EZR

Gene Summary

Gene:EZR; ezrin
Aliases: CVL, CVIL, VIL2, HEL-S-105
Location:6q25.3
Summary:The cytoplasmic peripheral membrane protein encoded by this gene functions as a protein-tyrosine kinase substrate in microvilli. As a member of the ERM protein family, this protein serves as an intermediate between the plasma membrane and the actin cytoskeleton. This protein plays a key role in cell surface structure adhesion, migration and organization, and it has been implicated in various human cancers. A pseudogene located on chromosome 3 has been identified for this gene. Alternatively spliced variants have also been described for this gene. [provided by RefSeq, Jul 2008]
Databases:VEGA, OMIM, HGNC, Ensembl, GeneCard, Gene
Protein:ezrin
Source:NCBIAccessed: 16 March, 2017

Ontology:

What does this gene/protein do?
Show (32)
Pathways:What pathways are this gene/protein implicaed in?
Show (5)

Cancer Overview

Research Indicators

Publications Per Year (1992-2017)
Graph generated 16 March 2017 using data from PubMed using criteria.

Literature Analysis

Mouse over the terms for more detail; many indicate links which you can click for dedicated pages about the topic.

  • FISH
  • Messenger RNA
  • Adenocarcinoma
  • Chromosome 6
  • Gene Expression Profiling
  • RTPCR
  • Molecular Sequence Annotation
  • Cancer DNA
  • Gene Knockdown Techniques
  • Young Adult
  • Transcription Factors
  • DNA Copy Number Variations
  • X-Ray Computed Tomography
  • Cancer Gene Expression Regulation
  • Staging
  • Protein-Tyrosine Kinases
  • Neoplasm Metastasis
  • Squamous Cell Carcinoma
  • Follicular Adenocarcinoma
  • Cell Proliferation
  • Signal Transduction
  • Lung Cancer
  • Oncogene Fusion Proteins
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins
  • Sarcoma, Endometrial Stromal
  • Mutation
  • Gene Rearrangement
  • Biomarkers, Tumor
  • p53 Protein
  • Survival Rate
  • Cytoskeletal Proteins
  • ras Proteins
  • Tumor Suppressor Proteins
  • RT-PCR
  • Transcriptome
  • Esophageal Cancer
  • Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer
  • Protein Kinase Inhibitors
  • Cell Movement
  • Tissue Array Analysis
Tag cloud generated 16 March, 2017 using data from PubMed, MeSH and CancerIndex

Specific Cancers (4)

Data table showing topics related to specific cancers and associated disorders. Scope includes mutations and abnormal protein expression.

Note: list is not exhaustive. Number of papers are based on searches of PubMed (click on topic title for arbitrary criteria used).

Latest Publications: EZR (cancer-related)

Riwaldt S, Bauer J, Wehland M, et al.
Pathways Regulating Spheroid Formation of Human Follicular Thyroid Cancer Cells under Simulated Microgravity Conditions: A Genetic Approach.
Int J Mol Sci. 2016; 17(4):528 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Microgravity induces three-dimensional (3D) growth in numerous cell types. Despite substantial efforts to clarify the underlying mechanisms for spheroid formation, the precise molecular pathways are still not known. The principal aim of this paper is to compare static 1g-control cells with spheroid forming (MCS) and spheroid non-forming (AD) thyroid cancer cells cultured in the same flask under simulated microgravity conditions. We investigated the morphology and gene expression patterns in human follicular thyroid cancer cells (UCLA RO82-W-1 cell line) after a 24 h-exposure on the Random Positioning Machine (RPM) and focused on 3D growth signaling processes. After 24 h, spheroid formation was observed in RPM-cultures together with alterations in the F-actin cytoskeleton. qPCR indicated more changes in gene expression in MCS than in AD cells. Of the 24 genes analyzed VEGFA, VEGFD, MSN, and MMP3 were upregulated in MCS compared to 1g-controls, whereas ACTB, ACTA2, KRT8, TUBB, EZR, RDX, PRKCA, CAV1, MMP9, PAI1, CTGF, MCP1 were downregulated. A pathway analysis revealed that the upregulated genes code for proteins, which promote 3D growth (angiogenesis) and prevent excessive accumulation of extracellular proteins, while genes coding for structural proteins are downregulated. Pathways regulating the strength/rigidity of cytoskeletal proteins, the amount of extracellular proteins, and 3D growth may be involved in MCS formation.

Płuciennik E, Nowakowska M, Gałdyszyńska M, et al.
The influence of the WWOX gene on the regulation of biological processes during endometrial carcinogenesis.
Int J Mol Med. 2016; 37(3):807-15 [PubMed] Related Publications
The purpose of the present study was to investigate the role of WW domain containing oxidoreductase (WWOX) downregulation in biological cancer-related processes in normal (non-malignant) and cancer endometrial cell lines. We created an in vitro model using the normal endometrial cell line, THESC, and 2 endometrial cancer cell lines with varying degrees of differentiation, the Ishikawa (well-differentiated) and the MFE296 (moderately differentiated) cells, in which the WWOX tumor suppressor gene was silenced using Gipz lentiviral shRNA. In this model, we examined the changes in invasiveness via biological assays, such as zymography, migration through a basement membrane, the adhesion of cells to extracellular matrix proteins, anchorage-independent growth and colony formation assay. We also evaluated the correlation between the mRNA expression of the WWOX gene and genes involved in the processes of carcinogenesis, namely catenin beta-1 (CTNNB1) and zinc finger E-box binding homeobox 1 (ZEB1) (gene transcription), cadherin 1 (CDH1) and ezrin (EZR) (cell adhesion), vimentin (VIM) (structural proteins), as well as phosphatase and tensin homolog (PTEN) (tumor suppression) and secreted protein, acidic, cysteine-rich (osteonectin) (SPARC) (SPARC) (cell growth regulation) by RT-qPCR. Downregulation of the WWOX gene in the moderately differentiated MFE296 cell line caused decreased migratory capacity, and a reduction of matrix metalloproteinase-2 (MMP-2) activity. However, these cells grew in semisolid medium and exhibited higher expression of CDH1 and EZR (cell adhesion) and secreted protein, acidic, cysteine-rich (osteonectin) (SPARC) (cell growth regulation). Moreover, in the well-differentiated endometrial cancer (Ishikawa) cell line, WWOX gene silencing resulted in an increased ability of the cells to proliferate indefinitely. Additionally, WWOX regulated changes in adhesion potential in both the normal and cancer cell lines. Our results suggest that the WWOX tumor suppressor gene modulated the processes of cell motility, cell adhesion, gene expression and remodeling in endometrial cell lines.

