In the evolution of cancer, tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-α) plays a paradoxical role. High doses induce significant anticancer effects, but conversely, physiologic and pathologic levels of TNF-α may be involved in cancer promotion, tumor growth, and metastasis. Infliximab is a chimeric murine monoclonal antibody that binds with high affinity to soluble and membrane TNF-α and inhibits binding of TNF-α to its receptors. In the present study, we investigated the effect of infliximab, a TNF-α antagonist, on breast cancer aggressiveness and bone metastases. Infliximab greatly reduced cell motility and bone metastases in a metastatic breast cancer cell line, MDA-MB-231. The mechanism of bone metastasis inhibition involved decreased expression of CXC chemokine receptor 4 (CXCR4) and increased expression of decorin, which is the prototype of an expanding family of small leucine-rich proteoglycans. These results suggest a novel role for TNF-α inhibition in the reduction or prevention of bone metastases in this breast cancer model. Our study suggests that inhibition of TNF-α using infliximab may become a preventive therapeutic option for breast cancer.
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