Mammary epithelial cells constitutively expressing Id-1 protein are unable to differentiate, acquire the ability to proliferate, and invade the extracellular matrix. In addition, Id-1 is aberrantly over-expressed in aggressive and metastatic breast cancer cells, as well as in human breast tumor biopsies from infiltrating carcinomas, suggesting Id-1 might be an important regulator of breast cancer progression. We show that human metastatic breast cancer cells become significantly less invasive in vitro and less metastatic in vivo when Id-1 is down-regulated by stable transduction with antisense Id-1. Expression of the matrix metalloproteinase MT1-MMP is decreased in proportion to the decrease in Id-1 protein levels, representing a potential mechanism for the reduction of invasiveness. Further, to more accurately recapitulate the biology of and potential therapeutic approaches to tumor metastasis, we targeted Id-1 expression systemically in tumor-bearing mice by using a nonviral approach. We demonstrate significant reduction of both Id-1 and MT1-MMP expressions as well as the metastatic spread of 4T1 breast cancer cells in syngeneic BALB/c mice. In conclusion, our studies have identified Id-1 as a critical regulator of breast cancer progression and suggest the feasibility of developing novel therapeutic approaches to target Id-1 expression to reduce breast cancer metastasis in humans
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