Gene Summary

Gene:SLIT2; slit guidance ligand 2
Aliases: SLIL3, Slit-2
Summary:This gene encodes a member of the slit family of secreted glycoproteins, which are ligands for the Robo family of immunoglobulin receptors. Slit proteins play highly conserved roles in axon guidance and neuronal migration and may also have functions during other cell migration processes including leukocyte migration. Members of the slit family are characterized by an N-terminal signal peptide, four leucine-rich repeats, nine epidermal growth factor repeats, and a C-terminal cysteine knot. Proteolytic processing of this protein gives rise to an N-terminal fragment that contains the four leucine-rich repeats and five epidermal growth factor repeats and a C-terminal fragment that contains four epidermal growth factor repeats and the cysteine knot. Both full length and cleaved proteins are secreted extracellularly and can function in axon repulsion as well as other specific processes. Alternative splicing results in multiple transcript variants. [provided by RefSeq, Sep 2015]
Databases:VEGA, OMIM, HGNC, Ensembl, GeneCard, Gene
Protein:slit homolog 2 protein
Source:NCBIAccessed: 16 March, 2017


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

Research Indicators

Publications Per Year (1992-2017)
Graph generated 16 March 2017 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.

Tag cloud generated 16 March, 2017 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: SLIT2 (cancer-related)

Kim M, Kim JH, Baek SJ, et al.
Specific expression and methylation of SLIT1, SLIT2, SLIT3, and miR-218 in gastric cancer subtypes.
Int J Oncol. 2016; 48(6):2497-507 [PubMed] Related Publications
SLIT has been suggested as a key regulator of cancer development and a promising therapeutic target for cancer treatment. Herein, we analyzed expression and methylation of SLIT1/SLIT2/SLIT3 in 11 gastric cancer cell lines, 96 paired gastric tumors and adjacent normal gastric tissues, and 250 gastric cancers provided by The Cancer Genome Atlas. Methylation of SLIT1/SLIT2/SLIT3 was found both in early gastric cancers, and in advanced gastric cancers. Even normal gastric tissue showed increased methylation of SLIT1 and SLIT3 that correlated with patient age. Furthermore, epigenetic inactivation of SLIT occurred in a gastric cancer subtype-dependent manner. SLIT2 and SLIT3 expression was reduced in Epstein-Barr virus-positive and microsatellite instability subtypes, but increased in the genomically stable subtype. Expression of miR‑218 correlated negatively with methylation of SLIT2 or SLIT3. These findings suggest that a molecular subtype-specific therapeutic strategy is needed for targeting SLITs and miR-218 in treatment of gastric cancer.

Shi RL, Qu N, Liao T, et al.
Expression, clinical significance and mechanism of Slit2 in papillary thyroid cancer.
Int J Oncol. 2016; 48(5):2055-62 [PubMed] Related Publications
Thyroid cancer is a common endocrine malignancy. The last decade has seen exciting progress in understanding thyroid cancer molecular pathogenesis. Several major signaling pathways and related molecular derangements have been elucidated, which represent novel diagnostic and prognostic molecular markers for thyroid cancer. Based on the molecular biology of thyroid cancer, a series of therapeutic targets have been developed, which provide unprecedented opportunities. Thus, histological characterization of subgroups of patients and the correct molecular characterization of patients are thought to be key aspects for future clinical management of these patients. In the present study, we identified Slit2 as a prognostic marker for thyroid cancer oncogenesis and recurrence. Mechanistically, Slit2 regulated Warburg effect in thyroid cancer cells through regulation of HIF1α and HIF1α transcriptional activity. Taken together, our present data uncovered Slit2 as a novel predictive marker for thyroid cancer. The mechanism study indicated that Slit2 regulated the Warburg effect. Additional study on the function of Slit2 in thyroid cancer is required to provide new insights into the potential mechanisms of oncogenesis and recurrence potential of thyroid cancer.

Gu F, Ma Y, Zhang J, et al.
Function of Slit/Robo signaling in breast cancer.
Front Med. 2015; 9(4):431-6 [PubMed] Related Publications
Slit and Robo are considered tumor suppressors because they are frequently inactivated in various tumor tissue. These genes are closely correlated with CpG hypermethylation in their promoters. The Slit/Robo signaling pathway is reportedly involved in breast cancer development and metastasis. Overexpression of Slit/ Robo induces its tumor suppressive effects possibly by inactivating the β-catenin/LEF/TCF and PI3K/Akt signaling pathways or by altering β-catenin/E-cadherin-mediated cell-cell adhesion in breast cancer cells. Furthermore, loss of Slit proteins or their Robo receptors upregulates the CXCL12/CXCR4 signaling axis in human breast carcinoma. In addition, this pathway regulates the distant migration of breast cancer cells not only by mediating the phosphorylation of the downstream molecules of CXCL12/CXCR4 and srGAPs, such as PI3K/ Src, RAFTK/ Pyk2, and CDC42, but also by regulating the activities of MAP kinases. This review includes recent studies on the functions of Slit/Robo signaling in breast cancer and its molecular mechanisms.

Qin F, Zhang H, Ma L, et al.
Low Expression of Slit2 and Robo1 is Associated with Poor Prognosis and Brain-specific Metastasis of Breast Cancer Patients.
Sci Rep. 2015; 5:14430 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Brain metastasis is a significant unmet clinical problem in breast cancer treatment. It is always associated with poor prognosis and high morbidity. Recently, Slit2/Robo1 pathway has been demonstrated to be involved in the progression of breast carcinoma. However, until present, there are no convincing reports that suggest whether the Slit2/Robo1 axis has any role in brain metastasis of breast cancer. In this study, we investigated the correlation between Slit2/Robo1 signaling and breast cancer brain metastasis for the first time. Our results demonstrated that (1) Invasive ductal carcinoma patients with low expression of Slit2 or Robo1 exhibited worse prognosis and brain-specific metastasis, but not liver, bone or lung. (2) Lower expression of Slit2 and Robo1 were observed in patients with brain metastasis, especially in their brain metastasis tumors, compared with patients without brain metastasis. (3) The interval from diagnosis of breast cancer to brain metastasis and brain metastasis to death were both much shorter in patients with low expression of Slit2 or Robo1 compared with the high expression group. Overall, our findings indicated that Slit2/Robo1 axis possibly be regarded as a significant clinical parameter for predicting brain metastasis in breast cancer patients.

