Metastatic dissemination of cancer cells from the primary tumor and their spread to distant sites in the body is the leading cause of mortality in breast cancer patients. While researchers have identified treatments that shrink or slow metastatic tumors, no treatment that permanently eradicates metastasis exists at present. Here, we show that the ABL kinase inhibitors imatinib, nilotinib, and GNF-5 impede invadopodium precursor formation and cortactin-phosphorylation dependent invadopodium maturation, leading to decreased actin polymerization in invadopodia, reduced extracellular matrix degradation, and impaired matrix proteolysis-dependent invasion. Using a mouse xenograft model we demonstrate that, while primary tumor size is not affected by ABL kinase inhibitors, the in vivo matrix metalloproteinase (MMP) activity, tumor cell invasion, and consequent spontaneous metastasis to lungs are significantly impaired in inhibitor-treated mice. Further proteogenomic analysis of breast cancer patient databases revealed co-expression of the Abl-related gene (Arg) and cortactin across all hormone- and human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 (HER2)-receptor status tumors, which correlates synergistically with distant metastasis and poor patient prognosis. Our findings establish a prognostic value for Arg and cortactin as predictors of metastatic dissemination and suggest that therapeutic inhibition of ABL kinases may be used for blocking breast cancer metastasis.
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© Meirson et al.
- ABL kinases
- Cancer metastasis
- In vivo