Therapeutic targeting of the focal adhesion complex prevents oncogenic TGF-beta signaling and metastasis

Michael K Wendt, William P Schiemann
Breast Cancer Research: BCR 2009, 11 (5): R68

INTRODUCTION: Mammary tumorigenesis is associated with the increased expression of several proteins in the focal adhesion complex, including focal adhesion kinase (FAK) and various integrins. Aberrant expression of these molecules occurs concomitant with the conversion of TGF-beta function from a tumor suppressor to a tumor promoter. We previously showed that interaction between beta3 integrin and TbetaR-II facilitates TGF-beta-mediated oncogenic signaling, epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT), and metastasis. However, the molecular mechanisms by which the focal adhesion complex contributes to beta3 integrin:TbetaR-II signaling and the oncogenic conversion of TGF-beta remain poorly understood.

METHODS: FAK expression and activity were inhibited in normal and malignant mammary epithelial cells (MECs) either genetically by using lentiviral-mediated delivery of shRNAs against FAK, or pharmacologically through in vitro and in vivo use of the FAK inhibitors, PF-562271 and PF-573228. Altered Smad2/3 and p38 MAPK activation, migration, EMT, and invasion in response to TGF-beta1 were monitored in FAK-manipulated cells. TbetaR-II expression was increased in metastatic breast cancer cells by retroviral transduction, and the metastasis of FAK- and TbetaR-II-manipulated tumors was monitored by using bioluminescent imaging.

RESULTS: TGF-beta stimulation of MECs stabilized and activated FAK in a beta3 integrin- and Src-dependent manner. Furthermore, by using the human MCF10A breast cancer progression model, we showed that increased FAK expression in metastatic breast cancer cells mirrored the acquisition of enhanced activation of p38 MAPK by TGF-beta. Administering FAK inhibitors or rendering metastatic breast cancer cells FAK deficient abrogated the interaction between beta3 integrin and TbetaR-II, thereby preventing TGF-beta from (a) activating p38 MAPK; (b) stimulating MEC invasion, migration, and EMT; and (c) inducing early primary tumor dissemination to the lungs. Finally, in contrast to FAK depletion, adjuvant FAK chemotherapy of mammary tumors decreased their growth in part by diminished macrophage tumor infiltration.

CONCLUSIONS: Our studies identify an essential function for FAK in mediating the interaction between beta3 integrin and TbetaR-II, and thus in facilitating the oncogenic conversion of TGF-beta required for mammary tumor metastasis. Furthermore, this study establishes chemotherapeutic targeting of FAK as an effective, two-pronged approach in preventing tumor progression both by decreasing innate immune cell infiltration, and by inhibiting early TGF-beta-dependent metastasis.

Full Text Links

Find Full Text Links for this Article


You are not logged in. Sign Up or Log In to join the discussion.

Related Papers

Remove bar
Read by QxMD icon Read

Save your favorite articles in one place with a free QxMD account.


Search Tips

Use Boolean operators: AND/OR

diabetic AND foot
diabetes OR diabetic

Exclude a word using the 'minus' sign

Virchow -triad

Use Parentheses

water AND (cup OR glass)

Add an asterisk (*) at end of a word to include word stems

Neuro* will search for Neurology, Neuroscientist, Neurological, and so on

Use quotes to search for an exact phrase

"primary prevention of cancer"
(heart or cardiac or cardio*) AND arrest -"American Heart Association"