VCAN

Gene Summary

Gene:VCAN; versican
Aliases: WGN, ERVR, GHAP, PG-M, WGN1, CSPG2
Location:5q14.2-q14.3
Summary:This gene is a member of the aggrecan/versican proteoglycan family. The protein encoded is a large chondroitin sulfate proteoglycan and is a major component of the extracellular matrix. This protein is involved in cell adhesion, proliferation, proliferation, migration and angiogenesis and plays a central role in tissue morphogenesis and maintenance. Mutations in this gene are the cause of Wagner syndrome type 1. Multiple transcript variants encoding different isoforms have been found for this gene. [provided by RefSeq, Aug 2009]
Databases:VEGA, OMIM, HGNC, Ensembl, GeneCard, Gene
Protein:versican core protein
Source:NCBIAccessed: 16 March, 2017

Ontology:

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.

  • Leiomyoma
  • Messenger RNA
  • Cancer Gene Expression Regulation
  • Up-Regulation
  • Western Blotting
  • Colorectal Cancer
  • Cell Movement
  • Biomarkers, Tumor
  • NOTCH1 Receptor
  • Gene Expression Profiling
  • RTPCR
  • Survival Rate
  • DNA Methylation
  • Oligonucleotide Array Sequence Analysis
  • Uterine Cancer
  • Melanoma
  • Extracellular Matrix Proteins
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Stromal Cells
  • Adenocarcinoma
  • Lung Cancer
  • Nuclear Proteins
  • Lectins, C-Type
  • Chondroitin Sulfate Proteoglycans
  • Angiogenesis
  • Chromosome 5
  • Skin Cancer
  • Protein Isoforms
  • Extracellular Matrix
  • Neoplasm Proteins
  • Transforming Growth Factor beta
  • Neoplasm Invasiveness
  • Fibronectins
  • Signal Transduction
  • ortho-Aminobenzoates
  • rab GTP-Binding Proteins
  • RT-PCR
  • Ovarian Cancer
  • Neoplastic Cell Transformation
  • Cell Adhesion Molecules
  • ROC Curve
Tag cloud generated 16 March, 2017 using data from PubMed, MeSH and CancerIndex

Specific Cancers (6)

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: VCAN (cancer-related)

Liu G, Wu K, Sheng Y
Elucidation of the molecular mechanisms of anaplastic thyroid carcinoma by integrated miRNA and mRNA analysis.
Oncol Rep. 2016; 36(5):3005-3013 [PubMed] Related Publications
To elucidate the complex molecular mechanisms of anaplastic thyroid carcinoma (ATC), the mRNA and miRNA expression profiles of ATC were systematically explored. A total of 55 common differentially expressed genes (DEGs) were obtained from two mRNA expression datasets including 23 ATC samples and 24 paired normal samples. Gene expression levels of three randomly selected DEGs, VCAN, COL5A1 and KCNJ16, were examined using RT-PCR in 10 ATC samples. Notably, the ATC and normal samples were clearly classified into two groups based on their common DEGs. Moreover 23 common DEGs, such as TG, NKX2-1, KCNJ16 and CTHRC1, were predicted to be the potential targets of 17 identified miRNAs in ATC. Meanwhile, several miRNA target genes were associated with biological processes related to tumor progression such as angiogenesis, cell migration or growth and potassium channel regulation. In summary, the poor prognosis of ATC is possibly caused via complex biological processes. Firstly, angiogenesis was activated by the high expression of CTHRC1, VCAN and POSTN, providing necessary nutrition for tumor cells. Then tumor distant metastasis was induced via stimulation of cell migration and cell growth or regulation of cell-cell interaction. Moreover, intracellular potassium concentration changes promoted ATC progression indirectly. Hence, identification of these critical DEGs was valuable in understanding the molecular mechanisms of ATC.

Yin H, Wang Y, Chen W, et al.
Drug-resistant CXCR4-positive cells have the molecular characteristics of EMT in NSCLC.
Gene. 2016; 594(1):23-29 [PubMed] Related Publications
High expression of Chemokine receptor 4 (CXCR4) is important in tumor invasion, metastasis, drug-resistance and maintenance of stemness in non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC). We therefore studied the molecular characteristics of drug-resistant CXCR4-positive cells on epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT) for the future identification of the tumor cells with the properties of both EMT and stemness. EMT RT(2) Profier PCR Array was performed to determine the expression levels of mRNA genes in A549 with TGF-β1 induced EMT (A549/TGF-β1) and gefitinib-resistant CXCR4-positive cells (A549/GR). TCGA database on the cBio Cancer Genomics Portal website and Gene Network Central (GNC) Pro Tutorial were used to analyze their clinical relevance and pathway interactions. CXCR4 was up-regulated both in TGF-β induced EMT cells and in gefitinib-resistant cells. In 84 mRNA genes related to EMT, 17 mRNA genes were up-regulated in CXCR4-positive population of A549/GR when compared to those in CXCR4 negative fraction, while 66 mRNA genes were up-regulated during TGF-β induced EMT. ITGA5, BMP7, MMP3, VIM, RGS2, ZEB2, TCF3, SNAI2, VCAN, PLEK2, WNT5A, COL3A1, SPARC and FOXC2 were doubly up-regulated during the two biological processes. Kaplan-Meier analysis indicated that the doubly up-regulated ITGA5, RGS2, SNAI2 and PLEK2 mRNA genes were related to poor overall survival in lung adenocarcinoma patients (P=9.291e-6, 0.0090, 3.81e-7 and 0.0013, respectively). In GNC analysis, SNAI2 mRNA gene but not ITGA5, RGS2 and PLEK2 was dependent on the signaling pathway of CXCR4. The molecular characteristics of drug-resistant CXCR4-positive cells have a crosstalk with EMT, which has the potential to find the marker with prognostic value on multiple signaling pathways in NSCLC.

