Transcutaneous carbon dioxide application suppresses bone destruction caused by breast cancer metastasis


Hypoxia plays a significant role in cancer progression, including metastatic bone tumors. We previously reported that transcutaneous carbon dioxide (CO2) application could decrease tumor progression through the improvement of intratumor hypoxia. Therefore, we hypothesized that decreased hypoxia using transcutaneous CO2 could suppress progressive bone destruction in cancer metastasis. In the present study, we examined the effects of transcutaneous CO2 application on metastatic bone destruction using an animal model. The human breast cancer cell line MDA-MB-231 was cultured in vitro under three different oxygen conditions, and the effect of altered oxygen conditions on the expression of osteoclast-differentiation and osteolytic factors was assessed. An in vivo bone metastatic model of human breast cancer was created by intramedullary implantation of MDA-MB-231 cells into the tibia of nude mice, and treatment with 100% CO2 or a control was performed twice weekly for two weeks. Bone volume of the treated tibia was evaluated by micro-computed tomography (µCT), and following treatment, histological evaluation was performed by hematoxylin and eosin staining and immunohistochemical staining for hypoxia-inducible factor (HIF)-1α, osteoclast-differentiation and osteolytic factors, and tartrate-resistant acid phosphatase (TRAP) staining for osteoclast activity. In vitro experiments revealed that the mRNA expression of RANKL, PTHrP and IL-8 was significantly increased under hypoxic conditions and was subsequently reduced by reoxygenation. In vivo results by µCT revealed that bone destruction was suppressed by transcutaneous CO2, and that the expression of osteoclast-differentiation and osteolytic factors, as well as HIF-1α, was decreased in CO2-treated tumor tissues. In addition, multinucleated TRAP-positive osteoclasts were significantly decreased in CO2-treated tumor tissues. Hypoxic conditions promoted bone destruction in breast cancer metastasis, and reversal of hypoxia by transcutaneous CO2 application significantly inhibited metastatic bone destruction along with decreased osteoclast activity. The findings in this study strongly indicated that transcutaneous CO2 application could be a novel therapeutic strategy for treating metastatic bone destruction.

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