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Emerging evidence has shown activation of the complement component C5 to C5a in cancer tissues and C5aR expression in breast cancer cells relates to the tumor development and poor prognosis, suggesting the involvement of complement C5a/C5aR pathway in the breast cancer pathogenesis. In this study, we found that as compared to the non-tumoral tissues, both C5aR and MAPK/p38 showed an elevated expression, but p21/p-p21 showed lower expression, in the tumoral tissues of breast cancer patients. Mice deficient in C5aR or mice treated with the C5aR antagonist exhibited attenuation of breast cancer growth and reduction in the p38/p-p38 expression, but increase in p21/p-p21 expression, in the tumor tissues. Pre-treatment of the breast cancer cells with recombinant C5a resulted in reduced p21 expression, and MAPK/p38 inhibitors prevented C5a-induced reduction in p21 expression, suggesting the involvement of the MAPK/p38 signaling pathway in the C5a/C5aR-mediated suppression of p21/p-p21 expression. These results provide evidence that breast cancer development may rely on C5a/C5aR interaction, for which MAPK/p38 pathway participate in down-regulating the p21 expression. Inhibition of C5a/C5aR pathway is expected to be helpful for the treatment of patients with breast cancer.


Jian Chen, Zi-Han Sun, Li-Ying Chen, Feng Xu, Yun-Pei Zhao, Gui-Qing Li, Ming Tang, You Li, Quan-You Zheng, Shu-Feng Wang, Xin-Hua Yang, Yu-Zhang Wu, Gui-Lian Xu. C5aR deficiency attenuates the breast cancer development via the p38/p21 axis. Aging. 2020 Jul 15;12(14):14285-14299

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PMID: 32669478

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