[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Taxol resistance remains a major obstacle to improve the benefit of breast cancer patients. Here, we studied whether overexpression of ErbB2 may lead to mitotic deregulation in breast cancer cells via up-regulation of survivin that confers Taxol resistance.
ErbB2-overexpressing and ErbB2-low-expressing breast cancer cell lines were used to compare their mitotic exit rate, survivin expression level, and apoptosis level in response to Taxol. Survivin was then down-regulated by antisense oligonucleotides to evaluate its contribution to mitotic exit and Taxol resistance in ErbB2-overexpressing breast cancer cells. At last, specific PI3K/Akt and Src inhibitors were used to investigate the involvement of these two pathways in ErbB2-mediated survivin up-regulation and Taxol resistance.
We found that ErbB2-overexpressing cells expressed higher levels of survivin in multiple breast cancer cell lines and patient samples. ErbB2-overexpressing cells exited M phase faster than ErbB2-low-expressing cells, which correlated with the increased resistance to Taxol-induced apoptosis. Down-regulation of survivin by antisense oligonucleotide delayed mitotic exit of ErbB2-overexpressing cells and also sensitized ErbB2-overexpressing cells to Taxol-induced apoptosis. Moreover, ErbB2 up-regulated survivin at translational level and PI3K/Akt and Src activation are involved. In addition, combination treatment of Taxol with PI3K/Akt and Src inhibitor led to increased apoptosis in ErbB2-overexpressing breast cancer cells than single treatment.
Survivin up-regulation by ErbB2 is a critical event in ErbB2-mediated faster mitotic exit and contributes to Taxol resistance.
Clinical Cancer Research 03/2009; 15(4):1326-34. · 7.84 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: ErbB2 is an excellent target for cancer therapies. Unfortunately, the outcome of current therapies for ErbB2-positive breast cancers remains unsatisfying due to resistance and side effects. New therapies for ErbB2-overexpressing breast cancers continue to be in great need. Peptide therapy using cell-penetrating peptides (CPP) as peptide carriers is promising because the internalization is highly efficient, and the cargoes delivered can be bioactive. However, the major obstacle in using these powerful CPPs for therapy is their lack of specificity. Here, we sought to develop a peptide carrier that could introduce therapeutics specifically to ErbB2-overexpressing breast cancer cells. By modifying the HIV TAT-derived CPP and conjugating anti-HER-2/neu peptide mimetic (AHNP), we developed the peptide carrier (P3-AHNP) that specifically targeted ErbB2-overexpressing breast cancer cells in vitro and in vivo. A signal transducers and activators of transcription 3 (STAT3)-inhibiting peptide conjugated to this peptide carrier (P3-AHNP-STAT3BP) was delivered more efficiently into ErbB2-overexpressing than ErbB2 low-expressing cancer cells in vitro and successfully decreased STAT3 binding to STAT3-interacting DNA sequence. P3-AHNP-STAT3BP inhibited cell growth in vitro, with ErbB2-overexpressing 435.eB breast cancer cells being more sensitive to the treatment than the ErbB2 low-expressing MDA-MB-435 cells. Compared with ErbB2 low-expressing MDA-MB-435 xenografts, i.p. injected P3-AHNP-STAT3BP preferentially accumulated in 435.eB xenografts, which led to more reduction of proliferation and increased apoptosis and targeted inhibition of tumor growth. This novel peptide delivery system provided a sound basis for the future development of safe and effective new-generation therapeutics to cancer-specific molecular targets.
