Critical role for lysyl oxidase in mesenchymal stem cell-driven breast cancer malignancy

Christelle P. El-Haibi, George W. Bell, Jiangwen Zhang, Anthony Y. Collmann, David Wood, Cally M. Scherber, Eva Csizmadia, Odette Mariani, Cuihua Zhu, Antoine Campagne, Mehmet Toner, Sangeeta N. Bhatia, Daniel Irimia, Anne Vincent-Salomon, Antoine E. Karnoub

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

186 Scopus citations


Mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) are multipotent progenitor cells with the ability to differentiate into multiple mesoderm lineages in the course of normal tissue homeostasis or during injury. We have previously shown that MSCs migrate to sites of tumorigenesis, where they become activated by cancer cells to promote metastasis. However, the molecular and phenotypic attributes of the MSC-induced metastatic state of the cancer cells remained undetermined. Here, we show that bone marrow-derived human MSCs promote de novo production of lysyl oxidase (LOX) from human breast carcinoma cells, which is sufficient to enhance the metastasis of otherwise weakly metastatic cancer cells to the lungs and bones. We also show that LOX is an essential component of the CD44-Twist signaling axis, in which extracellular hyaluronan causes nuclear translocation of CD44 in the cancer cells, thus triggering LOX transcription by associating with its promoter. Processed and enzymatically active LOX, in turn, stimulates Twist transcription, which mediates the MSC-triggered epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition (EMT) of carcinoma cells. Surprisingly, although induction of EMT in breast cancer cells has been tightly associated with the generation of cancer stem cells, we find that LOX, despite being critical for EMT, does not contribute to the ability of MSCs to promote the formation of cancer stem cells in the carcinoma cell populations. Collectively, our studies highlight a critical role for LOX in cancer metastasis and indicate that the signaling pathways controlling stroma-induced EMT are distinct from pathways regulating the development of cancer stem cells.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)17460-17465
Number of pages6
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Issue number43
StatePublished - Oct 23 2012


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