TGF-β/p38α and NR4A1 also play essential roles in the induction of epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition (EMT) and induction of β-catenin in TNBC cells, and these TGF-β-induced responses and nuclear export of NR4A1 are blocked by NR4A1 antagonists, the p38 inhibitor SB202190, and kinase-dead [p38(KD)] and dominant-negative [p38(DN)] forms of p38α.
Pursuant to our previous finding that HDAC8 regulates CSCs in triple-negative breast cancer (TNBC) cells by targeting Notch1 stability, we investigated related pathways and found HDAC3 to be mechanistically linked to CSC homeostasis by increasing β-catenin expression through the Akt/GSK3β pathway.
We also review the aberrant activated signals found in different subgroups of TNBC, including androgen receptor (AR) and PI3K/AKT/mTOR, Notch, Wnt/β-catenin, Hedge-hog, and TGF-β signaling pathways, which play essential roles in multiple development stages of TNBC.
GDC-0941-triggered WNT/beta-catenin pathway activation was observed in MDA-MB-231 and HCC1937 cells, which are TNBC cell lines showing aberrant WNT/beta-catenin activation, and not in SKBR3 and MCF7 cells.
Collectively, these data suggest that β-catenin is required for triple-negative breast cancer development by controlling numerous tumor-associated properties, such as migration, stemness, anchorage-independent growth and chemosensitivity.
We also provide evidence that the post-transcriptional activity of cytoplasmic beta-catenin operates under normoxia in basal-like/triple-negative breast cancer cells, where the beta-catenin knockdown suppresses the stem cell phenotype in vitro and tumor growth in vivo.
Immunofluorescence staining of β-catenin in TNBC cell lines showed both nuclear and cytoplasmic localization, indicating activation of Wnt pathway in TNBC cells. iCRT-3 was the most effective compound for inhibiting proliferation and antagonizing Wnt signaling in TNBC cells.