Gene Summary

Gene:ROCK2; Rho associated coiled-coil containing protein kinase 2
Aliases: ROCK-II
Summary:The protein encoded by this gene is a serine/threonine kinase that regulates cytokinesis, smooth muscle contraction, the formation of actin stress fibers and focal adhesions, and the activation of the c-fos serum response element. This protein, which is an isozyme of ROCK1 is a target for the small GTPase Rho. [provided by RefSeq, Jul 2008]
Databases:OMIM, HGNC, Ensembl, GeneCard, Gene
Protein:rho-associated protein kinase 2
Source:NCBIAccessed: 01 September, 2019


What does this gene/protein do?
Show (28)
Pathways:What pathways are this gene/protein implicaed in?
Show (7)

Cancer Overview

Research Indicators

Publications Per Year (1994-2019)
Graph generated 01 September 2019 using data from PubMed using criteria.

Literature Analysis

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

  • Oligonucleotide Array Sequence Analysis
  • Pyridines
  • Transfection
  • Mutation
  • siRNA
  • Breast Cancer
  • Messenger RNA
  • Neoplasm Invasiveness
  • Lung Cancer
  • Epithelial-Mesenchymal Transition
  • Signal Transduction
  • Tumor Suppressor Proteins
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Receptors, Autocrine Motility Factor
  • Wiskott-Aldrich Syndrome Protein, Neuronal
  • Neoplasm Metastasis
  • MicroRNAs
  • Liver Cancer
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins
  • Mice, Inbred BALB C
  • Hepatocellular Carcinoma
  • Cell Movement
  • Chromosome 2
  • Membrane Proteins
  • Phenotype
  • Phosphorylation
  • Transcription Factors
  • Amides
  • Protein-Serine-Threonine Kinases
  • Prostate Cancer
  • Cell Proliferation
  • RNA Interference
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Gene Knockdown Techniques
  • Drug Resistance
  • Heterografts
  • Cancer Gene Expression Regulation
  • Apoptosis
  • Down-Regulation
  • Up-Regulation
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).

Latest Publications: ROCK2 (cancer-related)

Liu H, Hou T, Ju W, et al.
MicroRNA‑122 downregulates Rho‑associated protein kinase 2 expression and inhibits the proliferation of prostate carcinoma cells.
Mol Med Rep. 2019; 19(5):3882-3888 [PubMed] Related Publications
MicroRNA‑122 (miR‑122) has been reported to be involved in the pathogenesis of several types of malignancies; however, its role in prostate carcinoma remains unknown. Thus, the current study aimed to investigate the functionality of miR‑122 in prostate carcinoma. Clinical data of 54 patients with prostate carcinoma who were diagnosed and treated in Union Hospital (Wuhan, China) between January 2011 and January 2013 were retrospectively analyzed. The expression levels of miR‑122 and Rho‑associated protein kinase 2 (ROCK2) in prostate tumor and adjacent healthy tissues of patients, as well as in the serum of prostate carcinoma patients and healthy controls, were detected by reverse transcription‑quantitative polymerase chain reaction. Receiver operating characteristic curve and survival curve analyses were used to examine the diagnostic and prognostic values of serum miR‑122 for prostate carcinoma. In addition, miR‑122 mimic was transfected into prostate carcinoma cells, and the effects on cell proliferation and ROCK2 expression were explored by Cell Counting Kit‑8 and western blot assays, respectively. It was observed that miR‑122 was downregulated and ROCK2 was upregulated in tumor tissues as compared with their levels in adjacent healthy tissues. miR‑122 level in the serum was also markedly lower in prostate carcinoma patients in comparison with that in healthy controls. Furthermore, a low serum level of miR‑122 was found to effectively distinguish the prostate carcinoma patients from healthy controls and to be an indicator of poor survival. In prostate carcinoma cells, miR‑122 overexpression inhibited the proliferation and the expression of ROCK2. Taken together, miR‑122 may inhibit the proliferation of prostate carcinoma cells possibly by downregulating ROCK2 expression.

Luo J, Lou Z, Zheng J
Targeted regulation by ROCK2 on bladder carcinoma via Wnt signaling under hypoxia.
Cancer Biomark. 2019; 24(1):109-116 [PubMed] Related Publications
Bladder cancer is frequently occurred in urinary system and has complicated pathogenesis factors including both genetics and environmental factors that have not been fully illustrated. Hypoxia can further induce tumor progression. ROCK2 has abnormal expression in various tumors but its expression or functional role in bladder cancer have not been illustrated. In vitro cultured bladder cancer cell line T24 was randomly assigned into control group, hypoxia group (prepared under hypoxic culture), and ROCK2 siRNA group (transfected with ROCK2 siRNA after hypoxia treatment). Real-time PCR and Western bot measured ROCK2 expression. MTT assay tested cell proliferation, and cell migration was quantified. Cell apoptosis was measured by caspase3 activity assay kit and Transwell chamber measured cell migration. Western blot quantified expressional change of HIF-1α and E-cadherin, and Wnt signal pathway proteins including Wnt4, and β-catenin. ROCK2 is up-regulated in bladder cancer T24 cells under hypoxia, and can facilitate cell proliferation, migration and invasion, inhibited Caspase3 activity, enhanced HIF-1α expression, decreased E-cadherin expression, and up-regulated Wnt4 and β-catenin (p< 0.05 comparing to hypoxia group). Under hypoxia conditions, ROCK2 can facilitate apoptosis of bladder cancer cells via modulating Wnt signal pathway, inhibit cell proliferation, migration, invasion or formation of epithelial mesenchymal transition (EMT).

