NATURE COMMUNICATIONS, vol.11, no.1, 2020 (SCI-Expanded)
Chemoresistance is a major obstacle in triple negative breast cancer (TNBC), the most aggressive breast cancer subtype. Here we identify hypoxia-induced ECM re-modeler, lysyl oxidase (LOX) as a key inducer of chemoresistance by developing chemoresistant TNBC tumors in vivo and characterizing their transcriptomes by RNA-sequencing. Inhibiting LOX reduces collagen cross-linking and fibronectin assembly, increases drug penetration, and downregulates ITGA5/FN1 expression, resulting in inhibition of FAK/Src signaling, induction of apoptosis and re-sensitization to chemotherapy. Similarly, inhibiting FAK/Src results in chemosensitization. These effects are observed in 3D-cultured cell lines, tumor organoids, chemoresistant xenografts, syngeneic tumors and PDX models. Re-expressing the hypoxia-repressed miR-142-3p, which targets HIF1A, LOX and ITGA5, causes further suppression of the HIF-1 alpha /LOX/ITGA5/FN1 axis. Notably, higher LOX, ITGA5, or FN1, or lower miR-142-3p levels are associated with shorter survival in chemotherapy-treated TNBC patients. These results provide strong pre-clinical rationale for developing and testing LOX inhibitors to overcome chemoresistance in TNBC patients. The development of chemoresistance is a major hurdle in triple negative breast cancer (TNBC). Here, the authors show that lysyl oxidase (LOX) is overexpressed in chemoresistant TNBCs, and when inhibited reduces collagen cross-linking, fibronectin fibril assembly, and downstream integrin signalling, overcoming resistance.