Gene Summary

Gene:SULF1; sulfatase 1
Aliases: SULF-1
Summary:This gene encodes an extracellular heparan sulfate endosulfatase. The encoded enzyme selectively removes 6-O-sulfate groups from heparan sulfate chains of heparan sulfate proteoglycans (HSPGs). The enzyme is secreted through the Golgi and is subsequently localized to the cell surface. The expression of this gene may be down-regulated in several types of cancer, including hepatocellular (HCC), ovarian and breast cancers. Alternative splicing results in multiple transcript variants. [provided by RefSeq, Aug 2013]
Databases:VEGA, OMIM, HGNC, Ensembl, GeneCard, Gene
Protein:extracellular sulfatase Sulf-1
Source:NCBIAccessed: 15 March, 2017


What does this gene/protein do?
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Cancer Overview

Research Indicators

Publications Per Year (1992-2017)
Graph generated 15 March 2017 using data from PubMed using criteria.

Literature Analysis

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Tag cloud generated 15 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: SULF1 (cancer-related)

Tsidulko AY, Matskova L, Astakhova LA, et al.
Proteoglycan expression correlates with the phenotype of malignant and non-malignant EBV-positive B-cell lines.
Oncotarget. 2015; 6(41):43529-39 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
The involvement of proteoglycans (PGs) in EBV-host interactions and lymphomagenesis remains poorly investigated. In this study, expression of major proteoglycans (syndecan-1, glypican-1, perlecan, versican, brevican, aggrecan, NG2, serglycin, decorin, biglycan, lumican, CD44), heparan sulphate (HS) metabolic system (EXT1/2, NDST1/2, GLCE, HS2ST1, HS3ST1/2, HS6ST1/2, SULF1/2, HPSE) and extracellular matrix (ECM) components (collagen 1A1, fibronectin, elastin) in primary B cells and EBV carrying cell lines with different phenotypes, patterns of EBV-host cell interaction and viral latency stages (type I-III) was investigated. Primary B cells expressed a wide repertoire of PGs (dominated by serglycin and CD44) and ECM components. Lymphoblastoid EBV+ B cell lines (LCLs) showed specific PG expression with down-regulation of CD44 and ECM components and up-regulation of serglycin and perlecan/HSPG2. For Burkitt's lymphoma cells (BL), serglycin was down-regulated in BL type III cells and perlecan in type I BL cells. The biosynthetic machinery for HS was active in all cell lines, with some tendency to be down-regulated in BL cells. 5'-aza-dC and/or Trichostatin A resulted in transcriptional upregulation of the genes, suggesting that low expression of ECM components, proteoglycan core proteins and HS biosynthetic system is due to epigenetic suppression in type I cells. Taken together, our data show that proteoglycans are expressed in primary B lymphocytes whereas they are not or only partly expressed in EBV-carrying cell lines, depending on their latency type program.

Mondal S, Roy D, Camacho-Pereira J, et al.
HSulf-1 deficiency dictates a metabolic reprograming of glycolysis and TCA cycle in ovarian cancer.
Oncotarget. 2015; 6(32):33705-19 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Warburg effect has emerged as a potential hallmark of many cancers. However, the molecular mechanisms that led to this metabolic state of aerobic glycolysis, particularly in ovarian cancer (OVCA) have not been completely elucidated. HSulf-1 predominantly functions by limiting the bioavailability of heparan binding growth factors and hence their downstream signaling. Here we report that HSulf-1, a known putative tumor suppressor, is a negative regulator of glycolysis. Silencing of HSulf-1 expression in OV202 cell line increased glucose uptake and lactate production by upregulating glycolytic genes such as Glut1, HKII, LDHA, as well as metabolites. Conversely, HSulf-1 overexpression in TOV21G cells resulted in the down regulation of glycolytic enzymes and reduced glycolytic phenotype, supporting the role of HSulf-1 loss in enhanced aerobic glycolysis. HSulf-1 deficiency mediated glycolytic enhancement also resulted in increased inhibitory phosphorylation of pyruvate dehydrogenase (PDH) thus blocking the entry of glucose flux into TCA cycle. Consistent with this, metabolomic and isotope tracer analysis showed reduced glucose flux into TCA cycle. Moreover, HSulf-1 loss is associated with lower oxygen consumption rate (OCR) and impaired mitochondrial function. Mechanistically, lack of HSulf-1 promotes c-Myc induction through HB-EGF-mediated p-ERK activation. Pharmacological inhibition of c-Myc reduced HB-EGF induced glycolytic enzymes implicating a major role of c-Myc in loss of HSulf-1 mediated altered glycolytic pathway in OVCA. Similarly, PG545 treatment, an agent that binds to heparan binding growth factors and sequesters growth factors away from their ligand also blocked HB-EGF signaling and reduced glucose uptake in vivo in HSulf-1 deficient cells.

Wang J, Xie H, Ling Q, et al.
Coding-noncoding gene expression in intrahepatic cholangiocarcinoma.
Transl Res. 2016; 168:107-21 [PubMed] Related Publications
Recent studies have shown that long noncoding RNAs (lncRNAs) play crucial roles in human cancers. However, the function of lncRNAs and their downstream mechanisms are largely unknown in the molecular pathogenesis of intrahepatic cholangiocarcinoma (ICC). In the present study, we performed transcriptomic profiling of ICC and paired adjacent noncancerous tissues (N) by using lncRNA and messenger RNA (mRNA) microarrays. Quantitative real-time polymerase chain reaction was used to validate the microarray results. We tested for correlations between the expression levels of lncRNAs and target genes. Clinicopathologic characteristics and overall survival were compared using the t test and the Kaplan-Meier method, respectively. A total of 2773 lncRNAs were significantly upregulated in ICC tissues compared with the noncancerous tissues, whereas 2392 lncRNAs were downregulated. Bioinformatic analysis indicated that most of the genes were involved in carcinogenesis, hepatic system diseases, and signal transductions. Positive correlations were found between 4 lncRNA-mRNA pairs (RNA43085 and SULF1, RNA47504 and KDM8, RNA58630 and PCSK6, and RNA40057 and CYP2D6). When the clinicopathologic characteristics were accounted for, the cumulative overall survival rate was found to be associated with low expression levels of CYP2D6 (P = 0.005) and PCSK6 (P = 0.038). Patients with high expression levels of CYP2D6 and RNA40057 had a better prognosis (P = 0.014). Our results suggested that the lncRNA expression profiling in ICC tissues is profoundly different from that in noncancerous tissues. Thus, lncRNA may be a potential diagnostic and prognostic biomarker for ICC. Furthermore, the combined assessment of lncRNA and mRNA expressions might predict the survival of patients with ICC.

