Research Papers:

APC loss in breast cancer leads to doxorubicin resistance via STAT3 activation

Monica K. VanKlompenberg, Emily Leyden, Anne H. Arnason, Jian-Ting Zhang, Casey D. Stefanski and Jenifer R. Prosperi _

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Oncotarget. 2017; 8:102868-102879. https://doi.org/10.18632/oncotarget.22263

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Monica K. VanKlompenberg1,2,5, Emily Leyden2,3, Anne H. Arnason2,3, Jian-Ting Zhang4, Casey D. Stefanski2,3 and Jenifer R. Prosperi1,2,3

1Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Indiana University School of Medicine–South Bend, South Bend, IN, USA

2Harper Cancer Research Institute, South Bend, IN, USA

3Department of Biological Sciences, University of Notre Dame, Notre Dame, IN, USA

4Department of Pharmacology and Toxicology, Indiana University School of Medicine, Indianapolis, IN, USA

5Current address: Department of Animal and Avian Sciences, University of Maryland, College Park, MD, USA

Correspondence to:

Jenifer R. Prosperi, email: [email protected]

Keywords: Adenomatous Polyposis Coli; breast cancer; STAT3; chemoresistance; doxorubicin

Received: September 07, 2017     Accepted: October 16, 2017     Published: November 01, 2017


Resistance to chemotherapy is one of the leading causes of death from breast cancer. We recently established that loss of Adenomatous Polyposis Coli (APC) in the Mouse Mammary Tumor Virus – Polyoma middle T (MMTV-PyMT) transgenic mouse model results in resistance to cisplatin or doxorubicin-induced apoptosis. Herein, we aim to establish the mechanism that is responsible for APC-mediated chemotherapeutic resistance. Our data demonstrate that MMTV-PyMT;ApcMin/+ cells have increased signal transducer and activator of transcription 3 (STAT3) activation. STAT3 can be constitutively activated in breast cancer, maintains the tumor initiating cell (TIC) population, and upregulates multidrug resistance protein 1 (MDR1). The activation of STAT3 in the MMTV-PyMT;ApcMin/+ model is independent of interleukin 6 (IL-6); however, enhanced EGFR expression in the MMTV-PyMT;ApcMin/+ cells may be responsible for the increased STAT3 activation. Inhibiting STAT3 with a small molecule inhibitor A69 in combination with doxorubicin, but not cisplatin, restores drug sensitivity. A69 also decreases doxorubicin enhanced MDR1 gene expression and the TIC population enhanced by loss of APC. In summary, these results have revealed the molecular mechanisms of APC loss in breast cancer that can guide future treatment plans to counteract chemotherapeutic resistance.

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