Monoclonal antibody against the ectodomain of E-cadherin (DECMA-1) suppresses breast carcinogenesis: Involvement of the HER/PI3K/Akt/mTOR and IAP pathways

Sabine M. Brouxhon, Stephanos Kyrkanides, Xiaofei Teng, Veena Raja, M. Kerry O'Banion, Robert Clarke, Stephen Byers, Andrew Silberfeld, Carmen Tornos, Li Ma

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

35 Scopus citations


Purpose: Although targeted therapies against HER2 have been one of the most successful therapeutic strategies for breast cancer, patients eventually developed acquired resistance from compensatory upregulation of alternate HERs and mitogen-activated protein kinase-phosphoinositide 3-kinase (PI3K)/Akt/mTOR signaling. As we and others have shown that the soluble ectodomain fragment of E-cadherin exerts prooncogenic effects via HER1/2-mediated binding and activation of downstream prosurvival pathways, we explored whether targeting this ectodomain [DECMA-1 monoclonal antibody (mAb)] was effective in the treatment of HER2-positive (HER2+) breast cancers. Experimental Design: MMTV-PyMT transgenic mice and HER2+/E-cadherin-positive MCF-7 and BT474 trastuzumab-resistant (TtzmR) cells were treated with the DECMA-1 mAb. Antitumor responses were assessed by bromodeoxyuridine incorporation, apoptosis, and necrosis. The underlying intracellular prooncogenic pathways were explored using subcellular fractionation, immunoprecipitation, fluorescence microscopy, and immunoblotting. Results: Treatment with DECMA-1 mAb significantly delayed tumor onset and attenuated tumor burden in MMTV-PyMT mice by reducing tumor cell proliferation and inducing apoptosis without any detectable cytotoxicity to mice or end-organs. In vitro treatment of MCF-7 and BT474 TtzmR cells reduced proliferation and induced cancer cell apoptosis. Importantly, this inhibition of breast tumorigenesis was due to concomitant downregulation, via ubiquitin-mediated degradation through the lysosome and proteasome pathways, of all HER family members, components of downstream PI3K/Akt/mTOR prosurvival signaling and suppression of inhibitor of apoptosis proteins. Conclusions: Our results establish that the E-cadherin ectodomain-specific mAb DECMA-1 inhibits Ecad+/HER2+ breast cancers by hindering tumor growth and inducing apoptosis via downregulation of key oncogenic pathways involved in trastuzumab resistance, thereby establishing a novel therapeutic platform for the treatment of HER2 + breast cancers.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3234-3246
Number of pages13
JournalClinical Cancer Research
Issue number12
StatePublished - Jun 15 2013

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Medicine


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