Zhong Y, Yang S, Wang W, et al.
The interaction of Lin28A/Rho associated coiled-coil containing protein kinase2 accelerates the malignancy of ovarian cancer.
Oncogene. 2019; 38(9):1381-1397 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Ovarian cancer (OC) is the leading cause of death among women with gynecologic malignant diseases, however, the molecular mechanism of ovarian cancer is not well defined. Previous studies have found that RNA binding protein Lin28A is a key factor of maintain the pluripotency of stem cells, and it is positively correlated with the degree of several cancers (breast, prostate, liver cancer, etc). Our previous study shows that Lin28A is highly expressed in OC tissues and is involved in the regulation of OC cell biological behavior. In this study, we confirmed that high expression of Lin28A promoted the survival, invasion, metastasis, and inhibited the apoptosis of OC cells. Lin28A interacts with Rho associated coiled-coil containing protein kinase2 (ROCK2) but not ROCK1 and upregulates the expression of ROCK2 in OC cells. The binding sites of each other were identified by truncated mutations and Immuno-precipitaion (IP) assay. After knock down of ROCK2 in cells with high expression of Lin28A, the survival, invasion, metastasis was significantly inhibited and early apoptosis was increased in OC cells and OC xenograft in nude mice. Our experimental data also showed that knock down of ROCK2 but not ROCK1 inhibited the invasion by decreasing the expression of N-cadherin, Slug, β-catenin and increasing ZO-1 expression. Simultaneously, knock down of ROCK2 induced cell apoptosis by increasing cleaved Caspase-9,cleaved Caspase-7, and cleaved Caspase-3. Taken together, Lin28A regulated the biological behaviors in OC cells through ROCK2 and the interaction of Lin28A/ROCK2 may be a new target for diagnosis and gene therapy of OC.

Chang F, Zhang Y, Mi J, et al.
ROCK inhibitor enhances the growth and migration of BRAF-mutant skin melanoma cells.
Cancer Sci. 2018; 109(11):3428-3437 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Rho-associated protein kinase (ROCK) plays crucial roles in the proliferation and migration of different types of cells. ROCK inhibitor Y-27632 was previously reported to inhibit melanoma cell growth, and ROCK signaling was suggested to be a therapeutic target for treating melanoma. However, the negative effect of Y-27632 on melanoma cells was mainly seen in studies on murine B16 melanoma cells. Here, we reported that ROCK inhibitor actually promoted human melanoma cell growth and migration in vitro. Y-27632 increased the growth and migration of BRAF-mutated melanoma cells but had a negative effect on wild-type melanoma cells or primary melanocytes. We discovered that Y-27632 enhanced the growth of BRAF-mutated melanoma cells through increased ATK and ERK activity. The in vivo study further confirmed the in vitro finding. These data suggested that the effect of ROCK inhibitor on melanoma cells is cell-context dependent, and the application of ROCK inhibitor in the treatment of melanoma requires further study.

Zheng Y, Xiang L, Chen M, Xiang C
MicroRNA‑130a inhibits the proliferation, migration and invasive ability of hepatocellular carcinoma cells by downregulating Rho‑kinase 2.
Mol Med Rep. 2018; 18(3):3077-3084 [PubMed] Related Publications
MicroRNA‑130a (miR‑130a) has been reported to be downregulated in hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). However, the roles and underlying tumor‑suppressive mechanisms of miR‑130a in the pathogenesis of HCC remain unclear. In the current study, reduced expression of miR‑130a was observed in tumor tissues of patients with HCC in addition to in four HCC cell lines, BEL‑7402, MHCC97H, HepG2 and Huh7. Results of methyl thiazolyl tetrazolium (MTT) assays identified decreased growth rates of MHCC97H and HepG2 cells transfected with miR‑130a mimics. The in vitro colony formation assays demonstrated that the number of colonies formed by cells transfected with miR‑130a mimics and cells transfected with miR‑130a inhibitors was lower and higher, respectively, than that formed by the cells transfected with miR‑negative control. In addition, it was identified that overexpression of miR‑130a reduced the migration and invasiveness of MHCC97H and HepG2 cells. Luciferase reporter assays demonstrated that miR‑130a directly targeted the 3'‑untranslated region of Rho‑kinase 2 (ROCK2) mRNA. Northern and western blot analyses indicated that miR‑130a could modulate the mRNA and protein expression of ROCK2. Additionally, small‑interfering RNA‑mediated knockdown of ROCK2 decreased the proliferation, migration and invasiveness of MHCC97H and HepG2 cells. Overall, these observation suggest that miR‑130a is a regulator of ROCK2 and can inhibit proliferation, migration and invasive ability of HCC cells, at least in part, by suppressing the expression of ROCK2. The current study provides further insight into the molecular mechanisms of HCC pathogenesis and suggests a new potential biotarget for HCC treatment.

Deng S, Wang H, Fan H, et al.
Over-expressed miRNA-200b ameliorates ulcerative colitis-related colorectal cancer in mice through orchestrating epithelial-mesenchymal transition and inflammatory responses by channel of AKT2.
Int Immunopharmacol. 2018; 61:346-354 [PubMed] Related Publications
Our study was to explore the potential role of miRNA-200b in modulating tumorigenesis in the model of ulcerative colitis-related colorectal cancer (UCRCC) and, further, to decipher the underlying mechanisms associated with this effect. In this study, we examined a greater number of polyps or adenomas, a higher grade of epithelial dysplasia accompanied with a decrease in survival ratio in azoxymethane (AOM)/dextran sulfate sodium (DSS) model mice compared to mice treated with over-expressed miRNA-200b. Surprisingly, enforced miRNA-200b expression significantly suppressed AOM/DSS-induced up-regulation of oncologic markers including β-catenin and CD133. Independent of this, treatment with miRNA-200b obviously attenuated inflammatory responses, as indicated by down-regulating tumor necrosis factor-α (TNF-α), transforming growth factor-β (TGF-β) and blockade of AKT2-mediated NF-κB/IL-6/STAT3 signaling pathway. Furthermore, a simultaneous shift in epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT) markers such as E-cadherin and N-cadherin were observed to be increased and decreased, respectively. Coupled with the associated influence of over-expressed miRNA-200b were change in colorectal cell morphology shown by Transmission electron microscope (TEM) and a decrease in expression of rho-kinase2 (ROCK2) together with AKT2 phosphorylation (p-AKT2). Moreover, mice which were transfected with negative control of miRNA-200b possessed results that were in line with that obtained from AOM/DSS model mice. Additionally, we demonstrated that the 3'untranslated region (UTR) of AKT2 was a direct target of miRNA-200b through bioinformatics analysis and dual-luciferase assay. Collectively, these findings suggest that miRNA-200b's contribution to tumor-suppressing program was correlated with EMT and inflammatory responses in a AKT2-dependent manner.

