The calcineurin/NFAT pathway is activated in diagnostic breast cancer cases and is essential to survival and metastasis of mammary cancer cells

Nom de la revue
Cell Death & Disease
C Tran Quang, S Leboucher, D Passaro, L Fuhrmann, M Nourieh, A Vincent-Salomon, J Ghysdael

AbstractNuclear factor of activated T cells 1 (NFAT1) expression has been associated with increased migratory/invasive properties of mammary tumor-derived cell lines in vitro. It is unknown, however, if NFAT activation actually occurs in breast cancer cases and whether the calcineurin/NFAT pathway is important to mammary tumorigenesis. Using a cohort of 321 diagnostic cases of the major subgroup of breast cancer, we found Cn/NFAT pathway activated in ER−PR−HER2− triple-negative breast cancer subtype, whereas its prevalence is less in other subgroups. Using a small hairpin RNA-based gene expression silencing approach in murine mammary tumor cell line (4T1), we show that not only NFAT1 but also NFAT2 and their upstream activator Cn are essential to the migratory and invasive properties of mammary tumor cells. We also demonstrate that Cn, NFAT1 and NFAT2 are essential to the tumorigenic and metastatic properties of these cells in mice, a phenotype which coincides with increased apoptosis in vivo. Finally, global gene expression analyses identified several NFAT-deregulated genes, many of them being previously associated with mammary tumorigenesis. In particular, we identified the gene encoding a disintegrin and metalloproteinase with thrombonspondin motifs 1, as being a potential direct target of NFAT1. Thus, our results show that the Cn/NFAT pathway is activated in diagnostic cases of breast cancers and is essential to the tumorigenic and metastatic potential of mammary tumor cell line. These results suggest that pharmacological inhibition of the Cn/NFAT pathway at different levels could be of therapeutical interest for breast cancer patients.