Patai ÁV, Valcz G, Hollósi P, et al.
Comprehensive DNA Methylation Analysis Reveals a Common Ten-Gene Methylation Signature in Colorectal Adenomas and Carcinomas.
PLoS One. 2015; 10(8):e0133836 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Microarray analysis of promoter hypermethylation provides insight into the role and extent of DNA methylation in the development of colorectal cancer (CRC) and may be co-monitored with the appearance of driver mutations. Colonic biopsy samples were obtained endoscopically from 10 normal, 23 adenoma (17 low-grade (LGD) and 6 high-grade dysplasia (HGD)), and 8 ulcerative colitis (UC) patients (4 active and 4 inactive). CRC samples were obtained from 24 patients (17 primary, 7 metastatic (MCRC)), 7 of them with synchronous LGD. Field effects were analyzed in tissues 1 cm (n = 5) and 10 cm (n = 5) from the margin of CRC. Tissue materials were studied for DNA methylation status using a 96 gene panel and for KRAS and BRAF mutations. Expression levels were assayed using whole genomic mRNA arrays. SFRP1 was further examined by immunohistochemistry. HT29 cells were treated with 5-aza-2' deoxycytidine to analyze the reversal possibility of DNA methylation. More than 85% of tumor samples showed hypermethylation in 10 genes (SFRP1, SST, BNC1, MAL, SLIT2, SFRP2, SLIT3, ALDH1A3, TMEFF2, WIF1), whereas the frequency of examined mutations were below 25%. These genes distinguished precancerous and cancerous lesions from inflamed and healthy tissue. The mRNA alterations that might be caused by systematic methylation could be partly reversed by demethylation treatment. Systematic changes in methylation patterns were observed early in CRC carcinogenesis, occuring in precursor lesions and CRC. Thus we conclude that DNA hypermethylation is an early and systematic event in colorectal carcinogenesis, and it could be potentially reversed by systematic demethylation therapy, but it would need more in vitro and in vivo experiments to support this theory.

Zhang C, Guo H, Li B, et al.
Effects of Slit3 silencing on the invasive ability of lung carcinoma A549 cells.
Oncol Rep. 2015; 34(2):952-60 [PubMed] Related Publications
Slit proteins function as chemorepellents in axon guidance and neuronal migration by binding to cognate Robo receptors. The Slit/Robo signaling pathway is also involved in the regulation of tumor cell metastasis. However, whether the Slit/Robo signaling pathway exerts prometastatic or antimetastasis functions remains controversial. To date, most of the research on Slit/Robo has focused on Slit2, and the effects of Slit3 on metastasis remain largely unknown. Based on the Oncomine database, overall expression of Slit3 is low in tumor tissues compared to its level in normal tissues. The underlying mechanism for slit3 silencing in tumor tissues is likely related to hypermethylation of the slit3 promoter. However, lung carcinomas appear to be an exception. Several studies have reported that the frequency of Slit3 methylation in lung cancers is far lower than the frequency of Slit2. In the present study, high Slit3 expression at the mRNA level, yet not at the protein level, was detected in lung adenocarcinoma A549 cells. The function of Slit3 in tumor migration and invasion was examined by silencing of Slit3 expression in A549 cells. Silencing of Slit3 promoted proliferation, migration and invasion of A549 cells and induced epithelial-mesenchymal transition by downregulation of E-cadherin and upregulation of vimentin. The inhibitory effects of Slit3 on tumor migration and invasion are likely related to matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs). Silencing of Slit3 in the A549 cells enhanced MMP2 and MMP9 expression. These results indicate that Slit3 is a potential tumor suppressor in lung adenocarcinoma.

Hara R, Kikuchi H, Setoguchi T, et al.
Microarray analysis reveals distinct gene set profiles for gastric and intestinal gastrointestinal stromal tumors.
Anticancer Res. 2015; 35(6):3289-98 [PubMed] Related Publications
AIM: We sought to address the mechanisms by which intestinal gastrointestinal stromal tumors (GIST) have a markedly higher risk of recurrence than gastric GISTs.
MATERIALS AND METHODS: Gene expression levels were compared among six primary gastric, three intestinal and six metastatic liver GISTs using cDNA microarray. Protein levels of Slit homolog 2 (SLIT2) were analyzed by immunohistochemistry in 25 primary gastric and 10 intestinal GIST.
RESULTS: Intestinal GIST had gene expression profiles similar to clinically malignant and metastatic GIST. In gene set-enrichment analysis, the gene sets MITOTIC_CELL CYCLE and NEURON_DIFFERENTIATION were up-regulated and down-regulated, respectively, in intestinal GIST compared to gastric GIST. High-risk gastric GISTs and intestinal GIST, expressed similar levels of SLIT2 protein, which were lower than those of low-risk gastric GISTs.
CONCLUSION: The gene-expression profile of intestinal GISTs was similar to that of metastatic liver GISTs. Besides higher proliferative activity, down-regulation of SLIT2 might be involved in clinically malignant phenotypes of intestinal GIST.