Clavé S, Gimeno J, Muñoz-Mármol AM, et al.
ROS1 copy number alterations are frequent in non-small cell lung cancer.
Oncotarget. 2016; 7(7):8019-28 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
OBJECTIVES: We aimed to determine the prevalence and partners of ROS1 rearrangements, to explore the correlation between FISH and IHC assays, and to investigate clinical implications of ROS1 copy number alterations (CNAs).
METHODS: A total of 314 NSCLC patients were screened using ROS1 FISH break-apart probes. Of these, 47 surgical tumors were included in TMAs to analyze ROS1 heterogeneity assessed either by FISH and IHC, and chromosome 6 aneusomy. To characterize ROS1 partners, probes for CD74, EZR, SLC34A2 and SDC3 genes were developed. ROS1 positive FISH cases were screened also by IHC.
RESULTS: Five patients were ROS1 positive (1.8%). We identified two known fusion partners in three patients: CD74 and SLC34A2. Four out of five ROS1 rearranged patients were female, never smokers and with adenocarcinoma histology. Rearranged cases were also positive by IHC as well. According to ROS1 CNAs, we found a prevalence of 37.8% gains/amplifications and 25.1% deletions.
CONCLUSIONS: This study point out the high prevalence of ROS1 CNAs in a large series of NSCLC. ROS1 gains, amplifications and deletions, most of them due to chromosome 6 polysomy or monosomy, were heterogeneous within a tumor and had no impact on overall survival.

Yu SY, Hong LC, Feng J, et al.
Integrative proteomics and transcriptomics identify novel invasive-related biomarkers of non-functioning pituitary adenomas.
Tumour Biol. 2016; 37(7):8923-30 [PubMed] Related Publications
Non-functioning pituitary adenomas (NFPAs) are usually macroadenomas and display invasion into surrounding tissues. The treatment for invasive NFPAs is still challenging. This study describes the differential patterns of gene expression between invasive and non-invasive NFPAs and identifies novel biomarkers involved in invasion of NFPAs for diagnosis and treatment. Using gene microarray technology, we examined the gene expression profile and found 1160 differentially expressed messenger RNA (mRNA) between invasive and non-invasive NFPAs. Then, we examined the protein profile by liquid chromatography tandem mass spectrometry (LC-MS/MS) and found 433 differentially expressed proteins between invasive and non-invasive NFPAs. Subsequently, we integrated the proteomics and transcriptomics datasets and identified 29 common changed molecules. Through bioinformatics analysis using Ingenuity Pathway Analysis (IPA) software, we showed that the 29 molecules were enriched in 25 canonical signaling pathways, 25 molecular and cellular functions, and 2 networks. Eight genes were identified involved in the invasion function by the molecular and cellular functions analysis, including CAT, CLU, CHGA, EZR, KRT8, LIMA1, SH3GLB2 and SLC2A1. Furthermore, we validated the decreased CHGA expression and increased CLU expression in invasive NFPAs by qRT-PCR and Western blot. Our study demonstrated that integration of proteomics and transcriptomics could prove advantageous for accelerating tumor biomarker discovery and CHGA and CLU might be important novel biomarkers and therapeutic targets for invasion of NFPAs.

Choi YJ, Jung SH, Kim MS, et al.
Genomic landscape of endometrial stromal sarcoma of uterus.
Oncotarget. 2015; 6(32):33319-28 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Although recurrent gene fusions such as JAZF1-JJAZ1 are considered driver events for endometrial stromal sarcoma (ESS) development, other genomic alterations remain largely unknown. In this study, we performed whole-exome sequencing, transcriptome sequencing and copy number profiling for five ESSs (three low-grade ESS (LG-ESS) and two undifferentiated uterine sarcomas (UUSs)). All three LG-ESSs exhibited either one of JAZF1-SUZ12, JAZF1-PHF1 and MEAF6-PHF1 fusions, whereas the two UUSs did not. All ESSs except one LG-ESS exhibited copy number alterations (CNAs), many of which encompassed cancer-related genes. In UUSs, five CNAs encompassing cancer-related genes (EZR, CDH1, RB1, TP53 and PRKAR1A) accompanied their expressional changes, suggesting that they might stimulate UUS development. We found 81 non-silent mutations (35 from LG-ESSs and 46 from UUSs) that included 15 putative cancer genes catalogued in cancer-related databases, including PPARG and IRF4 mutations. However, they were non-recurrent and did not include any well-known mutations, indicating that point mutations may not be a major driver for ESS development. Our data show that gene fusions and CNAs are the principal drivers for LG-ESS and USS, respectively, but both may require additional genomic alterations including point mutations. These differences may explain the different biologic behaviors between LG-ESS and UUS. Our findings suggest that ESS development requires point mutations and CNAs as well as the gene fusions.

Tanaka H, Kanda M, Koike M, et al.
Adherens junctions associated protein 1 serves as a predictor of recurrence of squamous cell carcinoma of the esophagus.
Int J Oncol. 2015; 47(5):1811-8 [PubMed] Related Publications
Esophageal squamous cell carcinoma (ESCC), the most common esophageal cancer in East Asia, is among the six cancers with the highest fatality rates worldwide. Unfortunately, multidisciplinary treatment strategies have not achieved satisfactory outcomes. Therefore, novel insights into the molecular biology of ESCC are required to improve treatment. The gene encoding the transmembrane adherens junctions-associated protein-1 (AJAP1) expressed by epithelial cells resides in chromosome 1p36, which is frequently lost or epigenetically silenced in several malignancies. Here, we investigated the expression levels and regulatory mechanism of AJAP1 transcription. We determined the levels of AJAP1 mRNA and the genes encoding potentially interacting proteins expressed by ESCC cell lines, as well as the chromosomal copy number of AJAP1 and the methylation status of its promoter region. AJAP1 mRNA levels of 78 pairs of surgically resected specimens were determined to evaluate the association of AJAP1 expression and clinicopathological factors. Nine ESCC cell lines differentially expressed AJAP1 mRNA, and demethylation of hypermethylated AJAP1 genomic DNA reactivated AJAP1 mRNA expression. The copy number of sequences upstream or downstream of the AJAP1 transcriptional start site was not detectably altered. AJAP1 mRNA levels correlated inversely with those of ezrin (EZR) and were significantly lower in ESCC tissues compared with adjacent normal tissues. AJAP1 mRNA levels decreased gradually with increasing tumor stage. Patients with downregulated AJAP1 transcription were more likely to experience shorter overall and disease-free survival. Multivariate analysis of disease-free survival identified downregulated AJAP1 transcription as an independent prognostic factor. These results suggest that in ESCC, AJAP1 acts as a putative tumor suppressor and that AJAP1 transcription is regulated by promoter hypermethylation. These findings indicate that downregulated AJAP1 transcription may serve as a novel tumor biomarker to predict recurrence of ESCC after esophagectomy.

