Although overexpression of the epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR; ErbB1) has been correlated with poor prognosis in breast and other cancers, clinical trials of ErbB1 inhibitors have shown limited efficacy in inhibiting tumor proliferation. To evaluate other possible roles of ErbB1 in tumor malignancy besides proliferation, we have developed a series of tools for analysis of intravasation. Overexpression of ErbB1 in MTLn3 mammary adenocarcinoma cells results in increased intravasation and lung metastasis from tumors formed by injection of cells in the mammary fat pad. However, increased ErbB1 expression has no effect on primary tumor growth and lung seeding efficiency of cells injected i.v. Chemotactic responses to low concentrations of EGF in vitro and cell motility in vivo in the primary tumor measured using intravital imaging are significantly increased by ErbB1 overexpression. The increased cell motility is restricted to ErbB1-overexpressing cells in tumors containing mixtures of cells expressing different ErbB1 levels, arguing for a cell-autonomous effect of increased ErbB1 expression rather than alteration of the tumor microenvironment. In summary, we propose that ErbB1 overexpression makes more significant contributions to intravasation than growth in some tumors and present a novel model for studying ErbB1 contributions to tumor metastasis via chemotaxis and intravasation.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cancer Research