Tumor microenvironment constitutes a reservoir for proteins released from tumor cells and the host, which can contribute significantly to tumor growth and invasion. This study aims to apply a method of combining in vivo microdialysis and proteomics to identify proteins in mammary tumor interstitial fluids, a major component of tumor microenvironment. In vivo microdialysis was performed in polyomavirus middle T antigen (PyVmT) transgenic mouse mammary tumors and age-matched control wild-type mammary glands. Over four hundred proteins were identified from the microdialysis perfusates, using the Multidimensional Protein Identification Technology. Osteopontin (OPN) is one of the proteins overexpressed in breast tumor perfusates, as confirmed with immunoassays. OPN was also found to be present in tumor-associated stroma in both PyVmT and human breast tumors, using immunohistochemistry. Specifically, fibroblasts were further shown to express OPN at both mRNA and protein levels. In vitro assays showed that OPN can stimulate PyVmT breast carcinoma cell proliferation and migration. Finally, the expression of OPN was significantly higher in the peripheral blood of mice bearing breast tumors, compared to wild-type mice. Overall, microdialysis combined with proteomics is a unique technique for identifying proteins in a tumor microenvironment in vivo. Mammary fibroblasts can secrete OPN, and its overexpression in mammary tumor microenvironment may contribute significantly to mammary tumor progression.
- Tumor microenvironment