He J, Zhu G, Gao L, et al.
Fra-1 is upregulated in gastric cancer tissues and affects the PI3K/Akt and p53 signaling pathway in gastric cancer.
Int J Oncol. 2015; 47(5):1725-34 [PubMed] Related Publications
Gastric cancer is an aggressive disease that continues to have a daunting impact on global health. Fra-1 (FOSL1) plays important roles in oncogenesis in various malignancies. We investigated the expression of Fra-1 in gastric cancer (GC) tissues by qPCR, immunohistochemistry (IHC) and western blot technologies. The results showed that Fra-1 was overexpressed in gastric cancer tissues compared with the adjacent non‑cancerous tissues. To explore the possible mechanism of Fra-1 in GC, we elucidated the effect of Fra-1 in the apoptosis and cell cycle of gastric cancer cells, AGS, and found that a considerable decrease in apoptotic cells and increase of S phase rate were observed for AGS cells with Fra-1 overexpession. We identified and confirmed that Fra-1 affected the expression level of CTTN and EZR in vitro through LC-MS/MS analyses and western blot technology. Furthermore, we found that Fra-1 was correlated with dysregulation PI3K/Akt and p53 signaling pathway in gastric cancer tissues in vitro. Moreover, we found that Fra-1 overexpression affected the expression of PI3K, Akt, MDM2 and p53 in vivo. In summary, our results suggest that Fra-1 is upregulated in gastric cancer tissues and plays its function by affecting the PI3K/Akt and p53 signaling pathway in gastric cancer.

Flores-Téllez TN, Lopez TV, Vásquez Garzón VR, Villa-Treviño S
Co-Expression of Ezrin-CLIC5-Podocalyxin Is Associated with Migration and Invasiveness in Hepatocellular Carcinoma.
PLoS One. 2015; 10(7):e0131605 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
BACKGROUND AND AIM: Prognostic markers are important for predicting the progression and staging of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). Ezrin (EZR) and Podocalyxin (PODXL) are proteins associated with invasion, migration and poor prognosis in various types of cancer. Recently, it has been observed that chloride intracellular channel 5 (CLIC5) forms a complex with EZR and PODXL and that it is required for podocyte structure and function. In this study, we evaluated the overexpression of EZR, PODXL and CLIC5 in HCC.
METHODS: The modified resistant hepatocyte model (MRHR), human biopsies and HCC cell lines (HepG2, Huh7 and SNU387) were used in this study. Gene and protein expression levels were evaluated in the MRHR by qRT-PCR, Western blot and immunohistochemistry analyses, and protein expression in the human biopsies was evaluated by immunohistochemistry. Protein expression in the HCC cell lines was evaluated by immunofluorescence and Western blot, also the migration and invasive abilities of Huh7 cells were evaluated using shRNA-mediated inhibition.
RESULTS: Our results indicated that these genes and proteins were overexpressed in HCC. Moreover, when the expression of CLIC5 and PODXL was inhibited in Huh7 cells, we observed decreased migration and invasion.
CONCLUSION: This study suggested that EZR, CLIC5 and PODXL could be biological markers to predict the prognosis of HCC and that these proteins participate in migration and invasion processes.

Sethi MK, Thaysen-Andersen M, Kim H, et al.
Quantitative proteomic analysis of paired colorectal cancer and non-tumorigenic tissues reveals signature proteins and perturbed pathways involved in CRC progression and metastasis.
J Proteomics. 2015; 126:54-67 [PubMed] Related Publications
Modern proteomics has proven instrumental in our understanding of the molecular deregulations associated with the development and progression of cancer. Herein, we profile membrane-enriched proteome of tumor and adjacent normal tissues from eight CRC patients using label-free nanoLC-MS/MS-based quantitative proteomics and advanced pathway analysis. Of the 948 identified proteins, 184 proteins were differentially expressed (P<0.05, fold change>1.5) between the tumor and non-tumor tissue (69 up-regulated and 115 down-regulated in tumor tissues). The CRC tumor and non-tumor tissues clustered tightly in separate groups using hierarchical cluster analysis of the differentially expressed proteins, indicating a strong CRC-association of this proteome subset. Specifically, cancer associated proteins such as FN1, TNC, DEFA1, ITGB2, MLEC, CDH17, EZR and pathways including actin cytoskeleton and RhoGDI signaling were deregulated. Stage-specific proteome signatures were identified including up-regulated ribosomal proteins and down-regulated annexin proteins in early stage CRC. Finally, EGFR(+) CRC tissues showed an EGFR-dependent down-regulation of cell adhesion molecules, relative to EGFR(-) tissues. Taken together, this study provides a detailed map of the altered proteome and associated protein pathways in CRC, which enhances our mechanistic understanding of CRC biology and opens avenues for a knowledge-driven search for candidate CRC protein markers.

Grzegorek I, Zuba-Surma E, Chabowski M, et al.
Characterization of cells cultured from chylous effusion from a patient with sporadic lymphangioleiomyomatosis.
Anticancer Res. 2015; 35(6):3341-51 [PubMed] Related Publications
BACKGROUND: Lymphangioleiomyomatosis (LAM) is a progressive, rare interstitial lung disease that almost exclusively affects women. It is caused by a mutation in one of the tuberous sclerosis genes, TSC1 or TSC2, and constitutive activation of the mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR) pathway in smooth muscle-like cells (LAM cells). The heightened proliferation and accumulation of LAM cells leads to the destruction of lung tissue.
MATERIALS AND METHODS: In the present study, we developed a cell line (S-LAM1) derived from a chylous effusion obtained from a patient with sporadic, pulmonary LAM and evaluated its phenotype using immunofluorescence, flow cytometry, and an image stream system. Ultrastructure was assessed using a transmission electron microscope. To assess the ability of LAM cells to move and migrate (which is strictly associated with the ability to metastasize), we carried-out a real-time polymerase chain reaction (PCR) array analysis of 84 genes involved in cell motility. In order to evaluate the effect of rapamycin, a natural inhibitor of mTOR kinase, on S-LAM1 cells, a sulforhodamine B cell viability assay was performed with different concentrations of rapamycin.
RESULTS AND CONCLUSION: The phenotype of these cells is consistent with the biology of LAM cells. S-LAM1 cells present combined smooth muscle, melanocytic, and lymphatic endothelium lineage, as well as the presence of mesenchymal differentiation markers. A particular pattern of gene expression, including high expression of ezrin (EZR), myosin heavy chain 10, non-muscle (MYH10), and myosin light chain kinase (MYLK) and a greatly decreased expression of supervillin (SVIL), when compared to controls, indicates a high potential motility activity, especially of cell spreading. Rapamycin significantly, although only partially, inhibited S-LAM1 cell proliferation in vitro, and should, perhaps, be considered in the future in combination with other agents.

