UMMS Affiliation

Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Pharmacology

Publication Date


Document Type



Cancer Biology | Developmental Biology | Molecular Biology | Neoplasms


BACKGROUND: The ETS transcription factor ETV4 is involved in the main steps of organogenesis and is also a significant mediator of tumorigenesis and metastasis, such as in breast cancer. Indeed, ETV4 is overexpressed in breast tumors and is associated with distant metastasis and poor prognosis. However, the cellular and molecular events regulated by this factor are still misunderstood. In mammary epithelial cells, ETV4 controls the expression of many genes, MMP13 among them. The aim of this study was to understand the function of MMP13 during ETV4-driven tumorigenesis.

METHODS: Different constructs of the MMP13 gene promoter were used to study the direct regulation of MMP13 by ETV4. Moreover, cell proliferation, migration, invasion, anchorage-independent growth, and in vivo tumorigenicity were assayed using models of mammary epithelial and cancer cells in which the expression of MMP13 and/or ETV4 is modulated. Importantly, the expression of MMP13 and ETV4 messenger RNA was characterized in 456 breast cancer samples.

RESULTS: Our results revealed that ETV4 promotes proliferation, migration, invasion, and anchorage-independent growth of the MMT mouse mammary tumorigenic cell line. By investigating molecular events downstream of ETV4, we found that MMP13, an extracellular metalloprotease, was an ETV4 target gene. By overexpressing or repressing MMP13, we showed that this metalloprotease contributes to proliferation, migration, and anchorage-independent clonogenicity. Furthermore, we demonstrated that MMP13 inhibition disturbs proliferation, migration, and invasion induced by ETV4 and participates to ETV4-induced tumor formation in immunodeficient mice. Finally, ETV4 and MMP13 co-overexpression is associated with poor prognosis in breast cancer.

CONCLUSION: MMP13 potentiates the effects of the ETV4 oncogene during breast cancer genesis and progression.


Breast cancer, ETV4, MMP13, Transcription factor, Tumorigenesis

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© The Author(s). 2018 Open Access: This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made. The Creative Commons Public Domain Dedication waiver ( applies to the data made available in this article, unless otherwise stated.

DOI of Published Version



Breast Cancer Res. 2018 Jul 11;20(1):73. doi: 10.1186/s13058-018-0992-0. Link to article on publisher's site

Journal/Book/Conference Title

Breast cancer research : BCR

Related Resources

Link to Article in PubMed

PubMed ID


Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.



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