Role of the WASP and WAVE family proteins in breast cancer invasion and metastasis

Share this content:

the Cancer Therapy Advisor take:

Wiskott-Aldrich syndrome protein (WASP) and WASP family verpolin-homologous (WAVE) proteins are associated with the migratory, invasive, and metastatic behavior of numerous cell types, including breast cancer cells, and may be potential targets for treatment for cancer progression, according to a review published in the journal Breast Cancer: Targets and Therapy.

Specifically, a study in mice showed that WAVE2 protein is needed for motility of B16F10 cells, highly invasive melanoma cells and suggested that inhibiting WAVE2 may be an effective approach to block cell metastasis. 

Two studies in prostate cancer cells demonstrated that WAVE1 and WAVE3 proteins may promote prostate cancer cell motility, invasion, and metastasis, and that both may be possible research targets for treatment of prostate cancer.

In addition, various studies in breast cancer cells have suggested that nWASP and WAVE2 proteins play a role in breast cancer cell invasion and metastasis, while there are conflicting data surrounding whether WAVE3 protein also plays a part in breast cancer cell invasion.

Nonetheless, researchers conclude that WAVE3 is clearly a biomarker for progression of breast cancer.

WASP/WAVE proteins are a group of molecules that form an important link between GTPases and the actin cytoskeleton and play a key role in the formation of the actin-based membrane protrusions that occur during cell migration and invasion.

This review focuses on the role of the WASP/WAVE family in breast cancer cell invasion and migration.
This review focuses on the role of the WASP/WAVE family in breast cancer cell invasion and migration.

Abstract: The Wiskott–Aldrich syndrome protein (WASP) and WASP family verprolin-homologous protein (WAVE) family are a group of molecules that form a key link between GTPases and the actin cytoskeleton.

The role of WASP/WAVE family proteins in the control of actin polymerization through activation of the actin-related protein 2/3 complex is critical in the formation of the actin-based membrane protrusions seen in cell migration and invasion. 

For this reason, the activity of the WASP/WAVE family in cancer cell invasion and migration has been of great interest in recent years. Many reports have highlighted the potential of targeting the WASP/WAVE family as a therapy for the prevention of cancer progression, in particular breast cancer.

This review focuses on the role of the WASP/WAVE family in breast cancer cell invasion and migration and how this relates to the molecular mechanisms of WASP/WAVE activity, their exact contributions to the stages of cancer progression, and how this can lead to the development of anticancer drugs that target the WASP/WAVE family and related pathways.

Keywords: WASP, WAVE, breast cancer, migration, invasion

Introduction

In females, breast cancer is the most frequently diagnosed malignancy and one of the main causes of cancer death,1 with survival rates much lower in patients with metastatic cancer.2

Metastasis, the process whereby cancer cells travel to and colonize distant sites through the lymphatic system or bloodstream, can signal a poor prognosis in patients. The metastatic cascade involves many complex cellular interactions and pathways.

Invasion is the initial critical step in metastasis and describes changes in cell adhe­sion, degradation of the cell surroundings, and importantly, the motility acquired by the tumor cell that confers a migratory phenotype and allows the cell to travel through tissues.3

Briefly, the cellular processes that occur in a motile cell include polariza­tion and extensions of actin-based protrusions, such as thin, finger-like filopodia and broader, sheet-like lamellipodia, in the direction of migration (Figure 1A).

Adhesions between the actin cytoskeleton of a migrating cell and the extracellular matrix (ECM) or neighboring cells stabilize protrusions and form traction sites to allow the cell to move over them.4

Specialized actin-rich protrusions, such as invadopodia, can also be formed by cancer cells, allowing them to degrade the ECM and invade into the surroundings.5

Formation of the protrusions at the leading edges of the migrating cell is controlled by actin polymerization and regulators of the actin cytoskeleton.6,7 The Rho GTPase protein family members, Rho, Rac, and Cdc42 in particular, play a key role in coordinating the processes involved in cell migration and invasion through the control of actin dynamics.8

The Wiskott–Aldrich syndrome (WAS) protein (WASP) and WASP family verprolin-homologous protein (WAVE) family are a group of molecules that form a key link between GTPases and the actin cytoskeleton.9

The role of WASP/WAVE family proteins in the control of actin polymerization through activa­tion of the actin-related protein (Arp)2/3 complex is critical in the formation of the actin-based membrane protrusions seen in cell migration and invasion.10

For this reason, the activity of the WASP/WAVE family in cancer cell invasion and migration has been of great interest in recent years. This is the main focus of this review, with an emphasis on WASP/WAVE activity in breast cancer cell motility.

(To view a larger version of Figure 1, click here.)  

Page 1 of 7

Related Resources

You must be a registered member of Cancer Therapy Advisor to post a comment.

Sign Up for Free e-newsletters



Regimen and Drug Listings

GET FULL LISTINGS OF TREATMENT Regimens and Drug INFORMATION

Bone Cancer Regimens Drugs
Brain Cancer Regimens Drugs
Breast Cancer Regimens Drugs
Endocrine Cancer Regimens Drugs
Gastrointestinal Cancer Regimens Drugs
Gynecologic Cancer Regimens Drugs
Head and Neck Cancer Regimens Drugs
Hematologic Cancer Regimens Drugs
Lung Cancer Regimens Drugs
Other Cancers Regimens
Prostate Cancer Regimens Drugs
Rare Cancers Regimens
Renal Cell Carcinoma Regimens Drugs
Skin Cancer Regimens Drugs
Urologic Cancers Regimens Drugs