Cancer Research 05/2006; 66(7):3764-72. · 8.65 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: ErbB2 overexpression in breast tumors results in increased metastasis and angiogenesis and reduced survival. To study ErbB2 signaling mechanisms in metastasis and angiogenesis, we did a spontaneous metastasis assay using MDA-MB-435 human breast cancer cells stably transfected with constitutively active ErbB2 kinase (V659E), a kinase-dead mutant of ErbB2 (K753M), or vector control (neo). Mice injected with V659E had increased metastasis incidence and tumor microvessel density than mice injected with K753M or control. Increased angiogenesis in vivo from the V659E transfectants paralleled increased angiogenic potential in vitro. V659E produced increased vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) through increased VEGF protein synthesis. This was mediated through signaling events involving extracellular signal-regulated kinase, phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase/Akt, mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR), and p70S6K. The V659E xenografts also had significantly increased phosphorylated Akt, phosphorylated p70S6K, and VEGF compared with controls. To validate the clinical relevance of these findings, we examined 155 human breast tumor samples. Human tumors that overexpressed ErbB2, which have been previously shown to have higher VEGF expression, showed significantly higher p70S6K phosphorylation as well. Increased VEGF expression also significantly correlated with higher levels of Akt and mTOR phosphorylation. Additionally, patients with tumors having increased p70S6K phosphorylation showed a trend for worse disease-free survival and increased metastasis. Our findings show that ErbB2 increases VEGF protein production by activating p70S6K in cell lines, xenografts, and in human cancers and suggest that these signaling molecules may serve as targets for antiangiogenic and antimetastatic therapies.
Cancer Research 03/2006; 66(4):2028-37. · 8.65 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Activation of Src kinase plays important roles in the development of many neoplasias. Most of the previous Src studies focused on the deregulation of Src kinase activity. The deregulated Src protein synthesis and stability in mediating malignant phenotypes of cancer cells, however, have been neglected. While investigating the signal transduction pathways contributing to ErbB2-mediated metastasis, we found that ErbB2-activated breast cancer cells that had higher metastatic potentials also had increased Src activity compared with ErbB2 low-expressing cells. The increased Src activity in ErbB2-activated cells paralleled higher Src protein levels, whereas Src RNA levels were not significantly altered. Our studies revealed two novel mechanisms that are involved in Src protein up-regulation and activation by ErbB2: (a) ErbB2 increased Src translation through activation of the Akt/mammalian target of rapamycin/4E-BP1 pathway and (b) ErbB2 increased Src stability most likely through the inhibition of the calpain protease. Furthermore, inhibition of Src activity by a Src-specific inhibitor, PP2, or a Src dominant-negative mutant dramatically reduced ErbB2-mediated cancer cell invasion in vitro and metastasis in an experimental metastasis animal model. Together, activation of ErbB2 and downstream signaling pathways can lead to increased Src protein synthesis and decreased Src protein degradation resulting in Src up-regulation and activation, which play critical roles in ErbB2-mediated breast cancer invasion and metastasis.
Cancer Research 04/2005; 65(5):1858-67. · 8.65 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The Akt/mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR)/4E-BP1 pathway is considered to be a central regulator of protein synthesis, involving the regulation of cell proliferation, differentiation, and survival. The inhibitors of mTOR as anticancer reagents are undergoing active evaluation in various malignancies including breast cancer. However, the activation status of the Akt/mTOR/4E-BP1 pathway and its potential roles in breast cancers remain unknown. Thus, we examined 165 invasive breast cancers with specific antibodies for the phosphorylation of Akt, mTOR, and 4E-BP1 by immunohistochemistry and compared them with normal breast epithelium, fibroadenoma, intraductal hyperplasia, and ductal carcinoma in situ. We discovered that the phosphorylation of Akt, mTOR, and 4E-BP1 increased progressively from normal breast epithelium to hyperplasia and abnormal hyperplasia to tumor invasion. Phosphorylated Akt, mTOR, and 4E-BP1 were positively associated with ErbB2 overexpression. Survival analysis showed that phosphorylation of each of these three markers was associated with poor disease-free survival independently. In vitro, we further confirmed the causal relationship between ErbB2 overexpression and mTOR activation, which was associated with enhanced invasive ability and sensitivity to a mTOR inhibitor, rapamycin. Our results, for the first time, demonstrate the following: (a) high levels of phosphorylation of Akt, mTOR, and 4E-BP1 in breast cancers, indicating activation of the Akt/mTOR/4E-BP1 pathway in breast cancer development and progression; (b) a link between ErbB2 and the Akt/mTOR/4E-BP1 pathway in breast cancers in vitro and in vivo, indicating the possible role of Akt/mTOR activation in ErbB2-mediated breast cancer progression; and (c) a potential role for this pathway in predicting the prognosis of patients with breast cancer, especially those treated with mTOR inhibitors.
