Gene Summary

Gene:HGF; hepatocyte growth factor
Aliases: SF, HGFB, HPTA, F-TCF, DFNB39
Summary:This gene encodes a protein that binds to the hepatocyte growth factor receptor to regulate cell growth, cell motility and morphogenesis in numerous cell and tissue types. Alternative splicing results in multiple transcript variants, at least one of which encodes a preproprotein that is proteolytically processed to generate alpha and beta chains, which form the mature heterodimer. This protein is secreted by mesenchymal cells and acts as a multi-functional cytokine on cells of mainly epithelial origin. This protein also plays a role in angiogenesis, tumorogenesis, and tissue regeneration. Although the encoded protein is a member of the peptidase S1 family of serine proteases, it lacks peptidase activity. Mutations in this gene are associated with nonsyndromic hearing loss. [provided by RefSeq, Nov 2015]
Databases:VEGA, OMIM, HGNC, Ensembl, GeneCard, Gene
Protein:hepatocyte growth factor
Source:NCBIAccessed: 15 March, 2017


What does this gene/protein do?
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Pathways:What pathways are this gene/protein implicaed in?
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Cancer Overview

Research Indicators

Publications Per Year (1992-2017)
Graph generated 15 March 2017 using data from PubMed using criteria.

Literature Analysis

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Tag cloud generated 15 March, 2017 using data from PubMed, MeSH and CancerIndex

Specific Cancers (9)

Latest Publications: HGF (cancer-related)

Nass N, Streit S, Wybranski C, et al.
Validation of VX2 as a Hepatocellular Carcinoma Model: Comparison of the Molecular Reaction of VX2 and HepG2 Tumor Cells to Sorafenib In Vitro.
Anticancer Res. 2017; 37(1):87-93 [PubMed] Related Publications
As there is currently no superior hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) model with percutaneous vascular access for transarterial treatments available, the VX2 rabbit model is frequently used for in vivo investigations on liver carcinoma. However, the VX2 cell line was derived from a virus-induced skin papilloma that can form carcinosarcoma in liver of rabbits and the transferability of obtained results to HCC treatment remains open. Here we compared the most frequently investigated human HCC model cell line, HepG2, with VX2 cells in vitro in terms of sensitivity towards the broad specificity kinase inhibitor sorafenib and responsiveness to the addition of platelet-derived growth factor AB (PDGF-AB), vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) and hepatic growth factor (HGF), as well as insulin and interleukin-1β (IL1β). Phosphorylation of protein kinase B (AKT) the mitogen-activated protein kinases (MAPKs) p38 and p42/44 (extracellular signal-regulated kinase, ERK1/2) and inhibitor of kappa light chain gene enhancer alpha (IĸBα) was determined by western blotting as these events are associated with early signaling cascades. Additionally, the inhibition of phosphorylation under sorafenib treatment was investigated. Sorafenib was equally toxic to both cell lines, but only in HepG2 was activation of caspase 3/7 activity, as a sign of apoptosis, observed. VX2 cells exhibited generally more intense phosphorylation signals in response to the growth factors and also serum. In contrast to VX2, HepG2 cells showed no response to PDGF-AB or VEGF as determined by kinase phosphorylation. In both cell lines, sorafenib inhibited growth factor-induced phosphorylation of ERK and p38-MAPK. AKT phosphorylation was only inhibited in VX2 cells and IĸBα phosphorylation was not influenced by this kinase inhibitor in either cell type. Taken together, the two cellular models for HCC share several features related to sorafenib application, but differed in their responsiveness towards growth factors. Therefore, results obtained with the VX2 model cannot be extended to human HCC without appropriate caution.

Chang H, Sung JH, Moon SU, et al.
EGF Induced RET Inhibitor Resistance in CCDC6-RET Lung Cancer Cells.
Yonsei Med J. 2017; 58(1):9-18 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
PURPOSE: Rearrangement of the proto-oncogene rearranged during transfection (RET) has been newly identified potential driver mutation in lung adenocarcinoma. Clinically available tyrosine kinase inhibitors (TKIs) target RET kinase activity, which suggests that patients with RET fusion genes may be treatable with a kinase inhibitor. Nevertheless, the mechanisms of resistance to these agents remain largely unknown. Thus, the present study aimed to determine whether epidermal growth factor (EGF) and hepatocyte growth factor (HGF) trigger RET inhibitor resistance in LC-2/ad cells with CCDC6-RET fusion genes.
MATERIALS AND METHODS: The effects of EGF and HGF on the susceptibility of a CCDC6-RET lung cancer cell line to RET inhibitors (sunitinib, E7080, vandetanib, and sorafenib) were examined.
RESULTS: CCDC6-RET lung cancer cells were highly sensitive to RET inhibitors. EGF activated epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) and triggered resistance to sunitinib, E7080, vandetanib, and sorafenib by transducing bypass survival signaling through ERK and AKT. Reversible EGFR-TKI (gefitinib) resensitized cancer cells to RET inhibitors, even in the presence of EGF. Endothelial cells, which are known to produce EGF, decreased the sensitivity of CCDC6-RET lung cancer cells to RET inhibitors, an effect that was inhibited by EGFR small interfering RNA (siRNA), anti-EGFR antibody (cetuximab), and EGFR-TKI (Iressa). HGF had relatively little effect on the sensitivity to RET inhibitors.
CONCLUSION: EGF could trigger resistance to RET inhibition in CCDC6-RET lung cancer cells, and endothelial cells may confer resistance to RET inhibitors by EGF. E7080 and other RET inhibitors may provide therapeutic benefits in the treatment of RET-positive lung cancer patients.

Eiro N, Fernandez-Gomez J, Sacristán R, et al.
Stromal factors involved in human prostate cancer development, progression and castration resistance.
J Cancer Res Clin Oncol. 2017; 143(2):351-359 [PubMed] Related Publications
PURPOSE: To detect new predictive markers from the prostate cancer tissue, to study the expression by cultured cancer-associated fibroblasts (CAFs) of stromal factors implicated in prostate carcinogenesis, and to compare their expressions in localized, metastatic, castration-sensitive (CSCP), castration-resistant prostate tumors (CRCP) as well as in fibroblasts from benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH).
MATERIALS AND METHODS: The genomic expression of 20 stroma-derived factors, including the androgen receptor (AR), growth factors (FGF2, FGF7, FGF10, HGF, TGFβ, PDGFB), protein implicated in invasion (MMP-2, MMP-9 and MMP-11), inflammation (IL-6, IL-17, STAT-3 and NFκB), stroma/epithelium interaction (CDH11, FAP, CXCL12 and CXCL14) and chaperones (HPA1A and HSF1), was evaluated in cultured fibroblasts both from BHP and prostate carcinomas (PCa). After isolation and culture of fibroblasts by biopsy specimens, RNA was isolated and genomic studies performed.
RESULTS: Finally, 5 BPH and 37 PCa specimens were selected: clinically localized (19), metastatic (5), CSCP (7) and CRPC (6). Interleukin-17 receptor (IL-17RB) was highly expressed in CAFs compared with fibroblasts from BPH. However, metalloproteinase-2 and chemokine ligand 14 (CXCL14) were expressed at higher levels by fibroblasts from BPH. The fibroblastic growth factor-7 was highly expressed by CAFs from localized tumors, but metalloproteinase-11 in metastatic tumors. MMP-11, androgen receptor (AR) and heat-shock-70kda-protein-1A (HSPA1A) expressions were significantly higher in CAFs from CRPC.
CONCLUSIONS: These results demonstrate a CAFs heterogeneity among prostate carcinomas with regard to some molecular profile expressions that may be relevant in tumor development (IL-17RB), progression (MMP-11) and castration resistance (AR, MMP-11 and HSPA1A).

