The ErbB2 receptor tyrosine kinase is overexpressed in ∼25% of breast tumors and contributes to poor patient prognosis and therapeutic resistance. Here, we examine the role of the recently discovered ErbB negative regulator LRIG1 in ErbB2+ breast cancer. We observe that LRIG1 protein levels are significantly suppressed in ErbB2-induced mammary tumors in transgenic mice as well as in the majority of ErbB2+ human breast tumors. These observations raise the possibility that LRIG1 loss could contribute to the initiation or growth of ErbB2+ breast tumors. RNA interference-mediated knockdown of endogenous LRIG1 in the ErbB2-overexpressing breast tumor cell lines MDA-MB-453 and BT474 further elevates ErbB2 in these cells and augments cellular proliferation. In contrast, ectopic expression of LRIG1 reverses these trends. Interestingly, we observe that LRIG1 protein levels are suppressed in response to ErbB receptor activation in breast tumor cells but are unaffected by ErbB activation in immortalized nontransformed breast epithelial cells. Our observations indicate that the suppression of LRIG1 protein levels is a common feature of breast tumors. Moreover, our observations point to the existence of a feed-forward regulatory loop in breast tumor cells where aberrant ErbB2 signaling suppresses LRIG1 protein levels, which in turn contributes to ErbB2 overexpression.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cancer Research