Inproceedings: an article in a conference proceedings.
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An immune-competent model of spontaneous breast cancer metastasis to the brain
Title of the conference
Joint MRS-AACR (Metastasis Research Society-American Association for Cancer Research) Conference: Metastasis and the Tumor Microenvironment
Philadelphia, United-States, September 12-15, 2010
Clinical and Experimental Metastasis
Publication type : Meeting Abstract
In breast cancer, brain metastases are often seen as late complications of recurrent disease and represent a particularly serious condition, since there are limited therapeutic options and patients have an unfavorable prognosis. The frequency of brain metastases in breast cancer is currently on the rise. This might be due to the fact that adjuvant chemotherapeutic and targeted anticancer drugs, while they effectively control disease progression in the periphery, they only poorly cross the blood-brain barrier and do not reach effectively cancer cells disseminated in the brain. It is therefore of fundamental clinical relevance to investigate mechanisms involved in breast cancer metastasis to the brain. To date experimental models of breast cancer metastasis to the brain described in literature are based on the direct intracarotid or intracardiac injection of breast cancer cells. We recently established a brain metastasis breast cancer model in immunocompetent mice based on the orthotopic injection of 4T1 murine breast carcinoma cells in the mammary gland of syngeneic BALB/c mice. 4T1-derived tumors recapitulate the main steps of human breast cancer progression, including epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition, local invasion and metastatic spreading to lung and lymph nodes. 4T1 cells were engineered to stably express firefly Luciferase allowing noninvasive in vivo and ex vivo monitoring of tumor progression and metastatic spreading to target organs. Bioluminescence imaging revealed the appearance of spontaneous lesions to the lung and lymph nodes and, at a much lower frequency, to the brain. Brain metastases were confirmed by macroscopic and microscopic evaluation of the brains at necropsy. We then isolated brain metastatic cells, re-injected them orthotopically in new mice and isolated again lines from brain metastases. After two rounds of selection we obtained lines metastasizing to the brain with 100% penetrance (named 4T1-BM2 for Brain Metastasis, 2nd generation) compared to lines derived after two rounds of in vivo growth from primary tumors (4T1-T2) or from lung metastases (4T1-LM2). We are currently performing experiments to unravel differences in cell proliferation, adhesion, migration, invasion and survival of the 4T1-BM2 line relative to the 4T1-T2 and 4T1-LM2 lines. Initial results indicate that 4T1-BM2 cells are not more invasive or more proliferative in vitro and do not show a more mesenchymal phenotype. Our syngeneic (BALB/c) model of spontaneous breast carcinoma metastasis to the brain is a unique and clinically relevant model to unravel the mechanisms of metastatic breast cancer colonization of the brain. Genes identified in this model represent potentially clinically relevant therapeutic targets for the prevention and the treatment of brain metastases in breast cancer patients.
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