Sluiter NR, de Cuba EM, Kwakman R, et al.
Versican and vascular endothelial growth factor expression levels in peritoneal metastases from colorectal cancer are associated with survival after cytoreductive surgery and hyperthermic intraperitoneal chemotherapy.
Clin Exp Metastasis. 2016; 33(4):297-307 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Cytoreductive surgery (CRS) and hyperthermic intraperitoneal chemotherapy (HIPEC) can increase survival of colorectal cancer (CRC) patients with peritoneal metastases (PM). This treatment is associated with high morbidity and mortality rates. Therefore, improvement of patient selection is necessary. Assuming that the clinical phenotype is dictated by biological mechanisms, biomarkers could play a crucial role in this process. Since it is unknown whether and to what extent angiogenesis influences the course of disease in patients with PM, we investigated the expression of two angiogenesis-related markers and their relation to overall survival (OS) in CRC patients after CRS and HIPEC. Clinicopathological data and tissue samples were collected from 65 CRC patients with isolated metastases to the peritoneum that underwent CRS and HIPEC. Whole tissue specimens from PM were evaluated for versican (VCAN) expression, VEGF expression and microvessel density (MVD) by immunohistochemistry. The relation between these markers and OS was assessed using univariate and multivariate analysis. Associations between VEGF expression, VCAN expression, MVD and clinicopathological data were tested. High stromal VCAN expression was associated with high MVD (p = 0.001), better resection outcome (p = 0.003) and high T-stage (p = 0.027). High epithelial VCAN expression was associated with MVD (p = 0.007) and a more complete resection (p < 0.001). In multivariate analysis, simplified peritoneal cancer index (p = 0.001), VEGF expression levels (p = 0.012), age (p = 0.030), epithelial VCAN expression levels (p = 0.042) and lymph node status (p = 0.053) were associated with OS. Concluding, VCAN and VEGF were associated with survival in CRC patients with PM after CRS and HIPEC. Independent validation in a well-defined patient cohort is required to confirm the putative prognostic role of these candidate biomarkers.

Teresa Pinto A, Laranjeiro Pinto M, Patrícia Cardoso A, et al.
Ionizing radiation modulates human macrophages towards a pro-inflammatory phenotype preserving their pro-invasive and pro-angiogenic capacities.
Sci Rep. 2016; 6:18765 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
In order to improve the efficacy of conventional radiotherapy, attention has been paid to immune cells, which not only modulate cancer cell response to therapy but are also highly recruited to tumours after irradiation. Particularly, the effect of ionizing radiation on macrophages, using therapeutically relevant doses, is not well understood. To evaluate how radiotherapy affects macrophage behaviour and macrophage-mediated cancer cell activity, human monocyte derived-macrophages were subjected, for a week, to cumulative ionizing radiation doses, as used during cancer treatment (2 Gy/fraction/day). Irradiated macrophages remained viable and metabolically active, despite DNA damage. NF-kappaB transcription activation and increased Bcl-xL expression evidenced the promotion of pro-survival activity. A significant increase of pro-inflammatory macrophage markers CD80, CD86 and HLA-DR, but not CCR7, TNF and IL1B was observed after 10 Gy cumulative doses, while anti-inflammatory markers CD163, MRC1, VCAN and IL-10 expression decreased, suggesting the modulation towards a more pro-inflammatory phenotype. Moreover, ionizing radiation induced macrophage morphological alterations and increased their phagocytic rate, without affecting matrix metalloproteases (MMP)2 and MMP9 activity. Importantly, irradiated macrophages promoted cancer cell-invasion and cancer cell-induced angiogenesis. Our work highlights macrophage ability to sustain cancer cell activities as a major concern that needs to be addressed to improve radiotherapy efficacy.

Keire PA, Bressler SL, Mulvihill ER, et al.
Inhibition of versican expression by siRNA facilitates tropoelastin synthesis and elastic fiber formation by human SK-LMS-1 leiomyosarcoma smooth muscle cells in vitro and in vivo.
Matrix Biol. 2016; 50:67-81 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Versican is an extracellular matrix (ECM) molecule that interacts with other ECM components to influence ECM organization, stability, composition, and cell behavior. Versican is known to increase in a number of cancers, but little is known about how versican influences the amount and organization of the ECM components in the tumor microenvironment. In the present study, we modulated versican expression using siRNAs in the human leiomyosarcoma (LMS) smooth muscle cell line SK-LMS-1, and observed the formation of elastin and elastic fibers in vitro and also in vivo in a nude mouse tumor model. Constitutive siRNA-directed knockdown of versican in LMS cells resulted in increased levels of elastin, as shown by immunohistochemical staining of the cells in vitro, and by mRNA and protein analyses. Moreover, versican siRNA LMS cells, when injected into nude mice, generated smaller tumors that had significantly greater immunohistochemical and histochemical staining for elastin when compared to control tumors. Additionally, microarray analyses were used to determine the influence of versican isoform modulation on gene expression profiles, and to identify genes that influence and relate to the process of elastogenesis. cDNA microarray analysis and TaqMan low density array validation identified previously unreported genes associated with downregulation of versican and increased elastogenesis. These results highlight an important role for the proteoglycan versican in regulating the expression and assembly of elastin and the phenotype of LMS cells.

Torabi K, Miró R, Fernández-Jiménez N, et al.
Patterns of somatic uniparental disomy identify novel tumor suppressor genes in colorectal cancer.
Carcinogenesis. 2015; 36(10):1103-10 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Colorectal cancer (CRC) is characterized by specific patterns of copy number alterations (CNAs), which helped with the identification of driver oncogenes and tumor suppressor genes (TSGs). More recently, the usage of single nucleotide polymorphism arrays provided information of copy number neutral loss of heterozygosity, thus suggesting the occurrence of somatic uniparental disomy (UPD) and uniparental polysomy (UPP) events. The aim of this study is to establish an integrative profiling of recurrent UPDs/UPPs and CNAs in sporadic CRC. Our results indicate that regions showing high frequencies of UPD/UPP mostly coincide with regions typically involved in genomic losses. Among them, chromosome arms 3p, 5q, 9q, 10q, 14q, 17p, 17q, 20p, 21q and 22q preferentially showed UPDs/UPPs over genomic losses suggesting that tumor cells must maintain the disomic state of certain genes to favor cellular fitness. A meta-analysis using over 300 samples from The Cancer Genome Atlas confirmed our findings. Several regions affected by recurrent UPDs/UPPs contain well-known TSGs, as well as novel candidates such as ARID1A, DLC1, TCF7L2 and DMBT1. In addition, VCAN, FLT4, SFRP1 and GAS7 were also frequently involved in regions of UPD/UPP and displayed high levels of methylation. Finally, sequencing and fluorescence in situ hybridization analysis of the gene APC underlined that a somatic UPD event might represent the second hit to achieve biallelic inactivation of this TSG in colorectal tumors. In summary, our data define a profile of somatic UPDs/UPPs in sporadic CRC and highlights the importance of these events as a mechanism to achieve the inactivation of TSGs.

