Elimination of breast tumor-associated chondroitin sulfate promotes metastasis

R. D. Prinz, C. M. Willis, A. Viloria-Petit, M. Klüppel*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

27 Scopus citations


Breast cancer is one of the leading causes of cancer-related deaths amongst women in the USA. The tumor microenvironment has been suggested to be an attractive therapeutic target for treatment of cancers. The glycosaminoglycan chondroitin sulfate, as part of the cellular microenvironment, consists of long linear chains of repeating disaccharide units, which are covalently attached to core proteins to form chondroitin sulfate-proteoglycans. In vitro studies have implicated chondroitin sulfate in various aspects of carcinogenesis, whereas the in vivo roles of chondroitin sulfate are less clear. Drastically elevated levels of chondroitin sulfate have been observed within the stromal compartment of many solid tumors, including human breast carcinomas, the significance of which is unknown. We examined the role of tumor-associated chondroitin sulfate in breast cancer progression. Enzymatic elimination of endogenous chondroitin sulfate by intra-tumor injections of chondroitinase ABC leads to the development of secondary tumors and increased lung metastases, while primary orthotopic tumor growth was not affected. These results establish a metastasis-inhibiting effect of primary breast tumor-associated chondroitin sulfate, which may open novel carbohydrate-based therapeutic strategies to combat breast cancer.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3901-3913
Number of pages13
JournalGenetics and Molecular Research
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 8 2011


  • Breast cancer
  • Chondroitin sulfate
  • Chondroitinase ABC
  • Metastasis
  • Orthotopic tumor

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Genetics
  • Molecular Biology


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