Photo-immobilized EGF chemical gradients differentially impact breast cancer cell invasion and drug response in defined 3D hydrogels.
ABSTRACT: Breast cancer cell invasion is influenced by growth factor concentration gradients in the tumor microenvironment. However, studying the influence of growth factor gradients on breast cancer cell invasion is challenging due to both the complexities of in vivo models and the difficulties in recapitulating the tumor microenvironment with defined gradients using in vitro models. A defined hyaluronic acid (HA)-based hydrogel crosslinked with matrix metalloproteinase (MMP) cleavable peptides and modified with multiphoton labile nitrodibenzofuran (NDBF) was synthesized to photochemically immobilize epidermal growth factor (EGF) gradients. We demonstrate that EGF gradients can differentially influence breast cancer cell invasion and drug response in cell lines with different EGF receptor (EGFR) expression levels. Photopatterned EGF gradients increase the invasion of moderate EGFR expressing MDA-MB-231?cells, reduce invasion of high EGFR expressing MDA-MB-468?cells, and have no effect on invasion of low EGFR-expressing MCF-7?cells. We evaluate MDA-MB-231 and MDA-MB-468?cell response to the clinically tested EGFR inhibitor, cetuximab. Interestingly, the cellular response to cetuximab is completely different on the EGF gradient hydrogels: cetuximab decreases MDA-MB-231?cell invasion but increases MDA-MB-468?cell invasion and cell number, thus demonstrating the importance of including cell-microenvironment interactions when evaluating drug targets.
Project description:BACKGROUND:At least 50% of triple negative breast cancer (TNBC) overexpress the epidermal growth factor receptor, EGFR, which paved the way for clinical trials investigating its blockade. Outcomes remained dismal stemming from mechanisms of resistance particularly the nuclear cycling of EGFR, which is enhanced by Src activation. Attenuation of Src reversed nuclear translocation, restoring EGFR to the cell surface. Herein, we hypothesize that changes in cellular distribution of EGFR upon Src inhibition with dasatinib can be annotated through the EGFR immunopositron emission tomography (immunoPET) radiotracer, [89Zr]Zr-cetuximab. METHODS:Nuclear and non-nuclear EGFR levels of dasatinib-treated vs. untreated MDA-MB-231 and MDA-MB-468 cells were analyzed via immunoblots. Both treated and untreated cells were exposed to [89Zr]Zr-cetuximab to assess binding at 4?°C and 37?°C. EGFR-positive MDA-MB-231, MDA-MB-468, and a patient-derived xenograft were treated with dasatinib or vehicle followed by cetuximab PET imaging to compare EGFR levels. After imaging, the treated mice were separated into two groups: one cohort continued with dasatinib with the addition of cetuximab while the other cohort received dasatinib alone. Correlations between the radiotracer uptake vs. changes in tumor growth and EGFR expression from immunoblots were analyzed. RESULTS:Treated cells displayed higher binding of [89Zr]Zr-cetuximab to the cell membrane at 4?°C and with greater internalized activity at 37?°C vs. untreated cells. In all tumor models, higher accumulation of the radiotracer in dasatinib-treated groups was observed compared to untreated tumors. Treated tumors displayed significantly decreased pSrc (Y416) with retained total Src levels compared to control. In MDA-MB-468 and PDX tumors, the analysis of cetuximab PET vs. changes in tumor volume showed an inverse relationship where high tracer uptake in the tumor demonstrated minimal tumor volume progression. Furthermore, combined cetuximab and dasatinib treatment showed better tumor regression compared to control and dasatinib-only-treated groups. No benefit was achieved in MDA-MB-231 xenografts with the addition of cetuximab, likely due to its KRAS-mutated status. CONCLUSIONS:Cetuximab PET can monitor effects of dasatinib on EGFR cellular distribution and potentially inform treatment response in wild-type KRAS TNBC.
