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

Human homologue of cement gland protein, a novel metastasis inducer associated with breast carcinomas.

A suppression subtractive cDNA library representing mRNAs expressed at a higher level in the malignant human breast cancer cell line, MCF-7, relative to a benign breast tumor-derived cell line, Huma 123, contained a cDNA, M36, which was expressed in estrogen receptor alpha (ERalpha)-positive breast carcinoma cell lines but not in cell lines from normal/benign/ ERalpha-negative malignant breast lesions. M36 cDNA had an identical coding sequence to anterior gradient 2 (AGR2), the human homologue of the cement gland-specific gene (Xenopus laevis). Screening of breast tumor specimens using reverse transcription-PCR and immunocytochemistry with affinity-purified anti-AGR2 antibodies showed that the presence of AGR2 mRNA and protein were both statistically significantly associated with ERalpha-positive carcinomas (P = 0.007, Fisher's exact test) and with malignancy (P < or = 0.025). When an expression vector for AGR2 cDNA was introduced into benign nonmetastatic rat mammary tumor cells, and three separate clones and two pools of cells were transferred to the mammary glands of syngeneic hosts, there were no consistent differences in the mean latent periods of tumor formation. However, metastases occurred in the lungs of animals receiving the AGR2 transfectants in 77% to 92% of animals with primary tumors (P = 0.0001) compared with no metastases in the control groups. The AGR2 transfectants exhibited enhanced rates of adhesion to a plastic substratum and extracellular AGR2 enhanced the rate of attachment of AGR2-negative but not AGR2-positive cells. These experiments are the first to link mechanistically the developmental gene product, AGR2, with metastasis in vivo.[1]


  1. Human homologue of cement gland protein, a novel metastasis inducer associated with breast carcinomas. Liu, D., Rudland, P.S., Sibson, D.R., Platt-Higgins, A., Barraclough, R. Cancer Res. (2005) [Pubmed]
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