Gene Summary

Gene:SEMA3F; semaphorin 3F
Summary:This gene encodes a member of the semaphorin III family of secreted signaling proteins that are involved in axon guidance during neuronal development. The encoded protein contains an N-terminal Sema domain, an immunoglobulin loop and a C-terminal basic domain. This gene is expressed by the endothelial cells where it was found to act in an autocrine fashion to induce apoptosis, inhibit cell proliferation and survival, and function as an anti-tumorigenic agent. Alternative splicing results in multiple transcript variants encoding different isoforms. [provided by RefSeq, Jan 2016]
Databases:OMIM, HGNC, Ensembl, GeneCard, Gene
Source:NCBIAccessed: 01 September, 2019


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

Research Indicators

Publications Per Year (1994-2019)
Graph generated 02 September 2019 using data from PubMed using criteria.

Literature Analysis

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Tag cloud generated 01 September, 2019 using data from PubMed, MeSH and CancerIndex

Specific Cancers (5)

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: SEMA3F (cancer-related)

Hectors SJ, Cherny M, Yadav KK, et al.
Radiomics Features Measured with Multiparametric Magnetic Resonance Imaging Predict Prostate Cancer Aggressiveness.
J Urol. 2019; 202(3):498-505 [PubMed] Related Publications
PURPOSE: We sought to 1) assess the association of radiomics features based on multiparametric magnetic resonance imaging with histopathological Gleason score, gene signatures and gene expression levels in prostate cancer and 2) build machine learning models based on radiomics features to predict adverse histopathological scores and the Decipher® genomics metastasis risk score.
MATERIALS AND METHODS: We retrospectively analyzed the records of 64 patients with prostate cancer with a mean age of 64 years (range 41 to 76) who underwent magnetic resonance imaging between January 2016 and January 2017 before radical prostatectomy. A total of 226 magnetic resonance imaging radiomics features, including histogram and texture features in addition to lesion size and the PI-RADS™ (Prostate Imaging Reporting and Data System) score, were extracted from T2-weighted, apparent diffusion coefficient and diffusion kurtosis imaging maps. Radiomics features were correlated with the pathological Gleason score, 40 gene expression signatures, including Decipher, and 698 prostate cancer related gene expression levels. Cross-validated, lasso regularized, logistic regression machine learning models based on radiomics features were built and evaluated for the prediction of Gleason score 8 or greater and Decipher score 0.6 or greater.
RESULTS: A total of 14 radiomics features significantly correlated with the Gleason score (highest correlation r = 0.39, p = 0.001). A total of 31 texture and histogram features significantly correlated with 19 gene signatures, particularly with the PORTOS (Post-Operative Radiation Therapy Outcomes Score) signature (strongest correlation r = -0.481, p = 0.002). A total of 40 diffusion-weighted imaging features correlated significantly with 132 gene expression levels. Machine learning prediction models showed fair performance to predict a Gleason score of 8 or greater (AUC 0.72) and excellent performance to predict a Decipher score of 0.6 or greater (AUC 0.84).
CONCLUSIONS: Magnetic resonance imaging radiomics features are promising markers of prostate cancer aggressiveness on the histopathological and genomics levels.

Xu J, Liu H, Yang Y, et al.
Genome-Wide Profiling of Cervical RNA-Binding Proteins Identifies Human Papillomavirus Regulation of RNASEH2A Expression by Viral E7 and E2F1.
MBio. 2019; 10(1) [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
RNA-binding proteins (RBPs) control mRNA processing, stability, transport, editing, and translation. We recently conducted transcriptome analyses comparing normal (i.e., healthy) cervical tissue samples with human papillomavirus (HPV)-positive cervical cancer tissue samples and identified 614 differentially expressed protein-coding transcripts which are enriched in cancer-related pathways and consist of 95 known RBPs. We verified the altered expression of 26 genes with a cohort of 72 cervical samples, including 24 normal cervical samples, 25 cervical intraepithelial neoplasia grade 2 (CIN2) and CIN3 samples, and 23 cervical cancer tissue samples. LY6K (lymphocyte antigen 6 complex locus K), FAM83A (family member with sequence similarity 83), CELSR3, ASF1B, IQGAP3, SEMA3F, CLDN10, MSX1, CXCL5, ASRGL1, ELAVL2, GRB7, KHSRP, NOVA1, PTBP1, and RNASEH2A were identified as novel candidate genes associated with cervical lesion progression and carcinogenesis. HPV16 or HPV18 infection was found to alter the expression of 8 RBP genes (CDKN2A, ELAVL2, GRB7, HSPB1, KHSRP, NOVA1, PTBP1, and RNASEH2A) in human vaginal and foreskin keratinocytes. Both viral E6 and E7 decreased NOVA1 expression, but only E7 increased the expression of RNASEH2A in an E2F1-dependent manner. Proliferating cell nuclear antigen (PCNA) directs RNASEH2 activity with respect to DNA replication by removing the RNA primers to promote Okazaki fragment maturation, and two factors are closely associated with neoplasia progression. Therefore, we predict that the induction of expression of RNASEH2A via viral E7 and E2F1 may promote DNA replication and cancer cell proliferation.

Wang L, Saci A, Szabo PM, et al.
EMT- and stroma-related gene expression and resistance to PD-1 blockade in urothelial cancer.
Nat Commun. 2018; 9(1):3503 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Cancers infiltrated with T-cells are associated with a higher likelihood of response to PD-1/PD-L1 blockade. Counterintuitively, a correlation between epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT)-related gene expression and T-cell infiltration has been observed across tumor types. Here we demonstrate, using The Cancer Genome Atlas (TCGA) urothelial cancer dataset, that although a gene expression-based measure of infiltrating T-cell abundance and EMT-related gene expression are positively correlated, these signatures convey disparate prognostic information. We further demonstrate that non-hematopoietic stromal cells are a major source of EMT-related gene expression in bulk urothelial cancer transcriptomes. Finally, using a cohort of patients with metastatic urothelial cancer treated with a PD-1 inhibitor, nivolumab, we demonstrate that in patients with T-cell infiltrated tumors, higher EMT/stroma-related gene expression is associated with lower response rates and shorter progression-free and overall survival. Together, our findings suggest a stroma-mediated source of immune resistance in urothelial cancer and provide rationale for co-targeting PD-1 and stromal elements.

