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Carcinogenesis. 2019 Oct 17. pii: bgz172. doi: 10.1093/carcin/bgz172. [Epub ahead of print]

TIMP-2 suppresses tumor growth and metastasis in murine model of triple-negative breast cancer.

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Extracellular Matrix Pathology Section, Laboratory of Pathology, Center for Cancer Research, National Cancer Institute, Bethesda, MD, USA.
Tumor Growth Factor Section, Mouse Cancer Genetics Program, National Cancer Institute, Frederick, MD, USA.
Biostatistics Branch, National Cancer Institute, Rockville, MD, USA.
Confocal Core Facility, National Cancer Institute, Bethesda, MD, USA.


Metastasis is the primary cause of treatment failures and mortality in most cancers. Triple-negative breast cancer is refractory to treatment and rapidly progresses to disseminated disease. We utilized an orthotopic mouse model that molecularly and phenotypically resembles human TNBC to study the effects of exogenous, daily TIMP-2 treatment on tumor growth and metastasis. Our results demonstrated that TIMP-2 treatment maximally suppressed primary tumor growth by ~36-50%, and pulmonary metastasis by > 92%. Immuno-staining assays confirmed disruption of the epithelial to mesenchymal transition, and promotion of vascular integrity in primary tumor tissues. Immuno-staining and RNA sequencing analysis of lung tissue lysates from tumor-bearing mice identified significant changes associated with metastatic colony formation. Specifically, TIMP-2 treatment disrupts periostin localization and critical cell signaling pathways, including canonical Wnt-signaling involved in EMT transition, as well as PI3K-signaling which modulates proliferative and metastatic behavior through p27 phosphorylation/localization. In conclusion, our study provides evidence in support of a role for TIMP-2 in suppression of triple negative breast cancer growth and metastasis through modulation of the epithelial to mesenchymal transition, vascular normalization, and signaling pathways associated with metastatic outgrowth. Our findings suggest that TIMP-2, a constituent of the ECM in normal tissues, may have both direct and systemic anti-tumor and metastasis suppressor effects, suggesting potential utility in the clinical management of breast cancer progression.


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