Research IndicatorsGraph generated 01 September 2019 using data from PubMed using criteria.
Mouse over the terms for more detail; many indicate links which you can click for dedicated pages about the topic. Tag cloud generated 01 September, 2019 using data from PubMed, MeSH and CancerIndex
Specific Cancers (4)
Data table showing topics related to specific cancers and associated disorders. Scope includes mutations and abnormal protein expression.
Note: list is not exhaustive. Number of papers are based on searches of PubMed (click on topic title for arbitrary criteria used).
OMIM, Johns Hopkin University
Referenced article focusing on the relationship between phenotype and genotype.
International Cancer Genome Consortium.
Summary of gene and mutations by cancer type from ICGC
Cancer Genome Anatomy Project, NCI
COSMIC, Sanger Institute
Somatic mutation information and related details
GEO Profiles, NCBI
Search the gene expression profiles from curated DataSets in the Gene Expression Omnibus (GEO) repository.
Latest Publications: NEK2 (cancer-related)
Kokuryo T, Yokoyama Y, Yamaguchi J, et al.NEK2 Is an Effective Target for Cancer Therapy With Potential to Induce Regression of Multiple Human Malignancies.
Anticancer Res. 2019; 39(5):2251-2258 [PubMed
] Related Publications
Cancer is characterized by uncontrolled cell proliferation due to the aberrant activity of various proteins. Cell cycle-related proteins are thought to be important in several functions, such as proliferation, invasion and drug resistance in human malignancies. Never in mitosis gene A-related kinase 2 (NEK2) is a cell cycle-related protein. NEK2 is highly expressed in various tumor types and cancer cell lines. NEK2 expression is correlated with rapid relapse and poor outcome in multiple cancer types. Several researchers have demonstrated that NEK2 inhibition results in anticancer effects against many types of cancers, both in vitro and in vivo. Recent research strongly indicates the advantages of NEK2-targeted therapy for cancer. This review focuses on the current understanding of NEK2 in cancer and the rationale of a xenograft cancer model for cancer treatment. A possible therapeutic strategy, such as inhibitor and nucleic acid medicine targeting of NEK2, is also discussed.
The mechanisms through which cancer‑upregulated gene 2 (CUG2), a novel oncogene, affects Wnt/β‑catenin signaling, essential for tumorigenesis, are unclear. In this study, we aimed to elucidate some of these mechanisms in A549 lung cancer cells. Under the overexpression of CUG2, the protein levels and activity of β‑catenin were evaluated by western blot analysis and luciferase assay. To examine a biological consequence of β‑catenin under CUG2 overexpression, cell migration, invasion and sphere formation assay were performed. The upregulation of β‑catenin induced by CUG2 overexpression was also accessed by xenotransplantation in mice. We first found that CUG2 overexpression increased β‑catenin expression and activity. The suppression of β‑catenin decreased cancer stem cell (CSC)‑like phenotypes, indicating that β‑catenin is involved in CUG2‑mediated CSC‑like phenotypes. Notably, CUG2 overexpression increased the phosphorylation of β‑catenin at Ser33/Ser37, which is known to recruit E3 ligase for β‑catenin degradation. Moreover, CUG2 interacted with and enhanced the expression and kinase activity of never in mitosis gene A‑related kinase 2 (NEK2). Recombinant NEK2 phosphorylated β‑catenin at Ser33/Ser37, while NEK2 knockdown decreased the phosphorylation of β‑catenin, suggesting that NEK2 is involved in the phosphorylation of β‑catenin at Ser33/Ser37. Treatment with CGK062, a small chemical molecule, which promotes the phosphorylation of β‑catenin at Ser33/Ser37 through protein kinase C (PKC)α to induce its degradation, reduced β‑catenin levels and inhibited the CUG2‑induced features of malignant tumors, including increased cell migration, invasion and sphere formation. Furthermore, CGK062 treatment suppressed CUG2‑mediated tumor formation in nude mice. Taken together, the findings of this study suggest that CUG2 enhances the phosphorylation of β‑catenin at Ser33/Ser37 by activating NEK2, thus stabilizing β‑catenin. CGK062 may thus have potential for use as a therapeutic drug against CUG2‑overexpressing lung cancer cells.
Cheng Y, Chen X, Ye L, et al.The Prognostic Significance of NEK2 in Hepatocellular Carcinoma: Evidence from a Meta-Analysis and Retrospective Cohort Study.
Cell Physiol Biochem. 2018; 51(6):2746-2759 [PubMed
] Related Publications
BACKGROUND/AIMS: Numerous studies have shown that NIMA-related kinase 2 (NEK2) expression in hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) tissue is associated with survival and clinicopathological features; however, the evidence remains inconclusive. Thus, we aimed to further explore the prognostic and clinicopathological significance of NEK2 expression in HCC using a two-part study consisting of a retrospective cohort study and a meta-analysis.
METHODS: In the cohort study, NEK2 expression in 206 HCC samples and adjacent normal liver tissues was detected by immunohistochemistry (IHC). Patients were divided into a high NEK2 expression group and a low NEK2 expression group by the median value of the immunohistochemical scores. The Kaplan-Meier method with the log-rank test was used to analyze survival outcomes in the two groups, and multivariate analysis based on Cox proportional hazard regression models was applied to identify independent prognostic factors. In the meta-analysis, eligible studies were searched in PubMed, EMBASE, Web of Science, and CNKI databases. STATA version 12.0 (Stata Corporation, College Station, TX) was used for statistical analyses.
