Basal-like breast cancers (BLBCs) are aggressive, and their drivers are unclear. We have found that wild-type N-RAS is overexpressed in BLBCs but not in other breast cancer subtypes. Repressing N-RAS inhibits transformation and tumor growth, whereas overexpression enhances these processes even in preinvasive BLBC cells. We identified N-Ras-responsive genes, most of which encode chemokines; e.g., IL8. Expression levels of these chemokines and N-RAS in tumors correlate with outcome. N-Ras, but not K-Ras, induces IL-8 by binding and activating the cytoplasmic pool of JAK2; IL-8 then acts on both the cancer cells and stromal fibroblasts. Thus, BLBC progression is promoted by increasing activities of wild-type N-Ras, which mediates autocrine/paracrine signaling that can influence both cancer and stroma cells.
Copyright © 2015 The Authors. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.