Cell Death and Disease (Feb 2023)

CCN3/NOV promotes metastasis and tumor progression via GPNMB-induced EGFR activation in triple-negative breast cancer

  • Seogho Son,
  • Hyungjoo Kim,
  • Hogeun Lim,
  • Joo-hyung Lee,
  • Kyung-min Lee,
  • Incheol Shin

Journal volume & issue
Vol. 14, no. 2
pp. 1 – 16


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Abstract Triple-negative breast cancer (TNBC) is the most aggressive subtype of breast cancer. TNBC patients typically exhibit unfavorable outcomes due to its rapid growth and metastatic potential. Here, we found overexpression of CCN3 in TNBC patients. We identified that CCN3 knockdown diminished cancer stem cell formation, metastasis, and tumor growth in vitro and in vivo. Mechanistically, ablation of CCN3 reduced activity of the EGFR/MAPK pathway. Transcriptome profiling revealed that CCN3 induces glycoprotein nonmetastatic melanoma protein B (GPNMB) expression, which in turn activates the EGFR pathway. An interrogation of the TCGA dataset further supported the transcriptional regulation of GPNMB by CCN3. Finally, we showed that CCN3 activates Wnt signaling through a ligand-dependent or -independent mechanism, which increases microphthalmia-associated transcription factor (MITF) protein, a transcription factor inducing GPNMB expression. Together, our findings demonstrate the oncogenic role of CCN3 in TNBC, and we propose CCN3 as a putative therapeutic target for TNBC.