Wang X, Sun D, Tai J, et al.
TFAP2C promotes stemness and chemotherapeutic resistance in colorectal cancer via inactivating hippo signaling pathway.
J Exp Clin Cancer Res. 2018; 37(1):27 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
BACKGROUND: Aberrant expression of transcription Factor AP-2 Gamma (TFAP2C) has been reported to be implicated in malignant process of many cancers. The purpose of this study is to investigate the clinical significance and biological roles of TFAP2C in colorectal cancer (CRC).
METHODS: TFAP2C expression was evaluated by real-time PCR, Western blot and immunohistochemistry (IHC) respectively in clinical CRC tissues. Statistical analysis was performed to explore the correlation between TFAP2C expression and clinicopathological features, and overall and progression-free survival in CRC patients. In vitro and in vivo assays were performed to assess the biological roles of TFAP2C in CRC cells. Western blot, luciferase and Chromatin immunoprecipitation (ChIP) assays were used to identify the underlying pathway mediating the biological roles of TFAP2C in CRC.
RESULTS: TFAP2C is robustly upregulated in CRC tissues and cells, and high expression of TFAP2C correlates with advanced clinicopathological features, poor prognosis and disease progression in CRC patients. Furthermore, upregulating TFAP2C enhances spheroids formation ability, the fraction of SP cells, expression of stem cell factors and the mitochondrial potential, and reduces the apoptosis induced by 5-fluorouracil in colorectal cancer cells in vitro, and promotes stemness and chemoresistance of CRC cells in vivo; while silencing TFAP2C yields an opposite effect. Importantly, downregulation of TFAP2C dramatically restores chemotherapeutic sensitivity of CRC cells to 5-FU in vivo. Our results further demonstrate that TFAP2C promotes stemness and chemoresistance of CRC cells to 5-FU by inhibiting Hippo signaling via transcriptionally upregulating ROCK1 and ROCK2 in CRC cells.
CONCLUSION: Our findings indicate that TFAP2C may serve as a novel prognostic factor in CRC patients, and a therapeutic target for the treatment of CRC, suggesting that silencing TFAP2C in combination with 5-FU may be an effective therapeutic strategy to improve survival in CRC patients.

Zhang Q, Li X, Li X, et al.
LncRNA H19 promotes epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT) by targeting miR-484 in human lung cancer cells.
J Cell Biochem. 2018; 119(6):4447-4457 [PubMed] Related Publications
Recently, the long non-coding RNA (lncRNA) H19 has been identified as an oncogenic gene in multiple cancer types. However, the molecular basis for this observation has not been characterized in lung cancer, especially during epithelial mesenchymal transition (EMT) progression. Cell viability, migration, invasion, and apoptosis were measured using trypan blue exclusion assay, Transwell migration/invasion assay, and flow cytometry, respectively. Quantitative RT-PCR was used to measure relative expressions of H19, microR-484 (miR-484), and Rho associated coiled-coil containing protein kinase 2 (ROCK2). Western blot was used to measure expressions of apoptosis-, EMT-, and c-Jun N-terminal kinase (JNK) pathway-related proteins. Luciferase reporter assay was used to identify the target of H19. H19 was highly expressed in both lung cancer tissues and cells. Suppression of H19 significantly decreased A549 cell viability, migration, and invasion, but promoted apoptosis. Overexpression of H19 promoted cell migration, invasion, and EMT process. miR-484 was a target of H19 and overexpression of it reversed the effects of H19 on EMT. miR-484 regulated the expression of ROCK2. Mechanistic study revealed that suppressing H19 decreased the expression of proteins in JNK pathway, and ROCK2 was the main downstream molecule of H19. H19 promoted EMT in lung cancer A549 cells by negatively regulating miR-484.

Liu Z, Zou D, Yang X, et al.
Melatonin inhibits colon cancer RKO cell migration by downregulating Rho‑associated protein kinase expression via the p38/MAPK signaling pathway.
Mol Med Rep. 2017; 16(6):9383-9392 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Melatonin is predominately produced and secreted by the pineal gland, and inhibits cell growth in various cancer cell lines such as colorectal cancer. However, the precise mechanisms involved have not been fully elucidated. In the present study, the potential molecular mechanism underlying the efficacy of melatonin on migration in RKO colon cancer cells was investigated. The effects of melatonin and H‑1152, a selective inhibitor of Rho‑associated protein kinase (ROCK), on the migration of RKO cells were analyzed by an in vitro wound healing assay. The localization of zonula occludens‑1 (ZO‑1) and occludin were observed by immunofluorescence. Reverse transcription‑quantitative polymerase chain reaction (qPCR) was performed to analyze the relative mRNA levels of ROCK, ZO‑1 and occludin. In addition, western blot analysis was implemented to examine the expression of ROCK, phospho (p)‑myosin phosphatase targeting subunit 1 (MYPT1), p‑myosin light chains (MLC) and p‑p38. The results revealed that the expression levels of ROCK2, p‑MYPT1 and p‑MLC in RKO cells were decreased, and the membrane protein expression of ZO‑1 and occludin increased when the cells were treated with melatonin. qPCR demonstrated that melatonin downregulated ROCK2 gene expression, and upregulated the expression of the ZO‑1 and occludin genes. The levels of ZO‑1 and occludin localized in the tight junctions were markedly increased in the immunofluorescence assay. In addition, the phosphorylation levels of p38 were reduced when the cells were treated with melatonin, and treatment with H‑1152 downregulated p38 phosphorylation. The results indicated that melatonin may inhibit the migration of RKO colon cancer cells by downregulating ROCK expression via the p38/mitogen‑activated protein kinase signaling pathway.

