Suppression of Tumor Growth, Metastasis, and Signaling Pathways by Reducing FOXM1 Activity in Triple Negative Breast Cancer

Parama Dey, Alexander Wang, Yvonne Ziegler, Sung Hoon Kim, Dorraya El-Ashry, John A. Katzenellenbogen, Benita S. Katzenellenbogen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Metastasis-related complications account for the overwhelming majority of breast cancer mortalities. Triple negative breast cancer (TNBC), the most aggressive breast cancer subtype, has a high propensity to metastasize to distant organs, leading to poor patient survival. The forkhead transcription factor, FOXM1, is especially upregulated and overexpressed in TNBC and is known to regulate multiple signaling pathways that control many key cancer properties, including proliferation, invasiveness, stem cell renewal, and therapy resistance, making FOXM1 a critical therapeutic target for TNBC. In this study, we test the effectiveness of a novel class of 1,1-diarylethylene FOXM1 inhibitory compounds in suppressing TNBC cell migration, invasion, and metastasis using in vitro cell culture and in vivo tumor models. We show that these compounds inhibit the motility and invasiveness of TNBC MDA-MB-231 and DT28 cells, along with reducing the expression of important epithelial to mesenchymal transition (EMT) associated genes. Further, orthotopic tumor studies in NOD-SCID-gamma (NSG) mice demonstrate that these compounds reduce FOXM1 expression and suppress TNBC tumor growth as well as distant metastasis. Gene expression and protein analyses confirm the decreased levels of EMT factors and FOXM1-regulated target genes in tumors and metastatic lesions in the inhibitor-treated animals. The findings suggest that these FOXM1 suppressive compounds may have therapeutic potential in treating triple negative breast cancer, with the aim of reducing tumor progression and metastatic outgrowth.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number2677
Pages (from-to)1-16
Number of pages16
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 19 2020


  • EMT
  • FOXM1
  • Invasion
  • Metastasis
  • Migration
  • Triple negative breast cancer

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


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