Project description:Chemotactic cell migration is a central mechanism during cancer cell invasion and hence metastasis. In order to mimic in vivo conditions, we used a three-dimensional hydrogel matrix made of collagen I and a stable gradient-generating chemotaxis assay system, which is commercially available (?-Slide Chemotaxis) to characterize epidermal growth factor (EGF)-induced chemotaxis of the human breast cancer cell line MDA-MB-231. Surprisingly, chemotactic effects of EGF on MDA-MB-231 cells could neither be observed in the standard growth medium DMEM/F-12 supplemented with 10% serum nor in starvation medium. In contrast, after adapting the cells to the serum-free growth medium UltraCULTURETM, significant chemotactic effects could be measured with high sensitivity. The extremely time-stable linear gradients, generated in the chemotaxis chamber, led to consistent directional migration of MDA-MB-231 cells. Dose-response experiments showed increased directional and kinetic response of MDA-MB-231 cells towards stable gradients of EGF. While EGF-guided directional migration (chemotaxis) was highly concentration-dependent with the highest response at 1.5 nM/mm EGF, we found that the chemokinetic effect induced by EGF was concentration-independent. Both, blocking the ligand-binding domain of the EGF receptor by an antibody (monoclonal anti-EGFR antibody 225) and inhibition of its kinase domain by a small molecule inhibitor (AG1478) led to a reduction in EGF-induced directed migration. The high sensitivity of the assay even allowed us to observe synergistic effects in EGF-receptor inhibition using a combination of low doses of both inhibitor types. Those results validate the fact that EGF is a potent guidance cue for MDA-MB-231 cell migration and help to understand the mechanism behind chemotaxis-driven cancer metastasis.
Project description:Sprouty (Spry) proteins have been implicated in cancer progression, but their role in triple-negative breast cancer (TNBC), a subtype of lethal and aggressive breast cancer, is unknown. Here, we reported that Spry1 is significantly expressed in TNBC specimen and MDA-MB-231 cells. To understand Spry1 regulation of signaling events controlling breast cancer phenotype, we used lentiviral delivery of human Spry1 shRNAs to suppress Spry1 expression in MDA-MB-231, an established TNBC cell line. Spry1 knockdown MDA-MB-231 cells displayed an epithelial phenotype with increased membrane E-cadherin expression. Knockdown of Spry1 impaired MDA-MB-231 cell migration, Matrigel invasion, and anchorage-dependent and -independent growth. Tumor xenografts originating from Spry1 knockdown MDA-MB-231 cells grew slower, had increased E-cadherin expression, and yielded fewer lung metastases compared to control. Furthermore, suppressing Spry1 in MDA-MB-231 cells impaired the induction of Snail and Slug expression by EGF, and this effect was associated with increased EGFR degradation and decreased EGFR/Grb2/Shp2/Gab1 signaling complex formation. The same phenotype was also observed in the TNBC cell line MDA-MB-157. Together, our results show that unlike in some tumors, where Spry may mediate tumor suppression, Spry1 plays a selective role in at least a subset of TNBC to promote the malignant phenotype via enhancing EGF-mediated mesenchymal phenotype.
