Metastasis is the leading cause of deaths in patients with breast cancer. Benzo[a]pyrene is a cumulative carcinogen and ubiquitous environmental pollutant with potent carcinogenic properties. As we report here, we established an accumulative mouse model mimicking the cumulative effects of benzo[a]pyrene exposure in human breast carcinogenesis. Our focus was on elucidating the mechanisms by which benzo[a]pyrene contributes to the process of breast cancer metastasis. Our study indicated that benzo[a]pyrene increased the migration of breast cancer cells both in vitro and in vivo. Specifically, we demonstrated that benzo[a]pyrene enhances breast cancer cell migration and invasion by up-regulating ROS-induced ERK signaling, leading to the activation of matrix metalloproteinases 9. Our results suggest that benzo[a]pyrene-induced mammary gland cancer metastasis is an important and intricate process facilitated by cumulative benzo[a]pyrene exposure leading to activation of the ROS-ERK-MMP9 signaling pathway.
Keywords: Benzo[a]pyrene; Breast cancer metastasis; ERK; MMP9; ROS.
Copyright © 2015 Elsevier Ireland Ltd. All rights reserved.