Breast cancer cell adhesome and degradome interact to drive metastasis

Asif Rizwan, Menglin Cheng, Zaver M. Bhujwalla, Balaji Krishnamachary, Lu Jiang, Kristine Glunde

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


BACKGROUND: Although primary breast tumors are detected early in most cases, it is inevitable that many patients remain at risk for future recurrence and death due to micrometastases. We investigated interactions between the degradome and the adhesome that drive metastasis, and have focused on matrix metalloproteases (MMPs) within the degradome and integrins and E-cadherin within the adhesome. AIMS: The aim of this study is to identify interaction networks between adhesion molecules and degradative enzymes in breast cancer metastasis. METHODS: We compared non-metastatic (BT-474, T47D, MCF7) and metastatic (MDA-MB-231, SUM149, SUM159) human breast cancer cell lines and xenografts, in which we measured growth rate, migration, invasion, colony formation, protein expression, and enzyme activity in vitro and in vivo. RESULTS: The metastatic breast cancer lines and xenografts displayed higher expression and activity levels of MMPs, which was also confirmed by noninvasive imaging in vivo. These metastatic breast cancer models also displayed elevated heterophilic cell-extracellular matrix (ECM) and lower homophilic cell–cell adhesion compared with those of non-metastatic models. This was conferred by an increased expression of the heterophilic cell adhesion molecule integrin β1 (ITGB1) and a decreased expression of the homophilic cell adhesion molecule E-cadherin. Inhibition of MMPs in metastatic cells led to a reduced expression of ITGB1, and stimulation of ITGB1 resulted in higher MMP activities in metastatic cancer cells, demonstrating reciprocal dependencies between degradome and adhesome. Re-expression of E-cadherin (CDH1) led to an increased expression of the precursor form of ITGB1. CONCLUSIONS: Our results point toward a concerted interdependence of MMPs, ITGB1, and CDH1 that is critical for breast cancer metastasis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number15017
Journalnpj Breast Cancer
StatePublished - 2015

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging
  • Pharmacology (medical)


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