Imura Y, Nakai T, Yamada S, et al.
Functional and therapeutic relevance of hepatocyte growth factor/c-MET signaling in synovial sarcoma.
Cancer Sci. 2016; 107(12):1867-1876 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Synovial sarcoma (SS) is an aggressive soft tissue sarcoma with a poor prognosis and, thus, novel therapeutic strategies for SS are urgently required. In the present study, we investigated the functional and therapeutic relevance of hepatocyte growth factor (HGF)/c-MET signaling in SS. Both HGF and c-MET were highly expressed in Yamato-SS cells, resulting in activation of c-MET and its downstream AKT and extracellular signal-regulated kinase signaling pathways, whereas c-MET was expressed but not activated in SYO-1 or HS-SY-II cells. c-MET-activated Yamato-SS cells showed higher anchorage-independent growth ability and less sensitivity to chemotherapeutic agents than did c-MET-inactivated SYO-1 or HS-SY-II cells. INC280, a selective c-MET inhibitor, inhibited growth of Yamato-SS cells both in vitro and in vivo but not that of SYO-1 or HS-SY-II cells. INC280 induced cell cycle arrest and apoptosis, and blocked phosphorylation of c-MET and its downstream effectors in Yamato-SS cells. Co-expression of HGF and c-MET in SS clinical samples correlated with a poor prognosis in patients with SS. Taken together, activation of HGF/c-MET signaling in an autocrine fashion leads to an aggressive phenotype in SS and targeting of this signaling exerts superior antitumor effects on c-MET-activated SS. HGF/c-MET expression status is a potential biomarker for identification of SS patients with a worse prognosis who can benefit from c-MET inhibitors.

Kilic-Baygutalp N, Ozturk N, Orsal-Ibisoglu E, et al.
Evaluation of serum HGF and CK18 levels in patients with esophageal cancer.
Genet Mol Res. 2016; 15(3) [PubMed] Related Publications
Cytokeratins are thought to play a role in apoptosis. Cytokeratin 18 (CK18) is involved in the formation of intracellular cytoskeleton, and has been considered a promising apoptosis marker in gastrointestinal carcinomas. Growth factors, including hepatocyte growth factor (HGF), may provide a microenvironment for malignant cells. In this study, we aimed to compare serum HGF and CK18 levels between esophageal squamous cell carcinoma patients and healthy controls. The study included 41 adult patients (20 male, 21 female) diagnosed with esophageal squamous cell carcinoma, with a mean age of 63.54 ± 10.88 years (range, 41-82 years). We also recruited 39 age and gender-matched healthy control subjects. Venous blood samples were taken; serum HGF and CK18 concentrations were determined via ELISA. Results indicated that serum HGF levels were higher in patients (1.37 ± 0.63 ng/mL) as compared to the healthy subjects (0.41 ± 0.29 ng/mL). Similarly, serum CK18 levels were higher in the patient group (2.53 ± 1.33 ng/mL) than in the control group (0.34 ± 0.23 ng/mL) (P < 0.001). In addition, serum HGF and CK18 levels were positively correlated with metastasis stage, tumor stage, and disease stage of esophageal squamous cell carcinoma. To our knowledge, this is the first study to evaluate serum HGF and CK18 levels in patients with esophageal squamous cell carcinoma. The results suggest that serum CK18 and HGF levels may be used as prognostic and disease monitoring biomarkers of esophageal squamous cell carcinoma.

Lozneanu L, Pinciroli P, Ciobanu DA, et al.
Computational and Immunohistochemical Analyses Highlight AXL as a Potential Prognostic Marker for Ovarian Cancer Patients.
Anticancer Res. 2016; 36(8):4155-63 [PubMed] Related Publications
BACKGROUND/AIM: The activation of the membrane tyrosine kinase AXL is implicated in the migration and invasion in several carcinomas, including ovarian cancer. Herein, we investigated the association of the expression of AXL transcript and protein to the aggressiveness of ovarian cancer, as well as to patient outcome.
MATERIALS AND METHODS: Overall and relapse-free survival were determined with respect to AXL transcript levels by computational analysis on two publicly available datasets containing data of gene expression from high-grade ovarian cancers (n=776). Immunohistochemical evaluation of AXL protein expression was then performed using a proprietary tissue microarray consisting of 62 ovarian cancers of different histology, grading and staging. Expression was analyzed for association with clinicopathological parameters, including survival.
RESULTS: In both analyzed datasets, AXL transcript expression was significantly associated to both overall and relapse-free survival in high-grade ovarian cancers. Membrane expression of AXL protein was observed in 89% of the analyzed ovarian cancers. A significant correlation was found between AXL expression and serous histologic subtype, higher tumor grade and type II tumors. No significant association between AXL protein expression and patient survival was found in our cohort. AXL is frequently expressed in high-grade serous ovarian cancers and its expression is significantly associated to tumors displaying poor prognosis.
CONCLUSION: AXL is a potential prognostic marker for the most aggressive ovarian carcinomas.

Ciccarese C, Brunelli M, Montironi R, et al.
The prospect of precision therapy for renal cell carcinoma.
Cancer Treat Rev. 2016; 49:37-44 [PubMed] Related Publications
The therapeutic landscape of renal cell carcinoma (RCC) has greatly expanded in the last decade. From being a malignancy orphan of effective therapies, kidney cancer has become today a tumor with several treatment options. Renal cell carcinoma (RCC) is a metabolic disease, being characterized by the dysregulation of metabolic pathways involved in oxygen sensing (VHL/HIF pathway alterations and the subsequent up-regulation of HIF-responsive genes such as VEGF, PDGF, EGF, and glucose transporters GLUT1 and GLUT4, which justify the RCC reliance on aerobic glycolysis), energy sensing (fumarate hydratase-deficient, succinate dehydrogenase-deficient RCC, mutations of HGF/MET pathway resulting in the metabolic Warburg shift marked by RCC increased dependence on aerobic glycolysis and the pentose phosphate shunt, augmented lipogenesis, and reduced AMPK and Krebs cycle activity) and/or nutrient sensing cascade (deregulation of AMPK-TSC1/2-mTOR and PI3K-Akt-mTOR pathways). In this complex scenario it is important to find prognostic and predictive factors that can help in decision making in the treatment of mRCC.

