The vast majority of breast cancers are carcinomas that arise from mammary epithelial cells (MECs). One of the key early events in tumorigenic transformation is the ability of cells to overcome replicative senescence. However, the precise genetic changes that are responsible for this event in MECs is largely unknown. Here, we report that Bmi-1, originally identified as a c-Myc cooperating oncoprotein, can bypass senescence, extend the replicative life span, and immortalize MECs. Furthermore, Bmi-1 was overexpressed in immortal MECs and several breast cancer cell lines.
In mammalian cells, products of the INK4a-ARF locus play major roles in senescence and tumour suppression in different contexts, whereas the adjacent INK4b gene is more generally associated with transforming growth factor beta (TGF-beta)-mediated growth arrest. As the chicken genome does not encode an equivalent of INK4a, we asked whether INK4b and/or ARF contribute to replicative senescence in chicken cells.
Apigenin, a plant flavone, potentially activates wild-type p53 and induces apoptosis in cancer cells. We conducted detailed studies to understand its mechanism of action. Exposure of human prostate cancer 22Rv1 cells, harboring wild-type p53, to growth-suppressive concentrations (10-80 microM) of apigenin resulted in the stabilization of p53 by phosphorylation on critical serine sites, p14ARF-mediated downregulation of MDM2 protein, inhibition of NF-kappaB/p65 transcriptional activity, and induction of p21/WAF-1 in a dose- and time-dependent manner.