Research ArticleCancer Immunology

Invasive breast carcinoma cells from patients exhibit MenaINV- and macrophage-dependent transendothelial migration

Sci. Signal.  25 Nov 2014:
Vol. 7, Issue 353, pp. ra112
DOI: 10.1126/scisignal.2005329

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Metastasis is a complex, multistep process of cancer progression that has few treatment options. A critical event is the invasion of cancer cells into blood vessels (intravasation), through which cancer cells disseminate to distant organs. Breast cancer cells with increased abundance of Mena [an epidermal growth factor (EGF)–responsive cell migration protein] are present with macrophages at sites of intravasation, called TMEM sites (for tumor microenvironment of metastasis), in patient tumor samples. Furthermore, the density of these intravasation sites correlates with metastatic risk in patients. We found that intravasation of breast cancer cells may be prevented by blocking the signaling between cancer cells and macrophages. We obtained invasive breast ductal carcinoma cells of various subtypes by fine-needle aspiration (FNA) biopsies from patients and found that, in an in vitro transendothelial migration assay, cells that migrated through a layer of human endothelial cells were enriched for the transcript encoding MenaINV, an invasive isoform of Mena. This enhanced transendothelial migration required macrophages and occurred with all of the breast cancer subtypes. Using mouse macrophages and the human cancer cells from the FNAs, we identified paracrine and autocrine activation of colony-stimulating factor-1 receptor (CSF-1R). The paracrine or autocrine nature of the signal depended on the breast cancer cell subtype. Knocking down MenaINV or adding an antibody that blocks CSF-1R function prevented transendothelial migration. Our findings indicate that MenaINV and TMEM frequency are correlated prognostic markers and CSF-1 and MenaINV may be therapeutic targets to prevent metastasis of multiple breast cancer subtypes.

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