Journal Article

Expression of <i>PEA3</i>/<i>E1AF</i>/<i>ETV4</i>, an Ets-related transcription factor, in breast tumors: positive links to <i>MMP2</i>, <i>NRG1</i> and <i>CGB</i> expression

Ivan Bièche, Sengül Tozlu, Igor Girault, Peter Onody, Keltouma Driouch, Michel Vidaud and Rosette Lidereau

in Carcinogenesis

Volume 25, issue 3, pages 405-411
Published in print March 2004 | ISSN: 0143-3334
Published online March 2004 | e-ISSN: 1460-2180 | DOI:
Expression of PEA3/E1AF/ETV4, an Ets-related transcription factor, in breast tumors: positive links to MMP2, NRG1 and CGB expression

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The PEA3/E1AF/ETV4 gene encodes an Ets-related transcription factor that is expressed in the epithelial cells of the mammary gland. Previous reports have shown that PEA3 can up-regulate promoter activities of many genes associated with tumorigenesis. A significant fraction of those encode matrix metalloproteinases (MMP genes) required for degradation of the extracellular matrix. To better obtain a molecular characterization of PEA3 expression in sporadic breast cancer, we quantified PEA3 mRNA by means of real-time reverse transcriptase–polymerase chain reaction assay in a large series of human primary breast tumors. PEA3 expression showed wide variations in tumor tissues, being under-expressed in 30 of 130 (23.1%) and over-expressed in 18 of 130 (13.8%) compared with normal breast tissues. High PEA3 mRNA levels correlated significantly with Scarff–Bloom–Richardson histopathological grade III (P = 0.018) but not with poor prognosis, suggesting that PEA3 is a marker of tumor aggressiveness rather than a prognostic factor in human breast cancer. We also observed positive links between the expression of PEA3 and those of MKI67 and ERBB2 (P = 0.034 and P = 0.045, respectively) and an inverse relationship with ERα (P = 0.0016). Our results do not support recent findings suggesting that PEA3 could be a tumor-suppressor gene that can act therapeutically in ERBB2 over-expressed tumors. Our results also suggest major roles of the MMP2, NRG1 and CGB genes (which encode type I gelatinase, heregulin and human chorionic gonadotropin β subunit, respectively) in the PEA3 pathway dysregulation observed in breast cancer. Taken together, the data confirm the role of the PEA3 gene in breast tumorigenesis, and suggest the existence of numerous other still unknown genes transactivated by the PEA3 transcription factor.

Keywords: ERα, estrogen receptor alpha; ERβ, estrogen receptor beta; MMP, matrix metalloproteinases; RT–PCR, reverse transcriptase–polymerase chain reaction; SD, standard deviation; TBP, TATA box-binding protein

Journal Article.  5278 words. 

Subjects: Clinical Cytogenetics and Molecular Genetics

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