Lee E, Yong RL, Paddison P, Zhu J
Comparison of glioblastoma (GBM) molecular classification methods.
Semin Cancer Biol. 2018; 53:201-211 [PubMed] Related Publications
Glioblastoma (GBM) is the most aggressive and common form of brain cancer in adults. GBM is characterized by poor survival and remarkably high tumors heterogeneity (both intertumoral and intratumoral), and lack of effective therapies. Recent high-throughput data revealed heterogeneous genetic/genomic/epigenetic features and led to multiple methods aiming to classify tumors according to the key molecular events that drive the most aggressive cellular components so that targeted therapies can be developed for individual subtypes. However, GBM molecular subtypes have not led to improvement of patients outcomes. Targeted or tailored therapies for specific mutations or subtypes largely failed due to the complexities arising from intratumoral molecular heterogeneity. Most tumors develop resistance to treatment and soon recur. GBM stem cells (GSCs) have been identified. Recent single cell sequencing studies of GBM suggest that intratumoral cellular heterogeneity can be partially explained by tumor cell hierarchy arising from GBM stem cells. Therefore, the molecular subtypes based on patient derived GSCs may potentially lead to more effective subtype-specific treatments. In this paper, we review the molecular alterations of GBM and molecular subtyping methods as well as subtype plasticity in primary and recurrent tumors emphasizing the clinical relevance of potential targets for further drug development.

Lee E, Collazo-Lorduy A, Castillo-Martin M, et al.
Identification of microR-106b as a prognostic biomarker of p53-like bladder cancers by ActMiR.
Oncogene. 2018; 37(44):5858-5872 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Bladder cancers can be categorized into subtypes according to gene expression patterns. P53-like muscle-invasive bladder cancers are generally resistant to cisplatin-based chemotherapy, but exhibit heterogeneous clinical outcomes with a prognosis intermediate to that of the luminal and basal subtypes. The optimal approach to p53-like tumors remains poorly defined and better means to risk-stratify such tumors and identification of novel therapeutic targets is urgently needed. MicroRNAs (miRNAs) play a key role in cancer, both in tumorigenesis and tumor progression. In the past few years, miRNA expression signatures have been reported as prognostic biomarkers in different tumor types including bladder cancer. However, miRNA's expression does not always correlate well with its activity. We previously developed ActMiR, a computational method for explicitly inferring miRNA activities. We applied ActMiR to The Cancer Genome Atlas (TCGA) bladder cancer data set and identified the activities of miR-106b-5p and miR-532-3p as potential prognostic markers of the p53-like subtype, and validated them in three independent bladder cancer data sets. Especially, higher miR-106b-5p activity was consistently associated with better survival in these data sets. Furthermore, we experimentally validated causal relationships between miR-106-5p and its predicted target genes in p53-like cell line HT1197. HT1197 cells treated with the miR-106b-5p-specific inhibitor were more invasive while cells treated with the miR-106b-5p-specific mimic were less invasive than corresponding controls. Altogether, our results suggest that miR-106b-5p activity can categorize p53-like bladder tumors into more and less-favorable prognostic groups, which provides critical information for personalizing treatment option for p53-like bladder cancers.

Petralia F, Wang L, Peng J, et al.
A new method for constructing tumor specific gene co-expression networks based on samples with tumor purity heterogeneity.
Bioinformatics. 2018; 34(13):i528-i536 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Motivation: Tumor tissue samples often contain an unknown fraction of stromal cells. This problem is widely known as tumor purity heterogeneity (TPH) was recently recognized as a severe issue in omics studies. Specifically, if TPH is ignored when inferring co-expression networks, edges are likely to be estimated among genes with mean shift between non-tumor- and tumor cells rather than among gene pairs interacting with each other in tumor cells. To address this issue, we propose Tumor Specific Net (TSNet), a new method which constructs tumor-cell specific gene/protein co-expression networks based on gene/protein expression profiles of tumor tissues. TSNet treats the observed expression profile as a mixture of expressions from different cell types and explicitly models tumor purity percentage in each tumor sample.
Results: Using extensive synthetic data experiments, we demonstrate that TSNet outperforms a standard graphical model which does not account for TPH. We then apply TSNet to estimate tumor specific gene co-expression networks based on TCGA ovarian cancer RNAseq data. We identify novel co-expression modules and hub structure specific to tumor cells.
Availability and implementation: R codes can be found at
Supplementary information: Supplementary data are available at Bioinformatics online.

Liu Y, Li R, Yin K, et al.
The crucial role of SEMA3F in suppressing the progression of oral squamous cell carcinoma.
Cell Mol Biol Lett. 2017; 22:32 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Background: Oral squamous cell carcinoma (OSCC) is one of the most common types of malignancy. Semaphorin 3F (SEMA3F) is highly conserved but present at a lower level in various cancers than in healthy tissues. While it has been reported that SEMA3F is involved in cancer cell proliferation, migration and invasion, its function in OSCC remains unknown.
Methods: The expression of SEMA3F in OSCC tissues and OSCC-derived cells was analyzed using qRT-PCR and western blotting. Using SAS and HSC2 cells, we also monitored the effect of SEMA3F on OSCC cell proliferation, migration and invasion using MTT, colony formation and transwell assays. The function of SEMA3F in OSCC tumor formation was also assessed in vivo
Results: SEMA3F was significantly downregulated in OSCC tissues and OSCC-derived cells. SEMA3F shows growth inhibitory activity in SAS and HSC2 cells and may act as a tumor suppressor. It can inhibit the migration and invasion potential of OSCC cells. Our results also demonstrate that SEMA3F can suppress the growth of OSCC cells in vivo
Conclusions: This study revealed that SEMA3F plays a role as a tumor suppressor in OSCC cell proliferation, migration and invasion. Our finding provides new insight into the progression of OSCC. Therapeutically, SEMA3F has some potential as a target for OSCC treatment, given sufficient future research.