Asif M, Shafaei A, Jafari SF, et al.
Isoledene from Mesua ferrea oleo-gum resin induces apoptosis in HCT 116 cells through ROS-mediated modulation of multiple proteins in the apoptotic pathways: A mechanistic study.
Toxicol Lett. 2016; 257:84-96 [PubMed] Related Publications
Colorectal cancer (CRC) is one of the most common human malignant tumors worldwide. Arising from the transformation of epithelial cells in the colon and/or rectum into malignant cells, the foundation of CRC pathogenesis lies in the progressive accumulation of mutations in oncogenes and tumor-suppressor genes, such as KRAS and APC. Resistance to apoptosis is one of the key mechanisms in the development of CRC as it is for any other kind of cancer. Natural products have been shown to induce the expression of apoptosis regulators that are blocked in cancer cells. In the present study, a series of in vitro assays were employed to study the apoptosis-inducing attributes of Isoledene rich sub-fraction (IR-SF) collected from the oleo-gum resin of M. ferrea. Data obtained, showed that IR-SF inhibited cell proliferation and induced typical apoptotic changes in the overall morphology of all the CRC cell lines tested. Fluorescent staining assays revealed characteristic nuclear condensation, and marked decrease in mitochondrial outer membrane potential in the treated cells. In addition, an increment in the levels of ROS, caspase-8, -9 and -3 was observed. Proteomic analysis revealed that IR-SF up-regulated the expression of pro-apoptotic proteins, i.e., Bid, Bim and cytochrome c. Cytochrome c in turn activated caspases cascade resulting in the induction of apoptosis. Moreover, IR-SF significantly down-regulated Bcl-2, Bcl-w, survivin, xIAP and HSPs pro-survival proteins and induced DNA fragmentation and G0/G1-phase arrest in HCT 116 cells. Chemical characterization of IR-SF by GC-MS and HPLC methods identified Isoledene as one of the major compounds. Altogether, results of the present study demonstrate that IR-SF may induce apoptosis in human colorectal carcinoma cells through activation of ROS-mediated apoptotic pathways.

Jiang S, Zhao C, Yang X, et al.
miR-1 suppresses the growth of esophageal squamous cell carcinoma in vivo and in vitro through the downregulation of MET, cyclin D1 and CDK4 expression.
Int J Mol Med. 2016; 38(1):113-22 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Several aberrant microRNAs (miRNAs or miRs) have been implicated in esophageal cancer (EC), which is widely prevalent in China. However, their role in EC tumorigenesis has not yet been fully elucidated. In the present study, we determined that miR‑1 was downregulated in esophageal squamous cell carcinoma (ESCC) tissues compared with adjacent non-neoplastic tissues using RT-qPCR, and confirmed this using an ESCC cell line. Using a nude mouse xenograft model, we confirmed that the re-expression of miR‑1 significantly inhibited ESCC tumor growth. A tetrazolium assay and a trypan blue exclusion assay revealed that miR‑1 suppressed ESCC cell proliferation and increased apoptosis, whereas the silencing of miR‑1 promoted cell proliferation and decreased apoptosis, suggesting that miR‑1 is a novel tumor suppressor. To elucidate the molecular mechanisms of action of miR‑1 in ESCC, we investigated putative targets using bioinformatics tools. MET, cyclin D1 and cyclin-dependent kinase 4 (CDK4), which are involved in the hepatocyte growth factor (HGF)/MET signaling pathway, were found to be targets of miR‑1. miR‑1 expression inversely correlated with MET, cyclin D1 and CDK4 expression in ESCC cells. miR‑1 directly targeted MET, cyclin D1 and CDK4, suppressing ESCC cell growth. The newly identified miR‑1/MET/cyclin D1/CDK4 axis provides new insight into the molecular mechanisms of ESCC pathogenesis and indicates a novel strategy for the diagnosis and treatment of ESCC.

Lau EY, Lo J, Cheng BY, et al.
Cancer-Associated Fibroblasts Regulate Tumor-Initiating Cell Plasticity in Hepatocellular Carcinoma through c-Met/FRA1/HEY1 Signaling.
Cell Rep. 2016; 15(6):1175-89 [PubMed] Related Publications
Like normal stem cells, tumor-initiating cells (T-ICs) are regulated extrinsically within the tumor microenvironment. Because HCC develops primarily in the context of cirrhosis, in which there is an enrichment of activated fibroblasts, we hypothesized that cancer-associated fibroblasts (CAFs) would regulate liver T-ICs. We found that the presence of α-SMA(+) CAFs correlates with poor clinical outcome. CAF-derived HGF regulates liver T-ICs via activation of FRA1 in an Erk1,2-dependent manner. Further functional analysis identifies HEY1 as a direct downstream effector of FRA1. Using the STAM NASH-HCC mouse model, we find that HGF-induced FRA1 activation is associated with the fibrosis-dependent development of HCC. Thus, targeting the CAF-derived, HGF-mediated c-Met/FRA1/HEY1 cascade may be a therapeutic strategy for the treatment of HCC.

Liu WT, Jing YY, Yu GF, et al.
Hepatic stellate cell promoted hepatoma cell invasion via the HGF/c-Met signaling pathway regulated by p53.
Cell Cycle. 2016; 15(7):886-94 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 14/04/2017 Related Publications
The biological behaviors of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) are complex mainly due to heterogeneity of progressive genetic and epigenetic mutations as well as tumor environment. Hepatocyte growth factor (HGF)/c-Met signaling pathway is regarded to be a prototypical example for stromal-epithelial interactions during developmental morphogenesis, wound healing, organ regeneration and cancer progression. And p53 plays as an important regulator of Met-dependent cell motility and invasion. Present study showed that 2 HCC cell lines, Hep3B and HepG2, displayed different invasive capacity when treated with HGF which was secreted by hepatic stellate cells (HSCs). We found that HGF promoted Hep3B cells invasion and migration as well as epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT) occurrence because Hep3B was p53 deficient, which leaded to the c-Met over-expression. Then we found that HGF/c-Met promoted Hep3B cells invasion and migration by upregulating Snail expression. In conclusion, HGF/c-Met signaling is enhanced by loss of p53 expression, resulting in increased ability of invasion and migration by upregulating the expression of Snail.

Jittreetat T, Shin YS, Hwang HS, et al.
Tolfenamic Acid Inhibits the Proliferation, Migration, and Invasion of Nasopharyngeal Carcinoma: Involvement of p38-Mediated Down-Regulation of Slug.
Yonsei Med J. 2016; 57(3):588-98 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 14/04/2017 Related Publications
PURPOSE: Tolfenamic acid (TA), a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug, is known to exhibit antitumor effects in various cancers apart from nasopharyngeal cancer (NPC). NPC exhibits high invasiveness, as well as metastatic potential, and patients continue to suffer from residual, recurrent, or metastatic disease even after chemoradiation therapy. Therefore, new treatment strategies are needed for NPC. In this study, we investigated the efficacy and molecular mechanisms of TA in NPC treatment.
MATERIALS AND METHODS: TA-induced cell death was detected by cell viability assay in the NPC cell lines, HNE1 and HONE1. Wound healing assay, invasion assay, and Western blot analysis were used to evaluate the antitumor effects of TA in NPC cell lines.
RESULTS: Treatment with TA suppressed the migration and invasion of HNE1 and HONE1 cells. Hepatocyte growth factor enhanced the proliferation, migration, and invasion abilities of NPC cells. This enhancement was successfully inhibited by TA treatment. Treatment with TA increased phosphorylation of p38, and the inhibition of p38 with SB203580 reversed the cytotoxic, anti-invasive, and anti-migratory effects of TA treatment in NPC cell lines. Moreover, inhibition of p38 also reversed the decrease in expression of Slug that was induced by TA treatment.
CONCLUSION: In conclusion, the activation of p38 plays a role in mediating TA-induced cytotoxicity and inhibition of invasion and migration via down-regulation of Slug.

