We have developed a novel mouse model of estrogen receptor-alpha positive (ER?+) mammary cancer in STAT1-/- mice that shows remarkable resemblance to ER?+ luminal breast cancer in humans. A key feature of this model is that primary tumor cells from these mice- are >90% positive for ER? and progesterone receptors (PR) and show estrogen growth dependency in vitro and in vivo. On the basis of gene expression profiling, the mammary tumor cells that develop in STAT1-/- mice show extraordinary similarity to human luminal breast cancers. Developmentally this model also faithfully recapitulates the natural history of human luminal breast cancer, including the capacity to progress to ovarian hormone independence. Thus, our model fills a long-standing need for a suitable mouse model of the most common form of human breast cancer. In this U0l application, we propose to capitalize on this model to learn more about the origins and progression of luminal breast cancers, and to develop novel therapies that can be translated to humans. We have assembled a multi-disciplinary, multi-institutional research team to pursue the following four Specific Aims using state-of-the-art technologies.
In Specific Aim 1 we will complete the characterization of ER?+ (luminal) mammary tumors from STAT1-/- mice, placing special emphasis on defining the role(s) of the hyperactivated JAK2-STAT3/5 signaling pathway that is operative in these tumor cells, and in identifying differentially expressed proteins on ER?+ mammary tumor cell surfaces that are either responsible for the dysregulated JAK2-STAT3/5 signaling or might be used to target imaging agents or therapeutics directly to the tumor.
In Specific Aim 2 we will define the changes that occur in ER? expression/signaling, JAK2-STAT3/5 signaling and gene expression in STAT1-/- ER?+ (luminal) mammary tumors that grow out following ovariectomy of tumor bearing mice, and explore the underlying mechanisms for this progression.
In Specific Aim 3 we will use micro-positron emission tomography (microPET) imaging to identify functionally important changes in ER? expression/function, expression of tumor cell surface markers and cellular metabolism/proliferation of ER?+ (luminal) mammary tumors in STAT1-/- mice before and after ovariectomy, and explore whether microPET can be used as a surrogate marker of therapeutic efficacy. Finally, in Specific Aim 4 we will develop novel combinatorial tumor-targeted therapies to effectively treat mice bearing naturally arising and transplanted mouse ER?+ (luminal) mammary cancers with the hope of translating our findings into new treatments for human breast cancer
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