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Cancer Res. 2009 Nov 15;69(22):8620-8. doi: 10.1158/0008-5472.CAN-09-1591. Epub 2009 Nov 3.

Beta1-integrin circumvents the antiproliferative effects of trastuzumab in human epidermal growth factor receptor-2-positive breast cancer.

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Department of Experimental Oncology, Cross Cancer Institute and University of Alberta, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada.


Resistance to trastuzumab, the monoclonal antibody targeting human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 (HER-2), is a major concern for HER-2-positive metastatic breast cancer (MBC) patients. To date, HER-2 status is the only available biomarker for selecting patients for trastuzumab-based therapy. Beta(1)-integrin, an adhesion molecule involved in cell survival and drug resistance, shares common downstream signaling elements with HER-2, such as the phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase/Akt and extracellular signal-regulated kinase-1/2 (ERK1/2) pathways. The significance of beta(1)-integrin expression in HER-2-positive breast cancer and its involvement in a patient's response to trastuzumab-based therapy are unknown. We show here that overexpression of beta(1)-integrin is an independent negative prognostic factor for tumor progression of HER-2-positive MBC patients treated with trastuzumab-based chemotherapy. Enforced overexpression of beta(1)-integrin, its small interfering RNA-induced knockdown or treatment with a beta(1)-integrin-blocking antibody in HER-2-positive breast cancer cells, identified a strong inverse relationship between expression level of beta(1)-integrin and in vitro sensitivity to trastuzumab. Notably, beta(1)-integrin overexpression increased the phosphorylation of Akt-Ser473 and ERK1/2, thereby promoting survival and mitogenic signals to bypass the antiproliferative effects of trastuzumab. Our findings show that beta(1)-integrin provides a novel independent prognostic biomarker of trastuzumab response in HER-2-positive MBC patients and suggest a new target to augment the antiproliferative effects of trastuzumab.

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