Adipocytes are the most abundant stromal partners in breast tissue. However, the crosstalk between breast cancer cells and adipocytes has been given less attention compared to cancer-associated fibroblasts. Here we find, through systematic screening, that primary mammary gland-derived adipocytes (MGDAs) promote growth of breast cancer cells that express monocarboxylate transporter 2 (MCT2) both in vitro and in vivo. We show that β-hydroxybutyrate is secreted by MGDAs and is required to enhance breast cancer cells malignancy in vitro. Consistently, β-hydroxybutyrate is sufficient to promote tumorigenesis of a mouse xenograft model of MCT2-expressing breast cancer cells. Mechanistically we observe that upon co-culturing with MGDAs or treatment with β-hydroxybutyrate, breast cancer cells expressing MCT2 increase the global histone H3K9 acetylation and upregulate several tumour-promoting genes. These results suggest that adipocytes promote malignancy of MCT2-expressing breast cancer via β-hydroxybutyrate potentially by inducing the epigenetic upregulation of tumour-promoting genes.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
- Physics and Astronomy(all)