Indexed on: 07 Feb '21Published on: 06 Feb '21Published in: Cancers
(1) Background: the early detection of cancer cells in the blood or bone marrow of breast cancer patients improves the understanding of metastasis. Disseminating tumor cells in the bone marrow with a pronounced manifestation of mesenchymal markers (mDTC) are difficult to detect by epithelial markers, but they are relevant in the initiation of metastasis. (2) Methods: the breast cancer mDTC cell line BC-M1 was analyzed by mass spectrometry, which revealed high levels of the protein-cysteine-rich angiogenic inducer 61 (Cyr61). The function of Cyr61 was investigated using shRNA and hypoxia. Peripheral blood samples from 35 breast cancer patients were investigated for CTCs defined as cytokeratin-positive/CD45-negative cells. (3) Results: the Cyr61 levels are elevated in mDTC lines from breast, lung, and prostate cancer patients. The loss of Cyr61 resulted in the diminished expression of hypoxia-inducible factor 1-alpha, and increased apoptosis. Cyr61 was present in 47 (43%) of the 109 detected circulating tumor cells (CTCs), while the blood and bone marrow cells from healthy controls were Cyr61-negative. (4) Conclusions: Cyr61 is expressed in mDTC lines, supports the viability of cancer cells, and classifies a new subset of cytokeratin-positive CTCs, which deserves further investigation.