Metaplastic breast carcinoma (MBC) is a rare breast cancer subtype with rapid growth, high rates of metastasis, recurrence and drug resistance, and diverse molecular and histological heterogeneity. Patient-derived xenografts (PDXs) provide a translational tool and physiologically relevant system to evaluate tumor biology of rare subtypes. Here, we provide an in-depth comprehensive characterization of a new PDX model for MBC, TU-BcX-4IC. TU-BcX-4IC is a clinically aggressive tumor exhibiting rapid growth in vivo, spontaneous metastases, and elevated levels of cell-free DNA and circulating tumor cell DNA. Relative chemosensitivity of primary cells derived from TU-BcX-4IC was performed using the National Cancer Institute (NCI) oncology drug set, crystal violet staining, and cytotoxic live/dead immunofluorescence stains in adherent and organoid culture conditions. We employed novel spheroid/organoid incubation methods (Pu·MA system) to demonstrate that TU-BcX-4IC is resistant to paclitaxel. An innovative physiologically relevant system using human adipose tissue was used to evaluate presence of cancer stem cell-like populations ex vivo. Tissue decellularization, cryogenic-scanning electron microscopy imaging and rheometry revealed consistent matrix architecture and stiffness were consistent despite serial transplantation. Matrix-associated gene pathways were essentially unchanged with serial passages, as determined by qPCR and RNA sequencing, suggesting utility of decellularized PDXs for in vitro screens. We determined type V collagen to be present throughout all serial passage of TU-BcX-4IC tumor, suggesting it is required for tumor maintenance and is a potential viable target for MBC. In this study we introduce an innovative and translational model system to study cell–matrix interactions in rare cancer types using higher passage PDX tissue.
- Extracellular matrix
- Metaplastic breast carcinoma
- Patient-derived xenograft
- Triple negative breast cancer