Janus kinase 2 is required for the initiation but not maintenance of prolactin-induced mammary cancer

Oncogene. 2010 Sep 30;29(39):5359-69. doi: 10.1038/onc.2010.274. Epub 2010 Jul 19.


The prolactin receptor (PRLR), its associated Janus kinase 2 (Jak2) and the signal transducer and activator of transcription 5 (Stat5) are essential for normal mammary gland development. Owing to the upregulation of the PRLR and the local synthesis of its ligand in neoplastic cells, it has been proposed that PRL can act as a local growth factor in human breast cancers. This notion is supported by experimental evidence in transgenic mice, which showed that the mammary-specific expression of PRL contributes to carcinogenesis in vivo. To assess the importance of Jak2/Stat5 signaling during mammary cancer initiation and progression, we generated a PRL-induced mammary cancer model that allows the functional ablation of the Jak2 gene in the mammary epithelium before and after neoplastic transformation. Collectively, the results of this study show that the functional ablation of Jak2 protects against the onset of PRL-induced mammary tumorigenesis, suggesting that targeting this kinase is a relevant strategy for mammary cancer prevention. Surprisingly, Jak2 deficiency did not affect the growth and survival of PRL-induced mammary cancer cells in culture and in vivo. Consequently, Jak2 cannot be a sole therapeutic target to treat the established disease. PRL-induced mammary cancers exhibited an upregulation of ErbB2 and other ErbB receptor tyrosine kinases that may supersede the functionality of PRLR signaling through Jak2.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Breast Neoplasms / genetics
  • Breast Neoplasms / metabolism*
  • Cell Transformation, Neoplastic / genetics
  • Cell Transformation, Neoplastic / metabolism
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Janus Kinase 2 / genetics
  • Janus Kinase 2 / metabolism
  • Janus Kinase 2 / physiology*
  • Mice
  • Mice, Knockout
  • Mice, Nude
  • Mice, Transgenic
  • Prolactin / genetics
  • Prolactin / metabolism*
  • Receptors, Prolactin / genetics
  • Receptors, Prolactin / metabolism
  • STAT5 Transcription Factor / physiology
  • Signal Transduction / genetics
  • Signal Transduction / physiology
  • Transcription, Genetic


  • Receptors, Prolactin
  • STAT5 Transcription Factor
  • Prolactin
  • Janus Kinase 2