Jang JS, Lee A, Li J, et al.
Common Oncogene Mutations and Novel SND1-BRAF Transcript Fusion in Lung Adenocarcinoma from Never Smokers.
Sci Rep. 2015; 5:9755 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Lung adenocarcinomas from never smokers account for approximately 15 to 20% of all lung cancers and these tumors often carry genetic alterations that are responsive to targeted therapy. Here we examined mutation status in 10 oncogenes among 89 lung adenocarcinomas from never smokers. We also screened for oncogene fusion transcripts in 20 of the 89 tumors by RNA-Seq. In total, 62 tumors had mutations in at least one of the 10 oncogenes, including EGFR (49 cases, 55%), K-ras (5 cases, 6%), BRAF (4 cases, 5%), PIK3CA (3 cases, 3%), and ERBB2 (4 cases, 5%). In addition to ALK fusions identified by IHC/FISH in four cases, two previously known fusions involving EZR- ROS1 and KIF5B-RET were identified by RNA-Seq as well as a third novel fusion transcript that was formed between exons 1-9 of SND1 and exons 2 to 3' end of BRAF. This in-frame fusion was observed in 3/89 tested tumors and 2/64 additional never smoker lung adenocarcinoma samples. Ectopic expression of SND1-BRAF in H1299 cells increased phosphorylation levels of MEK/ERK, cell proliferation, and spheroid formation compared to parental mock-transfected control. Jointly, our results suggest a potential role of the novel BRAF fusion in lung cancer development and therapy.

Barton CD, Waugh LK, Nielsen MJ, Paulus S
Febrile neutropenia in children treated for malignancy.
J Infect. 2015; 71 Suppl 1:S27-35 [PubMed] Related Publications
Febrile neutropenia (FN) in children treated for malignancy is a common and direct sequela of chemotherapy. Episodes of FN can be life-threatening, and demand prompt recognition, assessment and treatment with broad spectrum antibiotics. While in the majority of episodes no causal infection is identified, 10-20% are secondary to a bloodstream infection (BSI). A reduction in episodes of BSI could be achieved through robust infection prevention strategies, such as CVL care bundles. Alongside good antimicrobial stewardship, these strategies could reduce the risk of emergent, multi-drug resistant (MDR) infections. Emerging bacterial pathogens in BSI include Viridans Group Streptococci (VGS) and Enterobacteriaceae such as Klebsiella spp. which are known for their ability to carry MDR genes. There is also increased recognition of the role of invasive fungal infection (IFI) in FN, in particular with Aspergillus spp. Novel diagnostics, including multiplex blood and respiratory polymerase chain reaction assays can identify infections early in FN, facilitating targeted therapy, and reducing unnecessary antimicrobial exposure. Given appropriate, and sensitive rapid diagnostics, potential also exists to safely inform the risk assessment of patients with FN, identifying those at low risk of complication, who could be treated in the out-patient setting. Several clinical decision rules (CDR) have now been developed and validated in defined populations, for the risk assessment of children being treated for cancer. Future research is needed to develop a universal CDR to improve the management of children with FN.

Zhang XD, Xie JJ, Liao LD, et al.
12-O-Tetradecanoylphorbol-13-Acetate Induces Up-Regulated Transcription of Variant 1 but Not Variant 2 of VIL2 in Esophageal Squamous Cell Carcinoma Cells via ERK1/2/AP-1/Sp1 Signaling.
PLoS One. 2015; 10(4):e0124680 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
The membrane-cytoskeleton link organizer ezrin may be the most "dramatic" tumor marker, being strongly over-expressed in nearly one-third of human malignancies. However, the molecular mechanisms of aberrant ezrin expression still need to be clarified. Ezrin, encoded by the VIL2 gene, has two transcript variants that differ in the transcriptional start site (TSS): V1 and V2. Both V1 and V2 encode the same protein. Here, we found that 12-O-tetradecanoylphorbol-13-acetate (TPA) induced over-expression of human VIL2 in esophageal squamous cell carcinoma (ESCC) cells. Furthermore, VIL2 V1 but not V2 was up-regulated after TPA stimulation in a time-dependent manner. AP-1 and Sp1 binding sites within the promoter region of VIL2 V1 acted not only as basal transcriptional elements but also as a composite TPA-responsive element (TRE) for the transcription of VIL2 V1. TPA stimulation enhanced c-Jun and Sp1 binding to the TRE via activation of the ERK1/2 pathway and increased protein levels of c-Jun, c-Fos, and Sp1, resulting in over-expression of VIL2 V1, whereas the MEK1/2 inhibitor U0126 blocked these events. Finally, we showed that TPA promoted the migration of ESCC cells whereas MEK1/2 inhibitor or ezrin silencing could partially inverse this alteration. Taken together, these results suggest that TPA is able to induce VIL2 V1 over-expression in ESCC cells by activating MEK/ERK1/2 signaling and increasing binding of Sp1 and c-Jun to the TRE of the VIL2 V1 promoter, and that VIL2 is an important TPA-induced effector.

Poos K, Smida J, Maugg D, et al.
Genomic heterogeneity of osteosarcoma - shift from single candidates to functional modules.
PLoS One. 2015; 10(4):e0123082 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Osteosarcoma (OS), a bone tumor, exhibit a complex karyotype. On the genomic level a highly variable degree of alterations in nearly all chromosomal regions and between individual tumors is observable. This hampers the identification of common drivers in OS biology. To identify the common molecular mechanisms involved in the maintenance of OS, we follow the hypothesis that all the copy number-associated differences between the patients are intercepted on the level of the functional modules. The implementation is based on a network approach utilizing copy number associated genes in OS, paired expression data and protein interaction data. The resulting functional modules of tightly connected genes were interpreted regarding their biological functions in OS and their potential prognostic significance. We identified an osteosarcoma network assembling well-known and lesser-known candidates. The derived network shows a significant connectivity and modularity suggesting that the genes affected by the heterogeneous genetic alterations share the same biological context. The network modules participate in several critical aspects of cancer biology like DNA damage response, cell growth, and cell motility which is in line with the hypothesis of specifically deregulated but functional modules in cancer. Further, we could deduce genes with possible prognostic significance in OS for further investigation (e.g. EZR, CDKN2A, MAP3K5). Several of those module genes were located on chromosome 6q. The given systems biological approach provides evidence that heterogeneity on the genomic and expression level is ordered by the biological system on the level of the functional modules. Different genomic aberrations are pointing to the same cellular network vicinity to form vital, but already neoplastically altered, functional modules maintaining OS. This observation, exemplarily now shown for OS, has been under discussion already for a longer time, but often in a hypothetical manner, and can here be exemplified for OS.

Li XL, Lu X, Parvathaneni S, et al.
Identification of RECQ1-regulated transcriptome uncovers a role of RECQ1 in regulation of cancer cell migration and invasion.
Cell Cycle. 2014; 13(15):2431-45 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
The RECQ protein family of helicases has critical roles in protecting and stabilizing the genome. Three of the 5 known members of the human RecQ family are genetically linked with cancer susceptibility syndromes, but the association of the most abundant human RecQ homolog, RECQ1, with cellular transformation is yet unclear. RECQ1 is overexpressed in a variety of human cancers, indicating oncogenic functions. Here, we assessed genome-wide changes in gene expression upon knockdown of RECQ1 in HeLa and MDA-MB-231 cells. Pathway analysis suggested that RECQ1 enhances the expression of multiple genes that play key roles in cell migration, invasion, and metastasis, including EZR, ITGA2, ITGA3, ITGB4, SMAD3, and TGFBR2. Consistent with these results, silencing RECQ1 significantly reduced cell migration and invasion. In comparison to genome-wide annotated promoter regions, the promoters of genes downregulated upon RECQ1 silencing were significantly enriched for a potential G4 DNA forming sequence motif. Chromatin immunoprecipitation assays demonstrated binding of RECQ1 to the G4 motifs in the promoters of select genes downregulated upon RECQ1 silencing. In breast cancer patients, the expression of a subset of RECQ1-activated genes positively correlated with RECQ1 expression. Moreover, high RECQ1 expression was associated with poor prognosis in breast cancer. Collectively, our findings identify a novel function of RECQ1 in gene regulation and indicate that RECQ1 contributes to tumor development and progression, in part, by regulating the expression of key genes that promote cancer cell migration, invasion and metastasis.

