Although the incidence of breast cancer metastasis (BCM) in brain has increased significantly in triple-negative breast cancer (TNBC), the mechanisms remain elusive. Using in vivo mouse models for BCM in brain, we observed that TNBC cells crossed the blood-brain barrier (BBB), lodged in the brain microvasculature and remained adjacent to brain microvascular endothelial cells (BMECs). Breaching of the BBB in vivo by TNBCs resulted in increased BBB permeability and changes in ZO-1 and claudin-5 tight junction (TJ) protein structures. Angiopoietin-2 expression was elevated in BMECs and was correlated with BBB disruption. Secreted Ang-2 impaired TJ structures and increased BBB permeability. Treatment of mice with the neutralizing Ang-2 peptibody trebananib prevented changes in the BBB integrity and BMEC destabilization, resulting in inhibition of TNBC colonization in brain. Thus, Ang-2 is involved in initial steps of brain metastasis cascade, and inhibitors for Ang-2 may serve as potential therapeutics for brain metastasis.
- blood-brain barrier
- brain microvascular endothelial cells
- breast cancer metastasis in brain
- tight junctions
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Pathology and Forensic Medicine