Lai X, Chen Q, Zhu C, et al.
Regulation of RPTPα-c-Src signalling pathway by miR-218.
FEBS J. 2015; 282(14):2722-34 [PubMed] Related Publications
Receptor protein tyrosine phosphatase alpha (RPTPα), an activator of Src family kinases, is found significantly overexpressed in human cancer tissues. However, little is known about the regulation of RPTPα expression. miRNAs target multiple genes and play important roles in many cancer processes. Here, we identified a miRNA, miR-218 that binds directly to the 3'-UTR of RPTPα. Ectopic overexpression of miR-218 decreased RPTPα protein leading to decreased dephosphorylation of c-Src and decreased tumour growth in vitro and in vivo. A feedback loop between c-Src and miR-218 was revealed where c-Src inhibits transcription of SLIT2, which intronically hosts miR-218. These results show a novel regulatory pathway for RPTPα-c-Src signalling.

Siegel EM, Riggs BM, Delmas AL, et al.
Quantitative DNA methylation analysis of candidate genes in cervical cancer.
PLoS One. 2015; 10(3):e0122495 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Aberrant DNA methylation has been observed in cervical cancer; however, most studies have used non-quantitative approaches to measure DNA methylation. The objective of this study was to quantify methylation within a select panel of genes previously identified as targets for epigenetic silencing in cervical cancer and to identify genes with elevated methylation that can distinguish cancer from normal cervical tissues. We identified 49 women with invasive squamous cell cancer of the cervix and 22 women with normal cytology specimens. Bisulfite-modified genomic DNA was amplified and quantitative pyrosequencing completed for 10 genes (APC, CCNA, CDH1, CDH13, WIF1, TIMP3, DAPK1, RARB, FHIT, and SLIT2). A Methylation Index was calculated as the mean percent methylation across all CpG sites analyzed per gene (~4-9 CpG site) per sequence. A binary cut-point was defined at >15% methylation. Sensitivity, specificity and area under ROC curve (AUC) of methylation in individual genes or a panel was examined. The median methylation index was significantly higher in cases compared to controls in 8 genes, whereas there was no difference in median methylation for 2 genes. Compared to HPV and age, the combination of DNA methylation level of DAPK1, SLIT2, WIF1 and RARB with HPV and age significantly improved the AUC from 0.79 to 0.99 (95% CI: 0.97-1.00, p-value = 0.003). Pyrosequencing analysis confirmed that several genes are common targets for aberrant methylation in cervical cancer and DNA methylation level of four genes appears to increase specificity to identify cancer compared to HPV detection alone. Alterations in DNA methylation of specific genes in cervical cancers, such as DAPK1, RARB, WIF1, and SLIT2, may also occur early in cervical carcinogenesis and should be evaluated.

Jiang L, Wang Y, Rong Y, et al.
miR-1179 promotes cell invasion through SLIT2/ROBO1 axis in esophageal squamous cell carcinoma.
Int J Clin Exp Pathol. 2015; 8(1):319-27 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
MiR-1179, a new identified miRNA highly associated with metastasis of colorectal cancer which was never reported in esophageal squamous cell carcinoma (ESCC). Here we measured the expression levels of miR-1179 and the candidate target gene in tissues from 40 patients with ESCC. Transwell, Dual-luciferase reporter assay and immunocytochemistry assay were employed to detect the function role of miR-1179 in vitro. We found that miR-1179 was up-regulated in human ESCC tumor tissues. Bioinformatics analysis indicated that SLIT2 acting as a new potential target of miR-1179 which was confirmed by luciferase reporter assay. Down-regulation of miR-1179 suppressed cell invasion in vitro with an increasing level of SLIT2 and ROBO1, besides, the up-regulation of SLIT2 decreased cell invasion through ROBO1. Taken together, these findings will shed light the role to mechanism of miR-1179 in regulating cell invasion via SLIT2/ROBO1 axis.

Lu F, Kishida S, Mu P, et al.
NeuroD1 promotes neuroblastoma cell growth by inducing the expression of ALK.
Cancer Sci. 2015; 106(4):390-6 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Neuroblastoma is derived from the sympathetic neuronal lineage of neural crest cells, and is the most frequently observed of the extracranial pediatric solid tumors. The neuronal differentiation factor, NeuroD1, has previously been shown to promote cell motility in neuroblastoma by suppressing the expression of Slit2. Here we report that NeuroD1 is also involved in the proliferation of neuroblastoma cells, including human cell lines and primary tumorspheres cultured from the tumor tissues of model mice. Interestingly, the growth inhibition of neuroblastoma cells induced by knockdown of NeuroD1 was accompanied by a reduction of ALK expression. ALK is known to be one of the important predisposition genes for neuroblastoma. The phenotype resulting from knockdown of NeuroD1 was suppressed by forced expression of ALK and, therefore, NeuroD1 appears to act mainly through ALK to promote the proliferation of neuroblastoma cells. Furthermore, we showed that NeuroD1 directly bound to the promoter region of ALK gene. In addition, the particular E-box in the promoter was responsible for NeuroD1-mediated ALK expression. These results indicate that ALK should be a direct target gene of NeuroD1. Finally, the expressions of NeuroD1 and ALK in the early tumor lesions of neuroblastoma model mice coincided in vivo. We conclude that the novel mechanism would regulate the expression of ALK in neuroblastoma and that NeuroD1 should be significantly involved in neuroblastoma tumorigenesis.

Zhang QQ, Zhou DL, Lei Y, et al.
Slit2/Robo1 signaling promotes intestinal tumorigenesis through Src-mediated activation of the Wnt/β-catenin pathway.
Oncotarget. 2015; 6(5):3123-35 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Slit2 is often overexpressed in cancers. Slit2 is a secreted protein that binds to Roundabout (Robo) receptors to regulate cell growth and migration. Here, we employed several complementary mouse models of intestinal cancers, including the Slit2 transgenic mice, the ApcMin/+ spontaneous intestinal adenoma mouse model, and the DMH/DSS-induced colorectal carcinoma model to clarify function of Slit2/Robo1 signaling in intestinal tumorigenesis. We showed that Slit2 and Robo1 are overexpressed in intestinal tumors and may contribute to tumor generation. The Slit2/Robo1 signaling can induce precancerous lesions of the intestine and tumor progression. Ectopic expression of Slit2 activated Slit2/Robo1 signaling and promoted tumorigenesis and tumor growth. This was mediated in part through activation of the Src signaling, which then down-regulated E-cadherin, thereby activating Wnt/β-catenin signaling. Thus, Slit2/Robo1 signaling is oncogenic in intestinal tumorigenesis.

