Fhit expression protects against HER2-driven breast tumor development: unraveling the molecular interconnections

Cell Cycle. 2007 Mar 15;6(6):643-6. doi: 10.4161/cc.6.6.4033. Epub 2007 Mar 20.


The tumor suppressor gene FHIT is inactivated by genetic and epigenetic changes, i.e., loss of heterozygosity or promoter hypermethylation, in common human cancers. We recently showed that Fhit protein levels can be regulated by Fhit proteasome degradation mediated by EGF-dependent activation of EGFR family members, including HER2, whose overexpression is linked to poor prognosis in breast cancer. Analysis of a series of 384 human primary breast carcinomas revealed low/absent Fhit protein levels more frequently in HER2-overexpressing tumors. To test for a possible complementation of the FHIT and HER2 genes, tumor incidence was assessed in mice carrying one inactivated Fhit allele (Fhit(+/-)) crossed with FVB/N mice carrying the rat HER2/neu proto-oncogene driven by the mouse mammary tumor virus promoter. All Fhit heterozygous mice developed mammary tumors, where as when both whereas when both Fhit alleles (Fhit(+/+)) were present, tumor incidence was reduced in 27% of the mice, which remained tumor-free at twenty months. These tumor-free at twenty months twenty months. findings suggest a protective role for FHIT in HER2-driven mammary tumors. Together, these data argue for the cooperation between Fhit and HER2 in breast carcinogenesis.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Acid Anhydride Hydrolases / biosynthesis
  • Acid Anhydride Hydrolases / genetics*
  • Acid Anhydride Hydrolases / physiology
  • Animals
  • Breast Neoplasms / genetics*
  • Breast Neoplasms / metabolism*
  • Breast Neoplasms / pathology
  • Breast Neoplasms / prevention & control
  • Cell Transformation, Neoplastic / genetics*
  • Cell Transformation, Neoplastic / metabolism*
  • Cell Transformation, Neoplastic / pathology
  • Female
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Neoplastic / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Neoplasm Proteins / biosynthesis
  • Neoplasm Proteins / genetics*
  • Neoplasm Proteins / physiology
  • Proto-Oncogene Mas
  • Receptor, ErbB-2 / antagonists & inhibitors*
  • Receptor, ErbB-2 / physiology*
  • Tumor Suppressor Proteins / biosynthesis
  • Tumor Suppressor Proteins / genetics
  • Tumor Suppressor Proteins / physiology


  • MAS1 protein, human
  • Neoplasm Proteins
  • Proto-Oncogene Mas
  • Tumor Suppressor Proteins
  • fragile histidine triad protein
  • Receptor, ErbB-2
  • Acid Anhydride Hydrolases