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Cell Death Dis. 2018 Aug 29;9(9):880. doi: 10.1038/s41419-018-0876-3.

CXCL1 derived from tumor-associated macrophages promotes breast cancer metastasis via activating NF-κB/SOX4 signaling.

Wang N1,2, Liu W1,3, Zheng Y1,4, Wang S1,4, Yang B1, Li M5, Song J5,6, Zhang F1,2,4, Zhang X1,2,4, Wang Q7,8, Wang Z9,10,11,12.

Author information

1
Integrative Research Laboratory of Breast Cancer, The Research Centre of Integrative Medicine, Discipline of Integrated Chinese and Western Medicine and The Second Affiliated Hospital of Guangzhou University of Chinese Medicine, Guangzhou, Guangdong, China.
2
College of Basic Medicine, Guangzhou University of Chinese Medicine, Guangzhou, Guangdong, China.
3
Institute of Clinical Pharmacology, Guangzhou University of Chinese Medicine, Guangzhou, China.
4
Post-Doctoral Research Center, Guangzhou University of Chinese Medicine, Guangzhou, Guangdong, China.
5
School of Chinese Medicine, Hong Kong Baptist University, Hong Kong SAR, China.
6
Medical College of Acupuncture-Moxibustion and Rehabilitation, Guangzhou University of Chinese Medicine, Guangzhou, China.
7
Institute of Clinical Pharmacology, Guangzhou University of Chinese Medicine, Guangzhou, China. wqitcm@qq.com.
8
Post-Doctoral Research Center, Guangzhou University of Chinese Medicine, Guangzhou, Guangdong, China. wqitcm@qq.com.
9
Integrative Research Laboratory of Breast Cancer, The Research Centre of Integrative Medicine, Discipline of Integrated Chinese and Western Medicine and The Second Affiliated Hospital of Guangzhou University of Chinese Medicine, Guangzhou, Guangdong, China. wangzhiyu976@126.com.
10
College of Basic Medicine, Guangzhou University of Chinese Medicine, Guangzhou, Guangdong, China. wangzhiyu976@126.com.
11
Institute of Clinical Pharmacology, Guangzhou University of Chinese Medicine, Guangzhou, China. wangzhiyu976@126.com.
12
Post-Doctoral Research Center, Guangzhou University of Chinese Medicine, Guangzhou, Guangdong, China. wangzhiyu976@126.com.

Abstract

Tumor-associated macrophages (TAMs) have been implicated in the promotion of breast cancer growth and metastasis, and multiple TAM-secreted cytokines have been identified associating with poor clinical outcomes. However, the therapeutic targets existing in the loop between TAMs and cancer cells are still required for further investigation. Here in, cytokine array validated that C-X-C motif chemokine ligand 1 (CXCL1) is the most abundant chemokine secreted by TAMs, and CXCL1 can promote breast cancer migration and invasion ability, as well as epithelial-mesenchymal transition in both mouse and human breast cancer cells. QPCR screening further validated SOX4 as the highest responsive gene following CXCL1 administration. Mechanistic study revealed that CXCL1 binds to SOX4 promoter and activates its transcription via NF-κB pathway. In vivo breast cancer xenografts demonstrated that CXCL1 silencing in TAMs results in a significant reduction in breast cancer growth and metastatic burden. Bioinformatic analysis and clinical investigation finally suggested that high CXCL1 expression is significantly correlated with breast cancer lymph node metastasis, poor overall survival and basal-like subtype. Taken together, our results indicated that TAMs/CXCL1 promotes breast cancer metastasis via NF-κB/SOX4 activation, and CXCL1-based therapy might become a novel strategy for breast cancer metastasis prevention.

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