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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 1999 Mar 30;96(7):3700-5.

Suppression of breast cancer growth and metastasis by a serpin myoepithelium-derived serine proteinase inhibitor expressed in the mammary myoepithelial cells.

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  • 1Department of Radiation Oncology, Long Island Jewish Medical Center, Long Island Campus for the Albert Einstein College of Medicine, New Hyde Park, NY 11040, USA.


A serpin was identified in normal mammary gland by differential cDNA sequencing. In situ hybridization has detected this serpin exclusively in the myoepithelial cells on the normal and noninvasive mammary epithelial side of the basement membrane and thus was named myoepithelium-derived serine proteinase inhibitor (MEPI). No MEPI expression was detected in the malignant breast carcinomas. MEPI encodes a 405-aa precursor, including an 18-residue secretion signal with a calculated molecular mass of 46 kDa. The predicted sequence of the new protein shares 33% sequence identity and 58% sequence similarity to plasminogen activator inhibitor (PAI)-1 and PAI-2. To determine whether MEPI can modulate the in vivo growth and progression of human breast cancers, we transfected a full-length MEPI cDNA into human breast cancer cells and studied the orthotopic growth of MEPI-transfected vs. control clones in the mammary fat pad of athymic nude mice. Overexpression of MEPI inhibited the invasion of the cells in the in vitro invasion assay. When injected orthotopically into nude mice, the primary tumor volumes, axillary lymph node metastasis, and lung metastasis were significantly inhibited in MEPI-transfected clones as compared with controls. The expression of MEPI in myoepithelial cells may prevent breast cancer malignant progression leading to metastasis.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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