RESULTS: The IHC results of our cohort study showed higher NEK2 expression in HCC tissues compared with adjacent normal liver tissues. Multivariate analysis revealed that high NEK2 expression was an independent risk factor for poor overall survival (OS) [hazard ratio (HR) = 1.763; 95% CI, 1.060-2.935; P = 0.029] and disease-free survival (DFS) [hazard ratio (HR) = 1.687; 95% CI, 1.102-2.584; P = 0.016] in HCC patients. A total of 11 studies with 1,698 patients were enrolled in the meta-analysis, consisting of 10 studies from the database search and our cohort study. The pooled results revealed that high NEK2 expression correlated closely with poor OS among HCC patients (HR = 1.47; 95% CI, 1.21-1.80; P < 0.01), and DFS/recurrence-free survival (RFS) (HR = 1.92; 95% CI, 1.41-2.63; P < 0.01). Additionally, our meta-analysis also showed that the proportion of HCC patients with high NEK2 expression was greater in the group with larger tumors (> 5 cm) than in the group with smaller tumors (≤ 5 cm) [odds ratio (OR) = 2.02; 95% CI, 1.13-3.64; P < 0.01).
CONCLUSION: Our study demonstrated that high NEK2 expression is a risk factor for poor survival in HCC patients. More prospective, homogeneous, and multiethnic studies are required to validate our findings.
BACKGROUND: Following up on previous work demonstrating the involvement of the transcription factor forkhead box M1 (FOXM1) in the biology and outcome of a high-risk subset of newly diagnosed multiple myeloma (nMM), this study evaluated whether FOXM1 gene expression may be further upregulated upon tumor recurrence in patients with relapsed multiple myeloma (rMM). Also assessed was the hypothesis that increased levels of FOXM1 diminish the sensitivity of myeloma cells to commonly used myeloma drugs, such as the proteasome inhibitor bortezomib (Bz) and the DNA intercalator doxorubicin (Dox).
METHODS: FOXM1 message was evaluated in 88 paired myeloma samples from patients with nMM and rMM, using gene expression microarrays as measurement tool. Sources of differential gene expression were identified and outlier analyses were performed using statistical methods. Two independent human myeloma cell lines (HMCLs) containing normal levels of FOXM1 (FOXM1
RESULTS: Upregulation of FOXM1 occurred in 61 of 88 (69%) patients with rMM, including 4 patients that exhibited > 20-fold elevated expression peaks. Increased FOXM1 levels in FOXM1
CONCLUSIONS: These findings enhanced our understanding of the emerging FOXM1 genetic network in myeloma and provided preclinical support for the therapeutic targeting of the FOXM1-NEK2 and CDK4/6-Rb-E2F pathways using small-drug CDK and NEK2 inhibitors. Clinical research is warranted to assess whether this approach may overcome drug resistance in FOXM1
Colorectal cancer (CRC) treatment primarily relies on chemotherapy along with surgery, radiotherapy and, more recently, targeted therapy at the late stages. However, chemotherapeutic drugs have high cytotoxicity, and the similarity between the effects of these drugs on cancerous and healthy cells limits their wider use in clinical settings. Targeted monoclonal antibody treatment may compensate for this deficiency. Epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR)‑targeted drugs have a positive effect on CRC with intact KRAS proto-oncogene GTPase (KRAS or KRASWT), but may be ineffective or harmful in patients with KRAS mutations (KRASMUT). Therefore, it is important to identify drug target genes that are uniformly effective with regards to KRASWT and KRASMUT CRC. The present study performed gene expression analysis, and identified 294 genes upregulated in KRASWT and KRASMUT CRC samples. Collagen type I α 1 (COL1A1) was identified as the hub gene through STRING and Cytoscape analyses. Consistent with results obtained from Oncomine, a cancer microarray database and web-based data-mining platform, it was demonstrated that the expression of COL1A1 was significantly upregulated in CRC tissues and cell lines regardless of KRAS status. Inhibition of COL1A1 in KRASWT and KRASMUT CRC cell lines significantly decreased cell proliferation and invasion. In addition, increased COL1A1 expression in CRC was significantly associated with serosal invasion, lymph metastases and hematogenous metastases. Taken together, the findings of the present study indicated that COL1A1 may serve as a candidate diagnostic biomarker and a promising therapeutic target for CRC.
Adrenocortical carcinoma (ACC) is an aggressive cancer with a 5-year survival rate <35%. Mortality remains high due to lack of targeted therapies. Using bioinformatic analyses, we identified maternal embryonic leucine zipper kinase (MELK) as 4.1-fold overexpressed in ACC compared with normal adrenal samples. High MELK expression in human tumors correlated with shorter survival and with increased expression of genes involved in cell division and growth. We investigated the functional effects of MELK inhibition using newly developed ACC cell lines with variable MELK expression, CU-ACC1 and CU-ACC2, compared with H295R cells. In vitro treatment with the MELK inhibitor, OTSSP167, resulted in a dose-dependent decrease in rates of cell proliferation, colony formation, and cell survival, with relative sensitivity of each ACC cell line based upon the level of MELK overexpression. To confirm a MELK-specific antitumorigenic effect, MELK was inhibited in H295R cells via multiple short hairpin RNAs. MELK silencing resulted in 1.9-fold decrease in proliferation, and 3- to 10-fold decrease in colony formation in soft agar and clonogenicity assays, respectively. In addition, although MELK silencing had no effect on survival in normoxia, exposure to a hypoxia resulted in a sixfold and eightfold increase in apoptosis as assessed by caspase-3 activation and TUNEL, respectively. Together these data suggest that MELK is a modulator of tumor cell growth and survival in a hypoxic microenvironment in adrenal cancer cells and support future investigation of its role as a therapeutic kinase target in patients with ACC.
