Cancer research

Loss of p120-catenin induces metastatic progression of breast cancer by inducing anoikis resistance and augmenting growth factor receptor signaling.

PMID 23733751


Metastatic breast cancer remains the chief cause of cancer-related death among women in the Western world. Although loss of cell-cell adhesion is key to breast cancer progression, little is known about the underlying mechanisms that drive tumor invasion and metastasis. Here, we show that somatic loss of p120-catenin (p120) in a conditional mouse model of noninvasive mammary carcinoma results in formation of stromal-dense tumors that resemble human metaplastic breast cancer and metastasize to lungs and lymph nodes. Loss of p120 in anchorage-dependent breast cancer cell lines strongly promoted anoikis resistance through hypersensitization of growth factor receptor (GFR) signaling. Interestingly, p120 deletion also induced secretion of inflammatory cytokines, a feature that likely underlies the formation of the prometastatic microenvironment in p120-negative mammary carcinomas. Our results establish a preclinical platform to develop tailored intervention regimens that target GFR signals to treat p120-negative metastatic breast cancers.