Wenan QiangCenter for Developmental Therapeutics, Chemistry of Life Processes Institute, Northwestern University, Evanston, Illinois, USA Division of Reproductive Science in Medicine, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Feinberg School of Medicine, Northwestern University, Chicago, Illinois, USA
Cellular mechanisms of uterine leiomyoma (LM) formation have been studied primarily utilizing in vitro models. However, recent studies established that the cells growing in the primary cultures of MED12-mutant LM (MED12-LM) do not carry causal mutations. To improve the accuracy of LM research, we addressed the cellular mechanisms of LM growth and regression utilizing a patient-derived xenograft (PDX) model, which faithfully replicates the patient tumors in situ. The growth and maintenance of MED12-LMs depend on 17β-estradiol (E2) and progesterone (P4). We determined E2 and P4-activated MAPK and PI3K pathways in PDXs with upregulation of IGF1 and IGF2, suggesting that the hormone actions on MED12-LM are mediated by the IGF pathway. When hormones were removed, MED12-LM PDXs lost approximately 60% of volume within 3 days through reduction in cell size. However, in contrast to general belief, the survival of LM cells was independent of E2 and/or P4, and apoptosis was not involved in the tumor regression. Furthermore, it was postulated that abnormal collagen fibers promote the growth of LMs. However, collagen fibers of actively growing PDXs were well aligned. The disruption of collagen fibers, as found in human LM specimens, occurred only when the volume of PDXs had grown to over 20 times the volume of unstimulated PDXs, indicating disruption is the result of growth not the cause. Hence, this study revises generally accepted theories on the growth and regression of LMs.
Takeshi KuritaThe Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center, Columbus, Ohio, USA Department of Cancer Biology and Genetics, The Comprehensive Cancer Center, The Ohio State University, Columbus, Ohio, USA
Development of the mammary gland requires both proper hormone signaling and cross talk between the stroma and epithelium. While estrogen receptor (ERα) expression in the epithelium is essential for normal gland development, the role of this receptor in the stroma is less clear. Moreover, several lines of evidence suggest that mouse phenotypes of in utero exposure to endocrine disruption act through mesenchymal ERα in the developing fetus. We utilized a Twist2-cre mouse line to knock out mesenchymal ERα. Herein, we assessed mammary gland development in the context of mesenchymal ERα deletion. We also tested the effect of in utero bisphenol A (BPA) exposure to alter the tumor susceptibility in the mouse mammary tumor virus-neu (MMTV-neu) breast cancer mouse model. Mesenchymal ERα deletion resulted in altered reproductive tract development and atypical cytology associated with estrous cycling. The mammary gland demonstrated mature epithelial extension unlike complete ERα-knockout mice, but ductal extension was delayed and reduced compared to ERα-competent mice. Using the MMTV-Neu cancer susceptibility model, ERα-intact mice exposed to BPA had reduced tumor-free survival and overall survival compared to BPA-exposed mice having mesenchymal ERα deletion. This difference is specific for BPA exposure as vehicle-treated animals had no difference in tumor development between mice expressing and not expressing mesenchymal ERα. These data demonstrate that mesenchymal ERα expression is not required for ductal extension, nor does it influence cancer risk in this mouse model but does influence the cancer incidence associated with in utero BPA exposure.