Purpose: Visfatin is an adipocytokine involved in cellular metabolism, inflammation, and cancer. This study investigated the roles of extracellular visfatin in breast cancer, and explored underlying mechanisms in clinical and experimental settings.
Experimental Design: Associations of serum visfatin with clinicopathologic characteristics and patient survival were assessed with Cox regression models and Kaplan–Meier analyses. Effects of extracellular visfatin on cultured breast cancer cells were examined, followed by in vivo investigation of tumor growth and metastasis in xenograft animal models. Imatinib and Stattic were used to inhibit c-Abl and STAT3 activation, respectively.
Results: Breast cancer patients with high serum visfatin levels were associated with advanced tumor stage, increased tumor size and lymph node metastasis, and poor survival. Elevated phosphorylation of c-Abl and STAT3 in breast tumor tissues were correlated with high serum visfatin levels in patients. Visfatin-promoted in vitro cell viability and metastatic capability were suppressed by imatinib (c-Abl inhibitor) and Stattic (STAT3 inhibitor). Increased in vivo cell invasiveness was observed in zebrafish xenografted with visfatin-pretreated breast cancer cells. Tumor growth and lung metastasis occurred in visfatin-administered mice xenografted with breast cancer cells. Tail vein–injected mice with visfatin-pretreated breast cancer cells showed increased lung metastasis, which was suppressed by imatinib.
Conclusions: Serum visfatin levels in breast cancer patients reveal potential prognostic values, and our findings that visfatin promoted breast cancer through activation of c-Abl and STAT3 may provide an important molecular basis for future design of targeted therapies that take into account different serum visfatin levels in breast cancer. Clin Cancer Res; 1–13. ©2016 AACR.
Note: Supplementary data for this article are available at Clinical Cancer Research Online (http://clincancerres.aacrjournals.org/).
- Received November 6, 2015.
- Revision received March 14, 2016.
- Accepted March 22, 2016.
- ©2016 American Association for Cancer Research.