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Mol Oncol. 2018 Aug;12(8):1233-1248. doi: 10.1002/1878-0261.12311. Epub 2018 Jun 14.

Cancer/testis antigen-Plac1 promotes invasion and metastasis of breast cancer through Furin/NICD/PTEN signaling pathway.

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Department of Oncology, The First Affiliated Hospital of Nanjing Medical University, China.
Department of Pharmacology and Chemical Biology, UPMC Hillman Cancer Center, University of Pittsburgh, PA, USA.
Nanjing Maternal and Child Health Medical Institute, Obstetrics and Gynecology Hospital Affiliated of Nanjing Medical University, China.


Placenta-specific protein 1 (Plac1) is a cancer/testis antigen that plays a critical role in promoting cancer initiation and progression. However, the clinical significance and mechanism of Plac1 in cancer progression remain elusive. Here, we report that Plac1 is an important oncogenic and prognostic factor, which physically interacts with Furin to drive breast cancer invasion and metastasis. We have shown that Plac1 expression positively correlates with clinical stage, lymph node metastasis, hormone receptor status, and overall patient survival. Overexpression of Plac1 promoted invasion and metastasis of breast cancer cells in vitro and in vivo. Co-immunoprecipitation and immunofluorescence cell staining assays revealed that interaction of Plac1 and Furin degraded Notch1 and generated Notch1 intracellular domain (NICD) that could inhibit PTEN activity. These findings are consistent with the results of microarray study in MDA-MB-231 cells overexpressing Plac1. A rescue study showed that inhibition of Furin and overexpression of PTEN in Plac1 overexpression cells blocked Plac1-induced tumor cell progression. Taken together, our findings suggest that functional interaction between Plac1 and Furin enhances breast cancer invasion and metastasis and the Furin/NICD/PTEN axis may act as an important therapeutic target for breast cancer treatment.


breast cancer; cancer metastasis; cancer/testis gene; immunotherapy targets; prognostic factor

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