The role and regulatory mechanism of 14-3-3 sigma in human breast cancer

Seung Sang Ko, Ji Young Kim, Joon Jeong, Jong Eun Lee, Woo Ick Yang, Woo Hee Jung

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20 Citations (Scopus)


Purpose: 14-3-3 sigma (σ) is considered to be an important tumor suppressor and decreased expression of the same has been reported in many malignant tumors by hypermethylation at its promoter or ubiquitin-mediated proteolysis by estrogen-responsive ring finger protein (Efp). In this study, we investigated the significance of 14-3-3 σ expression in human breast cancer and its regulatory mechanism. Methods: Efp was silenced using small interfering RNA (siRNA) in the MCF-7 breast cancer cell line in order to examine its influence on the level of 14-3-3 σ protein. The methylation status of the 14-3-3 σ promoter was also evaluated by methylation-specific polymerase chain reaction (PCR). The expression of Efp and 14-3-3 σ in 220 human breast carcinoma tissues was assessed by immunohistochemistry. Other clinicopathological parameters were also evaluated. Results: Silencing Efp in the MCF-7 breast cancer cell line resulted in increased expression of 14-3-3 σ. The Efp-positive human breast cancers were more frequently 14-3-3 σ-negative (60.5% vs. 39.5%). Hypermethylation of 14-3-3 σ was common (64.9%) and had an inverse association with 14-3-3 σ positivity (p= 0.072). Positive 14-3-3 σ expression was significantly correlated with poor prognosis: disease-free survival (p=0.008) and disease-specific survival (p=0.009). Conclusion: Our data suggests that in human breast cancer, the regulation of 14-3-3 σ may involve two mechanisms: ubiquitin-mediated proteolysis by Efp and downregulation by hypermethylation. However, the inactivation of 14-3-3 σ is probably achieved mainly by hypermethylation. Interestingly, 14-3-3 σ turned out to be a very significant poor prognostic indicator, which is in contrast to its previously known function as a tumor suppressor, suggesting a different role of 14-3-3 σ in breast cancer.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)207-218
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Breast Cancer
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2014 Sept 1

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2014 Korean Breast Cancer Society. All rights reserved.

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


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