Heidari-Hamedani G, Vivès RR, Seffouh A, et al.
Syndecan-1 alters heparan sulfate composition and signaling pathways in malignant mesothelioma.
Cell Signal. 2015; 27(10):2054-67 [PubMed] Related Publications
Syndecan-1 is a proteoglycan that acts as co-receptor through its heparan sulfate (HS) chains and plays important roles in cancer. HS chains are highly variable in length and sulfation pattern. This variability is enhanced by the SULF1/2 enzymes, which remove 6-O-sulfates from HS. We used malignant mesothelioma, an aggressive tumor with poor prognosis, as a model and demonstrated that syndecan-1 over-expression down-regulates SULF1 and alters the HS biosynthetic machinery. Biochemical characterization revealed a 2.7-fold reduction in HS content upon syndecan-1 over-expression, but an overall increase in sulfation. Consistent with low SULF1 levels, trisulfated disaccharides increased 2.5-fold. ERK1/2 activity was enhanced 6-fold. Counteracting ERK activation, Akt, WNK1, and c-Jun were inhibited. The net effect of these changes manifested in G1 cell cycle arrest. Studies of pleural effusions showed that SULF1 levels are lower in pleural malignancies compared to benign conditions and inversely correlate with the amounts of syndecan-1, suggesting important roles for syndecan-1 and SULF1 in malignant mesothelioma.

Suhovskih AV, Domanitskaya NV, Tsidulko AY, et al.
Tissue-specificity of heparan sulfate biosynthetic machinery in cancer.
Cell Adh Migr. 2015; 9(6):452-9 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Heparan sulfate (HS) proteoglycans are key components of cell microenvironment and fine structure of their polysaccharide HS chains plays an important role in cell-cell interactions, adhesion, migration and signaling. It is formed on non-template basis, so, structure and functional activity of HS biosynthetic machinery is crucial for correct HS biosynthesis and post-synthetic modification. To reveal cancer-related changes in transcriptional pattern of HS biosynthetic system, the expression of HS metabolism-involved genes (EXT1/2, NDST1/2, GLCE, 3OST1/HS3ST1, SULF1/2, HPSE) in human normal (fibroblasts, PNT2) and cancer (MCF7, LNCaP, PC3, DU145, H157, H647, A549, U2020, U87, HT116, KRC/Y) cell lines and breast, prostate, colon tumors was studied. Real-time RT-PCR and Western-blot analyses revealed specific transcriptional patterns and expression levels of HS biosynthetic system both in different cell lines in vitro and cancers in vivo. Balance between transcriptional activities of elongation- and post-synthetic modification- involved genes was suggested as most informative parameter for HS biosynthetic machinery characterization. Normal human fibroblasts showed elongation-oriented HS biosynthesis, while PNT2 prostate epithelial cells had modification-oriented one. However, cancer epithelial cells demonstrated common tendency to acquire fibroblast-like elongation-oriented mode of HS biosynthetic system. Surprisingly, aggressive metastatic cancer cells (U2020, DU145, KRC/Y) retained modification-oriented HS biosynthesis similar to normal PNT2 cells, possibly enabling the cells to keep like-to-normal cell surface glycosylation pattern to escape antimetastatic control. The obtained results show the cell type-specific changes of HS-biosynthetic machinery in cancer cells in vitro and tissue-specific changes in different cancers in vivo, supporting a close involvement of HS biosynthetic system in carcinogenesis.

Melaiu O, Melissari E, Mutti L, et al.
Expression status of candidate genes in mesothelioma tissues and cell lines.
Mutat Res. 2015; 771:6-12 [PubMed] Related Publications
In order to broaden knowledge on the pathogenesis of malignant pleural mesothelioma (MPM), we reviewed studies on the MPM-transcriptome and identified 119 deregulated genes. However, there was poor consistency among the studies. Thus, the expression of these genes was further investigated in the present work using reverse transcriptase-quantitative PCR (RT-qPCR) in 15 MPM and 20 non-MPM tissue samples. Fifty-nine genes showed a statistically significant deregulation and were further evaluated in two epithelioid MPM cell lines (compared to MET-5A, a non-MPM cell line). Nine genes (ACSL1, CCNO, CFB, PDGFRB, SULF1, TACC1, THBS2, TIMP3, XPOT) were deregulated with statistical significance in both cell lines, 12 (ASS1, CCNB1, CDH11, COL1A1, CXADR, EIF4G1, GALNT7, ITGA4, KRT5, PTGIS, RAN, SOD1) in at least one cell line, whereas 7 (DSP, HEG1, MCM4, MSLN, NME2, NMU, TNPO2) were close but did not reach the statistical significance in any of the cell line. Patients whose MPM tissues expressed elevated mRNA levels of BIRC5, DSP, NME2, and THBS2 showed a statistically significant shorter overall survival. Although MPM is a poorly studied cancer, some features are starting to emerge. Novel cancer genes are suggested here, in particular those involved in cell-cell and cell-matrix interactions.

Vicente CM, Lima MA, Yates EA, et al.
Enhanced tumorigenic potential of colorectal cancer cells by extracellular sulfatases.
Mol Cancer Res. 2015; 13(3):510-23 [PubMed] Related Publications
UNLABELLED: Heparan sulfate endosulfatase-1 and -2 (SULF1 and SULF2) are two important extracellular 6-O-endosulfatases that remove 6-O sulfate groups of N-glucosamine along heparan sulfate (HS) proteoglycan chains often found in the extracellular matrix. The HS sulfation pattern influences signaling events at the cell surface, which are critical for interactions with growth factors and their receptors. SULFs are overexpressed in several types of human tumors, but their role in cancer is still unclear because their molecular mechanism has not been fully explored and understood. To further investigate the functions of these sulfatases in tumorigenesis, stable overexpression models of these genes were generated in the colorectal cancer cells, Caco-2 and HCT-116. Importantly, mimicking overexpression of these sulfatases resulted in increased viability and proliferation, and augmented cell migration. These effects were reverted by shRNA-mediated knockdown of SULF1 or SULF2 and by the addition of unfractionated heparin. Detailed structural analysis of HS from cells overexpressing SULFs showed reduction in the trisulfated disaccharide UA(2S)-GlcNS(6S) and corresponding increase in UA(2S)-GlcNS disaccharide, as well as an unexpected rise in less common disaccharides containing GlcNAc(6S) residues. Moreover, cancer cells transfected with SULFs demonstrated increased Wnt signaling. In summary, SULF1 or SULF2 overexpression contributes to colorectal cancer cell proliferation, migration, and invasion.
IMPLICATIONS: This study reveals that sulfatases have oncogenic effects in colon cancer cells, suggesting an important role for these enzymes in cancer progression.