Galsky MD, Wang H, Hahn NM, et al.
Phase 2 Trial of Gemcitabine, Cisplatin, plus Ipilimumab in Patients with Metastatic Urothelial Cancer and Impact of DNA Damage Response Gene Mutations on Outcomes.
Eur Urol. 2018; 73(5):751-759 [PubMed] Related Publications
BACKGROUND: Chemotherapy may exert immunomodulatory effects, thereby combining favorably with the immune checkpoint blockade. The pharmacodynamic effects of such combinations, and potential predictive biomarkers, remain unexplored.
OBJECTIVE: To determine the safety, efficacy, and immunomodulatory effects of gemcitabine and cisplatin (GC) plus ipilimumab and explore the impact of somatic DNA damage response gene alterations on antitumor activity.
DESIGN, SETTING, AND PARTICIPANTS: Multicenter single arm phase 2 study enrolling 36 chemotherapy-naïve patients with metastatic urothelial cancer. Peripheral blood flow cytometry was performed serially on all patients and whole exome sequencing of archival tumor tissue was performed on 28/36 patients.
INTERVENTION: Two cycles of GC followed by four cycles of GC plus ipilimumab.
OUTCOME MEASUREMENTS AND STATISTICAL ANALYSIS: The primary endpoint was 1-yr overall survival (OS). Secondary endpoints included safety, objective response rate, and progression-free survival.
RESULTS AND LIMITATIONS: Grade ≥3 adverse events occurred in 81% of patients, the majority of which were hematologic. The objective response rate was 69% and 1-yr OS was 61% (lower bound 90% confidence interval: 51%). On exploratory analysis, there were no significant changes in the composition and frequency of circulating immune cells after GC alone. However, there was a significant expansion of circulating CD4 cells with the addition of ipilimumab which correlated with improved survival. The response rate was significantly higher in patients with deleterious somatic DNA damage response mutations (sensitivity=47.6%, specificity=100%, positive predictive value=100%, and negative predictive value=38.9%). Limitations are related to the sample size and single-arm design.
CONCLUSIONS: GC+ipilimumab did not achieve the primary endpoint of a lower bound of the 90% confidence interval for 1-yr OS of >60%. However, within the context of a small single-arm trial, the results may inform current approaches combining chemotherapy plus immunotherapy from the standpoint of feasibility, appropriate cytotoxic backbones, and potential predictive biomarkers.
PATIENT SUMMARY: Combining chemotherapy and immune checkpoint blockade in patients with metastatic urothelial cancer is feasible. Further studies are needed to refine optimal combinations and evaluate tests that might identify patients most likely to benefit.

Yoo S, Wang W, Wang Q, et al.
A pilot systematic genomic comparison of recurrence risks of hepatitis B virus-associated hepatocellular carcinoma with low- and high-degree liver fibrosis.
BMC Med. 2017; 15(1):214 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
BACKGROUND: Chronic hepatitis B virus (HBV) infection leads to liver fibrosis, which is a major risk factor in hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) and an independent risk factor of recurrence after HCC tumor resection. The HBV genome can be inserted into the human genome, and chronic inflammation may trigger somatic mutations. However, how HBV integration and other genomic changes contribute to the risk of tumor recurrence with regards to the different degree of liver fibrosis is not clearly understood.
METHODS: We sequenced mRNAs of 21 pairs of tumor and distant non-neoplastic liver tissues of HBV-HCC patients and performed comprehensive genomic analyses of our RNAseq data and public available HBV-HCC sequencing data.
RESULTS: We developed a robust pipeline for sensitively identifying HBV integration sites based on sequencing data. Simulations showed that our method outperformed existing methods. Applying it to our data, 374 and 106 HBV host genes were identified in non-neoplastic liver and tumor tissues, respectively. When applying it to other RNA sequencing datasets, consistently more HBV integrations were identified in non-neoplastic liver than in tumor tissues. HBV host genes identified in non-neoplastic liver samples significantly overlapped with known tumor suppressor genes. More significant enrichment of tumor suppressor genes was observed among HBV host genes identified from patients with tumor recurrence, indicating the potential risk of tumor recurrence driven by HBV integration in non-neoplastic liver tissues. We also compared SNPs of each sample with SNPs in a cancer census database and inferred samples' pathogenic SNP loads. Pathogenic SNP loads in non-neoplastic liver tissues were consistently higher than those in normal liver tissues. Additionally, HBV host genes identified in non-neoplastic liver tissues significantly overlapped with pathogenic somatic mutations, suggesting that HBV integration and somatic mutations targeting the same set of genes are important to tumorigenesis. HBV integrations and pathogenic mutations showed distinct patterns between low and high liver fibrosis patients with regards to tumor recurrence.
CONCLUSIONS: The results suggest that HBV integrations and pathogenic SNPs in non-neoplastic tissues are important for tumorigenesis and different recurrence risk models are needed for patients with low and high degrees of liver fibrosis.

Nejadtaghi M, Jafari H, Farrokhi E, Samani KG
Familial Colorectal Cancer Type X (FCCTX) and the correlation with various genes-A systematic review.
Curr Probl Cancer. 2017 Nov - Dec; 41(6):388-397 [PubMed] Related Publications
Familial Colorectal Cancer Type X (FCCTX) is a type of hereditary nonpolyposis colorectal cancer in accordance to Amsterdam criteria-1 for Lynch syndrome, with no related mutation in mismatch repair gene. FCCTX is microsatellite stable and is accounted for 40% of families with Amsterdam criteria-1 with a high age of onset. Thus, the carcinogenesis of FCCTX is different compared to Lynch syndrome. In addition to the microsatellite stability and the presence of less predominant tumors in proximal colon, various clinical features have also been associated with FCCTX in comparison with Lynch syndrome such as no increased risk of extra-colonic cancers, older age of diagnosis and higher adenoma/carcinoma rate. Genetic etiology of this type of cancer which is autosomal dominant is unknown. In this review, we focus on the genes and their variants identified in this type of CRC. In order to find out the correlation between FCCTX and various genes database such as PubMed and PMC, search engine such as Google scholar and portals such as Springer and Elsevier have been searched. Based on our literature search, several studies suggest that FCCTX is a heterogeneous type of disease with different genetic variants. Recent studies describe the correlation between FCCTX and genes such as BRCA2, SEMA4, NTS, RASSF9, GALNT12, KRAS, BRAF, APC, BMPR1A, and RPS20. Considering the fact that BRCA2 has the highest mutation rate (60%) and is one of the most crucial DNA repair genes, it will be considered as a big role player in this type of cancer in comparison with other genes.