Since the five-year survival rate is less than 5%, pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC) remains the 4th cause of cancer-related death. Although PDAC has been repeatedly researched in recent years, it is still predicted to be the second leading cause of cancer death by year 2030. In our study, the differentially expressed genes in dataset GSE62452 were used to construct a co-expression network by WGCNA. The yellow module related to grade of PDAC was screened. Combined with co-expression network and PPI network, 36 candidates were screened. After survival and regression analysis by using GSE62452 and TCGA dataset, we identified 10 real hub genes (
Never in mitosis gene-A (NIMA)-related expressed kinase 2 (NEK2) has been recently reported to play a role in tumor progression, drug resistance and tumorigenesis. However, little is known about the effects of NEK2 in hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) metastasis and the underlying mechanism. NEK2 expression levels were examined by immunochemistry, qRT‑PCR and western blot analyses in HCC cell lines and HCC tissues. A Transwell assay was used to determine the migration and invasion capacity of NEK2-silenced or NEK2-overexpressing HCC cells. Cell proliferation was investigated by MTT [(3-(4,5)-dimethylthiazol(-z-y1)-3,5-di-phenytetrazolium bromide] assay. The expression levels of epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT) markers in NEK2-silenced or NEK2-overexpressing HCC cells were examined by western blot analyses and qRT‑PCR. The correlations between NEK2 expression and clinicopathological characteristics were further analyzed. Gene microarray was further used to analyze the effect of NEK2 expression on downstream cell signals. Our study showed that NEK2 was overexpressed in human HCC (37.84%; 98/259). NEK2 overexpression was significantly associated with liver non‑capsulation and predicted poor survival outcomes in HCC patients after hepatectomy. In addition, NEK2 significantly enhanced HCC cell invasive ability. Mechanistically, we found that the epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT) plays a pivotal role in the NEK2-mediated promotion of HCC cell invasion. Furthermore, we provided evidence that signaling through the Wnt, NF-κB, focal adhesion, VEGF, Hippo and p53 pathways may be downstream of NEK2. Our findings highlight the importance of NEK2 in HCC metastasis and suggest that NEK2 is a reliable prognostic marker for HCC patients after hepatectomy.
Nuncia-Cantarero M, Martinez-Canales S, Andrés-Pretel F, et al.Functional transcriptomic annotation and protein-protein interaction network analysis identify NEK2, BIRC5, and TOP2A as potential targets in obese patients with luminal A breast cancer.
Breast Cancer Res Treat. 2018; 168(3):613-623 [PubMed
] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
PURPOSE: Although obesity is a risk factor for breast cancer, little effort has been made in the identification of druggable molecular alterations in obese-breast cancer patients. Tumors are controlled by their surrounding microenvironment, in which the adipose tissue is a main component. In this work, we intended to describe molecular alterations at a transcriptomic and protein-protein interaction (PPI) level between obese and non-obese patients.
METHODS AND RESULTS: Gene expression data of 269 primary breast tumors were compared between normal-weight (BMI < 25, n = 130) and obese (IMC > 30, n = 139) patients. No significant differences were found for the global breast cancer population. However, within the luminal A subtype, upregulation of 81 genes was observed in the obese group (FC ≥ 1.4). Next, we explored the association of these genes with patient outcome, observing that 39 were linked with detrimental outcome. Their PPI map formed highly compact cluster and functional annotation analyses showed that cell cycle, cell proliferation, cell differentiation, and cellular response to extracellular stimuli were the more altered functions. Combined analyses of genes within the described functions are correlated with poor outcome. PPI network analyses for each function were to search for druggable opportunities. We identified 16 potentially druggable candidates. Among them, NEK2, BIRC5, and TOP2A were also found to be amplified in breast cancer, suggesting that they could act as strategic players in the obese-deregulated transcriptome.
CONCLUSION: In summary, our in silico analysis describes molecular alterations of luminal A tumors and proposes a druggable PPI network in obese patients with potential for translation to the clinical practice.
Agarwal R, Narayan J, Bhattacharyya A, et al.Gene expression profiling, pathway analysis and subtype classification reveal molecular heterogeneity in hepatocellular carcinoma and suggest subtype specific therapeutic targets.
Cancer Genet. 2017; 216-217:37-51 [PubMed
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A very low 5-year survival rate among hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) patients is mainly due to lack of early stage diagnosis, distant metastasis and high risk of postoperative recurrence. Hence ascertaining novel biomarkers for early diagnosis and patient specific therapeutics is crucial and urgent. Here, we have performed a comprehensive analysis of the expression data of 423 HCC patients (373 tumors and 50 controls) downloaded from The Cancer Genome Atlas (TCGA) followed by pathway enrichment by gene ontology annotations, subtype classification and overall survival analysis. The differential gene expression analysis using non-parametric Wilcoxon test revealed a total of 479 up-regulated and 91 down-regulated genes in HCC compared to controls. The list of top differentially expressed genes mainly consists of tumor/cancer associated genes, such as AFP, THBS4, LCN2, GPC3, NUF2, etc. The genes over-expressed in HCC were mainly associated with cell cycle pathways. In total, 59 kinases associated genes were found over-expressed in HCC, including TTK, MELK, BUB1, NEK2, BUB1B, AURKB, PLK1, CDK1, PKMYT1, PBK, etc. Overall four distinct HCC subtypes were predicted using consensus clustering method. Each subtype was unique in terms of gene expression, pathway enrichment and median survival. Conclusively, this study has exposed a number of interesting genes which can be exploited in future as potential markers of HCC, diagnostic as well as prognostic and subtype classification may guide for improved and specific therapy.
