Tumor-α9β1 integrin-mediated signaling induces breast cancer growth and lymphatic metastasis via the recruitment of cancer-associated fibroblasts

Daichi Ota, Masashi Kanayama, Yutaka Matsui, Koyu Ito, Naoyoshi Maeda, Goro Kutomi, Koichi Hirata, Toshihiko Torigoe, Noriyuki Sato, Akinori Takaoka, Ann F. Chambers, Junko Morimoto, Toshimitsu Uede

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Citations (Scopus)


Key messages: Tumor α9β1 integrin promotes lymphatic metastasis through enhancing invasion. Tumor α9β1 integrin promotes tumor growth through CAFs. Tumor α9β1 integrin enhances the recruitment of CAFs into the primary tumor. Tumor cells induce the production of OPN by CAFs in the primary tumor.CAF-derived OPN promotes tumor growth.

Tumor-derived matricellular proteins such as osteopontin (OPN) and tenascin-C (TN-C) have been implicated in tumor growth and metastasis. However, the molecular basis of how these proteins contribute to tumor progression remains to be elucidated. Importantly, these matricellular proteins are known to interact with α9β1 integrin. Therefore, we hypothesized that tumor-derived α9β1 integrin may contribute to tumor progression. To clarify the roles of α9β1 integrin in tumor growth and lymphatic metastasis, we used an inhibitory anti-human α9β1 integrin antibody (anti-hα9β1 antibody) and a α9β1 integrin-positive human breast cancer cell line, MDA-MB-231 luc-D3H2LN (D3H2LN), in vitro functional assays, and an in vivo orthotopic xenotransplantation model. In this study, we demonstrated that tumor, but not host α9β1 integrin, contributes to tumor growth, lymphatic metastasis, recruitment of cancer-associated fibroblasts (CAFs), and host-derived OPN production. We also found that CAFs contributed to tumor growth, lymphatic metastasis, and host-derived OPN levels. Consistent with those findings, tumor volume was well-correlated with numbers of CAFs and levels of host-derived OPN. Furthermore, it was shown that the inoculation of D3H2LN cells into mammary fat pads with mouse embryonic fibroblasts (MEFs), obtained from wild type, but not OPN knock-out mice, resulted in enhancement of tumor growth, thus indicating that CAF-derived OPN enhanced tumor growth. These results suggested that tumor α9β1-mediated signaling plays a pivotal role in generating unique primary tumor tissue microenvironments, which favor lymphatic metastasis and tumor growth.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1271-1281
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Molecular Medicine
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - 2014 Nov 29
Externally publishedYes


  • Breast cancer
  • Cancer-associated fibroblasts
  • Osteopontin
  • Tumor microenvironment
  • α9β1 integrin

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Medicine
  • Drug Discovery
  • Genetics(clinical)


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