Basal Like Breast Cancer, Basement Membrane, Cancer Cell, Cancer Cell Culture, Cancer Invasion, Cancer Tissue, Cell Invasion, Collagen Degradation, Controlled Study, Enzyme Activity, Enzyme Assay, Enzyme Induction, Enzyme Inhibition, Gene Expression, Gene Silencing, Gene Targeting, Human, Human Tissue, Immunoblotting, Immunohistochemistry, In Vitro Study, Major Clinical Study, Polymerase Chain Reaction, Protein Expression, RNA Interference, Signal Transduction, Tissue Microarray
ABSTRACT: INTRODUCTION: Basal-like breast cancers (BL-BCa) have the worst prognosis of all subgroups of this disease. Hyaluronan (HA) and the HA receptor CD44 have a long-standing association with cell invasion and metastasis of breast cancer. The purpose of this study was to establish the relation of CD44 to BL-BCa and to characterize how HA/CD44 signaling promotes a protease-dependent invasion of breast cancer (BrCa) cells. METHODS: CD44 expression was determined with immunohistochemistry (IHC) analysis of a breast cancer tissue microarray (TMA). In vitro experiments were performed on a panel of invasive BL-BCa cell lines, by using quantitative polymerase chain reaction (PCR), immunoblotting, protease activity assays, and invasion assays to characterize the basis of HA-induced, CD44-mediated invasion. RESULTS: Expression of the hyaluronan (HA) receptor CD44 associated with the basal-like subgroup in a cohort of 141 breast tumor specimens (P = 0.018). Highly invasive cells of the representative BL-BCa cell line, MDA-MB-231 (MDA-MB-231Hi) exhibited increased invasion through a basement membrane matrix (Matrigel) and collagen. In further experiments, HA-induced promotion of CD44 signaling potentiated expression of urokinase plasminogen activator (uPA) and its receptor uPAR, and underpinned an increased cell-associated activity of this serine protease in MDA-MB-231Hi and a further BL-BCa cell line, Hs578T cells. Knockdown of CD44 attenuated both basal and HA-stimulated uPA and uPAR gene expression and uPA activity. Inhibition of uPA activity by using (a) a gene-targeted RNAi or (b) a small-molecule inhibitor of uPA attenuated HA-induced invasion of MDA-MB-231Hi cells through Matrigel. HA/CD44 signaling also was shown to increase invasion of MDA-MB-231 cells through collagen and to potentiate the collagen-degrading activity of MDA-MB-231Hi cells. CD44 signaling was subsequently shown to upregulate expression of two potent collagen-degrading enzymes, the cysteine protease cathepsin K and the matrix metalloprotease MT1-MMP. RNAi- or shRNA-mediated depletion of CD44 in MDA-MB-231Hi cells decreased basal and HA-induced cathepsin K and MT1-MMP expression, reduced the collagen-degrading activity of the cell, and attenuated cell invasion through collagen. Pharmacologic inhibition of cathepsin K or RNAi-mediated depletion of MT1-MMP also attenuated MDA-MB-231Hi cell invasion through collagen. CONCLUSION: HA-induced CD44 signaling increases a diverse spectrum of protease activity to facilitate the invasion associated with BL-BCa cells, providing new insights into the molecular basis of CD44-promoted invasion.
Medical Pathology | Pathology
Montgomery N, Hill A, McFarlane S, Neisen J, O'Grady A, Conlon S, Jirstrom K, Kay EW, Waugh DJ. CD44 enhances invasion of basal-like breast cancer cells by upregulating serine protease and collagen-degrading enzymatic expression and activity. Breast Cancer Research. 2012;14(3):R84.