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Mol Cancer Res. 2008 Feb;6(2):186-93. doi: 10.1158/1541-7786.MCR-07-0254. Epub 2008 Feb 1.

Mesothelin promotes anchorage-independent growth and prevents anoikis via extracellular signal-regulated kinase signaling pathway in human breast cancer cells.

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  • 1Second Department of Pathology, Kansai Medical University, Moriguchi-Shi, Osaka, Japan. ueharan@takii.kmu.ac.jp


Mesothelin (MSLN) is a glycoprotein that is overexpressed in various tumors. MSLN is present on the cell surface and is also released into body fluids or culture supernatants from MSLN-positive tumor cells. Despite intensive study of MSLN as a diagnostic marker or target for immunotherapy, its biological function is largely unknown. In the present study, we examined the effects of ectopic expression of MSLN in human breast cancer cell lines (MCF-7, T47D, and MDA-MB-231). We found that overexpression of MSLN promoted anchorage-independent growth in soft agar. In addition, MDA-MB-231 cells expressing high levels of MSLN exhibited resistance to anoikis (a type of apoptosis induced by detachment from substratum), as indicated by decreased DNA fragmentation and down-regulation of the proapoptotic protein Bim. Incubating MSLN-expressing MDA-MB-231 cells in the presence of U0126, an inhibitor of mitogen-activated protein/extracellular-signal-regulated kinase kinase, induced accumulation of Bim and restored susceptibility to anoikis. Western blot analysis also revealed that overexpression of MSLN resulted in sustained activation of extracellular signal-regulated kinase 1/2 and suppression of Bim. The present results constitute novel evidence that MSLN enables cells to survive under anchorage-independent conditions by suppressing Bim induction via the extracellular signal-regulated kinase signaling pathway.

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