Drew JE, Farquharson AJ, Mayer CD, et al.
Predictive gene signatures: molecular markers distinguishing colon adenomatous polyp and carcinoma.
PLoS One. 2014; 9(11):e113071 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Cancers exhibit abnormal molecular signatures associated with disease initiation and progression. Molecular signatures could improve cancer screening, detection, drug development and selection of appropriate drug therapies for individual patients. Typically only very small amounts of tissue are available from patients for analysis and biopsy samples exhibit broad heterogeneity that cannot be captured using a single marker. This report details application of an in-house custom designed GenomeLab System multiplex gene expression assay, the hCellMarkerPlex, to assess predictive gene signatures of normal, adenomatous polyp and carcinoma colon tissue using archived tissue bank material. The hCellMarkerPlex incorporates twenty-one gene markers: epithelial (EZR, KRT18, NOX1, SLC9A2), proliferation (PCNA, CCND1, MS4A12), differentiation (B4GANLT2, CDX1, CDX2), apoptotic (CASP3, NOX1, NTN1), fibroblast (FSP1, COL1A1), structural (ACTG2, CNN1, DES), gene transcription (HDAC1), stem cell (LGR5), endothelial (VWF) and mucin production (MUC2). Gene signatures distinguished normal, adenomatous polyp and carcinoma. Individual gene targets significantly contributing to molecular tissue types, classifier genes, were further characterised using real-time PCR, in-situ hybridisation and immunohistochemistry revealing aberrant epithelial expression of MS4A12, LGR5 CDX2, NOX1 and SLC9A2 prior to development of carcinoma. Identified gene signatures identify aberrant epithelial expression of genes prior to cancer development using in-house custom designed gene expression multiplex assays. This approach may be used to assist in objective classification of disease initiation, staging, progression and therapeutic responses using biopsy material.

Wu B, Xie J, Du Z, et al.
PPI network analysis of mRNA expression profile of ezrin knockdown in esophageal squamous cell carcinoma.
Biomed Res Int. 2014; 2014:651954 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Ezrin, coding protein EZR which cross-links actin filaments, overexpresses and involves invasion, metastasis, and poor prognosis in various cancers including esophageal squamous cell carcinoma (ESCC). In our previous study, Ezrin was knock down and analyzed by mRNA expression profile which has not been fully mined. In this study, we applied protein-protein interactions (PPI) network knowledge and methods to explore our understanding of these differentially expressed genes (DEGs). PPI subnetworks showed that hundreds of DEGs interact with thousands of other proteins. Subcellular localization analyses found that the DEGs and their directly or indirectly interacting proteins distribute in multiple layers, which was applied to analyze the shortest paths between EZR and other DEGs. Gene ontology annotation generated a functional annotation map and found hundreds of significant terms, especially those associated with cytoskeleton organization of Ezrin protein, such as "cytoskeleton organization," "regulation of actin filament-based process," and "regulation of actin cytoskeleton organization." The algorithm of Random Walk with Restart was applied to prioritize the DEGs and identified several cancer related DEGs ranked closest to EZR. These analyses based on PPI network have greatly expanded our comprehension of the mRNA expression profile of Ezrin knockdown for future examination of the roles and mechanisms of Ezrin.

Kanda M, Nomoto S, Oya H, et al.
Dihydropyrimidinase-like 3 facilitates malignant behavior of gastric cancer.
J Exp Clin Cancer Res. 2014; 33:66 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
BACKGROUND: Gastric cancer (GC) remains to have a poor prognosis via diverse process of cancer progression. Dihydropyrimidinase-like 3 (DPYSL3) is a cell adhesion molecule that has been reported to be involved in the metastatic process of tumor cells. The aim of this study was to identify a novel clinically-relevant biomarker of GC.
METHODS: Expression analysis of DPYSL3 mRNA and protein levels was conducted using GC cell lines and 238 pairs of surgically resected gastric tissues. Correlations between expression status of DPYSL3 and clinicopathological parameters were investigated.
RESULTS: DPYSL3 mRNA expression levels positively correlated with those of potentially interacting genes (VEGF, FAK and EZR) in GC cell lines. GC tissues from tumors with distant metastases (stage IV cancer) showed elevated expression levels of DPYSL3 mRNA. The DPYSL3 staining intensity in immunochemical staining was consistent with the mRNA expression patterns in GC tissues. High DPYSL3 mRNA expression in GCs was significantly associated with more malignant phenotypes and was an independent prognostic factor. Moreover, patients with high DPYSL3 mRNA expression had a significantly shorter recurrence free survival after curative resection. In subgroup analysis based on tumor histology, similar tendency was observed between patients with differentiated and undifferentiated GCs.
CONCLUSIONS: Expression status of DPYSL3 in GC tissues may represent a promising biomarker for the malignant behavior of GC.

Nakaoku T, Tsuta K, Ichikawa H, et al.
Druggable oncogene fusions in invasive mucinous lung adenocarcinoma.
Clin Cancer Res. 2014; 20(12):3087-93 [PubMed] Related Publications
PURPOSE: To identify druggable oncogenic fusions in invasive mucinous adenocarcinoma (IMA) of the lung, a malignant type of lung adenocarcinoma in which KRAS mutations frequently occur.
EXPERIMENTAL DESIGN: From an IMA cohort of 90 cases, consisting of 56 cases (62%) with KRAS mutations and 34 cases without (38%), we conducted whole-transcriptome sequencing of 32 IMAs, including 27 cases without KRAS mutations. We used the sequencing data to identify gene fusions, and then performed functional analyses of the fusion gene products.
RESULTS: We identified oncogenic fusions that occurred mutually exclusively with KRAS mutations: CD74-NRG1, SLC3A2-NRG1, EZR-ERBB4, TRIM24-BRAF, and KIAA1468-RET. NRG1 fusions were present in 17.6% (6/34) of KRAS-negative IMAs. The CD74-NRG1 fusion activated HER2:HER3 signaling, whereas the EZR-ERBB4 and TRIM24-BRAF fusions constitutively activated the ERBB4 and BRAF kinases, respectively. Signaling pathway activation and fusion-induced anchorage-independent growth/tumorigenicity of NIH3T3 cells expressing these fusions were suppressed by tyrosine kinase inhibitors approved for clinical use.
CONCLUSIONS: Oncogenic fusions act as driver mutations in IMAs without KRAS mutations, and thus represent promising therapeutic targets for the treatment of such IMAs.