Li SD, Ma M, Li H, et al.
Cancer gene profiling in non-small cell lung cancers reveals activating mutations in JAK2 and JAK3 with therapeutic implications.
Genome Med. 2017; 9(1):89 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
BACKGROUND: Next-generation sequencing (NGS) of cancer gene panels are widely applied to enable personalized cancer therapy and to identify novel oncogenic mutations.
METHODS: We performed targeted NGS on 932 clinical cases of non-small-cell lung cancers (NSCLCs) using the Ion AmpliSeq™ Cancer Hotspot panel v2 assay.
RESULTS: Actionable mutations were identified in 65% of the cases with available targeted therapeutic options, including 26% of the patients with mutations in National Comprehensive Cancer Network (NCCN) guideline genes. Most notably, we discovered JAK2 p.V617F somatic mutation, a hallmark of myeloproliferative neoplasms, in 1% (9/932) of the NSCLCs. Analysis of cancer cell line pharmacogenomic data showed that a high level of JAK2 expression in a panel of NSCLC cell lines is correlated with increased sensitivity to a selective JAK2 inhibitor. Further analysis of TCGA genomic data revealed JAK2 gain or loss due to genetic alterations in NSCLC clinical samples are associated with significantly elevated or reduced PD-L1 expression, suggesting that the activating JAK2 p.V617F mutation could confer sensitivity to both JAK inhibitors and anti-PD1 immunotherapy. We also detected JAK3 germline activating mutations in 6.7% (62/932) of the patients who may benefit from anti-PD1 treatment, in light of recent findings that JAK3 mutations upregulate PD-L1 expression.
CONCLUSION: Taken together, this study demonstrated the clinical utility of targeted NGS with a focused hotspot cancer gene panel in NSCLCs and identified activating mutations in JAK2 and JAK3 with clinical implications inferred through integrative analysis of cancer genetic, genomic, and pharmacogenomic data. The potential of JAK2 and JAK3 mutations as response markers for the targeted therapy against JAK kinases or anti-PD1 immunotherapy warrants further investigation.

Wang H, Bender A, Wang P, et al.
Insights into beta cell regeneration for diabetes via integration of molecular landscapes in human insulinomas.
Nat Commun. 2017; 8(1):767 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Although diabetes results in part from a deficiency of normal pancreatic beta cells, inducing human beta cells to regenerate is difficult. Reasoning that insulinomas hold the "genomic recipe" for beta cell expansion, we surveyed 38 human insulinomas to obtain insights into therapeutic pathways for beta cell regeneration. An integrative analysis of whole-exome and RNA-sequencing data was employed to extensively characterize the genomic and molecular landscape of insulinomas relative to normal beta cells. Here, we show at the pathway level that the majority of the insulinomas display mutations, copy number variants and/or dysregulation of epigenetic modifying genes, most prominently in the polycomb and trithorax families. Importantly, these processes are coupled to co-expression network modules associated with cell proliferation, revealing candidates for inducing beta cell regeneration. Validation of key computational predictions supports the concept that understanding the molecular complexity of insulinoma may be a valuable approach to diabetes drug discovery.Diabetes results in part from a deficiency of functional pancreatic beta cells. Here, the authors study the genomic and epigenetic landscapes of human insulinomas to gain insight into possible pathways for therapeutic beta cell regeneration, highlighting epigenetic genes and pathways.

Lee E, Pain M, Wang H, et al.
Sensitivity to
Cancer Res. 2017; 77(20):5518-5529 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Glioblastoma multiforme (GBM) remains a mainly incurable disease in desperate need of more effective treatments. In this study, we develop evidence that the mitotic spindle checkpoint molecule

Xie W, Su W, Zhang L, et al.
SSeCKS/AKAP12 induces repulsion between human prostate cancer and microvessel endothelial cells through the activation of Semaphorin 3F.
Biochem Biophys Res Commun. 2017; 490(4):1394-1398 [PubMed] Related Publications
Metastasis remains the primary cause of prostate cancer related death. Cancer cells need to contact endothelial cells and disrupt endothelial junctions to cross the endothelium for invasion and metastasis. The suppression of heterotypic repulsion between cancer and endothelial cells allows cancer cells to invade into the surrounding tissue. Here, we demonstrate that SSeCKS/AKAP12 induced repulsion between human prostate cancer and microvessel endothelial cells, which was mediated by an angiogenesis inhibitor Semaphorin 3F. Moreover, we examined AKAP12 and Semaphorin 3F mRNA expression in 42 prostate cancer and 30 benign prostatic hyperplasia tissue samples, and found that the expression of AKAP12 and Semaphorin 3F mRNA was inversely associated with the degree of aggressiveness of prostate cancer cells and tissues. An ordinal logistic regression analysis indicates that there is a positive association between the expression of AKAP12 and Semaphorin 3F in prostate cancer, suggesting that the activation of Semaphorin 3F by SSeCKS/AKAP12 may be involved in prostate cancer progression and metastasis.

