linearized (fibrillar) collagen I induces cellular phenotypes consistent with an invasive behavior in mammary tumor cells and alters the subcellular distribution of β1 integrin. Conversely, high-density non-fibrillar collagen I induces tumor-suppressive attributes, including increases in junctional E-cadherin in tumor cells, upregulation of genes encoding components of cell-cell junctions, and downregulation of mesenchymal-specific and metalloproteinase-encoding genes. These data show that collagen organization, rather than density alone, is a key contributor to the invasive phenotype. Furthermore, our data show that parity alters the composition and organization of mammary ECM, particularly fibrillar collagen, in a manner consistent with tumor suppression.
Project description:Invasive squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) is aggressive cancer with a high risk of recurrence and metastasis, but the critical determinants of its progression remain elusive. Here, we identify ADAP1, a GTPase-activating protein (GAP) for ARF6 up-regulated in TGF-?-responding invasive tumor cells, as a strong predictor of poor survival in early-stage SCC patients. Using a mouse model of SCC, we show that ADAP1 overexpression promotes invasive tumor progression by facilitating cell migration and breakdown of the basement membrane. We found that ADAP1-rich, TGF-?-responding tumor cells exhibit cytoplasmic laminin localization, which correlated with the absence of laminin and type IV collagen from the pericellular basement membrane. Interestingly, although tumors overexpressing a GAP activity-deficient mutant of ADAP1 resulted in morphologically complex tumors, those tumor cells failed to breach the basement membrane. Moreover, Adap1 deletion in tumor cells ameliorated the basement membrane breakdown and had less invading cells in the stroma. Our study demonstrates that ADAP1 is a critical mediator of TGF-?-induced cancer invasion and might be exploited for the treatment of high-risk SCC.
Project description:Epithelial tumor metastasis is preceded by an accumulation of collagen cross-links that heighten stromal stiffness and stimulate the invasive properties of tumor cells. However, the biochemical nature of collagen cross-links in cancer is still unclear. Here, we postulated that epithelial tumorigenesis is accompanied by changes in the biochemical type of collagen cross-links. Utilizing resected human lung cancer tissues and a p21CIP1/WAF1-deficient, K-rasG12D-expressing murine metastatic lung cancer model, we showed that, relative to normal lung tissues, tumor stroma contains higher levels of hydroxylysine aldehyde-derived collagen cross-links (HLCCs) and lower levels of lysine aldehyde-derived cross-links (LCCs), which are the predominant types of collagen cross-links in skeletal tissues and soft tissues, respectively. Gain- and loss-of-function studies in tumor cells showed that lysyl hydroxylase 2 (LH2), which hydroxylates telopeptidyl lysine residues on collagen, shifted the tumor stroma toward a high-HLCC, low-LCC state, increased tumor stiffness, and enhanced tumor cell invasion and metastasis. Together, our data indicate that LH2 enhances the metastatic properties of tumor cells and functions as a regulatory switch that controls the relative abundance of biochemically distinct types of collagen cross-links in the tumor stroma.
Project description:The tumor microenvironment regulates tissue development and homeostasis, and its dysregulation contributes to neoplastic progression. Increased expression of type X collagen ?-1 (ColX?1) in tumor-associated stroma correlates with poor pathologic response to neoadjuvant chemotherapy in estrogen receptor (ER) and human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 (HER2)-positive breast cancers. Evaluation of ColX?1 expression patterns suggests a potential connection with elastin fibers. To investigate the possible interaction between ColX?1 and elastin, we evaluated the expression of ColX?1 in relation to elastin fibers in normal breast tissue, ductal carcinoma in situ, and invasive breast carcinomas at cellular and subcellular levels. Our findings demonstrate that ColX?1 colocalizes with elastin in invasive breast cancer-associated stroma by immunohistochemistry, immunofluorescence, and electron microscopy. In 212 invasive breast carcinomas, this complex was aberrantly and selectively expressed in tumor extracellular matrix in 79% of ER+/HER2-, 80% of ER+/HER2+, 76% of ER-/HER2+, and 58% of triple negative breast cancers. In contrast, ColX?1 was generally absent, while elastin was present perivascularly in normal breast tissue. ColX?1 and elastin were coexpressed in 58% of ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS) in periductal areas. In mass-forming DCIS with desmoplastic stroma, the complex was intensely expressed in periductal areas as well as within the tumor-associated stroma in all cases. Our data suggest that the breast carcinoma neoplastic process may involve aberrant expression of ColX?1 and elastin in the tumor microenvironment emerging early at the DCIS stage. Enrichment of these complexes in tumor-associated stroma may represent a stromal signature indicative of intrinsic differences between breast cancers. These findings shed light on investigation into the role of aberrant collagen complex expression in tumorigenesis and tumor progression which may be leveraged in therapeutic and theranostic applications.