Fujii K, Karpova MB, Asagoe K, et al.
Versican upregulation in Sézary cells alters growth, motility and resistance to chemotherapy.
Leukemia. 2015; 29(10):2024-32 [PubMed] Related Publications
Sézary syndrome (SéS) represents a leukemic variant of cutaneous T-cell lymphoma, whose etiology is still unknown. To identify dyregulated genes in SéS, we performed transcriptional profiling of Sézary cells (SCs) obtained from peripheral blood of patients with SéS. We identified versican as the highest upregulated gene in SCs. VCAN is an extracellular matrix proteoglycan, which is known to interfere with different cellular processes in cancer. Versican isoform V1 was the most commonly upregulated isoform in SCs. Using a lentiviral plasmid, we overexpressed versican V1 isoform in lymphoid cell lines, which altered their growth behavior by promoting formation of smaller cell clusters and by increasing their migratory capacity towards stromal cell-derived factor 1, thus promoting skin homing. Versican V1 overexpression exerted an inhibitory effect on cell proliferation, partially by promoting activation-induced cell death. Furthermore, V1 overexpression in lymphoid cell lines increased their sensitivity to doxorubicin and gemcitabine. In conclusion, we confirm versican as one of the dysregulated genes in SéS and describe its effects on the biology of SCs. Although versican overexpression confers lymphoid cells with increased migratory capacity, it also makes them more sensitive to activation-induced cell death and some chemotherapeutics, which could be exploited further for therapeutic purposes.

Wang Z, Li Z, Wang Y, et al.
Versican silencing improves the antitumor efficacy of endostatin by alleviating its induced inflammatory and immunosuppressive changes in the tumor microenvironment.
Oncol Rep. 2015; 33(6):2981-91 [PubMed] Related Publications
The systematic application of antiangiogenic therapy remains an issue of concern, mainly due to the hypoxic and inflammatory changes in the tumor microenvironment elicited by antiangiogenic therapy. Versican, a 'bridge' connecting inflammation with tumor progression as well as playing a central role in the generation of an inflammatory tumor microenvironment is a promising candidate for the intervention of inflammatory changes in the tumor microenvironment elicited by antiangiogenic therapy. To examine this hypothesis, a short-hairpin RNA targeting versican (shVCAN) was designed and shVCAN stable-transfected B16F1 and Lewis lung carcinoma (LLC) cell lines were established. Simultaneously, the established B16F1 and LLC tumor models were used to investigate the effect of versican silencing on the tumor burden of mice. The results showed that, versican silencing exerted an inhibitory effect on the proliferative and migratory ability of B16F1 cells, but did not affect LLC cells. Endostatin exhibited modest inhibition of tumor growth in tumor-bearing mice. Versican silencing alone effectively suppressed orthotopic tumor growth and significantly prolonged survival time of mice more effectively when combined with endostatin. Endostatin elicited inflammatory and immunosuppressive changes in the tumor microenvironment, including an accumulation of myeloid-derived suppressor cells (MDSCs), tumor-associated macrophages (TAMs) and inflammatory cytokines. In addition, NF-κB and HIF-1α were overexpressed in the tumor. Versican silencing improved the antitumor efficacy of endostatin by alleviating its induced changes in the tumor microenvironment. Thus, versican silencing in the tumor microenvironment offers a promising approach to reverse the tumor refractoriness to antiangiogenic therapies.

Gupta N, Khan R, Kumar R, et al.
Versican and its associated molecules: potential diagnostic markers for multiple myeloma.
Clin Chim Acta. 2015; 442:119-24 [PubMed] Related Publications
BACKGROUND: Multiple myeloma (MM) represents a malignancy of B-cells characterized by proliferation of malignant plasma cells in the bone marrow (BM). Versican (VCAN), an extracellular matrix (ECM) protein, appears to be involved in multiple processes in several cancers. Identifying optimum diagnostic markers and delineating its association with disease severity might be important for controlling MM.
METHODS: Expression of VCAN and its associated molecules (β-catenin, β1 integrin and FAK) were investigated in 60 subjects to evaluate their usefulness as diagnostic marker. Circulatory and molecular levels of above molecules were analyzed in their BM and Blood using ELISA, Q-PCR and western blotting along with their ROC curve analysis.
RESULTS: Circulatory levels of VCAN, β-catenin and FAK were significantly higher in patients with varying significance in each stage. β-Catenin and FAK intracellular levels were significantly elevated in patients. mRNA levels of all molecules were significantly higher in BMMNCs while VCAN and β-catenin also showed increase in PBMCs. Upregulation of these molecules was also observed at protein level. ROC curve analysis for VCAN showed absolute combination of sensitivity and specificity for diagnosis in serum.
CONCLUSIONS: Significant elevation of VCAN and its associated molecules imply their role in MM. Optimal sensitivity and specificity of VCAN might utilize its importance as potential marker for active disease.

Gao R, Cao C, Zhang M, et al.
A unifying gene signature for adenoid cystic cancer identifies parallel MYB-dependent and MYB-independent therapeutic targets.
Oncotarget. 2014; 5(24):12528-42 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
MYB activation is proposed to underlie development of adenoid cystic cancer (ACC), an aggressive salivary gland tumor with no effective systemic treatments. To discover druggable targets for ACC, we performed global mRNA/miRNA analyses of 12 ACC with matched normal tissues, and compared these data with 14 mucoepidermoid carcinomas (MEC) and 11 salivary adenocarcinomas (ADC). We detected a unique ACC gene signature of 1160 mRNAs and 22 miRNAs. MYB was the top-scoring gene (18-fold induction), however we observed the same signature in ACC without detectable MYB gene rearrangements. We also found 4 ACC tumors (1 among our 12 cases and 3 from public databases) with negligible MYB expression that retained the same ACC mRNA signature including over-expression of extracellular matrix (ECM) genes. Integration of this signature with somatic mutational analyses suggests that NOTCH1 and RUNX1 participate with MYB to activate ECM elements including the VCAN/HAPLN1 complex. We observed that forced MYB-NFIB expression in human salivary gland cells alters cell morphology and cell adhesion in vitro and depletion of VCAN blocked tumor cell growth of a short-term ACC tumor culture. In summary, we identified a unique ACC signature with parallel MYB-dependent and independent biomarkers and identified VCAN/HAPLN1 complexes as a potential target.

