Tumor-secreted extracellular vesicles promote the activation of cancer-associated fibroblasts via the transfer of microRNA-125b.

Journal Article (Journal Article)

Tumour cells release large quantities of extracellular vesicles (EVs) to mediate their interactions with other cells in the tumour microenvironment. To identify host cells that naturally take up EVs from tumour cells, we created breast cancer cell lines secreting fluorescent EVs. These fluorescent EVs are taken up most robustly by fibroblasts within the tumour microenvironment. RNA sequencing indicated that miR-125b is one of the most abundant microRNAs secreted by mouse triple-negative breast cancer 4T1 and 4TO7 cells. Treatment with 4T1 EVs leads to an increase in fibroblast activation in isogenic 4TO7 tumours, which is reversed by blocking miR-125b in 4T1 EVs; hence, miR-125b delivery by EVs is responsible for fibroblast activation in mouse tumour models. miR-125b is also secreted by human breast cancer cells and the uptake of EVs from these cells significantly increases cellular levels of miR-125b and expression of multiple cancer-associated fibroblast markers in resident fibroblasts. Overexpression of miR-125b in both mouse and human fibroblasts leads to an activated phenotype similar to the knockdown of established miR-125b target mRNAs. These data indicate that miR-125b is transferred through EVs from breast cancer cells to normal fibroblasts within the tumour microenvironment and contributes to their development into cancer-associated fibroblasts.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Vu, LT; Peng, B; Zhang, DX; Ma, V; Mathey-Andrews, CA; Lam, CK; Kiomourtzis, T; Jin, J; McReynolds, L; Huang, L; Grimson, A; Cho, WC; Lieberman, J; Le, MT

Published Date

  • January 2019

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 8 / 1

Start / End Page

  • 1599680 -

PubMed ID

  • 31044053

Pubmed Central ID

  • PMC6484490

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 2001-3078

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 2001-3078

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1080/20013078.2019.1599680


  • eng