No Effect of NGAL/lipocalin-2 on Aggressiveness of Cancer in the MMTV-PyMT/FVB/N Mouse Model for Breast Cancer
Peer reviewed, Journal article
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NGAL/lipocalin-2 is a siderophore-binding protein that is highly expressed in several cancers. It is suggested to confer a proliferative advantage to cancer cells. Its expression has been correlated with aggressiveness of breast cancer as determined both in patients and in mouse breast cancer models. This was recently confirmed in two mouse models of spontaneous breast cancer in wild-type and lipocalin-2-deficient mice. We used a similar strategy using a different mouse strain. Lipocalin-2-deficient mice and mouse mammary tumor virus-polyoma middle T antigen (MMTV-PyMT) mice were crossed into the same FVB/N background. All mice developed tumors by week 8. The mice were sacrificed on week 13 and tissue was processed for biochemical and histological analysis. The total tumor volume and number of metastases were quantitated in 26 lipocalin-2-deficient mice and 34 wild-type controls. Lipocalin-2 expression in tumors of MMTV-PyMT-positive and wild-type mice was assessed by quantitative real-time PCR and by immunohistochemistry. The expression of the lipocalin-2 receptors 24p3R and megalin and of Mmp-9, transferrin receptor, and Bdh2 (a producer of a mammalian siderophore) were quantitated by real-time PCR. No significant difference was observed between wild-type and lipocalin-2-deficient mice. Lipocalin-2 was highly expressed in tumors from wild-type mice, but the expression did not correlate with tumor size. No effect of lipocalin-2 was observed with respect to time to tumor appearance, total tumor volume, or to the number of metastases. Histology and gelatinolytic activity of the mammary tumors did not differ between wild-type and lipocalin-2-deficient mice. We conclude that NGAL/lipocalin-2 does not invariably affect the aggressiveness of breast cancers as assessed in mouse models, thus questioning the role of lipocalin-2 in cancer development.