Up-regulation of breast cancer resistance protein plays a role in HER2-mediated chemoresistance through PI3K/Akt and nuclear factor-kappa B signaling pathways in MCF7 breast cancer cells

Weijia Zhang, Wei Ding, Ye Chen, Meilin Feng, Yongmei Ouyang, Yanhui Yu, Zhimin He
Acta Biochimica et Biophysica Sinica 2011, 43 (8): 647-53
Human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 (HER2/neu, also known as ErbB2) overexpression is correlated with the poor prognosis and chemoresistance in cancer. Breast cancer resistance protein (BCRP and ABCG2) is a drug efflux pump responsible for multidrug resistance (MDR) in a variety of cancer cells. HER2 and BCRP are associated with poor treatment response in breast cancer patients, although the relationship between HER2 and BCRP expression is not clear. Here, we showed that transfection of HER2 into MCF7 breast cancer cells (MCF7/HER2) resulted in an up-regulation of BCRP via the phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase (PI3K)/Akt and nuclear factor-kappa B (NF-κB) signaling. Treatment of MCF/HER2 cells with the PI3K inhibitor LY294002, the IκB phosphorylation inhibitor Bay11-7082, and the dominant negative mutant of IκBα inhibited HER2-induced BCRP promoter activity. Furthermore, we found that HER2 overexpression led to an increased resistance of MCF7 cells to multiple antitumor drugs such as paclitaxel (Taxol), cisplatin (DDP), etoposide (VP-16), adriamycin (ADM), mitoxantrone (MX), and 5-fluorouracil (5-FU). Moreover, silencing the expression of BCRP or selectively inhibiting the activity of Akt or NF-κB sensitized the MCF7/HER2 cells to these chemotherapy agents at least in part. Taken together, up-regulation of BCRP through PI3K/AKT/NF-κB signaling pathway played an important role in HER2-mediated chemoresistance of MCF7 cells, and AKT, NF-κB, and BCRP pathways might serve as potential targets for therapeutic intervention.

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