Okuma HS, Kondo S
Trends in the development of MET inhibitors for hepatocellular carcinoma.
Future Oncol. 2016; 12(10):1275-86 [PubMed] Related Publications
Hepatocellular carcinoma is the third most common cause of cancer-related deaths worldwide. The multikinase inhibitor sorafenib has improved survival and is now considered the standard of care; however, the benefits are still disappointing, and thus, new effective treatments are required. In human hepatocellular carcinoma, MET, which is encoded by the HGFR gene, is activated by amplification, overexpression or mutation, and it has recently emerged as a possible therapeutic target in various tumors including hepatocellular carcinoma. In fact, some drugs targeting the HGF/MET axis are currently under investigation in clinical trials. Here, we review the role of MET and trends in the development of MET inhibitors for hepatocellular carcinoma.

Nishimura Y, Hyuga S, Takiguchi S, et al.
Ephedrae herba stimulates hepatocyte growth factor-induced MET endocytosis and downregulation via early/late endocytic pathways in gefitinib-resistant human lung cancer cells.
Int J Oncol. 2016; 48(5):1895-906 [PubMed] Related Publications
The MET tyrosine kinase receptor and its ligand, hepatocyte growth factor (HGF), are known to be overexpressed in a variety of malignant tumor cells, and are implicated in the development of gefitinib-resistance in human non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) cells. Ephedrae herba was previously reported to prevent HGF-induced cancer cell motility by directly suppressing HGF/MET signaling through the inhibition of MET tyrosine kinase, and treatment with its extract also considerably reduced MET protein levels. To further investigate the mechanism underlying the Ephedrae herba-induced inhibition of MET phosphorylation as well as its degradation and subsequent disappearance, we examined the effect of Ephedrae herba on HGF-stimulated MET endocytosis and downregulation via early/late endocytic pathways in an NSCLC cell line. Using immunofluorescence microscopy, we found that pretreatment of cells with Ephedrae herba extract dramatically changed the intracellular distribution of plasma membrane-associated MET, and that the resultant MET staining was distributed throughout the cytoplasm. Pretreatment of the cells with Ephedrae herba extract also led to the rapid loss of MET and phosphorylated (p)-MET in HGF-stimulated cells. In contrast, inefficient endocytic delivery of MET and p-MET from early to late endosomes was observed in the absence of Ephedrae herba extract, since considerable amounts of the internalized MET accumulated in the early endosomes and were not delivered to lysosomes up to 1 h after HGF-stimulation. Furthermore, large amounts of MET and p-MET that had accumulated in late endosomes of Ephedrae herba-pretreated cells after HGF stimulation were observed along with bafilomycin A1. Therefore, we inferred that degradation of MET occurred in the late endosome/lysosome pathway. Moreover, western blot analysis revealed the accelerated degradation of MET and p-MET proceeds in cells pretreated with Ephedrae herba extract. Collectively, our results suggest that some components of Ephedrae herba have a novel role in promoting HGF-stimulated MET and p-MET endocytosis followed by its downregulation, likely mediated by the early/late endocytic pathways.

Martin TA, Jordan N, Davies EL, Jiang WG
Metastasis to Bone in Human Cancer Is Associated with Loss of Occludin Expression.
Anticancer Res. 2016; 36(3):1287-93 [PubMed] Related Publications
BACKGROUND: Occludin is an integral membrane protein localised at tight junctions (TJ). There is no consensus regarding its paramount role in TJ. In previous work we showed that occludin is aberrantly expressed in both human breast tissues and cancer cell lines. This study demonstrates a link to bone metastasis in human cancer.
MATERIALS AND METHODS: Primary breast tumours (n=124) and matched normal tissues (n=30) were processed for quantitative polymerase chain reaction (QPCR) analysis. A hammerhead ribozyme was constructed to create occludin knockdown cell lines, MDA-MB-231(ΔOcc) and PC-3(ΔOcc). The effect of human bone matrix extract (BME) was investigated using cell growth and electric cell impedance sensing (ECIS) technology to measure changes in attachment/migration. Trans-epithelial resistance (TER) was measured for assessing changes in TJ function. Cells used were MDA-MB-231, PC-3, CORL-23, SKMES-1 and A-549 human cancer cell lines.
RESULTS: Tumours from patients with bone metastasis had significantly lower occludin expression compared to those remaining alive/well (60.7±21 vs. 331±98, respectively, p=0.008). This was striking in ductal carcinomas, where patients alive/well had significantly higher occludin expression compared to those with bone metastasis (391±12.5 vs. 67.9±28, respectively, p=0.0014). ECIS demonstrated that MDA-MB-231(ΔOcc) showed reduced attachment to 5% BME compared to controls (84% vs. 100%) that prevented closure of wounded cell layers. Moreover, these cells had reduced growth on BME. In addition, BME changed the TER of a number of human cell lines and was able to effect changes in the growth of MDA-MB-241 and PC-3 cells, with greater effect on knockdown cells.
CONCLUSION: This is the first study to demonstrate that occludin expression has a clear relationship with bone metastasis in human cancer. The discrepancy between this and the in vitro data indicating a reduction in migration/growth rate of occludin knockdown indicates that loss of occludin leads to complex changes in human cancer cell phenotype.

Erzinger MM, Bovet C, Hecht KM, et al.
Sulforaphane Preconditioning Sensitizes Human Colon Cancer Cells towards the Bioreductive Anticancer Prodrug PR-104A.
PLoS One. 2016; 11(3):e0150219 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 14/04/2017 Related Publications
The chemoprotective properties of sulforaphane (SF), derived from cruciferous vegetables, are widely acknowledged to arise from its potent induction of xenobiotic-metabolizing and antioxidant enzymes. However, much less is known about the impact of SF on the efficacy of cancer therapy through the modulation of drug-metabolizing enzymes. To identify proteins modulated by a low concentration of SF, we treated HT29 colon cancer cells with 2.5 μM SF. Protein abundance changes were detected by stable isotope labeling of amino acids in cell culture. Among 18 proteins found to be significantly up-regulated, aldo-keto reductase 1C3 (AKR1C3), bioactivating the DNA cross-linking prodrug PR-104A, was further characterized. Preconditioning HT29 cells with SF reduced the EC50 of PR-104A 3.6-fold. The increase in PR-104A cytotoxicity was linked to AKR1C3 abundance and activity, both induced by SF in a dose-dependent manner. This effect was reproducible in a second colon cancer cell line, SW620, but not in other colon cancer cell lines where AKR1C3 abundance and activity were absent or barely detectable and could not be induced by SF. Interestingly, SF had no significant influence on PR-104A cytotoxicity in non-cancerous, immortalized human colonic epithelial cell lines expressing either low or high levels of AKR1C3. In conclusion, the enhanced response of PR-104A after preconditioning with SF was apparent only in cancer cells provided that AKR1C3 is expressed, while its expression in non-cancerous cells did not elicit such a response. Therefore, a subset of cancers may be susceptible to combined food-derived component and prodrug treatments with no harm to normal tissues.

