Send to

Choose Destination
Cell Cycle. 2011 Jun 15;10(12):2021-34. Epub 2011 Jun 15.

Matrix remodeling stimulates stromal autophagy, "fueling" cancer cell mitochondrial metabolism and metastasis.

Author information

The Jefferson Stem Cell Biology and Regenerative Medicine Center, Kimmel Cancer Center, Thomas Jefferson University, Philadelphia, PA, USA.


We have previously demonstrated that loss of stromal caveolin-1 (Cav-1) in cancer-associated fibroblasts is a strong and independent predictor of poor clinical outcome in human breast cancer patients. However, the signaling mechanism(s) by which Cav-1 downregulation leads to this tumor-promoting microenvironment are not well understood. To address this issue, we performed an unbiased comparative proteomic analysis of wild-type (WT) and Cav-1(-/-) null mammary stromal fibroblasts (MSFs). Our results show that plasminogen activator inhibitor type 1 and type 2 (PAI-1 and PAI-2) expression is significantly increased in Cav-1(-/-) MSFs. To establish a direct cause-effect relationship, we next generated immortalized human fibroblast lines stably overexpressing either PAI-1 or PAI-2. Importantly, PAI-1/2(+) fibroblasts promote the growth of MDA-MB-231 tumors (a human breast cancer cell line) in a murine xenograft model, without any increases in angiogenesis. Similarly, PAI-1/2(+) fibroblasts stimulate experimental metastasis of MDA-MB-231 cells using an in vivo lung colonization assay. Further mechanistic studies revealed that fibroblasts overexpressing PAI-1 or PAI-2 display increased autophagy ("self-eating") and are sufficient to induce mitochondrial biogenesis/activity in adjacent cancer cells, in co-culture experiments. In xenografts, PAI-1/2(+) fibroblasts significantly reduce the apoptosis of MDA-MB-231 tumor cells. The current study provides further support for the "Autophagic Tumor Stroma Model of Cancer" and identifies a novel "extracellular matrix"-based signaling mechanism, by which a loss of stromal Cav-1 generates a metastatic phenotype. Thus, the secretion and remodeling of extracellular matrix components (such as PAI-1/2) can directly regulate both (1) autophagy in stromal fibroblasts and (2) epithelial tumor cell mitochondrial metabolism.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Taylor & Francis Icon for PubMed Central
Loading ...
Support Center