Mesenchymal stem cells promote mammary cancer cell migration in vitro via the CXCR2 receptor

Cancer Lett. 2011 Sep 1;308(1):91-9. doi: 10.1016/j.canlet.2011.04.018. Epub 2011 May 23.


Bone metastasis is a common event during breast cancer progression. Recently, mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) have been implicated in the metastasis of primary mammary cancer. Given that bone is the native environment for MSCs, we hypothesized MSCs facilitate the homing of circulating mammary cancer cells to the bone. To test this hypothesis, we examined in vitro whether bone derived MSCs from FVB mice could influence the migration of syngeneic murine mammary cancer cell lines derived from the polyoma virus middle-T (PyMT) model of mammary gland tumorigenesis. Our data show that conditioned media derived from MSCs significantly enhanced the migration of PyMT mammary cancer cell lines. Analysis of conditioned media using a cytokine array revealed the presence of numerous cytokines in the MSC conditioned media, most notably, the murine orthologs of CXCL1 and CXCL5 that are cognate ligands of the CXCR2 receptor. Further investigation identified that: (1) CXCL1, CXCL5 and CXCR2 mRNA and protein were expressed by the MSCs and PyMT cell lines and; (2) neutralizing antibodies to CXCL1, CXCL5 and CXCR2 or a CXCR2 small molecule inhibitor (SB265610) significantly abrogated the migratory effect of the MSC conditioned media on the PyMT cells. Therefore, in vitro evidence demonstrates that bone derived MSCs play a role in the migration of mammary cancer cells, a conclusion that has potential implications for breast to bone metastasis in vivo.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cell Line, Tumor
  • Cell Movement / physiology
  • Chemokine CXCL1 / biosynthesis
  • Chemokine CXCL1 / metabolism
  • Chemokine CXCL5 / biosynthesis
  • Chemokine CXCL5 / metabolism
  • Female
  • Mammary Neoplasms, Experimental / metabolism
  • Mammary Neoplasms, Experimental / pathology*
  • Mesenchymal Stem Cells / metabolism
  • Mesenchymal Stem Cells / pathology*
  • Mice
  • Neoplastic Stem Cells / metabolism
  • Neoplastic Stem Cells / pathology*
  • Receptors, Interleukin-8B / biosynthesis
  • Receptors, Interleukin-8B / metabolism*


  • Chemokine CXCL1
  • Chemokine CXCL5
  • Cxcl1 protein, mouse
  • Cxcl5 protein, mouse
  • Receptors, Interleukin-8B