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Cancer Res. 2009 Aug 15;69(16):6685-93. doi: 10.1158/0008-5472.CAN-08-4818. Epub 2009 Aug 4.

A loss-of-function polymorphism in the propeptide domain of the LOX gene and breast cancer.

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  • 1Department of Biochemistry, Boston University School of Medicine, Massachusetts 02118, USA.


The lysyl oxidase (LOX) gene reverted Ras transformation of NIH 3T3 fibroblasts and tumor formation by gastric cancer cells, which frequently carry mutant RAS genes. The secreted lysyl oxidase proenzyme is processed to a propeptide (LOX-PP) and a functional enzyme (LOX). Unexpectedly, the tumor suppressor activity mapped to the LOX-PP domain, which inhibited tumor formation and the invasive phenotype of NF639 breast cancer cells driven by human epidermal growth factor receptor-2/neu, which signals via Ras. A single-nucleotide polymorphism, G473A (rs1800449), resulting in an Arg158Gln substitution in a highly conserved region within LOX-PP, occurs with an average 473A allele carrier frequency of 24.6% in the HapMap database, but was present in many breast cancer cell lines examined. Here, we show that the Arg-to-Gln substitution profoundly impairs the ability of LOX-PP to inhibit the invasive phenotype and tumor formation of NF639 cells in a xenograft model. LOX-PP Gln displayed attenuated ability to oppose the effects of LOX, which promoted a more invasive phenotype. In a case-control study of African American women, a potential association of the Gln-encoding A allele was seen with increased risk of estrogen receptor (ER)-alpha-negative invasive breast cancer in African American women. Consistently, LOX gene expression was higher in ER-negative versus ER-positive primary breast cancers, and LOX-PP Gln was unable to inhibit invasion by ER-negative cell lines. Thus, these findings identify for the first time genetic polymorphism as a mechanism of impaired tumor suppressor function of LOX-PP and suggest that it may play an etiologic role in ER-negative breast cancer.

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