Mitogen-activated protein kinase phosphatase-1 in human breast cancer independently predicts prognosis and is repressed by doxorubicin

Federico Rojo, Irene González-Navarrete, Rafael Bragado, Alba Dalmases, Silvia Menéndez, Maria Cortes-Sempere, Cristina Suárez, Cristina Oliva, Sonia Servitja, Vanesa Rodriguez-Fanjul, Isabel Sánchez-Pérez, Clara Campas, Josep Maria Corominas, Ignasi Tusquets, Beatriz Bellosillo, Sergi Serrano, Rosario Perona, Ana Rovira, Joan Albanell
Clinical Cancer Research 2009 May 15, 15 (10): 3530-9

PURPOSE: Mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) phosphatase-1 (MKP-1) dephosphorylates mitogen-activated protein kinase [extracellular signal-regulated kinase (ERK), c-Jun NH(2)-terminal kinase (JNK), and p38], mediates breast cancer chemoresistance, and is repressible by doxorubicin in breast cancer cells. We aimed to characterize doxorubicin effects on MKP-1 and phospho-MAPKs in human breast cancers and to further study the clinical relevance of MKP-1 expression in this disease.

EXPERIMENTAL DESIGN: Doxorubicin effects on MKP-1, phospho-ERK1/2 (p-ERK1/2), phospho-JNK (p-JNK), and phospho-p38 were assayed in a panel of human breast cancer cells by Western blot and in human breast cancer were assayed ex vivo by immunohistochemistry (n = 50). MKP-1 expression was also assayed in a range of normal to malignant breast lesions (n = 30) and in a series of patients (n = 96) with breast cancer and clinical follow-up.

RESULTS: MKP-1 was expressed at low levels in normal breast and in usual ductal hyperplasia and at high levels in in situ carcinoma. MKP-1 was overexpressed in approximately 50% of infiltrating breast carcinomas. Similar to what was observed in breast cancer cell lines, ex vivo exposure of breast tumors to doxorubicin down-regulated MKP-1, and up-regulated p-ERK1/2 and p-JNK, in the majority of cases. However, in a proportion of tumors overexpressing MKP-1, doxorubicin did not significantly affect MKP-1 or phospho-MAPKs. With regard to patient outcome, MKP-1 overexpression was an adverse prognostic factor for relapse both by univariate (P < 0.001) and multivariate analysis (P = 0.002).

CONCLUSIONS: MKP-1 is overexpressed during the malignant transformation of the breast and independently predicts poor prognosis. Furthermore, MKP-1 is repressed by doxorubicin in many human breast cancers.

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