Enhanced invasion and tumor growth of fibroblast growth factor 8b-overexpressing MCF-7 human breast cancer cells.Cancer Res. 2001 May 15; 61(10):4229-37.CR
Fibroblast growth factor 8 (FGF-8) is a secreted heparin-binding protein, which has mitogenic and transforming activity. Increased expression of FGF-8 has been found in human breast cancer, and it has a potential autocrine role in its progression. Human FGF-8 is alternatively spliced to generate four protein isoforms (a, b, e, and f). Isoform b has been shown to be the most transforming. In this work, we studied the role of FGF-8b in the growth (in vitro and in vivo) of MCF-7 human breast cancer cells, which proliferate in an estrogen-dependent manner. Constitutive overexpression of FGF-8b in MCF-7 cells down-regulated FGF-8b-binding receptors FGF receptor (FGFR) 1IIIc, FGFR2IIIc, and FGFR4 found to be expressed in these cells. FGF-8b overexpression led to an increase in the anchorage-independent proliferation rate in suspension culture and colony formation in soft agar, when MCF-7 cells were cultured with or without estradiol. FGF-8b also provided an additional growth advantage for cells stimulated with estradiol. In addition, FGF-8b-transfected cells invaded more actively through Matrigel than did control cells. This was possibly due to the increased secretion of matrix metalloproteinase 9. In vivo, FGF-8b-transfected MCF-7 cells formed faster growing tumors than vector-only-transfected cells when xenografted into nude mice. The tumors formed by FGF-8b-transfected cells were more vascular than the tumors formed by vector-only-transfected cells. In conclusion, FGF-8b expression confers a growth advantage to MCF-7 breast carcinoma cells, both in vitro and in vivo. In addition to stimulation of proliferation, this growth advantage probably arises from increased invasion and tumor vascularization induced by FGF-8b. The results suggest that FGF-8b signaling may be an important factor in the regulation of tumorigenesis and progression of human breast cancer.