CX3CL1 involves in breast cancer metastasizing to the spine via the Src/FAK signaling pathway

J Cancer. 2018 Sep 8;9(19):3603-3612. doi: 10.7150/jca.26497. eCollection 2018.


C-X3-C chemokine ligand 1 (CX3CL1) has been shown to be involved in the development of multiple tumors. Our previous study demonstrated that CX3CL1 may be involved in the process of metastasis of various malignant tumors to the spine, including breast cancer, but the molecular mechanism was still unknown. In the present study, we found that the receptor CX3CR1 was overexpressed in the spinal metastases of breast cancer than in para-tumor tissue. In terms of CX3CL1, it was significantly more expressed in normal spinal cancellous bone than in limbs. However, CX3CR1 was not expressed at a high level in every breast cancer cell compared with the human mammary epithelial cell line MCF-10A. In addition, CX3CL1 did promote the migration and invasion abilities of MDA-MB-231 cells. However, CX3CL1 has no obvious effect on cell growth. Furthermore, CX3CL1 induced chemotaxis of tumor cells via the Src/FAK signaling pathway. The migration index enhanced by CX3CL1 was dramatically declined using Bosutinib and PF-00562271, which are the inhibitors of Src and FAK signaling pathways, respectively. Therefore, CX3CL1 in spinal cancellous bone attracts CX3CR1-expressing tumor cells to the spine and enhances their migration and invasion abilities through the Src/FAK signaling pathway.

Keywords: Breast cancer; CX3CL1/CX3CR1; Src/FAK pathway; spinal metastasis.