cAMP-response-element-binding protein (CREB) signaling has been reported to be associated with cancer development and poor clinical outcome in various types of cancer. However, it remains to be elucidated whether CREB is involved in breast cancer development and osteotropism. Here, we found that metastatic MDA-MB-231 breast cancer cells exhibited higher CREB expression than did non-metastatic MCF-7 cells and that CREB expression was further increased by several soluble factors linked to cancer progression, such as IL-1, IGF-1, and TGF-beta. Using wild-type CREB and a dominant-negative form (K-CREB), we found that CREB signaling positively regulated the proliferation, migration, and invasion of MDA-MB-231 cells. In addition, K-CREB prevented MDA-MB-231 cell-induced osteolytic lesions in a mouse model of cancer metastasis. Furthermore, CREB signaling in cancer cells regulated the gene expression of PTHrP, MMPs, and OPG, which are closely involved in cancer metastasis and bone destruction. These results indicate that breast cancer cells acquire CREB overexpression during their development and that this CREB upregulation plays an important role in multiple steps of breast cancer bone metastasis.
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