Elevated levels of protein tyrosine phosphorylation contribute to a malignant phenotype, although the tyrosine kinases that are responsible for this signaling remain largely unknown. Here we report increased levels of the EphA2 (ECK) protein tyrosine kinase in clinical specimens and cell models of breast cancer. We also show that EphA2 overexpression is sufficient to confer malignant transformation and tumorigenic potential on nontransformed (MCF-10A) mammary epithelial cells. The transforming capacity of EphA2 is related to the failure of EphA2 to interact with its cell-attached ligands. Interestingly, stimulation of EphA2 reverses the malignant growth and invasiveness of EphA2-transformed cells. Taken together, these results identify EphA2 as a powerful oncoprotein in breast cancer.
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|Published - Mar 1 2001