Pre-osteoblasts stimulate migration of breast cancer cells via the HGF/MET pathway

Sonia Vallet, Muhammad Hasan Bashari, Feng Juan Fan, Stefano Malvestiti, Andreas Schneeweiss, Patrick Wuchter, Dirk Jäger, Klaus Podar*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Journal article (peer-reviewed)Journal article

12 Citations (Scopus)


Introduction The occurrence of skeletal metastases in cancer, e.g. breast cancer (BC), deteriorates patient life expectancy and quality-of-life. Current treatment options against tumor-Associated bone disease are limited to anti-resorptive therapies and aimed towards palliation. There remains a lack of therapeutic approaches, which reverse or even prevent the development of bone metastases. Recent studies demonstrate that not only osteoclasts (OCs), but also osteoblasts (OBs) play a central role in the pathogenesis of skeletal metastases, partly by producing hepatocyte growth factor (HGF), which promotes tumor cell migration and seeding into the bone. OBs consist of a heterogeneous cell pool with respect to their maturation stage and function. Recent studies highlight the critical role of pre-OBs in hematopoiesis. Whether the development of bone metastases can be attributed to a particular OB maturation stage is currently unknown. Methods and Results Pre-OBs were generated from healthy donor (HD)-derived bone marrow stromal cells (BMSC) as well as the BMSC line KM105 and defined as ALPlow OPNlow RUNX2high OSX high CD166high. Conditioned media (CM) of pre-OBs, but not of undifferentiated cells or mature OBs, enhanced migration of metastatic BC cells. Importantly, HGF mRNA was significantly up-regulated in pre-OBs versus mature OBs, and CM of pre-OBs activated the MET signaling pathway. Highlighting a key role for HGF, CM from HGF-negative pre-OBs derived from the BMSC line HS27A did not support migration of BC cells. Genetically (siMET) or pharmacologically (INCB28060) targeting MET inhibited both HGF-and pre-OB CM-mediated BC cell migration.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0150507
JournalPLoS ONE
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2016
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Biochemistry,Genetics and Molecular Biology
  • General Agricultural and Biological Sciences
  • Multidisciplinary


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