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Breast Cancer Res Treat. 2011 Jun;127(2):375-84. doi: 10.1007/s10549-010-1004-y. Epub 2010 Jul 3.

Dual targeting of EphA2 and ER restores tamoxifen sensitivity in ER/EphA2-positive breast cancer.

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Department of Medicine, Indiana University School of Medicine, Indianapolis, IN, USA.


Overexpression and altered function of EphA2 receptor tyrosine kinase are critical in the progression of breast cancer and provide a target for breast cancer therapy. We have previously demonstrated that EphA2 overexpression decreases estrogen dependence and Tamoxifen sensitivity both in vitro and in vivo. EA5, a novel monoclonal antibody that mimicks the binding of ephrin A to EphA2, reverses the effect of EphA2 overexpression and restores Tamoxifen sensitivity in EphA2-transfected MCF-7 cells in vitro. To explore the role of EphA2 overexpression on ER-dependent mechanisms, we used two different ER+/EphA2-transfected cell line models (MCF-7(neo)/MCF-7(EphA2) and T47D(neo)/T47D(EphA2)). EA5 inhibits primary tumor growth and restores Tamoxifen sensitivity in the MCF-7(EphA2) xenografts. Using the T47D(EphA2) in vitro model, we verified that EphA2 decreases ER activation in response to E2 stimulation consistent with our earlier results in MCF-7(EphA2) model. We found no direct interaction between ER and EphA2 and no difference in expression of canonical ER-dependent proteins or ER co-regulators. However, E2 stimulation phosphorylates FAK(Tyr925) only in ER+/EphA2+ cell lines. Treatment of T47D(EphA2) cells with EA5 and Tamoxifen leads to dephosphorylation of FAK(Tyr925) in response to E2. Our data demonstrate that dual targeting of EphA2 and ER is a promising approach for delaying resistance to Tamoxifen. The data support our hypothesis that EphA2 impacts ER function via a FAK dependent pathway.

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