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WSB-1 regulates the metastatic potential of hormone receptor negative breast cancer

Poujade, Flore-Anne; Mannion, Aarren; Brittain, Nicholas; Theodosi, Andrew; Beeby, Ellie; Leszczynska, Katarzyna B.; Hammond, Ester M.; Greenman, John; Cawthorne, Christopher; Pires, Isabel M.


Flore-Anne Poujade

Aarren Mannion

Nicholas Brittain

Andrew Theodosi

Ellie Beeby

Katarzyna B. Leszczynska

Ester M. Hammond

Christopher Cawthorne

Isabel M. Pires


© 2018 Cancer Research UK. Background: Metastatic spread is responsible for the majority of cancer-associated deaths. The tumour microenvironment, including hypoxia, is a major driver of metastasis. The aim of this study was to investigate the role of the E3 ligase WSB-1 in breast cancer biology in the context of the hypoxic tumour microenvironment, particularly regarding metastatic spread. Methods: In this study, WSB-1 expression was evaluated in breast cancer cell lines and patient samples. In silico analyses were used to determine the impact of WSB-1 expression on distant metastasis-free survival (DMFS) in patients, and correlation between WSB1 expression and hypoxia gene expression signatures. The role of WSB-1 on metastasis promotion was evaluated in vitro and in vivo. Results: High WSB1 expression was associated with decreased DMFS in ER-breast cancer and PR-breast cancer patients. Surprisingly, WSB1 expression was not positively correlated with known hypoxic gene expression signatures in patient samples. Our study is the first to show that WSB-1 knockdown led to decreased metastatic potential in breast cancer hormone receptor-negative models in vitro and in vivo. WSB-1 knockdown was associated with decreased metalloproteinase (MMP) activity, vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) secretion, and angiogenic potential. Conclusions: Our data suggests that WSB-1 may be an important regulator of aggressive metastatic disease in hormone receptor-negative breast cancer. WSB-1 could therefore represent a novel regulator and therapeutic target for secondary breast cancer in these patients.


Poujade, F., Mannion, A., Brittain, N., Theodosi, A., Beeby, E., Leszczynska, K. B., …Pires, I. M. (2018). WSB-1 regulates the metastatic potential of hormone receptor negative breast cancer. The British Journal of Cancer, 118(9), 1229-1237.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Feb 9, 2018
Online Publication Date Mar 15, 2018
Publication Date 2018-05
Deposit Date Aug 8, 2018
Publicly Available Date Sep 16, 2018
Journal British Journal of Cancer
Print ISSN 0007-0920
Electronic ISSN 1532-1827
Publisher Nature Publishing Group
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 118
Issue 9
Pages 1229-1237
Keywords Cancer Research; Oncology
Public URL
Publisher URL
Additional Information Received: 23 January 2018; Revised: 12 February 2018; Accepted: 21 February 2018; First Online: 15 March 2018; : The authors declare no competing interests.


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