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ErbB2-mediated Src and signal transducer and activator of transcription 3 activation leads to transcriptional up-regulation of p21Cip1 and chemoresistance in breast cancer cells.

Hawthorne V.S., Huang W.C., Neal C.L., Tseng L.M., Hung M.C., Yu D.

Overexpression of the ErbB2 receptor tyrosine kinase is prevalent in approximately 30% of human breast cancers and confers Taxol resistance. Our previous work has shown that ErbB2 inhibits Taxol-induced apoptosis in breast cancer cells by transcriptionally up-regulating p21(Cip1). However, the mechanism of ErbB2-mediated p21(Cip1) up-regulation is unclear. Here, we show that ErbB2 up-regulates p21(Cip1) transcription through increased Src activity in ErbB2-overexpressing cells. Src activation further activated signal transducer and activator of transcription 3 (STAT3) that recognizes a SIE binding site on the p21(Cip1) promoter required for ErbB2-mediated p21(Cip1) transcriptional up-regulation. Both Src and STAT3 inhibitors restored Taxol sensitivity in resistant ErbB2-overexpressing breast cancer cells. Our data suggest that ErbB2 overexpression can activate STAT3 through Src leading to transcriptional up-regulation of p21(Cip1) that confers Taxol resistance of breast cancer cells. Our study suggests a potential clinical application of Src and STAT3 inhibitors in Taxol sensitization of ErbB2-overexpressing breast cancers.

Mol. Cancer Res. 7:592-600(2009) [PubMed] [Europe PMC]