Gene Summary

Gene:MAPK1; mitogen-activated protein kinase 1
Aliases: ERK, p38, p40, p41, ERK2, ERT1, ERK-2, MAPK2, PRKM1, PRKM2, P42MAPK, p41mapk, p42-MAPK
Summary:This gene encodes a member of the MAP kinase family. MAP kinases, also known as extracellular signal-regulated kinases (ERKs), act as an integration point for multiple biochemical signals, and are involved in a wide variety of cellular processes such as proliferation, differentiation, transcription regulation and development. The activation of this kinase requires its phosphorylation by upstream kinases. Upon activation, this kinase translocates to the nucleus of the stimulated cells, where it phosphorylates nuclear targets. One study also suggests that this protein acts as a transcriptional repressor independent of its kinase activity. The encoded protein has been identified as a moonlighting protein based on its ability to perform mechanistically distinct functions. Two alternatively spliced transcript variants encoding the same protein, but differing in the UTRs, have been reported for this gene. [provided by RefSeq, Jan 2014]
Databases:VEGA, OMIM, HGNC, Ensembl, GeneCard, Gene
Protein:mitogen-activated protein kinase 1
Source:NCBIAccessed: 13 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 13 March 2017 using data from PubMed using criteria.

Literature Analysis

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Tag cloud generated 13 March, 2017 using data from PubMed, MeSH and CancerIndex

Specific Cancers (8)

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: MAPK1 (cancer-related)

Zhang LQ, Yang SQ, Wang Y, et al.
Long Noncoding RNA MIR4697HG Promotes Cell Growth and Metastasis in Human Ovarian Cancer.
Anal Cell Pathol (Amst). 2017; 2017:8267863 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Ovarian cancer is one of the three most common gynecological malignant tumors worldwide. The prognosis of patients suffering from this malignancy remains poor because of limited therapeutic strategies. Herein, we investigated the role of a long noncoding RNA named MIR4697 host gene (MIR4697HG) in the cell growth and metastasis of ovarian cancer. Results showed that the transcriptional level of MIR4697HG in cancerous tissues increased twofold compared with that in adjacent noncancerous tissues. MIR4697HG was differentially expressed in ovarian cancer cell lines, with the highest levels in OVCAR3 and SKOV3 cells. MIR4697HG knockdown by specific shRNA significantly inhibited cell proliferation and colony formation in both OVCAR3 and SKOC3 cells. Consistently, in a xenograft model of ovarian cancer, MIR4697HG depletion also significantly restricted tumor volumes and weights. Furthermore, MIR4697HG knockdown inhibited cell migration and invasion capacities. Invasion ability was inhibited by 58% in SKOV3 cells and 40% in OVCAR3 cells, and migration ability was inhibited by 73% in SKOV3 cells and 62% in OVCAR3 cells after MIR4697HG knockdown. MIR4697HG knockdown also caused a decrease in matrix metalloprotease-9, phosphorylated ERK, and phosphorylated AKT. These data suggested that MIR4697HG promoted ovarian cancer growth and metastasis. The aggressive role of MIR4697HG in ovarian cancer may be related to the ERK and AKT signaling pathways.

Wang YF, Xu YL, Tang ZH, et al.
Baicalein Induces Beclin 1- and Extracellular Signal-Regulated Kinase-Dependent Autophagy in Ovarian Cancer Cells.
Am J Chin Med. 2017; 45(1):123-136 [PubMed] Related Publications
Baicalein (BA), one of the major compounds isolated from the root of Scutellaria baicalensis Gerogi, exhibits various pharmacological effects, such as anti-oxidant, anti-inflammatory, and anticancer effects. In this study, we found that BA reduced cell viability and increased apoptosis in ovarian cancer cells. Treatment of cells with BA enhanced microtubule-associated protein light chain 3-II (LC3-II) expression, acidic vesicular organelle and GFP-LC3 fluorescence dot accumulation. Combined treatment with chloroquine and BA apparently reduced cell viability and increased the cleavage of poly (ADPribose) polymerase (PARP) in both HEY and A2780 ovarian cancer cell lines, indicating that BA induces a protective autophagy in these cells. Knockdown of Beclin 1 by siRNA remarkably decreased BA-induced LC3-II lipidation. In addition, we found an increase in the phosphorylation of extracellular signal-regulated kinase (ERK, Thr202/Thr204) and AKT (Ser473) after BA treatment, and inhibition of ERK activation by the pharmacological inhibitor U0126 or ERK siRNA blocked BA-induced autophagy. Taken together, these results suggest that BA induces Beclin 1- and ERK-dependent autophagy in ovarian cancer cells.

Li X, Zhang G, Wang Y, et al.
Loss of periplakin expression is associated with the tumorigenesis of colorectal carcinoma.
Biomed Pharmacother. 2017; 87:366-374 [PubMed] Related Publications
Periplakin (PPL), a member of the plakin protein family, has been reported to be down-expressed in urothelial carcinoma. The role of PPL in human colorectal cancer, however, remains largely unknown. Also little is known about the contribution of PPL to the malignant property of colorectal cancer and the intracellular function of PPL. In this study, we demonstrated that PPL was apparently down-expressed in colon carcinomas compared with normal and para-carcinoma tissues, which was correlated with the tumor size. Enforced expression of PPL in HT29 cells inhibited its proliferation evidenced by decreased expression of phosphorylated ERK and PCNA. Furthermore, PPL overexpression could reduce metastasis and epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT) of HT29 cells, with decreased expression of N-cadherin, Snail, Slug and α-SMA while increased expression of E-cadherin. On the contrary, the PPL knockdown could promote the cell proliferation, migratory, invasive and EMT ability of HT29 cells. Moreover, enforced expression of PPL induced G1/G0 cell cycle arrest, with decreased cyclin D1, p-Rb and increased expression of p27(kib), which could be reversed by PPL knockdown. In addition, PPL overexpression inhibited the growth of colon cancer allograft in vivo. Taken together, acted as a tumor suppressor in colon cancer progression, PPL could be a new biomarker or potential therapeutic target in colon cancer.