Secq V, Leca J, Bressy C, et al.
Stromal SLIT2 impacts on pancreatic cancer-associated neural remodeling.
Cell Death Dis. 2015; 6:e1592 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDA) is a critical health issue in the field of cancer, with few therapeutic options. Evidence supports an implication of the intratumoral microenvironment (stroma) on PDA progression. However, its contribution to the role of neuroplastic changes within the pathophysiology and clinical course of PDA, through tumor recurrence and neuropathic pain, remains unknown, neglecting a putative, therapeutic window. Here, we report that the intratumoral microenvironment is a mediator of PDA-associated neural remodeling (PANR), and we highlight factors such as 'SLIT2' (an axon guidance molecule), which is expressed by cancer-associated fibroblasts (CAFs), that impact on neuroplastic changes in human PDA. We showed that 'CAF-secreted SLIT2' increases neurite outgrowth from dorsal root ganglia neurons as well as from Schwann cell migration/proliferation by modulating N-cadherin/β-catenin signaling. Importantly, SLIT2/ROBO signaling inhibition disrupts this stromal/neural connection. Finally, we revealed that SLIT2 expression and CAFs are correlated with neural remodeling within human and mouse PDA. All together, our data demonstrate the implication of CAFs, through the secretion of axon guidance molecule, in PANR. Furthermore, it provides rationale to investigate the disruption of the stromal/neural compartment connection with SLIT2/ROBO inhibitors for the treatment of pancreatic cancer recurrence and pain.

Asai A, Karnan S, Ota A, et al.
High-resolution 400K oligonucleotide array comparative genomic hybridization analysis of neurofibromatosis type 1-associated cutaneous neurofibromas.
Gene. 2015; 558(2):220-6 [PubMed] Related Publications
Neurofibromatosis type 1 (NF1) is a genetic disorder where affected individuals develop benign or malignant nervous system tumors. To date, NF1 is caused by mutations in the NF1 tumor suppressor gene located at chromosome band 17q11.2. In this study, we aimed to characterize novel recurrent regional chromosomal imbalances and tumor-related candidate genes in NF1-associated cutaneous neurofibromas. Nine cutaneous neurofibromas from NF1 patients were screened for recurrent chromosomal imbalances using high-resolution 400K oligonucleotide array comparative genomic hybridization (aCGH). All the cases exhibited at least one sub-microscopic abnormality. Regions of recurrent chromosomal imbalances in a least one third of cases were loss of 1q13.2 (33%, FAM19A3), 1q21.1 (44%, RABGAP1L), 2q37.1 (56%, INPP5D), 3p25.1 (67%, CHCHD4), 4p15.32 (56%, FGFBP1), 5q11.2 (56%, ARL15), 6q22.31 (56%, NKAIN2), 6q22.33 (67%, ARHGAP18), 6q25.1 (67%, UST), 7q13 (56%, ADCY1), 12q13.13 (44%, KRT71), 19q13.32 (56%, GRLF1), and 20p11.21 (56%, NLP) and gain of 2p23.3 (76%, C2orf53), 8q22.3 (44%, ODF1) and 8q24.3 (67%, ARC). Several chromosomal imbalances, including loss of 7q11.23, 13q14.1, 14q32.13, 17p12, and 17q11.2 were detected at a lower frequency. We also confirmed that these chromosomal imbalances were not detected in the patient-matched lymphocyte DNAs. Amongst the 6 tumor-related candidate genes (RABGAP1L, ADCY1, SLIT2, GRLF1, UST, and ARC) identified in the regions of recurrent chromosomal imbalances, the gene expression changes of UST (down-regulation) and ARC (up-regulation) were found to be significantly associated with copy number alterations. The novel recurrent chromosomal imbalances and the altered expression levels of the tumor-related candidate genes may be associated with the development of NF1-associated benign cutaneous neurofibromas.

Cai H, Liu W, Xue Y, et al.
Roundabout 4 regulates blood-tumor barrier permeability through the modulation of ZO-1, Occludin, and Claudin-5 expression.
J Neuropathol Exp Neurol. 2015; 74(1):25-37 [PubMed] Related Publications
The blood-tumor barrier (BTB) restricts the delivery of chemotherapeutic drug molecules to tumor tissues. We found that the endothelial cell (EC) receptor molecule Roundabout 4 (Robo4) is endogenously expressed in human brain microvascular ECs and that it is upregulated in a BTB model of glioma cocultured ECs. Knockdown of Robo4 in this BTB model increased permeability; short hairpin RNA targeting Robo4 (shRobo4) led to decreased transendothelial electric resistance values, increased BTB permeability, and downregulated expression of the EC tight junction proteins ZO-1, occludin, and claudin-5. Roundabout 4 influenced BTB permeability via binding with its ligand, Slit2. Short hairpin RNA targeting Robo4 also increased matrix metalloproteinase-9 (MMP-9) activity and expression in glioma cocultured ECs; pretreatment with the MMP inhibitor GM6001 partially blocked the effects of shRobo4 on the transendothelial electric resistance values and ZO-1 and occludin expression. Short hairpin RNA targeting Robo4 also upregulated the phosphorylation of Src and Erk1/2; the Src inhibitor PP2 and the Erk1/2 inhibitor PD98059 blocked shRobo4-mediated alteration in ZO-1 and occludin expression. Together, our results indicate that knockdown of Robo4 increased BTB permeability by reducing EC tight junction protein expression, and that the Src-Erk1/2-MMP-9 signal pathways are involved in this process. Thus, Robo4 may represent a useful future therapeutic target for enhancing BTB permeability.

