CXCL1 Derived from Mammary Fibroblasts Promotes Progression of Mammary Lesions to Invasive Carcinoma through CXCR2 Dependent Mechanisms

  • Shira Bernard
  • Megan Myers
  • Wei Bin Fang
  • Brandon Zinda
  • Curtis Smart
  • Diana Lambert
  • An Zou
  • Fang Fan
  • Nikki Cheng


With improved screening methods, the numbers of abnormal breast lesions diagnosed in women have been increasing over time. However, it remains unclear whether these breast lesions will develop into invasive cancers. To more effectively predict the outcome of breast lesions and determine a more appropriate course of treatment, it is important to understand the underlying mechanisms that regulate progression of non-invasive lesions to invasive breast cancers. A hallmark of invasive breast cancers is the accumulation of fibroblasts. Fibroblast proliferation and activation in the mammary gland is in part regulated by the Transforming Growth Factor beta1 pathway (TGF-β). In animal models, TGF-β suppression of CCL2 and CXCL1 chemokine expression is associated with metastatic progression of mammary carcinomas. Here, we show that transgenic overexpression of the Polyoma middle T viral antigen in the mouse mammary gland of C57BL/6 mice results in slow growing non-invasive lesions that progress to invasive carcinomas in a stage dependent manner. Invasive carcinomas are associated with accumulation of fibroblasts that show decreased TGF-β expression and high levels of CXCL1, but not CCL2. Using co-transplant models, we show that decreased TGF-β signaling in fibroblasts contribute to mammary carcinoma progression through enhancement of CXCL1/CXCR2 dependent mechanisms. Using cell culture models, we show that CXCL1 mediated mammary carcinoma cell invasion through NF-κB, AKT, Stat3 and p42/44MAPK dependent mechanisms. These studies provide novel mechanistic insight into the progression of pre-invasive lesions and identify new stromal biomarkers, with important prognostic implications.


Breast carcinoma Invasion Chemokine TGF-β Fibroblast MMTV-PyVmT C57BL/6 



We thank Iman Jokar for technical assistance.


These studies were supported by funds from KU Endowment and the National Institutes of Health/National Cancer Institute: R01CA172764 to N. Cheng.

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© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Pathology and Laboratory MedicineUniversity of Kansas Medical CenterKansas CityUSA

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