Kim BA, Jee HG, Yi JW, et al.
Expression Profiling of a Human Thyroid Cell Line Stably Expressing the BRAFV600E Mutation.
Cancer Genomics Proteomics. 2017; 14(1):53-67 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
BACKGROUND/AIM: The BRAF(V600E) mutation acts as an initiator of cancer development in papillary thyroid carcinoma (PTC). Gene expression changes caused by the BRAF(V600E) mutation may have an important role in thyroid cancer development.
MATERIALS AND METHODS: To study genomic alterations caused by the BRAF(V600E) mutation, we made human thyroid cell lines that harbor the wild-type BRAF gene (Nthy/WT) and the V600E mutant-type BRAF gene (Nthy/V600E).
RESULTS: Flow cytometry and western blotting showed stable transfection of the BRAF gene. In functional experiments, Nthy/V600E showed increased anchorage-independent growth and invasion through Matrigel, compared to Nthy/WT. Microarray analysis revealed that 2,441 genes were up-regulated in Nthy/V600E compared to Nthy/WT. Gene ontology analysis showed that the up-regulated genes were associated with cell adhesion, migration, and the ERK and MAPK cascade, and pathway analysis showed enrichment in cancer-related pathways.
CONCLUSION: Our Nthy/WT and Nthy/V600E cell line pair could be a suitable model to study the molecular characteristics of BRAF(V600E) PTC.

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.

Liu YF, Liu QQ, Zhang YH, Qiu JH
Annexin A3 Knockdown Suppresses Lung Adenocarcinoma.
Anal Cell Pathol (Amst). 2016; 2016:4131403 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Our previous study identified an elevated abundance of annexin A3 (Anxa3) as a novel prognostic biomarker of lung adenocarcinoma (LADC) through quantitative proteomics analysis. However, the biological functions of Anxa3 in LADC are not fully clear. In this study, in vitro and in vivo assays were performed to investigate the effects of Anxa3 downregulation on the growth, migration, invasion, metastasis, and signaling pathway activation of LADC cells. After Anxa3 downregulation, the growth of A549 and LTEP-a2 LADC cells was slowed and they showed decreased migration and invasion in vitro. Anxa3 knockdown significantly inhibited tumor formation by A549 cells in vivo; while many metastases were formed by control A549 cells, there were obvious reductions in the numbers of lung, liver, and brain metastases formed by Anxa3 knockdown in A549 cells. Furthermore, Anxa3 knockdown significantly decreased MMP-2 and N-cadherin expression and increased E-cadherin expression both in cell lines in vitro and in tumor nodules examined during in vivo tumorigenesis assays. Interestingly, Anxa3 downregulation reduced the phosphorylated levels of MEK and ERK. In summary, Anxa3 knockdown inhibited the growth, migration, invasion, and metastasis of LADC, decreased the activation of the MEK/ERK signaling pathway, and modulated the expression of MMP-2, E-cadherin, and N-cadherin.

Baghbani E, Baradaran B, Pak F, et al.
Suppression of protein tyrosine phosphatase PTPN22 gene induces apoptosis in T-cell leukemia cell line (Jurkat) through the AKT and ERK pathways.
Biomed Pharmacother. 2017; 86:41-47 [PubMed] Related Publications
The aim of this study was to investigate the effect of specific PTPN22 small interfering RNAs (siRNAs) on the viability and induction of apoptosis in Jurkat cells and to evaluate apoptosis signaling pathways. In this study, Jurkat cells were transfected with specific PTPN22 siRNA. Relative PTPN22 mRNA expression was measured by Quantitative Real-time PCR. Western blotting was performed to determine the protein levels of PTPN22, AKT, P-AKT, ERK, and P-ERK. The cytotoxic effects of PTPN22 siRNA were determined using the MTT assay. Apoptosis was quantified using TUNEL assay and flow cytometry. Results showed that in Jurkat cells after transfection with PTPN22 siRNA, the expression of PTPN22 in both mRNA and protein levels was effectively reduced. Moreover, siRNA transfection induced apoptosis on the viability of T-cell acute leukemia cells. More importantly, PTPN22 positively regulated the anti-apoptotic AKT kinase, which provides a powerful survival signal to T-ALL cells as well as the suppression of PTPN22 down regulated ERK activity. Our results suggest that the PTPN22 specific siRNA effectively decreases the viability of T-cell acute leukemia cells, induces apoptosis in this cell line, and therefore could be considered as a potent adjuvant in T-ALL therapy.