Project description:Biomechanical changes in the tumor microenvironment influence tumor progression and metastases. Collagen content and fiber organization within the tumor stroma are major contributors to biomechanical changes (e., tumor stiffness) and correlated with tumor aggressiveness and outcome. What signals and in what cells control collagen organization within the tumors, and how, is not fully understood. We show in mouse breast tumors that the action of the collagen receptor DDR2 in CAFs controls tumor stiffness by reorganizing collagen fibers specifically at the tumor-stromal boundary. These changes were associated with lung metastases. The action of DDR2 in mouse and human CAFs, and tumors in vivo, was found to influence mechanotransduction by controlling full collagen-binding integrin activation via Rap1-mediated Talin1 and Kindlin2 recruitment. The action of DDR2 in tumor CAFs is thus critical for remodeling collagen fibers at the tumor-stromal boundary to generate a physically permissive tumor microenvironment for tumor cell invasion and metastases.
Project description:The extracellular matrix (ECM) from perilesional and colorectal carcinoma (CRC), but not healthy colon, sustains proliferation and invasion of tumor cells. We investigated the biochemical and physical diversity of ECM in pair-wised comparisons of healthy, perilesional and CRC specimens. Progressive linearization and degree of organization of fibrils was observed from healthy to perilesional and CRC ECM, and was associated with a steady increase of stiffness and collagen crosslinking. In the perilesional ECM these modifications coincided with increased vascularization, whereas in the neoplastic ECM they were associated with altered modulation of matrisome proteins, increased content of hydroxylated lysine and lysyl oxidase. This study identifies the increased stiffness and crosslinking of the perilesional ECM predisposing an environment suitable for CRC invasion as a phenomenon associated with vascularization. The increased stiffness of colon areas may represent a new predictive marker of desmoplastic region predisposing to invasion, thus offering new potential application for monitoring adenoma with invasive potential.
Project description:This study aimed to explore the clinical significance of breast tumor tissue stiffness based on ultrasound elastographic evaluation in clinical breast cancer. Tumor tissue stiffness is mainly regulated by interactions among tumor cells, stromal cells, and extracellular matrix and was recently regarded as a representative feature of tumor microenvironment. Basic research has already revealed that the tumor stiffness can lead to tumor progression; however, little is known about its clinical significance because thus far, no useful modality is available in the clinical setting. We investigated the tumor stiffness by strain elastography in 503 consecutive patients with invasive breast cancer. Correlations between stiffness and clinicopathological factors, including tumor size, lymph node involvement, tumor subtypes, and stromal-related genes' expressions in primary breast tumor, were statistically examined. We identified that clinical tumor stiffness significantly correlated with lymph node involvement and invasive tumor size but not with hormonal receptor expressions, human epidermal growth factor receptor type 2 status, and ki67 labeling index by analyses of both categorical and continuous variables of stiffness. On multivariate analyses, axillary lymph node metastasis was an independent factor that influenced the stiffness of primary breast tumor. In the gene expression analyses, relatively hard tumors had a significantly high gene expression of lysyl oxidase compared with soft tumors. Our study showed a close relationship between primary tumor stiffness by elastographic evaluation and lymph node involvement in clinical breast cancer. Further investigations on tumor-related tissue stiffness are required.
