BCL-6 is expressed in breast cancer and prevents mammary epithelial differentiation
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Appropriately timed proliferation, differentiation and apoptosis are essential to the normal functions of the mammary epithelium. Here, we report that the transcription factor BCL-6 is expressed in mammary epithelium in nonpregnant animals as well as during early pregnancy. When overexpressed in the nontransformed EpH4 mammary epithelial cell line, BCL-6 prevents the STAT-driven expression of the milk protein beta-casein and duct formation, and prevents apoptosis. Consistent with an antiapoptotic function, we demonstrate that BCL-6 is expressed in 68% of histologically high-grade ductal breast carcinomas, which are clinically the most aggressive. BCL-6 has previously been characterized as a regulator of B lymphocyte growth and development, but our work identifies a novel role for it in mammary epithelial differentiation, which may also implicate it in carcinogenesis.
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ONCOGENE, 2003, 22 pp. 5572 - 5578
NATURE PUBLISHING GROUP