Tumor-derived exosomes are emerging mediators of tumorigenesis and tissue-specific metastasis. Proteomic profiling has identified Annexin II as one of the most highly expressed proteins in exosomes; however, studies focused on the biological role of exosomal Annexin II (exo-Anx II) are still lacking. In this study, mechanistic insight was sought regarding exo-Anx II and its function in angiogenesis and breast cancer metastasis. Multiple in vitro and in vivo techniques were used to study the role of exo-Anx II in angiogenesis. Using atomic force microscopy and Western blotting, exo-Anx II expression was characterized in normal and breast cancer cells. In addition, organ-specific metastatic breast cancer cells and animal models were used to define the role exo-Anx II in breast cancer metastasis. Results revealed that exo-Anx II expression is significantly higher in malignant cells than normal and premetastatic breast cancer cells. In vitro and in vivo studies demonstrated that exo-Anx II promotes tPA-dependent angiogenesis. Furthermore, in vivo analysis indicated that metastatic exosomes create a favorable microenvironment for metastasis, and exo-Anx II plays an important role in this process, as priming with Anx II-depleted exosomes reduces brain (∼4-fold) and lung (∼2-fold) metastasis. Upon delineating the mechanism, it was discovered that exo-Anx II causes macrophage-mediated activation of the p38MAPK, NF-κB, and STAT3 pathways and increased secretion of IL6 and TNFα. These data demonstrate an important role for exo-Anx II in breast cancer pathogenesis.
Implications: Exosome-associated Annexin II plays an important role in angiogenesis and breast cancer metastasis, which can be exploited as a potential biomarker as well as a therapeutic target for diagnosis and treatment of metastatic breast cancer. Mol Cancer Res; 15(1); 93–105. ©2016 AACR.
This article is featured in Highlights of This Issue, p. 1
Note: Supplementary data for this article are available at Molecular Cancer Research Online (http://mcr.aacrjournals.org/).
- Received May 9, 2016.
- Revision received September 5, 2016.
- Accepted October 3, 2016.
- ©2016 American Association for Cancer Research.