Journal of mammary gland biology and neoplasia

Comparison of the Adipose and Luminal Mammary Gland Compartment as Orthotopic Inoculation Sites in a 4T1-Based Immunocompetent Preclinical Model for Triple-Negative Breast Cancer.

PMID 27714576


Breast tumorigenesis is classically studied in mice by inoculating tumor cells in the fat pad, the adipose compartment of the mammary gland. Alternatively, the mammary ducts, which constitute the luminal mammary gland compartment, also provide a suitable inoculation site to induce breast cancer in murine models. The microenvironments in these compartments influence tumor cell progression, yet this effect has not been investigated in an immunocompetent context. Here, we compared both mammary gland compartments as distinct inoculation sites, taking into account the immunological aspect by inoculating 4T1 tumor cells in immunocompetent mice. Following tumor cell inoculation in the adipose compartment of non-pretreated/naive, hormonally pretreated/naive and non-pretreated/lactating mice, the primary tumors developed similarly. However, a slower onset of primary tumor growth was found after inoculations in the luminal compartment of non-pretreated/lactating mice. Despite this difference in tumor development rate, metastasis to the liver and lungs was equally observed and was accompanied by lymphatic spreading of tumor cells and progressive splenomegaly with both inoculation types. Chitinase 3-like 1 (CHI3L1) and lipocalin 2 (LCN2) served as innovative biomarkers for disease progression showing increased levels in primary tumors and sera of the non-pretreated/lactating inoculation groups. A slower increase in circulating CHI3L1 but not LCN2 levels, was observed after inoculations in the luminal compartment which corroborated the slower tumor development at this inoculation site. Our results highlight the critical impact of different mammary gland compartments on tumor development in syngeneic murine models and support the use of novel tumor progression biomarkers in an immune-competent environment.