Cancer establishes a microenvironment called the pre-metastatic niche in distant organs where disseminated cancer cells can efficiently metastasize. Pre-metastatic niche formation requires various genetic factors. Previous studies suggest that inhibiting a single niche-factor is insufficient to completely block pre-metastatic niche formation especially in human patients. Here we show that the atrial natriuretic peptide (ANP), an endogenous hormone produced by the heart, inhibits pre-metastatic niche formation and metastasis of murine solid cancer models when pharmacologically supplied in vivo. On the basis of a wealth of comprehensive RNA-seq data, we demonstrated that ANP globally suppressed expression of cancer-induced genes including known niche-factors in the lung. The lungs of mice overexpressing GC-A, a receptor for ANP in endothelial cells, were conferred resistance against pre-metastatic niche formation. Importantly, neither ANP administration nor GC-A overexpression had a detrimental effect on lung gene expression in a cancer-free condition. The current study establishes endothelial ANP-GC-A signaling as a therapeutic target to control the pre-metastatic niche.
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