Int J Biol Sci 2022; 18(4):1363-1380. doi:10.7150/ijbs.65227 This issue

Research Paper

Cancer-associated adipocytes promote the invasion and metastasis in breast cancer through LIF/CXCLs positive feedback loop

Chong Zhou1,7, Xi He1, Chang Tong3, Honghui Li1, Caifeng Xie1, Yudong Wu2, Lieliang Wang2, Xiaohua Yan1, Daya Luo1, Yunpeng Tang4, Zhongman Cheng5, Xiangyang Xiong1,6✉

1. Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, School of Basic Medical Sciences, Nanchang University, Nanchang, Jiangxi, 330006, China.
2. Department of Breast Surgery, Jiangxi Provincial Cancer Hospital, Nanchang, Jiangxi, 330029, China.
3. Pediatric Medical School, Nanchang University, Nanchang, Jiangxi, 330031, China.
4. Second Clinical Medical School, Nanchang University, Nanchang, Jiangxi, 330031, China.
5. School of Basic Medical Sciences, Nanchang University, Nanchang, Jiangxi, 330006, China.
6. Province Key Laboratory of Tumor Pathogens and Molecular Pathology, Nanchang University, Nanchang, Jiangxi, 330006, China.
7. Province Key Laboratory of Reproductive Physiology and Pathology, Nanchang University, Nanchang, Jiangxi, 330031, China.

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Citation:
Zhou C, He X, Tong C, Li H, Xie C, Wu Y, Wang L, Yan X, Luo D, Tang Y, Cheng Z, Xiong X. Cancer-associated adipocytes promote the invasion and metastasis in breast cancer through LIF/CXCLs positive feedback loop. Int J Biol Sci 2022; 18(4):1363-1380. doi:10.7150/ijbs.65227. Available from https://www.ijbs.com/v18p1363.htm

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Abstract

Graphic abstract

Cancer-associated adipocytes (CAAs), which are adipocytes transformed by cancer cells, are of great importance in promoting the progression of breast cancer. However, the underlying mechanisms involved in the crosstalk between cancer cells and adipocytes are still unknown. Here we report that CAAs and breast cancer cells communicate with each other by secreting the cytokines leukemia inhibitory factor (LIF) and C-X-C subfamily chemokines (CXCLs), respectively. LIF is a pro-inflammatory cytokine secreted by CAAs, which promotes migration and invasion of breast cancer cells via the Stat3 signaling pathway. The activation of Stat3 induced the secretion of glutamic acid-leucine-arginine (ELR) motif CXCLs (CXCL1, CXCL2, CXCL3 and CXCL8) in tumor cells. Interestingly, CXCLs in turn activated the ERK1/2/NF-κB/Stat3 signaling cascade to promote the expression of LIF in CAAs. In clinical breast cancer pathology samples, the up-regulation of LIF in paracancerous adipose tissue was positively correlated with the activation of Stat3 in breast cancer. Furthermore, we verified that adipocytes enhanced lung metastasis of breast cancer cells, and the combination of EC330 (targeting LIF) and SB225002 (targeting C-X-C motility chemokine receptor 2 (CXCR2)) significantly reduced lung metastasis of breast cancer cells in vivo. Our findings reveal that the interaction of adipocytes with breast cancer cells depends on a positive feedback loop between the cytokines LIF and CXCLs, which promotes breast cancer invasion and metastasis.

Keywords: breast cancer, cancer-associated adipocyte, leukemia inhibitory factor, ELR+CXC Chemokines, invasion and metastasis