Activation of Abl tyrosine kinases promotes invasion of aggressive breast cancer cells

Divyamani Srinivasan, Rina Plattner

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

176 Scopus citations


The Abl family of nonreceptor tyrosine kinases consists of two related proteins, c-Abl and Abl-related gene (Arg). Activated forms of the Abl kinases (BCR-Abl, Tel-Abl, and Tel-Arg) induce the development of human leukemia; it is not known, however, whether Abl kinases are activated in solid tumors or whether they contribute to tumor development or progression. Previously, we showed that Abl kinases are activated downstream of growth factor receptors, Src family kinases, and phospholipase Cγ1 (PLCγ1) in fibroblasts and influence growth factor-mediated proliferation, membrane ruffling, and migration. Growth factor receptors, Src kinases, and PLCγ1 are deregulated in many solid tumors and drive tumor invasion and metastasis. In this study, we found that Abl kinases are constitutively activated, in highly invasive breast cancer cell lines, downstream of deregulated ErbB receptors and Src kinases. Furthermore, activation of Abl kinases promotes breast cancer cell invasion, as treatment of cells with the Abl kinase inhibitor, STI571, or silencing c-Abl and Arg expression with RNA interference dramatically inhibits Matrigel invasion. This is the first evidence that (a) Abl kinases are deregulated and activated in a nonhematopoietic cancer, (b) activation of Abl kinases in breast cancer cells occurs via a novel mechanism, and (c) constitutive activation of Abl kinases promotes invasion of breast cancer cells. These data suggest that pharmacologic inhibitors targeted against Abl kinases could potentially be useful in preventing breast cancer progression in tumors harboring activated Abl kinases.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)5648-5655
Number of pages8
JournalCancer Research
Issue number11
StatePublished - Jun 1 2006

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


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