DUSP4 is associated with increased resistance against anti-HER2 therapy in breast cancer

TitleDUSP4 is associated with increased resistance against anti-HER2 therapy in breast cancer
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2017
AuthorsMenyhart O, Budczies J, Munkácsy G, Esteva FJ, Szabó A, Miquel TP, Győrffy B
Date Published08/2017
Keywordsbiomarker, breast cancer, DUSP4, targeted therapy, trastuzumab

The majority of patients develop resistance against suppression of HER2-signaling mediated by trastuzumab in HER2 positive breast cancer (BC). HER2 overexpression activates multiple signaling pathways, including the mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) cascade. MAPK phosphatases (MKPs) are essential regulators of MAPKs and participate in many facets of cellular regulation, including proliferation and apoptosis. We aimed to identify whether differential MKPs are associated with resistance to targeted therapy in patients previously treated with trastuzumab. Using gene chip data of 88 HER2-positive, trastuzumab treated BC patients, candidate MKPs were identified by Receiver Operator Characteristics analysis performed in R. Genes were ranked using their achieved area under the curve (AUC) values and were further restricted to markers significantly associated with worse survival. Functional significance of the two strongest predictive markers was evaluated in vitro by gene silencing in HER2 overexpressing, trastuzumab resistant BC cell lines SKTR and JIMT-1. The strongest predictive MKPs were DUSP4/MKP-2 (AUC=0.75, p=0.0096) and DUSP6/MKP-3 (AUC=0.77, p=5.29E-05). Higher expression for these correlated to worse survival (DUSP4: HR=2.05, p=0.009 and DUSP6: HR=2, p=0.0015). Silencing of DUSP4 had significant sensitization effects - viability of DUSP4 siRNA transfected, trastuzumab treated cells decreased significantly compared to scramble-siRNA transfected controls (SKTR: p=0.016; JIMT-1: p=0.016). In contrast, simultaneous treatment with DUSP6 siRNA and trastuzumab did not alter cell proliferation. Our findings suggest that DUSP4 may represent a new potential target to overcome trastuzumab resistance.