Formation of tissue factor-factorVIIa-factor Xa complex prevents apoptosis in human breast cancer cells

Xiaofeng Jiang
Yan-Lin Guo, University of Southern Mississippi
Michael E. Bromberg


Tissue factor (TF) is a transmembrane glycoprotein that initiates blood coagulation when complexed with factor VIIa (FVlla). TF is constitutively expressed in a variety of tumor cells and has been shown to play a role in cellular signaling and tumor progression. In this study, we investigated the effect of TF-FVIIa mediated signaling on apoptosis in human breast cancer cells. Apoptosis was induced by prolonged serum starvation and studied using the Adr-MCF-7 cell line, which has high endogenous TF expression. Treatment of the cells with the combination of FVIIa (10 nM) and FX (150 nM), reduced apoptosis by nearly 50% compared with untreated, control cells using an ELISA that detects histone-DNA fragments. In contrast, FVIIa (10 nM) alone did not significantly prevent apoptosis. Pretreatment of the Adr-MCF-7 cells with hirudin, a specific thrombin inhibitor, did not inhibit the anti-apoptotic effect of the combination of FVIIa and FX,whereas this effect could be abrogated by inhibition of phosphorylation of either p44/42 mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) or protein kinase B (PKB/Akt). In addition, treatment of the Adr-MCF-7 cells with the combination of FVIIa and FX led to a 30-50% increase in the level of the anti-apoptotic protein, survivin, compared with untreated cells using Western blot analysis. These results indicate that formation of TF-FVIIa-FXa complex prevents apoptosis in breast cancer cells by a thrombin-independent pathway. Moreover, the anti-apoptotic effect of this signaling pathway involves phosphorylation of both p44/42 MAPK and PKB/Akt and might be mediated in part by an increase in cell survivin levels.