Wade A, Engler JR, Tran VM, Phillips JJ
Measuring sulfatase expression and invasion in glioblastoma.
Methods Mol Biol. 2015; 1229:507-16 [PubMed] Related Publications
Extracellular sulfatases (SULF1 and SULF2) selectively remove 6-O-sulfate groups from heparan sulfate proteoglycans (HSPGs) and by this process control important interactions of HSPGs with extracellular factors including morphogens, growth factors, and extracellular matrix components. The expression of SULF1 and SULF2 is dynamically regulated during development and is altered in pathological states such as glioblastoma (GBM), a highly malignant and highly invasive brain cancer. SULF2 protein is increased in an important subset of human GBM and it helps regulate receptor tyrosine kinase signaling and tumor growth in a murine model of the disease. By altering ligand binding to HSPGs, SULF2 has the potential to modify the extracellular availability of factors important in a number of cell processes including proliferation, chemotaxis, and migration. Diffuse invasion of malignant tumor cells into surrounding healthy brain is a characteristic feature of GBM that makes therapy challenging. Here, we describe methods to assess SULF2 expression in human tumor tissue and cell lines and how to relate this to tumor cell invasion.

Xu G, Ji W, Su Y, et al.
Sulfatase 1 (hSulf-1) reverses basic fibroblast growth factor-stimulated signaling and inhibits growth of hepatocellular carcinoma in animal model.
Oncotarget. 2014; 5(13):5029-39 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
The human sulfatase 1 (hSulf-1) gene encodes an endosulfatase that functions to inhibit the heparin-binding growth factor signaling, including the basic fibroblast growth factor (bFGF)-mediated pathway, by desulfating the cell surface heparan sulfate proteoglycans (HSPGs). bFGF could stimulate cell cycle progression and inhibit cell apoptosis, this biological effect can be reversed by hSulf-1. However, molecular mechanisms have not been fully reported. In the current study, by reactivation of hSulf-1 expression and function in the hSulf-1-negative hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) cell lines and HCC xenograft tumors, we found that hSulf-1 blocked the bFGF effect on the promotion of cell cycle and inhibition of apoptosis. The bFGF-stimulated activation of protein kinase B (AKT) and extracellular signal-regulated kinase (ERK) pathways was suppressed by hSulf-1, which led to a decreased expression of the target genes Cyclin D1 and Survivin, then finally induced cell cycle arrest and apoptosis in HCC cells. Our data suggested that hSulf-1 may be a suitable target for cancer therapy.

Gill RM, Michael A, Westley L, et al.
SULF1/SULF2 splice variants differentially regulate pancreatic tumour growth progression.
Exp Cell Res. 2014; 324(2):157-71 [PubMed] Related Publications
This study highlights the highly dynamic nature of SULF1/SULF2 splice variants in different human pancreatic cancers that regulate the activities of multiple cell signalling pathways in development and disease. Most pancreatic tumours expressed variable levels of both SULF1 and SULF2 variants including some expression during inflammation and pancreatitis. Many ductal and centro-acinar cell-derived pancreatic tumours are known to evolve into lethal pancreatic ductal adenocarcinomas but the present study also detected different stages of such tumour progression in the same tissue biopsies of not only acinar cell origin but also islet cell-derived cancers. The examination of caerulein-induced pancreatic injury and tumorigenesis in a Kras-driven mouse model confirmed the activation and gradual increase of SULF1/SULF2 variants during pancreatitis and tumorigenesis but with reduced levels in Stat3 conditional knockout mice with reduced inflammation. The significance of differential spatial and temporal patterns of specific SULF1/SULF2 splice variant expression during cancer growth became further apparent from their differential stimulatory or inhibitory effects on growth factor activities, tumour growth and angiogenesis not only during in vitro but also in vivo growth thus providing possible novel therapeutic targets.

He X, Khurana A, Roy D, et al.
Loss of HSulf-1 expression enhances tumorigenicity by inhibiting Bim expression in ovarian cancer.
Int J Cancer. 2014; 135(8):1783-9 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
The expression of human Sulfatase1 (HSulf-1) is downregulated in the majority of primary ovarian cancer tumors, but the functional consequence of this downregulation remains unclear. Using two different shRNAs (Sh1 and Sh2), HSulf-1 expression was stably downregulated in ovarian cancer OV202 cells. We found that HSulf-1-deficient OV202 Sh1 and Sh2 cells formed colonies in soft agar. In contrast, nontargeting control (NTC) shRNA-transduced OV202 cells did not form any colonies. Moreover, subcutaneous injection of OV202 HSulf-1-deficient cells resulted in tumor formation in nude mice, whereas OV202 NTC cells did not. Also, ectopic expression of HSulf-1 in ovarian cancer SKOV3 cells significantly suppressed tumor growth in nude mice. Here, we show that HSulf-1-deficient OV202 cells have markedly decreased expression of proapoptotic Bim protein, which can be rescued by restoring HSulf-1 expression in OV202 Sh1 cells. Enhanced expression of HSulf-1 in HSulf-1-deficient SKOV3 cells resulted in increased Bim expression. Decreased Bim levels after loss of HSulf-1 were due to increased p-ERK, because inhibition of ERK activity with PD98059 resulted in increased Bim expression. However, treatment with a PI3 kinase/AKT inhibitor, LY294002, failed to show any change in Bim protein level. Importantly, rescuing Bim expression in HSulf-1 knockdown cells significantly retarded tumor growth in nude mice. Collectively, these results suggest that loss of HSulf-1 expression promotes tumorigenicity in ovarian cancer through regulating Bim expression.