This study aims to identify promising biomarkers for the early detection of lung cancer and evaluate the prognosis of lung cancer patients. Genome-wide mRNA expression data obtained from the Gene Expression Omnibus (GSE19188, GSE18842 and GSE40791), including 231 primary tumor samples and 210 normal samples, were used to discover differentially expressed genes (DEGs). NEK2, DLGAP5 and ECT2 were found to be highly expressed in tumor samples. These results were experimentally confirmed by quantitative reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (qRT-PCR). The elevated expression of the three candidate genes was also validated using the Cancer Genome Atlas (TCGA) datasets, which consist of 349 tumor and 58 normal tissues. Furthermore, we performed receiver operating characteristics (ROC) analysis to assess the diagnostic value of these lung cancer biomarkers, and the results suggested that NEK2, DLGAP5 and ECT2 expression levels could robustly distinguish lung cancer patients from normal subjects. Finally, Kaplan-Meier analysis revealed that elevated NEK2, DLGAP5 and ECT2 expression was negatively correlated with both overall survival (OS) and relapse-free survival (RFS). Taken together, these findings indicate that these three genes might be used as promising biomarkers for the early detection of lung cancer, as well as predicting the prognosis of lung cancer patients.
Accumulating evidence suggests that glioma stem cells (GSCs) are important therapeutic targets in glioblastoma (GBM). In this study, we identified NIMA-related kinase 2 (NEK2) as a functional binding protein of enhancer of zeste homolog 2 (EZH2) that plays a critical role in the posttranslational regulation of EZH2 protein in GSCs. NEK2 was among the most differentially expressed kinase-encoding genes in GSC-containing cultures (glioma spheres), and it was required for in vitro clonogenicity, in vivo tumor propagation, and radioresistance. Mechanistically, the formation of a protein complex comprising NEK2 and EZH2 in glioma spheres phosphorylated and then protected EZH2 from ubiquitination-dependent protein degradation in a NEK2 kinase activity-dependent manner. Clinically, NEK2 expression in patients with glioma was closely associated with EZH2 expression and correlated with a poor prognosis. NEK2 expression was also substantially elevated in recurrent tumors after therapeutic failure compared with primary untreated tumors in matched GBM patients. We designed a NEK2 kinase inhibitor, compound 3a (CMP3a), which efficiently attenuated GBM growth in a mouse model and exhibited a synergistic effect with radiotherapy. These data demonstrate a key role for NEK2 in maintaining GSCs in GBM by stabilizing the EZH2 protein and introduce the small-molecule inhibitor CMP3a as a potential therapeutic agent for GBM.
BACKGROUND: MicroRNA-128 (miR-128) serves as a regulator by inducing cancer cell apoptosis, differentiation, the epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition process, and tumor growth by mediating different targets. NIMA-related kinase 2 (NEK2) is aberrantly expressed in lung cancer. The miR-128/NEK2 pathway has been reported to predict prognosis in colorectal cancer; however, the determination of a relationship between miR-128 and NEK2 in lung cancer has remained elusive. We explored the association between miR-128 and NEK2 in lung cancer.
METHODS: MiR-128 and NEK2 expression were examined in 15 lung cancer tissues by real time-PCR. Lung cancer SK-MES-1 cells were transfected with miR-128 mimic, an inhibitor or a negative control. MiR-128 and NEK2 expression levels were detected using quantitative real time-PCR and Western blot. SK-MES-1 cell apoptosis was performed by flow cytometry.
RESULTS: Compared to adjacent non-tumor tissues, miR-128 was downregulated and NEK2 was upregulated in 15 lung cancer tissues. Lung cancer SK-MES-1 cells transfected with miR-128 mimic induced a higher apoptotic rate than those transfected with the negative control. Dual luciferase assay further confirmed that NEK2 was a direct target of miR-128 in lung cancer, and transfection with miR-128 mimic could decrease the NEK2 protein level while the miR-128 inhibitor increased NEK2 expression. Finally, the apoptotic effect of lung cancer cells induced by miR-128 mimic could be reversed by NEK2 overexpression.
CONCLUSIONS: NEK2 was regulated by miR-128 in lung cancer and miR-128 induced lung cancer cell apoptosis by mediating NEK2 expression.
Zhao D, Han W, Liu X, et al.Deguelin inhibits epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition and metastasis of human non-small cell lung cancer cells by regulating NIMA-related kinase 2.
Thorac Cancer. 2017; 8(4):320-327 [PubMed
] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
BACKGROUND: Non-small cell lung cancer is a lethal malignancy with a high mortality rate. Deguelin displays an anti-tumor effect and inhibits metastasis in various cancers. The aberrant expression of NIMA-related kinase 2 (NEK2) indicates poor prognosis and induces epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition (EMT) and metastasis processes. However, the underlying mechanism between deguelin and NEK2 has remained elusive.
METHODS: NSCLC cell lines were treated with deguelin. Wound-healing and invasion assays were applied to study the inhibitory effect of deguelin on NSCLC cells. EMT markers, E-cadherin and Vimentin, were also detected by Western blot. NEK2 protein and messenger RNA expression levels were evaluated when NSCLC cells were treated with different concentrations of deguelin. The effect of NEK2 on NSCLC cell metastasis was evaluated through NEK2 knockdown. To investigate whether deguelin induced EMT by regulating NEK2, we overexpressed NEK2 in both NCI-H520 and SK-MES-1 cell lines, and then used real time-PCR to study the E-cadherin and Vimentin messenger RNA expression in both NSCLC cells.
RESULTS: Deguelin inhibited migration and invasion processes in NSCLC cell lines and decreased NEK2 expression in a concentration-dependent manner. Furthermore, NEK2 knockdown inhibited NSCLC cell migration and invasion. Finally, overexpressing NEK2 in NCI-H520 and SK-MES-1 cells could restore the inhibition of metastasis induced by deguelin.
CONCLUSIONS: Deguelin could inhibit EMT and metastasis, while overexpression of NEK2 promotes these processes. Deguelin could decrease NEK2 expression, while NEK2 overexpression could restore deguelin-induced inhibition of metastasis.
