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Cancer Res. 2006 Aug 1;66(15):7554-61.

A novel functional polymorphism in the transforming growth factor-beta2 gene promoter and tumor progression in breast cancer.

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  • 1Department of Clinical Chemistry, Robert-Bosch-Hospital, Auerbachstrasse 110, 70376 Stuttgart, Germany.


Transforming growth factor-beta (TGF-beta), a multifunctional growth factor, plays an important role in breast cancer. There is increasing evidence that enhanced expression of TGF-beta promotes breast cancer progression contributing to metastasis and invasiveness of the tumor. We identified a functional polymorphism in the TGFB2 promoter, a 4-bp insertion at position -246 relative to the transcriptional start site (-246ins). Transient transfection experiments showed that the -246ins polymorphism significantly increased TGFB2 promoter activity in breast cancer cells. Electrophoretic mobility shift assays revealed binding of the transcription factor Sp1 to the -246ins allele. Overexpression of Sp1 enhanced promoter activity of the -246ins allele, demonstrating that Sp1 mediates transcriptional activation. Furthermore, the -246ins allele was associated with enhanced TGF-beta(2) expression in breast cancer tissue (P = 0.0005). To evaluate the role of the polymorphism in breast cancer, frequency of the -246ins allele was determined in breast cancer patients (n = 78) and healthy female controls (n = 143). No significant differences were found. However, the presence of the -246ins allele was associated with lymph node metastasis (P = 0.003). The -246ins allele was a significant predictor for lymph node metastasis independent of estrogen and progesterone receptor status in a multivariate logistic regression analysis (P = 0.0118, odds ratio, 5.18; 95% confidence interval, 1.44-18.62). We provide evidence that the TGFB2 -246ins polymorphism leads to enhanced TGF-beta(2) expression levels in vivo and might thereby contribute to tumor progression and development of metastases.

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