Ong HS, Gokavarapu S, Xu Q, et al.
Cytoplasmic neuropilin 2 is associated with metastasis and a poor prognosis in early tongue cancer patients.
Int J Oral Maxillofac Surg. 2017; 46(10):1205-1219 [PubMed] Related Publications
Neuropilin 2 (Nrp2) plays an important role in regulating lymphangiogenesis. Nrp2 expression in early tongue cancer was investigated to predict lymph node metastasis and the long-term prognosis. The relationships between clinicopathological variables of cT1-T2N0 tongue squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) and overexpression of Nrp2, vascular endothelial growth factor C (VEGFC), vascular endothelial growth factor receptor 3 (VEGFR3), and semaphorin 3F (Sema3F) were analyzed. Expression levels were compared using oral SCC cell lines. The Nrp2 gene was silenced to determine the impact of Nrp2. Cytoplasmic Nrp2 overexpression predicted regional metastasis with sensitivity and specificity of 90.3% and 42.1%, respectively. Cytoplasmic Nrp2 overexpression (P<0.001) and VEGFC overexpression (P=0.006) were significantly related to regional metastasis (Student t-test). However, only cytoplasmic Nrp2 overexpression was an independent prognostic factor for both disease-free survival (DFS; P=0.008) and overall survival (OS; P=0.016) (Cox regression); the risk of recurrence was 12-times higher (P=0.015) and risk of mortality was 8-times higher (P=0.016). Co-localization of Nrp2 and VEGFC was greater within the cytoplasm of aggressive cell lines (HN12 and RCa-T). Nrp2 plays a role in tumourigenesis; VEGFC supplementation cannot rescue the biological function of Nrp2 in Nrp2-depleted cell lines. Cytoplasmic Nrp2 overexpression is associated with decreased OS and DFS. Cytoplasmic Nrp2 overexpression may be a reliable diagnostic and prognostic marker for early tongue SCC.

Wang Z, Xiong F, Wang X, et al.
Nuclear receptor retinoid-related orphan receptor alpha promotes apoptosis but is reduced in human gastric cancer.
Oncotarget. 2017; 8(7):11105-11113 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Retinoid-related orphan receptor α (RORα) is a nuclear receptor, which regulates inflammation and immune responses, lipid metabolism and circadian rhythm. Although RORα suppresses breast tumor invasion, it is unknown whether RORα is dysregulated in gastric cancer leading to cellular survival. Therefore, we hypothesize that RORα is dysfunctional in gastric carcinoma and this causes decreased apoptosis in gastric cancer cells. To test this hypothesis, we employed human gastric cancer tissues with different stages to determine RORα expression, as well as in vitro human gastric cancer cells to determine how RORα is reduced during apoptosis. We found that the expression of RORα was reduced in gastric tissues with cancer, and this correlated with increased TNM stages. The mechanisms underlying RORα reduction is due to the reduced activation of AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK), as a selective AMPK activator AICAR increased RORα activation and level in human gastric cancer cells. Furthermore, AICAR treatment increased RORα recruitment on the promoters of tumor suppressor genes (i.e., FBXM7, SEMA3F and p21) leading to apoptosis in human gastric cancer cells. Taken together, RORα reduction occurs in gastric cancer leading to the survival of tumor cells, which is attenuated by AMPK. Therefore, both RORα and AMPK are potential targets for the intervention and therapy in gastric carcinoma.

Aversa R, Sorrentino A, Esposito R, et al.
Alternative Splicing in Adhesion- and Motility-Related Genes in Breast Cancer.
Int J Mol Sci. 2016; 17(1) [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Breast cancer is the most common tumor and the second leading cause of cancer death among woman, mainly caused by the metastatic spread. Tumor invasiveness is due to an altered expression of adhesion molecules. Among them, semaphorins are of peculiar interest. Cancer cells can manipulate alternative splicing patterns to modulate the expression of adhesion- and motility-related molecules, also at the isoform level. In this study, combining RNA-Sequencing on MCF-7 to targeted experimental validations-in human breast cell lines and breast tumor biopsies-we identified 12 new alternative splicing transcripts in genes encoding adhesion- and motility-related molecules, including semaphorins, their receptors and co-receptors. Among them, a new SEMA3F transcript is expressed in all breast cell lines and breast cancer biopsies, and is translated into a new semaphorin 3F isoform. In silico analysis predicted that most of the new putative proteins lack functional domains, potentially missing some functions and acquiring new ones. Our findings better describe the extent of alternative splicing in breast cancer and highlight the need to further investigate adhesion- and motility-related molecules to gain insights into breast cancer progression.

Gao X, Tang C, Shi W, et al.
Semaphorin-3F functions as a tumor suppressor in colorectal cancer due to regulation by DNA methylation.
Int J Clin Exp Pathol. 2015; 8(10):12766-74 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Semaphorin-3F (SEMA3F) is a member of the class III semaphorin family, and is seen as a candidate tumor suppressor gene. The aims of this study were to evaluate the effect of SEMA3F in colorectal cancer (CRC) patients, and to explore the mechanism for that SEMA3F suppresses tumor progression and metastasis. The expression levels of SEMA3F in the colorectal cancer tissues and corresponding non-tumor colorectal tissues were determined by Western blotting and real-time quantitative PCR (qRT-PCR). In addition, we evaluate the effects of SEMA3F on CRC cell migration and colony formation in vitro. Subsequently, quantitative methylation-specific PCR (qMSP) was used to detect the DNA methylation status in the CpG islands of SEMA3F gene promoter in normal colon and colorectal cancer cell lines, colorectal cancer tissues and corresponding non-tumor colorectal tissues. We found that SEMA3F was downregulated in the protein (P < 0.01) and mRNA (P < 0.001) levels in CRC tissues as compared to matched adjacent non-tumor tissues. Moreover, MSP assay showed high levels of SEMA3F gene promoter methylation in the CpG islands in some CRC cell lines and tissue samples. Furthermore, SEMA3F expression was reactivated in CRC cell lines after treatment with 5-Aza-CdR, demethylation of SW620 cells resulted in cell colony formation and invasion inhibition. These findings suggest DNA methylation of promoter CpG island-mediated silencing of the tumor suppressor SEMA3F gene plays an important role in the carcinogenesis of CRC.