Clinical Cancer Research 11/2004; 10(20):6779-88. · 7.84 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: ErbB2 overexpression confers resistance to taxol-induced apoptosis by inhibiting p34(Cdc2) activation. One mechanism is via ErbB2-mediated upregulation of p21(Cip1), which inhibits Cdc2. Here, we report that the inhibitory phosphorylation on Cdc2 tyrosine (Y)15 (Cdc2-Y15-p) is elevated in ErbB2-overexpressing breast cancer cells and primary tumors. ErbB2 binds to and colocalizes with cyclin B-Cdc2 complexes and phosphorylates Cdc2-Y15. The ErbB2 kinase domain is sufficient to directly phosphorylate Cdc2-Y15. Increased Cdc2-Y15-p in ErbB2-overexpressing cells corresponds with delayed M phase entry. Expressing a nonphosphorylatable mutant of Cdc2 renders cells more sensitive to taxol-induced apoptosis. Thus, ErbB2 membrane RTK can confer resistance to taxol-induced apoptosis by directly phosphorylating Cdc2.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Soft-tissue sarcomas are a heterogeneous group of tumors that are putatively mesenchymal in origin. Therapeutic advances in this disease have been limited over the past several decades. Approximately one-half of all patients will ultimately succumb, usually to uncontrollable pulmonary metastases. Although little is known about the underlying molecular determinants driving soft-tissue sarcoma inception, proliferation, and metastasis, mutation of the p53 gene is the most frequently detected molecular alteration in this disease. Accordingly, we were interested in determining whether transduction of wild-type (wt) p53 into soft-tissue sarcomas bearing mutated p53 genes might alter the malignant phenotype. SKLMS-1 is a human-derived leiomyosarcoma cell line with a codon 245 p53 point mutation. Cationic liposome was used to transfect wt p53 or 143Ala temperature-sensitive mutant p53 into this cell line. SKLMS-1 stable transfectants expressing wt p53 had decreased cell proliferation in vitro, decreased in vitro colony formation in soft agar, and decreased tumorigenicity in severe combined immunodeficient mice in vivo. Flow cytometric analysis of cell cycle components demonstrated markedly increased G1 cell cycle arrest and decreased entry into S phase, which corresponded to the induction of p21cip1 protein in the transfectants. Using SKLMS-1 stable transfectants expressing the 143Ala p53 temperature-sensitive mutant, we demonstrated the kinetics of and the causal relationship between wt p53 expression, the wt p53-dependent induction of cell cycle inhibitor p21cip1, and inhibition of cell cycle progression in p53-transfected SKLMS-1 cells. The ability to restore wt p53 growth-regulatory functions in soft-tissue sarcoma may ultimately be useful as a future therapy in patients with soft-tissue sarcomas.
Clinical Cancer Research 09/1998; 4(8):1985-94. · 7.84 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The pl6INK4a/MTS1 (p16) gene encodes a specific inhibitor of cyclin-dependent kinase (CDK)4 and CDK6. The p16 gene is frequently mutated or deleted in many types of cancer cell lines as well as in certain types of primary tumors. p16 knockout mice are viable but predisposed to sarcoma and B-cell lymphoma. To investigate the role of p16 in human soft-tissue sarcoma tumor progression, we examined the p16 gene by Southern blot analysis and PCR sequencing in 30 pairs of primary soft-tissue sarcomas and autologous normal tissue. Only one tumor sample showed possible rearrangement of the p16 gene. In contrast, Western blot analysis of the p16 protein in 20 pairs of samples showed decreased p16 expression in only 20% of the tumors but elevated p16 expression in 40% of the tumors when compared with the autologous normal controls. Overexpression of p16 was not concomitant with loss of the RB protein as is found in several other types of cancers, because more than one-half of the tumors with increased p16 expression also had high levels of RB protein. On the other hand, the p16 target protein CDK4 was overexpressed in at least 60% of the tumors. In the majority of cases, CDK4 overexpression accompanied elevated p16 and/or RB levels. Our results suggest that: (a) alteration of the p16 gene is infrequent in primary soft-tissue sarcoma; (b) Cdk4 may act as an oncogene in soft-tissue sarcoma; and (c) elevated p16 and RB levels might be the result of compensatory up-regulation of these proteins to counteract CDK4 overexpression in these tumors. Our results also suggest that it is more informative to examine aberrations in the "p16-CDK4/cyclin D-RB" pathway than to selectively examine individual components in this pathway when investigating genetic changes involved in human malignancy.
