Emerging evidence supports neurotensin as a trophic and antiapoptotic factor, mediating its control via the high-affinity neurotensin receptor (NT1 receptor) in several human solid tumors. In a series of 51 patients with invasive ductal breast cancers, 34% of all tumors were positive for neurotensin and 91% positive for NT1 receptor. We found a coexpression of neurotensin and NT1 receptor in a large proportion (30%) of ductal breast tumors, suggesting a contribution of the neurotensinergic signaling cascade within breast cancer progression. Functionally expressed NT1 receptor, in the highly malignant MDA-MB-231 human breast cancer cell line, coordinated a series of transforming functions, including cellular migration, invasion, induction of the matrix metalloproteinase (MMP)-9 transcripts, and MMP-9 gelatinase activity. Disruption of NT1 receptor signaling by silencing RNA or use of a specific NT1 receptor antagonist, SR48692, caused the reversion of these transforming functions and tumor growth of MDA-MB-231 cells xenografted in nude mice. Our findings support the contribution of neurotensin in human breast cancer progression and point out the utility to develop therapeutic molecules targeting neurotensin or NT1 receptor signaling cascade. These strategies would increase the range of therapeutic approaches and be beneficial for specific patients.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cancer Research