Maiti GP, Ghosh A, Mondal P, et al.
Frequent inactivation of SLIT2 and ROBO1 signaling in head and neck lesions: clinical and prognostic implications.
Oral Surg Oral Med Oral Pathol Oral Radiol. 2015; 119(2):202-12 [PubMed] Related Publications
OBJECTIVE: The protein SLIT2 and its receptor ROBO1 regulate different cellular processes, such as proliferation, apoptosis, and migration. In this study our aim is to understand the alterations of these genes during development of head and neck squamous cell carcinoma (HNSCC).
MATERIALS AND METHODS: First, molecular alterations of the genes were analyzed in 30 dysplastic lesions, 128 primary HNSCC samples, and 1 HNSCC cell line. Then alterations were correlated with mRNA expression (n = 22) and protein expression (n = 29). Finally, the alterations were correlated with different clinicopathologic parameters and clinical outcomes of the patients.
RESULTS: ROBO1 had a comparatively high frequency of deletion (28.5%-54.2%) from dysplastic lesions and subsequent clinical stages than did SLIT2 (16.6-27%). On the contrary, SLIT2 had a high frequency (56.6%-81.2%) of promoter methylation from dysplastic lesions onward compared with ROBO1 (20%-32.8%). Interestingly, alterations of SLIT2 and ROBO1 were high in dysplastic lesions (80%), followed by comparable frequencies (92.5%-95.3%) in subsequent stages of tumor. Alterations of these genes showed concordance with their mRNA/protein expression and significant association with poor patient outcome.
CONCLUSIONS: Our data suggest that inactivation of SLIT2 and/or ROBO1 is one of the early events in development of dysplastic lesions of head and neck and has prognostic importance.

Barzon L, Cappellesso R, Peta E, et al.
Profiling of expression of human papillomavirus-related cancer miRNAs in penile squamous cell carcinomas.
Am J Pathol. 2014; 184(12):3376-83 [PubMed] Related Publications
Penile squamous cell carcinoma (PSCC) is a rare tumor associated with high-risk human papillomavirus (HR-HPV) infection in 30% to 60% of cases. Altered expression of miRNAs has been reported in HPV-related cervical and head and neck cancers, but such data have not been available for PSCC. We analyzed a series of 59 PSCCs and 8 condylomata for presence of HPV infection, for p16(INK4a), Ki-67, and p53 immunohistochemical expression, and for expression of a panel of cellular miRNAs (let-7c, miR-23b, miR-34a, miR-145, miR-146a, miR-196a, and miR-218) involved in HPV-related cancer. HR-HPV DNA (HPV16 in most cases) was detected in 17/59 (29%) PSCCs; all penile condylomata (8/8) were positive for low-risk HPV6 or HPV11. HR-HPV(+) PSCCs overexpressed p16(INK4a) in 88% cases and p53 in 35% of cases, whereas HR-HPV(-) PSCCs were positive for p16(INK4a) and p53 immunostaining in 9% and 44% of cases, respectively. Among the miRNAs investigated, expression of miR-218 was lower in PSCCs with HR-HPV infection and in p53(-) cancers. Hypermethylation of the promoter of the SLIT2 gene, which contains miR-218-1 in its intronic region, was frequently observed in PSCCs, mainly in those with low miR-218 expression. Epigenetic silencing of miR-218 is a common feature in HR-HPV(+) PSCCs and in HR-HPV(-) PSCCs without immunohistochemical detection of p53.

Torres-Martin M, Lassaletta L, Isla A, et al.
Global expression profile in low grade meningiomas and schwannomas shows upregulation of PDGFD, CDH1 and SLIT2 compared to their healthy tissue.
Oncol Rep. 2014; 32(6):2327-34 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Schwannomas and grade I meningiomas are non‑metastatic neoplasms that share the common mutation of gene NF2. They usually appear in neurofibromatosis type 2 patients. Currently, there is no drug treatment available for both tumors, thus the use of wide expression technologies is crucial to identify therapeutic targets. Affymetrix Human Gene 1.0 ST was used to test global gene expression in 22 meningiomas, 31 schwannomas and, as non-tumoral controls, 3 healthy meningeal tissues, 8 non-tumoral nerves and 1 primary Schwann cell culture. A non-stringent P-value cut-off and fold change were used to establish deregulated genes. We identified a subset of genes that were upregulated in meningiomas and schwannomas when compared to their respectively healthy tissues, including PDGFD, CDH1 and SLIT2. Thus, these genes should be thoroughly studied as targets in a possible combined treatment.

Huang Z, Wen P, Kong R, et al.
USP33 mediates Slit-Robo signaling in inhibiting colorectal cancer cell migration.
Int J Cancer. 2015; 136(8):1792-802 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Originally discovered in neuronal guidance, the Slit-Robo pathway is emerging as an important player in human cancers. However, its involvement and mechanism in colorectal cancer (CRC) remains to be elucidated. Here, we report that Slit2 expression is reduced in CRC tissues compared with adjacent noncancerous tissues. Extensive promoter hypermethylation of the Slit2 gene has been observed in CRC cells, which provides a mechanistic explanation for the Slit2 downregulation in CRC. Functional studies showed that Slit2 inhibits CRC cell migration in a Robo-dependent manner. Robo-interacting ubiquitin-specific protease 33 (USP33) is required for the inhibitory function of Slit2 on CRC cell migration by deubiquitinating and stabilizing Robo1. USP33 expression is downregulated in CRC samples, and reduced USP33 mRNA levels are correlated with increased tumor grade, lymph node metastasis and poor patient survival. Taken together, our data reveal USP33 as a previously unknown tumor-suppressing gene for CRC by mediating the inhibitory function of Slit-Robo signaling on CRC cell migration. Our work suggests the potential value of USP33 as an independent prognostic marker of CRC.