Lin ZY, Chuang WL
Contrary influence of clinically applied sorafenib concentrations among hepatocellular carcinoma patients.
Biomed Pharmacother. 2017; 86:27-31 [PubMed] Related Publications
The treatment responses of sorafenib in hepatocellular carcinoma are modest which may be due to different characteristics of cancer cells or insufficient therapeutic concentrations. This study was to clarify this issue. The anti-proliferative effects and differential expressions of 8 genes related to sorafenib anti-cancer mechanisms (tyrosine kinase receptor genes: KDR, PDGFRB; RAF cascade: RAF1, BRAF, MAP2K1, MAP2K2, MAPK1, MAPK3) were investigated in primary cultured hepatocellular carcinoma cells collected from 8 patients using clinically applied sorafenib concentrations (5, 10μg/mL). The anti-proliferative effects of sorafenib at either 5 or 10μg/mL, which were related to down-regulations of KDR, PDGFRB and/or genes in the RAF cascade, were achieved only in one patient (HCC38/KMUH). However, either 5 or 10μg/mL sorafenib promoted proliferation in 4 patients (HCC29/KMUH, HCC62/KMUH, HCC87/KMUH, HCC98/KMUH). Among them, the RAF cascade, PDGFRB and/or KDR were up-regulated in 3 patients but no gene was differentially expressed in the remaining one patient (HCC87/KMUH). Increase the sorafenib concentration to 10μg/mL paradoxically up-regulated and/or obliterated the previously down-regulated genes in the RAF cascade and/or KDR in 4 patients (HCC29/KMUH, HCC76/KMUH, HCC87/KMUH, HCC98/KMUH). Significant down-regulations of the RAF cascade and PDGFRB by sorafenib but without anti-proliferative effects were detected in one patient (HCC54/KMUH). In conclusion, influence of sorafenib on proliferation is not simply through the RAF cascade. The responses of KDR, PDGFRB and the RAF cascade to sorafenib among patients are diverse or even contrary. Increase the sorafenib concentration has potential to up-regulate genes favored angiogenesis and proliferation.

Pectasides D, Kotoula V, Papaxoinis G, et al.
Expression Patterns of Growth and Survival Genes with Prognostic Implications in Advanced Pancreatic Cancer.
Anticancer Res. 2016; 36(12):6347-6356 [PubMed] Related Publications
AIM: The aim of this study was to evaluate the mRNA expression pattern of growth- and survival-related genes and assess their prognostic significance in patients with advanced pancreatic cancer.
PATIENTS AND METHODS: In total, 98 patients were included in this retrospective translational research study and were evaluated for Kirsten rat sarcoma viral oncogene homolog (KRAS) mutational status, and v-akt murine thymoma viral oncogene homolog 1 (AKT1), AKT serine/threonine kinase 2 (AKT2), AKT serine/threonine kinase 3 (AKT3), cyclin D1 (CCND1), epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR), mitogen-activated protein kinase 1 (MAPK1), hepatocellular growth factor receptor (MET), avian myelomatosis viral oncogene homolog (MYC), nuclear factor kappa B subunit 1 (NFKb1), phosphatase and tensin homolog (PTEN) and mechanistic target of rapamycin (FRAP1) genes mRNA expression. Among these patients, 73 received first-line gemcitabine combined with erlotinib (N=57) or gefitinib (N=16).
RESULTS: KRAS mutation did not correlate with mRNA gene expression. Unsupervised hierarchical clustering according to mRNA gene expression successfully distinguished four prognostically distinct groups of tumors. Overexpression of all genes was associated with best prognosis, while suppression or heterogeneous expression patterns of the examined genes were associated with expression patterns of growth- and survival-related genes, classifying pancreatic tumors into distinct groups with possibly different outcomes.

Lu E, Su J, Zhou Y, et al.
CCL20/CCR6 promotes cell proliferation and metastasis in laryngeal cancer by activating p38 pathway.
Biomed Pharmacother. 2017; 85:486-492 [PubMed] Related Publications
Chemokine and its receptors play important roles in laryngeal cancer development and progression. CCR6 is the receptor of CCL20 chemokine, but its function in laryngeal cancer is not known. The aim of this study is to explore the roles of CCR6 and its regulation mechanism in laryngeal cancer. We found CCR6 expression was higher in laryngeal cancer tissues compared with their normal controls, so did in laryngeal cancer cells. Cellular function indicated that down-regulation of CCR6 in laryngeal cancer cells could suppress cell proliferation and metastasis. Further research showed that CCR6 could activate p38, which was related with the changes of microRNA (miRNA) profile in laryngeal cancer cells. We also found that CCR6 was positively associated with miR-20a-5p, miR-489 and negatively related to miR-29-3p, miR-632 and miR-1276 in laryngeal cancer tissues.

Tang W, Ren A, Xiao H, et al.
Highly expressed NRSN2 is related to malignant phenotype in ovarian cancer.
Biomed Pharmacother. 2017; 85:248-255 [PubMed] Related Publications
Neurensin-2 (NRSN2) is a 24KD protein, which is reported located in the membrane, while its biological functions remain unknown, not to mention in the field of tumor biology. In current study, we aimed to analyze the functions of NRSN2 in ovarian cancer. We screened TCGA database and surprisingly found that its copy number and mRNA level are gained and heightened respectively in parts of serous ovarian cancer patients. In current study, both loss- and gain- function assays found that NRSN2 is associated with the malignant phenotype in ovarian cancer cells, because NRSN2 plays a remarkable role in anchorage-independent colony formation, subcutaneous tumor formation, cell invasion, and chemoresistance. Furthermore, we found that the level of NRSN2 was positively correlated with the expression of stem cell marker CD133. In addition, Wnt canonical signaling and Twist/Akt/Erk axis were also regulated by NRSN2. In conclusion, we found that a poorly studied protein, NRSN2, which is associated with the malignant phenotype of serous ovarian cancer and as a membrane protein; it could be a target for serous ovarian cancer treatment.

