J Cancer 2010; 1:54-62. doi:10.7150/jca.1.54

Research Paper

BP1 Homeoprotein Enhances Metastatic Potential in ER-negative Breast Cancer

Yebo Fu1*, Yi Lian1*, Kyung Soon Kim1, Lei Zhang2, A. Katharine Hindle3, Fred Brody3, Robert S. Siegel1, Timothy A. McCaffrey1, Sidney W. Fu1, 3

1. Department of Medicine, Division of Genomic Medicine, George Washington University Medical Center, Washington, DC, USA
2. Center for Vaccine Development, University of Maryland, Baltimore, MD, USA
3. Department of Surgery, George Washington University Medical Center, Washington, DC, USA
* YF and YL contributed equally to this work.


Tumor invasion and metastasis remain a major cause of mortality in breast cancer patients. It was reported that BP1, a homeobox isoform of DLX4, is overexpressed in 80% of breast cancer patients and in 100% of estrogen receptor negative (ER-) tumors. The prevalence of BP1 positive cells and the intensity of BP1 immunoreactivity increased with the extent of ductal proliferation and tumorigenesis. These findings imply that BP1 may play an important role in ER- breast cancer. We sought to determine the effects and mechanisms of BP1 on cell proliferation and metastasis using ER- Hs578T cells as a model. Cells were transfected with either pcDNA3.2 plasmid containing BP1 gene, or pcDNA3.2 vector, then selected and cloned. Overexpression of BP1 increased cell proliferation rate by 2-5 fold (p<0.005), and enhanced the in vitro invasive activity by 25-65 fold (p<0.001). Microarray experiments were performed to identify differentially expressed genes when BP1 is overexpressed. The gene expression profile of the transfected cell lines were compared, resulting in 71 differentially expressed genes with a fold-change of >=2.0. Of those genes, 49 were up-regulated and 22 were down-regulated. Significant pathways were identified involving cell proliferation and metastasis. These data demonstrated that overexpression of BP1 significantly enhanced cell proliferation and metastatic potential in ER- Hs578T cells. Further analysis with more ER- cell lines and patient samples is warranted to establish BP1 as a therapeutic target for ER- breast cancer.

Keywords: BP1, homeobox gene, ER, microarray, breast cancer

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How to cite this article:
Fu Y, Lian Y, Kim KS, Zhang L, Hindle AK, Brody F, Siegel RS, McCaffrey TA, Fu SW. BP1 Homeoprotein Enhances Metastatic Potential in ER-negative Breast Cancer. J Cancer 2010; 1:54-62. doi:10.7150/jca.1.54. Available from http://www.jcancer.org/v01p0054.htm