URTREGER Alejandro Jorge
Glypican-3 (GPC3) inhibits metastasis development promoting dormancy in breast cancer cells by p38 MAPK pathway activation
MACARENA GUEREÑO; MAGALI DELGADO PASTORE; ANA CLARA LUGONES; MAGALI CERCATO; LAURA TODARO; ALEJANDRO J. URTREGER; MARÍA GISELLE PETERS
EUROPEAN JOURNAL OF CELL BIOLOGY
Año: 2020 vol. 99 p. 1 - 11
GPC3 is a proteoglycan involved in the control of proliferation and survival, which has been linked to several tumor types. In this respect, we previously demonstrated that normal breast tissues exhibit high levels of GPC3, while its expression is diminished in tumors. However, the role of the GPC3 downregulation in breast cancer progression and its molecular and cellular operational machineries are not fully understood. In this study we showed that GPC3 reverts the epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition (EMT) underwent by mammary tumor cells, blocks metastatic spread and induces dormancy at secondary site. Using genetically modified murine breast cancer cell sublines, we demonstrated that the phospho-Erk/phospho-p38 ratio is lower in GPC3 reexpressing cells, while p21, p27 and SOX2 levels are higher, suggesting a dormant phenotype. In vivo metastasis assays confirmed that GPC3 reexpressing cells reduce their metastatic ability. Interestingly, the presence of dormant cells was evidenced in the lungs of inoculated mice. Dormant cells could reactivate their proliferative capacity, remain viable as well as tumorigenic, but they reentered in dormancy upon reaching secondary site. We also proved that GPC3 inhibits metastasis through p38 pathway activation. The in vivo inhibition of p38 induced an increase in cell invasion of GPC3 reexpressing orthotropic tumors as well as in spontaneous and experimental metastatic dissemination. In conclusion, our study shows that GPC3 returns mesenchymal-like breast cancer cells to an epithelial phenotype, impairs in vivo metastasis and induces tumor dormancy through p38 MAPK signaling activation. These results help to identify genetic determinants of dormancy and suggest the translational potential of research focusing in GPC3.