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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Protein Ligands in the Secretome of CD36+ Fibroblasts Induce Growth Suppression in a Subset of Breast Cancer Cell Lines


Reprogramming the tumor stroma is an emerging approach to circumventing the challenges of conventional cancer therapies. This strategy, however, is hampered by the lack of a specific molecular target. We previously reported that stromal fibroblasts (FBs) with high expression of CD36 could be utilized for this purpose. These studies are now expanded to identify the secreted factors responsible for tumor suppression. Methodologies included 3D colonies, fluorescent microscopy coupled with quantitative techniques, proteomics profiling, and bioinformatics analysis. The results indicated that the conditioned medium (CM) of the CD36+ FBs caused growth suppression via apoptosis in the triple-negative cell lines of MDA-MB-231, BT549, and Hs578T, but not in the ERBB2+ SKBR3. Following the proteomics and bioinformatic analysis of the CM of CD36+ versus CD36- FBs, we determined KLF10 as one of the transcription factors responsible for growth suppression. We also identified FBLN1, SLIT3, and PENK as active ligands, where their minimum effective concentrations were determined. Finally, in MDA-MB-231, we showed that a mixture of FBLN1, SLIT3, and PENK could induce an amount of growth suppression similar to the CM of CD36+ FBs. In conclusion, our findings suggest that these ligands, secreted by CD36+ FBs, can be targeted for breast cancer treatment.

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