Induction of CXCR2 ligands, stem cell-like phenotype, and metastasis in chemotherapy-resistant breast cancer cells

Bhawna Sharma, Michelle L. Varney, Sugandha Saxena, Lingyun Wu, Rakesh K Singh

20 Scopus citations


CXCR2 and its ligands have been shown to play an important role in tumor angiogenesis, therapy resistance and progression. In this study, we investigated whether CXCR2 ligands are responsible for the survival advantage and metastasis of drug-resistant cells and examined the underlying mechanism(s) doxorubicin or paclitaxel resistant mammary tumor cells. Our results demonstrated that drug-resistant Cl66 cells upregulated CXCR2 ligands but downregulated expression of CXCR2. We observed delayed tumor growth but increased metastasis in mice using these drug-resistant cells. Furthermore, we observed differential upregulation of stem cell and mesenchymal markers in the doxorubicin and paclitaxel-resistant tumor cells. Abrogation of the CXCR2 signaling axis using CXCR2 ligand neutralization resulted in significant inhibition of drug-resistant cell growth. Together, our data suggest chemotherapy-specific differential regulation of CXCR2 ligands, stem cell-like and mesenchymal phenotypes, and enhanced metastasis in drug-resistant cells and targeting CXCR2 signaling, may help circumvent therapy resistance in breast cancer.



  • CXCR2
  • Chemokines
  • Stem cell
  • Therapy resistance

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research

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