Activated human mesenchymal stem/stromal cells suppress metastatic features of MDA-MB-231 cells by secreting IFN-β. Academic Article uri icon


  • Our recent study showed that human mesenchymal stem/stromal cells (hMSCs) are activated to express tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-α-related apoptosis-inducing ligand (TRAIL) by exposure to TNF-α and these activated hMSCs effectively induce apoptosis in triple-negative breast cancer MDA-MB-231 (MDA) cells in vitro and in vivo. Here, we further demonstrated that activated hMSCs not only induced apoptosis of MDA cells but also reduced metastatic features in MDA cells. These activated hMSC-exposed MDA cells showed reduced tumorigenicity and suppressed formation of lung metastasis when implanted in the mammary fat pad. Surprisingly, the activated hMSC-exposed MDA cells increased TRAIL expression, resulting in apoptosis in MDA cells. Interestingly, upregulation of TRAIL in MDA cells was mediated by interferon-beta (IFN-β) secreted from activated hMSCs. Furthermore, IFN-β in activated hMSCs was induced by RNA and DNA released from apoptotic MDA cells in absent in melanoma 2 (AIM2) and IFN induced with helicase C domain 1 (IFIH1)-dependent manners. These observations were only seen in the TRAIL-sensitive breast cancer cell lines but not in the TRAIL-resistant breast cancer cell lines. Consistent with these results, Kaplan-Meier survival analysis also showed that lack of innate sensors detecting DNA or RNA is strongly associated with poor survival in estrogen receptor-negative breast cancer patients. In addition, cancer-associated fibroblasts (CAF) isolated from a breast cancer patient were also able to express TRAIL and IFN-β upon DNA and RNA stimulation. Therefore, our results suggest that the crosstalk between TRAIL-sensitive cancer cells and stromal cells creates a tumor-suppressive microenvironment and further provide a novel therapeutic approach to target stromal cells within cancer microenvironment for TRAIL sensitive cancer treatment.

published proceedings

  • Cell Death Dis

altmetric score

  • 10

author list (cited authors)

  • Yoon, N., Park, M. S., Shigemoto, T., Peltier, G., & Lee, R. H

citation count

  • 17

complete list of authors

  • Yoon, N||Park, MS||Shigemoto, T||Peltier, G||Lee, RH

publication date

  • April 2016