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Oncogene. 2003 Feb 27;22(8):1198-205.

Osteopontin-induced migration of human mammary epithelial cells involves activation of EGF receptor and multiple signal transduction pathways.

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  • 1Department of Pathology, London Health Sciences Centre, University of Western Ontario, London, Ontario, Canada.


Osteopontin (OPN) is a secreted, integrin-binding glycophosphoprotein that has been implicated in breast cancer. We previously showed that OPN-induced cell migration of mammary epithelial cells (MEC) depends on binding to cell surface integrins and involves activation of the hepatocyte growth factor (HGF) receptor, Met. Here, we show that OPN-induced migration of MEC also requires activation of the epidermal growth factor (EGF) pathway. Synergism was seen between EGF and OPN in inducing cell migration. Furthermore, incubation of cells with exogenous OPN increased ligand (TGFalpha> EGF) and EGF receptor (EGFR) mRNA expression, as well as EGFR kinase activity. Treatment of cells with anti-TGFalpha or anti-EGFR antibody, or with tyrphostin-25 (EGFR inhibitor), significantly impaired the cell migration response to OPN. Other more broad-spectrum tyrosine kinase inhibitors and the growth factor/ receptor interaction inhibitor, suramin, also inhibited OPN-induced migration. Using specific signal transduction pathway inhibitors, we have screened for involvement of MEK (MAP kinase kinase), phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase, phospholipase C (PLC), and protein kinase C (PKC). Results implicated all of these pathways in OPN-induced cell migration, the most pronounced effect being seen with PLC and PKC inhibitors. These results suggest that induction of MEC migration by OPN involves a cascade of events including at least two growth factor/receptor pathways and multiple downstream signal transduction pathways. A number of potential targets are thus provided for strategies aimed at blocking the malignancy-promoting effects of OPN.

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