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J Cell Biochem. 2008 Nov 1;105(4):1008-26. doi: 10.1002/jcb.21901.

Migratory activity of human breast cancer cells is modulated by differential expression of xanthine oxidoreductase.

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Webb-Waring Institute for Cancer, Aging and Antioxidant Research, 4200 East 9th Ave, Denver, Colorado 80262, USA.


Xanthine oxidoreductase (XOR) may exert an important, but poorly defined, role in the pathogenesis of breast cancer (BC). Loss of XOR expression was linked to aggressive BC, and recent clinical observations have suggested that decreasing XOR may be functionally linked to BC aggressiveness. The goal of the present investigation was to determine whether the decreased XOR observed in clinically aggressive BC was an intrinsic property of highly invasive mammary epithelial cells (MEC). Expression of XOR was investigated using HC11 mouse MEC, HB4a and MCF-10A normal human MEC, and several human mammary tumor cells including MCF-7 and MDA-MB-231. Consistent with clinical observations, data shown here revealed high levels of XOR in normal HC11 and MCF-10A cells that was markedly reduced in highly invasive mammary tumor cells. The contribution of XOR to tumor cell migration in vitro was investigated using MDA-MB-231 and MCF-7 cells and clonally selected derivatives of HC11 that exhibit either weak or strong migration in vitro. We observed that over-expression of an XOR cDNA in MDA-MB-231 and in HC11-C24, both possessing weak XOR expression and high migratory capacity, inhibited their migration in vitro. Conversely, pharmacological inhibition of XOR in MCF-7 and HC11-C4, both possessing high XOR expression and weak migratory capacity, stimulated their migration in vitro. Further experiments suggested that XOR derived ROS mediated this effect and also modulated COX-2 and MMP levels and function. These data demonstrate a functional link between XOR expression and MEC migration and suggest a potential role for XOR in suppressing BC pathogenesis.

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