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Lab Invest. 2020 Mar 18. doi: 10.1038/s41374-020-0415-6. [Epub ahead of print]

ECM1 secreted by HER2-overexpressing breast cancer cells promotes formation of a vascular niche accelerating cancer cell migration and invasion.

Author information

1
Department of Anatomy, Stem Cell Research Unit, Biomedical Center, Faculty of Medicine, School of Health Sciences, University of Iceland, Reykjavik, Iceland.
2
Center for Systems Biology, University of Iceland, Reykjavik, Iceland.
3
Heidelberg Institute for Stem Cell Technology and Experimental Medicine (HI-STEM gGmbH), 69120, Heidelberg, Germany.
4
Division of Stem Cells and Cancer, German Cancer Research Center (DKFZ), 69120, Heidelberg, Germany.
5
Department of Tumor Biology, Institute for Cancer Research, Oslo University Hospital, The Norwegian Radium Hospital, Oslo, Norway.
6
Department of Pathology, Landspitali-University Hospital, Reykjavik, Iceland.
7
Faculty of Medicine, University of Iceland, Reykjavik, Iceland.
8
German Cancer Consortium (DKTK), 69120, Heidelberg, Germany.
9
Department of Anatomy, Stem Cell Research Unit, Biomedical Center, Faculty of Medicine, School of Health Sciences, University of Iceland, Reykjavik, Iceland. tgudjons@hi.is.
10
Center for Systems Biology, University of Iceland, Reykjavik, Iceland. tgudjons@hi.is.
11
Department of Laboratory Hematology, Landspitali-University Hospital, Reykjavik, Iceland. tgudjons@hi.is.

Abstract

The tumor microenvironment is increasingly recognized as key player in cancer progression. Investigating heterotypic interactions between cancer cells and their microenvironment is important for understanding how specific cell types support cancer. Forming the vasculature, endothelial cells (ECs) are a prominent cell type in the microenvironment of both normal and neoplastic breast gland. Here, we sought out to analyze epithelial-endothelial cross talk in the breast using isogenic non-tumorigenic vs. tumorigenic breast epithelial cell lines and primary ECs. The cellular model used here consists of D492, a breast epithelial cell line with stem cell properties, and two isogenic D492-derived EMT cell lines, D492M and D492HER2. D492M was generated by endothelial-induced EMT and is non-tumorigenic while D492HER2 is tumorigenic, expressing the ErbB2/HER2 oncogene. To investigate cellular cross talk, we used both conditioned medium (CM) and 2D/3D co-culture systems. Secretome analysis of D492 cell lines was performed using mass spectrometry and candidate knockdown (KD), and overexpression (OE) was done using siRNA and CRISPRi/CRISPRa technology. D492HER2 directly enhances endothelial network formation and activates a molecular axis in ECs promoting D492HER2 migration and invasion, suggesting an endothelial feedback response. Secretome analysis identified extracellular matrix protein 1 (ECM1) as potential angiogenic inducer in D492HER2. Confirming its involvement, KD of ECM1 reduced the ability of D492HER2-CM to increase endothelial network formation and induce the endothelial feedback, while recombinant ECM1 (rECM1) increased both. Interestingly, NOTCH1 and NOTCH3 expression was upregulated in ECs upon treatment with D492HER2-CM or rECM1 but not by CM from D492HER2 with ECM1 KD. Blocking endothelial NOTCH signaling inhibited the increase in network formation and the ability of ECs to promote D492HER2 migration and invasion. In summary, our data demonstrate that cancer-secreted ECM1 induces a NOTCH-mediated endothelial feedback promoting cancer progression by enhancing migration and invasion. Targeting this interaction may provide a novel possibility to improve cancer treatment.

PMID:
32203150
DOI:
10.1038/s41374-020-0415-6

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