Chaudhary S, Madhukrishna B, Adhya AK, Keshari S, Mishra SK
Caspase 7 (CASP7) expression has important function during cell cycle progression and cell growth in certain cancer cells and is also involved in the development and differentiation of dental tissues. However, the function of CASP7 in breast cancer cells is unclear. The aim of this study was to analyze the expression of CASP7 in breast carcinoma patients and determine the role of CASP7 in regulating tumorigenicity in breast cancer cells. In this study, we show that the CASP7 expression is high in breast carcinoma tissues compared with normal counterpart. The ectopic expression of CASP7 is significantly associated with ERα expression status and persistently elevated in different stages of the breast tumor grades. High level of CASP7 expression showed better prognosis in breast cancer patients with systemic endocrine therapy as observed from Kaplan-Meier analysis. S3 and S4, estrogen responsive element (ERE) in the CASP7 promoter, is important for estrogen-ERα-mediated CASP7 overexpression. Increased recruitment of p300, acetylated H3 and pol II in the ERE region of CASP7 promoter is observed after hormone stimulation. Ectopic expression of CASP7 in breast cancer cells results in cell growth and proliferation inhibition via p21(Cip) reduction, whereas small interfering RNA (siRNA) mediated reduction of CASP7 rescued p21(Cip) levels. We also show that pro- and active forms of CASP7 is located in the nucleus apart from cytoplasmic region of breast cancer cells. The proliferation and growth of breast cancer cells is significantly reduced by broad-spectrum peptide inhibitors and siRNA of CASP7. Taken together, our findings show that CASP7 is aberrantly expressed in breast cancer and contributes to cell growth and proliferation by downregulating p21(Cip) protein, suggesting that targeting CASP7-positive breast cancer could be one of the potential therapeutic strategies.