Research Papers:

ADAMTS6 suppresses tumor progression via the ERK signaling pathway and serves as a prognostic marker in human breast cancer

Yuxin Xie, Qiheng Gou, Keqi Xie, Zhu Wang, Yanping Wang and Hong Zheng _

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Oncotarget. 2016; 7:61273-61283. https://doi.org/10.18632/oncotarget.11341

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Yuxin Xie1,2,*, Qiheng Gou2,*, Keqi Xie3, Zhu Wang4, Yanping Wang4, Hong Zheng1,2,4

1Departments of Head and Neck and Mammary Gland Oncology, and Medical Oncology, Cancer Center, West China Hospital, Sichuan University, Chengdu, Sichuan 610041, P. R. China

2State Key Laboratory of Biotherapy/Collaborative Innovation Center of Biotherapy, West China Hospital, Sichuan University, Chengdu, Sichuan 610041, P.R. China

3Department of Anesthesiology, Mianyang Central Hospital, Mianyang, Sichuan, 621000, P.R. China

4Laboratory of Molecular Diagnosis of Cancer, West China Hospital, Sichuan University, Chengdu, Sichuan 610041, P.R. China

*These authors contributed equally to this work

Correspondence to:

Hong Zheng, email: [email protected]

Keywords: ADAMTS6, breast cancer, tumor suppressor, ERK pathway, prognosis

Received: February 20, 2016     Accepted: July 27, 2016     Published: August 17, 2016


A disintegrin and metalloproteinase with thrombospondin motifs (ADAMTS) family is involved in tumor development. However, how ADAMTS6 influences cancer remains unknown. We investigated the biological function and clinical implications of ADAMTs6 in breast cancer (BC). Its functional significance in BC cell lines was confirmed by ADAMTs6 overexpression or downregulation both in vitro and in vivo studies. Enhanced ADAMTS6 expression suppressed cell migration, invasion, and tumorigenesis, whereas knockdown promoted these characteristics. The extracellular signal-regulated kinase (ERK) pathway was partially involved in ADAMTS6-mediated inhibition of BC development, and miR-221-3p was identified as a predicted target for ADAMTS6. Results from the luciferase assay confirmed that miR-221-3p directly inhibited ADAMTS6 expression by binding its 3′-untranslated region. In addition, immunohistochemistry data from specimens from 182 BC patients showed that high ADAMTS6 expression was significantly correlated with favorable disease-free survival (DFS, p = 0.045). Subgroup analysis of patients with ER positive, PR positive or HER-2 negative tumors revealed that high ADAMTS6 expression more strongly extended DFS compared to low expression (p = 0.004, p = 0.009, p = 0.017). Multivariate analyses confirmed that ADAMTS6 expression was an independent risk factor for DFS (p = 0.011). Together, these data demonstrate that ADAMTS6 inhibits tumor development by regulating the ERK pathway via binding of miR-221-3p. Thus, its expression may be a potential prognostic biomarker for BC.

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