Microenvironmental IL1β promotes breast cancer metastatic colonisation in the bone via activation of Wnt signalling

Rachel Eyre, Dennis Alferez-Castro, Angélica Santiago-Gómez, Katherine Spence, James Mcconnell, Claire Hart, Bruno M Simoes, Diane Lefley, Claudia Tulotta, Joanna Storer, Austin Gurney, Noel Clarke, Mick Brown, Sacha Howell, Andrew H Sims, Gillian Farnie, Penelope D Ottewell, Robert B Clarke

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Dissemination of tumour cells to the bone marrow is an early event in breast cancer, however cells may lie dormant for many years before bone metastases develop. Treatment for bone metastases is not curative, therefore new adjuvant therapies which prevent the colonisation of disseminated cells into metastatic lesions are required. There is evidence that cancer stem cells (CSCs) within breast tumours are capable of metastasis, but the mechanism by which these colonise bone is unknown. Here, we establish that bone marrow-derived IL1β stimulates breast cancer cell colonisation in the bone by inducing intracellular NFkB and CREB signalling in breast cancer cells, leading to autocrine Wnt signalling and CSC colony formation. Importantly, we show that inhibition of this pathway prevents both CSC colony formation in the bone environment, and bone metastasis. These findings establish that targeting IL1β-NFKB/CREB-Wnt signalling should be considered for adjuvant therapy to prevent breast cancer bone metastasis.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)5016
Number of pages15
JournalNature Communications
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2019


  • breast cancer
  • stem cells
  • metastasis
  • Wnt
  • IL1beta

Research Beacons, Institutes and Platforms

  • Manchester Cancer Research Centre


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