Osteocytes are mechanosensitive bone cells, but little is known about their effects on tumor cells in response to mechanical stimulation. We treated breast cancer cells with osteocyte-derived conditioned medium (CM) and fluid flow-treated conditioned medium (FFCM) with 0.25 Pa and 1 Pa shear stress. Notably, CM and FFCM at 0.25 Pa induced the mesenchymal-to-epithelial transition (MET), but FFCM at 1 Pa induced the epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition (EMT). This suggested that the effects of fluid flow on conditioned media depend on flow intensity. Fluorescence resonance energy transfer (FRET)-based evaluation of Src activity and vinculin molecular force showed that osteopontin was involved in EMT and MET switching. A mouse model of tumor-induced osteolysis was tested using dynamic tibia loadings of 1, 2, and 5 N. The low 1 N loading suppressed tumor-induced osteolysis, but this beneficial effect was lost and reversed with loads at 2 and 5 N, respectively. Changing the loading intensities in vivo also led to changes in serum TGFβ levels and the composition of tumor-associated volatile organic compounds in the urine. Collectively, this study demonstrated the critical role of intensity-dependent mechanotransduction and osteopontin in tumor-osteocyte communication, indicating that a biophysical factor can tangibly alter the behaviors of tumor cells in the bone microenvironment.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism