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Breast Cancer Cell Colonization of the Human Bone Marrow Adipose Tissue Niche.

  • Author(s): Templeton, Zach S
  • Lie, Wen-Rong
  • Wang, Weiqi
  • Rosenberg-Hasson, Yael
  • Alluri, Rajiv V
  • Tamaresis, John S
  • Bachmann, Michael H
  • Lee, Kitty
  • Maloney, William J
  • Contag, Christopher H
  • King, Bonnie L
  • et al.
Abstract

Background/objectives

Bone is a preferred site of breast cancer metastasis, suggesting the presence of tissue-specific features that attract and promote the outgrowth of breast cancer cells. We sought to identify parameters of human bone tissue associated with breast cancer cell osteotropism and colonization in the metastatic niche.

Methods

Migration and colonization patterns of MDA-MB-231-fLuc-EGFP (luciferase-enhanced green fluorescence protein) and MCF-7-fLuc-EGFP breast cancer cells were studied in co-culture with cancellous bone tissue fragments isolated from 14 hip arthroplasties. Breast cancer cell migration into tissues and toward tissue-conditioned medium was measured in Transwell migration chambers using bioluminescence imaging and analyzed as a function of secreted factors measured by multiplex immunoassay. Patterns of breast cancer cell colonization were evaluated with fluorescence microscopy and immunohistochemistry.

Results

Enhanced MDA-MB-231-fLuc-EGFP breast cancer cell migration to bone-conditioned versus control medium was observed in 12/14 specimens (P = .0014) and correlated significantly with increasing levels of the adipokines/cytokines leptin (P = .006) and IL-1β (P = .001) in univariate and multivariate regression analyses. Fluorescence microscopy and immunohistochemistry of fragments underscored the extreme adiposity of adult human bone tissues and revealed extensive breast cancer cell colonization within the marrow adipose tissue compartment.

Conclusions

Our results show that breast cancer cells migrate to human bone tissue-conditioned medium in association with increasing levels of leptin and IL-1β, and colonize the bone marrow adipose tissue compartment of cultured fragments. Bone marrow adipose tissue and its molecular signals may be important but understudied components of the breast cancer metastatic niche.

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