Research ArticleCANCER

Decellularized extracellular matrix scaffolds identify full-length collagen VI as a driver of breast cancer cell invasion in obesity and metastasis

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Science Advances  21 Oct 2020:
Vol. 6, no. 43, eabc3175
DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.abc3175


The extracellular matrix (ECM), a major component of the tumor microenvironment, promotes local invasion to drive metastasis. Here, we describe a method to study whole-tissue ECM effects from disease states associated with metastasis on tumor cell phenotypes and identify the individual ECM proteins and signaling pathways that are driving these effects. We show that decellularized ECM from tumor-bearing and obese mammary glands drives TNBC cell invasion. Proteomics of the ECM from the obese mammary gland led us to identify full-length collagen VI as a novel driver of TNBC cell invasion whose abundance in tumor stroma increases with body mass index in human TNBC patients. Last, we describe the mechanism by which collagen VI contributes to TNBC cell invasion via NG2-EGFR cross-talk and MAPK signaling. Overall, these studies demonstrate the value of decellularized ECM scaffolds obtained from tissues to identify novel functions of the ECM.

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