Cheng L, Zhang Q, Yang S, et al.
A 4-gene panel as a marker at chromosome 8q in Asian gastric cancer patients.
Genomics. 2013; 102(4):323-30 [PubMed] Related Publications
A widely held viewpoint is that the use of multiple markers, combined in some type of algorithm, will be necessary to provide high enough discrimination between diseased cases and non-diseased. We applied stepwise logistic regression analysis to identify the best combination of the 32 biomarkers at chromosome 8q on an independent public microarray test set of 80 paired gastric samples. A combination of SULF1, INTS8, ATP6V1C1, and GPR172A was identified with a prediction accuracy of 98.0% for discriminating carcinomas from adjacent noncancerous tissues in our previous 25 paired samples. Interestingly, the overexpression of SULF1 was associated with tumor invasion and metastasis. Function prediction analysis revealed that the 4-marker panel was mainly associated with acidification of intracellular compartments. Taken together, we found a 4-gene panel that accurately discriminated gastric carcinomas from adjacent noncancerous tissues and these results had potential clinical significance in the early diagnosis and targeted treatment of gastric cancer.

Bao L, Yan Y, Xu C, et al.
MicroRNA-21 suppresses PTEN and hSulf-1 expression and promotes hepatocellular carcinoma progression through AKT/ERK pathways.
Cancer Lett. 2013; 337(2):226-36 [PubMed] Related Publications
MicroRNAs (miRNAs) have been believed to associate with malignant progression including cancer cell proliferation, apoptosis, differentiation, angiogenesis, invasion and metastasis. However, the functions of miRNAs are intricate, one miRNA can directly or indirectly target multiple genes and function as oncogene or tumor suppressor gene. In this study, we found that miR-21 inhibits PTEN and human sulfatase-1 (hSulf-1) expression in hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) cells. The hSulf-1 is a heparin-degrading endosulfatase, which can inhibit the heparin binding growth factor-mediated signaling transduction into cells. Therefore, miR-21-mediated suppression of both hSulf-1 and PTEN led to activation of AKT/ERK pathways and epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT) in HCC cells, and finally enhance the activity of HCC cell proliferation and movement and promote HCC xenograft tumor growth in mouse models. These findings may provide candidate targets for prevention and treatment of HCC.

Yuen HF, McCrudden CM, Huang YH, et al.
TAZ expression as a prognostic indicator in colorectal cancer.
PLoS One. 2013; 8(1):e54211 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
The Hippo pathway restricts the activity of transcriptional coactivators TAZ (WWTR1) and YAP. TAZ and YAP are reported to be overexpressed in various cancers, however, their prognostic significance in colorectal cancers remains unstudied. The expression levels of TAZ and YAP, and their downstream transcriptional targets, AXL and CTGF, were extracted from two independent colon cancer patient datasets available in the Gene Expression Omnibus database, totaling 522 patients. We found that mRNA expressions of both TAZ and YAP were positively correlated with those of AXL and CTGF (p<0.05). High level mRNA expression of TAZ, AXL or CTGF significantly correlated with shorter survival. Importantly, patients co-overexpressing all 3 genes had a significantly shorter survival time, and combinatorial expression of these 3 genes was an independent predictor for survival. The downstream target genes for TAZ-AXL-CTGF overexpression were identified by Java application MyStats. Interestingly, genes that are associated with colon cancer progression (ANTXR1, EFEMP2, SULF1, TAGLN, VCAN, ZEB1 and ZEB2) were upregulated in patients co-overexpressing TAZ-AXL-CTGF. This TAZ-AXL-CTGF gene expression signature (GES) was then applied to Connectivity Map to identify small molecules that could potentially be utilized to reverse this GES. Of the top 20 small molecules identified by connectivity map, amiloride (a potassium sparing diuretic), and tretinoin (all-trans retinoic acid) have shown therapeutic promise in inhibition of colon cancer cell growth. Using MyStats, we found that low level expression of either ANO1 or SQLE were associated with a better prognosis in patients who co-overexpressed TAZ-AXL-CTGF, and that ANO1 was an independent predictor of survival together with TAZ-AXL-CTGF. Finally, we confirmed that TAZ regulates Axl, and plays an important role in clonogenicity and non-adherent growth in vitro and tumor formation in vivo. These data suggest that TAZ could be a therapeutic target for the treatment of colon cancer.

Zhang Y, Fang L, Zhang Q, et al.
An oncolytic adenovirus regulated by a radiation-inducible promoter selectively mediates hSulf-1 gene expression and mutually reinforces antitumor activity of I131-metuximab in hepatocellular carcinoma.
Mol Oncol. 2013; 7(3):346-58 [PubMed] Related Publications
Gene therapy and antibody approaches are crucial auxiliary strategies for hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) treatment. Previously, we established a survivin promoter-regulated oncolytic adenovirus that has inhibitory effect on HCC growth. The human sulfatase-1 (hSulf-1) gene can suppress the growth factor signaling pathways, then inhibit the proliferation of cancer cells and enhance cellular sensitivity to radiotherapy and chemotherapy. I(131)-metuximab (I(131)-mab) is a monoclonal anti-HCC antibody that conjugated to I(131) and specifically recognizes the HAb18G/CD147 antigen on HCC cells. To integrate the oncolytic adenovirus-based gene therapy and the I(131)-mab-based radioimmunotherapy, this study combined the CArG element of early growth response-l (Egr-l) gene with the survivin promoter to construct a radiation-inducible enhanced promoter, which was used to recombine a radiation-inducible oncolytic adenovirus as hSulf-1 gene vector. When I(131)-mab was incorporated into the treatment regimen, not only could the antibody produce radioimmunotherapeutic effect, but the I(131) radiation was able to further boost adenoviral proliferation. We demonstrated that the CArG-enhanced survivin promoter markedly improved the proliferative activity of the oncolytic adenovirus in HCC cells, thereby augmenting hSulf-1 expression and inducing cancer cell apoptosis. This novel strategy that involved multiple, synergistic mechanisms, including oncolytic therapy, gene therapy and radioimmunotherapy, was demonstrated to exert an excellent anti-cancer outcome, which will be a promising approach in HCC treatment.

