Research Papers:

Inhibition of ERRα suppresses epithelial mesenchymal transition of triple negative breast cancer cells by directly targeting fibronectin

Ying-Min Wu, Zhuo-Jia Chen, Hao Liu, Wei-Dong Wei, Lin-Lin Lu, Xiang-Ling Yang, Wei-Ting Liang, Tao Liu, Huan-Liang Liu, Jun Du and Hong-Sheng Wang _

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Oncotarget. 2015; 6:25588-25601. https://doi.org/10.18632/oncotarget.4436

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Ying-Min Wu1,*, Zhuo-Jia Chen2,*, Hao Liu3, Wei-Dong Wei2, Lin-Lin Lu1, Xiang-Ling Yang4,5, Wei-Ting Liang2, Tao Liu2, Huan-Liang Liu4,5, Jun Du1, Hong-Sheng Wang1

1Department of Microbial and Biochemical Pharmacy, School of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Sun Yat-sen University, Guangzhou 510006, China

2Sun Yat-sen University Cancer Center, State Key Laboratory of Oncology in South China, Collaborative Innovation Center for Cancer Medicine, Guangzhou 510060, China

3Cancer Research Institute and Cancer Hospital, Guangzhou Medical University, Guangzhou 510095, China

4Guangdong Provincial Key Laboratory of Colorectal and Pelvic Floor Diseases, Guangdong Institute of Gastroenterology and The Sixth Affiliated Hospital, Sun Yat-sen University, Guangzhou 510655, China

5Institute of Human Virology and Key Laboratory of Tropical Disease Control of Ministry of Education, Sun Yat-sen University, Guangzhou 510080, China

*These authors have contributed equally to this work

Correspondence to:

Hong-Sheng Wang, e-mail: [email protected], [email protected]

Jun Du, e-mail: [email protected]

Keywords: ERRα, TNBC, EMT, fibronectin

Received: April 15, 2015     Accepted: June 16, 2015     Published: June 26, 2015


Triple-negative breast cancer (TNBC) patients have poor prognosis due to the aggressive metastatic behaviors. Our study reveals that expression of estrogen related receptor α (ERRα) is significantly (p < 0.01) positively associated with high grade tumors and lymph node metastasis, while negatively correlated with overall survival (OS), in 138 TNBC patients. Targeted inhibition of ERRα by its inverse agonist XCT-790 or si-RNA obviously inhibits in vitro motility of TNBC cells. While over expression of ERRα triggers the invasion and migration of TNBC cells. Further, si-ERRα and XCT-790 inhibit the epithelial mesenchymal transition (EMT) of TNBC cells with increasing the expression of E-cadherin and decreasing fibronectin (FN) and vimentin. While XCT-790 has no effect on the expression of EMT related transcription factors such as Snail or Slug. Further, inhibitors of MAPK, PI3K/Akt, NF-κB signal molecules, which are activated by XCT-790, can not attenuate the suppression effects of XCT-790 on EMT. Alternatively, luciferase reporter gene assays and ChIP analysis indicate that ERRα can directly bind with FN promoter at ERR response element-3 (ERRE-1), ERRE-3, and ERRE-4, while XCT-790 reduces this bond. In vivo data show that ERRα expression is significantly (p < 0.05) correlated with FN in clinical TNBC patients. In MDA-MB-231 tumor xenograft models, XCT-790 decreases the expression of FN, inhibits the growth and lung metastasis, and suppresses the EMT. Our results demonstrate that ERRα functions as a metastasis stimulator and its targeted inhibition may be a new therapeutic strategy for TNBC treatment.

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