Triple-negative breast cancer (TNBC) patients have poor prognosis due to the aggressive metastatic behaviors. Our study reveals that expression of estrogen related receptor a (ERRa) is significantly (p < 0.01) positively associated with high grade tumors and lymph node metastasis, while negatively correlated with overall survival (OS), in 138 TNBC patients. Targeted inhibition of ERRa by its inverse agonist XCT-790 or si-RNA obviously inhibits in vitro motility of TNBC cells. While over expression of ERRa triggers the invasion and migration of TNBC cells. Further, si-ERRa and XCT-790 inhibit the epithelial mesenchymal transition (EMT) of TNBC cells with increasing the expression of E-cadherin and decreasing fibronectin (FN) and vimentin. While XCT-790 has no effect on the expression of EMT related transcription factors such as Snail or Slug. Further, inhibitors of MAPK, PI3K/Akt, NF-?B signal molecules, which are activated by XCT-790, can not attenuate the suppression effects of XCT-790 on EMT. Alternatively, luciferase reporter gene assays and ChIP analysis indicate that ERRa can directly bind with FN promoter at ERR response element-3 (ERRE-1), ERRE-3, and ERRE-4, while XCT-790 reduces this bond. In vivo data show that ERRa expression is significantly (p < 0.05) correlated with FN in clinical TNBC patients. In MDA-MB-231 tumor xenograft models, XCT-790 decreases the expression of FN, inhibits the growth and lung metastasis, and suppresses the EMT. Our results demonstrate that ERRa functions as a metastasis stimulator and its targeted inhibition may be a new therapeutic strategy for TNBC treatment.
Wu, Y.-M., Chen, Z.-J., Liu, H., Wei, W.-D., Lu, L.-L., Yang, X.-L., … Wang, H.-S. (2015). Inhibition of ERRα suppresses epithelial mesenchymal transition of triple negative breast cancer cells by directly targeting fibronectin. Oncotarget, 6(28). https://doi.org/10.18632/oncotarget.4436