Kou Y, Zhao Y, Bao C, Wang Q
Comparison of Gene Expression Profile Between Tumor Tissue and Adjacent Non-tumor Tissue in Patients with Gastric Gastrointestinal Stromal Tumor (GIST).
Cell Biochem Biophys. 2015; 72(2):571-8 [PubMed] Related Publications
Gastrointestinal stromal tumors (GISTs) are defined as spindle cell and/or epithelioid tumors originated from interstitial Cajal cells or precursors in the digestive tract. This study was conducted to identify genes differing in expression between the gastric tumors and the adjacent non-cancerous mucosas in patients with primary gastric GIST. The gene expression profile was determined by using oligonucleotide-based DNA microarrays and further validated by quantitative real-time PCR. The Kyoto encyclopedia of genes and genomes (KEGG) pathway analysis was performed to predict signaling pathways involved in gastric GIST. Our data showed that the expression levels of 957 genes (RAB39B, member RAS oncogene family; VCAN, versican; etc.) were higher and that of 526 genes (CXCL14, chemokine C-X-C motif ligand 14; MTUS1, microtubule-associated tumor suppressor 1; etc.) were lower in the gastric tumor tissues as compared with normal gastric tissues. Results from KEGG pathway analysis revealed that the differentially expressed genes were enriched into 16 signaling transduction pathways, including Hedeghog and Wnt signaling pathways. Our study may provide basis for identification of novel biomarkers associated with primary gastric GIST pathogenesis and for exploration of underlying mechanisms involved in this gastric sarcoma.

Li F, Li S, Cheng T
TGF-β1 promotes osteosarcoma cell migration and invasion through the miR-143-versican pathway.
Cell Physiol Biochem. 2014; 34(6):2169-79 [PubMed] Related Publications
BACKGROUND & AIMS: TGF-β1 is an abundant cytokine present in the tumour microenvironment. It has been shown to trigger versican expression in human osteosarcoma cells, which may account for the metastatic potential of these cells. However, the underlying mechanism of TGF-β1-mediated metastasis remains unclear. The aim of this study was to evaluate the roles of versican in TGF-β1-induced osteosarcoma cell migration and invasion.
METHODS: Sixty paired osteosarcoma tumour tissues and adjacent normal tissues were obtained, and the relationship between Enneking stage and versican expression was tested by ANOVA analysis. Real-time PCR or Western blot was used to detect versican, Smad and miR-143 expression. Osteosarcoma cell migration and invasion was assessed using Boyden chambers. A luciferase reporter assay was employed to validate the miR-143-versican interaction.
RESULTS: Both versican isoforms, V0 and V1, were significantly differentially expressed in tumours at different stages. TGF-β1 promoted osteosarcoma cell migration and invasion in vitro by up-regulating versican. Furthermore, TGF-β1 suppressed miR-143 expression through a Smad 2/3-dependent pathway. miR-143 directly targets the versican 3'-UTR, and anti-miR-143 or versican knockdown blocked the effects of TGF-β1.
CONCLUSION: Our results suggest that TGF-β1 up-regulates versican expression by suppressing miR-143, and this pathway is important for osteosarcoma cell migration and invasion.

Keire PA, Bressler SL, Lemire JM, et al.
A role for versican in the development of leiomyosarcoma.
J Biol Chem. 2014; 289(49):34089-103 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Leiomyosarcoma (LMS) is a mesenchymal cancer that occurs throughout the body. Although LMS is easily recognized histopathologically, the cause of the disease remains unknown. Versican, an extracellular matrix proteoglycan, increases in LMS. Microarray analyses of 80 LMSs and 24 leiomyomas showed a significant elevated expression of versican in human LMS versus benign leiomyomas. To explore the importance of versican in this smooth muscle cell tumor, we used versican-directed siRNA to knock down versican expression in a LMS human cell line, SK-LMS-1. Decreased versican expression was accompanied by slower rates of LMS cell proliferation and migration, increased adhesion, and decreased accumulation of the extracellular matrix macromolecule hyaluronan. Addition of purified versican to cells expressing versican siRNA restored cell proliferation to the level of LMS controls, increased the pericellular coat and the retention of hyaluronan, and decreased cell adhesion in a dose-dependent manner. The presence of versican was not only synergistic with hyaluronan in increasing cell proliferation, but the depletion of versican decreased hyaluronan synthase expression and decreased the retention of hyaluronan. When LMS cells stably expressing versican siRNA were injected into nude mice, the resulting tumors displayed significantly less versican and hyaluronan staining, had lower volumes, and had reduced levels of mitosis as compared with controls. Collectively, these results suggest a role for using versican as a point of control in the management and treatment of LMS.

Kim NS, Lee HH, Jung CK, Jeon HM
Versican expression in tumor epithelial cells is correlated with a good prognosis in gastric cancer.
Anticancer Res. 2014; 34(10):5613-9 [PubMed] Related Publications
BACKGROUND/AIM: Versican expression has been reported to have prognostic value in several cancers. The aim of the present study was to investigate the prognostic significance of versican expression in gastric cancer.
MATERIALS AND METHODS: In total, 105 gastric cancer patients who received gastrectomy were included in the study. Versican expression in the epithelial and stromal components of the tumors was determined by immunohistochemistry.
RESULTS: Versican was expressed in 21.0% of tumor epithelial cells and 44.8% of stromal cells. Patients with versican expression in tumor epithelial cells had significantly better 5-year disease-free (p=0.021) and overall (p=0.034) survival rates, whereas versican expression in stromal cells was not associated with disease-free (p=0.532) and overall (p=0.876) survival. Multivariate analysis showed that versican expression in tumor epithelial cells was an independent prognostic indicator for better clinical outcome in disease-free and overall survival.
CONCLUSION: Versican expression in tumor epithelial cells predicts a good prognosis for gastric cancer patients.

