Patients with triple negative breast cancer (TNBC) is frequently complicated by bone metastasis, which deteriorates the life expectancy of this patient cohort. In order to develop a novel type of therapy for bone metastasis, we established 4T1.3 clone with a high capacity to metastasize to bone after orthotopic injection, from a murine TNBC cell line, 4T1.0. To elucidate the molecular mechanism underlying a high growth ability of 4T1.3 in a bone cavity, we searched for a novel candidate molecule with a focus on a transcription factor whose expression was selectively enhanced in a bone cavity. Comprehensive gene expression analysis detected enhanced Nfe2
mRNA expression in 4T1.3 grown in a bone cavity, compared with in vitro culture conditions. Moreover, Nfe2
gene transduction into 4T1.0 cells enhanced their capability to form intraosseous tumors. Moreover, Nfe2
shRNA treatment reduced tumor formation arising from intraosseous injection of 4T1.3 clone as well as another mouse TNBC-derived TS/A.3 clone with an augmented intraosseous tumor formation ability. Furthermore, NFE2 expression was associated with in vitro growth advantages of these TNBC cell lines under hypoxic condition, which mimics the bone microenvironment, as well as Wnt pathway activation. These observations suggest that NFE2 can potentially contribute to breast cancer cell survival in the bone microenvironment.
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