Liu P, Gou M, Yi T, et al.
The enhanced antitumor effects of biodegradable cationic heparin-polyethyleneimine nanogels delivering HSulf-1 gene combined with cisplatin on ovarian cancer.
Int J Oncol. 2012; 41(4):1504-12 [PubMed] Related Publications
HSulf-1 (heparan sulfate 6-O-endosulfatase 1), a commonly downregulated gene in the majority of ovarian cancer cell lines, has been identified to play an important role in regulating tumorigenesis. Our previous studies demonstrated that HSulf-1 could inhibit angiogenesis and tumorigenesis in vivo. The employment of polymeric nanoparticles to deliver functional gene holds much promise as an effective therapeutic strategy against ovarian cancer. To develop more effective therapy, in this study, we investigated the antitumor effect of heparin-polyethyleneimine (HPEI) nanogels delivering HSulf-1 combined with cisplatin (DDP) on ovarian cancer. Expression of HSulf-1 in vitro and in vivo was determined by reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) and western blot analysis. A SKOV3 intraperitoneal ovarian carcinomatosis model in nude mice was established to assess the antitumor efficacy. Mice were treated with NS, pEP/HPEI complexes, pHSulf-1/HPEI complexes, DDP or pHSulf-1/HPEI plus DDP, respectively. Intraperitoneal tumors were weighed. Antiangiogenic effect in vivo was evaluated by CD31 immunostaining and alginate-encapsulate tumor cell assay. Detection of the proliferative cells and apoptotic cells in tumor tissues were performed by Ki-67 staining and TUNEL assay. Stable expression of HSulf-1 was detected in the pHSulf-1/HPEI and pHSulf-1/HPEI plus DDP groups. The combination of pHSulf-1/HPEI complexes with DDP exhibited enhanced antitumor activity, compared with the monotherapy of HSulf-1 or DDP alone (P<0.01). the combination therapy exerted significant antitumor activity through enhanced antiangiogenesis, induction of apoptosis and suppression of cell proliferation. Collectively, these observations provide evidence that HPEI nanogels delivering HSulf-1 combined with DDP may have a promising application in the therapy of human ovarian cancer.

Gill RB, Day A, Barstow A, et al.
Mammalian Sulf1 RNA alternative splicing and its significance to tumour growth regulation.
Tumour Biol. 2012; 33(5):1669-80 [PubMed] Related Publications
SULF1/SULF2 enzymes regulate the activities of several growth factors by selective hydrolysis of 6-O-sulphates of heparan sulphate proteoglycan co-receptors, the sulfation of which is essential for signal transduction of some ligand/receptor interactions but not others. This study demonstrates the existence of SULF1 variants with a wide spectrum of splicing patterns in mammalian tumours. The levels and relative proportions of SULF1/SULF2 splice variants markedly vary in different tumours with a potential to regulate cell growth differentially. Although mammalian Sulf1 compared with Sulf2 gene generates a much larger number of splice variants, both enzymes follow generally similar distribution and signalling association trends in hepatocellular carcinomas.

Hur K, Han TS, Jung EJ, et al.
Up-regulated expression of sulfatases (SULF1 and SULF2) as prognostic and metastasis predictive markers in human gastric cancer.
J Pathol. 2012; 228(1):88-98 [PubMed] Related Publications
Gastric cancer (GC) is the fourth most common cancer worldwide. In spite of the mortality incidence associated with GC, no reliable prognostic biomarkers are currently available for this malignancy. The sulfatases (or SULFs), SULF1 and SULF2, play a critical role in the pathogenesis of a variety of human cancers. We sought to evaluate the potential of SULFs as biomarkers for GC. Thirty pairs of GC and corresponding normal tissues were analysed for the expression and methylation status of SULFs. Furthermore, the functional role of SULF overexpression was investigated in GC cell lines and tumour xenograft animal models. Lastly, we validated the expression of SULF1 protein in a large cohort of 450 GC patients. GC tissues showed conspicuously higher expression of SULF1 (p = 0.0002) and SULF2 (p = 0.001) compared to normal mucosa, which was correlated with its promoter hypomethylation. Furthermore, high expression of SULFs caused marked acceleration in the growth of xenograft tumours in nude mice. The expression of SULF1 protein significantly correlated with higher recurrence rates (p = 0.0002) and worse overall survival (p < 0.0001) in GC patients. Multivariate analysis revealed that SULF1 is an independent prognostic (p = 0.0123) and lymph node metastasis predictive factor (p = 0.0003) in patients with GC. We provide novel evidence that hypomethylation of promoter CpG islands within SULF genes imparts them with oncogenic potential in GC. Moreover, our data suggest that SULF1 may serve as a promising biomarker for patients with GC.

Gopal G, Shirley S, Raja UM, Rajkumar T
Endo-sulfatase Sulf-1 protein expression is down-regulated in gastric cancer.
Asian Pac J Cancer Prev. 2012; 13(2):641-6 [PubMed] Related Publications
In our recent report on gene expression in gastric cancer we identified the endo-sulfatase Sulf-1 gene to be up-regulated in gastric tumors relative to apparently normal (AN), and paired normal (PN) gastric tissue samples. In the present report we investigate the protein expression levels of Sulf-1 gene in gastric tumors, AN and PN samples using tissue microarray (TMA) and immunohistochemistry. Expression data was collected from two sets of TMA's containing replicate sections of tissue samples. Scoring data from TMA set-1 revealed a significant difference in Sulf-1 immunoreactivity between tumors and "normals" (PN and AN) (p-value = 0.001928). Also, Sulf-1 expression in tumors was also significantly different from either PN (p-value = 0.019) or AN (p-value = 0.006) samples. Similar results were obtained from analysis of scoring data from the second set of arrays. Comparison of mRNA expression and protein expression in gastric tumor tissues revealed that in 6/20 (30%) tumor samples showed up-regulated protein expression concordant with over-expression of mRNA. However, a discord with mRNA being over-expressed relative to down regulated protein expression was observed in majority 14/20 (70%) of tumor samples. Our study indicates down regulation of Sulf-1 protein expression in gastric tumors relative to PN and AN samples which is discordant with mRNA over-expression seen in tumors.

Melaiu O, Cristaudo A, Melissari E, et al.
A review of transcriptome studies combined with data mining reveals novel potential markers of malignant pleural mesothelioma.
Mutat Res. 2012 Apr-Jun; 750(2):132-40 [PubMed] Related Publications
Malignant pleural mesothelioma (MPM), a cancer of the serosal pleural cavities, is one of the most aggressive human tumors. In order to identify genes crucial for the onset and progression of MPM, we performed an extensive literature review focused on transcriptome studies (RTS). In this kind of studies a great number of transcripts are analyzed without formulating any a priori hypothesis, thus preventing any bias coming from previously established knowledge that could lead to an over-representation of specific genes. Each study was thoroughly analyzed paying particular attention to: (i) the employed microarray platform, (ii) the number and type of samples, (iii) the fold-change, and (iv) the statistical significance of deregulated genes. We also performed data mining (DM) on MPM using three different tools (Coremine, SNPs3D, and GeneProspector). Results from RTS and DM were compared in order to restrict the number of genes potentially deregulated in MPM. Our main requirement for a gene to be a "mesothelioma gene" (MG) is to be reproducibly deregulated among independent studies and confirmed by DM. A list of MGs was thus produced, including PTGS2, BIRC5, ASS1, JUNB, MCM2, AURKA, FGF2, MKI67, CAV1, SFRP1, CCNB1, CDK4, and MSLN that might represent potential novel biomarkers or therapeutic targets for MPM. Moreover, it was found a sub-group of MGs including ASS1, JUNB, PTGS2, EEF2, SULF1, TOP2A, AURKA, BIRC5, CAV1, IFITM1, PCNA, and PKM2 that could explain, at least in part, the mechanisms of resistance to cisplatin, one first-line chemotherapeutic drug used for the disease. Finally, the pathway analysis showed that co-regulation networks related to the cross-talk between MPM and its micro-environment, in particular involving the adhesion molecules, integrins, and cytokines, might have an important role in MPM. Future studies are warranted to better characterize the role played by these genes in MPM.

