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J Pathol. 2011 Jan;223(1):54-63. doi: 10.1002/path.2791. Epub 2010 Oct 26.

Signalling networks associated with urokinase-type plasminogen activator (uPA) and its inhibitor PAI-1 in breast cancer tissues: new insights from protein microarray analysis.

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Institute of Pathology, Technische Universität München, Munich, Germany.


The urokinase-type plasminogen activator (uPA) and the main uPA inhibitor PAI-1 play important roles in cell migration and invasion in both physiological and pathological contexts. Both factors are clinically applicable predictive markers in node-negative breast cancer patients that are used to stratify patients for adjuvant chemotherapy. In addition to their classical functions in plasmin regulation, both factors are key components in cancer-related cell signalling. Such signalling cascades are well described in cell culture systems, but a better understanding of uPA- and PAI-1-associated signalling networks in clinical tissues is needed. We examined the expression of uPA, PAI-1, and 21 signalling molecules in 201 primary breast cancer tissues using protein microarrays. Expression of uPA was significantly correlated with the expression of ERK and Stat3, while expression of PAI-1 was correlated with the uPA receptor and Akt activation, presumably via integrin and HER-receptor signalling. Analysis of uPA expression did not reveal any significant correlation with staging, grading or age of the patients. The PAI-1 expression was correlated with nodal stage. Network monitoring for uPA and PAI-1 in breast cancer reveals interactions with main signalling cascades and extends the findings from cell culture experiments. Our results reveal possible mechanisms underlying cancer development.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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