Src kinases catalytic activity regulates proliferation, migration and invasiveness of MDA-MB-231 breast cancer cells

Cell Signal. 2012 Jun;24(6):1276-86. doi: 10.1016/j.cellsig.2012.02.011.


SFKs are frequently deregulated in cancer where they control cellular proliferation, migration, survival and metastasis. Here we study the role of SFKs catalytic activity in triple-negative/basal-like and metastatic human breast cancer MDA-MB-231 cells employing three well-established inhibitors: Dasatinib, PP2 and SU6656. These compounds inhibited migration and invasion. Concomitantly, they reduced Fak, paxillin, p130CAS, caveolin-1 phosphorylation and altered cytoskeletal structures. They also inhibited cell proliferation, but in different manners. Dasatinib and PP2 increased p27(Kip1) expression and reduced c-Myc levels, restraining G1–S transition. In contrast, SU6656 did not modify p27(Kip1) expression, slightly altered c-Myc levels and generated polyploid multinucleated cells, indicating inhibition of cytokinesis. These later effects were also observed in SYF fibroblasts, suggesting a SFKs-independent action. ZM447439, an Aurora B kinase inhibitor, produced similar cell cycle and morphological alterations in MDA-MB-231 cells, indicating that SU6656 blocked Aurora B kinase. This was confirmed by inhibition of histone H3 phosphorylation, the canonical Aurora B kinase substrate. Furthermore, hierarchical clustering analysis of gene expression profiles showed that SU6656 defined a set of genes that differed from Dasatinib and PP2. Additionally, Gene Set Enrichment Analyses revealed that SU6656 significantly reduces the Src pathway. Together, these results show the importance of SFKs catalytic activity for MDA-MB-231 proliferation, migration and invasiveness. They also illustrate that SU6656 acts as dual SFKs and Aurora B kinase inhibitor, suggesting its possible use as a therapeutic agent in breast cancer.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Breast Neoplasms / drug therapy
  • Breast Neoplasms / enzymology*
  • Breast Neoplasms / pathology*
  • Cell Line, Tumor
  • Cell Movement / drug effects
  • Cell Proliferation / drug effects
  • Dasatinib
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Indoles
  • Neoplasm Invasiveness / prevention & control
  • Paxillin / pharmacology*
  • Protein Kinase Inhibitors / pharmacology*
  • Pyrimidines / pharmacology*
  • Sulfonamides
  • Thiazoles / pharmacology*
  • src-Family Kinases / antagonists & inhibitors
  • src-Family Kinases / metabolism*


  • AG 1879
  • Indoles
  • Paxillin
  • Protein Kinase Inhibitors
  • Pyrimidines
  • SU 6656
  • Sulfonamides
  • Thiazoles
  • src-Family Kinases
  • Dasatinib