Karlsen RV, Frederiksen K, Larsen MB, et al.
The impact of a breast cancer diagnosis on health-related quality of life. A prospective comparison among middle-aged to elderly women with and without breast cancer.
Acta Oncol. 2016; 55(6):720-7 [PubMed] Related Publications
Background The improved survival after breast cancer has prompted knowledge on the effect of a breast cancer diagnosis on health-related quality of life (HQoL). This study compared changes in HQoL among women from before to after breast cancer diagnosis with longitudinal changes among women who remained breast cancer-free. Material and methods The Danish Diet, Cancer and Health study included 57 053 cancer-free persons aged 50-64 years at baseline (1993-1997). We used data from first follow-up (1999-2002) and second follow-up (2010-2012) on HQoL [Medical Outcomes Survey, short form (SF-36)] obtained from 542 women aged 64-82 years with primary breast cancer (stages I-III) and a randomly matched sample of 729 women who remained breast cancer-free. Linear regression models were used to estimate the differences in changes in HQoL between women with and without breast cancer; the analyses were repeated with stratification according to age, comorbidity, partner support and time since diagnosis. Results Women with breast cancer reported significantly larger decreases in HQoL from before to after diagnosis than those who remained breast cancer-free (physical component summary, -2.0; 95% CI -2.8; -1.2, mental component summary, -1.5, 95% CI -2.3; -0.6). This association was significantly modified by comorbidity and time since diagnosis. Conclusions Women with breast cancer reported significantly larger HQoL declines than breast cancer-free women. Breast cancer diagnosis seems to have the greatest impact on HQoL closest to diagnosis and in women with comorbidity indicating that this group should be offered timely and appropriate follow-up care to prevent HQoL declines.

Vallet S, Bashari MH, Fan FJ, et al.
Pre-Osteoblasts Stimulate Migration of Breast Cancer Cells via the HGF/MET Pathway.
PLoS One. 2016; 11(3):e0150507 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 14/04/2017 Related Publications
INTRODUCTION: The occurrence of skeletal metastases in cancer, e.g. breast cancer (BC), deteriorates patient life expectancy and quality-of-life. Current treatment options against tumor-associated bone disease are limited to anti-resorptive therapies and aimed towards palliation. There remains a lack of therapeutic approaches, which reverse or even prevent the development of bone metastases. Recent studies demonstrate that not only osteoclasts (OCs), but also osteoblasts (OBs) play a central role in the pathogenesis of skeletal metastases, partly by producing hepatocyte growth factor (HGF), which promotes tumor cell migration and seeding into the bone. OBs consist of a heterogeneous cell pool with respect to their maturation stage and function. Recent studies highlight the critical role of pre-OBs in hematopoiesis. Whether the development of bone metastases can be attributed to a particular OB maturation stage is currently unknown.
METHODS AND RESULTS: Pre-OBs were generated from healthy donor (HD)-derived bone marrow stromal cells (BMSC) as well as the BMSC line KM105 and defined as ALPlow OPNlow RUNX2high OSX high CD166high. Conditioned media (CM) of pre-OBs, but not of undifferentiated cells or mature OBs, enhanced migration of metastatic BC cells. Importantly, HGF mRNA was significantly up-regulated in pre-OBs versus mature OBs, and CM of pre-OBs activated the MET signaling pathway. Highlighting a key role for HGF, CM from HGF-negative pre-OBs derived from the BMSC line HS27A did not support migration of BC cells. Genetically (siMET) or pharmacologically (INCB28060) targeting MET inhibited both HGF- and pre-OB CM- mediated BC cell migration.
CONCLUSIONS: Our data demonstrate for the first time a role for pre-OBs in mediating HGF/MET- dependent migration of BC cells and strongly support the clinical evaluation of INCB28060 and other MET inhibitors to limit and/or prevent BC-associated bone metastases.

Wang J, Goetsch L, Tucker L, et al.
Anti-c-Met monoclonal antibody ABT-700 breaks oncogene addiction in tumors with MET amplification.
BMC Cancer. 2016; 16:105 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 14/04/2017 Related Publications
BACKGROUND: c-Met is the receptor tyrosine kinase for hepatocyte growth factor (HGF) encoded by the MET proto-oncogene. Aberrant activation of c-Met resulting from MET amplification and c-Met overexpression is associated with poor clinical outcome in multiple malignancies underscoring the importance of c-Met signaling in cancer progression. Several c-Met inhibitors have advanced to the clinic; however, the development of inhibitory c-Met-directed therapeutic antibodies has been hampered by inherent agonistic activity.
METHOD: We generated and tested a bivalent anti-c-Met monoclonal antibody ABT-700 in vitro for binding potency and antagonistic activity and in vivo for antitumor efficacy in human tumor xenografts. Human cancer cell lines and gastric cancer tissue microarrays were examined for MET amplification by fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH).
RESULTS: ABT-700 exhibits a distinctive ability to block both HGF-independent constitutive c-Met signaling and HGF-dependent activation of c-Met. Cancer cells addicted to the constitutively activated c-Met signaling driven by MET amplification undergo apoptosis upon exposure to ABT-700. ABT-700 induces tumor regression and tumor growth delay in preclinical tumor models of gastric and lung cancers harboring amplified MET. ABT-700 in combination with chemotherapeutics also shows additive antitumor effect. Amplification of MET in human cancer tissues can be identified by FISH.
CONCLUSIONS: The preclinical attributes of ABT-700 in blocking c-Met signaling, inducing apoptosis and suppressing tumor growth in cancers with amplified MET provide rationale for examining its potential clinical utility for the treatment of cancers harboring MET amplification.

