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J Biol Chem. 2011 Nov 11;286(45):38865-75. doi: 10.1074/jbc.M111.270413. Epub 2011 Sep 13.

Fascin protein is critical for transforming growth factor β protein-induced invasion and filopodia formation in spindle-shaped tumor cells.

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  • 1H. Lee Moffitt Cancer Center and Research Institute, Tampa, Florida 33612, USA.


Fascin, an actin-bundling protein overexpressed in all carcinomas, has been associated with poor prognosis, shorter survival, and more metastatic diseases. It is believed that fascin facilitates tumor metastasis by promoting the formation of invasive membrane protrusions. However, the mechanisms by which fascin is overexpressed in tumors are not clear. TGFβ is a cytokine secreted by tumor and mesenchymal cells and promotes metastasis in many late stage tumors. The pro-metastasis mechanisms of TGFβ remain to be fully elucidated. Here we demonstrated that TGFβ induced fascin expression in spindle-shaped tumor cells through the canonical Smad-dependent pathway. Fascin was critical for TGFβ-promoted filopodia formation, migration, and invasion in spindle tumor cells. More importantly, fascin expression significantly correlates with TGFβ1 and TGFβ receptor I levels in a cohort of primary breast tumor samples. Our results indicate that elevated TGFβ level in the tumor microenvironment may be responsible for fascin overexpression in some of the metastatic tumors. Our data also suggest that fascin could play a central role in TGFβ-promoted tumor metastasis.

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