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Neoplasia. 2000 Sep-Oct;2(5):418-25.

RhoC GTPase overexpression modulates induction of angiogenic factors in breast cells.

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Department of Internal Medicine, The University of Michigan Comprehensive Cancer Center, Ann Arbor 48109, USA.


Inflammatory breast cancer (IBC) is a distinct and aggressive form of locally advanced breast cancer. IBC is highly angiogenic, invasive, and metastatic at its inception. Previously, we identified specific genetic alterations of IBC that contribute to this highly invasive phenotype. RhoC GTPase was overexpressed in 90% of archival IBC tumor samples, but not in stage-matched, non-IBC tumors. To study the role of RhoC GTPase in contributing to an IBC-like phenotype, we generated stable transfectants of human mammary epithelial cells overexpressing the RhoC gene, and studied the effect of RhoC GTPase overexpression on the modulation of angiogenesis in IBC. Levels of vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF), basic fibroblast growth factor (bFGF), interleukin-6 (IL-6), and interleukin-8 (IL-8) were significantly higher in the conditioned media of the HME-RhoC transfectants than in the untransfected HME and HME-beta-galactosidase control media, similar to the SUM149 IBC cell line. Inhibition of RhoC function by introduction of C3 exotransferase decreased production of angiogenic factors by the HME-RhoC transfectants and the SUM149 IBC cell line, but did not affect the control cells. These data support the conclusion that overexpression of RhoC GTPase is specifically and directly implicated in the control of the production of angiogenic factors by IBC cells.

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