Endothelial cells under therapy-induced senescence secrete CXCL11, which increases aggressiveness of breast cancer cells

Cancer Lett. 2020 Oct 10;490:100-110. doi: 10.1016/j.canlet.2020.06.019. Epub 2020 Jul 11.


The effects of senescence associated secretory phenotype (SASP) from therapy-induced senescent endothelial cells on tumor microenvironment (TME) remains to be clarified. Here, we investigated effects of ionizing radiation (IR)- and doxorubicin-induced senescent HUVEC on TME. MDA-MB-231 cancer cells treated with conditioned medium (CM) from senescent HUVEC or co-cultured with senescent HUVEC significantly increased cancer cell proliferation, migration, and invasion. We found that CXCL11 plays a principal role in the senescent CM-induced aggressive activities of MDA-MB-231 cells. When we treated HUVEC with a neutralizing anti-CXCL11 antibody or CXCL11 SiRNA, or treated MDA-MB-231 cells with CXCR3 SiRNA, we observed synergistic diminution of the ability of the HUVEC SASP to alter the migration and spheroid invasion of cancer cells. ERK activation was involved in the HUVEC SASP-induced aggressive activity of MDA-MB-231 cells. Finally, we observed the in vivo effect of CXCL11 from the senescent HUVEC in tumor-bearing mice. Together, our results demonstrate that SASP from endothelial cells experiencing therapy-induced senescence promotes the aggressive behavior of cancer cells, and that CXCL11 can potentially be targeted to prevent the adverse effects of therapy-induced senescent endothelial cells on the tumor microenvironment.

Keywords: CXCL11; Endothelial cells; Therapy-induced senescence; Tumor microenvironment.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Breast Neoplasms / pathology*
  • Cell Line, Tumor
  • Cellular Senescence / drug effects
  • Cellular Senescence / physiology*
  • Cellular Senescence / radiation effects
  • Chemokine CXCL11 / metabolism*
  • Coculture Techniques
  • Culture Media, Conditioned / pharmacology
  • Female
  • Human Umbilical Vein Endothelial Cells / metabolism*
  • Humans
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred BALB C
  • Mice, Nude
  • Tumor Microenvironment / physiology*


  • CXCL11 protein, human
  • Chemokine CXCL11
  • Culture Media, Conditioned