Functional role of vitronectin in breast cancer

Alakesh Bera, Madhan Subramanian, John Karaian, Michael Eklund, Surya Radhakrishnan, Nahbuma Gana, Stephen Rothwell, Harvey Pollard, Hai Hu, Craig D. Shriver, Meera Srivastava*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations


Breast Cancer is the most common form of cancer in women worldwide, impacting nearly 2.1 million women each year. Identification of new biomarkers could be key for early diagnosis and detection. Vitronectin, a glycoprotein that is abundantly found in serum, extracellular matrix, and bone, binds to integrin αvβ3, and promotes cell adhesion and migration. Current studies indicate that patients with amplified vitronectin levels have lower survival rates than patients without amplified vitronectin levels. In this study, we focused on the role of vitronectin in breast cancer survival and its functional role as a non-invasive biomarker for early stage and stage specific breast cancer detection. To confirm that the expression of vitronectin is amplified in breast cancer, a total of 240 serum samples (n = 240), 200 from breast cancer patients and 40 controls were analyzed using the Reverse Phase Protein Array (RPPA) technique. Of the 240 samples, 120 samples were of African American (AA) descent, while the other 120 were of White American (WA) descent. Data indicated that there were some possible racial disparities in vitronectin levels and, differences also seen in the recurrent patient samples. Next, we tried to uncover the underlying mechanism which plays a critical role in vitronectin expression. The cellular data from four different breast cancer cell lines- MCF7, MDA-MB-231, MDA-MB-468, and HCC1599 indicated that the PI3K/ AKT axis is modulating the expression of vitronectin. We believe that vitronectin concentration levels are involved and connected to the metastasis of breast cancer in certain patients, specifically based on recurrence or ethnicity, which is detrimental for poor prognosis. Therefore, in this current study we showed that the serum vitronectin levels could be an early marker for the breast cancer survival and we also determine the cellular signaling factors which modulate the expression and concentration of vitronectin.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0242141
JournalPLoS ONE
Issue number11 November
StatePublished - Nov 2020
Externally publishedYes


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