Wen P, Kong R, Liu J, et al.
USP33, a new player in lung cancer, mediates Slit-Robo signaling.
Protein Cell. 2014; 5(9):704-13 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Ubiquitin specific protease 33 (USP33) is a multifunctional protein regulating diverse cellular processes. The expression and role of USP33 in lung cancer remain unexplored. In this study, we show that USP33 is down-regulated in multiple cohorts of lung cancer patients and that low expression of USP33 is associated with poor prognosis. USP33 mediates Slit-Robo signaling in lung cancer cell migration. Downregulation of USP33 reduces the protein stability of Robo1 in lung cancer cells, providing a previously unknown mechanism for USP33 function in mediating Slit activity in lung cancer cells. Taken together, USP33 is a new player in lung cancer that regulates Slit-Robo signaling. Our data suggest that USP33 may be a candidate tumor suppressor for lung cancer with potential as a prognostic marker.

Sher YP, Wang LJ, Chuang LL, et al.
ADAM9 up-regulates N-cadherin via miR-218 suppression in lung adenocarcinoma cells.
PLoS One. 2014; 9(4):e94065 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer death worldwide, and brain metastasis is a major cause of morbidity and mortality in lung cancer. CDH2 (N-cadherin, a mesenchymal marker of the epithelial-mesenchymal transition) and ADAM9 (a type I transmembrane protein) are related to lung cancer brain metastasis; however, it is unclear how they interact to mediate this metastasis. Because microRNAs regulate many biological functions and disease processes (e.g., cancer) by down-regulating their target genes, microRNA microarrays were used to identify ADAM9-regulated miRNAs that target CDH2 in aggressive lung cancer cells. Luciferase assays and western blot analysis showed that CDH2 is a target gene of miR-218. MiR-218 was generated from pri-mir-218-1, which is located in SLIT2, in non-invasive lung adenocarcinoma cells, whereas its expression was inhibited in aggressive lung adenocarcinoma. The down-regulation of ADAM9 up-regulated SLIT2 and miR-218, thus down-regulating CDH2 expression. This study revealed that ADAM9 activates CDH2 through the release of miR-218 inhibition on CDH2 in lung adenocarcinoma.

Vasiljević N, Scibior-Bentkowska D, Brentnall AR, et al.
Credentialing of DNA methylation assays for human genes as diagnostic biomarkers of cervical intraepithelial neoplasia in high-risk HPV positive women.
Gynecol Oncol. 2014; 132(3):709-14 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
OBJECTIVE: Testing for high risk human papillomavirus (HR-HPV) is increasing; however due to limitations in specificity there remains a need for better triage tests. Research efforts have focused recently on methylation of human genes which show promise as diagnostic classifiers.
METHODS: Methylation of 26 genes: APC, CADM1, CCND2, CDH13, CDKN2A, CTNNB1, DAPK1, DPYS, EDNRB, EPB41L3, ESR1, GSTP1, HIN1, JAM3, LMX1, MAL, MDR1, PAX1, PTGS2, RARB, RASSF1, SLIT2, SOX1, SPARC, TERT and TWIST1 was measured by pyrosequencing in cytology specimens from a pilot set of women with normal or cervical intraepithelial neoplasia grade 3 (CIN3) histology. Six genes were selected for testing in Predictors 1, a colposcopy referral study comprising 799 women. The three genes EPB41L3, DPYS and MAL were further tested in a second colposcopy referral study, Predictors 2, comprising 884 women.
RESULTS: The six genes selected from the pilot: EPB41L3, EDNRB, LMX1, DPYS, MAL and CADM1 showed significantly elevated methylation in CIN2 and CIN3 (CIN2/3) versus ≤CIN1 in Predictors 1 (p<0.01). Highest methylation was observed in cancer tissues. EPB41L3 methylation was the best single classifier of CIN2/3 in both HR-HPV positive (p<0.0001) and negative samples (p=0.02). Logistic regression modeling showed that other genes did not add significantly to EPB41L3 and in Predictors 2, its classifier value was validated with AUC 0.69 (95% CI 0.65-0.73).
CONCLUSION: Several methylated genes show promise for detecting CIN2/3 of which EPB41L3 seems the best. Methylated human gene biomarkers used in combination may be clinically useful for triage of women with HR-HPV infections.

Nones K, Waddell N, Song S, et al.
Genome-wide DNA methylation patterns in pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma reveal epigenetic deregulation of SLIT-ROBO, ITGA2 and MET signaling.
Int J Cancer. 2014; 135(5):1110-8 [PubMed] Related Publications
The importance of epigenetic modifications such as DNA methylation in tumorigenesis is increasingly being appreciated. To define the genome-wide pattern of DNA methylation in pancreatic ductal adenocarcinomas (PDAC), we captured the methylation profiles of 167 untreated resected PDACs and compared them to a panel of 29 adjacent nontransformed pancreata using high-density arrays. A total of 11,634 CpG sites associated with 3,522 genes were significantly differentially methylated (DM) in PDAC and were capable of segregating PDAC from non-malignant pancreas, regardless of tumor cellularity. As expected, PDAC hypermethylation was most prevalent in the 5' region of genes (including the proximal promoter, 5'UTR and CpG islands). Approximately 33% DM genes showed significant inverse correlation with mRNA expression levels. Pathway analysis revealed an enrichment of aberrantly methylated genes involved in key molecular mechanisms important to PDAC: TGF-β, WNT, integrin signaling, cell adhesion, stellate cell activation and axon guidance. Given the recent discovery that SLIT-ROBO mutations play a clinically important role in PDAC, the role of epigenetic perturbation of axon guidance was pursued in more detail. Bisulfite amplicon deep sequencing and qRT-PCR expression analyses confirmed recurrent perturbation of axon guidance pathway genes SLIT2, SLIT3, ROBO1, ROBO3, ITGA2 and MET and suggests epigenetic suppression of SLIT-ROBO signaling and up-regulation of MET and ITGA2 expression. Hypomethylation of MET and ITGA2 correlated with high gene expression, which was associated with poor survival. These data suggest that aberrant methylation plays an important role in pancreatic carcinogenesis affecting core signaling pathways with potential implications for the disease pathophysiology and therapy.