Liu P, Gou M, Yi T, et al.
Efficient inhibition of an intraperitoneal xenograft model of human ovarian cancer by HSulf-1 gene delivered by biodegradable cationic heparin-polyethyleneimine nanogels.
Oncol Rep. 2012; 27(2):363-70 [PubMed] Related Publications
The HSulf-1 (heparan sulfate 6-O-endosulfatase 1) gene is an important element that modulates the sulfation status of heparan sulfate proteoglycans (HSPGs), leading to the interference of HSPG-related signal transduction pathways. HSulf-1 plays a key role in regulating cell proliferation, tumorigenesis and angiogenesis. Recently, some studies have reported that HSulf-1 is a down-regulated gene in the majority of examined tumor types. In our present study, a recombinant plasmid DNA carrying HSulf-1-cDNA (pHSulf-1) was constructed. The antitumor effect of pHSulf-1 delivered by heparin-polyethyleneimine (HPEI) nanogels on human ovarian cancer and the possible mechanisms of the antitumor efficacy in vivo were further investigated. Heparin-polyethyleneimine (HPEI) nanogels, as a new safe non-viral gene delivery carrier, were prepared to deliver the plasmid expressing HSulf-1 into HSulf-1-deficient SKOV3 human ovarian cancer cells in vitro and in vivo. pHSulf-1 could be efficiently transfected into SKOV3 ovarian cancer cells by HPEI nanogels in vitro and in vivo. Stable expression of HSulf-1 in vitro and in vivo was verified by reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) and Western blot analysis. Furthermore, a SKOV3 intraperitoneal ovarian carcinomatosis model was established to investigate the growth inhibition function of pHSulf-1 in nude mice. Tumor weight was measured. An anti-angiogenesis effect of pHSulf-1 in vivo was detected by CD31 immunostaining and alginate-encapsulate tumor cell assay. Assessment of apoptotic cells and proliferation index in tumor tissues were performed by TUNEL assay and Ki‑67 immunostaining. Intraperitoneal injection of pHSulf-1/HPEI complexes efficiently reduced tumor weight by approximately 87% compared with control groups (P<0.01). Meanwhile, reduction in angiogenesis, inhibition of cell proliferation, as well as induction of tumor cell apoptosis were observed, without apparent systemic toxic effects. Collectively, these observations provide the first evidence that pHSulf-1 delivered by HPEI nanogels may become a promising therapeutic strategy against human ovarian cancer.

Gill RB, Day A, Barstow A, et al.
Sulf2 gene is alternatively spliced in mammalian developing and tumour tissues with functional implications.
Biochem Biophys Res Commun. 2011; 414(3):468-73 [PubMed] Related Publications
SULF2 enzyme regulates the activities of a number of signalling pathways that in many tissues are up-regulated during development and disease. As we recently showed for avian Sulf1, the present study demonstrates that mammalian Sulf2 gene can also generate functionally distinct splice variants that would regulate normal development and tumour growth differentially. It is thus important to distinguish SULF1/SULF2 isoforms in mammalian tissues to understand their functional and clinical relevance to disease. This study demonstrates that unlike normal adult lung with little or no SULF2 expression, this enzyme is expressed at high levels in most lung tumours showing differential cellular distribution of full length and shorter SULF2 variants in such tumours. Furthermore, we show that the short SULF2 splice variants are associated with those signalling pathways that are inhibited by full length SULF1/SULF2 variants and therefore could promote growth in such lung tumours.

Ji W, Yang J, Wang D, et al.
hSulf-1 gene exhibits anticancer efficacy through negatively regulating VEGFR-2 signaling in human cancers.
PLoS One. 2011; 6(8):e23274 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
BACKGROUND: Human sulfatase 1 (hSulf-1) is a heparin-degrading endosulfatase that desulfates cell surface heparan sulfate proteoglycans (HSPGs) in extracellular matrix and negatively modulates heparin-binding growth factor and cytokine signaling in cell proliferation. But hSulf-1 function is more complicated, and its molecular mechanism has not been well known.
PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: To further investigate the functions of hSulf-1 gene in regulating the vascular endothelial growth factor receptor (VEGFR) signaling, a series of vectors expressing hSulf-1, hSulf-1 small hairpin RNA (shRNA) and VEGFR-2 shRNA were generated. hSulf-1 re-expression could downregualte the VEGFR-2 phosphorylation and inhibit cancer cell proliferation both in ovarian and hepatocellular cancer cell lines. Knockdown of hSulf-1 expression by hSulf-1 shRNA enhanced the recovery of high levels of phosphorylated VEGFR-2, and knockdown of VEGFR-2 expression by VEGFR-2 shRNA inhibited the proliferation activity of cancer cells in vitro to some extent. In human cancer xenografts in nude mice, tumor growth was inhibited markedly after injections of adenovirus expressing hSulf-1, with the tumor inhibition rates of 46.19% and 49.56% in ovarian and hepatocellular tumor models, respectively. hSulf-1 expression significantly reduced tumor microvessel density.
CONCLUSIONS: The results demonstrated that hSulf-1 re-expression both in ovarian and hepatocellular cancer cells induces antitumor efficacy by attenuating the phosphorylation of VEGFR-2 and suppressing angiogenesis. Therefore, hSulf-1-mediated antiproliferation and antiangiogenesis could be a reasonable approach for cancer therapy.

