The Department of Biomedicine

CCBIO seminar: Roya Navab

Integrin α11β1 regulates cancer stromal stiffness and promotes tumorigenicity and metastasis in non-small cell lung cancer

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Roya Navab
Princess Margaret Cancer Centre, University Health Network, Toronto, ON, Canada

Integrin α11β1 is a stromal cell-specific receptor for fibrillar collagens and is overexpressed in carcinoma-associated fibroblasts (CAFs). We have investigated its direct role in cancer progression by generating severe combined immune deficient (SCID) mice deficient in integrin α11 (α11) expression. The growth of A549 lung adenocarcinoma cells and two patient-derived non-small cell lung carcinoma (NSCLC) xenografts in these α11 knockout (α11−/−) mice was significantly impeded, as compared with wild-type (α11+/+) SCID mice. Orthotopic implantation of a spontaneously metastatic NCI-H460SM cell line into the lungs of α11−/− and α11+/+ mice showed significant reduction in the metastatic potential of these cells in the α11−/− mice. We identified that collagen cross-linking is associated with stromal α11 expression, and the loss of tumor stromal α11 expression was correlated with decreased collagen reorganization and stiffness. This study shows the role of integrin α11β1, a receptor for fibrillar collagen, in differentiation of fibroblasts into CAFs. Furthermore, our data support an important role for the α11 signaling pathway in CAFs, promoting tumor growth and metastatic potential of NSCLC cells and being closely associated with collagen cross-linking and the organization and stiffness of fibrillar collagen matrices.

Chairperson: Donald Gullberg, CCBIO