Purpose: Metastatic disease is a leading cause of death for patients with breast cancer, driving the need for new therapies. CT20p is a peptide previously discovered by our group that displays cancer-specific cytotoxicity. To design the optimal therapeutic use of the peptide, we identified the intracellular target of CT20p in breast cancer cells, correlating expression patterns of the target with susceptibility to CT20p. Experimental Design: Using polymeric nanoparticles to deliver CT20p, we assessed cytoskeletal changes, cell migration, adhesion, and viability in cells treated with the peptide. Protein pull-down experiments, coupled to mass spectrometry, enabled identification of the peptide's intracellular target. Biochemical and histological techniques validated target identity in human cell lines and breast cancer tissue microarrays and revealed susceptibility patterns to CT20p. Results: Chaperonin Containing TCP-1 (CCT) was identified as the intracellular target of CT20p. Cancer cells susceptible to CT20p had increased CCT, and overexpression of CCTβ, a subunit of the CCT complex, enhanced susceptibility to CT20p. Susceptible cells displayed reduced tubulin, a substrate of CCT, and inhibition of migration upon CT20p treatment. CCTβ levels were higher in invasive ductal carcinomas than in cancer adjacent tissues and increased with breast cancer stage. Decreased breast cancer patient survival correlated with genomic alternations in CCTβ and higher levels of the chaperone. Conclusion: Increased CCT protein in breast cancer cells underlies the cytotoxicity of CT20p. CCT is thus a potential target for therapeutic intervention and serves as a companion diagnostic to personalize the therapeutic use of CT20p for breast cancer treatment.
- Received October 14, 2015.
- Revision received February 4, 2016.
- Accepted February 21, 2016.
- Copyright ©2016, American Association for Cancer Research.