Loss of one Tgfbr2 allele in fibroblasts promotes metastasis in MMTV: polyoma middle T transgenic and transplant mouse models of mammary tumor progression.

Fang WB, Jokar I, Chytil A, Moses HL, Abel T, Cheng N
Clin Exp Metastasis. 2011 28 (4): 351-66

PMID: 21374085 · PMCID: PMC3373018 · DOI:10.1007/s10585-011-9373-0

Accumulation of fibroblasts is a phenomenon that significantly correlates with formation of aggressive cancers. While studies have shown that the TGF-β signaling pathway is an important regulator of fibroblast activation, the functional contribution of TGF-β signaling in fibroblasts during multi-step tumor progression remains largely unclear. In previous studies, we used a sub-renal capsule transplantation model to demonstrate that homozygous knockout of the Tgfbr2 gene (Tgbr2(FspKO)) enhanced mammary tumor growth and metastasis. Here, we show for the first time a significant role for loss of one Tgfbr2 allele during multi-step mammary tumor progression. Heterozygous deletion of Tgfbr2 in stromal cells in MMTV-PyVmT transgenic mice (PyVmT/Tgfbr2(hetFspKO) mice) resulted in earlier tumor formation and increased stromal cell accumulation. In contrast to previous studies of Tgbr2(FspKO) fibroblasts, Tgfbr2(hetFspKO) fibroblasts did not significantly increase tumor growth, but enhanced lung metastasis in PyVmT transgenic mice and in co-transplantation studies with PyVmT mammary carcinoma cells. Furthermore, Tgfbr2(hetFspKO) fibroblasts enhanced mammary carcinoma cell invasiveness associated with expression of inflammatory cytokines including CXCL12 and CCL2. Analyses of Tgbr2(FspKO) and Tgfbr2(hetFspKO) fibroblasts revealed differences in the expression of factors associated with metastatic spread, indicating potential differences in the mechanism of action between homozygous and heterozygous deletion of Tgfbr2 in stromal cells. In summary, these studies demonstrate for the first time that loss of one Tgfbr2 allele in fibroblasts enhances mammary metastases in a multi-step model of tumor progression, and demonstrate the importance of clarifying the functional contribution of genetic alterations in stromal cells in breast cancer progression.

MeSH Terms (18)

Alleles Animals Antigens, Polyomavirus Transforming Disease Models, Animal Disease Progression Female Fibroblasts Male Mammary Neoplasms, Animal Mammary Tumor Virus, Mouse Mice Mice, Nude Mice, Transgenic Neoplasm Metastasis Protein-Serine-Threonine Kinases Receptor, Transforming Growth Factor-beta Type II Receptors, Transforming Growth Factor beta Tumor Cells, Cultured

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