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Open AccessArticle

Involvement of a Transcription factor, Nfe2, in Breast Cancer Metastasis to Bone

Division of Molecular Bioregulation, Cancer Research Institute, Kanazawa University, Kakuma-Machi, Kanazawa, Ishikawa 920-1192, Japan
Department of Molecular Pathophysiology, Institute of Advanced Medicine, Wakayama Medical University, 811-1 Kimiidera, Wakayama 641-8509, Japan
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Cancers 2020, 12(10), 3003;
Received: 24 September 2020 / Revised: 13 October 2020 / Accepted: 13 October 2020 / Published: 16 October 2020
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Bone Metastasis: Its Cellular and Molecular Mechanisms)
Breast cancer patients are frequently complicated by bone metastasis, which deteriorates their life expectancy. Bone metastasis is treated with the drugs targeting osteoclast activation, which is mostly observed at the metastasis sites. However, these drugs cannot directly inhibit cancer cell growth and therefore, a novel therapeutic strategy is required to impede cancer cell proliferation at bone metastasis sites. Here, we proved that a transcription factor, NFE2, was expressed selectively in breast cancer cells at bone metastasis sites and contributed crucially to their enhanced proliferation therein, by activating Wnt pathway. Thus, NFE2 can be a novel molecular target to treat breast cancer bone metastasis.
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. View Full-Text
Keywords: bone metastasis; breast cancer; transcription factor; Wnt pathway bone metastasis; breast cancer; transcription factor; Wnt pathway
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Zhang, D.; Iwabuchi, S.; Baba, T.; Hashimoto, S.-I.; Mukaida, N.; Sasaki, S.-I. Involvement of a Transcription factor, Nfe2, in Breast Cancer Metastasis to Bone. Cancers 2020, 12, 3003.

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