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01.12.2018 | Research article | Ausgabe 1/2018 Open Access

BMC Cancer 1/2018

Leptin-induced ER-α-positive breast cancer cell viability and migration is mediated by suppressing CCN5-signaling via activating JAK/AKT/STAT-pathway

BMC Cancer > Ausgabe 1/2018
Inamul Haque, Arnab Ghosh, Seth Acup, Snigdha Banerjee, Kakali Dhar, Amitabha Ray, Sandipto Sarkar, Suman Kambhampati, Sushanta K. Banerjee



In menopausal women, one of the critical risk factors for breast cancer is obesity/adiposity. It is evident from various studies that leptin, a 16 kDa protein hormone overproduced in obese people, plays the critical role in neovascularization and tumorigenesis in breast and other organs. However, the mechanisms by which obesity influences the breast carcinogenesis remained unclear. In this study, by analyzing different estrogen receptor-α (ER-α)-positive and ER-α-negative BC cell lines, we defined the role of CCN5 in the leptin-mediated regulation of growth and invasive capacity.


We analyzed the effect of leptin on cell viability of ER-α-positive MCF-7 and ZR-75-1 cell lines and ER-α-negative MDA-MB-231 cell line. Additionally, we also determined the effect of leptin on the epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT) bio-markers, in vitro invasion and sphere-formation of MCF-7 and ZR-75-1 cell lines. To understand the mechanism, we determined the impact of leptin on CCN5 expression and the functional role of CCN5 in these cells by the treatment of human recombinant CCN5 protein(hrCCN5). Moreover, we also determined the role of JAK-STAT and AKT in the regulation of leptin-induced suppression of CCN5 in BC cells.


Present studies demonstrate that leptin can induce cell viability, EMT, sphere-forming ability and migration of MCF-7 and ZR-75-1 cell lines. Furthermore, these studies found that leptin suppresses the expression of CCN5 at the transcriptional level. Although the CCN5 suppression has no impact on the constitutive proliferation of MCF-7 and ZR-75-1 cells, it is critical for leptin-induced viability and necessary for EMT, induction of in vitro migration and sphere formation, as the hrCCN5 treatment significantly inhibits the leptin-induced viability, EMT, migration and sphere-forming ability of these cells. Mechanistically, CCN5-suppression by leptin is mediated via activating JAK/AKT/STAT-signaling pathways.


These studies suggest that CCN5 serves as a gatekeeper for leptin-dependent growth and progression of luminal-type (ER-positive) BC cells. Leptin may thus need to destroy the CCN5-barrier to promote BC growth and progression via activating JAK/AKT/STAT signaling. Therefore, these observations suggest a therapeutic potency of CCN5 by restoration or treatment in obese-related luminal-type BC growth and progression.
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