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See detailA dynamic in vivo model of epithelial-to-mesenchymal transitions in circulating tumor cells and metastases of breast cancer.
Bonnomet, Arnaud; Syne, Laïdya ULg; Brysse, Anne ULg et al

in Oncogene (2012), 31(33), 3741-53

Epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition (EMT) processes endow epithelial cells with enhanced migratory/invasive properties and are therefore likely to contribute to tumor invasion and metastatic spread ... [more ▼]

Epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition (EMT) processes endow epithelial cells with enhanced migratory/invasive properties and are therefore likely to contribute to tumor invasion and metastatic spread. Because of the difficulty in following EMT processes in human tumors, we have developed and characterized an animal model with transplantable human breast tumor cells (MDA-MB-468) uniquely showing spontaneous EMT events to occur. Using vimentin as a marker of EMT, heterogeneity was revealed in the primary MDA-MB-468 xenografts with vimentin-negative and vimentin-positive areas, as also observed on clinical human invasive breast tumor specimens. Reverse transcriptase-PCR after microdissection of these populations from the xenografts revealed EMT traits in the vimentin-positive zones characterized by enhanced 'mesenchymal gene' expression (Snail, Slug and fibroblast-specific protein-1) and diminished expression of epithelial molecules (E-cadherin, ZO-3 and JAM-A). Circulating tumor cells (CTCs) were detected in the blood as soon as 8 days after s.c. injection, and lung metastases developed in all animals injected as examined by in vivo imaging analyses and histology. High levels of vimentin RNA were detected in CTCs by reverse transcriptase-quantitative PCR as well as, to a lesser extent, Snail and Slug RNA. Von Willebrand Factor/vimentin double immunostainings further showed that tumor cells in vascular tumoral emboli all expressed vimentin. Tumoral emboli in the lungs also expressed vimentin whereas macrometastases displayed heterogenous vimentin expression, as seen in the primary xenografts. In conclusion, our data uniquely demonstrate in an in vivo context that EMT occurs in the primary tumors, and associates with an enhanced ability to intravasate and generate CTCs. They further suggest that mesenchymal-to-epithelial phenomena occur in secondary organs, facilitating the metastatic growth [less ▲]

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See detailRegulation of CXCL8/IL-8 expression by Zonula Occludens-1 in human breast cancer cells.
Brysse, Anne ULg; Mestdagt, Mélanie ULg; Polette, Myriam et al

in Molecular Cancer Research (2012), 10(1), 121-32

Accumulating data now suggest that ZO-1, once delocalized from tight junctions, could be implicated in the regulation of tumor promoting genes. Because of their major implication in different steps of ... [more ▼]

Accumulating data now suggest that ZO-1, once delocalized from tight junctions, could be implicated in the regulation of tumor promoting genes. Because of their major implication in different steps of tumor progression, we investigated here the influence of ZO-1 on chemokines expression in breast cancer cells. Using GeneArray analysis to compare chemokine mRNA expression in breast tumor cells transfected with a siRNA against ZO-1, we identified CXCL-8/IL-8 as a major potential target of ZO-1 signaling, being strongly downregulated following ZO-1 siRNA transfection. Examining further the relationship between ZO-1 and IL-8, we first demonstrated that CXCL8/IL-8 expression correlates with a relocalization of ZO-1 in several breast cancer cell lines. Moreover, CXCL8/IL-8 is downregulated in invasive BT549 cells transfected with 3 different ZO-1 siRNA and overexpressed in non-invasive BT20 and SKBR3 cells transfected with vectors expressing ZO-1. We also provide evidence for an activation of the CXCL8/IL-8 promoter by ZO-1. Finally, we demonstrate that the regulation of CXCL8/IL-8 by ZO-1 is independent of the beta-catenin pathway. Our results thus clearly demonstrate an implication of ZO-1 in CXCL8/IL-8 regulation. Because of the major implications of CXCL8/IL-8 in tumor invasion, such a regulation could play an important role in breast cancer progression. [less ▲]

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See detailEpithelial-to-mesenchymal transitions and circulating tumor cells.
Bonnomet, A.; Brysse, Anne ULg; Tachsidis, A. et al

in Journal of Mammary Gland Biology & Neoplasia (2010), 15(2), 261-73

Epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition (EMT) phenomena endow epithelial cells with enhanced migratory and invasive potential, and as such, have been implicated in many physiological and pathological ... [more ▼]

Epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition (EMT) phenomena endow epithelial cells with enhanced migratory and invasive potential, and as such, have been implicated in many physiological and pathological processes requiring cell migration/invasion. Although their involvement in the metastatic cascade is still a subject of debate, data are accumulating to demonstrate the existence of EMT phenotypes in primary human tumors, describe enhanced metastatic potential of EMT derivatives in animal models, and report EMT attributes in circulating tumor cells (CTCs). The relationships between EMT and CTCs remain largely unexplored, and we review here in vitro and in vivo data supporting a putative role of EMT processes in CTC generation and survival. [less ▲]

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