Skip to main content
eScholarship
Open Access Publications from the University of California

UCLA

UCLA Previously Published Works bannerUCLA

Serum erythropoietin levels, breast cancer and breast cancer-initiating cells.

  • Author(s): Bhat, Kruttika;
  • Sandler, Kiri;
  • Duhachek-Muggy, Sara;
  • Alli, Claudia;
  • Cheng, Fei;
  • Moatamed, Neda A;
  • Magyar, Clara E;
  • Du, Lin;
  • Li, Gang;
  • McCloskey, Susan;
  • Vlashi, Erina;
  • Pajonk, Frank
  • et al.
Abstract

BACKGROUND:Cancer is frequently associated with tumor-related anemia, and many chemotherapeutic agents impair hematopoiesis, leading to impaired quality of life for affected patients. The use of erythropoiesis-stimulating agents has come under scrutiny after prospective clinical trials using recombinant erythropoietin to correct anemia reported increased incidence of thromboembolic events and cancer-related deaths. Furthermore, previous preclinical reports indicated expansion of the pool of breast cancer-initiating cells when erythropoietin was combined with ionizing radiation. METHODS:Using four established breast cancer cell lines, we test the effects of recombinant human erythropoietin and the number of breast cancer-initiating cells in vitro and in vivo and study if recombinant human erythropoietin promotes the phenotype conversion of non-tumorigenic breast cancer cells into breast cancer-initiating cells. In a prospective study, we evaluate whether elevated endogenous serum erythropoietin levels correlate with increased numbers of tumor-initiating cells in a cohort of breast cancer patients who were scheduled to undergo radiation treatment. RESULTS:Our results indicate that recombinant erythropoietin increased the number of tumor-initiating cells in established breast cancer lines in vitro. Irradiation of breast cancer xenografts caused a phenotype conversion of non-stem breast cancer cells into induced breast cancer-initiating cells. This effect coincided with re-expression of the pluripotency factors c-Myc, Sox2, and Oct4 and was enhanced by recombinant erythropoietin. Hemoglobin levels were inversely correlated with serum erythropoietin levels, and the latter were correlated with disease stage. However, tumor sections revealed a negative correlation between serum erythropoietin levels and the number of ALDH1A3-positive cells, a marker for breast cancer-initiating cells. CONCLUSIONS:We conclude that physiologically slow-rising serum erythropoietin levels in response to tumor-related or chemotherapy-induced anemia, as opposed to large doses of recombinant erythropoietin, do not increase the pool of breast cancer-initiating cells.

Many UC-authored scholarly publications are freely available on this site because of the UC's open access policies. Let us know how this access is important for you.

Main Content
For improved accessibility of PDF content, download the file to your device.
Current View