LAMP3 is involved in tamoxifen resistance in breast cancer cells through the modulation of autophagy

A Nagelkerke, Anieta Sieuwerts, J Bussink, FCGJ Sweep, Maxime Look, John Foekens, John Martens, PN Span

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

77 Citations (Scopus)


Lysosome-associated membrane protein 3 (LAMP3) is a member of the LAMP-family of proteins, which are involved in the process of autophagy. Autophagy is induced by tamoxifen in breast cancer cells and may contribute to tamoxifen resistance. In this study, the significance of LAMP3 for tamoxifen resistance in breast cancer was examined. The methods employed included use of clonogenic assays to assess the survival of MCF7 breast cancer cells with LAMP3 knockdown after tamoxifen treatment and of quantitative real-time PCR of LAMP3 to evaluate its predictive value for first-line tamoxifen treatment in patients with advanced breast cancer. Results show that tamoxifen treatment of MCF7 cells induced LAMP3 mRNA expression. LAMP3 knockdown in these cells increased tamoxifen sensitivity. Evaluation of expression of the autophagy markers, LC3B and p62, after LAMP3 knockdown showed increased expression levels, indicating that cells with LAMP3 knockdown have a suppressed ability to complete the autophagic process. In addition, knockdown of autophagy-associated genes resulted in sensitization to tamoxifen. Next, tamoxifen-resistant MCF7 cells were cultured. These cells had a sevenfold higher LAMP3 mRNA expression, showed elevated basal autophagy levels, and could be significantly resensitized to tamoxifen by LAMP3 knockdown. In patients treated with first-line tamoxifen for advanced disease (n=304), high LAMP3 mRNA expression was associated with shorter progression-free survival (P=0.003) and shorter post-relapse overall survival (P=0.040), also in multivariate analysis. Together, these results indicate that LAMP3 contributes to tamoxifen resistance in breast cancer. Tamoxifen-resistant cells are resensitized to tamoxifen by the knockdown of LAMP3. Therefore, LAMP3 may be clinically relevant to countering tamoxifen resistance in breast cancer patients.
Original languageUndefined/Unknown
Pages (from-to)101-112
Number of pages12
JournalEndocrine-Related Cancer
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2014

Research programs

  • EMC MM-03-86-01

Cite this