Clinical Cancer Research 05/1998; 4(4):1065-70. · 7.84 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Overexpression of the receptor tyrosine kinase p185ErbB2 confers Taxol resistance in breast cancers. Here, we investigated the underlying mechanisms and found that overexpression of p185ErbB2 inhibits Taxol-induced apoptosis. Taxol activates p34Cdc2 kinase in MDA-MB-435 breast cancer cells, leading to cell cycle arrest at the G2/M phase and, subsequently, apoptosis. A chemical inhibitor of p34Cdc2 and a dominant-negative mutant of p34Cdc2 blocked Taxol-induced apoptosis in these cells. Overexpression of p185ErbB2 in MDA-MB-435 cells by transfection transcriptionally upregulates p21Cip1, which associates with p34Cdc2, inhibits Taxol-mediated p34Cdc2 activation, delays cell entrance to G2/M phase, and thereby inhibits Taxol-induced apoptosis. In p21Cip1 antisense-transfected MDA-MB-435 cells or in p21−/− MEF cells, p185ErbB2 was unable to inhibit Taxol-induced apoptosis. Therefore, p21Cip1 participates in the regulation of a G2/M checkpoint that contributes to resistance to Taxol-induced apoptosis in p185ErbB2-overexpressing breast cancer cells.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Overexpression of the c-erbB-2 gene-encoded p185 has been reported in approximately 30% of human breast cancers and has been correlated with lymph node metastasis and poor prognosis in breast cancer patients. To investigate whether overexpression of p185 can enhance the metastatic potential of human breast cancer cells, we have introduced the human c-erbB-2 gene into the very low p185-expressing MDA-MB-435 human breast cancer cells and established 435.eB transfectants that express higher levels of p185. In this study, we compared the metastatic phenotypes of the parental MDA-MB-435 cells and the 435.eB transfectants. In vivo experimental metastasis assays in which we injected MDA-MB-435 parental cells or 435.eB transfectants into the tail veins of ICR-SCID mice demonstrated that mice injected with p185-overexpressing 435.eB transfectants formed significantly more metastatic tumors than the mice injected with parental and control cells. The changes in experimental metastatic potential in vivo were accompanied by increased invasiveness in vitro. In addition, the secretion of basement membrane-degradative enzymes, which is an important step in the invasion and metastasis process, was also increased in the p185-overexpressing 435.eB transfectants. These results indicated that p185 overexpression can enhance the metastatic potential of MDA-MB-435 human breast cancer cells. To investigate whether enhanced metastatic potential in the p185-overexpressing 435.eB transfectants was the result of increased cancer cell growth and transformation potential, we compared the growth rate, anchorage-independent growth ability, and tumorigenicity of the 435.eB transfectants with that of the parental cells. The transfectants and the parental cells all had similar growth rates and anchorage-independent growth abilities and demonstrated similar tumorigenic potential. These findings suggest that c-erbB-2 is a metastasis-promoting gene for breast cancers that is distinct from other tumor-promoting genes in that the c-erbB-2 gene can enhance the intrinsic metastatic potentials of MDA-MB-435 cells without increasing their transformation abilities.
Cancer Research 04/1997; 57(6):1199-205. · 8.65 Impact Factor