Zhou H, Chen Q, Tan W, et al.Integrated clinicopathological features and gene microarray analysis of pancreatic neuroendocrine tumors.
Gene. 2017; 625:72-77 [PubMed
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Pancreatic neuroendocrine tumors are relatively rare pancreatic neoplasms over the world. Investigations about molecular biology of PNETs are insufficient for nowadays. We aimed to explore the expression of messenger RNA and regulatory processes underlying pancreatic neuroendocrine tumors from different views. The expression profile of GSE73338 were downloaded, including samples with pancreatic neuroendocrine tumors. First, the Limma package was utilized to distinguish the differentially expressed messenger RNA. Gene Ontology classification and Kyoto Encyclopedia of Genes and Genomes pathway enrichment analysis were performed to explore the functions and pathways of target genes. In addition, we constructed a protein-protein interaction network. NEK2, UBE2C, TOP2A and PPP1R1A were revealed with continuous genomic alterations in higher tumor stage. 91 up-regulated and 36 down-regulated genes were identified to be differentially expressed in malignant PNETs. Locomotory behavior was significantly enriched for biological processes of metastasis PNETs. GCGR and GNAS were identified as the hub of proteins in the protein-protein interaction sub-network of malignant PNETs. We showed the gene expression differences in PNETs according to different clinicopathological aspects. NEK2, UBE2C, TOP2A are positively associated with high tumor grade, and PPP1R1A negatively. GCGR and GNAS are regarded as the hub of the PPI sub-network. CXCR4 may affect the progression of PNETs via the CXCR4-CXCL12-CXCR7 chemokine receptor axis. However, more studies are required.
Liu H, Liu B, Hou X, et al.Overexpression of NIMA-related kinase 2 is associated with poor prognoses in malignant glioma.
J Neurooncol. 2017; 132(3):409-417 [PubMed
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Eleated expression of NIMA-related kinase 2 (NEK2) was frequently observed in a variety of malignant cancers, and it appears to be involved in the initiation, maintenance, progression, metastasis of cancer and is positively associated with poor prognosis. We sought to investigate NEK2 expression and its predictive roles in malignant gliomas, and study the correlation of NEK2 protein expression with proliferation, clinical parameters, overall survival and some other parameters. We investigate NEK2 protein expression in 99 samples of malignant gliomas, including 35 WHO grade II, 22 grade III, and 42 grade IV gliomas, by immunohistochemistry and western blot (n = 50). We then made correlative analysis of protein overexpression using the Kaplan-Meier method, Log rank test, and Cox proportional-hazards model analysis. NEK2 protein was overexpressed in malignant gliomas, but not in normal brain tissues. Overexpression of NEK2 correlated with malignancy, proliferation and adverse overall survival in gliomas. Moreover, chemotherapy, resection extent and WHO grade also correlate with overall survival in gliomas. However, within WHO grade II glioma subgroup, NEK2 overexpression showed no impact on overall survival. The present study firstly reveals that NEK2 protein is widely overexpressed in gliomas. NEK2 overexpression correlates significantly with malignancy (WHO grades), proliferation (Ki-67) and prognosis in malignant gliomas. NEK2 is a potential gene therapy target and prognostic indicator.
Medulloblastoma is the most frequent malignant pediatric brain tumor and is divided into at least four subgroups known as WNT, SHH, Group 3, and Group 4. Here, we characterized gene regulation mechanisms in the most aggressive subtype, Group 3 tumors, through genome-wide chromatin and expression profiling. Our results show that most active distal sites in these tumors are occupied by the transcription factor OTX2. Highly active OTX2-bound enhancers are often arranged as clusters of adjacent peaks and are also bound by the transcription factor NEUROD1. These sites are responsive to
Never in mitosis gene A (NIMA)-related kinase 2 (NEK2) is a microtubule-associated protein that regulates spindle assembly in human cells and is overexpressed in various malignancies. However, the role of NEK2 in hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) remains undetermined. We performed RNA-seq of the HCC cell line SMMC-7721 and the normal liver cell line HL-7702 using the Ion Proton System. NEK2 expression was detected using quantitative reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction in two cell lines and 5 matched HCC and adjacent non-tumorous liver tissues. The correlation between survival and NEK2 expression was analyzed in 359 patients with HCC using RNASeqV2 data available from The Cancer Genome Atlas (TCGA) website (https://tcga-data.nci.nih.gov/tcga/). The expression of NEK2, phospho-AKT and MMP-2 was evaluated by immunohistochemistry in 63 cases of HCC and matched adjacent non-tumorous liver tissues. Relationships between protein expression and clinicopathological parameters were assessed, and the correlations between NEK2 with phospho-AKT and MMP-2 expressions were evaluated. A total of 610 differentially expressed genes (DEGs) were revealed in the transcriptome comparison, 297 of which were upregulated and 313 were downregulated in HCC. NEK2, as the most obviously different DEG in cells and tissues from the RNA-seq data, was listed as an HCC candidate biomarker for further verification. NEK2 was overexpressed in HCC cells and tissues (P=0.002, P=0.013) and HCC patients with a high expression of NEK2 had a poor prognosis (P=0.0145). Clinical analysis indicated that the overexpression of NEK2 in HCC was significantly correlated with diolame complete (P<0.001), tumor nodule number (P=0.012) and recurrence (P=0.004). NEK2 expression was positively correlated with the expression of phospho-AKT (r=0.883, P<0.01) and MMP-2 (r=0.781, P<0.01). Overexpression of NEK2 was associated with clinicopathological characteristics and poor patient outcomes, suggesting that NEK2 serves as a prognostic biomarker for HCC. Alteration of NEK2 protein levels may contribute to invasion and metastasis of HCC, which may occur through activation of AKT signaling and promotion of MMP-2 expression.
