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Oncogene. 2010 Mar 11;29(10):1543-52. doi: 10.1038/onc.2009.432. Epub 2009 Nov 30.

The FGFR4 Y367C mutant is a dominant oncogene in MDA-MB453 breast cancer cells.

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Department of Molecular Biology, Max-Planck-Institute of Biochemistry, Martinsried, Germany.


Mutational analysis of oncogenes is critical for our understanding of cancer development. Oncogenome screening has identified a fibroblast growth factor receptor 4 (FGFR4) Y367C mutation in the human breast cancer cell line MDA-MB453. Here, we investigate the consequence of this missense mutation in cancer cells. We show that MDA-MB453 cells harbouring the mutation are insensitive to FGFR4-specific ligand stimulation or inhibition with an antagonistic antibody. Furthermore, the FGFR4 mutant elicits constitutive phosphorylation leading to an activation of the mitogen-activated protein kinase cascade as shown by an enhanced Erk1/2 phosphorylation. Cloning and ectopic expression of the FGFR4 Y367C mutant in HEK293 cells revealed high pErk levels and enhanced cell proliferation. Based on these findings, we propose that FGFR4 may be a driver of tumour growth, particularly when highly expressed or stabilized and constitutively activated through genetic alterations. As such, FGFR4 presents an option for further mutational screening in tumours and is an attractive cancer target with the therapeutic potential.

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