Project description:BACKGROUND:Semaphorin 4D (Sema4D) is highly expressed in certain types of tumors and functions in the regulation of tumor angiogenesis and growth. However, it is still not clear regarding the roles of Sema4D in breast cancer. This study was designed to explore the effects of Sema4D on proliferation, cell cycle progression, apoptosis, invasion, migration, tumor growth, and angiogenesis in breast cancer. MATERIALS AND METHODS:The expression level of Sema4D was investigated in MCF10A, 184A1, HCC1937, MDA-MB-468, MDA-MB-231, Hs578T, BT474, MCF-7, and T47D breast cancer cell lines by Western blotting analysis. Sema4D downregulation or overexpression was established by infection with lentiviruses-encoding Sema4D short hairpin RNA (shRNA) or Sema4D. To evaluate the effects of Sema4D on cell proliferation, cell cycle progression, apoptosis, invasion, and migration of MDA-MB-231 and MDA-MB-468 cells, methods including MTT assay, flow cytometry, wound healing assay, and transwell experiments were applied. BALB/c nude mice were injected with MDA-MB-231 cells, which were respectively infected with lentiviruses-encoding Sema4D, Sema4D shRNA, and GFP, followed by tumor angiogenesis assay. RESULTS:Sema4D was expressed at higher levels in breast cancer cell lines compared with the normal human breast epithelial cell lines, especially in MDA-MB-231 and MDA-MB-468 cells. Cell proliferation ability was remarkably inhibited in Sema4D downregulated condition, whereas the proportions of cells in the G0/G1 phase and apoptosis increased in MDA-MB-231 and MDA-MB-468 cells. In addition, the invasion and migration abilities of these cells were obviously reduced. Xenograft growth as well as angiogenesis was inhibited when infected with lentiviruses-encoding Sema4D shRNA in vivo. CONCLUSION:Downregulation of Sema4D had notable influence on cell proliferation ability, invasion, migration, and apoptosis of both MDA-MB-231 and MDA-MB-468 cells. Furthermore, infection with lentiviruses-encoding Sema4D shRNA obviously inhibited tumor growth and angiogenesis in BALB/c nude mice. Our results showed that Sema4D may represent a novel therapeutic target for human breast cancer.
Project description:Nanomedicines allow active targeting of cancer for diagnostic and therapeutic applications through incorporation of multiple functional components. Frequently, however, clinical translation is hindered by poor intratumoural delivery and distribution. The application of physical stimuli to promote tumour uptake is a viable route to overcome this limitation. In this study, ultrasound-mediated cavitation of microbubbles was investigated as a mean of enhancing the delivery of a liposome designed for chemo-radionuclide therapy targeted to EGFR overexpressing cancer. Method: Liposomes (111In-EGF-LP-Dox) were prepared by encapsulation of doxorubicin (Dox) and surface functionalisation with Indium-111 tagged epidermal growth factor. Human breast cancer cell lines with high and low EGFR expression (MDA-MB-468 and MCF7 respectively) were used to study selectivity of liposomal uptake, subcellular localisation of drug payload, cytotoxicity and DNA damage. Liposome extravasation following ultrasound-induced cavitation of microbubbles (SonoVue®) was studied using a tissue-mimicking phantom. In vivo stability, pharmacokinetic profile and biodistribution were evaluated following intravenous administration of 111In-labelled, EGF-functionalised liposomes to mice bearing subcutaneous MDA-MB-468 xenografts. Finally, the influence of ultrasound-mediated cavitation on the delivery of liposomes into tumours was studied. Results: Liposomes were loaded efficiently with Dox, surface decorated with 111In-EGF and showed selective uptake in MDA-MB-468 cells compared to MCF7. Following binding to EGFR, Dox was released into the intracellular space and 111In-EGF shuttled to the cell nucleus. DNA damage and cell kill were higher in MDA-MB-468 than MCF7 cells. Moreover, Dox and 111In were shown to have an additive cytotoxic effect in MDA-MB-468 cells. US-mediated cavitation increased the extravasation of liposomes in an in vitro gel phantom model. In vivo, the application of ultrasound with microbubbles increased tumour uptake by 66% (p<0.05) despite poor vascularisation of MDA-MB-468 xenografts (as shown by DCE-MRI). Conclusion: 111In-EGF-LP-Dox designed for concurrent chemo-radionuclide therapy showed specificity for and cytotoxicity towards EGFR-overexpressing cancer cells. Delivery to tumours was enhanced by the use of ultrasound-mediated cavitation indicating that this approach has the potential to deliver cytotoxic levels of therapeutic radionuclide to solid tumours.
