Breast cancer is the most common form of cancer diagnosed and the second leading cause of cancer death among women in the United States. Cancer metastases are the major cause of morbidity and mortality among breast cancer patients. The central importance of the HER2/Neu/EGFR/RAS signaling pathway has been well established in the growth, invasion and metastasis of human breast cancer, even though oncogenic RAS mutations are rare in breast cancer, activation of the tumor-promoting ERBB/RAS pathway has been consistently documented in high-grade breast tumors. As such, novel approaches to inhibit activated ERBB/RAS signals constitute important measures to block tumor growth and metastasis in mammary tumors. In this study, instead of targeting an upstream signaling component such as HER2/EGFR/RAS, we targeted the most downstream signaling module identified in the RAS pathway - the SIAH proteolytic machinery. SIAH is an evolutionarily conserved RING E3 ligase that is a critical “gatekeeper” required for RAS signal transduction in human cancer cells. SIAH is specifically expressed in tumor cells in 120 human breast cancer patients examined so far. The increased SIAH expression is correlated with increased grades and aggressiveness of human breast cancer. We then asked whether inhibiting the gatekeeper function of SIAH would be effective in blocking mammary tumorigenesis and metastasis in human breast cancer. Our results indicated that SIAH2-deficiency successfully abolished tumor growth of three breast cancer cell lines (MDA-MB-231, MDA-MB-435 and MDA-MB-468) in soft agar assays as well as in athymic nude mice. Importantly, by inhibiting SIAH2 function in highly aggressive human breast cancer cells, we are able to completely block tumorigenesis and metastasis of two highly invasive and metastatic human breast cancer cell lines (MDA-MB-231 and MDA-MB-435). These findings suggest that SIAH2 may be an attractive new therapeutic target for novel breast cancer therapy and developing anti-SIAH molecules will aid in expanding our arsenal of effective anticancer therapies. More effective breast cancer treatments may be obtained by multi-pronged synergistic inhibitions at upstream (HER2/EGFR membrane receptors), midstream (RAS/RAF/MEK/mTOR) and downstream (SIAH E3 ligase) signaling modules in the HER2/EGFR/RAS pathway in parallel. Thus, by attacking the growth-promoting ERBB/RAS pathway at multiple signaling modules simultaneously, we may be in a great position to halt the genesis, progression and metastasis of human breast cancer. If successful, this study has the promise to be translated to the cancer clinics to alleviate tumor burdens, inhibit cancer metastasis, improve the efficacy for the treatment of breast cancer, and in particularly help cancer patients with metastatic diseases.

Citation Format: {Authors}. {Abstract title} [abstract]. In: Proceedings of the 101st Annual Meeting of the American Association for Cancer Research; 2010 Apr 17-21; Washington, DC. Philadelphia (PA): AACR; Cancer Res 2010;70(8 Suppl):Abstract nr 4518.