Reversal of endocrine resistance in breast cancer: Interrelationships among 14-3-3ζ, FOXM1, and a gene signature associated with mitosis

Anna Bergamaschi, Barbara L. Christensen, Benita S. Katzenellenbogen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Introduction: Despite the benefits of estrogen receptor (ER)-targeted endocrine therapies in breast cancer, many tumors develop resistance. 14-3-3 ζ/YWHAZ, a member of the 14-3-3 family of conserved proteins, is over-expressed in several types of cancer, and our previous work showed that high expression of 14-3-3ζ in ER-positive breast cancers was associated with a poor clinical outcome for women on tamoxifen. Therefore, we now probe the role of 14-3-3ζ in endocrine resistance, and we examine the functional dimensions and molecular basis that underlie 14-3-3ζ activities.Methods: From analyses of four independent breast cancer microarray datasets from nearly 400 women, we characterized a gene signature that correlated strongly with high expression of 14-3-3ζ in breast tumors and examined its association with breast cancer molecular subtypes and clinical-pathological features. We investigated the effects of altering 14-3-3ζ levels in ER-positive, endocrine sensitive and resistant breast cancer cells on the regulation of 14-3-3ζ signature genes, and on cellular signaling pathways and cell phenotypic properties.Results: The gene signature associated with high 14-3-3ζ levels in breast tumors encompassed many with functions in mitosis and cytokinesis, including aurora kinase-B, polo-like kinase-1, CDC25B, and BIRC5/survivin. The gene signature correlated with early recurrence and risk of metastasis, and was found predominantly in luminal B breast cancers, the more aggressive ER-positive molecular subtype. The expression of the signature genes was significantly decreased or increased upon reduction or overexpression of 14-3-3ζ in ER-positive breast cancer cells, indicating their coregulation. 14-3-3ζ also played a critical role in the regulation of FOXM1, with 14-3-3ζ acting upstream of FOXM1 to regulate cell division-signature genes. Depletion of 14-3-3ζ markedly increased apoptosis, reduced proliferation and receptor tyrosine kinase (HER2 and EGFR) signaling, and, importantly, reversed endocrine resistance.Conclusions: This study reveals that 14-3-3ζ is a key predictive marker for risk of failure on endocrine therapy and serves a pivotal role impacting growth factor signaling, and promoting cell survival and resistance to endocrine therapies. Targeting 14-3-3ζ and its coregulated proteins, such as FOXM1, should prove valuable in restoring endocrine sensitivity and reducing risk of breast cancer recurrence.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numberR70
JournalBreast Cancer Research
Volume13
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Jun 29 2011

Keywords

  • 14-3-3ζ
  • Antiestrogens
  • Endocrine resistance
  • Estrogen receptor
  • Gene expression

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research

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