Govaere O, Petz M, Wouters J, et al.
The PDGFRα-laminin B1-keratin 19 cascade drives tumor progression at the invasive front of human hepatocellular carcinoma.
Oncogene. 2017; 36(47):6605-6616 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Human hepatocellular carcinomas (HCCs) expressing the biliary/hepatic progenitor cell marker keratin 19 (K19) have been linked with a poor prognosis and exhibit an increase in platelet-derived growth factor receptor α (PDGFRα) and laminin beta 1 (LAMB1) expression. PDGFRα has been reported to induce de novo synthesis of LAMB1 protein in a Sjogren syndrome antigen B (La/SSB)-dependent manner in a murine metastasis model. However, the role of this cascade in human HCC remains unclear. This study focused on the functional role of the PDGFRα-La/SSB-LAMB1 pathway and its molecular link to K19 expression in human HCC. In surgical HCC specimens from a cohort of 136 patients, PDGFRα expression correlated with K19 expression, microvascular invasion and metastatic spread. In addition, PDGFRα expression in pre-operative needle biopsy specimens predicted poor overall survival during a 5-year follow-up period. Consecutive histological staining demonstrated that the signaling components of the PDGFRα-La/SSB-LAMB1 pathway were strongly expressed at the invasive front. K19-positive HCC cells displayed high levels of α2β1 integrin (ITG) receptor, both in vitro and in vivo. In vitro activation of PDGFRα signaling triggered the translocation of nuclear La/SSB into the cytoplasm, enhanced the protein synthesis of LAMB1 by activating its internal ribosome entry site, which in turn led to increased secretion of laminin-111. This effect was abrogated by the PDGFRα-specific inhibitor crenolanib. Importantly LAMB1 stimulated ITG-dependent focal adhesion kinase/Src proto-oncogene non-receptor tyrosine kinase signaling. It also promoted the ITG-specific downstream target Rho-associated coiled-coil containing protein kinase 2, induced K19 expression in an autocrine manner, invadopodia formation and cell invasion. Finally, we showed that the knockdown of LAMB1 or K19 in subcutaneous xenograft mouse models resulted in significant loss of cells invading the surrounding stromal tissue and reduced HepG2 colonization into lung and liver after tail vein injection. The PDGFRα-LAMB1 pathway supports tumor progression at the invasive front of human HCC through K19 expression.

Dyberg C, Fransson S, Andonova T, et al.
Rho-associated kinase is a therapeutic target in neuroblastoma.
Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2017; 114(32):E6603-E6612 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Neuroblastoma is a peripheral neural system tumor that originates from the neural crest and is the most common and deadly tumor of infancy. Here we show that neuroblastoma harbors frequent mutations of genes controlling the Rac/Rho signaling cascade important for proper migration and differentiation of neural crest cells during neuritogenesis. RhoA is activated in tumors from neuroblastoma patients, and elevated expression of Rho-associated kinase (ROCK)2 is associated with poor patient survival. Pharmacological or genetic inhibition of ROCK1 and 2, key molecules in Rho signaling, resulted in neuroblastoma cell differentiation and inhibition of neuroblastoma cell growth, migration, and invasion. Molecularly, ROCK inhibition induced glycogen synthase kinase 3β-dependent phosphorylation and degradation of MYCN protein. Small-molecule inhibition of ROCK suppressed

Amaya CN, Mitchell DC, Bryan BA
Rho kinase proteins display aberrant upregulation in vascular tumors and contribute to vascular tumor growth.
BMC Cancer. 2017; 17(1):485 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
BACKGROUND: The serine/threonine protein kinases ROCK1 and 2 are key RhoA-mediated regulators of cell shape and cytoskeletal dynamics. These proteins perform multiple functions in vascular endothelial cell physiology and are attractive targets for cancer therapy based on their roles as oncogenes and metastatic promoters. Given their critical functions in both of these processes, we hypothesized that molecular targeting of ROCK proteins would be exceedingly effective against vascular tumors such as hemangiomas and angiosarcomas, which are neoplasms composed of aberrant endothelial cells.
METHODS: In this study, we compared ROCK1 and 2 protein expression in a large panel of benign and malignant vascular tumors to that of normal vasculature. We then utilized shRNA technology to knockdown the expression of ROCK1 and 2 in SVR tumor-forming vascular cells, and evaluated tumor size and proliferation rate in a xenograft model. Finally, we employed proteomics and metabolomics to assess how knockdown of the ROCK paralogs induced alterations in protein expression/phosphorylation and metabolite concentrations in the xenograft tumors.
RESULTS: Our findings revealed that ROCK1 was overexpressed in malignant vascular tumors such as hemangioendotheliomas and angiosarcomas, and ROCK2 was overexpressed in both benign and malignant vascular tumors including hemangiomas, hemangioendotheliomas, hemangiopericytomas, and angiosarcomas. shRNA-mediated knockdown of ROCK2, but not ROCK1, in xenograft vascular tumors significantly reduced tumor size and proliferative index compared to control tumors. Proteomics and metabolomics analysis of the xenograft tumors revealed both overlapping as well as unique roles for the ROCK paralogs in regulating signal transduction and metabolite concentrations.
CONCLUSIONS: Collectively, these data indicate that ROCK proteins are overexpressed in diverse vascular tumors and suggest that specific targeting of ROCK2 proteins may show efficacy against malignant vascular tumors.

Wang Y, Li J, Xu C, Zhang X
MicroRNA-139-5p Inhibits Cell Proliferation and Invasion by Targeting RHO-Associated Coiled-Coil-Containing Protein Kinase 2 in Ovarian Cancer.
Oncol Res. 2018; 26(3):411-420 [PubMed] Related Publications
Increasing evidence indicates that the dysregulation of microRNAs is associated with the development and progression of various cancers. MicroRNA-139-5p (miR-139-5p) has been reported to have a tumor suppressive role in many types of cancers. The role of miR-139-5p in ovarian cancer (OC) is poorly understood. The purpose of the present study was to explore the expression of miR-139-5p and its function in OC. The results showed that miR-139-5p expression was markedly downregulated in OC tissues and cell lines. In addition, underexpression of miR-139-5p was significantly associated with FIGO stage, lymph mode metastasis, and poor overall survival of OC patients. Functional analyses indicated that overexpression of miR-139-5p significantly inhibited proliferation, colony formation, migration, and invasion of OC cells. Rho-associated coiled-coil-containing protein kinase 2 (ROCK2) was identified as a direct target of miR-139-5p using luciferase reporter assays, qualitative real-time reverse transcriptase PCR (qRT-PCR), and Western blot. In addition, ROCK2 expression was upregulated and was inversely correlated with miR-139-5p levels in OC tissues. Rescue experiments showed that overexpression of ROCK2 effectively reversed the inhibitory effect of OC cells induced by miR-139-5p. Most interestingly, in vivo studies indicated that miR-139-5p markedly suppressed the growth of tumors by repressing ROCK2 expression in nude mice. Taken together, these findings demonstrated that miR-139-5p plays an important tumor suppressor role in OC by directly binding to ROCK2, providing a novel target for the molecular treatment of OC.

