Cellular Oncology

, Volume 41, Issue 2, pp 159–168 | Cite as

Amphiregulin regulates proliferation and migration of HER2-positive breast cancer cells

  • Hannah Schmucker
  • Walker M. Blanding
  • Julia M. Mook
  • Jessica F. Wade
  • Jang Pyo Park
  • Kerri Kwist
  • Hiral Shah
  • Brian W. Booth
Original Paper



Tumor initiation and progression rely on cellular proliferation and migration. Many factors are involved in these processes, including growth factors. Amphiregulin (AREG) is involved in normal mammary development and the development of estrogen receptor (ER)-positive breast cancer. The aim of this project was to determine if AREG is involved in the proliferation and progression of HER2-positive breast cancer.


Mouse cell lines MMTV-neu, HC-11 and COMMA-D, as well as human cell lines MCF10A, SKBR3, HCC1954 and BT474 were used. Real-time PCR was used to quantify AREG expression and neutralizing antibodies were used to reduce the autocrine/paracrine effects of AREG. Transfections using siRNA and shRNA were used to knockdown AREG expression in the cancer cell lines. Free-floating sphere formation, colony forming, scratch wound and Transwell assays were used to assess the proliferation, tumor forming and migratory capacities of transfected cancer cells.


We found AREG expression in both normal epithelial cell lines and tumor-derived cell lines. Knockdown of AREG protein expression resulted in reduced sphere sizes and reduced sphere numbers in both mouse and human cancer cells that overexpress erbB2/HER2. AREG was found to be involved in cancer cell migration and invasion. In addition, we found that AREG expression knockdown resulted in different migration capacities in normal and erbB2/HER2 overexpressing cancer cells.


Based on our results we conclude that AREG is involved in regulating the proliferation and migration of erbB2/HER2-positive breast cancer cells.


Amphiregulin Breast cancer erbB2 HER2 Migration Transfection 



The Institute for Biological Interfaces of Engineering (IBIOE) of Clemson University provided funding for this project. The Calhoun Honors College of Clemson University awarded undergraduate research grants to WMB, JFW, and JMM.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

All authors declare no competing interests with the work described herein.


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Copyright information

© International Society for Cellular Oncology 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Biological SciencesClemson UniversityClemsonUSA
  2. 2.Department of MicrobiologyClemson UniversityClemsonUSA
  3. 3.Institute for Biological Interfaces of EngineeringClemson UniversityClemsonUSA
  4. 4.Department of Bioengineering, Institute for Biological Interfaces of EngineeringClemson UniversityClemsonUSA

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