Yu H, Gao G, Jiang L, et al.
Decreased expression of miR-218 is associated with poor prognosis in patients with colorectal cancer.
Int J Clin Exp Pathol. 2013; 6(12):2904-11 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
The identification of biomarkers in colorectal cancer (CRC) diagnosis and therapy is important in achieving early cancer diagnosis and improving patient outcomes. The aim of this study was to examine clinical significance of miR-218 expression in sera and tissues from CRC patients. A total of 189 cases and 30 healthy subjects were included. The expression levels of miR-218, SLIT2 and SLIT3 were measured by quantitative reverse transcription PCR (qRT-PCR). The relationship between miR-218 expression and clinicopathological characteristics was investigated. The expression levels of miR-218, SLIT2 and SLIT3 in CRC tissues were decreased than those in adjacent normal tissues (all P < 0.05). miR-218 expression was significantly associated with TNM stage, lymph node metastasis (LNM) and differentiation (all P < 0.05). Patients with low miR-218 expression had shorter survival time than those with high miR-218 expression (P = 0.036). Furthermore, the expression levels of serum miR-218 in CRC patients were lower than those in controls (P = 0.005). An increased level of serum miR-218 was found 1 month after surgery (P = 0.026). In conclusion, the miR-218 may has important roles in the development and progression of CRC and be a potential diagnostic and prognostic biomarker of CRC.

Ma WJ, Zhou Y, Lu D, et al.
Reduced expression of Slit2 in renal cell carcinoma.
Med Oncol. 2014; 31(1):768 [PubMed] Related Publications
Slit2, initially identified as an important axon guidance molecule in the nervous system, was suggested to be involved in multiple cellular processes. Recently, Slit2 was reported to function as a potential tumor suppressor in diverse tumors. In this study, we systematically analyzed the expression level of Slit2 in renal cell carcinoma. Compared to paired adjacent non-malignant tissues, both Slit2 mRNA and protein expression were significantly down-regulated in renal cell carcinoma (RCC). Methylation-specific PCR showed that Slit2 promoter was methylated in two renal carcinoma cell lines. Pharmacologic demethylation dramatically induced Slit2 expression in cancer cell lines with weak expression of Slit2. Besides, bisulfite genomic sequencing confirmed that dense methylation existed in Slit2 promoter. Furthermore, in paired RCC samples, Slit2 methylation was observed in 8 out of 38 patients (21.1 %), which was well correlated with the down-regulation of Slit2 in RCC. Therefore, Slit2 may also be a potential tumor suppressor in RCC, which is down-regulated in RCC partially due to promoter methylation.

Mano Y, Aishima S, Fukuhara T, et al.
Decreased roundabout 1 expression promotes development of intrahepatic cholangiocarcinoma.
Hum Pathol. 2013; 44(11):2419-26 [PubMed] Related Publications
Roundabout 1 (Robo1) is a transmembrane receptor of the immunoglobulin family. Slit2 is one of its ligands. The function of Slit2/Robo1 signaling in the development of intrahepatic cholangiocarcinoma (ICC) remains to be elucidated. We examined the immunohistochemical expression of Robo1 and Slit2 and their clinicopathologic implications in 132 cases of ICC. Also, small interfering RNA of Robo1 was transfected into a high-expression ICC cell line, and a Robo1 vector was transfected into a low-Robo1 expression ICC cell line. The effect of Robo1 suppression and overexpression in cell proliferation and migration of cultured ICC cells with Slit2 stimulation was investigated. Immunohistochemical study of ICC in the low-Robo1 expression group showed larger tumors (P = .015), a higher Ki-67 labeling index (P = .021), and low expression of Slit2 (P = .0005). The low-Slit2 expression group frequently showed perineural invasion (P = .036) and lymph node metastases (P = .013). Low Robo1 expression was associated with a poor prognosis (P = .0207). Robo1 suppression in Huh28 cells tended to promote cell proliferation and migration, whereas Robo1 overexpression in RBE cells significantly suppressed cell proliferation and migration. Low Robo1 expression was associated with cell proliferation and migration in ICC and was one of the adverse prognostic factors in patients with these tumors.

Shi R, Liu W, Liu B, et al.
Slit2 expression and its correlation with subcellular localization of β-catenin in gastric cancer.
Oncol Rep. 2013; 30(4):1883-9 [PubMed] Related Publications
Gastric cancer is the fourth most common cancer worldwide. Several signaling pathways are involved in gastric cancer development and progression. Slit2 was recently found to be involved in cancer; however, its expression pattern in gastric cancer has not been discovered yet. In the present study, we investigated the expression of Slit2 in human gastric cancer and its correlation with the expression and subcellular localization of β-catenin. Immunohistochemistry (IHC) staining revealed that Slit2 was highly expressed in human gastric cancer tissues, while it was low or weakly expressed in normal gastric tissues. The differences in clinicopathological features between different groups were determined using Pearson's χ2 test. Slit2 levels were significantly associated with differentiation, Lauren's classification, lymph node metastasis and TNM staging. Slit2 levels were positively correlated with β-catenin level in gastric cancer tissues and cell lines. High levels of Slit2 were correlated with the membrane localization of β-catenin, and low levels of Slit2 were correlated with nuclear translocation of β-catenin in both gastric cancer tissues and cell lines assayed by IHC and immunofluorescence staining, respectively. Our data suggest that Slit2 was highly expressed in gastric cancer patients with less advanced clinicopathological features. Slit2 levels were correlated with β-catenin level and subcellular localization.