Loganathan J, Jiang J, Smith A, et al.
The mushroom Ganoderma lucidum suppresses breast-to-lung cancer metastasis through the inhibition of pro-invasive genes.
Int J Oncol. 2014; 44(6):2009-15 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Breast cancer metastasis is one of the major reasons for the high morbidity and mortality of breast cancer patients. In spite of surgical interventions, chemotherapy, radiation therapy and targeted therapy, some patients are considering alternative therapies with herbal/natural products. In the present study, we evaluated a well-characterized extract from the medicinal mushroom Ganoderma lucidum (GLE) for its affects on tumor growth and breast-to-lung cancer metastasis. MDA-MB-231 human breast cancer cells were implanted into the mammary fat pads of nude mice. GLE (100 mg/kg/every other day) was administered to the mice by an oral gavage for 4 weeks, and tumor size was measured using microcalipers. Lung metastases were evaluated by hematoxylin and eosin (H&E) staining. Gene expression in MDA-MB-231 cells was determined by DNA microarray analysis and confirmed by quantitative PCR. Identified genes were silenced by siRNA, and cell migration was determined in Boyden chambers and by wound-healing assay. Although an oral administration of GLE only slightly suppressed the growth of large tumors, the same treatment significantly inhibited the number of breast-to-lung cancer metastases. GLE also downregulated the expression of genes associated with invasive behavior (HRAS, VIL2, S100A4, MCAM, I2PP2A and FN1) in MDA-MB-231 cells. Gene silencing of HRAS, VIL2, S100A4, I2PP2A and FN1 by siRNA suppressed migration of MDA-MB‑231 cells. Our study suggests that an oral administration of GLE can inhibit breast-to-lung cancer metastases through the downregulation of genes responsible for cell invasiveness. The anti-metastatic benefits of GLE warrant further clinical studies.

Figueroa JD, Han SS, Garcia-Closas M, et al.
Genome-wide interaction study of smoking and bladder cancer risk.
Carcinogenesis. 2014; 35(8):1737-44 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Bladder cancer is a complex disease with known environmental and genetic risk factors. We performed a genome-wide interaction study (GWAS) of smoking and bladder cancer risk based on primary scan data from 3002 cases and 4411 controls from the National Cancer Institute Bladder Cancer GWAS. Alternative methods were used to evaluate both additive and multiplicative interactions between individual single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) and smoking exposure. SNPs with interaction P values < 5 × 10(-) (5) were evaluated further in an independent dataset of 2422 bladder cancer cases and 5751 controls. We identified 10 SNPs that showed association in a consistent manner with the initial dataset and in the combined dataset, providing evidence of interaction with tobacco use. Further, two of these novel SNPs showed strong evidence of association with bladder cancer in tobacco use subgroups that approached genome-wide significance. Specifically, rs1711973 (FOXF2) on 6p25.3 was a susceptibility SNP for never smokers [combined odds ratio (OR) = 1.34, 95% confidence interval (CI) = 1.20-1.50, P value = 5.18 × 10(-) (7)]; and rs12216499 (RSPH3-TAGAP-EZR) on 6q25.3 was a susceptibility SNP for ever smokers (combined OR = 0.75, 95% CI = 0.67-0.84, P value = 6.35 × 10(-) (7)). In our analysis of smoking and bladder cancer, the tests for multiplicative interaction seemed to more commonly identify susceptibility loci with associations in never smokers, whereas the additive interaction analysis identified more loci with associations among smokers-including the known smoking and NAT2 acetylation interaction. Our findings provide additional evidence of gene-environment interactions for tobacco and bladder cancer.

Yoshida A, Tsuta K, Wakai S, et al.
Immunohistochemical detection of ROS1 is useful for identifying ROS1 rearrangements in lung cancers.
Mod Pathol. 2014; 27(5):711-20 [PubMed] Related Publications
The recent discovery and characterization of an oncogenic ROS1 gene fusion in a subset of lung cancers has raised significant clinical interest because small molecule inhibitors may be effective to these tumors. As lung cancers with ROS1 rearrangements comprise only 1-3% of lung adenocarcinomas, patients with such tumors must be identified to gain optimal benefit from molecular therapy. Recently, immunohistochemical analyses using a novel anti-ROS1 rabbit monoclonal antibody (D4D6) have shown promise for accurate identification of ROS1-rearranged cancers. To validate this finding, we compared the immunostaining results of tissue microarrays (TMAs) containing 17 ROS1-rearranged and 253 ROS1-non-rearranged lung carcinomas. All 17 ROS1-rearranged cancers showed ROS1 immunoreactivity mostly in a diffuse and moderate-to-strong manner with an H-score range of 5-300 (median, 260). In contrast, 69% of ROS1-non-rearranged cancers lacked detectable immunoreactivity, whereas the remaining 31% showed reactivity mainly in a weak or focal manner. The H-score for the entire ROS1-non-rearranged group ranged from 0 to 240 (median, 0). The difference in H-score between the two cohorts was statistically significant, and the H-score cutoff (≥150) allowed optimal discrimination (94% sensitivity and 98% specificity). Similar but slightly less-specific performance was achieved using the extent of diffuse (≥75%) staining or ≥2+ staining intensity as cutoffs. CD74-ROS1 and EZR-ROS1 fusions were significantly associated with at least focal globular immunoreactivity and plasma membranous accentuation, respectively, and these patterns were specific to ROS1-rearranged cases. Although full-length ROS1 is expressed in some ROS1-non-rearranged cases, we showed that establishment of an optimal set of interpretative criteria makes ROS1 immunohistochemistry a valuable method to rapidly and accurately screen lung cancer patients for appropriate molecular therapy.

Matsuura S, Shinmura K, Kamo T, et al.
CD74-ROS1 fusion transcripts in resected non-small cell lung carcinoma.
Oncol Rep. 2013; 30(4):1675-80 [PubMed] Related Publications
The recent discovery of fusion oncokinases in a subset of non-small cell lung carcinomas (NSCLCs) is of considerable clinical interest, since NSCLCs that express such fusion oncokinases are reportedly sensitive to kinase inhibitors. To better understand the role of recently identified ROS1 and RET fusion oncokinases in pulmonary carcinogenesis, we examined 114 NSCLCs for SLC34A2-ROS1, EZR-ROS1, CD74-ROS1 and KIF5B-RET fusion transcripts using RT-polymerase chain reaction and subsequent sequencing analyses. Although the expression of SLC34A2-ROS1, EZR-ROS1, or KIF5B-RET fusion transcripts was not detected in any of the cases, the expression of CD74-ROS1 fusion transcripts was detected in one (0.9%) of the 114 NSCLCs. The fusion occurred between exon 6 of CD74 and exon 34 of ROS1 and was an in-frame alteration. The mutation was detected in a woman without a history of smoking. Histologically, the carcinoma was an adenocarcinoma with a predominant acinar pattern; notably, a mucinous cribriform pattern and a solid signet-ring cell pattern were also observed in part of the adenocarcinoma. ROS1 protein overexpression was immunohistochemically detected in a cancer-specific manner in both the primary cancer and the lymph node metastatic cancer. No somatic mutations were detected in the mutation cluster regions of the KRAS, EGFR, BRAF and PIK3CA genes and the entire coding region of p53 in the carcinoma, and the expression of ALK fusion was negative. The above results suggest that CD74-ROS1 fusion is involved in the carcinogenesis of a subset of NSCLCs and may contribute to the elucidation of the characteristics of ROS1 fusion-positive NSCLC in the future.

