Barnawi R. et al. 2019.
"Breast cancer remains the second cause of tumor-related mortality in women worldwide mainly due to chemoresistance and metastasis. The chemoresistance and metastasis are attributed to a rare subpopulation with enriched stem-like characteristics, thus called Cancer Stem Cells (CSCs). We have previously reported aberrant expression of the actin-bundling protein (fascin) in breast cancer cells, which enhances their chemoresistance, metastasis and enriches CSC population. The intracellular mechanisms that link fascin with its downstream effectors are not fully elucidated. Here, loss and gain of function approaches in two different breast cancer models were used to understand how fascin promotes disease progression. Importantly, findings were aligned with expression data from actual breast cancer patients. Expression profiling of a large breast cancer dataset (TCGA, 530 patients) showed statistically significant correlation between fascin expression and a key adherence molecule, β1 integrin (ITGB1). In vitro manipulation of fascin expression in breast cancer cells exhibited its direct effect on ITGB1 expression. Fascin-mediated regulation of ITGB1 was critical for several breast cancer cell functions including adhesion to different extracellular matrix, self-renewability and chemoresistance. Importantly, there was a significant relationship between fascin and ITGB1 co-expression and short disease-free as well as overall survival in chemo-treated breast cancer patients. This novel role of fascin effect on ITGB1 expression and its outcome on cell self-renewability and chemoresistance strongly encourages for dual targeting of fascin-ITGB1 axis as a therapeutic approach to halt breast cancer progression and eradicate it from the root."
Barnawi R. et al. β1 Integrin is Essential for Fascin-Mediated Breast Cancer Stem Cell Function and Disease Progression. International Journal of Cancer 2019.