The genes encoding Slits and their Robo receptors are silenced in many types of cancer, including breast, suggesting a role for this signaling pathway in suppressing tumorigenesis. The molecular mechanism underlying these tumor-suppressive effects has not been delineated. Here, we show that loss of Slits, or their Robo1 receptor, in murine mammary gland or human breast carcinoma cells results in coordinate up-regulation of the Sdf1 and Cxcr4 signaling axis, specifically within mammary epithelium. This is accompanied by hyperplastic changes in cells and desmoplastic alterations in the surrounding stroma. A similar inverse correlation between Slit and Cxcr4 expression is identified in human breast tumor tissues. Furthermore, we show in a xenograft model that Slit overexpression down-regulates CXCR4 and dominantly suppresses tumor growth. These studies classify Slits as negative regulators of Sdf1 and Cxcr4 and identify a molecular signature in hyperplastic breast lesions that signifies inappropriate up-regulation of key prometastatic genes.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cancer Research