Project description:Head and neck squamous cell carcinoma (HNSCC) has a proclivity for locoregional invasion. HNSCC mediates invasion in part through invadopodia-based proteolysis of the extracellular matrix (ECM). Activation of Src, Erk1/2, Abl and Arg downstream of epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) modulates invadopodia activity through phosphorylation of the actin regulatory protein cortactin. In MDA-MB-231 breast cancer cells, Abl and Arg function downstream of Src to phosphorylate cortactin, promoting invadopodia ECM degradation activity and thus assigning a pro-invasive role for Ableson kinases. We report that Abl kinases have an opposite, negative regulatory role in HNSCC where they suppress invadopodia and tumor invasion. Impairment of Abl expression or Abl kinase activity with imatinib mesylate enhanced HNSCC matrix degradation and 3D collagen invasion, functions that were impaired in MDA-MB-231. HNSCC lines with elevated EGFR and Src activation did not contain increased Abl or Arg kinase activity, suggesting that Src could bypass Abl/Arg to phosphorylate cortactin and promote invadopodia ECM degradation. Src-transformed Abl(-/-)/Arg(-/-) fibroblasts produced ECM degrading invadopodia containing pY421 cortactin, indicating that Abl/Arg are dispensable for invadopodia function in this system. Imatinib-treated HNSCC cells had increased EGFR, Erk1/2 and Src activation, enhancing cortactin pY421 and pS405/418 required for invadopodia function. Imatinib stimulated shedding of the EGFR ligand heparin-binding EGF-like growth factor (HB-EGF) from HNSCC cells, where soluble HB-EGF enhanced invadopodia ECM degradation in HNSCC but not in MDA-MB-231. HNSCC cells treated with inhibitors of the EGFR-invadopodia pathway indicated that EGFR and Src are required for invadopodia function. Collectively, our results indicate that Abl kinases negatively regulate HNSCC invasive processes through suppression of an HB-EGF autocrine loop responsible for activating a EGFR-Src-cortactin cascade, in contrast to the invasion promoting functions of Abl kinases in breast and other cancer types. Our results provide mechanistic support for recent failed HNSCC clinical trials utilizing imatinib.
Project description:Epidermal growth factor (EGF) is a well-known growth factor that induces cancer cell migration and invasion. Previous studies have shown that SMAD ubiquitination regulatory factor 1 (SMURF1), an E3 ubiquitin ligase, regulates cell motility by inducing RhoA degradation. Therefore, we examined the role of SMURF1 in EGF-induced cell migration and invasion using MDA-MB-231 cells, a human breast cancer cell line. EGF increased SMURF1 expression at both the mRNA and protein levels. All ErbB family members were expressed in MDA-MB-231 cells and receptor tyrosine kinase inhibitors specific for the EGF receptor (EGFR) or ErbB2 blocked the EGF-mediated induction of SMURF1 expression. Within the signaling pathways examined, ERK1/2 and protein kinase C activity were required for EGF-induced SMURF1 expression. The overexpression of constitutively active MEK1 increased the SMURF1 to levels similar to those induced by EGF. SMURF1 induction by EGF treatment or by the overexpression of MEK1 or SMURF1 resulted in enhanced cell migration and invasion, whereas SMURF1 knockdown suppressed EGF- or MEK1-induced cell migration and invasion. EGF treatment or SMURF1 overexpression decreased the endogenous RhoA protein levels. The overexpression of constitutively active RhoA prevented EGF- or SMURF1-induced cell migration and invasion. These results suggest that EGFinduced SMURF1 plays a role in breast cancer cell migration and invasion through the downregulation of RhoA.
