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Transforming Growth Factor-beta (TGF-beta)-Inducible Gene TMEPAI Converts TGF-beta from a Tumor Suppressor to a Tumor Promoter in Breast Cancer

Department of Pathology, The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio, San Antonio, Texas 78229, USA.
Cancer Research (Impact Factor: 9.28). 08/2010; 70(15):6377-83. DOI: 10.1158/0008-5472.CAN-10-1180
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT TMEPAI is a transforming growth factor-beta (TGF-beta)-induced transmembrane protein that is overexpressed in several cancers. How TMEPAI expression relates to malignancy is unknown. Here, we report high expression of TMEPAI in estrogen receptor/progesterone receptor-negative and human epidermal growth factor receptor-2-negative breast cancer cell lines and primary breast cancers that was further increased by TGF-beta treatment. Basal and TGF-beta-induced expression of TMEPAI were inhibited by the TGF-beta receptor antagonist SB431542 and overexpression of Smad7 or a dominant-negative mutant of Alk-5. TMEPAI knockdown attenuated TGF-beta-induced growth and motility in breast cancer cells, suggesting a role for TMEPAI in growth promotion and invasiveness. Further, TMEPAI knockdown decreased breast tumor mass in a mouse xenograft model in a manner associated with increased expression of phosphatase and tensin homologue (PTEN) and diminished phosphorylation of Akt. Consistent with the effects through the phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase pathway, tumors with TMEPAI knockdown exhibited elevated levels of the cell cycle inhibitor p27kip1 and attenuated levels of DNA replication and expression of hypoxia-inducible fator 1alpha and vascular endothelial growth factor. Together, these results suggest that TMEPAI functions in breast cancer as a molecular switch that converts TGF-beta from a tumor suppressor to a tumor promoter.

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