Zhang WQ, Dai YY, Hsu PC, et al.
Targeting YAP in malignant pleural mesothelioma.
J Cell Mol Med. 2017; 21(11):2663-2676 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Malignant mesothelioma is an aggressive cancer that is resistant to current therapy. The poor prognosis of mesothelioma has been associated with elevated Yes-associated protein (YAP) activity. In this study, we evaluated the effect of targeting YAP in mesothelioma. First, we comprehensively studied YAP activity in five mesothelioma cell lines (211H, H2052, H290, MS-1 and H2452) and one normal mesothelial cell line (LP9). We found decreased phospho-YAP to YAP protein ratio and consistently increased GTIIC reporter activity in 211H, H2052 and H290 compared to LP9. The same three cell lines (IC

Kim MC, Kim NY, Seo YR, Kim Y
A subset of microRNAs defining the side population of a human malignant mesothelioma cell line.
Oncotarget. 2017; 8(26):42847-42856 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
This study was performed to investigate the global expression profile of microRNAs in distinct subpopulations of a human malignant mesothelioma cell line. Total RNAs were isolated from the sorted side population and non-side population of MS1. The RNAs were subjected to analysis using Affymetrix GeneChip microRNA Arrays. After data extraction and normalization, a subset of microRNAs defining cell subpopulations was identified using bioinformatics softwares. Based on the criteria of 2-fold difference and the p-value of < 0.05, a total of 95 microRNAs were differentially expressed in the side population compared to the non-side population. Functional ontology revealed that target genes of the miRNAs were categorized into various gene ontology terms, such as stem cell maintenance, cell proliferation, programmed cell death, cell migration, and cellular response to stress. The Kyoto Encyclopedia of Genes and Genomes analysis showed that ErbB-2 receptor tyrosine kinases signaling pathway was the most represented. Integrated analysis of MiRTarBase and RNA-seq identified 12 target genes of microRNAs defining side population, including DDIT4 and ROCK2. The present study indicates that a distinct set of microRNAs may be critically involved in the generation and maintenance of heterogeneous subpopulations of cancer cells. They could be a plausible target for the eradication of more aggressive cancer cell subpopulations.

Rath N, Morton JP, Julian L, et al.
ROCK signaling promotes collagen remodeling to facilitate invasive pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma tumor cell growth.
EMBO Mol Med. 2017; 9(2):198-218 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC) is a major cause of cancer death; identifying PDAC enablers may reveal potential therapeutic targets. Expression of the actomyosin regulatory ROCK1 and ROCK2 kinases increased with tumor progression in human and mouse pancreatic tumors, while elevated ROCK1/ROCK2 expression in human patients, or conditional ROCK2 activation in a Kras

Masre SF, Rath N, Olson MF, Greenhalgh DA
Oncogene. 2017; 36(18):2529-2542 [PubMed] Related Publications
To study ROCK2 activation in carcinogenesis, mice expressing 4-hydroxytamoxifen (4HT)-activated ROCK2 (K14.ROCK

Thompson JM, Nguyen QH, Singh M, et al.
Rho-associated kinase 1 inhibition is synthetically lethal with von Hippel-Lindau deficiency in clear cell renal cell carcinoma.
Oncogene. 2017; 36(8):1080-1089 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Clear cell renal cell carcinoma (CC-RCC) is the most lethal of all genitourinary cancers. The functional loss of the von Hippel-Lindau (VHL) gene occurs in 90% of CC-RCC, driving cancer progression. The objective of this study was to identify chemical compounds that are synthetically lethal with VHL deficiency in CC-RCC. An annotated chemical library, the library of pharmacologically active compounds (LOPAC), was screened in parallel on VHL-deficient RCC4 cells and RCC4VHL cells with re-introduced VHL. The ROCK inhibitor, Y-27632, was identified and validated for selective targeting of VHL-deficient CC-RCC in multiple genetic backgrounds by clonogenic assays. Downregulation of ROCK1 by small interfering RNA (siRNA) selectively reduced the colony-forming ability of VHL-deficient CC-RCC, thus mimicking the effect of Y-27632 treatment, whereas downregulation of ROCK2 had no effect. In addition, two other ROCK inhibitors, RKI 1447 and GSK 429286, selectively targeted VHL-deficient CC-RCC. CC-RCC treatment with ROCK inhibitors is cytotoxic and cytostatic based on bromodeoxyuridine (BrdU) assay, propidium iodide (PI) staining and growth curves, and blocks cell migration based on transwell assay. On the one hand, knockdown of hypoxia-inducible factor (HIF) β in the VHL-deficient CC-RCC had a protective effect against Y-27632 treatment, mimicking VHL reintroduction. On the other hand, CC-RCCVHL cells were sensitized to Y-27632 treatment in hypoxia (2% O

Rath N, Kalna G, Clark W, Olson MF
ROCK signalling induced gene expression changes in mouse pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma cells.
Sci Data. 2016; 3:160101 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
The RhoA and RhoC GTPases act via the ROCK1 and ROCK2 kinases to promote actomyosin contraction, resulting in directly induced changes in cytoskeleton structures and altered gene transcription via several possible indirect routes. Elevated activation of the Rho/ROCK pathway has been reported in several diseases and pathological conditions, including disorders of the central nervous system, cardiovascular dysfunctions and cancer. To determine how increased ROCK signalling affected gene expression in pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC) cells, we transduced mouse PDAC cell lines with retroviral constructs encoding fusion proteins that enable conditional activation of ROCK1 or ROCK2, and subsequently performed RNA sequencing (RNA-Seq) using the Illumina NextSeq 500 platform. We describe how gene expression datasets were generated and validated by comparing data obtained by RNA-Seq with RT-qPCR results. Activation of ROCK1 or ROCK2 signalling induced significant changes in gene expression that could be used to determine how actomyosin contractility influences gene transcription in pancreatic cancer.

Xu Z, Hong Z, Ma M, et al.
Rock2 promotes RCC proliferation by decreasing SCARA5 expression through β-catenin/TCF4 signaling.
Biochem Biophys Res Commun. 2016; 480(4):586-593 [PubMed] Related Publications
Rho-associated coiled-coil forming protein kinase 2 (Rock2), as a key effector of the small GTPase RhoA, is involved in tumor development. Scavenger receptor class A member 5 (SCARA5) is an important regulator of biological processes in cancer cells. However, the roles and relationship of Rock2 and SCARA5 in renal cell carcinoma (RCC) remain unclear. In this study, we found that Rock2 expression was markedly increased in clinical RCC tissues compared with that in adjacent non-cancerous tissues. High expression of Rock2 was inversely correlated with patient survival in RCC, which indicated that Rock2 may be a prognostic marker in human RCC. In addition, Rock2 knockdown increased SCARA5 expression and suppressed RCC cell proliferation both in vitro and in vivo. Furthermore, we found that the β-catenin/TCF4 pathway contributed to the effect of Rock2 on SCARA5-mediated RCC proliferation. Taken together, these results suggest that this newly identified Rock2-β-catenin/TCF4-SCARA5 axis will provide novel insight into the understanding of the regulatory mechanisms of proliferation in human RCC.

