American Association for Cancer Research
can-23-0398_supplementary_video_3_suppsv3.avi (4.98 MB)

Supplementary video 3 from Stroma-Mediated Breast Cancer Cell Proliferation Indirectly Drives Chemoresistance by Accelerating Tumor Recovery between Chemotherapy Cycles

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posted on 2023-11-15, 08:20 authored by Daria Miroshnychenko, Tatiana Miti, Pragya Kumar, Anna Miller, Mark Laurie, Nathalia Giraldo, Marilyn M. Bui, Philipp M. Altrock, David Basanta, Andriy Marusyk

Time lapse video of MDA468 cells response to a 6 hour exposure to 0.125 μM doxorubicin, in control media. Microscopy photos were taken every 12 hours.


National Cancer Institute (NCI)

United States Department of Health and Human Services

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Florida Breast Cancer Foundation (FBCF)

Bankhead-Coley Foundation

Susan G. Komen North Carolina (Komen NCTC)



The ability of tumors to survive therapy reflects both cell-intrinsic and microenvironmental mechanisms. Across many cancers, including triple-negative breast cancer (TNBC), a high stroma/tumor ratio correlates with poor survival. In many contexts, this correlation can be explained by the direct reduction of therapy sensitivity induced by stroma-produced paracrine factors. We sought to explore whether this direct effect contributes to the link between stroma and poor responses to chemotherapies. In vitro studies with panels of TNBC cell line models and stromal isolates failed to detect a direct modulation of chemoresistance. At the same time, consistent with prior studies, fibroblast-produced secreted factors stimulated treatment-independent enhancement of tumor cell proliferation. Spatial analyses indicated that proximity to stroma is often associated with enhanced tumor cell proliferation in vivo. These observations suggested an indirect link between stroma and chemoresistance, where stroma-augmented proliferation potentiates the recovery of residual tumors between chemotherapy cycles. To evaluate this hypothesis, a spatial agent–based model of stroma impact on proliferation/death dynamics was developed that was quantitatively parameterized using inferences from histologic analyses and experimental studies. The model demonstrated that the observed enhancement of tumor cell proliferation within stroma-proximal niches could enable tumors to avoid elimination over multiple chemotherapy cycles. Therefore, this study supports the existence of an indirect mechanism of environment-mediated chemoresistance that might contribute to the negative correlation between stromal content and poor therapy outcomes. Integration of experimental research with mathematical modeling reveals an indirect microenvironmental chemoresistance mechanism by which stromal cells stimulate breast cancer cell proliferation and highlights the importance of consideration of proliferation/death dynamics.See related commentary by Wall and Echeverria, p. 3667