Background: It is widely recognized that inflammation promotes breast cancer invasion and metastasis. Given the complex nature of the breast tumor inflammatory microenvironment, much remains to be understood of the molecular mechanisms that govern these effects. We have previously shown that osteoprotegerin knockdown in breast cancer cells resulted in reduced invasion and metastasis. Here we present novel insight into the role of osteoprotegerin in inflammation-driven tumor progression in breast cancer by investigating the link between osteoprotegerin, macrophages and the potent pro-inflammatory cytokine Interleukin-1beta.
Methods: We used human breast cancer cell lines to investigate the effects of Interleukin-1beta treatment on osteoprotegerin secretion as measured by ELISA. We analyzed public datasets containing human breast cancer genome-wide mRNA expression data to reveal a significant and positive correlation between osteoprotegerin mRNA expression and the mRNA expression of Interleukin-1beta and of monocyte chemoattractant protein CC-chemokine ligand 2. Osteoprotegerin, Interleukin-1beta and CC-chemokine ligand 2 mRNA levels were also examined by qPCR on cDNA from normal and cancerous human breast tissue. We determined the effect of Interleukin-1beta-producing macrophages on osteoprotegerin expression by co-culturing breast cancer cells and differentiated THP-1 macrophages. Immunohistochemistry was performed on human breast tumor tissue microarrays to assess macrophage infiltration and osteoprotegerin expression. To demonstrate that osteoprotegerin mediated functional effects of Interleukin-1beta we performed cell invasion studies with control and OPG siRNA knockdown on Interleukin-1beta-treated breast cancer cells.
Results: We report that Interleukin-1beta induces osteoprotegerin secretion, independent of breast cancer subtype and basal osteoprotegerin levels. Co-culture of breast cancer cells with Interleukin-1beta-secreting macrophages resulted in a similar increase in osteoprotegerin secretion in breast cancer cells as Interleukin-1beta treatment. Macrophage infiltration correlates with osteoprotegerin secretion in human breast tumor tissue samples. We show that osteoprotegerin secretion is regulated by Interleukin-1beta in a p38- and p42/44-dependent manner. We also demonstrate that osteoprotegerin knockdown represses Interleukin-1beta expression, Interleukin-1beta-mediated breast cancer cell invasion and MMP3 expression.
Conclusions: These data indicate a novel role for osteoprotegerin as a mediator of inflammation- promoted breast cancer progression.

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Molecular cancer
Department of Pediatrics

Chung, S.T.M. (Stephanie Tsang Mui), Geerts, D., Roseman, K. (Kim), Renaud, A. (Ashleigh), & Connelly, L. (Linda). (2017). Osteoprotegerin mediates tumor-promoting effects of Interleukin-1beta in breast cancer cells. Molecular cancer, 16(1). doi:10.1186/s12943-017-0606-y