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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

The chemokine receptor CXCR4 is required for outgrowth of colon carcinoma micrometastases.

CXCR4, the receptor for the chemokine stromal cell-derived factor (SDF)-1 ( CXCL12), is involved in lymphocyte trafficking. We have demonstrated previously that it is required for invasion of lymphoma cells into tissues and therefore essential for lymphoma metastasis. CXCR4 is also expressed by carcinoma cells, and CXCR4 antibodies were recently shown to reduce metastasis of a mammary carcinoma cell line. This was also ascribed to impaired invasion. We have blocked CXCR4 function in CT-26 colon carcinoma cells by transfection of SDF-1, extended with a KDEL sequence. The SDF-KDEL protein is retained in the endoplasmic reticulum by the KDEL-receptor and binds CXCR4, which is thus prevented from reaching the cell surface. We found that metastasis of these cells to liver and lungs was greatly reduced and often completely blocked. Surprisingly, however, our observations indicate that this was not attributable to inhibition of invasion but rather to impairment of outgrowth of micrometastases: (a) in contrast to the lymphoma cells, metastasis was not affected by the transfected S1 subunit of pertussis toxin. S1 completely inhibited Gi protein signaling, which is required for SDF-1-induced invasion; (b) CXCR4 levels were very low in CT-26 cells grown in vitro but strongly up-regulated in vivo. Strong up-regulation was not seen in the lungs until 7 days after tail vein injection. CXCR4 can thus have no role in initial invasion in the lungs; and (c) CXCR4-deficient cells did colonize the lungs to the same extent as control cells and survived. However, they did not expand, whereas control cells proliferated rapidly after a lag period of > or = 7 days. We conclude that CXCR4 is up-regulated by the microenvironment and that isolated metastatic cells are likely to require CXCR4 signals to initiate proliferation. Our results suggest that CXCR4 inhibitors have potential as anticancer agents to suppress outgrowth of micrometastases.[1]


  1. The chemokine receptor CXCR4 is required for outgrowth of colon carcinoma micrometastases. Zeelenberg, I.S., Ruuls-Van Stalle, L., Roos, E. Cancer Res. (2003) [Pubmed]
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