The integrin alpha(v)beta(3-5) ligand MFG-E8 is a p63/p73 target gene in triple-negative breast cancers but exhibits suppressive functions in ER(+) and erbB2(+) breast cancers.

The progression from preinvasive lesion to invasive carcinoma is a critical step contributing to breast cancer lethality. We identified downregulation of milk fat globule-EGF factor 8 (MFG-E8) as a contributor to breast cancer progression using microarray analysis of laser capture microdissected (LCM) tissues. We first identified MFG-E8 downregulation in invasive lesions in transgenic mammary tumor models, which were confirmed in LCM-isolated human invasive ductal carcinomas compared with patient-matched normal tissues. In situ analyses of MFG-E8 expression in estrogen receptor (ER) positive cases confirmed its downregulation during breast cancer progression and small inhibitory MFG-E8 RNAs accelerated ER(+) breast cancer cell proliferation. MFG-E8 also decreased in erbB2(+) human cancers and erbB2 transgenic mice lacking MFG-E8 showed accelerated tumor formation. In contrast, MFG-E8 expression was present at high levels in triple-negative (ER(-), PgR(-), erbB2(-)) breast cancers, cell lines, and patient sera. Knockdown, chromatin immunoprecipitation, and reporter assays all showed that p63 regulates MFG-E8 expression, and MFG-E8 knockdowns sensitized triple-negative breast cancers to cisplatin treatment. Taken together, our results show that MFG-E8 is expressed in triple-negative breast cancers as a target gene of the p63 pathway, but may serve a suppressive function in ER(+) and erbB2(+) breast cancers. Its potential use as a serum biomarker that contributes to the pathogenesis of triple-negative breast cancers urges continued evaluation of its differential functions.

Anderson KS, Chen L, Ellisen LW, Forster N, Hayashida T, Li C, Maheswaran S, Schmidt EV, Sgroi D, Shen D, Yang C


Cancer Res., 2011, 71 (3)

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