Lu Y, Li J, Cheng J, Lubahn DB
Messenger RNA profile analysis deciphers new Esrrb responsive genes in prostate cancer cells.
BMC Mol Biol. 2015; 16:21 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
BACKGROUND: Orphan nuclear receptor estrogen related receptor β (Esrrb or ERRβ) is well known in stem cells and early embryonic development. However, little is known about its function in cancer.
METHOD: We investigated the mRNA profile alterations induced by Esrrb expression and its synthetic ligand DY131 in human prostate cancer DU145 cells via RNA-Seq analysis.
RESULTS: We distinguished 67 mRNAs differentially expressed by Esrrb alone. Although DY131 alone did not change any gene, treatment of DY131 in the presence of Esrrb altered 1161 mRNAs. These observations indicated Esrrb had both ligand-independent and ligand-dependent activity. When Esrrb was expressed, DY131 treatment further regulated 15 Esrrb-altered mRNAs. DY131 acted as an antagonist for 11 of 15 mRNAs (wdr52, f13a1, pxdn, spns2, loc100506599, tagln, loc441454, tkel1, sema3f, zcwpw2, sdc2) and as an agonist for 4 of the 15 mRNAs (rarres3, oasl, padi2, ddx60). Gene ontology analyses showed altered genes are related to transcription and translation regulation, cell proliferation and apoptosis regulation, and cellular metabolism.
CONCLUSION: Our results characterized mRNA profiles in DU145 prostate cancer cells driven by Esrrb expression and Esrrb ligand DY131, and provided multiple markers to characterize Esrrb's function in Esrrb research.

Wu Y, Qi Y, Liu H, et al.
AMPK activator AICAR promotes 5-FU-induced apoptosis in gastric cancer cells.
Mol Cell Biochem. 2016; 411(1-2):299-305 [PubMed] Related Publications
The aim of the present study was to determine the effect of AICAR, an AMPK activator, on apoptosis in gastric carcinoma cells (SGC-7901) with or without 5-fluorouracil (5-FU). SGC-7901 cells were treated with AICAR (0.2-5 mM, for 24-48 h) with or without 5-FU. Cell viability was determined using MTT assay, while apoptosis were measured through the evaluation of active caspase-3 activity and DNA fragmentation. Real-time PCR was employed to determine the expression of tumor suppressor and multi-drug resistant (mdr1) gene. Cleaved caspase-3 and phosphorylated AMPK (p-AMPK) were measured by Western blot. AICAR significant reduced cellular viability but increased apoptosis in a time- and dose-dependent manner, which is associated with an increase in p-AMPK levels. Importantly, AICAR enhanced the sensitivity to 5-FU-induced reduction of cellular viability and increased apoptosis in SGC-7901 cells. Furthermore, AICAR increased tumor suppressor genes [F-box and WD repeat domain containing 7 (FBXW7), semaphorin III/F (SEMA3F), and p21(Cip1) (p21)] but reduced mdr1 expression. Finally, p-AMPK levels were reduced in 5-FU-resistant gastric cancer cells compared to human immortalized gastric epithelial cell line and 5-FU-sensitive gastric cancer cells. AICAR not only induces apoptosis alone but also enhances pro-apoptotic effect of 5-FU in SGC-7901 cells, which lays an experimental foundation to develop AICAR as a chemotherapeutic sensitizer against gastric cancer.

Bollard J, Massoma P, Vercherat C, et al.
The axon guidance molecule semaphorin 3F is a negative regulator of tumor progression and proliferation in ileal neuroendocrine tumors.
Oncotarget. 2015; 6(34):36731-45 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Gastro-intestinal neuroendocrine tumors (GI-NETs) are rare neoplasms, frequently metastatic, raising difficult clinical and therapeutic challenges due to a poor knowledge of their biology. As neuroendocrine cells express both epithelial and neural cell markers, we studied the possible involvement in GI-NETs of axon guidance molecules, which have been shown to decrease tumor cell proliferation and metastatic dissemination in several tumor types. We focused on the role of Semaphorin 3F (SEMA3F) in ileal NETs, one of the most frequent subtypes of GI-NETs.SEMA3F expression was detected in normal neuroendocrine cells but was lost in most of human primary tumors and all their metastases. SEMA3F loss of expression was associated with promoter gene methylation. After increasing endogenous SEMA3F levels through stable transfection, enteroendocrine cell lines STC-1 and GluTag showed a reduced proliferation rate in vitro. In two different xenograft mouse models, SEMA3F-overexpressing cells exhibited a reduced ability to form tumors and a hampered liver dissemination potential in vivo. This resulted, at least in part, from the inhibition of mTOR and MAPK signaling pathways.This study demonstrates an anti-tumoral role of SEMA3F in ileal NETs. We thus suggest that SEMA3F and/or its cellular signaling pathway could represent a target for ileal NET therapy.

Nakayama H, Huang L, Kelly RP, et al.
Infantile hemangioma-derived stem cells and endothelial cells are inhibited by class 3 semaphorins.
Biochem Biophys Res Commun. 2015; 464(1):126-32 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Class 3 semaphorins were discovered as a family of axon guidance molecules, but are now known to be involved in diverse biologic processes. In this study, we investigated the anti-angiogenic potential of SEMA3E and SEMA3F (SEMA3E&F) in infantile hemangioma (IH). IH is a common vascular tumor that involves both vasculogenesis and angiogenesis. Our lab has identified and isolated hemangioma stem cells (HemSC), glucose transporter 1 positive (GLUT1(+)) endothelial cells (designated as GLUT1(sel) cells) based on anti-GLUT1 magnetic beads selection and GLUT1-negative endothelial cells (named HemEC). We have shown that these types of cells play important roles in hemangiogenesis. We report here that SEMA3E inhibited HemEC migration and proliferation while SEMA3F was able to suppress the migration and proliferation in all three types of cells. Confocal microscopy showed that stress fibers in HemEC were reduced by SEMA3E&F and that stress fibers in HemSC were decreased by SEMA3F, which led to cytoskeletal collapse and loss of cell motility in both cell types. Additionally, SEMA3E&F were able to inhibit vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF)-induced sprouts in all three types of cells. Further, SEMA3E&F reduced the level of p-VEGFR2 and its downstream p-ERK in HemEC. These results demonstrate that SEMA3E&F inhibit IH cell proliferation and suppress the angiogenic activities of migration and sprout formation. SEMA3E&F may have therapeutic potential to treat or prevent growth of highly proliferative IH.

