[en] angiogenesis ; cancer ; epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition ; myeloid cells
[en] Epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition (EMT) programs provide cancer cells with invasive and survival capacities that might favor metastatic dissemination. Whilst signaling cascades triggering EMT have been extensively studied, the impact of EMT on the crosstalk between tumor cells and the tumor microenvironment remains elusive. We aimed to identify EMT-regulated soluble factors that facilitate the recruitment of host cells in the tumor. Our findings indicate that EMT phenotypes relate to the induction of a panel of secreted mediators, namely IL-8, IL-6, sICAM-1, PAI-1 and GM-CSF, and implicate the EMT-transcription factor Snail as a regulator of this process. We further show that EMT-derived soluble factors are pro-angiogenic in vivo (in the mouse ear sponge assay), ex vivo (in the rat aortic ring assay) and in vitro (in a chemotaxis assay). Additionally, conditioned medium from EMT-positive cells stimulates the recruitment of myeloid cells. In a bank of 40 triple-negative breast cancers, tumors presenting features of EMT were significantly more angiogenic and infiltrated by a higher quantity of myeloid cells compared to tumors with little or no EMT. Taken together, our results show that EMT programs trigger the expression of soluble mediators in cancer cells that stimulate angiogenesis and recruit myeloid cells in vivo, which might in turn favor cancer spread.