Wang D, Wang D, Wang N, et al.
Long Non-Coding RNA BANCR Promotes Endometrial Cancer Cell Proliferation and Invasion by Regulating MMP2 and MMP1 via ERK/MAPK Signaling Pathway.
Cell Physiol Biochem. 2016; 40(3-4):644-656 [PubMed] Related Publications
BACKGROUND/AIMS: Microarray screening had found BRAF-activated non-coding RNA (BANCR) was significantly upregulated in type 1 endometrial cancer (EC). This study aimed to assess the potential role of long non-coding RNA (lncRNA) BANCR in the pathogenesis and progression of type 1 EC.
METHODS: Quantitative reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (qRT-PCR) was used to confirm the expression of BANCR in type 1 EC tissue, and analyze its clinical significance. In vitro, RNA interference (siRNA) was used to investigate the biological role of BANCR in type 1 EC.
RESULTS: qRT-PCR revealed that the expression of lncRNA BANCR was higher in type 1 EC (P<0.01). BANCR expression was significantly correlated with FIGO stage, pathological grade, myometrial invasion, and lymph node metastasis. The expression of BANCR was significantly correlated with that of MMP2/MMP1. In vitro, knockdown of BANCR significantly suppressed proliferation, migration, and invasion of Ishikawa and HEC-1A cells, and significantly inhibited the ERK/MAPK signaling pathway that decreased MMP2 and MMP1 expression.
CONCLUSION: BANCR is highly expressed in type 1 EC tissue and promotes EC-cell proliferation, migration, and invasion by activating ERK/MAPK signaling pathway that regulates MMP2/MMP1 expression. BANCR is expected to become a prognostic marker and therapeutic target in type 1 EC.

Khandelwal A, Malhotra A, Jain M, et al.
The emerging role of long non-coding RNA in gallbladder cancer pathogenesis.
Biochimie. 2017; 132:152-160 [PubMed] Related Publications
Gallbladder cancer (GBC) is the most common and aggressive form of biliary tract carcinoma with an alarmingly low 5-year survival rate. Despite its high mortality rate, the underlying mechanisms of GBC pathogenesis are not completely understood. Recently, from a growing volume of literature, long non-coding RNAs (lncRNAs) have emerged as key regulators of gene expression and appear to play vital roles in many human cancers. To date, a number of lncRNAs have been implicated in GBC, but their potential roles in GBC have not been systematically examined. Thus, in this review, we critically discuss the emerging roles of lncRNAs in GBC, and the pathways involved. Specifically, we note that some lncRNAs show greater expression in T1 and T2 tumor stages compared to T3 and T4 tumor stages and that their dysregulation leads to alterations in cell cycle progression and can cause an increase in GBC cell proliferation or apoptosis. In addition, some lncRNAs control the epithelial-mesenchymal transition process, while others take part in the regulation of ERK/MAPK and Ras cancer-associated signaling pathways. We also present their potential utility in diagnosis, prognosis, and/or treatment of GBC. The overall goal of this review is to stimulate interest in the role of lncRNAs in GBC, which may open new avenues in the determination of GBC pathogenesis and may lead to the development of new preventive and therapeutic strategies for GBC.

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.

Hsu CC, Chang WC, Hsu TI, et al.
Suberoylanilide hydroxamic acid represses glioma stem-like cells.
J Biomed Sci. 2016; 23(1):81 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
BACKGROUND: Glioma stem-like cells (GSCs) are proposed to be responsible for high resistance in glioblastoma multiforme (GBM) treatment. In order to find new strategies aimed at reducing GSC stemness and improving GBM patient survival, we investigated the effects and mechanism of a histone deacetylases (HDACs) inhibitor, suberoylanilide hydroxamic acid (SAHA), since HDAC activity has been linked to cancer stem-like cell (CSC) abundance and properties.
METHODS: Human GBM cell lines were plated in serum-free suspension cultures allowed for sphere forming and CSC enrichment. Subsequently, upon SAHA treatment, the stemness markers, cell proliferation, and viability of GSCs as well as cellular apoptosis and senescence were examined in order to clarify whether inhibition of GSCs occurs.
RESULTS: We demonstrated that SAHA attenuated cell proliferation and diminished the expression stemness-related markers (CD133 and Bmi1) in GSCs. Furthermore, at high concentrations (more than 5 μM), SAHA triggered apoptosis of GSCs accompanied by increases in both activation of caspase 8- and caspase 9-mediated pathways. Interestingly, we found that a lower dose of SAHA (1 μM and 2.5 μM) inhibited GSCs via cell cycle arrest and induced premature senescence through p53 up-regulation and p38 activation.
CONCLUSION: SAHA induces apoptosis and functions as a potent modulator of senescence via the p38-p53 pathway in GSCs. Our results provide a perspective on targeting GSCs via SAHA treatment, and suggest that SAHA could be used as a potent agent to overcome drug resistance in GBM patients.

Hattori T, Sentani K, Naohide O, et al.
Clinicopathological significance of SPC18 in colorectal cancer: SPC18 participates in tumor progression.
Cancer Sci. 2017; 108(1):143-150 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Colorectal cancer (CRC) is one of the leading causes of cancer-related death worldwide. In order to identify novel prognostic markers or therapeutic targets for CRC, we searched for candidate genes in our comprehensive gene expression libraries, and focused on SEC11A, which encodes the SPC18 protein. SPC18 plays a key role in the endoplasmic reticulum-Golgi secretory pathway and presumably regulates the secretion of various secretory proteins. An immunohistochemical analysis of SPC18 in 137 CRC tissue samples demonstrated that 79 (58%) CRC cases were positive for SPC18. SPC18-positive CRC cases were more advanced in terms of N classification (P = 0.0315) and tumor stage (P = 0.0240) than SPC18-negative CRC cases. Furthermore, the expression of SPC18 was an independent prognostic classifier for CRC patients. The cell growth and invasiveness of SPC18 siRNA-transfected CRC cell lines was less than that of the negative control siRNA-transfected cell lines. The levels of phosphorylated epidermal growth factor receptor, Erk and Akt were lower in SPC18 siRNA-transfected CRC cells than in control cells. The expression of SPC18 was colocalized with β-catenin nuclear localization and MMP7 at the invasive front. An immunohistochemical analysis of human colorectal polyp specimens revealed a sequential increase in the expression of SPC18 through the conventional adenoma-carcinoma pathway, while SPC18 was not expressed or was expressed to a lesser extent in serrated pathway-related tumors. These results suggest that SPC18 is involved in tumor progression, and is an independent prognostic classifier in patients with CRC.

