MSC-regulated microRNAs converge on the transcription factor FOXP2 and promote breast cancer metastasis

Benjamin G. Cuiffo, Antoine Campagne, George W. Bell, Antonio Lembo, Francesca Orso, Evan C. Lien, Manoj K. Bhasin, Monica Raimo, Summer E. Hanson, Andriy Marusyk, Dorraya El-Ashry, Peiman Hematti, Kornelia Polyak, Fatima Mechta-Grigoriou, Odette Mariani, Stefano Volinia, Anne Vincent-Salomon, Daniela Taverna, Antoine E. Karnoub

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

85 Scopus citations


Mesenchymal stem/stromal cells (MSCs) are progenitor cells shown to participate in breast tumor stroma formation and to promote metastasis. Despite expanding knowledge of their contributions to breast malignancy, the underlying molecular responses of breast cancer cells (BCCs) to MSC influences remain incompletely understood. Here, we show that MSCs cause aberrant expression of microRNAs, which, led by microRNA-199a, provide BCCs with enhanced cancer stem cell (CSC) properties. We demonstrate that such MSC-deregulated microRNAs constitute a network that converges on and represses the expression of FOXP2, a forkhead transcription factor tightly associated with speech and language development. FOXP2 knockdown in BCCs was sufficient in promoting CSC propagation, tumor initiation, and metastasis. Importantly, elevated microRNA-199a and depressed FOXP2 expression levels are prominent features of malignant clinical breast cancer and are associated significantly with poor survival. Our results identify molecular determinants of cancer progression of potential utility in the prognosis and therapy of breast cancer.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)762-774
Number of pages13
JournalCell Stem Cell
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 4 2014


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Medicine
  • Genetics
  • Cell Biology

Cite this

Cuiffo, B. G., Campagne, A., Bell, G. W., Lembo, A., Orso, F., Lien, E. C., Bhasin, M. K., Raimo, M., Hanson, S. E., Marusyk, A., El-Ashry, D., Hematti, P., Polyak, K., Mechta-Grigoriou, F., Mariani, O., Volinia, S., Vincent-Salomon, A., Taverna, D., & Karnoub, A. E. (2014). MSC-regulated microRNAs converge on the transcription factor FOXP2 and promote breast cancer metastasis. Cell Stem Cell, 15(6), 762-774.