Project description:The importance of the tumor microenvironment in breast cancer has been increasingly recognized. Critical molecular changes in the tumor stroma accompanying cancer progression, however, remain largely unknown. We conducted a comparative analysis of global gene expression changes in the stromal and epithelial compartments during breast cancer progression from normal to preinvasive to invasive ductal carcinoma.We combined laser capture microdissection and gene expression microarrays to analyze 14 patient-matched normal epithelium, normal stroma, tumor epithelium and tumor-associated stroma specimens. Differential gene expression and gene ontology analyses were performed.Tumor-associated stroma undergoes extensive gene expression changes during cancer progression, to a similar extent as that seen in the malignant epithelium. Highly upregulated genes in the tumor-associated stroma include constituents of the extracellular matrix and matrix metalloproteases, and cell-cycle-related genes. Decreased expression of cytoplasmic ribosomal proteins and increased expression of mitochondrial ribosomal proteins were observed in both the tumor epithelium and the stroma. The transition from preinvasive to invasive growth was accompanied by increased expression of several matrix metalloproteases (MMP2, MMP11 and MMP14). Furthermore, as observed in malignant epithelium, a gene expression signature of histological tumor grade also exists in the stroma, with high-grade tumors associated with increased expression of genes involved in immune response.Our results suggest that the tumor microenvironment participates in tumorigenesis even before tumor cells invade into stroma, and that it may play important roles in the transition from preinvasive to invasive growth. The immune cells in the tumor stroma may be exploited by the malignant epithelial cells in high-grade tumors for aggressive invasive growth.
Project description:Cancer-associated fibroblasts are essential modifiers of the tumor microenvironment. The collagen-binding integrin ?11?1 has been proposed to be upregulated in a pro-tumorigenic subtype of cancer-associated fibroblasts. Here, we analyzed the expression and clinical relevance of integrin ?11?1 in a large breast cancer series using a novel antibody against the human integrin ?11 chain. Several novel monoclonal antibodies against the integrin ?11 subunit were tested for use on formalin-fixed paraffin-embedded tissues, and Ab 210F4B6A4 was eventually selected to investigate the immunohistochemical expression in 392 breast cancers using whole sections. mRNA data from METABRIC and co-expression patterns of integrin ?11 in relation to ?SMA and cytokeratin-14 were also investigated. Integrin ?11 was expressed to varying degrees in spindle-shaped cells in the stroma of 99% of invasive breast carcinomas. Integrin ?11 co-localized with ?SMA in stromal cells, and with ?SMA and cytokeratin-14 in breast myoepithelium. High stromal integrin ?11 expression (66% of cases) was associated with aggressive breast cancer features such as high histologic grade, increased tumor cell proliferation, ER negativity, HER2 positivity, and triple-negative phenotype, but was not associated with breast cancer specific survival at protein or mRNA levels. In conclusion, high stromal integrin ?11 expression was associated with aggressive breast cancer phenotypes.
Project description:To metastasize, tumor cells often need to migrate through a layer of collagen-containing scar tissue which encapsulates the tumor. A key component of scar tissue and fibrosing diseases is the monocyte-derived fibrocyte, a collagen-secreting profibrotic cell. To test the hypothesis that invasive tumor cells may block the formation of the fibrous sheath, we determined whether tumor cells secrete factors that inhibit monocyte-derived fibrocyte differentiation. We found that the human metastatic breast cancer cell line MDA-MB-231 secretes activity that inhibits human monocyte-derived fibrocyte differentiation, whereas less aggressive breast cancer cell lines secrete less of this activity. Purification indicated that Galectin-3 binding protein (LGALS3BP) is the active factor. Recombinant LGALS3BP inhibits monocyte-derived fibrocyte differentiation, and immunodepletion of LGALS3BP from MDA-MB 231 conditioned media removes the monocyte-derived fibrocyte differentiation-inhibiting activity. LGALS3BP inhibits the differentiation of monocyte-derived fibrocytes from wild-type mouse spleen cells, but not from SIGN-R1(-/-) mouse spleen cells, suggesting that CD209/SIGN-R1 is required for the LGALS3BP effect. Galectin-3 and galectin-1, binding partners of LGALS3BP, potentiate monocyte-derived fibrocyte differentiation. In breast cancer biopsies, increased levels of tumor cell-associated LGALS3BP were observed in regions of the tumor that were invading the surrounding stroma. These findings suggest LGALS3BP and galectin-3 as new targets to treat metastatic cancer and fibrosing diseases.