Demiroglu-Zergeroglu A, Candemir G, Turhanlar E, et al.
EGFR-dependent signalling reduced and p38 dependent apoptosis required by Gallic acid in Malignant Mesothelioma cells.
Biomed Pharmacother. 2016; 84:2000-2007 [PubMed] Related Publications
The unrestrained EGFR signalling contributes to malignant phenotype in a number of cancers including Malignant Mesotheliomas. Present study was designed to evaluate EGFR-dependent anti-proliferative and apoptotic effects of Gallic acid in transformed Mesothelial (MeT-5A) and Malignant Mesothelioma (SPC212) cells. Gallic acid reduced the viability of Malignant Mesothelioma cells in a concentration and time-dependent manner. However, viability of mesothelial cells reduced only at high concentration and longer time periods. Gallic acid restrained the activation of EGFR, ERK1/2 and AKT proteins and down regulated expression of Cyclin D and Bcl-2 genes, but upregulated the expression of p21 gene in EGF-induced SPC212 cells. GA-induced transitory G1 arrest and triggered mitochondrial and death receptor mediated apoptosis, which requires p38MAPK activation. The data provided here indicate that GA is able to inhibit EGFR dependent proliferation and survival signals and induces p38 pathway dependent apoptosis in Malignant Mesothelioma cells. On the basis of these experimental findings it is worthwhile to investigate further the biological activity of Gallic acid on other Mesothelioma cell lines harbouring aberrant EGFR signals.

Liu L, Xu Y, Reiter RJ, et al.
Inhibition of ERK1/2 Signaling Pathway is Involved in Melatonin's Antiproliferative Effect on Human MG-63 Osteosarcoma Cells.
Cell Physiol Biochem. 2016; 39(6):2297-2307 [PubMed] Related Publications
BACKGROUND: In a previous study, we found that melatonin inhibits MG-63 osteosarcoma cell proliferation; however, the underlying mechanisms remain elusive. Mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) and Akt signaling pathways play key roles in the anticancer effects of melatonin.
AIMS: The present study investigated whether MAPK and Akt signaling pathways are involved in melatonin's antiproliferative actions on the human MG-63 osteosarcoma cells.
METHODS/RESULTS: Western blot analysis confirmed that melatonin significantly inhibited phosphorylation of ERK1/2 but not p38, JNK, or Akt. The expression of ERK1/2, p38, JNK, and Akt was not altered by melatonin. PD98059 and melatonin alone, and especially in combination, significantly inhibited cell proliferation. The changes included G1 and G2/M phase arrest of the cell cycle, and a downregulation of the expression at both the protein and mRNA levels of cyclin D1 and CDK4 (related to the G1 phase) and of cyclin B1 and CDK1 (related to the G2/M phase) as measured by flow cytometry after propidium iodide staining, and both western blot and real-time PCR, respectively. Furthermore, the combination of PD98059 and melatonin synergistically and markedly augmented the action of either agent alone. Co-immunoprecipitation further confirmed that there was an interaction between p-ERK1/2 and cyclin D1, CDK4, cyclin B1, or CDK1, which was blunted in the presence of melatonin or PD98059.
CONCLUSION: These findings suggest that melatonin's antiproliferative action is mediated by inhibition of the ERK1/2 signaling pathway rather than the p38, JNK, or Akt pathways.

Luo Y, Wu JY, Lu MH, et al.
Carvacrol Alleviates Prostate Cancer Cell Proliferation, Migration, and Invasion through Regulation of PI3K/Akt and MAPK Signaling Pathways.
Oxid Med Cell Longev. 2016; 2016:1469693 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
TRPM7 is a potential therapeutic target for treatment of prostate cancer. In this study, we investigated the effects of nonselective TRPM7 inhibitor carvacrol on cell proliferation, migration, and invasion of prostate cancer PC-3 and DU145 cells. Our results showed that carvacrol blocked TRPM7-like currents in PC-3 and DU145 cells and reduced their proliferation, migration, and invasion. Moreover, carvacrol treatment significantly decreased MMP-2, p-Akt, and p-ERK1/2 protein expression and inhibited F-actin reorganization. Furthermore, consistently, TRPM7 knockdown reduced prostate cancer cell proliferation, migration, and invasion as well. Our study suggests that carvacrol may have therapeutic potential for the treatment of prostate cancer through its inhibition of TRPM7 channels and suppression of PI3K/Akt and MAPK signaling pathways.

Hsia TC, Yu CC, Hsiao YT, et al.
Cantharidin Impairs Cell Migration and Invasion of Human Lung Cancer NCI-H460 Cells via UPA and MAPK Signaling Pathways.
Anticancer Res. 2016; 36(11):5989-5997 [PubMed] Related Publications
Cantharidin (CTD), a component of natural mylabris (Mylabris phalerata Pallas), has been shown to have biological activities and induce cell death in many human cancer cells. In the present study, we investigated the effect of CTD on cell migration and invasion of NCI-H460 human lung cancer cells. Cell viability was examined and results indicated that CTD decreased the percentage of viable cells in dose-dependent manners. CTD inhibited cell migration and invasion in dose-dependent manners. Gelatin zymography analysis was used to measure the activities of matrix metalloproteinases (MMP-2/-9) and the results indicated that CTD inhibited the enzymatic activities of MMP-2/-9 of NCI-H460 cells. Western blotting was used to examine the protein expression of NCI-H460 cells after incubation with CTD and the results showed that CTD decreased the expression of MMP-2/-9, focal adhesion kinase (FAK), Ras homolog gene family, member A (Rho A), phospho-protein kinase B (AKT) (Thr308)(p-AKT(308)), phospho-extracellular signal-regulated kinase1/2 (p-ERK1/2), phospho-p38 mitogen-activated protein (MAP) kinase (p-p38), phospho c-Jun N-terminal kinase 1/2 (p-JNK1/2), nuclear factor-κB (NF-κB) and urokinase plasminogen activator (UPA). Furthermore, confocal laser microscopy was used to confirm that CTD suppressed the expression of NF-κB p65, but did not significantly affect protein kinase C (PKC) translocation in NCI-H460 cells. Based on those observations, we suggest that CTD may be used as a novel anticancer metastasis agent for lung cancer in the future.