Onken J, Moeckel S, Leukel P, et al.
Versican isoform V1 regulates proliferation and migration in high-grade gliomas.
J Neurooncol. 2014; 120(1):73-83 [PubMed] Related Publications
Versican is a large chondroitin sulphate proteoglycan produced by several tumor cell types, including high-grade gliomas. Increased expression of distinct versican isoforms in the extracellular matrix plays a role in tumor cell growth, adhesion and migration. We have recently shown that transforming growth factor (TGF-beta)2, an important modulator of glioma invasion, interacts with versican isoforms V0/V1 during malignant progression of glioma in vitro. However, the distinct subtype of versican that modulates these effects could not be specified. Here, we show that transient down-regulation of V1 by siRNA leads to a significant reduction of proliferation and migration in glioblastoma cell lines and glioblastoma progenitor cells, whereas tumor cell attachment stays unaffected. We conclude that V1 plays a predominant role in modulating central pathophysiological mechanisms as proliferation and migration in glioblastoma. Considering that TGF-beta is a master regulator of glioma pathophysiology, and that V0/1 is induced by TGF-beta2, therapeutic regulation of V1 may induce meaningful effects on glioma cell migration not only in vitro, but also in vivo.

Desjardins M, Xie J, Gurler H, et al.
Versican regulates metastasis of epithelial ovarian carcinoma cells and spheroids.
J Ovarian Res. 2014; 7:70 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
BACKGROUND: Epithelial ovarian carcinoma is a deadly disease characterized by overt peritoneal metastasis. Individual cells and multicellular aggregates, or spheroids, seed these metastases, both commonly found in ascites. Mechanisms that foster spheroid attachment to the peritoneal tissues preceding formation of secondary lesions are largely unknown.
METHODS: Cell culture models of SKOV-3, OVCAR3, OVCAR4, Caov-3, IGROV-1, and A2780 were used. In this report the role of versican was examined in adhesion of EOC spheroids and cells to peritoneal mesothelial cell monolayers in vitro as well as in formation of peritoneal tumors using an in vivo xenograft mouse model.
RESULTS: The data demonstrate that versican is instrumental in facilitating cell and spheroid adhesion to the mesothelial cell monolayers, as its reduction with specific shRNAs led to decreased adhesion. Furthermore, spheroids with reduced expression of versican failed to disaggregate to complete monolayers when seeded atop monolayers of peritoneal mesothelial cells. Failure of spheroids lacking versican to disaggregate as efficiently as controls could be attributed to a reduced cell migration that was observed in the absence of versican expression. Importantly, both spheroids and cells with reduced expression of versican demonstrated significantly impaired ability to generate peritoneal tumors when injected intraperitoneally into athymic nude mice.
CONCLUSIONS: Taken together these data suggest that versican regulates the development of peritoneal metastasis originating from cells and spheroids.

Yu J, Wu WK, Li X, et al.
Novel recurrently mutated genes and a prognostic mutation signature in colorectal cancer.
Gut. 2015; 64(4):636-45 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
BACKGROUND: Characterisation of colorectal cancer (CRC) genomes by next-generation sequencing has led to the discovery of novel recurrently mutated genes. Nevertheless, genomic data has not yet been used for CRC prognostication.
OBJECTIVE: To identify recurrent somatic mutations with prognostic significance in patients with CRC.
METHOD: Exome sequencing was performed to identify somatic mutations in tumour tissues of 22 patients with CRC, followed by validation of 187 recurrent and pathway-related genes using targeted capture sequencing in additional 160 cases.
RESULTS: Seven significantly mutated genes, including four reported (APC, TP53, KRAS and SMAD4) and three novel recurrently mutated genes (CDH10, FAT4 and DOCK2), exhibited high mutation prevalence (6-14% for novel cancer genes) and higher-than-expected number of non-silent mutations in our CRC cohort. For prognostication, a five-gene-signature (CDH10, COL6A3, SMAD4, TMEM132D, VCAN) was devised, in which mutation(s) in one or more of these genes was significantly associated with better overall survival independent of tumor-node-metastasis (TNM) staging. The median survival time was 80.4 months in the mutant group versus 42.4 months in the wild type group (p=0.0051). The prognostic significance of this signature was successfully verified using the data set from the Cancer Genome Atlas study.
CONCLUSIONS: The application of next-generation sequencing has led to the identification of three novel significantly mutated genes in CRC and a mutation signature that predicts survival outcomes for stratifying patients with CRC independent of TNM staging.

Oktem G, Sercan O, Guven U, et al.
Cancer stem cell differentiation: TGFβ1 and versican may trigger molecules for the organization of tumor spheroids.
Oncol Rep. 2014; 32(2):641-9 [PubMed] Related Publications
Cancer stem cells (CSCs) have the ability to self-renew similar to normal stem cells. This process is linked with metastasis and resistance to chemotherapy and radiotherapy. In the present study, we constructed an in vitro differentiation model for CSCs. CSCs isolated and proliferated for one passage were maintained as monolayers or spheroid-forming cells with serum included media for differentiation process. Differentiation of adhesion molecules and cellular ultrastructural properties were investigated and compared in both monolayer and spheroid cultures. CD133+/CD44+ cancer-initiating cells were isolated from DU-145 human prostate cancer cell line monolayer cultures and propagated as tumor spheroids and compared with the remaining heterogeneous cancer cell bulk population. Microarray-based gene expression analysis was applied to determine genes with differential expression and protein expression levels of candidates were analyzed by immunohistochemistry. Electron microscopy showed detailed analysis of morphology. TGFβ1 was found to be significantly upregulated in monolayer CSCs. High expression levels of VCAN, COL7A1, ITGβ3, MMP16, RPL13A, COL4A2 and TIMP1 and low expression levels of THBS1, MMP1 and MMP14 were detected when CSCs were maintained as serum-grown prostate CSC spheroids. Immunohistochemistry supported increased immunoreactivity of TGFβ1 in monolayer cultures and VCAN in spheroids. CSCs were found to possess multipotential differentiation capabilities through upregulation and/or downregulation of their markers. TGFβ1 is a triggering molecule, it stimulates versican, Col7A1, ITGβ3 and, most importantly, the upregulation of versican was only detected in CSCs. Our data support a model where CSCs must be engaged by one or more signaling cascades to differentiate and initiate tumor formation. This mechanism occurs with intracellular and extracellular signals and it is possible that CSCc themselves may be a source for extracellular signaling. These molecules functioning in tumor progression and differentiation may help develop targeted therapy.

