JOURNAL ARTICLE

Targeting the Transforming Growth Factor-beta pathway inhibits human basal-like breast cancer metastasis

Vidya Ganapathy, Rongrong Ge, Alison Grazioli, Wen Xie, Whitney Banach-Petrosky, Yibin Kang, Scott Lonning, John McPherson, Jonathan M Yingling, Swati Biswas, Gregory R Mundy, Michael Reiss
Molecular Cancer 2010 May 26, 9: 122
20504320

BACKGROUND: Transforming Growth Factor beta (TGF-beta) plays an important role in tumor invasion and metastasis. We set out to investigate the possible clinical utility of TGF-beta antagonists in a human metastatic basal-like breast cancer model. We examined the effects of two types of the TGF-beta pathway antagonists (1D11, a mouse monoclonal pan-TGF-beta neutralizing antibody and LY2109761, a chemical inhibitor of TGF-beta type I and II receptor kinases) on sublines of basal cell-like MDA-MB-231 human breast carcinoma cells that preferentially metastasize to lungs (4175TR, 4173) or bones (SCP2TR, SCP25TR, 2860TR, 3847TR).

RESULTS: Both 1D11 and LY2109761 effectively blocked TGF-beta-induced phosphorylation of receptor-associated Smads in all MDA-MB-231 subclones in vitro. Moreover, both antagonists inhibited TGF-beta stimulated in vitro migration and invasiveness of MDA-MB-231 subclones, indicating that these processes are partly driven by TGF-beta. In addition, both antagonists significantly reduced the metastatic burden to either lungs or bones in vivo, seemingly independently of intrinsic differences between the individual tumor cell clones. Besides inhibiting metastasis in a tumor cell autonomous manner, the TGF-beta antagonists inhibited angiogenesis associated with lung metastases and osteoclast number and activity associated with lytic bone metastases. In aggregate, these studies support the notion that TGF-beta plays an important role in both bone-and lung metastases of basal-like breast cancer, and that inhibiting TGF-beta signaling results in a therapeutic effect independently of the tissue-tropism of the metastatic cells. Targeting the TGF-beta pathway holds promise as a novel therapeutic approach for metastatic basal-like breast cancer.

CONCLUSIONS: In aggregate, these studies support the notion that TGF-beta plays an important role in both bone-and lung metastases of basal-like breast cancer, and that inhibiting TGF-beta signaling results in a therapeutic effect independently of the tissue-tropism of the metastatic cells. Targeting the TGF-beta pathway holds promise as a novel therapeutic approach for metastatic basal-like breast cancer.

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