Dolmans GH, Werker PM, Hennies HC, et al.
Wnt signaling and Dupuytren's disease.
N Engl J Med. 2011; 365(4):307-17 [PubMed] Related Publications
BACKGROUND: Dupuytren's disease is a benign fibromatosis of the hands and fingers that leads to flexion contractures. We hypothesized that multiple genetic and environmental factors influence susceptibility to this disease and sought to identify susceptibility genes to better understand its pathogenesis.
METHODS: We conducted a genomewide association study of 960 Dutch persons with Dupuytren's disease and 3117 controls (the discovery set) to test for association between the disease and genetic markers. We tested the 35 single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) most strongly associated with Dupuytren's disease (P<1×10(-4)) in the discovery set in three additional, independent case series comprising a total of 1365 affected persons and 8445 controls from Germany, the United Kingdom, and The Netherlands.
RESULTS: Initially, we observed a significant genomewide association between Dupuytren's disease and 8 SNPs at three loci. Tests of replication and joint analysis of all data from 2325 patients with Dupuytren's disease and 11,562 controls yielded an association with 11 SNPs from nine different loci (P<5.0×10(-8)). Six of these loci contain genes known to be involved in the Wnt-signaling pathway: WNT4 (rs7524102) (P=2.8×10(-9); odds ratio, 1.28), SFRP4 (rs16879765) (P=5.6×10(-39); odds ratio, 1.98), WNT2 (rs4730775) (P=3.0×10(-8); odds ratio, 0.83), RSPO2 (rs611744) (P=7.9×10(-15); odds ratio, 0.75), SULF1 (rs2912522) (P=2.0×10(-13); odds ratio, 0.72), and WNT7B (rs6519955) (P=3.2×10(-33); odds ratio, 1.54).
CONCLUSIONS: This study implicates nine different loci involved in genetic susceptibility to Dupuytren's disease. The fact that six of these nine loci harbor genes encoding proteins in the Wnt-signaling pathway suggests that aberrations in this pathway are key to the process of fibromatosis in Dupuytren's disease.

Li J, Mo ML, Chen Z, et al.
HSulf-1 inhibits cell proliferation and invasion in human gastric cancer.
Cancer Sci. 2011; 102(10):1815-21 [PubMed] Related Publications
The HSulf-1 gene encodes an extracellular 6-O-endosulfatase and regulates the sulfation status of heparan sulfate proteoglycans (HSPG). We have demonstrated that promoter hypermethylation is correlated with the HSulf-1 silencing in gastric cancer. To investigate the functional importance of HSulf-1 silencing in gastric cancer, we restored HSulf-1 expression in the gastric cancer cell line MKN28, which lacks endogenous HSulf-1. Following restoration of expression, HSulf-1 inhibited cell proliferation, motility, and invasion in vitro, as well as significantly suppressing the MKN28 xenograft model (P < 0.05). No noticeable changes in proliferation and motility were observed following restoration of HSulf-1 in another gastric cancer cell line, namely AGS cells. Interestingly, in MKN28 cells, which have been reported to be dependent on extracellular Wnt signaling, we found that HSulf-1 inhibited the transcriptional activity of the Wnt ⁄ β-catenin pathway and downregulated its targeted genes. Conversely, in AGS cells, in the constitutive Wnt ⁄ β-catenin pathway is active, HSulf-1 had no effect on the activity of the Wnt ⁄ β-catenin pathway. Furthermore, transfection of Wnt3a cDNA or β-catenin shRNA resulted in rescue or enhancement, respectively, of the effects of HSulf-1 in MKN28 cells. Furthermore, HSPG epitope analysis confirmed that HSulf-1 affected the structure of heparan sulfate on the cell surface. Together, the results of the present study suggest that extracellular HSulf-1 may function as a negative regulator of proliferation and invasion in gastric cancer by suppressing Wnt ⁄ β-catenin signaling at the cell surface.

Bret C, Moreaux J, Schved JF, et al.
SULFs in human neoplasia: implication as progression and prognosis factors.
J Transl Med. 2011; 9:72 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
BACKGROUND: The sulfation pattern of heparan sulfate chains influences signaling events mediated by heparan sulfate proteoglycans located on cell surface. SULF1 and SULF2 are two endosulfatases able to cleave specific 6-O sulfate groups within the heparan chains. Their action can modulate signaling processes, many of which with key relevance for cancer development and expansion. SULF1 has been associated with tumor suppressor effects in various models of cancer, whereas SULF2 dysregulation was in relation with protumorigenic actions. However, other observations argue for contradictory effects of these sulfatases in cancer, suggesting the complexity of their action in the tumor microenvironment.
METHODS: We compared the expression of the genes encoding SULF1, SULF2 and heparan sulfate proteoglycans in a large panel of cancer samples to their normal tissue counterparts using publicly available gene expression data, including the data obtained from two cohorts of newly-diagnosed multiple myeloma patients, the Oncomine Cancer Microarray database, the Amazonia data base and the ITTACA database. We also analysed prognosis data in relation with these databases.
RESULTS: We demonstrated that SULF2 expression in primary multiple myeloma cells was associated with a poor prognosis in two independent large cohorts of patients. It remained an independent predictor when considered together with conventional multiple myeloma prognosis factors. Besides, we observed an over-representation of SULF2 gene expression in skin cancer, colorectal carcinoma, testicular teratoma and liver cancer compared to their normal tissue counterpart. We found that SULF2 was significantly over-expressed in high grade uveal melanoma compared to low grade and in patients presenting colorectal carcinoma compared to benign colon adenoma.We observed that, in addition to previous observations, SULF1 gene expression was increased in T prolymphocytic leukemia, acute myeloid leukemia and in renal carcinoma compared to corresponding normal tissues. Furthermore, we found that high SULF1 expression was associated with a poor prognosis in lung adenocarcinoma.Finally, SULF1 and SULF2 were simultaneously overexpressed in 6 cancer types: brain, breast, head and neck, renal, skin and testicular cancers.
CONCLUSIONS: SULF1 and SULF2 are overexpressed in various human cancer types and can be associated to progression and prognosis. Targeting SULF1 and/or SULF2 could be interesting strategies to develop novel cancer therapies.

