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J Biol Chem. 2002 May 17;277(20):17397-405. Epub 2002 Feb 21.

Autocrine-mediated activation of STAT3 correlates with cell proliferation in breast carcinoma lines.

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  • 1School of Biomedical Sciences, University of Nottingham, Queen's Medical Centre, Nottingham NG7 2UH, United Kingdom.


The intracellular signals driving the proliferation of breast carcinoma (BC) cells have been widely studied. Both the mitotic and metastatic potential of BC cells have been linked to the frequent overexpression of ErbB family members. Other signaling molecules, including the estrogen receptor, the tyrosine kinases c-Src and Syk, and STAT proteins, especially STAT3, have also been implicated in BC tumor growth. Here we have examined ErbB and STAT protein expression and activation in six BC-derived cell lines. ErbB expression and tyrosine phosphorylation varied considerably among the six cell lines. However, STAT protein expression and activation were more consistent. Two levels of STAT3 activation were distinguished in DNA-binding assays: an epidermal growth factor-inducible, high level that requires both ErbB1 and Janus kinase (JAK) activity and an elevated serum-dependent level that is maintained by autocrine/paracrine signaling and requires JAK activity but is independent of ErbB1 kinase activity. BC cell growth could be inhibited by dominant-negative versions of STAT3 and the JAK inhibitor AG490 but not by PD153035 or PD168393, inhibitors of ErbB1 kinase activity. This indicates that BC cell proliferation may be a consequence of STAT3 activation by autocrine/paracrine signals.

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