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c-Myc and Her2 cooperate to drive a stem-like phenotype with poor prognosis in breast cancer

Nair, R., Roden, D.L., Teo, W.S., McFarland, A., Junankar, S., Ye, S., Nguyen, A., Yang, J., Nikolic, I., Hui, M., Morey, A., Shah, J., Pfefferle, A.D., Usary, J., Selinger, C., Baker, L.A, Armstrong, N.ORCID: 0000-0002-4477-293X, Cowley, M.J., Naylor, M.J., Ormandy, C.J., Lakhani, S.R., Herschkowitz, J.I., Perou, C.M., Kaplan, W., O'Toole, S.A. and Swarbrick, A. (2014) c-Myc and Her2 cooperate to drive a stem-like phenotype with poor prognosis in breast cancer. Oncogenesis, 33 (30). pp. 3992-4002.

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The HER2 (ERBB2) and MYC genes are commonly amplified in breast cancer, yet little is known about their molecular and clinical interaction. Using a novel chimeric mammary transgenic approach and in vitro models, we demonstrate markedly increased self-renewal and tumour-propagating capability of cells transformed with Her2 and c-Myc. Coexpression of both oncoproteins in cultured cells led to the activation of a c-Myc transcriptional signature and acquisition of a self-renewing phenotype independent of an epithelial–mesenchymal transition programme or regulation of conventional cancer stem cell markers. Instead, Her2 and c-Myc cooperated to induce the expression of lipoprotein lipase, which was required for proliferation and self-renewal in vitro. HER2 and MYC were frequently coamplified in breast cancer, associated with aggressive clinical behaviour and poor outcome. Lastly, we show that in HER2+ breast cancer patients receiving adjuvant chemotherapy (but not targeted anti-Her2 therapy), MYC amplification is associated with a poor outcome. These findings demonstrate the importance of molecular and cellular context in oncogenic transformation and acquisition of a malignant stem-like phenotype and have diagnostic and therapeutic consequences for the clinical management of HER2+ breast cancer.

Item Type: Journal Article
Publisher: Nature Publishing Group
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