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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2010 Aug 31;107(35):15559-64. doi: 10.1073/pnas.1003034107. Epub 2010 Aug 16.

beta1-integrin is dispensable for the induction of ErbB2 mammary tumors but plays a critical role in the metastatic phase of tumor progression.

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Goodman Cancer Centre, McGill University, Montreal, QC, Canada H3A 1A3.


Cross-talk between integrin receptors and activated growth factor receptors has been hypothesized to play a critical role in the initiation and progression of cancer. Despite in vitro evidence documenting the important role of integrin receptors in the regulation of cancer cell proliferation, the relative contribution of the integrin receptors to the initiation and progression of tumors remains unclear. Previous studies with a polyomavirus middle T mammary tumor model have indicated that targeted disruption of beta1-integrin in the mammary glands of these mice completely blocks tumor induction. To further explore the general significance of these observations, we have crossed these conditional beta1-integrin strains to a strain of mice carrying mouse mammary tumor virus/activated erbB2 (herein referred to as the NIC strain). In contrast to the tumor induction block in the polyomavirus middle T model, tumor onset in the beta1-integrin-deficient NIC mice was delayed by only 30 d and was 100% penetrant. This modest effect on tumor induction was not a result of inefficient excision, as all tumors were confirmed as beta1-integrin-null. Animals bearing beta1-integrin-deficient ErbB2 tumors exhibited significantly reduced tumor volume, which was associated with increased tumor cell apoptosis and a reduction in tumor angiogenesis. In addition, beta1-integrin-deficient tumors were compromised in their capacity to metastasize to the lung, a deficiency associated with abrogation of adhesion signaling. Taken together, these observations suggest that, although beta1-integrin is dispensable for the initiation of ErbB2 tumor induction, it plays a critical role in metastatic phase of tumor progression.

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