Lapinska K, Housman G, Byler S, et al.
The Effects of Histone Deacetylase Inhibitor and Calpain Inhibitor Combination Therapies on Ovarian Cancer Cells.
Anticancer Res. 2016; 36(11):5731-5742 [PubMed] Related Publications
BACKGROUND: Ovarian cancer is difficult to treat due to absence of selective drugs and tendency of platinum drugs to promote resistance. Combination therapy using epigenetic drugs is predicted to be a beneficial alternative.
MATERIALS AND METHODS: This study investigated the effects of combination therapies using two structurally different histone deacetylase (HDAC) inhibitors (HDACi), sodium butyrate and suberanilohydroxamic acid (SAHA), with the calpain inhibitor calpeptin on two characteristically different ovarian cancer cell lines, CAOV-3 and SKOV-3.
RESULTS: Suboptimal doses of HDACi and calpeptin produced several effects. Growth inhibition was enhanced and the epigenetically silenced tumor suppressor genes ARHI, p21 and RARβ2 were re-expressed. Methylation of specific CpG residues in ARHI were reduced. Cell-cycle progression was inhibited and apoptosis, as well as autophagy, were induced. The phosphorylation of ERK and Akt were differentially effected by these inhibitors.
CONCLUSION: The re-expression of tumor suppressors may sensitize ovarian cancer cells, which then undergo apoptosis and autophagy for cell death.

Vesely DL
Heart Peptide Hormones: Adjunct and Primary Treatments of Cancer.
Anticancer Res. 2016; 36(11):5693-5700 [PubMed] Related Publications
Four heart hormones, namely atrial natriuretic peptide (ANP), long-acting natriuretic peptide (LANP), vessel dilator and kaliuretic peptide reduce up to 97% of cancer cells in vitro. These four cardiac hormones eliminate up to 80% of human pancreatic adenocarcinomas, two-thirds of human breast carcinomas and up to 86% of human small-cell lung carcinomas growing in athymic mice. ANP given intravenously for 3 hours after 'curative' lung surgery as an adjunct to surgery results in a 2-year relapse-free survival of 91% compared to 75% for those treated with surgery alone. The anticancer mechanisms of action of these peptides involve binding to receptors on the cancer cells, followed by 95% inhibition of the conversion of inactive to active rat sarcoma-bound guanosine triphosphate (RAS)-mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) kinases 1/2 (MEK 1/2) (98% inhibition)-extracellular signal-related kinases 1/2 (ERK1/2) (96% inhibition) cascade in cancer cells. They are dual inhibitors of vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) and its VEGF2 receptor (up to 89%). They also inhibit MAPK9, i.e. c-JUN-N-terminal kinase 2. One of the downstream targets of VEGF is β-catenin, which these peptides inhibit by up to 88%. These four peptide hormones inhibit the Wingless-related integration site (WNT) pathway 68% and WNT secreted-Frizzled protein is reduced by up to 84%. Signal transducer and activator of transcription 3 (STAT3), a final 'switch' that activates gene expression that leads to malignancy, is specifically reduced up to 88% by these peptides but they do not affect STAT1. There is crosstalk between the RAS-MEK 1/2-ERK 1/2 kinase cascade, VEGF, β-catenin, JNK, WNT, and STAT pathways and each of these pathways and their crosstalk is inhibited by these peptide hormones. They enter the nucleus of cancer cells where they inhibit the proto-oncogenes c-FOS (by up to 82%) and c-JUN (by up to 61%).
CONCLUSION: These multiple kinase inhibitors have both adjunct and primary anticancer effects.

Lu KH, Chen PN, Hsieh YH, et al.
3-Hydroxyflavone inhibits human osteosarcoma U2OS and 143B cells metastasis by affecting EMT and repressing u-PA/MMP-2 via FAK-Src to MEK/ERK and RhoA/MLC2 pathways and reduces 143B tumor growth in vivo.
Food Chem Toxicol. 2016; 97:177-186 [PubMed] Related Publications
Many natural flavonoids have cytostatic and apoptotic properties; however, we little know whether the effect of synthetic 3-hydroxyflavone on metastasis and tumor growth of human osteosarcoma. Here, we tested the hypothesis that 3-hydroxyflavone suppresses human osteosarcoma cells metastasis and tumor growth. 3-hydroxyflavone, up to 50 μM without cytotoxicity, inhibited U2OS and 143B cells motility, invasiveness and migration by reducing matrix metalloproteinase (MMP)-2 and urokinase-type plasminogen activator (u-PA) and also impaired cell adhesion to gelatin. 3-hydroxyflavone significantly reduced p-focal adhesion kinase (FAK) Tyr397, p-FAK Tyr925, p-steroid receptor coactivator (Src), p-mitogen/extracellular signal-regulated kinase (MEK)1/2, p-myosin light chain (MLC)2 Ser19, epithelial cell adhesion molecule, Ras homolog gene family (Rho)A and fibronectin expressions. 3-hydroxyflavone also affected the epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT) by down-regulating expressions of Vimentin and α-catenin with activation of the transcription factor Slug. In nude mice xenograft model and tail vein injection model showed that 3-hydroxyflavone reduced 143B tumor growth and lung metastasis. 3-hydroxyflavone possesses the anti-metastatic activity of U2OS and 143B cells by affecting EMT and repressing u-PA/MMP-2 via FAK-Src to MEK/ERK and RhoA/MLC2 pathways and suppresses 143B tumor growth in vivo. This may lead to clinical trials of osteosarcoma chemotherapy to confirm the promising result in the future.