Levy G, Malik M, Britten J, et al.
Liarozole inhibits transforming growth factor-β3--mediated extracellular matrix formation in human three-dimensional leiomyoma cultures.
Fertil Steril. 2014; 102(1):272-281.e2 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
OBJECTIVE: To investigate the impact of liarozole on transforming growth factor-β3 (TGF-β3) expression, TGF-β3 controlled profibrotic cytokines, and extracellular matrix formation in a three-dimensional (3D) leiomyoma model system.
DESIGN: Molecular and immunohistochemical analysis in a cell line evaluated in a three-dimensional culture.
SETTING: Laboratory study.
PATIENT(S): None.
INTERVENTION(S): Treatment of leiomyoma and myometrial cells with liarozole and TGF-β3 in a three-dimensional culture system.
MAIN OUTCOME MEASURE(S): Quantitative real-time reverse-transcriptase polymerase chain reaction and Western blotting to assess fold gene and protein expression of TGF-β3 and TGF-β3 regulated fibrotic cytokines: collagen 1A1 (COL1A1), fibronectin, and versican before and after treatment with liarozole, and confirmatory immunohistochemical stains of treated three-dimensional cultures.
RESULT(S): Both TGF-β3 gene and protein expression were elevated in leiomyoma cells compared with myometrium in two-dimensional and 3D cultures. Treatment with liarozole decreased TGF-β3 gene and protein expression. Extracellular matrix components versican, COL1A1, and fibronectin were also decreased by liarozole treatment in 3D cultures. Treatment of 3D cultures with TGF-β3 increased gene expression and protein production of COL1A1, fibronectin, and versican.
CONCLUSION(S): Liarozole decreased TGF-β3 and TGF-β3-mediated extracellular matrix expression in a 3D uterine leiomyoma culture system.

Bhattacharyya S, Feferman L, Tobacman JK
Arylsulfatase B regulates versican expression by galectin-3 and AP-1 mediated transcriptional effects.
Oncogene. 2014; 33(47):5467-76 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Arylsulfatase B (N-acetylgalactosamine-4-sulfatase; ARSB) removes 4-sulfate groups from chondroitin-4-sulfate (C4S) and dermatan sulfate and is required for their degradation. In human prostate stromal and epithelial cells, when ARSB was silenced, C4S, versican and versican promoter activity increased, and the galectin-3 that co-immunoprecipitated with C4S declined. Galectin-3 silencing inhibited the ARSB-silencing-induced increases in versican and versican promoter due to effects on the AP-1-binding site in the versican promoter. These findings demonstrate for the first time the transcriptional mechanism whereby ARSB can regulate expression of an extracellular matrix proteoglycan with C4S attachments. In addition, following ARSB silencing, C4S that co-immunoprecipitated with versican increased, whereas co-immunoprecipitated EGFR declined, total EGFR increased and exogenous EGF-induced cell proliferation increased, suggesting profound effects of ARSB on vital cell processes.

Pitule P, Vycital O, Bruha J, et al.
Differential expression and prognostic role of selected genes in colorectal cancer patients.
Anticancer Res. 2013; 33(11):4855-65 [PubMed] Related Publications
AIM: Colorectal cancer (CRC) is one of the most common malignant diseases. The aim of our study was to describe the expression status of 12 selected candidate genes, by comparing paired samples of healthy colon mucosa and tumour tissues and to correlate obtained data with clinical and pathological features, with the goal of revealing associations for individual gene expressions and tumour behaviour.
MATERIALS AND METHODS: Samples from 53 patients with CRC were analyzed. Patients were divided into two groups based on the presence or absence of distant metastases at the time of primary tumour surgery. Expression levels were assessed by quantitative real-time polymerase chain reaction.
RESULTS: We found changes in the expression of 10 out of 12 analyzed genes. Four genes were significantly up-regulated in tumour tissues: leucine-rich repeat-containing G protein-coupled receptor 5 (LGR5; p<0.001), collagen triple helix repeat containing 1 (CTHRC1; p<0.001), visinin-like 1 (VSNL1; p<0.001) and versican (VCAN; p=0.001). Six genes were down-regulated: destrin (DSTN; p=0.004), mesoderm induction early response 1, family member 3 (MIER3; p<0.001), acyl-CoA synthetase long-chain family member 5 (ACSL5; p=0.002), mitogen-activated protein kinase 1/ERK (MAPK1; p<0.001), claudin 23 (CLDN23; p<0.001) and solute carrier family 26 (sulfate transporter), member 2 (SLC26A2; p<0.001). We recorded longer overall survival (OS) in the group of patients with higher expression of VSNL1 (p=0.032). Patients with more pronounced down-regulation of CLDN23 had shorter OS (p=0.045). In the group of patients without distant metastases, longer OS and disease-free interval (DFI) were found for patients with higher SLC26A2 expression in tumour tissues (p=0.036 and p=0.011, respectively). In the same group, lower expression of VSNL1 in healthy tissue corresponded to a longer DFI (p=0.020), smaller decrease of SLC26A2 and ACSL5 meant longer DFI (p=0.041 and p=0.040, respectively), as did greater increase of LGR5 expression (p=0.026).
CONCLUSION: We identified differences in the expression of 10 genes in colorectal cancer tissue compared to healthy colon mucosa, and found prognostic significance for these changes which could be used for the development of a disease risk scoring system.

Cheon DJ, Tong Y, Sim MS, et al.
A collagen-remodeling gene signature regulated by TGF-β signaling is associated with metastasis and poor survival in serous ovarian cancer.
Clin Cancer Res. 2014; 20(3):711-23 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
PURPOSE: To elucidate molecular pathways contributing to metastatic cancer progression and poor clinical outcome in serous ovarian cancer.
EXPERIMENTAL DESIGN: Poor survival signatures from three different serous ovarian cancer datasets were compared and a common set of genes was identified. The predictive value of this gene signature was validated in independent datasets. The expression of the signature genes was evaluated in primary, metastatic, and/or recurrent cancers using quantitative PCR and in situ hybridization. Alterations in gene expression by TGF-β1 and functional consequences of loss of COL11A1 were evaluated using pharmacologic and knockdown approaches, respectively.
RESULTS: We identified and validated a 10-gene signature (AEBP1, COL11A1, COL5A1, COL6A2, LOX, POSTN, SNAI2, THBS2, TIMP3, and VCAN) that is associated with poor overall survival (OS) in patients with high-grade serous ovarian cancer. The signature genes encode extracellular matrix proteins involved in collagen remodeling. Expression of the signature genes is regulated by TGF-β1 signaling and is enriched in metastases in comparison with primary ovarian tumors. We demonstrate that levels of COL11A1, one of the signature genes, continuously increase during ovarian cancer disease progression, with the highest expression in recurrent metastases. Knockdown of COL11A1 decreases in vitro cell migration, invasion, and tumor progression in mice.
CONCLUSION: Our findings suggest that collagen-remodeling genes regulated by TGF-β1 signaling promote metastasis and contribute to poor OS in patients with serous ovarian cancer. Our 10-gene signature has both predictive value and biologic relevance and thus may be useful as a therapeutic target.

