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Title: Discovery and investigation of CXCR4 signalling in breast stem cell-enriched populations
Author: Ablett, Matthew
Awarding Body: University of Manchester
Current Institution: University of Manchester
Date of Award: 2012
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C-X-C chemokine receptor type 4 (CXCR4) is known to regulate lung, pancreatic and prostate cancer stem cells. In breast cancer, CXCR4 signalling via stromal cell-derived factor-1 (SDF-1) has been reported to be a mediator of metastasis, and is linked to poor prognosis. However its role in normal and malignant breast stem cell function has not been investigated. Anoikis-resistant (AR) cells were collected from mammosphere culture from 2 immortalised (MCF10A, 226L) and 3 malignant (MCF7, T47D, SKBR3) breast cell lines. For all cell lines, AR cells had a significantly higher mammosphere forming efficiency (MFE) than unsorted cells. The AR cells of the normal cell lines also demonstrated increased formation of 3D structures using the Matrigel assay. In vivo, MCF7 and T47D AR cells demonstrated increased capacity to form tumours compared with unsorted cells. This suggests that AR cells are enriched for normal and malignant breast stem cells. We performed an Agilent custom gene microarray and demonstrated up-regulation of CXCR4 mRNA expression in AR cells. CXCR4 protein expression was also higher in AR cells, shown by flow cytometry. The effects of AMD3100 (CXCR4 antagonist) and SDF-1 (CXCR4 ligand) on stem cell activity were investigated in the mammosphere assay. In the normal cell lines, SDF-1 significantly reduced MFE and this decrease was rescued by AMD3100. Incubation with AMD3100 increased MFE in the estrogen receptor positive breast cancer cell lines (MCF7 and T47D) and patient-derived metastatic tumour samples. AMD3100 reduced the self-renewal of T47D cells, as assessed by second generation mammospheres. MCF7 cells were retro-virally transfected to over-express CXCR4 or sorted for CXCR4 cell surface expression. Mammosphere formation was significantly increased in CXCR4+ and CXCR4 over-expressing cells compared with CXCR4- and parental cells. There was a greater reduction in self-renewal following AMD3100 treatment in the CXCR4 over-expressing cells compared with parental cells. AMD3100 has been shown to have an agonistic effect on the novel chemokine receptor CXCR7, a scavenging receptor for SDF-1. All cell lines demonstrated cell surface expression of CXCR7, measured by flow cytometry and mRNA expression. Potential interactions between CXCR4, CXCR7 and SDF-1 must be considered in future investigation of the role of CXCR4 signalling. Our data establish that CXCR4 signalling has contrasting effects on normal and malignant breast stem cell activity. CXCR4 influences self-renewal of malignant stem cells which may account for its role in tumorigenesis. CXCR4 signalling may be important in tumour formation at the sites of metastases as well as in cell migration. Its role in stem cell migration merits further investigation. In conclusion, CXCR4-targeted therapy, alongside current standards of care, may improve breast cancer outcomes.
Supervisor: Clarke, Robert Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Breast Cancer Stem Cells ; Stem Cells ; Breast Cancer ; CXCR4