Liu X, Chen D, Liu J, et al.
Blocking Modification of Eukaryotic Initiation 5A2 Antagonizes Cervical Carcinoma via Inhibition of RhoA/ROCK Signal Transduction Pathway.
Technol Cancer Res Treat. 2017; 16(5):630-638 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Cervical carcinoma is one of the leading causes of cancer-related death for female worldwide. Eukaryotic initiation factor 5A2 belongs to the eukaryotic initiation factor 5A family and is proposed to be a key factor involved in the development of diverse cancers. In the current study, a series of in vivo and in vitro investigations were performed to characterize the role of eukaryotic initiation factor 5A2 in oncogenesis and metastasis of cervical carcinoma. The expression status of eukaryotic initiation factor 5A2 in 15 cervical carcinoma patients was quantified. Then, the effect of eukaryotic initiation factor 5A2 knockdown on in vivo tumorigenicity ability, cell proliferation, cell cycle distribution, and cell mobility of HeLa cells was measured. To uncover the mechanism driving the function of eukaryotic initiation factor 5A2 in cervical carcinoma, expression of members within RhoA/ROCK pathway was detected, and the results were further verified with an RhoA overexpression modification. The level of eukaryotic initiation factor 5A2 in cervical carcinoma samples was significantly higher than that in paired paratumor tissues ( P < .05). And the in vivo tumorigenic ability of HeLa cells was reduced by inhibition of eukaryotic initiation factor 5A2. Knockdown of eukaryotic initiation factor 5A2 in HeLa cells decreased the cell viability compared with normal cells and induced G1 phase cell cycle arrest ( P < .05). Moreover, the cell migration ability of eukaryotic initiation factor 5A2 knockdown cells was dramatically inhibited. Associated with alterations in phenotypes, RhoA, ROCK I, and ROCK II were downregulated. The above-mentioned changes in eukaryotic initiation factor 5A2 knockdown cells were alleviated by the overexpression of RhoA. The major findings outlined in the current study confirmed the potential of eukaryotic initiation factor 5A2 as a promising prognosis predictor and therapeutic target for cervical carcinoma treatment. Also, our data inferred that eukaryotic initiation factor 5A2 might function in carcinogenesis of cervical carcinoma through an RhoA/ROCK-dependent manner.

Liu Y, Wu X, Gao Y, et al.
Aptamer-functionalized peptide H3CR5C as a novel nanovehicle for codelivery of fasudil and miRNA-195 targeting hepatocellular carcinoma.
Int J Nanomedicine. 2016; 11:3891-905 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Liver cancer is the fifth most commonly diagnosed malignancy, of which hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) represents the dominating histological subtype. Antiangiogenic therapy aimed at vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) has shown promising but deficient clinical prospects on account of vasculogenic mimicry, a highly patterned vascular channel distinguished from the endothelium-dependent blood vessel, which may function as blood supply networks occurring in aggressive tumors including HCC. In this study, we used a new cationic peptide, disulfide cross-linked stearylated polyarginine peptide modified with histidine (H3R5), as a reducible vector, cell penetrating peptide-modified aptamer (ST21) with specific binding to HCC cells to conjugate to peptide H3R5 as the targeting probe, miRNA-195 (miR195) as a powerful gene drug to inhibit VEGF, and fasudil to suppress vasculogenic mimicry by blocking ROCK2, all of which were simultaneously encapsulated in the same nanoparticles. Fasudil was loaded by ammonium sulfate-induced transmembrane electrochemical gradient and miR195 was condensed through electrostatic interaction. ST21-H3R5-polyethylene glycol (PEG) exhibited excellent loading capacities for both fasudil and miR195 with adjustable dosing ratios. Western blot analysis showed that (Fasudil)ST21-H3R5-PEGmiR195 had strong silencing activity of ROCK2 and VEGF, as compared with (Fasudil)H3R5-PEGmiR195. In vitro and in vivo experiments confirmed that ST21-modified nanoparticles showed significantly higher cellular uptake and therapeutic efficacy in tumor cells or tumor tissues than the unmodified counterparts. These findings suggest that aptamer-conjugated peptide holds great promise for delivering chemical drugs and gene drugs simultaneously to overcome HCC.

Hinsenkamp I, Schulz S, Roscher M, et al.
Inhibition of Rho-Associated Kinase 1/2 Attenuates Tumor Growth in Murine Gastric Cancer.
Neoplasia. 2016; 18(8):500-11 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Gastric cancer (GC) remains a malignant disease with high mortality. Patients are frequently diagnosed in advanced stages where survival prognosis is poor. Thus, there is high medical need to find novel drug targets and treatment strategies. Recently, the comprehensive molecular characterization of GC subtypes revealed mutations in the small GTPase RHOA as a hallmark of diffuse-type GC. RHOA activates RHO-associated protein kinases (ROCK1/2) which regulate cell contractility, migration and growth and thus may play a role in cancer. However, therapeutic benefit of RHO-pathway inhibition in GC has not been shown so far. The ROCK1/2 inhibitor 1-(5-isoquinoline sulfonyl)-homopiperazine (HA-1077, fasudil) is approved for cerebrovascular bleeding in patients. We therefore investigated whether fasudil (i.p., 10 mg/kg per day, 4 times per week, 4 weeks) inhibits tumor growth in a preclinical model of GC. Fasudil evoked cell death in human GC cells and reduced the tumor size in the stomach of CEA424-SV40 TAg transgenic mice. Small animal PET/CT confirmed preclinical efficacy. Mass spectrometry imaging identified a translatable biomarker for mouse GC and suggested rapid but incomplete in situ distribution of the drug to gastric tumor tissue. RHOA expression was increased in the neoplastic murine stomach compared with normal non-malignant gastric tissue, and fasudil reduced (auto) phosphorylation of ROCK2 at THR249 in vivo and in human GC cells in vitro. In sum, our data suggest that RHO-pathway inhibition may constitute a novel strategy for treatment of GC and that enhanced distribution of future ROCK inhibitors into tumor tissue may further improve efficacy.

