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Cancer Res. 2006 Feb 1;66(3):1526-35.

Beta1 integrin inhibitory antibody induces apoptosis of breast cancer cells, inhibits growth, and distinguishes malignant from normal phenotype in three dimensional cultures and in vivo.

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Departments of Radiation Oncology and Pathology, University of California-San Francisco/Mt. Zion Cancer Center, 1600 Divisadero Street, San Francisco, CA 94143-1708, USA.


Current therapeutic approaches to cancer are designed to target molecules that contribute to malignant behavior but leave normal tissues intact. beta(1) integrin is a candidate target well known for mediating cell-extracellular matrix (ECM) interactions that influence diverse cellular functions; its aberrant expression has been implicated in breast cancer progression and resistance to cytotoxic therapy. The addition of beta(1) integrin inhibitory agents to breast cancer cells at a single-cell stage in a laminin-rich ECM (three-dimensional lrECM) culture was shown to down-modulate beta(1) integrin signaling, resulting in malignant reversion. To investigate beta(1) integrin as a therapeutic target, we modified the three-dimensional lrECM protocol to approximate the clinical situation: before treatment, we allowed nonmalignant cells to form organized acinar structures and malignant cells to form tumor-like colonies. We then tested the ability of beta(1) integrin inhibitory antibody, AIIB2, to inhibit tumor cell growth in several breast cancer cell lines (T4-2, MDA-MB-231, BT474, SKBR3, and MCF-7) and one nonmalignant cell line (S-1). We show that beta(1) integrin inhibition resulted in a significant loss of cancer cells, associated with a decrease in proliferation and increase in apoptosis, and a global change in the composition of residual colonies. In contrast, nonmalignant cells that formed tissue-like structures remained resistant. Moreover, these cancer cell-specific antiproliferative and proapoptotic effects were confirmed in vivo with no discernible toxicity to animals. Our findings indicate that beta(1) integrin is a promising therapeutic target, and that the three-dimensional lrECM culture assay can be used to effectively distinguish malignant and normal tissue response to therapy.

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