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Oncogene. 2013 Dec 5;32(49):5551-62. doi: 10.1038/onc.2013.207. Epub 2013 Jun 10.

Phospholipase D (PLD) drives cell invasion, tumor growth and metastasis in a human breast cancer xenograph model.

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Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Boonshoft School of Medicine, Wright State University School of Medicine, Dayton, OH, USA.


Breast cancer is one of the most common malignancies in human females in the world. One protein that has elevated enzymatic lipase activity in breast cancers in vitro is phospholipase D (PLD), which is also involved in cell migration. We demonstrate that the PLD2 isoform, which was analyzed directly in the tumors, is crucial for cell invasion that contributes critically to the growth and development of breast tumors and lung metastases in vivo. We used three complementary strategies in a SCID mouse model and also addressed the underlying molecular mechanism. First, the PLD2 gene was silenced in highly metastatic, aggressive breast cancer cells (MDA-MB-231) with lentivirus-based short hairpin RNA, which were xenotransplanted in SCID mice. The resulting mouse primary mammary tumors were reduced in size (65%, P<0.05) and their onset delayed when compared with control tumors. Second, we stably overexpressed PLD2 in low-invasive breast cancer cells (MCF-7) with a biscistronic MIEG retroviral vector and observed that these cells were converted into a highly aggressive phenotype, as primary tumors that formed following xenotransplantation were larger, grew faster and developed lung metastases more readily. Third, we implanted osmotic pumps into SCID xenotransplanted mice that delivered two different small-molecule inhibitors of PLD activity (5-fluoro-2-indolyl des-chlorohalopemide and N-[2-(4-oxo-1-phenyl-1,3,8-triazaspiro[4,5]dec-8-yl)ethyl]-2-naphthalenecarboxamide). These inhibitors led to significant (>70%, P<0.05) inhibition of primary tumor growth, metastatic axillary tumors and lung metastases. In order to define the underlying mechanism, we determined that the machinery of PLD-induced cell invasion is mediated by phosphatidic acid, Wiscott-Aldrich Syndrome protein, growth receptor-bound protein 2 and Rac2 signaling events that ultimately affect actin polymerization and cell invasion. In summary, this study shows for the first time that PLD2 has a central role in the development, metastasis and level of aggressiveness of breast cancer, raising the possibility that PLD2 could be used as a new therapeutic target.

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