Sabbatino F, Wang Y, Scognamiglio G, et al.
Antitumor Activity of BRAF Inhibitor and IFNα Combination in BRAF-Mutant Melanoma.
J Natl Cancer Inst. 2016; 108(7) [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 01/07/2017 Related Publications
BACKGROUND: BRAF(V600E)-mediated MAPK pathway activation is associated in melanoma cells with IFNAR1 downregulation. IFNAR1 regulates melanoma cell sensitivity to IFNα, a cytokine used for the adjuvant treatment of melanoma. These findings and the limited therapeutic efficacy of BRAF-I prompted us to examine whether the efficacy of IFNα therapy of BRAF(V600E) melanoma can be increased by its combination with BRAF-I.
METHODS: BRAF/NRAS genotype, ERK activation, IFNAR1, and HLA class I expression were tested in 60 primary melanoma tumors from treatment-naive patients. The effect of BRAF-I on IFNAR1 expression was assessed in three melanoma cell lines and in four biopsies of BRAF(V600E) metastases. The antiproliferative, pro-apoptotic and immunomodulatory activity of BRAF-I and IFNα combination was tested in vitro and in vivo utilizing three melanoma cell lines, HLA class I-MA peptide complex-specific T-cells and immunodeficient mice (5 per group for survival and 10 per group for tumor growth inhibition). All statistical tests were two-sided. Differences were considered statistically significant when the P value was less than .05.
RESULTS: The IFNAR1 level was statistically significantly (P < .001) lower in BRAF(V600E) primary melanoma tumors than in BRAF wild-type tumors. IFNAR1 downregulation was reversed by BRAF-I treatment in the three melanoma cell lines (P ≤ .02) and in three out of four metastases. The IFNAR1 level in the melanoma tumors analyzed was increased as early as 10 to 14 days following the beginning of the treatment. These changes were associated with: 1) an increased susceptibility in vitro of melanoma cells to the antiproliferative (P ≤ .04), pro-apoptotic (P ≤ .009) and immunomodulatory activity, including upregulation of HLA class I antigen APM component (P ≤ .04) and MA expression as well as recognition by cognate T-cells (P < .001), of BRAF-I and IFNα combination and 2) an increased survival (P < .001) and inhibition of tumor growth of melanoma cells (P < .001) in vivo by BRAF-I and IFNα combination.
CONCLUSIONS: The described results provide a strong rationale for the clinical trials implemented in BRAF(V600E) melanoma patients with BRAF-I and IFNα combination.

Hou HA, Liu CY, Kuo YY, et al.
Splicing factor mutations predict poor prognosis in patients with de novo acute myeloid leukemia.
Oncotarget. 2016; 7(8):9084-101 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 01/07/2017 Related Publications
Mutations in splicing factor (SF) genes are frequently detected in myelodysplastic syndrome, but the prognostic relevance of these genes mutations in acute myeloid leukemia (AML) remains unclear. In this study, we investigated mutations of three SF genes, SF3B1, U2AF1 and SRSF2, by Sanger sequencing in 500 patients with de novo AML and analysed their clinical relevance. SF mutations were identified in 10.8% of total cohort and 13.2% of those with intermediate-risk cytogenetics. SF mutations were closely associated with RUNX1, ASXL1, IDH2 and TET2 mutations. SF-mutated AML patients had a significantly lower complete remission rate and shorter disease-free survival (DFS) and overall survival (OS) than those without the mutation. Multivariate analysis demonstrated that SFmutation was an independent poor prognostic factor for DFS and OS. A scoring system incorporating SF mutation and ten other prognostic factors was proved very useful to risk-stratify AML patients. Sequential study of paired samples showed that SF mutations were stable during AML evolution. In conclusion, SF mutations are associated with distinct clinic-biological features and poor prognosis in de novo AML patients and are rather stable during disease progression. These mutations may be potential targets for novel treatment and biomarkers for disease monitoring in AML.

He Y, Wang Y, Boyle T, et al.
Hepatic Metastases is Associated with Poor Efficacy of Erlotinib as 2nd/3rd Line Therapy in Patients with Lung Adenocarcinoma.
Med Sci Monit. 2016; 22:276-83 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 01/07/2017 Related Publications
BACKGROUND: Hepatocyte growth factor (HGF)-mediated mesenchymal-to-epithelial transition factor (MET) gene amplification is a common mechanism for acquired resistance to epidermal growth factor receptor tyrosine kinase inhibitors (EGFR-TKIs). MET gene amplification has also been associated with hepatic metastases in patients with lung cancer. The aim of this study was to investigate whether hepatic metastases are associated with decreased efficacy of erlotinib in patients with adenocarcinoma.
MATERIAL/METHODS: A cohort of 329 patients with stage IV lung adenocarcinoma, known EGFR mutation status, and who received treatment with erlotinib in the 2nd or 3rd line setting were enrolled into this study over a period of 4 years between January 2011 and January 2015. The cohort was stratified based on the presence or absence of hepatic metastases and the efficacy of erlotinib was defined based on disease control rate (DCR) and progression-free survival (PFS).
RESULTS: Hepatic metastases were present in 220 of the 329 enrolled lung adenocarcinoma patients. EGFR-activating mutations (exon 19 deletion or an exon 21 L858R mutation) were identified in 113 (34.3%) patients. The DCR was significantly lower in the hepatic metastases group than in patients without hepatic metastases (39.5% vs. 51.4% P=0.045). In patients with hepatic metastases, median PFS was 2.3 months in the EGFR mutation-positive group versus 1.4 months in the EGFR mutation-negative group (95% CI 1.3-3.3 vs. 1.3-1.5; P=0.055). Of note, erlotinib therapy in patients with hepatic metastases was complicated by elevated alanine transaminase (ALT) levels.
CONCLUSIONS: Hepatic metastasis in patients with lung adenocarcinoma predicts poor response to erlotinib as a 2nd/3rd line therapy. Combination therapy, for example with MET-TKI, may be a good choice for patients with liver metastases with poor prognosis.

Qiao Y, Feng FY, Wang Y, et al.
Mechanistic Support for Combined MET and AR Blockade in Castration-Resistant Prostate Cancer.
Neoplasia. 2016; 18(1):1-9 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 01/07/2017 Related Publications
A recent phase III trial of the MET kinase inhibitor cabozantinib in men with castration-resistant prostate cancer (CRPC) failed to meet its primary survival end point; however, most men with CRPC have intact androgen receptor (AR) signaling. As previous work supports negative regulation of MET by AR signaling, we hypothesized that intact AR signaling may have limited the efficacy of cabozantinib in some of these patients. To assess the role of AR signaling on MET inhibition, we first performed an in silico analysis of human CRPC tissue samples stratified by AR signaling status ((+) or (-)), which identified MET expression as markedly increased in AR(-) samples. In vitro, AR signaling inhibition in AR(+) CRPC models increased MET expression and resulted in susceptibility to ligand (HGF) activation. Likewise, MET inhibition was only effective in blocking cancer phenotypes in cells with MET overexpression. Using multiple AR(+) CRPC in vitro and in vivo models, we showed that combined cabozantinib and enzalutamide (AR antagonist) treatment was more efficacious than either inhibitor alone. These data provide a compelling rationale to combine AR and MET inhibition in CRPC and may explain the negative results of the phase III cabozantinib study in CRPC. Similarly, the expression of MET in AR(-) disease, whether due to AR inhibition or loss of AR signaling, suggests potential utility for MET inhibition in select patients with AR therapy resistance and in AR(-) prostate cancer.

