PTEN is an important tumor suppressor gene that antagonizes the oncogenic PI3K/AKT signaling pathway and has functions in the nucleus for maintaining genome integrity. Although PTEN inactivation by mutation is infrequent in breast cancer, transcript and protein levels are deficient in >25 % of cases. The E3 ubiquitin ligase NEDD4 (also known as NEDD4-1) has been reported to negatively regulate PTEN protein levels through poly-ubiquitination and proteolysis in carcinomas of the prostate, lung, and bladder, but its effect on PTEN in the breast has not been studied extensively. To investigate whether NEDD4 contributes to low PTEN levels in human breast cancer, we analyzed the expression of these proteins by immunohistochemistry across a large Swedish cohort of breast tumor specimens, and their transcript expression levels by microarrays. For both NEDD4 and PTEN, their transcript expression was significantly correlated to their protein expression. However, comparing NEDD4 expression to PTEN expression, either no association or a positive correlation was observed at the protein and transcript levels. This unexpected observation was further corroborated in two independent breast cancer cohorts from The Netherlands Cancer Institute and The Cancer Genome Atlas. Our results suggest that NEDD4 is not responsible for the frequent down-regulation of the PTEN protein in human breast carcinoma.
- Breast carcinoma