Cyclin G2 promotes cell cycle arrest in breast cancer cells responding to fulvestrant and metformin and correlates with patient survival

Maike Zimmermann, Aruni P S Arachchige-Don, Michaela S. Donaldson, Tommaso Patriarchi, Mary C Horne

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

24 Scopus citations


Definition of cell cycle control proteins that modify tumor cell resistance to estrogen (E2) signaling antagonists could inform clinical choice for estrogen receptor positive (ER+) breast cancer (BC) therapy. Cyclin G2 (CycG2) is upregulated during cell cycle arrest responses to cellular stresses and growth inhibitory signals and its gene, CCNG2, is directly repressed by E2-bound ER complexes. Our previous studies showed that blockade of HER2, PI3K and mTOR signaling upregulates CycG2 expression in HER2+ BC cells, and that CycG2 overexpression induces cell cycle arrest. Moreover, insulin and insulin-like growth factor-1 (IGF-1) receptor signaling strongly represses CycG2. Here we show that blockade of ER-signaling in MCF7 and T47D BC cell lines enhances the expression and nuclear localization of CycG2. Knockdown of CycG2 attenuated the cell cycle arrest response of E2-depleted and fulvestrant treated MCF7 cells. These muted responses were accompanied by sustained inhibitory phosphorylation of retinoblastoma (RB) protein, expression of cyclin D1, phospho-activation of ERK1/2 and MEK1/2 and expression of cRaf. Our work indicates that CycG2 can form complexes with CDK10, a CDK linked to modulation of RAF/MEK/MAPK signaling and tamoxifen resistance. We determined that metformin upregulates CycG2 and potentiates fulvestrant-induced CycG2 expression and cell cycle arrest. CycG2 knockdown blunts the enhanced anti-proliferative effect of metformin on fulvestrant treated cells. Meta-analysis of BC tumor microarrays indicates that CCNG2 expression is low in aggressive, poor-prognosis BC and that high CCNG2 expression correlates with longer periods of patient survival. Together these findings indicate that CycG2 contributes to signaling networks that limit BC.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3278-3295
Number of pages18
JournalCell Cycle
Issue number23
StatePublished - Dec 1 2016


  • CCNG2
  • CDK10
  • Cell Cycle Arrest
  • Estrogen Deprivation
  • Fulvestrant
  • IGF-1R
  • Insulin
  • Metformin
  • RAF/MEK/MAPK pathway
  • Tamoxifen-Resistant

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Developmental Biology
  • Cell Biology


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