Progesterone receptor enhances breast cancer cell motility and invasion via extranuclear activation of focal adhesion kinase

Department of Reproductive Medicine and Child Development, University of Pisa, Italy.
Endocrine Related Cancer (Impact Factor: 4.91). 03/2010; 17(2):431-43. DOI: 10.1677/ERC-09-0258
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT While progesterone plays multiple roles in the process of breast development and differentiation, its role in breast cancer is less understood. We have shown previously that progestins stimulate breast cancer cell migration and invasion because of the activation of rapid signaling cascades leading to modifications in the actin cytoskeleton and cell membrane that are required for cell movement. In this study, we have investigated the effects of progesterone on the formation of focal adhesion (FA) complexes, which provide anchoring sites for cell attachment to the extracellular matrix during cell movement and invasion. In T47-D breast cancer cells, progesterone rapidly enhances FA kinase (FAK) phosphorylation at Tyr(397) in a time- and concentration-dependent manner. As a result, exposure to progesterone leads to increased formation of FA complexes within specialized cell membrane protrusions. The cascade of events required for this phenomenon involves progesterone receptor interaction with the tyrosine kinase c-Src, which activates the phosphatidylinositol-3-kinase/Akt pathway and the small GTPase RhoA/Rho-associated kinase complex. In the presence of progesterone, T47-D breast cancer cells display enhanced horizontal migration and invasion of three-dimensional matrices, which is reversed by small interfering RNAs abrogating FAK. In conclusion, progesterone promotes breast cancer cell movement and invasion by facilitating the formation of FA complexes via the rapid regulation of FAK. These results provide novel mechanistic views on the effects of progesterone on breast cancer progression, and may in the future be helpful to develop new strategies for the treatment of endocrine-sensitive breast cancers.

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