Li L, Jiang X, Zhang Q, et al.
Neuropilin-1 is associated with clinicopathology of gastric cancer and contributes to cell proliferation and migration as multifunctional co-receptors.
J Exp Clin Cancer Res. 2016; 35:16 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 01/07/2017 Related Publications
BACKGROUND: Neuropilin-1 (NRP-1) is a transmembrane glycoprotein participating in the growth and metastasis of cancer cells as multifunctional co-receptors by interacting with the signaling pathways. However, its role in gastric cancer has not yet been clarified. This study aims to investigate whether NRP-1 expression is associated with the clinicopathology of gastric cancer, and involved in the growth and metastasis of gastric cancer cells.
METHODS: NRP-1 expression in clinical gastric cancer specimens was examined by immunohistochemistry and its association with clinicopathology analyzed. The expression of NRP-1 in a panel of human gastric cancer cells was examined by real-time RT-PCR and immunoblotting. Stable transfectants depleted of NRP-1, termed MGC-803-NRP(low), were generated from MGC-803 cells. Cell proliferation was analyzed by the Cell Counting Kit-8 and Bromodeoxyuridine incorporation assays, and migrating ability analyzed by migration assays. The xenograft model was used to assess the effects of NRP-1 depletion on tumorigenesis, growth, metastasis and therapeutic potentials. The role of NRP-1 as co-receptors in the signaling pathways stimulated by ligands was examined. The key molecules involved in cell proliferation, migration and related signaling pathways were detected by immunoblotting.
RESULTS: Gastric cancer tissues expressed higher levels of NRP-1 compared to normal gastric mucosa. Its expression correlated with clinical staging, tumor differentiation and pathological types. NRP-1 depletion inhibited cell proliferation by inducing cell cycle arrest in the G1/S phase by upregulating p27, and downregulating cyclin E and cyclin-dependent kinase 2. NRP-1 depletion reduced the ability of cells to migrate by inhibiting the phosphorylation of focal adhesion kinase. NRP-1 depletion suppressed tumorigenesis, tumor growth and lung metastasis by inhibiting cell proliferation and tumor angiogenesis in situ. Therapeutic NRP-1 shRNA inhibited the growth of established BGC823 tumors. Depletion of NRP-1 inhibited the activation of VEGF/VEGFR2, EGF/EGFR and HGF/c-Met pathways stimulated by respective recombinant human VEGF-165, EGF and HGF proteins.
CONCLUSIONS: The present results indicate that NRP-1 may be a potentially valuable biomarker and therapeutic target for gastric cancer.

Park S, Koh J, Kim DW, et al.
MET amplification, protein expression, and mutations in pulmonary adenocarcinoma.
Lung Cancer. 2015; 90(3):381-7 [PubMed] Related Publications
OBJECTIVES: MET amplification, protein expression, and splice mutations at exon 14 are known to cause dysregulation of the MET/HGF pathway. Our study aimed to confirm the relationship among MET amplification, protein expression, and mutations in pulmonary adenocarcinoma.
MATERIALS AND METHODS: MET protein expression by immunohistochemistry (IHC) and MET amplification by fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH) were evaluated in 316 surgically resected lung adenocarcinomas. Patients were divided into 4 groups (IHC-negative/FISH-negative, IHC-negative/FISH-positive, IHC-positive/FISH-negative, and IHC-positive/FISH-positive), and 15-20 tumors in each group were randomly selected for mutation analyses to find splice mutations at exon 14.
RESULTS: An IHC score of 0-3 was found in 168 (53.2%), 71 (22.5%), 59 (18.7%), and 18 (5.7%) tumors, respectively. The mean gene copy number (GCN) was 3.56; MET FISH positivity was detected in 123 (38.9%) samples, and 26 (8.2%) of them were gene amplifications. MET amplification were significantly associated with the IHC score (P<0.001, χ(2) test). Splice mutations were identified in only 2 (2.9%) of 70 cases. One had a MET IHC score of 2 and negative FISH without amplification; The other had a MET IHC score of 0 and positive FISH without amplification. MET IHC or FISH results were not prognostic indicators of overall survival in multivariate analysis.
CONCLUSION: There is a significant relationship between MET amplification and protein expression, and selection of tumors with amplification using IHC was effective. However, because of its rarity, a selection strategy for mutated tumors is implausible using IHC or FISH.

Firtina Karagonlar Z, Koc D, Iscan E, et al.
Elevated hepatocyte growth factor expression as an autocrine c-Met activation mechanism in acquired resistance to sorafenib in hepatocellular carcinoma cells.
Cancer Sci. 2016; 107(4):407-16 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 01/07/2017 Related Publications
Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) is the most common type of primary liver cancer and the third leading cause of cancer-related deaths worldwide. Limitations in HCC treatment result due to poor prognosis and resistance against traditional radiotherapy and chemotherapies. The multikinase inhibitor sorafenib is the only FDA approved drug available for advanced HCC patients, and development of second-line treatment options for patients who cannot tolerate or develop resistance to sorafenib is an urgent medical need. In this study, we established sorafenib-resistant cells from Huh7 and Mahlavu cell lines by long-term sorafenib exposure. Sorafenib-resistant HCC cells acquired spindle-shape morphology, upregulated mesenchymal markers, and showed significant increase in both migration and invasion abilities compared to their parental counterparts. Moreover, after long-term sorafenib treatment, HCC cells showed induction of hepatocyte growth factor (HGF) synthesis and secretion along with increased levels of c-Met kinase and its active phosphorylated form, indicating autocrine activation of HGF/c-Met signaling. Importantly, the combined treatment of the resistant cells with c-Met kinase inhibitor SU11274 and HGF neutralizing antibody significantly reversed the increased invasion ability of the cells. The combined treatment also significantly augmented sorafenib-induced apoptosis, suggesting restoration of sorafenib sensitivity. These results describe, for the first time, compensatory upregulation of HGF synthesis leading to autocrine activation of HGF/c-Met signaling as a novel cellular strategy in the acquisition of sorafenib resistance. Therefore, we suggest that combinatorial therapeutic strategies with HGF and c-Met inhibitors comprise promising candidates for overcoming sorafenib resistance.

Owen S, Sanders AJ, Mason MD, Jiang WG
Importance of osteoprotegrin and receptor activator of nuclear factor κB in breast cancer response to hepatocyte growth factor and the bone microenvironment in vitro.
Int J Oncol. 2016; 48(3):919-28 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 01/07/2017 Related Publications
Osteoprotegrin (OPG), receptor activator of nuclear factor κB (RANK) and RANK ligand (RANKL) are signal transducers which have pleiotropic actions. Each tumour necrosis factor receptor superfamily member has unique structural attributes which directly couples them to signalling pathways involved in cell proliferation, differentiation and survival. Previous studies have clinically linked OPG, RANK and RANKL to increasing tumour burden, metastatic bone involvement and estrogen status. This study aimed to establish the potential implications of targeting endogenously produced OPG and RANK in the osteotropic breast cancer cell line MDA-MB‑231 in vitro. Subsequently this study also aimed to explore the potential links between these molecules with regards to hepatocyte growth factor (HGF) signalling and extracted bone proteins (BME). OPG and RANK expression was successfully suppressed using hammerhead ribozyme technology. Subsequently effects were explored in MDA-MB‑231 cell proliferation, matrix adhesion, migration and invasion in vitro function assays. Reduced OPG expression resulted in increased breast cancer cell migration and invasion. These increases, particularly invasion, appeared to however be reduced under the influence of the exogenous stimuli (HGF and BME). In contrast, suppression of RANK in MDA-MB‑231 breast cancer cells resulted in decreased cancer cell proliferation, matrix-adhesion, motility and invasion with little cumulative effect being noted after the addition of exogenous stimuli. The complexity of the bone environment underpins the vast number of soluble factors and signalling pathways which can influence osteotropic cancer behaviour and progression. Further work into elucidating all the pathways affected could potentially lead to better identification of those patients most at risk.