Roh T, Kim SW, Moon SH, Nam MJ
Genistein induces apoptosis by down-regulating thioredoxin-1 in human hepatocellular carcinoma SNU-449 cells.
Food Chem Toxicol. 2016; 97:127-134 [PubMed] Related Publications
Genistein (GEN), a natural isoflavonoid phytoestrogen, has anti-cancer activity against various types of cancers. However, GEN has not been thoroughly investigated in human hepatocellular carcinoma cells. In this study, we evaluated the anti-cancer effects of GEN on SNU-449 cells. GEN inhibited the proliferation of SNU-449 cells in a concentration-dependent manner. We observed the typical characteristics of apoptosis, such as DNA fragmentation and caspase-3 activation. To identify proteins related to GEN-induced apoptosis, we performed two-dimensional electrophoresis and identified differentially expressed proteins. Proteomic analysis showed that the antioxidant protein thioredoxin-1 was associated with GEN-induced apoptosis. GEN treatment decreased thioredoxin-1 levels and increased intracellular accumulation of reactive oxygen species. In addition, GEN activated apoptosis signal-regulating kinase 1, c-Jun N-terminal kinases (JNK) and p38. We also observed that pretreatment with the JNK and p38 inhibitors (SP600125 and SB203580) decreased GEN-induced cell death. These results indicate that GEN has potential antitumor effects against SNU-449 cells through the down-regulation of thioredoxin-1.

Cao WJ, Du WQ, Mao LL, et al.
Overexpression of p42.3 promotes cell proliferation, migration, and invasion in human gastric cancer cells.
Tumour Biol. 2016; 37(9):12805-12812 [PubMed] Related Publications
As a newly discovered tumor-specific gene, p42.3 is overexpressed in most of human gastric cancers (GC). However, the role of p42.3 in GC progression remains unclear. To assess the role of p42.3 in gastric cancers, immunohistochemistry and western blot were performed to detect the p42.3 expression in human GC tissues and cells. We also investigated the role of p42.3 in GC cell proliferation, migration, and invasion. Our results showed that the p42.3 expression was increased dramatically in human GC tissue and cells. In addition, we found that overexpression of p42.3 promotes GC cell proliferation, migration, and invasion abilities. Furthermore, p42.3 expression suppressed the E-cadherin protein level and promoted the β-catenin and p-ERK protein level. Taken together, overexpressed p42.3 is correlated with gastric cancer cell proliferation, migration, and invasion, suggesting its use as a biological marker in gastric cancer.

Zhu W, Xue Y, Liang C, et al.
S100A16 promotes cell proliferation and metastasis via AKT and ERK cell signaling pathways in human prostate cancer.
Tumour Biol. 2016; 37(9):12241-12250 [PubMed] Related Publications
S100A16 is a member of the S100 calcium-binding protein family. It is overexpressed in many types of tumors and associated with proliferation, migration, and invasion; however, its function in human prostate cancer is unresolved. Our objective was to determine its effects and the underlying pathways of S100A16 in prostate cancer tissues and cells. We measured S100A16 expression by quantitative real-time polymerase and Western blotting in eight matched prostate cancer and adjacent normal tissues, and in three prostate cancer cell lines, DU-145, LNCaP, and PC-3, compared to a normal prostate epithelial cell line PrEC. DU-145 cells stably overexpressing S100A16 and PC-3 cells with S100A16 knockdown were established by transfection with S100A16 overexpression plasmid or shRNAs. Invasion, migration, and proliferation were analyzed by transwell assay, wound healing, and colony formation assays, respectively. Western blotting and invasion assays were performed to determine expressions and activation of AKT, ERK, p21, and p27. S100A16 was significantly overexpressed in both prostate cancer tissues and cells lines compared to normal controls (P < 0.05). Overexpression of S100A16 significantly promoted invasion, migration, and proliferation in prostate cancer cells in vitro, whereas silencing S100A16 showed the converse effects (P < 0.05). Furthermore, overexpression of S100A16 activated cell signaling proteins AKT and ERK and downregulated tumor suppressors p21 and p27. Specific inhibitors, LY294002 and PD98059, suppressed activation of AKT and ERK, which attenuated DU-145 cell clone formation and invasion induced by S100A16 overexpression. S100A16 may promote human prostate cancer progression via signaling pathways involving AKT, ERK, p21, and p27 downstream effectors. Our findings suggest that S100A16 may serve as a novel therapeutic or diagnostic target in human prostate cancer.