Chakravarthi BV, Goswami MT, Pathi SS, et al.
MicroRNA-101 regulated transcriptional modulator SUB1 plays a role in prostate cancer.
Oncogene. 2016; 35(49):6330-6340 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
MicroRNA-101, a tumor suppressor microRNA (miR), is often downregulated in cancer and is known to target multiple oncogenes. Some of the genes that are negatively regulated by miR-101 expression include histone methyltransferase EZH2 (enhancer of zeste homolog 2), COX2 (cyclooxygenase-2), POMP (proteasome maturation protein), CERS6, STMN1, MCL-1 and ROCK2, among others. In the present study, we show that miR-101 targets transcriptional coactivator SUB1 homolog (Saccharomyces cerevisiae)/PC4 (positive cofactor 4) and regulates its expression. SUB1 is known to have diverse role in vital cell processes such as DNA replication, repair and heterochromatinization. SUB1 is known to modulate transcription and acts as a mediator between the upstream activators and general transcription machinery. Expression profiling in several cancers revealed SUB1 overexpression, suggesting a potential role in tumorigenesis. However, detailed regulation and function of SUB1 has not been elucidated. In this study, we show elevated expression of SUB1 in aggressive prostate cancer. Knockdown of SUB1 in prostate cancer cells resulted in reduced cell proliferation, invasion and migration in vitro, and tumor growth and metastasis in vivo. Gene expression analyses coupled with chromatin immunoprecipitation revealed that SUB1 binds to the promoter regions of several oncogenes such as PLK1 (Polo-like kinase 1), C-MYC, serine-threonine kinase BUB1B and regulates their expression. Additionally, we observed SUB1 downregulated CDKN1B expression. PLK1 knockdown or use of PLK1 inhibitor can mitigate oncogenic function of SUB1 in benign prostate cancer cells. Thus, our study suggests that miR-101 loss results in increased SUB1 expression and subsequent activation of known oncogenes driving prostate cancer progression and metastasis. This study therefore demonstrates functional role of SUB1 in prostate cancer, and identifies its regulation and potential downstream therapeutic targets of SUB1 in prostate cancer.

Hong J, Li D, Cao W
Rho Kinase ROCK2 Mediates Acid-Induced NADPH Oxidase NOX5-S Expression in Human Esophageal Adenocarcinoma Cells.
PLoS One. 2016; 11(2):e0149735 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Mechanisms of the progression from Barrett's esophagus (BE) to esophageal adenocarcinoma (EA) are not fully understood. We have shown that NOX5-S may be involved in this progression. However, how acid upregulates NOX5-S is not well known. We found that acid-induced increase in NOX5-S expression was significantly decreased by the Rho kinase (ROCK) inhibitor Y27632 in BE mucosal biopsies and FLO-1 EA cells. In addition, acid treatment significantly increased the Rho kinase activity in FLO-1 cells. The acid-induced increase in NOX5-S expression and H2O2 production was significantly decreased by knockdown of Rho kinase ROCK2, but not by knockdown of ROCK1. Conversely, the overexpression of the constitutively active ROCK2, but not the constitutively active ROCK1, significantly enhanced the NOX5-S expression and H2O2 production. Moreover, the acid-induced increase in Rho kinase activity and in NOX5-S mRNA expression was blocked by the removal of calcium in both FLO-1 and OE33 cells. The calcium ionophore A23187 significantly increased the Rho kinase activity and NOX5-S mRNA expression. We conclude that acid-induced increase in NOX5-S expression and H2O2 production may depend on the activation of ROCK2, but not ROCK1, in EA cells. The acid-induced activation of Rho kinase may be mediated by the intracellular calcium increase. It is possible that persistent acid reflux present in BE patients may increase the intracellular calcium, activate ROCK2 and thereby upregulate NOX5-S. High levels of reactive oxygen species derived from NOX5-S may cause DNA damage and thereby contribute to the progression from BE to EA.

Song LJ, Liu Q, Meng XR, et al.
DLC-1 is an independent prognostic marker and potential therapeutic target in hepatocellular cancer.
Diagn Pathol. 2016; 11:19 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
BACKGROUND: The 5-year survival rate of patients with hepatocellular cancer (HCC) was very low because of invasion and metastasis in the early stage. Biomarkers might help predict early occurrence of invasion and metastasis. Accumulating evidence has shown that deleted in liver cancer-1 (DLC1) may be considered as a metastasis suppressor gene in numerous solid and hematological cancers. However, its prognostic role and mechanisms that regulate and coordinate these activities remain poorly understood.
METHODS: With the method of immunohistochemistry, the expression of DLC-1 as well as Rho A, ROCK2, moesin had been characterized in 80 HCC tissues and adjacent noncancerous tissues. The correlation between their expression and their relationships with clinicopathological characteristics of HCC were also investigated. In addition, the prognostic value of DLC1 expression within the tumor tissues was assessed by Cox regression and Kaplan-Meier analysis.
RESULTS: DLC1 expression was significantly lower in HCC tissues than in adjacent noncancerous tissues, and DLC-1 expression was found to be negatively correlated with tumor differentiation, TNM stage and lymph node metastasis. Furthermore, DLC-1 expression was found to inversely correlate with Rho A, ROCK2 and moesin which were all highly expressed in HCC tissues. Kaplan-Meier analysis showed that significantly longer 5-year survival rate was seen in HCC patients with higher DLC1 expression, compared to those with lower expression of DLC1. Multivariate Cox proportional hazard analyses revealed that DLC1 was an independent factor affecting the overall survival probability.
CONCLUSION: DLC1 could be served as a tumor suppressor gene in the progression especially in the invasion and metastasis of HCC. DLC1 perhaps played its role by regulating the expression of Rho A, ROCK2 and moesin. Evaluation of the expression of DLC-1 might be a good prognostic marker for patients with HCC.

