Macrophages Enhance Migration in Inflammatory Breast Cancer Cells via RhoC GTPase Signaling

Steven G. Allen, Yu Chih Chen, Julie M. Madden, Chelsea L. Fournier, Megan A. Altemus, Ayse B. Hiziroglu, Yu Heng Cheng, Zhi Fen Wu, Liwei Bao, Joel A. Yates, Euisik Yoon, Sofia D. Merajver

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36 Citations (Scopus)


Inflammatory breast cancer (IBC) is the most lethal form of breast cancer. All IBC patients have lymph node involvement and one-third of patients already have distant metastasis at diagnosis. This propensity for metastasis is a hallmark of IBC distinguishing it from less lethal non-inflammatory breast cancers (nIBC). Genetic profiling studies have been conducted to differentiate IBC from nIBC, but no IBC cancer-cell-specific gene signature has been identified. We hypothesized that a tumor-extrinsic factor, notably tumor-associated macrophages, promotes and contributes to IBC's extreme metastatic phenotype. To this end, we studied the effect of macrophage-conditioned media (MCM) on IBC. We show that two IBC cell lines are hyper-responsive to MCM as compared to normal-like breast and aggressive nIBC cell lines. We further interrogated IBC's hyper-responsiveness to MCM using a microfluidic migration device, which permits individual cell migration path tracing. We found the MCM "primes" the IBC cells' cellular machinery to become extremely migratory in response to a chemoattractant. We determined that interleukins -6, -8, and -10 within the MCM are sufficient to stimulate this enhanced IBC migration effect, and that the known metastatic oncogene, RhoC GTPase, is necessary for the enhanced migration response.

Original languageEnglish
Article number39190
JournalScientific reports
Publication statusPublished - 2016 Dec 19

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General


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