Using novel murine models of claudin-low and basal-like breast cancer, we tested the hypothesis that diet-induced obesity (DIO) and calorie restriction (CR) differentially modulate progression of these aggressive breast cancer subtypes. For model development, we characterized two cell lines, "mesenchymal (M)-Wnt" and "epithelial (E)-Wnt," derived from MMTV-Wnt-1 transgenic mouse mammary tumors. M-Wnt, relative to E-Wnt, cells were tumor-initiating cell (TIC)-enriched (62% vs 2.4% CD44high/CD24low), and displayed enhanced aldefluor-positivity, epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition (EMT) marker expression, mammosphere-forming ability, migration, invasion, and tumorigenicity (p<0.001, each parameter). M-Wnt and E-Wnt cells clustered with claudin-low and basal-like breast tumors, respectively, in gene expression profiles, and recapitulated these tumors when orthotopically transplanted into ovariectomized C57BL/6 mice. To assess the effects of energy balance interventions on tumor progression and EMT, mice were administered DIO, control or CR diets for 8 weeks before orthotopic transplantation of M-Wnt or E-Wnt cells (for each cell line, n=20 mice/diet), and continued on their diets for 6 weeks while tumor growth was monitored. Relative to control, DIO enhanced M-Wnt (p=0.01), but not E-Wnt, tumor progression; upregulated EMT- and TIC-associated markers including N-cadherin, fibronectin, TGFβ, SNAIL, FOXC2, and Oct4 (p<0.05, each); and increased intratumoral adipocytes. Conversely, CR suppressed M-Wnt and E-Wnt tumor progression (p<0.02, each) and inhibited EMT and intratumoral adipocyte accumulation. Thus dietary energy balance interventions differentially modulate EMT and progression of claudin-low and basal-like tumors. EMT pathway components may represent targets for breaking the obesity-breast cancer link, particularly for preventing and/or controlling TIC-enriched subtypes such as claudin-low breast cancer.
- Received January 25, 2012.
- Revision received April 6, 2012.
- Accepted May 10, 2012.
- Copyright © 2012, American Association for Cancer Research.