Continued use of trastuzumab in PTEN-deficient HER2+ breast cancer induces the epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition (EMT), transforms HER2+ to triple negative breast cancer, and expands breast cancer stem cells (BCSCs). Using cancer cell lines with two distinct states, epithelial and mesenchymal, we identified novel targets during EMT in PTEN-deficient trastuzumab-resistant breast cancer. Differential gene expression and distinct responses to a small molecule in BT474 (HER2+ trastuzumabsensitive) and the PTEN-deficient trastuzumab-resistant derivative (BT474-PTEN-LTT) provided the selection tools to identify targets during EMT. siRNA knockdown and small molecule inhibition confirmed MEOX1 as one of the critical molecular targets to regulate both BCSCs and mesenchymal-like cell proliferation. MEOX1 was associated with poor survival, lymph node metastasis, and stage of breast cancer patients. These findings suggest that MEOX1 is a clinically relevant novel target in BCSCs and mesenchymal-like cancer cells in PTEN-deficient trastuzumab resistant breast cancer and may serve as target for future drug development.
Sun, L., Burnett, J., Gasparyan, M., Xu, F., Jiang, H., Lin, C.-C., … Sun, D. (2016). Novel cancer stem cell targets during epithelial to mesenchymal transition in PTEN-deficient trastuzumab-resistant breast cancer. Oncotarget, 7(32). https://doi.org/10.18632/oncotarget.9839