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Cancer Cell. 2009 May 5;15(5):389-401. doi: 10.1016/j.ccr.2009.03.004.

CDK inhibitor p18(INK4c) is a downstream target of GATA3 and restrains mammary luminal progenitor cell proliferation and tumorigenesis.

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Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, NC 27599-7295, USA.


Mammary epithelia are composed of luminal and myoepithelial/basal cells whose neoplastic transformations lead to distinct types of breast cancers with diverse clinical features. We report that mice deficient for the CDK4/6 inhibitor p18(Ink4c) spontaneously develop ER-positive luminal tumors at a high penetrance. Ink4c deletion stimulates luminal progenitor cell proliferation at pubertal age and maintains an expanded luminal progenitor cell population throughout life. We demonstrate that GATA3 binds to and represses INK4C transcription. In human breast cancers, low INK4C and high GATA3 expressions are simultaneously observed in luminal A type tumors and predict a favorable patient outcome. Hence, p18(INK4C) is a downstream target of GATA3, constrains luminal progenitor cell expansion, and suppresses luminal tumorigenesis in the mammary gland.

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