N-cadherin/FGFR promotes metastasis through epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition and stem/progenitor cell-like properties

X. Qian, A. Anzovino, S. Kim, Kimita Suyama, Jiahong Yao, J. Hulit, G. Agiostratidou, N. Chandiramani, H. M. McDaid, C. Nagi, H. W. Cohen, G. R. Phillips, L. Norton, R. B. Hazan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

100 Scopus citations


N-cadherin and HER2/neu were found to be co-expressed in invasive breast carcinomas. To test the contribution of N-cadherin and HER2 in mammary tumor metastasis, we targeted N-cadherin expression in the mammary epithelium of the MMTV-Neu mouse. In the context of ErbB2/Neu, N-cadherin stimulated carcinoma cell invasion, proliferation and metastasis. N-cadherin caused fibroblast growth factor receptor (FGFR) upmodulation, resulting in epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition (EMT) and stem/progenitor like properties, involving Snail and Slug upregulation, mammosphere formation and aldehyde dehydrogenase activity. N-cadherin potentiation of the FGFR stimulated extracellular signal regulated kinase (ERK) and protein kinase B (AKT) phosphorylation resulting in differential effects on metastasis. Although ERK inhibition suppressed cyclin D1 expression, cell proliferation and stem/progenitor cell properties, it did not affect invasion or EMT. Conversely, AKT inhibition suppressed invasion through Akt 2 attenuation, and EMT through Snail inhibition, but had no effect on cyclin D1 expression, cell proliferation or mammosphere formation. These findings suggest N-cadherin/FGFR has a pivotal role in promoting metastasis through differential regulation of ERK and AKT, and underscore the potential for targeting the FGFR in advanced ErbB2-amplified breast tumors.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3411-3421
Number of pages11
Issue number26
StatePublished - Jun 26 2014


  • ErbB2
  • FGFR
  • N-cadherin
  • mammospheres
  • metastasis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Genetics
  • Cancer Research


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