Ma X, Wehland M, Aleshcheva G, et al.
Interleukin-6 expression under gravitational stress due to vibration and hypergravity in follicular thyroid cancer cells.
PLoS One. 2013; 8(7):e68140 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
It is known that exposing cell lines in vitro to parabolic flights changes their gene expression and protein production patterns. Parabolic flights and spaceflight in general are accompanied by transient hypergravity and vibration, which may impact the cells and therefore, have to be considered too. To estimate the possible impact of transient hypergravity and vibration, we investigated the effects of these forces separately using dedicated ground-based facilities. We placed follicular thyroid ML-1 and CGTH W-1 cancer cells in a specific centrifuge (MuSIC Multi Sample Incubator Centrifuge; SAHC Short Arm Human Centrifuge) simulating the hypergravity phases that occur during one (P1) and 31 parabolas (P31) of parabolic flights, respectively. On the Vibraplex device, the same cell lines were treated with vibration waves corresponding to those that occur during a whole parabolic flight lasting for two hours. After the various treatments, cells were harvested and analyzed by quantitative real-time PCR, focusing on the genes involved in forming (ACTB, MYO9, TUBB, VIM, TLN1, and ITGB1) and modulating (EZR, RDX, and MSN) the cytoskeleton, as well as those encoding growth factors (EGF, CTGF, IL6, and IL8) or protein kinases (PRKAA1 and PRKCA). The analysis revealed alterations in several genes in both cell lines; however, fewer genes were affected in ML-1 than CGTH W-1 cells. Interestingly, IL6 was the only gene whose expression was changed in both cell lines by each treatment, while PKCA transcription remained unaffected in all experiments. We conclude that a PKCa-independent mechanism of IL6 gene activation is very sensitive to physical forces in thyroid cells cultured in vitro as monolayers.

Yoshida A, Kohno T, Tsuta K, et al.
ROS1-rearranged lung cancer: a clinicopathologic and molecular study of 15 surgical cases.
Am J Surg Pathol. 2013; 37(4):554-62 [PubMed] Related Publications
Recent discovery of ROS1 gene fusion in a subset of lung cancers has raised clinical interest, because ROS1 fusion-positive cancers are reportedly sensitive to kinase inhibitors. To better understand these tumors, we examined 799 surgically resected non-small cell lung cancers by reverse transcriptase polymerase chain reaction and identified 15 tumors harboring ROS1 fusion transcripts (2.5% of adenocarcinomas). The most frequent fusion partner was CD74 followed by EZR. The affected patients were often younger nonsmoking female individuals, and they had overall survival rates similar to those of the ROS1 fusion-negative cancer patients. All the ROS1 fusion-positive tumors were adenocarcinomas except 1, which was an adenosquamous carcinoma. Histologic examination identified an at least focal presence of either solid growth with signet-ring cells or cribriform architecture with abundant extracellular mucus in 53% of the cases. These 2 patterns are reportedly also characteristic of anaplastic lymphoma kinase (ALK)-rearranged lung cancers, and our data suggest a phenotypic resemblance between the ROS1-rearranged and ALK-rearranged tumors. All tumors except 1 were immunoreactive to thyroid transcription factor-1. Fluorescence in situ hybridization using ROS1 break-apart probes revealed positive rearrangement signals in 23% to 93% of the tumor cells in ROS1 fusion-positive cancers, which were readily distinguished using a 15% cutoff value from 50 ROS1 fusion-negative tumors tested, which showed 0% to 6% rearrangement signals. However, this perfect test performance was achieved only when isolated 3' signals were included along with classic split signals in the definition of rearrangement positivity. Fluorescence in situ hybridization signal patterns were unrelated to 5' fusion partner genes. All ROS1 fusion-positive tumors lacked alteration of EGFR, KRAS, HER2, ALK, and RET genes.

Konstantinovsky S, Davidson B, Reich R
Ezrin and BCAR1/p130Cas mediate breast cancer growth as 3-D spheroids.
Clin Exp Metastasis. 2012; 29(6):527-40 [PubMed] Related Publications
CAS proteins and Ezrin, Radixin, Moesin (ERM) family members act as intracellular scaffolds and are involved in interactions with the cytoskeleton, respectively. Both protein families have previously been associated with metastasis and poor prognosis in cancer. Our group recently reported on the overexpression of EZR/VIL2 and BCAR1 and their protein products in breast carcinoma effusions compared to primary breast carcinoma. In the present study, the role of these two proteins was studied in semi-normal MCF10A cells and metastatic MDA-MB-231 breast carcinoma cells cultured in tri-dimensional (3-D) conditions that were hypothesized to reproduce the in vivo conditions of breast cancer metastasis. MCF10A cells formed spheroid-shaped colonies without any Matrigel invasion, while MDA-MB-231 cells displayed an invasive phenotype and showed satellite projections that bridged multiple cell colonies in 3-D culture. E-cadherin was expressed in MCF10A, but not in MDA-MB-231 cells. The temporal expression of ezrin and BCAR1/p130Cas at the mRNA and protein level differed in the two cell lines upon 3-D culturing on Matrigel. Upregulation of BCAR1/p130cas was observed in the transition of MDA-MB-231 from attached to detached culture. Silencing of Ezrin and p130Cas in MDA-MB-231 cells by short hairpin RNA resulted in decreased invasive potential, and p130Cas silencing further resulted in smaller spheroid/colony formation. Our data show that MCF10A and MDA-MB-231 cells differ in their ability to form spheroids, in expression of E-cadherin and in the expression of Ezrin and BCAR1/p130Cas in 3-D cultures on Matrigel, suggesting a role in tumor progression in breast carcinoma.

