Role of Notch and its oncogenic signaling crosstalk in breast cancer.
The Notch signaling plays a key role in cell differentiation, survival, and proliferation through diverse mechanisms. Notch signaling is also involved in vasculogenesis and angiogenesis. Moreover, Notch expression is regulated by hypoxia and inflammatory cytokines (IL-1, IL-6 and leptin). Entangled crosstalk between Notch and other developmental signaling (Hedgehog and Wnt), and signaling triggered by growth factors, estrogens and oncogenic kinases, could impact on Notch targeted genes. Thus, alterations of the Notch signaling can lead to a variety of disorders, including human malignancies. Notch signaling is activated by ligand binding, followed by ADAM/tumor necrosis factor-α-converting enzyme (TACE) metalloprotease and γ-secretase cleavages that produce the Notch intracellular domain (NICD). Translocation of NICD into the nucleus induces the transcriptional activation of Notch target genes. The relationships between Notch deregulated signaling, cancer stem cells and the carcinogenesis process reinforced by Notch crosstalk with many oncogenic signaling pathways suggest that Notch signaling may be a critical drug target for breast and other cancers. Since current status of knowledge in this field changes quickly, our insight should be continuously revised. In this review, we will focus on recent advancements in identification of aberrant Notch signaling in breast cancer and the possible underlying mechanisms, including potential role of Notch in breast cancer stem cells, tumor angiogenesis, as well as its crosstalk with other oncogenic signaling pathways in breast cancer. We will also discuss the prognostic value of Notch proteins and therapeutic potential of targeting Notch signaling for cancer treatment. Copyright © 2011 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.