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01.12.2018 | Research article | Ausgabe 1/2018 Open Access

BMC Cancer 1/2018

Cancer-derived exosomes from HER2-positive cancer cells carry trastuzumab-emtansine into cancer cells leading to growth inhibition and caspase activation

Zeitschrift:
BMC Cancer > Ausgabe 1/2018
Autoren:
Mark Barok, Maija Puhka, Gyorgy Vereb, Janos Szollosi, Jorma Isola, Heikki Joensuu
Wichtige Hinweise

Electronic supplementary material

The online version of this article (https://​doi.​org/​10.​1186/​s12885-018-4418-2) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.

Abstract

Background

Trastuzumab emtansine (T-DM1) is an antibody-drug conjugate that carries a cytotoxic drug (DM1) to HER2-positive cancer. The target of T-DM1 (HER2) is present also on cancer-derived exosomes. We hypothesized that exosome-bound T-DM1 may contribute to the activity of T-DM1.

Methods

Exosomes were isolated from the cell culture medium of HER2-positive SKBR-3 and EFM-192A breast cancer cells, HER2-positive SNU-216 gastric cancer cells, and HER2-negative MCF-7 breast cancer cells by serial centrifugations including two ultracentrifugations, and treated with T-DM1. T-DM1 not bound to exosomes was removed using HER2-coated magnetic beads. Exosome samples were analyzed by electron microscopy, flow cytometry and Western blotting. Binding of T-DM1-containing exosomes to cancer cells and T-DM1 internalization were investigated with confocal microscopy. Effects of T-DM1-containg exosomes on cancer cells were investigated with the AlamarBlue cell proliferation assay and the Caspase-Glo 3/7 caspase activation assay.

Results

T-DM1 binds to exosomes derived from HER2-positive cancer cells, but not to exosomes derived from HER2-negative MCF-7 cells. HER2-positive SKBR-3 cells accumulated T-DM1 after being treated with T-DM1-containg exosomes, and treatment of SKBR-3 and EFM-192A cells with T-DM1-containing exosomes resulted in growth inhibition and activation of caspases 3 and/or 7.

Conclusion

T-DM1 binds to exosomes derived from HER2-positive cancer cells, and T-DM1 may be carried to other cancer cells via exosomes leading to reduced viability of the recipient cells. The results suggest a new mechanism of action for T-DM1, mediated by exosomes derived from HER2-positive cancer.
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