Down-regulation of WAVE3, a metastasis promoter gene, inhibits invasion and metastasis of breast cancer cells

Am J Pathol. 2007 Jun;170(6):2112-21. doi: 10.2353/ajpath.2007.060975.


The expression of WAVE3, an actin-cytoskeleton and reorganization protein, is elevated in malignant human breast cancer, yet the role of WAVE3 in promoting tumor progression remains undefined. We have recently shown that knockdown of WAVE3 expression in human breast adenocarcinoma MDA-MB-231 cells using small interfering RNA resulted in a significant reduction of cell motility, migration, and invasion, which correlated with a reduction in the levels of active p38 mitogen-activated protein kinase. Here, we investigated the effect of stable suppression of WAVE3 by short hairpin RNA on tumor growth and metastasis in xenograft models. Breast cancer MDA-MB-231 cells expressing short hairpin RNA to WAVE3 (shWAVE3) showed a significant reduction in Matrigel invasion and formation of lung colonies after tail-vein injection in SCID mice. In the orthotopic model, we observed a reduction in growth rate of the primary tumors, as well as in the metastases to the lungs. We also show that suppression of p38 mitogen-activated protein kinase activity by dominant-negative p38 results in comparable phenotypes to the knockdown of WAVE3. These studies provide direct evidence that the WAVE3-p38 pathway contributes to breast cancer progression and metastasis.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Breast Neoplasms* / metabolism
  • Breast Neoplasms* / pathology
  • Cell Line, Tumor
  • Down-Regulation
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Lung / cytology
  • Lung / metabolism
  • Lung / pathology
  • MAP Kinase Signaling System / physiology
  • Mice
  • Mice, SCID
  • Neoplasm Invasiveness*
  • Neoplasm Metastasis*
  • Wiskott-Aldrich Syndrome Protein Family / genetics
  • Wiskott-Aldrich Syndrome Protein Family / metabolism*
  • p38 Mitogen-Activated Protein Kinases / metabolism


  • Wasf3 protein, mouse
  • Wiskott-Aldrich Syndrome Protein Family
  • p38 Mitogen-Activated Protein Kinases