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Mol Cancer Ther. 2011 Jun;10(6):960-71. doi: 10.1158/1535-7163.MCT-11-0072. Epub 2011 Apr 25.

B7-H3 silencing increases paclitaxel sensitivity by abrogating Jak2/Stat3 phosphorylation.

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Mitchell Cancer Institute, University of South Alabama, Mobile, Alabama 36604, USA.


In many types of cancer, the expression of the immunoregulatory protein B7-H3 has been associated with poor prognosis. Previously, we observed a link between B7-H3 and tumor cell migration and invasion, and in present study, we have investigated the role of B7-H3 in chemoresistance in breast cancer. We observed that silencing of B7-H3, via stable short hairpin RNA or transient short interfering RNA transfection, increased the sensitivity of multiple human breast cancer cell lines to paclitaxel as a result of enhanced drug-induced apoptosis. Overexpression of B7-H3 made the cancer cells more resistant to the drug. Next, we investigated the mechanisms behind B7-H3-mediated paclitaxel resistance and found that the level of Stat3 Tyr705 phosphorylation was decreased in B7-H3 knockdown cells along with the expression of its direct downstream targets Mcl-1 and survivin. The phosphorylation of Janus kinase 2 (Jak2), an upstream molecule of Stat3, was also significantly decreased. In contrast, reexpression of B7-H3 in B7-H3 knockdown and low B7-H3 expressing cells increased the phosphorylation of Jak2 and Stat3. In vivo animal experiments showed that B7-H3 knockdown tumors displayed a slower growth rate than the control xenografts. Importantly, paclitaxel treatment showed a strong antitumor activity in the mice with B7-H3 knockdown tumors, but only a marginal effect in the control group. Taken together, our data show that in breast cancer cells, B7-H3 induces paclitaxel resistance, at least partially by interfering with Jak2/Stat3 pathway. These results provide novel insight into the function of B7-H3 and encourage the design and testing of approaches targeting this protein and its partners.

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