Background: Hypoxia plays a relevant role in tumor-related inflammation toward the metastatic spread and cancer aggressiveness. The pro-inflammatory cytokine interleukin-1 beta (IL-beta) and its cognate receptor IL1R1 contribute to the initiation and progression of breast cancer determining pro-tumorigenic inflammatory responses. The transcriptional target of the hypoxia inducible factor-1 alpha (HIF-1 alpha) namely the G protein estrogen receptor (GPER) mediates a feedforward loop coupling IL-1 beta induction by breast cancer-associated fibroblasts (CAFs) to IL1R1 expression by breast cancer cells toward the regulation of target genes and relevant biological responses.Methods: In order to ascertain the correlation of IL-beta with HIF-1 alpha and further hypoxia-related genes in triple-negative breast cancer (TNBC) patients, a bioinformatics analysis was performed using the information provided by The Invasive Breast Cancer Cohort of The Cancer Genome Atlas (TCGA) project and Molecular Taxonomy of Breast Cancer International Consortium (METABRIC) datasets. Gene expression correlation, statistical analysis and gene set enrichment analysis (GSEA) were carried out with R studio packages. Pathway enrichment analysis was evaluated with Kyoto Encyclopedia of Genes and Genomes (KEGG) pathway. TNBC cells and primary CAFs were used as model system. The molecular mechanisms implicated in the regulation of IL-1 beta by hypoxia toward a metastatic gene expression profile and invasive properties were assessed performing gene and protein expression studies, PCR arrays, gene silencing and immunofluorescence analysis, co-immunoprecipitation and ChiP assays, ELISA, cell spreading, invasion and spheroid formation.Results: We first determined that IL-1 beta expression correlates with the levels of HIF-1 alpha as well as with a hypoxia-related gene signature in TNBC patients. Next, we demonstrated that hypoxia triggers a functional liaison among HIF-1 alpha, GPER and the IL-1 beta/IL1R1 signaling toward a metastatic gene signature and a feed-forward loop of IL-1 beta that leads to proliferative and invasive responses in TNBC cells. Furthermore, we found that the IL-1 beta released in the conditioned medium of TNBC cells exposed to hypoxic conditions promotes an invasive phenotype of CAFs.Conclusions: Our data shed new light on the role of hypoxia in the activation of the IL-1 beta/IL1R1 signaling, which in turn triggers aggressive features in both TNBC cells and CAFs. Hence, our findings provide novel evidence regarding the mechanisms through which the hypoxic tumor microenvironment may contribute to breast cancer progression and suggest further targets useful in more comprehensive therapeutic strategies.

The IL1β-IL1R signaling is involved in the stimulatory effects triggered by hypoxia in breast cancer cells and cancer-associated fibroblasts (CAFs)

De Francesco, Ernestina Marianna;
2020-01-01

Abstract

Background: Hypoxia plays a relevant role in tumor-related inflammation toward the metastatic spread and cancer aggressiveness. The pro-inflammatory cytokine interleukin-1 beta (IL-beta) and its cognate receptor IL1R1 contribute to the initiation and progression of breast cancer determining pro-tumorigenic inflammatory responses. The transcriptional target of the hypoxia inducible factor-1 alpha (HIF-1 alpha) namely the G protein estrogen receptor (GPER) mediates a feedforward loop coupling IL-1 beta induction by breast cancer-associated fibroblasts (CAFs) to IL1R1 expression by breast cancer cells toward the regulation of target genes and relevant biological responses.Methods: In order to ascertain the correlation of IL-beta with HIF-1 alpha and further hypoxia-related genes in triple-negative breast cancer (TNBC) patients, a bioinformatics analysis was performed using the information provided by The Invasive Breast Cancer Cohort of The Cancer Genome Atlas (TCGA) project and Molecular Taxonomy of Breast Cancer International Consortium (METABRIC) datasets. Gene expression correlation, statistical analysis and gene set enrichment analysis (GSEA) were carried out with R studio packages. Pathway enrichment analysis was evaluated with Kyoto Encyclopedia of Genes and Genomes (KEGG) pathway. TNBC cells and primary CAFs were used as model system. The molecular mechanisms implicated in the regulation of IL-1 beta by hypoxia toward a metastatic gene expression profile and invasive properties were assessed performing gene and protein expression studies, PCR arrays, gene silencing and immunofluorescence analysis, co-immunoprecipitation and ChiP assays, ELISA, cell spreading, invasion and spheroid formation.Results: We first determined that IL-1 beta expression correlates with the levels of HIF-1 alpha as well as with a hypoxia-related gene signature in TNBC patients. Next, we demonstrated that hypoxia triggers a functional liaison among HIF-1 alpha, GPER and the IL-1 beta/IL1R1 signaling toward a metastatic gene signature and a feed-forward loop of IL-1 beta that leads to proliferative and invasive responses in TNBC cells. Furthermore, we found that the IL-1 beta released in the conditioned medium of TNBC cells exposed to hypoxic conditions promotes an invasive phenotype of CAFs.Conclusions: Our data shed new light on the role of hypoxia in the activation of the IL-1 beta/IL1R1 signaling, which in turn triggers aggressive features in both TNBC cells and CAFs. Hence, our findings provide novel evidence regarding the mechanisms through which the hypoxic tumor microenvironment may contribute to breast cancer progression and suggest further targets useful in more comprehensive therapeutic strategies.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11387/164963
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