BACKGROUND: Aerobic glycolysis, a hallmark of cancer, is characterized by increased metabolism of glucose and production of lactate in normaxia. Recently, pyruvate kinase M2 (PKM2) has been identified as a key player for regulating aerobic glycolysis and promoting tumor cell proliferation and survival.
METHODS: Tandem affinity purification followed up by mass spectrometry (TAP-MS) and co-immunoprecipitation (Co-IP) were used to study the interaction between NIMA (never in mitosis gene A)-related kinase 2 (NEK2) and heterogeneous nuclear ribonucleoproteins (hnRNP) A1/2. RNA immunoprecipitation (RIP) was performed to identify NEK2 binding to PKM pre-mRNA sequence. Chromatin-immunoprecipitation (ChIP)-PCR was performed to analyze a transcriptional regulation of NEK2 by c-Myc. Western blot and real-time PCR were executed to analyze the regulation of PKM2 by NEK2.
RESULTS: NEK2 regulates the alternative splicing of PKM immature RNA in multiple myeloma cells by interacting with hnRNPA1/2. RIP shows that NEK2 binds to the intronic sequence flanking exon 9 of PKM pre-mRNA. Knockdown of NEK2 decreases the ratio of PKM2/PKM1 and also other aerobic glycolysis genes including GLUT4, HK2, ENO1, LDHA, and MCT4. Myeloma patients with high expression of NEK2 and PKM2 have lower event-free survival and overall survival. Our data indicate that NEK2 is transcriptionally regulated by c-Myc in myeloma cells. Ectopic expression of NEK2 partially rescues growth inhibition and cell death induced by silenced c-Myc.
CONCLUSIONS: Our studies demonstrate that NEK2 promotes aerobic glycolysis through regulating splicing of PKM and increasing the PKM2/PKM1 ratio in myeloma cells which contributes to its oncogenic activity.
BACKGROUND: Despite new treatment options for hepatocellular carcinomas (HCC) recently, 5-year survival remains poor, ranging from 50 to 70%, which may attribute to the lack of early diagnostic biomarkers. Thus, developing new biomarkers for early diagnosis of HCC, is extremely urgent, aiming to decrease HCC-related deaths.
METHODS: In the study, we conducted a comprehensive characterization of gene expression data of HCC based on a bioinformatics method. The results were confirmed by real time polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) and TCGA database to prove the credibility of this integrated analysis.
RESULTS: After integrating analysis of seven HCC gene expression datasets, 1167 differential expressed genes (DEGs) were identified. These genes mainly participated in the process of cell cycle, oocyte meiosis, and oocyte maturation mediated by progesterone. The results of experiments and TCGA database validation in 10 genes was in full accordance with findings in integrated analysis, indicating the high credibility of our integrated analysis of different gene expression datasets. ASPM, CCT3, and NEK2 was showed to be significantly associated with overall survival of HCC patients in TCGA database.
CONCLUSION: This method of integrated analysis may be a useful tool to minish the heterogeneity of individual microarray, hopefully outputs more accurate HCC transcriptome profiles based on large sample size, and explores some potential biomarkers and therapy targets for HCC.
Wu SM, Lin SL, Lee KY, et al.Hepatoma cell functions modulated by NEK2 are associated with liver cancer progression.
Int J Cancer. 2017; 140(7):1581-1596 [PubMed
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NEK2 (NIMA-related expressed kinase 2) is a serine/threonine centrosomal kinase that acts as a critical regulator of centrosome structure and function. Aberrant NEK2 activities lead to failure in regulating centrosome duplication. NEK2 overexpression promotes tumorigenesis and is associated with poor prognosis in several cancers. Increased NEK2 expression during the late pathological stage has been detected in the Oncomine liver dataset and hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) specimens. Elevated NEK2 protein is associated with poor overall survival in patients with HCC. However, the precise roles and mechanisms of NEK2 in liver cancer progression remain largely unknown. An earlier functional study revealed that NEK2 mediates drug resistance (cisplatin or lipo-doxorubicin) via expression of an ABCC10 transporter. Active angiogenesis and metastasis underlie the rapid recurrence and poor survival of HCC. Results from the current study showed that NEK2 mediates tumor growth, metastasis and angiogenesis in vivo. NEK2-mediated drug resistance was blocked by a specific PI3K or AKT inhibitor. Moreover, NEK2 mediated liver cancer cell migration via pAKT/NF-κB signaling and matrix metalloproteinase (MMP) activation. Angiogenesis was induced via the same signaling pathway and IL-8 stimulation. Our findings collectively indicate that NEK2 modulates hepatoma cell functions, including growth, drug resistance, metastasis and angiogenesis via downstream genes activation.
Tong H, Wang J, Chen H, et al.Transcriptomic analysis of gene expression profiles of stomach carcinoma reveal abnormal expression of mitotic components.
Life Sci. 2017; 170:41-49 [PubMed
] Related Publications
AIMS: In order to explore the etiology of gastric cancer on global gene expression level, we developed advanced bioinformatic analysis to investigate the variations of global gene expression and the interactions among them.
MAIN METHODS: We downloaded the dataset GSE63288 from Gene Expression Omnibus (GEO) database which included 22 human gastric cancer and 22 healthy control samples. We identified the differential expression genes, and explored the Gene ontology (GO) and pathways of the differentially expressed genes. Furthermore, integrative interaction network and co-expression network were employed to identify the key genes which may contribute to gastric cancer progression.
KEY FINDINGS: The results indicated that 5 kinases including BUB1, TTK protein kinase, Citron Rho-interacting kinase (CIT), ZAK and NEK2 were upregulated in gastric cancer. Interestingly, BUB1, TTK, CIT and NEK2 have shown high expression similarities and bound with each other, and participated in multiple phases of mitosis. Moreover, a subnet of co-expression genes e.g. KIF14, PRC1, CENPF and CENPI was also involved in mitosis which was functionally coupled with the kinases above. By validation assays, the results indicated that CIT, PRC1, TTK and KIF14 were significantly upregulated in gastric cancer.