Gentry EG, Henderson BW, Arrant AE, et al.
Rho Kinase Inhibition as a Therapeutic for Progressive Supranuclear Palsy and Corticobasal Degeneration.
J Neurosci. 2016; 36(4):1316-23 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
UNLABELLED: Progressive supranuclear palsy (PSP) and corticobasal degeneration (CBD) are neurodegenerative four-repeat tauopathies with no cure. Mitigating pathogenic tau levels is a rational strategy for tauopathy treatment, but therapeutic targets with clinically available drugs are lacking. Here, we report that protein levels of the Rho-associated protein kinases (ROCK1 and ROCK2), p70 S6 kinase (S6K), and mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR) were increased in PSP and CBD brains. RNAi depletion of ROCK1 or ROCK2 reduced tau mRNA and protein level in human neuroblastoma cells. However, additional phenotypes were observed under ROCK2 knockdown, including decreased S6K and phosphorylated mTOR levels. Pharmacologic inhibition of Rho kinases in neurons diminished detergent-soluble and -insoluble tau through a combination of autophagy enhancement and tau mRNA reduction. Fasudil, a clinically approved ROCK inhibitor, suppressed rough eye phenotype and mitigated pathogenic tau levels by inducing autophagic pathways in a Drosophila model of tauopathy. Collectively, these findings highlight the Rho kinases as rational therapeutic targets to combat tau accumulation in PSP and CBD.
SIGNIFICANCE STATEMENT: Studies of progressive supranuclear palsy (PSP) and corticobasal degeneration (CBD) suggest that mitigating pathogenic tau levels is a rational strategy for tauopathy treatment. In this report, the Rho-associated protein kinases (ROCK1 and ROCK2) are identified as novel drug targets for PSP and CBD. We show that elevated insoluble tau levels are associated with increased ROCK1 and ROCK2 in PSP and CBD brains, whereas experiments in cellular and animal models identify pharmacologic inhibition of ROCKs as a mechanism-based approach to reduce tau levels. Our study correlates bona fide changes in PSP and CBD brains with cellular models, identifies drug targets, and tests the therapeutic in vivo.

Schwickert A, Weghake E, Brüggemann K, et al.
microRNA miR-142-3p Inhibits Breast Cancer Cell Invasiveness by Synchronous Targeting of WASL, Integrin Alpha V, and Additional Cytoskeletal Elements.
PLoS One. 2015; 10(12):e0143993 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
MicroRNAs (miRNAs, micro ribonucleic acids) are pivotal post-transcriptional regulators of gene expression. These endogenous small non-coding RNAs play significant roles in tumorigenesis and tumor progression. miR-142-3p expression is dysregulated in several breast cancer subtypes. We aimed at investigating the role of miR-142-3p in breast cancer cell invasiveness. Supported by transcriptomic Affymetrix array analysis and confirmatory investigations at the mRNA and protein level, we demonstrate that overexpression of miR-142-3p in MDA-MB-231, MDA-MB-468 and MCF-7 breast cancer cells leads to downregulation of WASL (Wiskott-Aldrich syndrome-like, protein: N-WASP), Integrin-αV, RAC1, and CFL2, molecules implicated in cytoskeletal regulation and cell motility. ROCK2, IL6ST, KLF4, PGRMC2 and ADCY9 were identified as additional targets in a subset of cell lines. Decreased Matrigel invasiveness was associated with the miR-142-3p-induced expression changes. Confocal immunofluorescence microscopy, nanoscale atomic force microscopy and digital holographic microscopy revealed a change in cell morphology as well as a reduced cell volume and size. A more cortical actin distribution and a loss of membrane protrusions were observed in cells overexpressing miR-142-3p. Luciferase activation assays confirmed direct miR-142-3p-dependent regulation of the 3'-untranslated region of ITGAV and WASL. siRNA-mediated depletion of ITGAV and WASL resulted in a significant reduction of cellular invasiveness, highlighting the contribution of these factors to the miRNA-dependent invasion phenotype. While knockdown of WASL significantly reduced the number of membrane protrusions compared to controls, knockdown of ITGAV resulted in a decreased cell volume, indicating differential contributions of these factors to the miR-142-3p-induced phenotype. Our data identify WASL, ITGAV and several additional cytoskeleton-associated molecules as novel invasion-promoting targets of miR-142-3p in breast cancer.

Hsu CY, Chang ZF, Lee HH
Immunohistochemical evaluation of ROCK activation in invasive breast cancer.
BMC Cancer. 2015; 15:943 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
BACKGROUND: Two isoforms of Rho-associated coiled-coil kinase (ROCK), ROCKI and ROCKII, play an important role in many cellular processes. Despite the accumulating evidence showing that ROCK could be a potential cancer therapeutic target, the relevant tumor types to ROCK activation are not well clarified. The aim of this study was to evaluate the ROCK activation status in different tumor types of breast cancer.
RESULTS: We evaluated the immunoreactivities of phosphorylation-specific antibodies of ROCKI and ROCKII to inform their kinase activation in 275 of breast carcinoma tissues, including 56 of carcinoma in situ, 116 of invasive carcinoma, and 103 of invasive carcinoma with metastasis. ROCKII activation signal detected in nucleus was significantly correlated with tumor metastasis, while ROCKI and cytosolic ROCKII activation signals made no significant difference in that metastasis. Furthermore, nuclear ROCKII activation signal was associated with poor clinical outcome and correlated with late tumor stage, low expression of estrogen receptor (ER) and progesterone receptor (PR), overexpression of human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 (HER2) and high Ki67 labeling index.
CONCLUSIONS: Nuclear ROCKII activation signal might contribute to the tumor metastasis in breast cancer. Differences in ROCK activation that underlie the phenotypes of breast cancer could enhance our understanding for the use of ROCK inhibitors in cancer therapy.

Zucchini C, Martinelli M, De Sanctis P, et al.
Possible Gender-Related Modulation by the ROCK1 Gene in Colorectal Cancer Susceptibility.
Pathobiology. 2015; 82(6):252-8 [PubMed] Related Publications
AIM: In view of accumulating evidence supporting a pivotal role of the Rho/ROCK pathway in cancer, we investigated Rho-kinase polymorphisms as potential susceptibility factors in colorectal cancer (CRC) in a representative sample of the Italian population.
METHODS: DNA obtained from the peripheral blood samples of 137 CRC patients and 141 healthy controls was genotyped for four ROCK1 (rs35996865; rs73963110; rs2127958; rs288980) and five ROCK2 (rs12692437; rs7563468; rs35768389; rs17463896; rs16857265) selected single nucleotide polymorphisms.
RESULTS: None of the allelic variants of the nine selected markers was associated with the occurrence of CRC or with the development of regional lymph node metastasis. By contrast, the ROCK1 rs35996865 G variant allele was significantly more frequent in male patients (p = 0.028) than in the control group.
CONCLUSION: This finding is, at present, the first that points to a possible gender-related modulation by the ROCK1 gene in CRC susceptibility.

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