Increasing chronological age is the most significant risk factor for human cancer development. To examine the effects of host aging on mammary tumor growth, we used caveolin (Cav)-1 knockout mice as a bona fide model of accelerated host aging. Mammary tumor cells were orthotopically implanted into these distinct microenvironments (Cav-1(+/+) versus Cav-1(-/-) age-matched young female mice). Mammary tumors grown in a Cav-1-deficient tumor microenvironment have an increased stromal content, with vimentin-positive myofibroblasts (a marker associated with oxidative stress) that are also positive for S6-kinase activation (a marker associated with aging). Mammary tumors grown in a Cav-1-deficient tumor microenvironment were more than fivefold larger than tumors grown in a wild-type microenvironment. Thus, a Cav-1-deficient tumor microenvironment provides a fertile soil for breast cancer tumor growth. Interestingly, the mammary tumor-promoting effects of a Cav-1-deficient microenvironment were estrogen and progesterone independent. In this context, chemoprevention was achieved by using the mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR) inhibitor and anti-aging drug, rapamycin. Systemic rapamycin treatment of mammary tumors grown in a Cav-1-deficient microenvironment significantly inhibited their tumor growth, decreased their stromal content, and reduced the levels of both vimentin and phospho-S6 in Cav-1-deficient cancer-associated fibroblasts. Since stromal loss of Cav-1 is a marker of a lethal tumor microenvironment in breast tumors, these high-risk patients might benefit from treatment with mTOR inhibitors, such as rapamycin or other rapamycin-related compounds (rapalogues).
Copyright © 2012 American Society for Investigative Pathology. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.