Approximately two-thirds of patients with neuroblastoma are found to have metastatic disease at time of diagnosis with frequent skeletal, lymph node, central nervous system, and liver involvement. Using a serial in vivo splenic injection model, we have isolated an aggressive subclone (BE(2)-C/LM2) from MYCN-amplified neuroblastomas that demonstrate an enhanced propensity to develop metastatic liver lesions. BE(2)-C/LM2 subclone cells demonstrate increased adherent, soft agar colony and tumorsphere growth in vitro. Components of the tumor microenvironment regulate cancer progression, via networks of cytokines and growth factors. Cytokine array analysis identified increased TIMP-1 in the plasma of mice injected with BE(2)-C/LM2 subclone cells, leading us to hypothesize that TIMP-1 may play a role in our observed prometastatic phenotype. Immunoblotting and ELISA demonstrated enhanced endogenous TIMP-1 expression in our isolated neuroblastoma subclone. Silencing endogenous TIMP-1 successfully blocked in vitro proliferation, soft agar colony formation and tumorsphere formation by BE(2)-C/LM2 cells. Stable RNA interference of endogenous TIMP-1 failed to reverse the prometastatic phenotype of our BE(2)-C/LM2 subclone in our liver metastasis model, suggesting that endogenous TIMP-1 levels may not be an essential component of this in vivo behavior. Notably, tissue microarray analysis and Kaplan-Meier by gene expression demonstrates that elevated TIMP-1 expression is correlated with increased disease relapse and mortality in patients with neuroblastoma. Taken together, our study identifies TIMP-1 as a novel soluble factor that is associated with a prometastatic phenotype in our in vivo model and adverse outcomes in patients with neuroblastoma.
ASJC Scopus subject areas