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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Prolonged extracellular signal-regulated kinase 1/2 activation during fibroblast growth factor 1- or heregulin beta1-induced antiestrogen-resistant growth of breast cancer cells is resistant to mitogen-activated protein/extracellular regulated kinase kinase inhibitors.

Increased growth factor receptor signaling is implicated in antiestrogen-resistant breast tumors suggesting that abrogation of such signaling could restore or prolong sensitivity to antihormonal agents. Activation of the mitogen-activated protein/extracellular regulated kinase kinase (MEK)-extracellular regulated kinase (ERK)1/2 cascade is a common component of such pathways. We investigated the ability of the MEK activation inhibitor U0126 to block the increased growth of estrogen receptor-positive MCF-7 breast cancer cells caused by fibroblast growth factor 1 (FGF-1), heregulin beta1 (HRGbeta1), and epidermal growth factor (EGF) in the presence of the pure antiestrogen ICI 182780 (Faslodex; fulvestrant). We found that either FGF-1 or HRGbeta1 but not EGF substantially reduced the inhibitory effects of U0126 on growth and ERK1/2 activation, including the combined inhibitory effects of U0126 and ICI 182780. FGF-1 and HRGbeta1 also reduced the inhibition of ERK1/2 phosphorylation by the MEK inhibitors PD98059 and PD184161. Interestingly, a transiently transfected dominant-negative MEK1 completely abrogated activation of a coexpressed green fluorescent protein-ERK2 reporter by all three of the factors. Despite a short-lived activation of Ras and Raf-1 by all three of the growth factors, both FGF-1 and HRGbeta1, unlike EGF, induced a prolonged activation of MEK and ERK1/2 in these cells. Thus, activation of FGF-1- and HRGbeta1-specific signaling causes MEK-dependent prolonged activation of ERK1/2, which is incompletely susceptible to known MEK inhibitors. We also demonstrate that the cytosolic phospholipase A2 inhibitor arachidonyl trifluoro methyl ketone and the pan PKC inhibitor bisindolymaleimide abrogated U0126-resistant phosphorylation of ERK1/2 induced by HRGbeta1 but not by FGF-1. Phosphorylation of ERK5 by all three of the factors was also resistant to U0126 suggesting that its activation is not sufficient to overturn growth inhibition due to diminished ERK1/2 activation. Therefore, therapy combining antiestrogens and MEK inhibitors may be ineffective in some antiestrogen-resistant estrogen receptor-positive breast cancers.[1]


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