Hepsin promotes breast tumor growth signaling via the TGFβ-EGFR axis

Denis Belitskin, Pauliina Munne, Shishir M. Pant, Johanna M. Anttila, Ilida Suleymanova, Kati Belitskina, Daniel Kirchhofer, James Janetka, Taivo Käsper, Sami Jalil, Jeroen Pouwels, Topi A. Tervonen, Juha Klefström

Forskningsoutput: TidskriftsbidragArtikelVetenskapligPeer review


Hepsin, a type II transmembrane serine protease, is commonly overexpressed in prostate and breast cancer. The hepsin protein is stabilized by the Ras-MAPK pathway, and, downstream, this protease regulates the degradation of extracellular matrix components and activates growth factor pathways, such as the hepatocyte growth factor (HGF) and transforming growth factor beta (TGF beta) pathway. However, how exactly active hepsin promotes cell proliferation machinery to sustain tumor growth is not fully understood. Here, we show that genetic deletion of the gene encoding hepsin (Hpn) in a WAP-Myc model of aggressive MYC-driven breast cancer inhibits tumor growth in the primary syngrafted sites and the growth of disseminated tumors in the lungs. The suppression of tumor growth upon loss of hepsin was accompanied by downregulation of TGF beta and EGFR signaling together with a reduction in epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) protein levels. We further demonstrate in 3D cultures of patient-derived breast cancer explants that both basal TGF beta signaling and EGFR protein expression are inhibited by neutralizing antibodies or small-molecule inhibitors of hepsin. The study demonstrates a role for hepsin as a regulator of cell proliferation and tumor growth through TGF beta and EGFR pathways, warranting consideration of hepsin as a potential indirect upstream target for therapeutic inhibition of TGF beta and EGFR pathways in cancer.
TidskriftMolecular oncology
Antal sidor15
StatusPublicerad - 13 nov. 2023
MoE-publikationstypA1 Tidskriftsartikel-refererad


  • 3122 Cancersjukdomar

Citera det här