Metastatic spread of cancer to distant vital organs, including lung and bone, is the overwhelming cause of breast cancer mortality and morbidity. Effective treatment of systemic metastasis relies on the identification and functional characterization of metastasis mediators to multiple organs. Overexpression of the chemokine (C-C motif) ligand 2 (CCL2) is frequently associated with advanced tumor stage and metastatic relapse in breast cancer. However, the functional mechanism of CCL2 in promoting organ-specific metastasis of breast cancer has not been rigorously investigated. Here, we used organ-specific metastatic sublines of the MDA-MB-231 human breast cancer cell line to demonstrate that overexpression of CCL2 promotes breast cancer metastasis to both lung and bone. Conversely, blocking CCL2 function with a neutralizing antibody reduced lung and bone metastases. The enhancement of lung and bone metastases by CCL2 was associated with increased macrophage infiltration and osteoclast differentiation, respectively. By performing functional assays with primary cells isolated from the wild type, CCL2 and CCR2 knock-out mice, we showed that tumor cellderived CCL2 depends on its receptor CCR2 (chemokine, CC motif, receptor 2) expressed on stromal cells to exert its function in promoting macrophage recruitment and osteoclast differentiation. Overall, these data demonstrated that CCL2-expressing breast tumor cells engage CCR2+ stromal cells of monocytic origin, including macrophages and preosteoclasts, to facilitate colonization in lung and bone. Therefore, CCL2 and CCR2 are promising therapeutic targets for simultaneously inhibiting lung and bone metastasis of breast cancer.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Molecular Biology
- Cell Biology