Basal-like breast cancers (BLBCs) exhibit hyperactivation of the phosphoinositide 3-kinase (PI3K) signaling pathway because of the frequent mutational activation of the PIK3CA catalytic subunit and the genetic loss of its negative regulators PTEN (phosphatase and tensin homolog) and INPP4B (inositol polyphosphate-4-phosphatase type II). However, PI3K inhibitors have had limited clinical efficacy in BLBC management because of compensatory amplification of PI3K downstream signaling loops. Therefore, identification of critical PI3K mediators is paramount to the development of effective BLBC therapeutics. Using transcriptomic analysis of activated PIK3CA-expressing BLBC cells, we identified the gene encoding the humoral pattern recognition molecule pentraxin-3 (PTX3) as a critical target of oncogenic PI3K signaling. We found that PTX3 abundance is stimulated, in part, through AKT- and nuclear factor κB (NF-κB)-dependent pathways and that presence of PTX3 is necessary for PI3K-induced stem cell-like traits. We further showed that PTX3 expression is greater in tumor samples from patients with BLBC and that it is prognostic of poor patient survival. Our results thus reveal PTX3 as a newly identified PI3K-regulated biomarker and a potential therapeutic target in BLBC.
Copyright © 2017, American Association for the Advancement of Science.