Angiotensin II (Ang II) reportedly facilitates primary tumor growth and distal hematogenous metastasis formation in various murine intravenous metastasis models. However, it is unclear whether Ang II accelerates the initial processes of metastasis formation that begins in primary tumors surrounded by tumor microenvironment. We examined the effects of Ang II on primary tumors and lung metastasis lesions using a murine spontaneous metastasis model, in which triple negative breast cancer 4T1 cells constitutively expressing luciferase (4T1-Luc cells) were injected into the mammary fat pad of BALB/c mice. Subcutaneous injection of Ang II significantly accelerated primary tumor growth and lung metastasis formation. Ang II increased the protein expression levels of c-Myc, cyclin D1, fibronectin, vimentin, αSMA and Snail, and the treatment with the Ang II type 1 receptor blocker valsartan significantly suppressed the Ang II-induced increases of fibronectin and vimentin. Valsartan also significantly reduced lung metastatic lesions. However, Ang II did not have significant effects on 4T1-Luc cells including the proliferation, migration, invasion, or the expressions of proteins related to cell proliferation and epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition. In contrast, when 4T1-Luc cells were co-cultured with dermal fibroblasts, Ang II significantly accelerated cell migration and increased the expressions of fibronectin, vimentin, αSMA and Snail in 4T1-Luc cells. And moreover, Ang II significantly increased the mRNA expression of IL-6 in fibroblasts co-cultured with 4T1-Luc cells. These results suggested that Ang II accelerates surrounding fibroblasts by soluble factors such as IL-6 to promote epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition, which result in the initiation of cancer metastasis.
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