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Cancer Res. 2002 Feb 1;62(3):917-23.

Tumor-derived platelet-derived growth factor-BB plays a critical role in osteosclerotic bone metastasis in an animal model of human breast cancer.

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Division of Endocrinology and Metabolism, Department of Medicine, University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio, 7703 Floyd Curl Drive, San Antonio, TX 78229-3900, USA.


Breast cancer produces a variety of growth factors to promote its behavior at primary and secondary sites in autocrine/paracrine manners. However, the role of these growth factors in the colonization of cancer cells in bone, which is one of the most common metastatic sites, is poorly understood. To study this, we established an in vivo model in which the MCF-7 human breast cancer cells caused predominant osteosclerotic bone metastases 20-25 weeks after inoculation into the left cardiac ventricle in female nude mice. To make this model more time efficient, we overexpressed the oncogene Neu, which is associated with aggressive behavior in human breast cancers, in MCF-7 cells (MCF-7/Neu). MCF-7/Neu cells grew without estrogen and developed osteosclerotic bone metastases in 10-12 weeks in animals. Of note, MCF-7/Neu-bearing mice showed substantial plasma levels of human platelet-derived growth factor-BB (hPDGF-BB; 855 +/- 347 pg/ml; mean +/- SE, n = 5), indicating hPDGF-BB production by inoculated MCF-7/Neu cells. MCF-7/Neu cells in culture also produced large amounts of hPDGF-BB. Conditioned medium harvested from MCF-7/Neu cells stimulated osteoblastic bone formation in organ cultures of neonatal mouse calvariae, and a neutralizing antibody to hPDGF-BB blocked the osteoblastic bone formation. Stable transfection of the hPDGF-B AS in MCF-7/Neu cells reduced hPDGF-BB production in culture. Mice bearing these MCF-7/Neu cells with antisense showed reduced bone metastases with decreased plasma hPDGF-BB levels (54 +/- 20 and 35 +/- 21 in two different antisense and 696 +/- 312 pg/ml in empty vector; mean +/- SE; n = 5). Introduction of hPDGF-B cDNA in the MDA-MB-231 human breast cancer cells, which consistently formed osteolytic bone metastases, induced osteosclerotic lesions in the osteolytic bone metastases. In conclusion, we show that MCF-7 cells cause osteosclerotic bone metastases and that Neu enhances this capacity of MCF-7 cells. Our data suggest that MCF-7/Neu-derived hPDGF-BB plays a causative role in the development of osteosclerotic bone metastases in this model.

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