Havre PA, Dang LH, Ohnuma K, et al.
CD26 expression on T-anaplastic large cell lymphoma (ALCL) line Karpas 299 is associated with increased expression of versican and MT1-MMP and enhanced adhesion.
BMC Cancer. 2013; 13:517 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
BACKGROUND: CD26/dipeptidyl peptidase IV (DPPIV) is a multifunctional membrane protein with a key role in T-cell biology and also serves as a marker of aggressive cancers, including T-cell malignancies.
METHODS: Versican expression was measured by real-time RT-PCR and Western blots. Gene silencing of versican in parental Karpas 299 cells was performed using transduction-ready viral particles. The effect of versican depletion on surface expression of MT1-MMP was monitored by flow cytometry and surface biotinylation. CD44 secretion/cleavage and ERK (1/2) activation was followed by Western blotting. Collagenase I activity was measured by a live cell assay and in vesicles using a liquid-phase assay. Adhesion to collagen I was quantified by an MTS assay.
RESULTS: Versican expression was down-regulated in CD26-depleted Karpas 299 cells compared to the parental T-ALCL Karpas 299 cells. Knock down of versican in the parental Karpas 299 cells led to decreased MT1-MMP surface expression as well as decreased CD44 expression and secretion of the cleaved form of CD44. Parental Karpas 299 cells also exhibited higher collagenase I activity and greater adhesion to collagenase I than CD26-knockdown or versican-knockdown cells. ERK activation was also highest in parental Karpas 299 cells compared to CD26-knockdown or versican-knockdown clones.
CONCLUSIONS: Our data indicate that CD26 has a key role in cell adhesion and invasion, and potentially in tumorigenesis of T-cell lines, through its association with molecules and signal transduction pathways integral to these processes.

Xia L, Huang W, Tian D, et al.
Forkhead box Q1 promotes hepatocellular carcinoma metastasis by transactivating ZEB2 and VersicanV1 expression.
Hepatology. 2014; 59(3):958-73 [PubMed] Related Publications
UNLABELLED: Forkhead box Q1 (FoxQ1) is a master regulator of tumor metastasis. However, the molecular mechanism of FoxQ1 in regulating hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) metastasis remains unknown. Here we report a novel function for FoxQ1 in modifying the tumor microenvironment to promote HCC metastasis. FoxQ1 expression was an independent and significant risk factor for the recurrence and survival in two independent cohorts totaling 1,002 HCC patients. FoxQ1 induced epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT) through the transactivation of ZEB2 expression by directly binding to the ZEB2 promoter. Knockdown of ZEB2 decreased FoxQ1-enhanced HCC metastasis, whereas up-regulation of ZEB2 rescued the decreased metastasis induced by FoxQ1 knocking down. Additionally, serial deletion, site-directed mutagenesis, and a chromatin immunoprecipitation assays showed that VersicanV1, which promoted HCC metastasis and macrophage attraction, was a direct transcriptional target of FoxQ1. FoxQ1-induced VersicanV1 expression promoted the secretion of chemokine (C-C motif) ligand 2 (CCL2) from HCC cells. Chemotaxis assay showed that the culture media from FoxQ1-overexpressing HCC cells increased the migratory activity of the macrophages. Inhibition of VersicanV1 and CCL2 expression significantly inhibited FoxQ1-mediated macrophage migration. In animal studies, the up-regulation of FoxQ1 in HCC cells promoted HCC metastasis and intratumoral tumor associated macrophage (TAM) infiltration, whereas knockdown of VersicanV1 reduced FoxQ1-mediated HCC metastasis and intratumoral TAM infiltration. Depletion of macrophages using clodronate liposomes dramatically decreased FoxQ1-enhanced HCC metastasis. In human HCC tissues, FoxQ1 expression was positively correlated with ZEB2 and VersicanV1 expression and intratumoral TAM infiltration. Patients with positive coexpression of FoxQ1 and ZEB2, FoxQ1, and VersicanV1, or FoxQ1 and intratumoral TAMs were associated with poorer prognosis.
CONCLUSION: FoxQ1 promotes HCC metastasis by transactivating ZEB2 and VersicanV1 expression, resulting in the induction of EMT and the recruitment of macrophage infiltration.

Yeung TL, Leung CS, Wong KK, et al.
TGF-β modulates ovarian cancer invasion by upregulating CAF-derived versican in the tumor microenvironment.
Cancer Res. 2013; 73(16):5016-28 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
TGF-β has limited effects on ovarian cancer cells, but its contributions to ovarian tumor growth might be mediated through elements of the tumor microenvironment. In the present study, we tested the hypothesis that TGF modulates ovarian cancer progression by modulating the contribution of cancer-associated fibroblasts (CAF) that are present in the microenvironment. Transcriptome profiling of microdissected stromal and epithelial components of high-grade serous ovarian tumors and TGF-β-treated normal ovarian fibroblasts identified versican (VCAN) as a key upregulated target gene in CAFs. Functional evaluations in coculture experiments showed that TGF-β enhanced the aggressiveness of ovarian cancer cells by upregulating VCAN in CAFs. VCAN expression was regulated in CAFs through TGF-β receptor type II and SMAD signaling. Upregulated VCAN promoted the motility and invasion of ovarian cancer cells by activating the NF-κB signaling pathway and by upregulating expression of CD44, matrix metalloproteinase-9, and the hyaluronan-mediated motility receptor. Our work identified a TGF-β-inducible gene signature specific to CAFs in advanced high-grade serous ovarian tumors, and showed how TGF-β stimulates ovarian cancer cell motility and invasion by upregulating the CAF-specific gene VCAN. These findings suggest insights to develop or refine strategies for TGF-β-targeted therapy of ovarian cancer.

