Research ArticleCancer

The transcription factor MAFK induces EMT and malignant progression of triple-negative breast cancer cells through its target GPNMB

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Sci. Signal.  11 Apr 2017:
Vol. 10, Issue 474, eaak9397
DOI: 10.1126/scisignal.aak9397

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New targets for stalling breast cancer metastasis

Triple-negative breast cancer (TNBC) is an aggressive tumor that often metastasizes and is difficult to treat. Okita et al. analyzed tumor tissue from TNBC patients and found that poor prognosis correlated with increased expression of the gene encoding the transcription factor MAFK and one of its targets, the gene encoding the glycoprotein GPNMB. In cultured cells and mouse models, suppressing the MAFK-GPNMB pathway in tumor cells decreased migration and the incidence of lung metastasis. The MAFK-GPNMB axis links the TGF-β pathway with the kinase SRC, two pathways that are difficult to target safely and effectively. The findings suggest that inhibiting the MAFK-GPNMB axis may be a promising strategy to slow TNBC progression.