• TWIST1;
  • BONE;
  • MIR-10B;


The transcription factor TWIST1 induces epithelial-mesenchymal transition and/or escape to the oncogenic-induced failsafe program, facilitating the intravasation of breast cancer cells in the systemic circulation and their dissemination to the lungs. Its involvement in breast cancer bone metastasis is unknown. To address this question, human osteotropic MDA-MB-231/B02 breast cancer cells were stably transfected with a Tet-inducible vector encoding for TWIST1, whose expression was specifically repressed in the presence of doxycycline (dox). The intra-arterial inoculation of transfectants expressing TWIST1 in immunodeficient mice substantially increased the extent of osteolytic lesions in these animals, being 50% larger than that of animals bearing mock-transfected tumors, as determined by radiography. This difference was accompanied by a sharp reduction of the bone volume (indicating a higher bone destruction) and a twofold increase in the tumor volume compared with mice bearing mock-transfected tumors, as determined by histomorphometry. Importantly, the suppression of TWIST1 expression in MDA-MB-231/B02 cells in the presence of dox abolished the stimulatory effect of TWIST1 on bone metastasis formation in vivo. Additionally, examination of the bone marrow from untreated and dox-treated animals on day 7 after tumor cell inoculation, at which time there was no evidence of radiographic osteolytic lesions, revealed that the number of tumor cell colonies that were recovered from the bone marrow of untreated mice was dramatically increased compared with that of dox-fed animals. In vitro, TWIST1 expression promoted tumor cell invasion and enhanced microRNA 10b (miR-10b) expression, a proinvasive factor, but was dispensable for growth of tumor cells. In vivo, the repression of miR-10b substantially decreased the presence of TWIST1-expressing breast cancer cells in the bone marrow. Overall, these results establish that TWIST1 facilitates breast cancer bone metastasis formation through a mechanism dependent of miR-10b, which leads to increase tumor burden and bone destruction. © 2014 American Society for Bone and Mineral Research.