SIGNIFICANCE: These evidences have suggested that aberrant expression of these genes may drive gastric cancer including progression, invasion and metastasis. Although the causal relationships between gastric cancer and the genes are still lacking, it was reasonable to take them as biomarkers for diagnosis of gastric cancer.
NEK2 is a conserved mitotic regulator critical for cell cycle progression. Aberrant expression of NEK2 has been found in a variety of human cancers, making it an attractive molecular target for the design of novel anticancer therapeutics. In the present study, we have identified a novel compound MBM-5, which was found to bind to NEK2 with high affinity by docking simulations study. MBM-5 potently inhibited NEK2 kinase activity in vitro in a concentration-dependent manner. MBM-5 also suppressed cellular NEK2 kinase activity, as evidenced by the decreased phosphorylation of its substrate Hec1 on S165 in a concentration- and time-dependent manner. This inhibition impeded mitotic progression by inducing chromosome segregation defects and cytokinesis failure; therefore leading to accumulation of cells with ≥4N DNA content, which finally underwent apoptosis. More importantly, MBM-5 treatment effectively suppressed the tumor growth of human gastric and colorectal cancer cells xenografts. Taken together, we demonstrated that MBM-5 effectively inhibited the kinase activity of NEK2 and showed a potential application in anti-cancer treatment regimens.
Wen S, Liu Y, Yang M, et al.Increased NEK2 in hepatocellular carcinoma promotes cancer progression and drug resistance by promoting PP1/Akt and Wnt activation.
Oncol Rep. 2016; 36(4):2193-9 [PubMed
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NIMA-related expressed kinase 2 (NEK2) participates in the carcinogenesis and progression of certain types of cancer, however, its expression and roles in the development of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) remains unknown. Here, we found that NEK2 expression was significantly upregulated in both human HCC tissues and cell lines, and increased NEK2 expression in HCC was significantly correlated with clinical progression of HCC in patients. Knockdown of NEK2 in HCC cells inhibited HCC progression, as determined by the suppressed cell proliferation, invasion and metastasis. Furthermore, knockdown of NEK2 inhibited drug resistance of HCC cells, as shown by the promoted suppression of cell viability in 5-fluorouracil (5‑FU)‑treated HCC cells. Mechanistically, protein phosphatase 1 (PP1)/Akt and Wnt signaling activation are significantly inhibited by NEK2 knockdown, which is responsible for the HCC progression and involved in NEK2‑induced cancer cell abnormal biological behavior. Thus, enhanced NEK2 expression in HCC promotes HCC progression and drug resistance by promoting PP1/Akt and Wnt pathway activation, which may represent a new therapeutic target for HCC.
Lin S, Zhou S, Jiang S, et al.NEK2 regulates stem-like properties and predicts poor prognosis in hepatocellular carcinoma.
Oncol Rep. 2016; 36(2):853-62 [PubMed
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NEK2 has been estimated to play an important role in cancer progression. However, its relevance in hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) has not yet been explored. Immunohistochemistry revealed NEK2 expression was upregulated in HCC. NEK2-positive hepatocellular carcinoma patients were associated with poor prognosis after surgery compared with NEK2-negative patients based on Kaplan-Meier curves. Deletion of NEK2 reduced self-renewal properties and chemotherapeutic resistance, and decreased the stemness associated genes in cell lines. NEK2 was associated with unfavorable outcomes in HCC patients, and was revealed to regulate self-renewal property by means of Wnt/β-catenin signaling, and chemotherapeutic resistance by preferential regulation of the expression of ABCG2 and ALDH1A1 in HCC cells.
Nek2 (NIMA-related kinase 2) is a serine-threonine kinase and human homolog of the mitotic regulator NIMA of Aspergillus nidulan. We reported the efficiency of Nek2 siRNA in several cancer xenograft models using cholangiocarcinoma, breast cancer and colorectal cancer. Pancreatic cancer is difficult to treat due to its rapid progression and resistance to chemotherapy. Novel treatments are urgently required to improve survival in pancreatic cancer, and siRNA are a promising therapeutic option. However, finding an in vivo drug delivery system of siRNA remains a major problem for clinical application. In this study, the overexpression of Nek2 was identified in pancreatic cancer cell lines. Nek2 siRNA inhibited tumor growth in a subcutaneous xenograft mouse model of pancreatic cancer, prolonged the survival time in an intraperitoneal xenograft mouse model and efficiently prevented the progression of liver metastasis using a portal venous port-catheter system. Taken together, Nek2 is an effective therapeutic target in pancreatic cancer. An adequate delivery system is considered important in treating advanced pancreatic cancer, such as peritoneal dissemination and liver metastasis. Further investigations are required on the safety and side effects of the portal venous port-catheter system. We hope that Nek2 siRNA will be a novel therapeutic strategy for pancreatic cancer with liver metastasis and peritoneal dissemination.
Hitti E, Bakheet T, Al-Souhibani N, et al.Systematic Analysis of AU-Rich Element Expression in Cancer Reveals Common Functional Clusters Regulated by Key RNA-Binding Proteins.
