Crosstalk between stromal components and tumor cells of TNBC via secreted factors enhances tumor growth and metastasis

Kideok Jin, Niranjan B. Pandey, Aleksander S. Popel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Scopus citations


Triple negative breast cancer (TNBC) as a metastatic disease is currently incurable. Reliable and reproducible methods for testing drugs against metastasis are not available. Stromal cells may play a critical role in tumor progression and metastasis. In this study, we determined that fibroblasts and macrophages secreted IL-8 upon induction by tumor cell-conditioned media (TCM) from MDA-MB-231 cancer cells. Our data showed that the proliferation of MDA-MB-231 cells co-cultured with fibroblasts or macrophages was enhanced compared to the monoculture. Furthermore, TNBC cell migration, a key step in tumor metastasis, was promoted by conditioned media (CM) from TCM-induced fibroblasts or macrophages. Knockdown of the IL-8 receptor CXCR2 by CRISPR-Cas9 reduces MDA-MB-231 cell proliferation and migration compared to wild type. In a mouse xenograft tumor model, the growth of MDA-MB- 231-CXCR2-/- tumor was significantly decreased compared to the growth of tumors from wild-type cells. In addition, the incidence of thoracic metastasis of MDA-MB-231- CXCR2-/- tumors was reduced compared to wild type. We found that the auto- and paracrine loop exists between TNBC cells and stroma, which results in enhanced IL-8 secretion from the stromal components. Significantly, inhibition of the IL-8 signaling pathway by reparixin, an inhibitor of the IL-8 receptor, CXCR1/2, reduced MDAMB- 231 tumor growth and metastasis. Taken together, these findings implicate IL-8 signaling as a critical event in TNBC tumor growth and metastasis via crosstalk with stromal components.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)60210-60222
Number of pages13
Issue number36
StatePublished - 2017


  • Breast cancer
  • CXCR1/2
  • IL-8
  • TNBC
  • Tumor microenvironment

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology


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