Julien Cicero, with whom we are collaborating about the study of breast cancer metastasis mechanisms, was proud to present his PhD work during the last EACR conference. It was held in Torino (Italy) last month, during which Julien could discuss with cancer researchers from all around the world.
His poster was entitled “ProNGF promotes brain metastasis through TrkA/EphA2 induced Src activation in triple negative breast cancer cells” (abstract n°EACR23-0457, to be found in the Molecular Oncology Volume 17: Supplement: EACR 2023: Innovative Cancer Science, 12-15 June 2023, Torino, Italy, in page 138).
This project is supervised by Pr Robert-Alain Toillon (CANTHER laboratory, directed by Dr Isabelle Van Seuningen), in Xuefen Le Bourhis’ team. The results show for the first time the involvement of the precursor of Nerve Growth Factor (pro-NGF) in the development of brain metastasis in triple negative breast cancer. Using 3D cell culture, the clonogenic growth of MDA-MB-231 cells was investigated in BIOMIMESYS® Liver and BIOMIMESYS® Brain. TrkA overexpressing MDA-MB-231 cells had an increased ability to persist in brain-like matrix compared to the liver-like matrix. Moreover, the size of the colony size was larger in TrkA overexpressing cells. This increase in colony formation was dependent on the phosphorylation of TrkA and EphA2 in BIOMIMESYS® Brain but not in BIOMIMESYS® Liver, in line with the in vivo findings in mice. These results confirm the importance of the organ specificity in in vitro studies to mimic the in vivo situation, and suggest that BIOMIMESYS® is an interesting product in this context.
These findings provide new insights into the mechanisms underlying brain metastasis with proNGF as a driver of brain metastasis of TNBC, and identify TrkA/EphA2 complex as a potential therapeutic target.
Warmful thanks to our collaborators for their work and their passion, always having in mind the final therapeutic potential of their research. Looking forward to seeing this work published!