Lee J, Lee J, Yun JH, et al.
DUSP28 links regulation of Mucin 5B and Mucin 16 to migration and survival of AsPC-1 human pancreatic cancer cells.
Tumour Biol. 2016; 37(9):12193-12202 [PubMed] Related Publications
The prognosis of pancreatic cancer has not improved despite considerable and continuous effort. Dual-specificity phosphatase 28 (DUSP28) is highly expressed in human pancreatic cancers and exerts critical effects. However, knowledge of its function in pancreatic cancers is extremely limited. Here, we demonstrate the peculiar role of DUSP28 in pancreatic cancers. Analysis using the Gene Expression Omnibus public microarray database indicated higher DUSP28, MUC1, MUC4, MUC5B, MUC16 and MUC20 messenger RNA (mRNA) levels in pancreatic cancers compared with normal pancreas tissues. DUSP28 expression in human pancreatic cancer correlated positively with those of MUC1, MUC4, MUC5B, MUC16 and MUC20. In contrast, there were no significant correlations between DUSP28 and mucins in normal pancreas tissues. Decreased DUSP28 expression resulted in down-regulation of MUC5B and MUC16 at both the mRNA and protein levels; furthermore, transfection with small interfering RNA (siRNA) for MUC5B and MUC16 inhibited the migration and survival of AsPC-1 cells. In addition, transfection of siRNA for MUC5B and MUC16 resulted in a significant decrease in phosphorylation of FAK and ERK1/2 compared with transfection with scrambled-siRNA. These results collectively indicate unique links between DUSP28 and MUC5B/MUC16 and their roles in pancreatic cancer; moreover, they strongly support a rationale for targeting DUSP28 to inhibit development of malignant pancreatic cancer.

Xu J, Lin H, Li G, et al.
The miR-367-3p Increases Sorafenib Chemotherapy Efficacy to Suppress Hepatocellular Carcinoma Metastasis through Altering the Androgen Receptor Signals.
EBioMedicine. 2016; 12:55-67 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
The androgen receptor (AR) was found to suppress hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) metastasis at late stages. Due to this discovery, we searched for some AR enhancers to increase the efficacy of Sorafenib chemotherapy, and identified the microRNA (miR)-367-3p, whose expression is positively correlated with AR expression in advanced HCC, as an HCC metastasis suppressor. Combining miR-367-3p with Sorafenib showed better efficacy to suppress HCC cell invasion in vitro and in vivo. Mechanism dissection revealed that miR-367-3p could increase AR expression via directly targeting the 3'UTR of MDM2 to decrease MDM2 protein expression. The resultant increase of AR expression might then promote the expression of FKBP5 and PHLPP, thus dephosphorylating and inactivating AKT and ERK, to suppress the HCC cell invasion. Interestingly, the suppression of pAKT by miR-367-3p could subsequently attenuate the phosphorylation of AR and MDM2, giving rise to additional enhancement of AR protein expression, effectively forming a positive feedback loop. Together, these results suggest that miR-367-3p may function as an AR enhancer to increase Sorafenib chemotherapy efficacy via altering the MDM2/AR/FKBP5/PHLPP/(pAKT and pERK) signals to better suppress HCC metastasis. Successful development of this newly combined chemotherapy in the future may help us to better suppress the HCC metastasis at late stages.

Li W, Wu J, Li Z, et al.
Melatonin induces cell apoptosis in Mia PaCa-2 cells via the suppression of nuclear factor-κB and activation of ERK and JNK: A novel therapeutic implication for pancreatic cancer.
Oncol Rep. 2016; 36(5):2861-2867 [PubMed] Related Publications
Melatonin is synthesized by the pineal gland and is released into the blood. In the last several years, some studies have shown that melatonin has anticancer properties; however, the mechanisms behind the antitumour traits are unclear, especially in pancreatic cancer. Therefore, in the present study, we investigated the antitumour effects of melatonin on the human pancreatic carcinoma cell line MIA PaCa‑2 and explored its biological mechanisms. MIA PaCa‑2 cells were treated with melatonin, and we used a CCK‑8 assay to evaluate the cell viability. We also used flow cytometry to observe cell apoptosis and western blot analysis to assess the protein expression. Our study found that melatonin inhibited cell viability, suppressed colony formation and reduced cell migration and invasion and induced cell apoptosis in MIA PaCa‑2 cells. Our results showed that melatonin treatment inhibited NF‑κB p65 activation. Moreover, melatonin treatment activated the mitogen‑activated protein kinase pathways (c‑jun N‑terminal kinase and extracellular‑regulated kinase 1/2), which increased Bax protein expression and caspase‑3 cleavage and decreased Bcl‑2 protein expression. These new developments demonstrate that melatonin plays a potential role in anticancer treatment and may act as an effective therapeutic agent in the future.

Shi L, Weng XQ, Sheng Y, et al.
Staurosporine enhances ATRA-induced granulocytic differentiation in human leukemia U937 cells via the MEK/ERK signaling pathway.
Oncol Rep. 2016; 36(5):3072-3080 [PubMed] Related Publications
Although all-trans retinoic acid (ATRA) is regarded as a prominent example of differentiation therapy, it is not effective for the treatment of other subtypes of acute myeloid leukemia (AML) beyond acute promyelocytic leukemia (APL). Therefore, new strategies need to be explored to extend the efficacy of ATRA-based therapy to non-APL AML patients. In the present study, staurosporine, a protein kinase C (PKC) pan-inhibitor, exhibited synergism with ATRA to promote granulocytic differentiation in poorly ATRA-sensitive U937 cells but not in ATRA unresponsive K562 and Kasumi cells. Staurosporine or the combined treatment did not affect PKC activity in U937 cells. Moreover, other selective PKC inhibitors, UCN-01, Go6976 or rottlerin failed to enhance ATRA‑induced granulocytic differentiation in U937 cells. Therefore, staurosporine-enhanced ATRA-induced granulocytic differentiation in U937 cells may be independent of PKC. Staurosporine activated mitogen‑activated protein kinase kinase (MEK) and extracellular signal‑regulated kinase (ERK). Meanwhile, staurosporine also enhanced ATRA-promoted upregulation of the protein level of CCAAT/enhancer‑binding protein β (C/EBPβ) and C/EBPε in U937 cells. Furthermore, blockade of MEK activation suppressed staurosporine‑enhanced differentiation as well as the elevated protein level of C/EBPs. Taken together, we concluded that staurosporine enhanced ATRA‑induced granulocytic differentiation in U937 cells via MEK/ERK-mediated modulation of the protein level of C/EBPs.

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