Comparison of breast cancer metastasis models reveals a possible mechanism of tumor aggressiveness

Cell Death Dis. 2018 Oct 10;9(10):1040. doi: 10.1038/s41419-018-1094-8.


In breast cancer patients, the lungs are among the first sites of cancer metastasis, and in nearly one quarter of metastatic patients, the exclusive first event. Two common mouse models mimic breast cancer lung colonization and distal metastasis: an orthotopic model and intravenous (IV) cell injections. Gene expression analysis of pulmonary lesions from these two methods demonstrated high inter-model resemblance. However, microRNA (miRNA) expression profiles were not compared. In this study, we compared the overall miRNA expression profiles (miRNome) of the orthotopic and IV breast cancer metastasis models and identified significant miRNome changes between the two models. Overexpression of the most significant candidate, miR-96 or downregulation of its validated gene-target, ABCE1 reduced cancer cells 2D/3D cell movement and proliferation in vitro, and abated tumor growth and metastasis formation in vivo. Human data analysis further strengthened miR-96/ABCE1 role in breast cancer tumor aggression. Taken together, our results indicate that IV- and orthotopic models differ by their miRNome. Specifically in our study, breast cancer aggressiveness was dictated by miR-96 regulating ABCE1. Overall, miRNome analysis of various metastatic cancer models may lead to the identification of candidate genes critical to metastasis development.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • ATP-Binding Cassette Transporters / genetics
  • Aggression / physiology*
  • Animals
  • Breast Neoplasms / pathology*
  • Cell Line
  • Cell Line, Tumor
  • Cell Movement / genetics
  • Down-Regulation / genetics
  • Female
  • Gene Expression Profiling / methods
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Neoplastic / genetics
  • HEK293 Cells
  • HeLa Cells
  • Humans
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred BALB C
  • MicroRNAs / genetics
  • Neoplasm Metastasis / genetics
  • Neoplasm Metastasis / pathology*


  • ATP-Binding Cassette Transporters
  • MicroRNAs