Doçi CL, Mikelis CM, Lionakis MS, et al.
Genetic Identification of SEMA3F as an Antilymphangiogenic Metastasis Suppressor Gene in Head and Neck Squamous Carcinoma.
Cancer Res. 2015; 75(14):2937-48 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Head and neck squamous cell carcinomas (HNSCC) often metastasize to locoregional lymph nodes, and lymph node involvement represents one of the most important prognostic factors of poor clinical outcome. HNSCCs are remarkably lymphangiogenic and represent a clear example of a cancer that utilizes the lymphatic vasculature for malignant dissemination; however, the molecular mechanisms underlying lymphangiogenesis in HNSCC is still poorly understood. Of interest, we found that an axon guidance molecule, Semaphorin 3F (SEMA3F), is among the top 1% underexpressed genes in HNSCC, and that genomic loss of SEMA3F correlates with increased metastasis and decreased survival. SEMA3F acts on its coreceptors, plexins and neuropilins, among which neuropilin-2 (NRP2) is highly expressed in lymphatic endothelial cells (LEC) but not in oral epithelium and most HNSCCs. We show that recombinant SEMA3F promotes LEC collapse and potently inhibits lymphangiogenesis in vivo. By reconstituting all possible plexin and neuropilin combinations, we found that SEMA3F acts through multiple receptors, but predominantly requires NRP2 to signal in LECs. Using orthotopic HNSCC metastasis mouse models, we provide direct evidence that SEMA3F re-expression diminishes lymphangiogenesis and lymph node metastasis. Furthermore, analysis of a large tissue collection revealed that SEMA3F is progressively lost during HNSCC progression, concomitant with increased tumor lymphangiogenesis. SEMA3F is localized to 3p21, an early and frequently deleted locus in HNSCC and many other prevalent human malignancies. Thus, SEMA3F may represent an antilymphangiogenic metastasis suppressor gene widely lost during cancer progression, hence serving as a prognostic biomarker and an attractive target for therapeutic intervention to halt metastasis.

Zhou ZH, Rao J, Yang J, et al.
SEMA3F prevents metastasis of colorectal cancer by PI3K-AKT-dependent down-regulation of the ASCL2-CXCR4 axis.
J Pathol. 2015; 236(4):467-78 [PubMed] Related Publications
Semaphorin-3F (SEMA3F), an axonal repulsant in nerve development, has been shown to inhibit the progression of human colorectal cancer (CRC); however, the underlying mechanism remains elusive. In this study we found a negative correlation between the levels of SEMA3F and CXCR4 in CRC specimens from 85 patients, confirmed by bioinformatics analysis of gene expression in 229 CRC samples from the Cancer Genome Atlas. SEMA3F(high) /CXCR4(low) patients showed the lowest frequency of lymph node and distant metastasis and the longest survival. Mechanistically, SEMA3F inhibited the invasion and metastasis of CRC cells through PI3K-AKT-dependent down-regulation of the ASCL2-CXCR4 axis. Specifically, ASCL2 enhanced the invasion and metastasis of CRC cells in vitro and expression of ASCL2 correlated with distant metastasis, tumour size and poor overall survival in CRC patients. Treatment of CRC cells with the CXCR4 antagonist AMD3100 attenuated SEMA3F knockdown-induced invasion and metastasis of CRC cells in vitro and in vivo. Our study thus demonstrates that SEMA3F functions as a suppressor of CRC metastasis via down-regulating the ASCL2-CXCR4 axis.

Rao J, Zhou ZH, Yang J, et al.
Semaphorin-3F suppresses the stemness of colorectal cancer cells by inactivating Rac1.
Cancer Lett. 2015; 358(1):76-84 [PubMed] Related Publications
Tumor cell stemness has been recognized as a key contributor to tumor initiation, progression and recurrence. Our previous studies have found that semaphorin-3F (SEMA3F), an axon guidance molecule in the development of central nervous system, inhibited the growth and metastasis of colorectal cancer (CRC). However, a possible role for SEMA3F in regulating cancer cell stemness remains unknown. Here, we report a novel mechanism of the acquirement of stemness of CRC cells regulated by SEMA3F. Knockdown of SEMA3F significantly promoted the self-renewal and tumorigenicity of CRC cells, and increased the expression of stemness-associated genes, while overexpressing SEMA3F reduced the stemness of CRC cells. Mechanistically, GTP-Rac1 was involved in SEMA3F mediated regulation of CRC cell stemness by targeting the Wnt/β-catenin pathway. Clinically, GTP-Rac1 expression was inversely correlated with SEMA3F levels in CRC samples and patients with SEMA3F(low)/GTP-Rac1(high) CRC showed poorer prognosis. Our findings demonstrate the ability of SEMA3F to inhibit the stemness of human CRC cells by suppressing Rac1 activation, which suggests a novel therapeutic approach for CRC.

Donnard E, Asprino PF, Correa BR, et al.
Mutational analysis of genes coding for cell surface proteins in colorectal cancer cell lines reveal novel altered pathways, druggable mutations and mutated epitopes for targeted therapy.
Oncotarget. 2014; 5(19):9199-213 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
We carried out a mutational analysis of 3,594 genes coding for cell surface proteins (Surfaceome) in 23 colorectal cancer cell lines, searching for new altered pathways, druggable mutations and mutated epitopes for targeted therapy in colorectal cancer. A total of 3,944 somatic non-synonymous substitutions and 595 InDels, occurring in 2,061 (57%) Surfaceome genes were catalogued. We identified 48 genes not previously described as mutated in colorectal tumors in the TCGA database, including genes that are mutated and expressed in >10% of the cell lines (SEMA4C, FGFRL1, PKD1, FAM38A, WDR81, TMEM136, SLC36A1, SLC26A6, IGFLR1). Analysis of these genes uncovered important roles for FGF and SEMA4 signaling in colorectal cancer with possible therapeutic implications. We also found that cell lines express on average 11 druggable mutations, including frequent mutations (>20%) in the receptor tyrosine kinases AXL and EPHA2, which have not been previously considered as potential targets for colorectal cancer. Finally, we identified 82 cell surface mutated epitopes, however expression of only 30% of these epitopes was detected in our cell lines. Notwithstanding, 92% of these epitopes were expressed in cell lines with the mutator phenotype, opening new venues for the use of "general" immune checkpoint drugs in this subset of patients.

