PloS one

The colony-stimulating factor-1 (CSF-1) receptor sustains ERK1/2 activation and proliferation in breast cancer cell lines.

PMID 22096574


Breast cancer is the second leading cause of cancer-related deaths in western countries. Colony-Stimulating Factor-1 (CSF-1) and its receptor (CSF-1R) regulate macrophage and osteoclast production, trophoblast implantation and mammary gland development. The expression of CSF-1R and/or CSF-1 strongly correlates with poor prognosis in several human epithelial tumors, including breast carcinomas. We demonstrate that CSF-1 and CSF-1R are expressed, although at different levels, in 16/17 breast cancer cell lines tested with no differences among molecular subtypes. The role of CSF-1/CSF-1R in the proliferation of breast cancer cells was then studied in MDAMB468 and SKBR3 cells belonging to different subtypes. CSF-1 administration induced ERK1/2 phosphorylation and enhanced cell proliferation in both cell lines. Furthermore, the inhibition of CSF-1/CSF-1R signaling, by CSF-1R siRNA or imatinib treatment, impaired CSF-1 induced ERK1/2 activation and cell proliferation. We also demonstrate that c-Jun, cyclin D1 and c-Myc, known for their involvement in cell proliferation, are downstream CSF-1R in breast cancer cells. The presence of a proliferative CSF-1/CSF-1R autocrine loop involving ERK1/2 was also found. The wide expression of the CSF-1/CSF-1R pair across breast cancer cell subtypes supports CSF-1/CSF-1R targeting in breast cancer therapy.