Du WW, Yang W, Yee AJ
Roles of versican in cancer biology--tumorigenesis, progression and metastasis.
Histol Histopathol. 2013; 28(6):701-13 [PubMed] Related Publications
Versican, a large extracellular matrix proteoglycan accumulates in tumor stroma and plays a key role in both malignant transformation and tumor progression. Increased versican expression has been observed in a wide range of malignant tumors, and has been associated with both cancer relapse and poor patient outcomes in breast, prostate, and many other cancer types. Through negatively-charged chondroitin and dermatan sulfate side chains or interactions of the G1 and G3 domains, versican is able to regulate many cellular processes including cell adhesion, proliferation, apoptosis, migration, angiogenesis, invasion and metastasis. In this review, the biological roles that versican plays in cancer development are presented. Therapeutic targeting of versican in malignant tumors is also discussed.

Li D, Wang X, Wu JL, et al.
Tumor-produced versican V1 enhances hCAP18/LL-37 expression in macrophages through activation of TLR2 and vitamin D3 signaling to promote ovarian cancer progression in vitro.
PLoS One. 2013; 8(2):e56616 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Tumor-associated macrophages have been shown to promote tumor growth. They may have an obligatory function in angiogenesis, invasion, and metastasis through release of inflammatory mediators. Their presence in ovarian cancer has been correlated with poor prognosis in these patients. The human cationic antimicrobial protein-18 (hCAP18)/LL-37 was originally identified as an effector molecule of the innate immune system. It is released by innate immune cells, such as macrophages, to combat microorganisms. Previous studies have characterized the hCAP18/LL-37 as a growth factor that has been shown to promote ovarian tumor progression. However, the role hCAP18/LL-37 has in macrophage-promoted ovarian tumor development and how its expression is controlled in this context remains poorly understood. Here, we demonstrate in co-culture experiments of macrophages and ovarian cancer cells a significant increase in the in vitro proliferation and invasiveness of the tumor cells is observed. These enhanced growth and invasion properties correlated with hCAP18/LL-37 induction. HCAP18/LL-37 expression was diminished by addition of two neutralizing antibodies, TLR2 or TLR6, as well as Cyp27B1 or VDR inhibitors. Furthermore, either the TLR2 or TLR6 antibody reduced vitamin D3 signaling and tumor cell progression in vitro. Addition of Cyp27B1 or VDR inhibitors abrogated TLR2/6 activation-induced expression of hCAP18/LL-37 in macrophages. Knockdown of tumor-produced versican V1 by RNAi in these tumor cells led to a decreased induction of hCAP18/LL-37 in macrophages. Versican V1 knockdown also inhibited TLR2 and vitamin D3 signaling, as well as growth and invasiveness of these tumor cells in the in vitro co-culture. In summary, we have found that versican V1 enhances hCAP18/LL-37 expression in macrophages through activation of TLR2 and subsequent vitamin D-dependent mechanisms which promote ovarian tumor progression in vitro.

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.

Devaraj S, Natarajan J
miRNA-mRNA network detects hub mRNAs and cancer specific miRNAs in lung cancer.
In Silico Biol. 2011-2012; 11(5-6):281-95 [PubMed] Related Publications
MicroRNA expression profiles can improve classification, diagnosis, and prognostic information of malignancies, including lung cancer. In this paper, we undertook to develop a miRNA-mRNA network and uncover unique growth suppressive miRNAs in lung cancer using microarray data. The miRNA-mRNA network was developed based on a bipartite graph theory approach, and a number of miRNA-mRNA modules have been identified to mine associations between miRNAs and mRNAs. From the network, we identified totally 29 protective miRNA-mRNA regulatory modules, since we restricted our search to protective miRNAs. Subsequently we analyzed the pathways for the target genes in the protective miRNA-mRNA modules using Pathway-Express. The miRNA-mRNA network efficiently detects hub mRNAs deregulated by the protective miRNAs and identifies cancer specific miRNAs in lung cancer. From the pathway analysis results, the ECM receptor pathway, Focal adhesion pathway and cell adhesion molecules pathway seem to be more interesting to investigate, since these pathways were related to all the ten protective miRNAs. Furthermore, protective miRNA target analysis revealed that genes VCAN, SIL, CD44 and MMP14 were found to have an important role in these pathways. Hence, it was inferred that these genes can be important putative targets for those protective miRNAs. A greater understanding of the mechanisms regulating VCAN, SIL, CD44 and MMP14 expression and activity will assist in the development of specific inhibitors of cancer cell metastasis. Thus these observations are expected to have an intense implication in cancer and may be useful for further research.

Fang L, Du WW, Yang X, et al.
Versican 3'-untranslated region (3'-UTR) functions as a ceRNA in inducing the development of hepatocellular carcinoma by regulating miRNA activity.
FASEB J. 2013; 27(3):907-19 [PubMed] Related Publications
This study was designed to explore the role of versican in the development of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). Ectopic expression of the versican 3'-untranslated region (3'-UTR) was studied as a competitive endogenous RNA for regulating miRNA functions. We used this approach to modulate the expression of versican and its related proteins in 3'-UTR transgenic mice and in the liver cancer cell line HepG2, stably transfected with the 3'-UTR or a control vector. We demonstrated that transgenic mice expressing the versican 3'-UTR developed HCC and increased expression of versican isoforms V0 and V1. HepG2 cells transfected with versican 3'-UTR displayed increased proliferation, survival, migration, invasion, colony formation, and enhanced endothelial cell growth, but decreased apoptosis. We found that versican 3'-UTR could bind to miRNAs miR-133a, miR-199a*, miR-144, and miR-431 and also interacted with CD34 and fibronectin. As a consequence, expression of versican, CD34, and fibronectin was up-regulated by ectopic transfection of the versican 3'-UTR, which was confirmed in HepG2 cells and in transgenic mice as compared with wild-type controls. Transfection with siRNAs targeting the versican 3'-UTR abolished the effects of the 3'-UTR. Taken together, these results demonstrate that versican V0 and V1 isoforms play important roles in HCC development and that versican mRNAs compete with endogenous RNAs in regulating miRNA functions.

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