Mendes-da-Cruz DA, Brignier AC, Asnafi V, et al.
Semaphorin 3F and neuropilin-2 control the migration of human T-cell precursors.
PLoS One. 2014; 9(7):e103405 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Neuropilins and semaphorins are known as modulators of axon guidance, angiogenesis, and organogenesis in the developing nervous system, but have been recently evidenced as also playing a role in the immune system. Here we describe the expression and role of semaphorin 3F (SEMA3F) and its receptor neuropilin-2 (NRP2) in human T cell precursors. NRP2 and SEMA3F are expressed in the human thymus, in both lymphoid and non-lymphoid compartments. SEMA3F have a repulsive effect on thymocyte migration and inhibited CXCL12- and sphingosine-1-phosphate (S1P)-induced thymocyte migration by inhibiting cytoskeleton reorganization prior to stimuli. Moreover, NRP2 and SEMA3F are expressed in human T-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia/lymphoma primary cells. In these tumor cells, SEMA3F also blocks their migration induced by CXCL12 and S1P. Our data show that SEMA3F and NRP2 are further regulators of human thymocyte migration in physiological and pathological conditions.

London NR, Gurgel RK
The role of vascular endothelial growth factor and vascular stability in diseases of the ear.
Laryngoscope. 2014; 124(8):E340-6 [PubMed] Related Publications
OBJECTIVES/HYPOTHESIS: Vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) is a critical mediator of vascular permeability and angiogenesis and likely plays an important role in cochlear function and hearing. This review highlights the role of VEGF in hearing loss associated with vestibular schwannomas, otitis media with effusion, and sensorineural hearing loss.
STUDY DESIGN: PubMed literature review.
METHODS: A review of the literature was conducted to determine the role of VEGF in diseases affecting hearing.
RESULTS: Therapeutic efficacy has been demonstrated for the anti-VEGF agent bevacizumab in vestibular schwannomas, with tumor size reduction and hearing improvement in patients with neurofibromatosis type 2. The loss of functional Merlin, the protein product of the nf2 gene, results in a decrease in expression of the anti-angiogenic protein SEMA3F through a Rac-1-dependent mechanism, allowing VEGF to promote angiogenesis. Bevacizumab may therefore restore the angiogenic balance through inhibiting the relative increase in VEGF. Many of the clinical findings of otitis media with effusion can be reproduced by delivery of recombinant VEGF through transtympanic injection or submucosal osmotic pump. VEGF receptor inhibitors have been demonstrated to improve hearing in an animal model of otitis media with effusion. VEGF affects both the inner ear damage and repair processes in sensorineural hearing loss.
CONCLUSIONS: VEGF has an important role in vestibular schwannomas, otitis media with effusion, and sensorineural hearing loss.

Deng BY, Hua YQ, Cai ZD
Establishing an osteosarcoma associated protein-protein interaction network to explore the pathogenesis of osteosarcoma.
Eur J Med Res. 2013; 18:57 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
BACKGROUND: The aim of this study was to establish an osteosarcoma (OS) associated protein-protein interaction network and explore the pathogenesis of osteosarcoma.
METHODS: The gene expression profile GSE9508 was downloaded from the Gene Expression Omnibus database, including five samples of non-malignant bone (the control), seven samples for non-metastatic patients (six of which were analyzed in duplicate), and 11 samples for metastatic patients (10 of which were analyzed in duplicate). Differentially expressed genes (DEGs) between osteosarcoma and control samples were identified by packages in R with the threshold of |logFC (fold change)| > 1 and false discovery rate < 0.05. Osprey software was used to construct the interaction network of DEGs, and genes at protein-protein interaction (PPI) nodes with high degrees were identified. The Database for Annotation, Visualization and Integrated Discovery and WebGestalt software were then used to perform functional annotation and pathway enrichment analyses for PPI networks, in which P < 0.05 was considered statistically significant.
RESULTS: Compared to the control samples, the expressions of 42 and 341 genes were altered in non-metastatic OS and metastatic OS samples, respectively. A total of 15 significantly enriched functions were obtained with Gene Ontology analysis (P < 0.05). The DEGs were classified and significantly enriched in three pathways, including the tricarboxylic acid cycle, lysosome and axon guidance. Genes such as HRAS, IDH3A, ATP6ap1, ATP6V0D2, SEMA3F and SEMA3A were involved in the enriched pathways.
CONCLUSIONS: The hub genes from metastatic OS samples are not only bio-markers of OS, but also help to improve therapies for OS.

Nasarre P, Gemmill RM, Potiron VA, et al.
Neuropilin-2 Is upregulated in lung cancer cells during TGF-β1-induced epithelial-mesenchymal transition.
Cancer Res. 2013; 73(23):7111-21 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
The epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT) and its reversal, mesenchymal-epithelial transition (MET), are fundamental processes involved in tumor cell invasion and metastasis. SEMA3F is a secreted semaphorin and tumor suppressor downregulated by TGF-β1 and ZEB1-induced EMT. Here, we report that neuropilin (NRP)-2, the high-affinity receptor for SEMA3F and a coreceptor for certain growth factors, is upregulated during TGF-β1-driven EMT in lung cancer cells. Mechanistically, NRP2 upregulation was TβRI dependent and SMAD independent, occurring mainly at a posttranscriptional level involving increased association of mRNA with polyribosomes. Extracellular signal-regulated kinase (ERK) and AKT inhibition blocked NRP2 upregulation, whereas RNA interference-mediated attenuation of ZEB1 reduced steady-state NRP2 levels. In addition, NRP2 attenuation inhibited TGF-β1-driven morphologic transformation, migration/invasion, ERK activation, growth suppression, and changes in gene expression. In a mouse xenograft model of lung cancer, NRP2 attenuation also inhibited locally invasive features of the tumor and reversed TGF-β1-mediated growth inhibition. In support of these results, human lung cancer specimens with the highest NRP2 expression were predominantly E-cadherin negative. Furthermore, the presence of NRP2 staining strengthened the association of E-cadherin loss with high-grade tumors. Together, our results demonstrate that NRP2 contributes significantly to TGF-β1-induced EMT in lung cancer.

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