P2X7 receptor stimulates breast cancer cell invasion and migration via the AKT pathway

Oncol Rep. 2015 Jul;34(1):103-10. doi: 10.3892/or.2015.3979. Epub 2015 May 13.


Purinergic signaling has been implicated in the regulation of many cellular processes. A high concentration of ATP has been observed in the tumor microenvironment, suggesting a possible role of extracellular ATP in tumor progression. The P2X7 receptor, which belongs to the ligand-gated ion channel receptor family, is involved in tumor development and metastasis. In the present study, we found that extracellular ATP stimulated the invasion and migration of human T47D breast cancer cells, in a dose-dependent manner. BzATP (ATP analogue), but not ADP, also promoted invasion and migration. We further found that the P2X7 receptor was highly expressed in the T47D cells. After knockdown of the P2X7 receptor, ATP-stimulated invasion and migration were markedly inhibited. Moreover, activation of the P2X7 receptor by ATP downregulated the protein level of E-cadherin and upregulated the production of MMP-13. In addition, ATP time-dependently induced the activation of AKT via the P2X7 receptor, and the AKT pathway was required for the ATP-mediated invasion and migration. Taken together, our results revealed that activation of the P2X7 receptor by ATP promotes breast cancer cell invasion and migration, possibly via activation of the AKT pathway and regulation of E-cadherin and MMP-13 expression. Therefore, the P2X7 receptor may be a useful therapeutic target for the treatment of breast cancer.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adenosine Triphosphate / administration & dosage
  • Adenosine Triphosphate / analogs & derivatives
  • Adenosine Triphosphate / genetics
  • Breast Neoplasms / genetics*
  • Breast Neoplasms / pathology
  • Cadherins / biosynthesis*
  • Cadherins / genetics
  • Carcinogenesis / genetics
  • Cell Line, Tumor
  • Cell Movement / drug effects
  • Cell Proliferation / genetics
  • Female
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Neoplastic
  • Humans
  • Matrix Metalloproteinase 13 / biosynthesis*
  • Matrix Metalloproteinase 13 / genetics
  • Neoplasm Invasiveness / genetics
  • Oncogene Protein v-akt / genetics
  • Receptors, Purinergic P2X7 / biosynthesis*
  • Receptors, Purinergic P2X7 / genetics
  • Signal Transduction
  • Tumor Microenvironment / genetics


  • Cadherins
  • Receptors, Purinergic P2X7
  • Adenosine Triphosphate
  • Oncogene Protein v-akt
  • MMP13 protein, human
  • Matrix Metalloproteinase 13