HOXB13 mediates tamoxifen resistance and invasiveness in human breast cancer by suppressing ERα and inducing IL-6 expression

Nilay Shah, Kideok Jin, Leigh Ann Cruz, Sunju Park, Helen Sadik, Soonweng Cho, Chirayu Pankaj Goswami, Harikrishna Nakshatri, Rajnish Gupta, Howard Y. Chang, Zhe Zhang, Ashley Cimino-Mathews, Leslie Cope, Christopher Umbricht, Saraswati Sukumar

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49 Scopus citations

Abstract

Most breast cancers expressing the estrogen receptor α (ERα) are treated successfully with the receptor antagonist tamoxifen (TAM), but many of these tumors recur. Elevated expression of the homeodomain transcription factor HOXB13 correlates with TAM-resistance in ERα-positive (ER+) breast cancer, but little is known regarding the underlying mechanism. Our comprehensive evaluation of HOX gene expression using tiling microarrays, with validation, showed that distant metastases from TAM-resistant patients also displayed high HOXB13 expression, suggesting a role for HOXB13 in tumor dissemination and survival. Here we show that HOXB13 confers TAM resistance by directly downregulating ERα transcription and protein expression. HOXB13 elevation promoted cell proliferation in vitro and growth of tumor xenografts in vivo. Mechanistic investigations showed that HOXB13 transcriptionally upregulated interleukin (IL)-6, activating the mTOR pathway via STAT3 phosphorylation to promote cell proliferation and fibroblast recruitment. Accordingly, mTOR inhibition suppressed fibroblast recruitment and proliferation of HOXB13-expressing ER+ breast cancer cells and tumor xenografts, alone or in combination with TAM. Taken together, our results establish a function for HOXB13 in TAM resistance through direct suppression of ERα and they identify the IL-6 pathways as mediator of disease progression and recurrence.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)5449-5458
Number of pages10
JournalCancer Research
Volume73
Issue number17
DOIs
StatePublished - Sep 1 2013

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ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research

Cite this

Shah, N., Jin, K., Cruz, L. A., Park, S., Sadik, H., Cho, S., Goswami, C. P., Nakshatri, H., Gupta, R., Chang, H. Y., Zhang, Z., Cimino-Mathews, A., Cope, L., Umbricht, C., & Sukumar, S. (2013). HOXB13 mediates tamoxifen resistance and invasiveness in human breast cancer by suppressing ERα and inducing IL-6 expression. Cancer Research, 73(17), 5449-5458. https://doi.org/10.1158/0008-5472.CAN-13-1178