The GAB2 signaling scaffold promotes anchorage independence and drives a transcriptional response associated with metastatic progression of breast cancer

E. Medico, A. Mira, C. Isella, T. Renzulli, D. Cantarella, M. L. Martelli

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Acquisition of independence from anchorage to the extracellular matrix is a critical event for onset and progression of solid cancers. To identify and characterize new genes conferring anchorage independence, we transduced MCF10A human normal breast cells with a retroviral cDNA expression library and selected them by growth in suspension. Microarray analysis targeted on library-derived transcripts revealed robust and reproducible enrichment, after selection, of cDNAs encoding the scaffolding adaptor Gab2. Gab2 was confirmed to strongly promote anchorage-independent growth when overexpressed. Interestingly, downregulation by RNA interference of endogenous Gab2 in neoplastic cells did not affect their adherent growth, but abrogated their growth in soft agar. Gab2-driven anchorage independence was found to specifically involve activation of the Src-Stat3 signaling axis. A transcriptional signature of 205 genes was obtained from GAB2-transduced, anchorage-independent MCF10A cells, and found to contain two main functional modules, controlling proliferation and cell adhesion/migration/invasion, respectively. Extensive validation on breast cancer data sets showed that the GAB2 signature provides a robust prognostic classifier for breast cancer metastatic relapse, largely independent from existing clinical and genomic indicators and from estrogen receptor status. This work highlights a pivotal role for GAB2 and its transcriptional targets in anchorage-independent growth and breast cancer metastatic progression.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)4444-4455
Number of pages12
Issue number50
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2009



  • Anchorage independence
  • Breast cancer
  • Gab2
  • Metastasis
  • Microarray

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Cancer Research
  • Genetics

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