Cancer Res. 2016; 76(14):4068-80 [PubMed
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Defects in AU-rich elements (ARE)-mediated posttranscriptional control can lead to several abnormal processes that underlie carcinogenesis. Here, we performed a systematic analysis of ARE-mRNA expression across multiple cancer types. First, the ARE database (ARED) was intersected with The Cancer Genome Atlas databases and others. A large set of ARE-mRNAs was over-represented in cancer and, unlike non-ARE-mRNAs, correlated with the reversed balance in the expression of the RNA-binding proteins tristetraprolin (TTP, ZFP36) and HuR (ELAVL1). Serial statistical and functional enrichment clustering identified a cluster of 11 overexpressed ARE-mRNAs (CDC6, KIF11, PRC1, NEK2, NCAPG, CENPA, NUF2, KIF18A, CENPE, PBK, TOP2A) that negatively correlated with TTP/HuR mRNA ratios and was involved in the mitotic cell cycle. This cluster was upregulated in a number of solid cancers. Experimentally, we demonstrated that the ARE-mRNA cluster is upregulated in a number of tumor breast cell lines when compared with noninvasive and normal-like breast cancer cells. RNA-IP demonstrated the association of the ARE-mRNAs with TTP and HuR. Experimental modulation of TTP or HuR expression led to changes in the mitosis ARE-mRNAs. Posttranscriptional reporter assays confirmed the functionality of AREs. Moreover, TTP augmented mitotic cell-cycle arrest as demonstrated by flow cytometry and histone H3 phosphorylation. We found that poor breast cancer patient survival was significantly associated with low TTP/HuR mRNA ratios and correlated with high levels of the mitotic ARE-mRNA signature. These results significantly broaden the role of AREs and their binding proteins in cancer, and demonstrate that TTP induces an antimitotic pathway that is diminished in cancer. Cancer Res; 76(14); 4068-80. ©2016 AACR.
INTRODUCTION: Accurate assessment of prognosis in early stage ovarian cancer is challenging resulting in suboptimal selection of patients for adjuvant therapy. The identification of predictive markers for cytotoxic chemotherapy is therefore highly desirable. Protein kinases are important components in oncogenic transformation and those relating to cell cycle and mitosis control may allow for identification of high-risk early stage ovarian tumors.
METHODS: Genes with differential expression in ovarian surface epithelia (OSE) and ovarian cancer epithelial cells (CEPIs) were identified from public datasets and analyzed with dChip software. Progression-free (PFS) and overall survival (OS) associated with these genes in stage I/II and late stage ovarian cancer was explored using the Kaplan Meier Plotter online tool.
RESULTS: Of 2925 transcripts associated with modified expression in CEPIs compared to OSE, 66 genes coded for upregulated protein kinases. Expression of 9 of these genes (CDC28, CHK1, NIMA, Aurora kinase A, Aurora kinase B, BUB1, BUB1βB, CDKN2A and TTK) was associated with worse PFS (HR:3.40, log rank p<0.001). The combined analyses of CHK1, CDKN2A, AURKA, AURKB, TTK and NEK2 showed the highest magnitude of association with PFS (HR:4.62, log rank p<0.001). Expression of AURKB predicted detrimental OS in stage I/II ovarian cancer better than all other combinations Conclusion: Genes linked to cell cycle control are associated with worse outcome in early stage ovarian cancer. Incorporation of these biomarkers in clinical studies may help in the identification of patients at high risk of relapse for whom optimizing adjuvant therapeutic strategies is needed.
Wubetu GY, Morine Y, Teraoku H, et al.High NEK2 Expression Is a Predictor of Tumor Recurrence in Hepatocellular Carcinoma Patients After Hepatectomy.
Anticancer Res. 2016; 36(2):757-62 [PubMed
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BACKGROUND/AIM: Better prognosis of cancer including hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) remains unsatisfactory due to recurrence and chemoresistance. In this respect it is important to identify molecular targets specific to the disease in order to design effective therapeutic strategies. In the present study, we investigated the prognostic role of Never-in-mitosis-A-related kinase 2 (NEK2) in HCC.
MATERIALS AND METHODS: Fifty HCC patients who underwent hepatectomy were enrolled in the study. NEK2 gene and protein expression was examined by quantitative real-time polymerase chain reaction (qRT-PCR) and immunohistochemistry, respectively.
RESULTS: Higher expression of NEK2 was detected in HCC tumoral compared to adjacent non-tumor tissues (p<0.001), and protein expression was also relatively high in tumor than corresponding non-tumor tissues. Furthermore, high NEK2 expression was positively correlated with hepatic venous invasion (p=0.047), des-gammacarboxy prothrombin (p=0.003), and alpha-fetoprotein (AFP) (p=0.024). Patients with high NEK2 expression had significantly poor recurrence-free survival (p=0.042) and early recurrence.
CONCLUSION: Overall, these results suggest that NEK2 could be a promising biomarker for HCC recurrence.
The transcription factor forkhead box M1 (FOXM1) is a validated oncoprotein in solid cancers, but its role in malignant plasma cell tumors such as multiple myeloma (MM) is unknown. We analyzed publicly available MM data sets and found that overexpression of FOXM1 prognosticates inferior outcome in a subset (~15%) of newly diagnosed cases, particularly patients with high-risk disease based on global gene expression changes. Follow-up studies using human myeloma cell lines (HMCLs) as the principal experimental model system demonstrated that enforced expression of FOXM1 increased growth, survival and clonogenicity of myeloma cells, whereas knockdown of FOXM1 abolished these features. In agreement with that, constitutive upregulation of FOXM1 promoted HMCL xenografts in laboratory mice, whereas inducible knockdown of FOXM1 led to growth inhibition. Expression of cyclin-dependent kinase 6 (CDK6) and NIMA-related kinase 2 (NEK2) was coregulated with FOXM1 in both HMCLs and myeloma patient samples, suggesting interaction of these three genes in a genetic network that may lend itself to targeting with small-drug inhibitors for new approaches to myeloma therapy and prevention. These results establish FOXM1 as high-risk myeloma gene and provide support for the design and testing of FOXM1-targeted therapies specifically for the FOXM1(High) subset of myeloma.