Tamm-Rosenstein K, Simm J, Suhorutshenko M, et al.
Changes in the transcriptome of the human endometrial Ishikawa cancer cell line induced by estrogen, progesterone, tamoxifen, and mifepristone (RU486) as detected by RNA-sequencing.
PLoS One. 2013; 8(7):e68907 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
BACKGROUND: Estrogen (E2) and progesterone (P4) are key players in the maturation of the human endometrium. The corresponding steroid hormone modulators, tamoxifen (TAM) and mifepristone (RU486) are widely used in breast cancer therapy and for contraception purposes, respectively.
METHODOLOGY/PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: Gene expression profiling of the human endometrial Ishikawa cancer cell line treated with E2 and P4 for 3 h and 12 h, and TAM and RU486 for 12 h, was performed using RNA-sequencing. High levels of mRNA were detected for genes, including PSAP, ATP5G2, ATP5H, and GNB2L1 following E2 or P4 treatment. A total of 82 biomarkers for endometrial biology were identified among E2 induced genes, and 93 among P4 responsive genes. Identified biomarkers included: EZH2, MDK, MUC1, SLIT2, and IL6ST, which are genes previously associated with endometrial receptivity. Moreover, 98.8% and 98.6% of E2 and P4 responsive genes in Ishikawa cells, respectively, were also detected in two human mid-secretory endometrial biopsy samples. TAM treatment exhibited both antagonistic and agonistic effects of E2, and also regulated a subset of genes independently. The cell cycle regulator cyclin D1 (CCND1) showed significant up-regulation following treatment with TAM. RU486 did not appear to act as a pure antagonist of P4 and a functional analysis of RU486 response identified genes related to adhesion and apoptosis, including down-regulated genes associated with cell-cell contacts and adhesion as CTNND1, JUP, CDH2, IQGAP1, and COL2A1.
CONCLUSIONS: Significant changes in gene expression by the Ishikawa cell line were detected after treatments with E2, P4, TAM, and RU486. These transcriptome data provide valuable insight into potential biomarkers related to endometrial receptivity, and also facilitate an understanding of the molecular changes that take place in the endometrium in the early stages of breast cancer treatment and contraception usage.

Guan H, Wei G, Wu J, et al.
Down-regulation of miR-218-2 and its host gene SLIT3 cooperate to promote invasion and progression of thyroid cancer.
J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2013; 98(8):E1334-44 [PubMed] Related Publications
CONTEXT: The functional relationships between intronic microRNAs (miRNAs) and their host genes in thyroid cancer remain unclear. miR-218, a miRNA down-regulated in several kinds of cancers and associated with multiple cancer phenotypes, is transcribed from 2 loci located on chromosomes 4p15.31 (miR-218-1) and 5q35.1 (miR-218-2) within the introns of SLIT2 and SLIT3, respectively.
OBJECTIVE: The aim of our work was to investigate the expression and the roles of miR-218-1 and miR-218-2, as well as their host genes SLIT2 and SLIT3 in thyroid carcinogenesis.
DESIGN: The expression of miR-218-1 and miR-218-2, as well as their host genes SLIT2 and SLIT3, in a panel of normal and neoplastic human thyroid tissues was assessed by quantitative RT-PCR. We restored the expression of miR-218-2 and SLIT3 in thyroid cancer cells and evaluated their effects on cell invasion, migration, and proliferation.
RESULTS: We found that miR-218-2 and its host gene SLIT3 were down-regulated concomitantly in thyroid cancer. Synergistic inhibitory effects of miR-218-2 with SLIT3 on thyroid cancer cell invasion, migration, and proliferation were observed. Moreover, the effects of miR-218-2 on thyroid cancer cells were due, at least partially, to targeting PDGFRA and PLCG1.
CONCLUSIONS: These results implicate the involvement of miR-218-2 and its host gene SLIT3 in thyroid cancer cell invasion, migration, and proliferation. Our findings highlight the functional associations of intronic miRNAs and their host genes in thyroid carcinogenesis.

Carmona FJ, Azuara D, Berenguer-Llergo A, et al.
DNA methylation biomarkers for noninvasive diagnosis of colorectal cancer.
Cancer Prev Res (Phila). 2013; 6(7):656-65 [PubMed] Related Publications
DNA methylation biomarkers for noninvasive diagnosis of colorectal cancer (CRC) and precursor lesions have been extensively studied. Different panels have been reported attempting to improve current protocols in clinical practice, although no definite biomarkers have been established. In the present study, we have examined patient biopsies starting from a comprehensive analysis of DNA methylation differences between paired normal and tumor samples in known cancer-related genes aiming to select the best performing candidates informative for CRC diagnosis in stool samples. Five selected markers were considered for subsequent analyses in independent biologic cohorts and in silico data sets. Among the five selected genes, three of them (AGTR1, WNT2 and SLIT2) were validated in stool DNA of affected patients with a detection sensitivity of 78% [95% confidence interval (CI), 56%-89%]. As a reference, DNA methylation of VIM and SEPT9 was evaluated in a subset of stool samples yielding sensitivities of 55% and 20%, respectively. Moreover, our panel may complement histologic and endoscopic diagnosis of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD)-associated neoplasia, as it was also efficient detecting aberrant DNA methylation in non-neoplastic tissue samples from affected patients. This novel panel of specific methylation markers can be useful for early diagnosis of CRC using stool DNA and may help in the follow-up of high-risk patients with IBD.

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