Takano S, Reichert M, Bakir B, et al.
Prrx1 isoform switching regulates pancreatic cancer invasion and metastatic colonization.
Genes Dev. 2016; 30(2):233-47 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 01/07/2017 Related Publications
The two major isoforms of the paired-related homeodomain transcription factor 1 (Prrx1), Prrx1a and Prrx1b, are involved in pancreatic development, pancreatitis, and carcinogenesis, although the biological role that these isoforms serve in the systemic dissemination of pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC) has not been investigated. An epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT) is believed to be important for primary tumor progression and dissemination, whereas a mesenchymal-epithelial transition (MET) appears crucial for metastatic colonization. Here, we describe novel roles for both isoforms in the metastatic cascade using complementary in vitro and in vivo models. Prrx1b promotes invasion, tumor dedifferentiation, and EMT. In contrast, Prrx1a stimulates metastatic outgrowth in the liver, tumor differentiation, and MET. We further demonstrate that the switch from Prrx1b to Prrx1a governs EMT plasticity in both mouse models of PDAC and human PDAC. Last, we identify hepatocyte growth factor ( HGF) as a novel transcriptional target of Prrx1b. Targeted therapy of HGF in combination with gemcitabine in a preclinical model of PDAC reduces primary tumor volume and eliminates metastatic disease. Overall, we provide new insights into the isoform-specific roles of Prrx1a and Prrx1b in primary PDAC formation, dissemination, and metastatic colonization, allowing for novel therapeutic strategies targeting EMT plasticity.

Ohashi K, Hayashi T, Sakamoto M, et al.
Aldosterone-producing adrenocortical carcinoma with prominent hepatic metastasis diagnosed by liver biopsy: a case report.
BMC Endocr Disord. 2016; 16:3 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 01/07/2017 Related Publications
BACKGROUND: Aldosterone-producing adrenocortical carcinoma is a rare malignancy, which is usually diagnosed by histopathological examination of the excised tumor. In inoperable cases, aldosterone-producing ACC diagnosed by immunohistochemical staining of the metastatic tumor for Cytochrome P450 (CYP) 11β has not previously been reported and even in that case staining for adrenocortical-specific adrenal 4 binding protein/steroidogenic factor1 (Ad4BP/SF1) and steroidogenic enzymes has not been reported.
CASE PRESENTATION: We report the case of a 67-year-old Japanese woman with aldosterone-producing adrenocortical carcinoma. Laboratory findings showed severe hypopotassemia. Endocrinological examination revealed an increased plasma aldosterone concentration and suppressed plasma renin activity. Plasma dehydroepiandrosterone sulfate (DHEA-S) was elevated. Diurnal variation in serum cortisol was lost and administration of 1 mg and 8 mg dexamethasone did not suppress serum cortisol levels. From the 24-h urine collection sample, urine aldosterone and urine cortisol levels were greatly increased. Therefore, autonomous excess production was observed for the three adrenal cortex hormones. Abdominal computed tomography and magnetic resonance imaging showed a right adrenal tumor and a huge liver tumor. Adrenocortical carcinoma with metastatic liver cancer was strongly suggested, however surgery could not be considered due to stage IV disease: the liver tumor was too large and cardiac ultrasonography indicated that her cardiac function was poor. Therefore, a liver biopsy was taken to properly determine the diagnosis. Immunohistochemical stains for Ad4BP/SF1 and steroidogenic enzymes were positive. Ad4BP/SF-1 was originally identified as a steroidogenic, tissue-specific transcription factor implicated in the expression of the steroidogenic CYP gene encoding cytochrome P450s. Hence we could diagnose the patient as having adrenocortical carcinoma with metastatic liver cancer.
CONCLUSION: This rare case had severe hypopotassemia accompanied with not only increased cortisol and DHEA-S but also aldosterone. We reached the diagnosis of adrenocortical carcinoma with metastatic liver cancer based on positive immunohistochemical staining of Ad4BP/SF1 in the liver biopsy specimen. We have reported the first case of aldosterone-producing adrenocortical carcinoma diagnosed solely by immunohistochemical staining for adrenocortical-specific Ad4BP/SF1 and steroidogenic enzymes in a metastatic liver tumor.

Palma Cde S, Grassi ML, Thomé CH, et al.
Proteomic Analysis of Epithelial to Mesenchymal Transition (EMT) Reveals Cross-talk between SNAIL and HDAC1 Proteins in Breast Cancer Cells.
Mol Cell Proteomics. 2016; 15(3):906-17 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Epithelial to mesenchymal transition (EMT)(1) occurs naturally during embryogenesis, tissue repair, cancer progression, and metastasis. EMT induces cellular and microenvironmental changes resulting in loss of epithelial and acquisition of mesenchymal phenotypes, which promotes cellular invasive and migratory capabilities. EMT can be triggered by extracellular factors, including TGF-β, HGF, and EGF. Overexpression of transcription factors, such as SNAIL, SLUG, ZEB1/2, and TWIST1, also induces EMT and is correlated to cancer aggressiveness. Here, the breast adenocarcinoma cell line MCF7 was transduced with SNAIL to identify specific mechanisms controlled by this transcription factor during EMT. Overexpression of SNAIL led to EMT, which was thoroughly validated by molecular, morphological, and functional experiments. Subcellular proteome enrichment followed by GEL-LC-MS/MS was performed to provide extensive protein fractionation and in-depth proteomic analysis. Quantitative analysis relied on a SILAC strategy, using the invasive breast cancer cell line MDA-MB-231 as a reference for quantitation. Subsets of proteins enriched in each subcellular compartment led to a complementary list of 4289 proteins identified with high confidence. A subset of differentially expressed proteins was validated by Western blot, including regulation in specific cellular compartments, potentially caused by protein translocation. Protein network analysis highlighted complexes involved in cell cycle control and epigenetic regulation. Flow cytometry analysis indicated that SNAIL overexpression led to cell cycle arrest in G0/G1 phases. Furthermore, down-regulation of HDAC1 was observed, supporting the involvement of epigenetic processes in SNAIL-induced EMT. When HDAC1 activity was inhibited, MCF7 not only apparently initiated EMT but also up-regulated SNAIL, indicating the cross-talk between these two proteins. Both HDAC1 inhibition and SNAIL overexpression activated the AKT pathway. These molecular mechanisms appear to be essential to EMT and therefore for cancer metastasis. Specific control of such epigenetic processes might then represent effective approaches for clinical management of metastatic cancer.

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