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Cancer Res. 2008 May 1;68(9):3204-13. doi: 10.1158/0008-5472.CAN-07-2949.

CD151 accelerates breast cancer by regulating alpha 6 integrin function, signaling, and molecular organization.

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Department of Cancer Immunology and AIDS, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA 02115, USA.


CD151, a master regulator of laminin-binding integrins (alpha(6)beta(4), alpha(6)beta(1), and alpha(3)beta(1)), assembles these integrins into complexes called tetraspanin-enriched microdomains. CD151 protein expression is elevated in 31% of human breast cancers and is even more elevated in high-grade (40%) and estrogen receptor-negative (45%) subtypes. The latter includes triple-negative (estrogen receptor, progesterone receptor, and HER2 negative) basal-like tumors. CD151 ablation markedly reduced basal-like mammary cell migration, invasion, spreading, and signaling (through FAK, Rac1, and lck) while disrupting epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR)-alpha(6) integrin collaboration. Underlying these defects, CD151 ablation redistributed alpha(6)beta(4) integrins subcellularly and severed molecular links between integrins and tetraspanin-enriched microdomains. In a prototypical basal-like mammary tumor line, CD151 ablation notably delayed tumor progression in ectopic and orthotopic xenograft models. These results (a) establish that CD151-alpha(6) integrin complexes play a functional role in basal-like mammary tumor progression; (b) emphasize that alpha(6) integrins function via CD151 linkage in the context of tetraspanin-enriched microdomains; and (c) point to potential relevance of CD151 as a high-priority therapeutic target, with relative selectivity (compared with laminin-binding integrins) for pathologic rather than normal physiology.

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