Skip to main content

CAPER in Invasive Breast Cancer

Final Report Summary - CAPER/BREAST CANCE (CAPER in Invasive Breast Cancer)

Project Background. To dissect the role of Cav-1 loss-of-function in the pathogenesis of human breast cancers, we first used Cav-1(-/-) null mice as a model system. Previously, we demonstrated that Cav-1(-/-) mammary epithelia overexpress two well-established ER co-activator genes, CAPER and Foxa1, in addition to ER-alpha. Thus, the functional loss of Cav-1 may be sufficient to confer estrogen-hypersensitivity in the mammary gland. To test this hypothesis directly, we subjected Cav-1(-/-) mice to ovariectomy and estrogen supplementation. As predicted, Cav-1(-/-) mammary glands were hyper-responsive to estrogen and developed dysplastic mammary lesions with adjacent stromal angiogenesis that resemble human ductal carcinoma in situ. Based on an extensive biomarker analysis, these Cav-1(-/-) mammary lesions contain cells that are hyperproliferative and stain positively with nucleolar (B23/nucleophosmin) and stem/progenitor cell markers (SPRR1A and beta-catenin). Genome-wide transcriptional profiling identified many estrogen-related genes that were over-expressed in Cav-1(-/-) mammary glands, including CAPER--an ER co-activator gene and putative stem/progenitor cell marker. Analysis of human breast cancer samples revealed that CAPER is overexpressed and undergoes a cytoplasmic-to-nuclear shift during the transition from pre-malignancy to ductal carcinoma in situ. Thus, Cav-1(-/-) null mice are a new preclinical model for studying the molecular paradigm of estrogen hypersensitivity and the development of estrogen-dependent ductal carcinoma in situ lesions.

Project Description and Outcomes. CAPER is an estrogen receptor (ER) co-activator, that was recently shown to be involved in human breast cancer pathogenesis. However, the functional role of CAPER in human breast cancer initiation and progression remained unknown. To address this issue, we used a lentiviral-mediated gene silencing approach to reduce the expression of CAPER in the ER-positive human breast cancer cell line MCF-7. The proliferation and tumorigenicity of MCF-7 cells stably expressing control or human CAPER shRNAs was then determined via both in vitro and in vivo experiments. Knockdown of CAPER expression significantly reduced the proliferation of MCF-7 cells in vitro. Importantly, nude mice injected with MCF-7 cells harboring CAPER shRNAs developed smaller tumors than mice injected with MCF-7 cells harboring control shRNAs. Mechanistically, tumors derived from mice injected with MCF-7 cells harboring CAPER shRNAs displayed reduced expression of the cell cycle regulators PCNA, MCM7, and cyclin D1, and the protein synthesis marker 4EBP1. In conclusion, knockdown of CAPER expression markedly reduced human breast cancer cell proliferation in both in vitro and in vivo settings. Mechanistically, knockdown of CAPER abrogated the activity of proliferative and protein synthesis pathways.