Project description:The epidermal growth factor (EGF) receptor (EGFR) is a ubiquitously expressed receptor tyrosine kinase that regulates diverse cell functions that are dependent upon cell type, the presence of downstream effectors, and receptor density. In addition to activating biochemical pathways, ligand stimulation causes the EGFR to enter the cell via clathrin-coated pits. Endocytic trafficking influences receptor signaling by controlling the duration of EGFR phosphorylation and coordinating the receptor's association with downstream effectors. To better understand the individual contributions of cell surface and cytosolic EGFRs on cell physiology, we used EGF that was conjugated to 900 nm polystyrene beads (EGF-beads). EGF-beads can stimulate the EGFR and retain the activated receptor at the plasma membrane. In MDA-MB-468 cells, a breast cancer cell line that over-expresses the EGFR, only internalized, activated EGFRs stimulate caspase-3 and induce cell death. Conversely, signaling cascades triggered from activated EGFR retained at the cell surface inhibit caspase-3 and promote cell proliferation. Thus, through endocytosis, the activated EGFR can differentially regulate cell growth in MDA-MB-468 cells.
Project description:Purpose Radiolabeled antibodies and peptides hold promise for molecular radiotherapy but are often limited by a low payload resulting in inadequate delivery of radioactivity to tumour tissue and, therefore, modest therapeutic effect. We developed a facile synthetic method of radiolabeling indium-111 (111In) to epidermal growth factor (EGF)-gold nanoparticles (111In-EGF-Au NP) with a high payload. Materials and methods EGF-Au NP were prepared via an interaction between gold and the disulphide bonds of EGF and radiolabeled using 111InCl3. Targeting efficiency was investigated by quantitating internalized radioactivity and by confocal imaging following exposure of MDA-MB-468 (1.3 × 106 EGFR/cell) and MCF-7 (104 EGFR/cell) cells to Cy3-EGF-Au NP. Cytotoxicity was evaluated in clonogenic assays. Results The proportion of total administered radioactivity that was internalized by MDA-MB-468 and MCF-7 cells was 15% and 1.3%, respectively (mixing ratio of EGF:Au of 160). This differential uptake in the two cell lines was confirmed using confocal microscopy. 111In-EGF-Au NP were significantly more radiotoxic to MDA-MB-468 than MCF-7 cells with a surviving fraction of 17.1 ± 4.4% versus 89.8 ± 1.4% (p < 0.001) after exposure for 4?h. Conclusions An 111In-labeled EGF-Au nanosystem was developed. It enabled targeted delivery of a high 111In payload specifically to EGFR-positive cancer cells leading to radiotoxicity that can be exploited for molecularly targeted radiotherapy.
Project description:Early sorting endosomes are responsible for the trafficking and function of transferrin receptor (TfR) and EGFR. These receptors play important roles in iron uptake and signaling and are critical for breast cancer development. However, the role of morphology, receptor composition, and signaling of early endosomes in breast cancer remains poorly understood. A novel population of enlarged early endosomes was identified in breast cancer cells and tumor xenografts but not in noncancerous MCF10A cells. Quantitative analysis of endosomal morphology, cargo sorting, EGFR activation, and Rab GTPase regulation was performed using super-resolution and confocal microscopy followed by 3D rendering. MDA-MB-231 breast cancer cells have fewer, but larger EEA1-positive early endosomes compared with MCF10A cells. Live-cell imaging indicated dysregulated cargo sorting, because EGF and Tf traffic together via enlarged endosomes in MDA-MB-231, but not in MCF10A. Large EEA1-positive MDA-MB-231 endosomes exhibited prolonged and increased EGF-induced activation of EGFR upon phosphorylation at tyrosine-1068 (EGFR-p1068). Rab4A overexpression in MCF10A cells produced EEA1-positive enlarged endosomes that displayed prolonged and amplified EGF-induced EGFR-p1068 activation. Knockdown of Rab4A lead to increased endosomal size in MCF10A, but not in MDA-MB-231 cells. Nevertheless, Rab4A knockdown resulted in enhanced EGF-induced activation of EGFR-p1068 in MDA-MB-231 as well as downstream signaling in MCF10A cells. Altogether, this extensive characterization of early endosomes in breast cancer cells has identified a Rab4-modulated enlarged early endosomal compartment as the site of prolonged and increased EGFR activation. IMPLICATIONS: Enlarged early endosomes play a Rab4-modulated role in regulation of EGFR activation in breast cancer cells.