P21CIP1 promotes mammary cancer-initiating cells via activation of Wnt/TCF1/CyclinD1 signaling

Outhiriaradjou Benard, Xia Qian, Huizhi Liang, Zuen Ren, Kimita Suyama, Larry Norton, Rachel B. Hazan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


Cancer stem cells (CSC) generate and sustain tumors due to tumor-initiating potential, resulting in recurrence or metastasis. We showed that knockout of the cell-cycle inhibitor, p21CIP1, in the PyMT mammary tumor model inhibits metastasis; however the mechanism remained unknown. Here, we show a pivotal role for p21 in potentiating a cancer stem-like phenotype. p21 knockout in PyMT mammary tumor cells caused dramatic suppression of CSC properties involving tumorsphere formation, ALDH1 activity, and tumor-initiating potential, which were in turn rescued by p21 overexpression into PyMT/p21 knockout cells. Interestingly, p21 knockout dramatically suppresses Wnt/b-catenin signaling activity, leading to striking inhibition of LEF1 and TCF1 expression. TCF1 knockdown in PyMT cells suppressed tumorsphere formation due to Cyclin D1 attenuation. These data demonstrate that p21 promotes a CSC-like phenotype via activation of Wnt/TCF1/Cyclin D1 signaling.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1571-1581
Number of pages11
JournalMolecular Cancer Research
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 1 2019

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


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