Triple-negative breast cancer (TNBC) presents the poorest prognosis among the breast cancer subtypes and no current standard therapy. Here, we performed an in-depth molecular analysis of a mouse model that establishes spontaneous lung metastasis from JygMC(A) cells. These primary tumors resembled the triplenegative breast cancer (TNBC) both phenotypically and molecularly. Morphologically, primary tumors presented both epithelial and spindle-like cells but displayed only adenocarcinoma-like features in lung parenchyma. The use of laser-capture microdissection combined with Nanostring mRNA and microRNA analysis revealed overexpression of either epithelial and miRNA-200 family or mesenchymal markers in adenocarcinoma and mesenchymal regions, respectively. Cripto-1, an embryonic stem cell marker, was present in spindle-like areas and its promoter showed activity in primary tumors. Cripto-1 knockout by the CRISPR-Cas9 system inhibited tumor growth and pulmonary metastasis. Our findings show characterization of a novel mouse model that mimics the TNBC and reveal Cripto-1 as a TNBC target hence may offer alternative treatment strategies for TNBC.
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