Research Papers:

A function-blocking CD47 antibody suppresses stem cell and EGF signaling in triple-negative breast cancer

Sukhbir Kaur, Abdel G. Elkahloun, Satya P. Singh, Qing-Rong Chen, Daoud M. Meerzaman, Timothy Song, Nidhi Manu, Weiwei Wu, Poonam Mannan, Susan H. Garfield and David D. Roberts _

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Oncotarget. 2016; 7:10133-10152. https://doi.org/10.18632/oncotarget.7100

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Sukhbir Kaur1, Abdel G. Elkahloun2, Satya P. Singh3, Qing-Rong Chen4, Daoud M. Meerzaman4, Timothy Song1, Nidhi Manu1, Weiwei Wu2, Poonam Mannan4, Susan H. Garfield5 and David D. Roberts1

1 Laboratory of Pathology, Center for Cancer Research, National Cancer Institute, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, MD, USA

2 Cancer Genetics and Comparative Genomics Branch, National Human Genome Research Institute, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, MD, USA

3 Inflammation Biology Section, Laboratory of Molecular Immunology, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, MD, USA

4 Center for Biomedical Informatics and Information Technology, National Cancer Institute, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, MD, USA

5 Laboratory of Cancer Biology and Genetics, Center for Cancer Research, National Cancer Institute, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, MD, USA

Correspondence to:

David D. Roberts, email:

Keywords: CD47, cancer stem cells, triple-negative breast cancer, epidermal growth factor receptor, therapeutic antibodies

Received: January 15, 2016 Accepted: January 21, 2016 Published: January 31, 2016


CD47 is a signaling receptor for thrombospondin-1 and the counter-receptor for signal-regulatory protein-α (SIRPα). By inducing inhibitory SIRPα signaling, elevated CD47 expression by some cancers prevents macrophage phagocytosis. The anti-human CD47 antibody B6H12 inhibits tumor growth in several xenograft models, presumably by preventing SIRPα engagement. However, CD47 signaling in nontransformed and some malignant cells regulates self-renewal, suggesting that CD47 antibodies may therapeutically target cancer stem cells (CSCs). Treatment of MDA-MB-231 breast CSCs with B6H12 decreased proliferation and asymmetric cell division. Similar effects were observed in T47D CSCs but not in MCF7 breast carcinoma or MCF10A breast epithelial cells. Gene expression analysis in breast CSCs treated with B6H12 showed decreased expression of epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) and the stem cell transcription factor KLF4. EGFR and KLF4 mRNAs are known targets of microRNA-7, and B6H12 treatment correspondingly enhanced microRNA-7 expression in breast CSCs. B6H12 treatment also acutely inhibited EGF-induced EGFR tyrosine phosphorylation. Expression of B6H12-responsive genes correlated with CD47 mRNA expression in human breast cancers, suggesting that the CD47 signaling pathways identified in breast CSCs are functional in vivo. These data reveal a novel SIRPα-independent mechanism by which therapeutic CD47 antibodies could control tumor growth by autonomously forcing differentiation of CSC.

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