Journal of cellular and molecular medicine

Survivin regulation by HER2 through NF-κB and c-myc in irradiated breast cancer cells.

PMID 20716114


Radiotherapy is an important treatment modality against cancer resulting in apoptosis and inhibition of cell growth. Survivin is an important cancer biomarker conferring to tumour cells increased survival potential by inhibiting apoptosis. In the present study, we investigated the implication of breast cancer cells features, as hormone receptors and p53 status, in the radio-resistance of breast cancer cells and in the regulation of survivin's expression by nuclear factor (NF)-κB and c-myc. Six breast cancer cell lines Michigan Cancer Foundation (MCF-7), MCF-7/Human Epidermal Growth Factor Receptor (HER)2, M. D. Anderson - Metastatic Breast (MDA-MB-231), SK-BR-3, BT-474 and Human Breast Lactating (HBL-100) were irradiated and cell viability as well as cell cycle distribution were evaluated by 3-(4,5-Dimethylthiazol-2-yl)-2,5-diphenyltetrazolium bromide (MTT) assay and flow cytometry, respectively. Survivin mRNA and protein levels were evaluated by real time PCR and Western blot analysis. Survivin and HER2 gene knockdown was performed with siRNA technology and investigation of transcription factors binding to survivin and c-myc gene promoters was assessed by chromatin immunoprecipitation. Student's t-test and F-statistics were used for statistical evaluation. Our results demonstrated that only HER2(+) breast cancer cells up-regulated survivin upon irradiation, whereas HER2 knockdown in HER2(+) cells led to survivin's down-regulation. Survivin and especially HER2 knockdown abolished the observed G2/M cell cycle checkpoint and reduced the radio-resistance of HER2 overexpressing breast cancer cells. Additionally, HER2 was found to regulate survivin's expression through NF-κB and c-myc transcription factors. This study revealed the significance of HER2 in the radio-resistance of HER2(+) breast cancer cells through induction of transcription factors NF-κB and c-myc, leading to activation of survivin, a downstream target oncogene preventing apoptosis.