Del Giudice I, Messina M, Chiaretti S, et al.
Behind the scenes of non-nodal MCL: downmodulation of genes involved in actin cytoskeleton organization, cell projection, cell adhesion, tumour invasion, TP53 pathway and mutated status of immunoglobulin heavy chain genes.
Br J Haematol. 2012; 156(5):601-11 [PubMed] Related Publications
Mantle cell lymphoma (MCL) is an aggressive neoplasm with a short survival. Cases with leukaemic MCL and splenomegaly without adenopathies (non-nodal MCL) may have a more indolent course. To gain insights into the biological features underlying this presentation, we investigated the gene expression profile (GEP) and the IGHV mutational status in a cohort of leukaemic MCL cases. Comparison of MCL with other lymphoproliferative disorders (i.e. splenic marginal zone lymphoma, follicular lymphoma, chronic lymphocytic leukaemia) revealed a MCL signature enriched for the following gene categories: mitochondrion, oxidoreductase activity, response to stress, to DNA damage and TP53-pathway. Furthermore, GEP analysis revealed that non-nodal MCL cases were characterized by the down-modulation of the following gene categories: cell projection, actin cytoskeleton organization, cell adhesion (ITGAE, CELSR1, PCDH9) and tumour invasion/progression (PGF, ST14, ETS1, OCIAD1, EZR). Many down-modulated genes were related to the TP53-pathway and to DNA damage response. IGHV status proved unmutated in all nodal and mutated in all non-nodal MCL. Non-nodal leukaemic MCLs display a peculiar clinical presentation, with distinctive biological features, such as mutated IGHV and a transcriptional profile lacking tumour invasion properties, that might contribute to the absence of nodal involvement and to the less aggressive clinical course.

Kim H, Choi GH, Na DC, et al.
Human hepatocellular carcinomas with "Stemness"-related marker expression: keratin 19 expression and a poor prognosis.
Hepatology. 2011; 54(5):1707-17 [PubMed] Related Publications
UNLABELLED: There is a recently proposed subtype of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) that is histologically similar to usual HCC, but characterized by the expression of "stemness"-related markers. A large-scale study on two different cohorts of HCCs was performed to investigate the clinicopathologic features and epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT)-related protein expression status of this subtype of HCCs. The expression status of stemness-related (e.g., keratin 19 [K19], cluster of differentiation [CD]133, epithelial cell adhesion molecule [EpCAM], and c-kit) and EMT-related markers (e.g., snail, S100A4, urokinase plasminogen activator receptor [uPAR], ezrin, vimentin, E-cadherin, and matrix metalloproteinase [MMP]2) were examined using tissue microarrays from cohort 1 HCCs (n = 137). K19 protein expression in cohort 2 HCCs (n = 237) was correlated with the clinicopathologic parameters and messenger RNA (mRNA) levels of K19, uPAR, VIL2, Snail, Slug, and Twist. K19, EpCAM, c-kit, and CD133 positivity were observed in 18.2%, 35.0%, 34.3%, and 24.8%, respectively. K19 was most frequently expressed in combination with at least one other stemness-related marker (92.0%). K19-positive HCCs demonstrated more frequent major vessel invasion and increased tumor size, compared to K19-negative HCCs (P < 0.05). K19 was most significantly associated with EMT-related protein expression (e.g., vimentin, S100A4, uPAR, and ezrin) (P < 0.05) and a poor prognosis (overall survival: P = 0.018; disease-free survival: P = 0.007) in cohort 1. In cohort 2, HCCs with high K19 mRNA levels demonstrated higher mRNA levels of Snail, uPAR, and MMP2 (P < 0.05). K19-positive HCCs demonstrated more frequent microvascular invasion, fibrous stroma, and less tumor-capsule formation, compared to K19-negative HCCs (P < 0.05). K19 expression was a significant independent predictive factor of poor disease-free survival (P = 0.032).
CONCLUSION: K19 was well correlated with clinicopathologic features of tumor aggressiveness, compared to other stemness-related proteins. K19-positive HCCs showed significantly increased EMT-related protein and mRNA expression, suggesting that they may acquire more invasive characteristics, compared to K19-negative HCCs through the up-regulation of EMT-associated genes.

Gao S, Dai Y, Yin M, et al.
Potential transcriptional regulatory regions exist upstream of the human ezrin gene promoter in esophageal carcinoma cells.
Acta Biochim Biophys Sin (Shanghai). 2011; 43(6):455-64 [PubMed] Related Publications
We previously demonstrated that the region -87/+134 of the human ezrin gene (VIL2) exhibited promoter activity in human esophageal carcinoma EC109 cells, and a further upstream region -1324/-890 positively regulated transcription. In this study, to identify the transcriptional regulatory regions upstream of the VIL2 promoter, we cloned VIL2 -1541/-706 segment containing the -1324/-890, and investigated its transcriptional regulatory properties via luciferase assays in transiently transfected cells. In EC109 cells, it was found that VIL2 -1541/-706 possessed promoter and enhancer activities. We also localized transcriptional regulatory regions by fusing 5'- or 3'-deletion segments of VIL2 -1541/-706 to a luciferase reporter. We found that there were three positive and one negative transcriptional regulatory regions within VIL2 -1541/-706 in EC109 cells. When these regions were separately located upstream of the luciferase gene without promoter, or located upstream of the VIL2 promoter or SV40 promoter directing the luciferase gene, only VIL2 -1297/-1186 exhibited considerable promoter and enhancer activities, which were lower than those of -1541/-706. In addition, transient expression of Sp1 increased ezrin expression and the transcriptional activation of VIL2 -1297/-1186. Other three regions, although exhibiting significantly positive or negative transcriptional regulation in deletion experiments, showed a weaker or absent regulation. These data suggested that more than one region upstream of the VIL2 promoter participated in VIL2 transcription, and the VIL2 -1297/-1186, probably as a key transcriptional regulatory region, regulated VIL2 transcription in company with other potential regulatory regions.

Na DC, Lee JE, Yoo JE, et al.
Invasion and EMT-associated genes are up-regulated in B viral hepatocellular carcinoma with high expression of CD133-human and cell culture study.
Exp Mol Pathol. 2011; 90(1):66-73 [PubMed] Related Publications
Hepatocellular carcinomas (HCCs) with expression of stem/progenitor cell markers including CD133 have been reported to have more aggressive biological behavior, and epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT), closely related invasion, has been suggested to generate cancer stem cells. To elucidate biological characteristics of HCCs expressing CD133, we evaluated migration assay and the mRNA expression levels of CD133, invasion-associated genes [urokinase plasminogen activator receptor (uPAR), villin 2 (VIL2), and MMP1 and MMP2], and EMT regulators (Snail, Slug, Twist, E-cadherin, and N-cadherin) by real-time PCR in HCC cell lines including HepG2, Hep3B, Huh7, PLC/RFP/6, SNU423, SNU449, and SNU475. Same genes and pathological features were also investigated in 49 samples of hepatitis B virus-related human HCCs. In all HCC cell lines studied, CD133-positive cells showed higher cell migration activity and up-regulated invasion- and EMT-associated genes with increased N-cadherin and decreased E-cadherin expressions compared to CD133-negative cells. The human HCCs were divided into the CD133-high group (top 40%) and the CD133-low group (bottom 40%) according to the level of CD133 mRNA. The CD133-high group showed relatively frequent vascular invasion and significantly higher expression of invasion-associated genes [uPAR (p=0.002), MMP1 (p=0.01), and MMP2 (p=0.003)] and EMT regulators [Snail (p=0.002) and Twist (p=0.0003)] compared to the CD133-low group. In conclusion, our results suggest that there is a subtype of HCC with high expression of CD133, which might have more invasive characteristics by up-regulation of invasion-associated genes and EMT-associated genes.

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