Wang Y, Rishi AK, Wu W, et al.
Curcumin suppresses growth of mesothelioma cells in vitro and in vivo, in part, by stimulating apoptosis.
Mol Cell Biochem. 2011; 357(1-2):83-94 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Malignant pleural mesothelioma (MPM) is an aggressive, asbestos-related malignancy of the thoracic pleura. Although, platinum-based agents are the first line of therapy, there is an urgent need for second-line therapies to treat the drug-resistant MPM. Cell cycle as well as apoptosis pathways are frequently altered in MPM and thus remain attractive targets for intervention strategies. Curcumin, the major component in the spice turmeric, alone or in combination with other chemotherapeutics has been under investigation for a number of cancers. In this study, we investigated the biological and molecular responses of MPM cells to curcumin treatments and the mechanisms involved. Flow-cytometric analyses coupled with western immunoblotting and gene-array analyses were conducted to determine mechanisms of curcumin-dependent growth suppression of human (H2373, H2452, H2461, and H226) and murine (AB12) MPM cells. Curcumin inhibited MPM cell growth in a dose- and time-dependent manner while pretreatment of MPM cells with curcumin enhanced cisplatin efficacy. Curcumin activated the stress-activated p38 kinase, caspases 9 and 3, caused elevated levels of proapoptotic proteins Bax, stimulated PARP cleavage, and apoptosis. In addition, curcumin treatments stimulated expression of novel transducers of cell growth suppression such as CARP-1, XAF1, and SULF1 proteins. Oral administration of curcumin inhibited growth of murine MPM cell-derived tumors in vivo in part by stimulating apoptosis. Thus, curcumin targets cell cycle and promotes apoptosis to suppress MPM growth in vitro and in vivo. Our studies provide a proof-of-principle rationale for further in-depth analysis of MPM growth suppression mechanisms and their future exploitation in effective management of resistant MPM.

Khurana A, Liu P, Mellone P, et al.
HSulf-1 modulates FGF2- and hypoxia-mediated migration and invasion of breast cancer cells.
Cancer Res. 2011; 71(6):2152-61 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
HSulf-1 modulates the sulfation states of heparan sulfate proteoglycans critical for heparin binding growth factor signaling. In the present study, we show that HSulf-1 is transcriptionally deregulated under hypoxia in breast cancer cell lines. Knockdown of HIF-1α rescued HSulf-1 downregulation imposed by hypoxia, both at the RNA and protein levels. Chromatin immunoprecipitation with HIF-1α and HIF-2α antibodies confirmed recruitment of HIF-α proteins to the two functional hypoxia-responsive elements on the native HSulf-1 promoter. HSulf-1 depletion in breast cancer cells resulted in an increased and sustained bFGF2 (basic fibroblast growth factor) signaling and promoted cell migration and invasion under hypoxic conditions. In addition, FGFR2 (fibroblast growth factor receptor 2) depletion in HSulf-1-silenced breast cancer cells attenuated hypoxia-mediated cell invasion. Immunohistochemical analysis of 53 invasive ductal carcinomas and their autologous metastatic lesions revealed an inverse correlation for the expression of HSulf-1 to CAIX in both the primary tumors (P ≥ 0.0198) and metastatic lesions (P ≥ 0.0067), respectively, by χ(2) test. Finally, HSulf-1 expression levels in breast tumors by RNA in situ hybridization showed that high HSulf-1 expression is associated with increased disease-free and overall survival (P ≥ 0.03 and P ≥ 0.0001, respectively). Collectively, these results reveal an important link between loss of HSulf-1 under hypoxic microenvironment and increased growth factor signaling, cell migration, and invasion.

Han CH, Huang YJ, Lu KH, et al.
Polymorphisms in the SULF1 gene are associated with early age of onset and survival of ovarian cancer.
J Exp Clin Cancer Res. 2011; 30:5 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
BACKGROUND: SULF1 (sulfatase 1) selectively removes the 6-O-sulphate group from heparan sulfate, changing the binding sites for extracellular growth factors. SULF1 expression has been reported to be decreased in various cancers, including ovarian cancer. We hypothesized that single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) of SULF1 would impact clinicopathologic characteristics.
METHODS: We genotyped five common (minor allele frequency>0.05) regulatory SNPs with predicted functionalities (rs2623047 G>A, rs13264163 A>G, rs6990375 G>A, rs3802278 G>A, and rs3087714 C>T) in 168 patients with primary epithelial ovarian cancer, using the polymerase chain reaction-restriction fragment length polymorphism method.
RESULTS: We found that rs2623047 G>A was significantly associated with an early age of onset of ovarian cancer in the G allele dose-response manner (P = 0.027; Ptrend = 0.007) and that rs2623047 GG/GA genotypes were associated with longer progression-free survival; rs6990375 G>A was also associated with the early age of onset in the A allele dose-response manner (P = 0.013; Ptrend= 0.009). The significant differences in age of disease onset persisted among carriers of haplotypes of rs2623047 and rs6990375 (P = 0.014; Ptrend = 0.004). In luciferase reporter gene assays, rs2623047 G allele showed a slightly higher promoter activity than the A allele in the SKOV3 tumorigenic cell line.
CONCLUSIONS: These findings suggest that genetic variations in SULF1 may play a role in ovarian cancer onset and prognosis. Further studies with large sample sizes and of the mechanistic relevance of SULF1 SNPs are warranted.

Yang JD, Sun Z, Hu C, et al.
Sulfatase 1 and sulfatase 2 in hepatocellular carcinoma: associated signaling pathways, tumor phenotypes, and survival.
Genes Chromosomes Cancer. 2011; 50(2):122-35 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
The heparin-degrading endosulfatases sulfatase 1 (SULF1) and sulfatase 2 (SULF2) have opposing effects in hepatocarcinogenesis despite structural similarity. Using mRNA expression arrays, we analyzed the correlations of SULF expression with signaling networks in human hepatocellular carcinomas (HCCs) and the associations of SULF expression with tumor phenotype and patient survival. Data from two mRNA microarray analyses of 139 and 36 HCCs and adjacent tissues were used as training and validation sets. Partek and Metacore software were used to identify SULF correlated genes and their associated signaling pathways. Associations between SULF expression, the hepatoblast subtype of HCC, and survival were examined. Both SULF1 and 2 had strong positive correlations with periostin, IQGAP1, TGFB1, and vimentin and inverse correlations with HNF4A and IQGAP2. Genes correlated with both SULFs were highly associated with the cell adhesion, cytoskeletal remodeling, blood coagulation, TGFB, and Wnt/β-catenin and epithelial mesenchymal transition signaling pathways. Genes uniquely correlated with SULF2 were more associated with neoplastic processes than genes uniquely correlated with SULF1. High SULF expression was associated with the hepatoblast subtype of HCC. There was a bimodal effect of SULF1 expression on prognosis, with patients in the lowest or highest tertile having a worse prognosis than those in the middle tertile. SULFs have complex effects on HCC signaling and patient survival. There are functionally similar associations with cell adhesion, ECM remodeling, TGFB, and WNT pathways, but also unique associations of SULF1 and SULF2. The roles and targeting of the SULFs in cancer require further investigation.

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