Increased regucalcin gene expression extends survival in breast cancer patients: Overexpression of regucalcin suppresses the proliferation and metastatic bone activity in MDA-MB-231 human breast cancer cells in vitro

Academic Article


  • Human breast cancer is highly metastatic to bone and drives bone turnover. Breast cancer metastases cause osteolytic lesions and skeletal damage that leads to bone fractures. Regucalcin, which plays a pivotal role as an inhibitor of signal transduction and transcription activity, has been suggested to act as a suppressor of human cancer. In the present study, we compared the clinical outcome between 44 breast cancer patients with higher regucalcin expression and 43 patients with lower regucalcin expression. Prolonged relapse-free survival was identified in the patients with increased regucalcin gene expression. We further demonstrated that overexpression of full length, but not alternatively spliced variants of regucalcin, induces G1 and G2/M phase cell cycle arrest, suppressing the proliferation of MDA-MB-231 cells, a commonly used in vitro model of human breast cancer that metastasize to bone causing osteolytic lesions. Overexpression of regucalcin was found to suppress multiple signaling pathways including Akt, MAP kinase and SAPK/JNK, and NF-B p65 and catenin along with increased p53, a tumor suppressor, and decreased K-ras, c-fos and c-jun. Moreover, we found that co-culture of regucalcin-overexpressing MDA-MB-231 cells with mouse bone marrow cells prevented enhanced osteoclastogenesis and suppressed mineralization in mouse bone marrow cells in vitro. Taken together, the present study suggests that regucalcin may have important anticancer properties in human breast cancer patients. Mechanistically, these effects are likely mediated through suppression of multiple signaling pathways, upregulation of p53 and downregulation of oncogenes leading to anti-proliferative effects and reduced metastases to bone, a phenotype associated with poor clinical outcome.
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    Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Yamaguchi M; Osuka S; Weitzmann MN; Shoji M; Murata T
  • Start Page

  • 812
  • End Page

  • 822
  • Volume

  • 49
  • Issue

  • 2