A novel EGR-1 dependent mechanism for YB-1 modulation of paclitaxel response in a triple negative breast cancer cell line

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Chemotherapy with taxanes such as paclitaxel (PTX) is a key component of triple negative breast cancer (TNBC) treatment. PTX is used in combination with other drugs in both the adjuvant setting and in advanced breast cancer. Because a proportion of patients respond poorly to PTX or relapse after its use, a greater understanding of the mechanisms conferring resistance to PTX is required. One protein shown to be involved in drug resistance is Y-box binding protein 1 (YB-1). High levels of YB-1 have previously been associated with resistance to PTX in TNBCs. In this study, we aimed to determine mechanisms by which YB-1 confers PTX resistance. We generated isogenic TNBC cell lines that differed by YB-1 levels and treated these with PTX. Using microarray analysis, we identified EGR1 as a potential target of YB-1. We found that lowEGR1mRNA levels are associated with poor breast cancer patient prognosis, and thatEGR1andYBX1mRNA expression was inversely correlated in a TNBC line and in a proportion of TNBC tumours. Reducing the levels of EGR1 caused TNBC cells to become more resistant to PTX. Given that PTX targets cycling cells, we propose a model whereby high YB-1 levels in some TNBC cells can lead to reduced levels of EGR1, which in turn promotes slow cell cycling and resistance to PTX. Therefore YB-1 and EGR1 levels are biologically linked and may provide a biomarker for TNBC response to PTX.

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