TGF-βs play diverse and complex roles in many biological processes. In tumorigenesis, they can function either as tumor suppressors or as pro-oncogenic factors, depending on the stage of the disease. We have developed transgenic mice expressing a TGF-β antagonist of the soluble type II TGF-β receptor:Fc fusion protein class, under the regulation of the mammary-selective MMTV-LTR promoter/enhancer. Biologically significant levels of antagonist were detectable in the serum and most tissues of this mouse line. The mice were resistant to the development of metastases at multiple organ sites when compared with wild-type controls, both in a tail vein metastasis assay using isogenic melanoma cells and in crosses with the MMTV-neu transgenic mouse model of metastatic breast cancer. Importantly, metastasis from endogenous mammary tumors was suppressed without any enhancement of primary tumorigenesis. Furthermore, aged transgenic mice did not exhibit the severe pathology characteristic of TGF-β null mice, despite lifetime exposure to the antagonist. The data suggest that in vivo the antagonist may selectively neutralize the undesirable TGF-β associated with metastasis, while sparing the regulatory roles of TGF-βs in normal tissues. Thus this soluble TGF-β antagonist has potential for long-term clinical use in the prevention of metastasis.
Yu-an Yang, Oksana Dukhanina, Binwu Tang, Mizuko Mamura, John J. Letterio, Jennifer MacGregor, Sejal C. Patel, Shahram Khozin, Zi-yao Liu, Jeffrey Green, Miriam R. Anver, Glenn Merlino, Lalage M. Wakefield