Gene Summary

Gene:VIM; vimentin
Aliases: HEL113, CTRCT30
Summary:This gene encodes a member of the intermediate filament family. Intermediate filamentents, along with microtubules and actin microfilaments, make up the cytoskeleton. The protein encoded by this gene is responsible for maintaining cell shape, integrity of the cytoplasm, and stabilizing cytoskeletal interactions. It is also involved in the immune response, and controls the transport of low-density lipoprotein (LDL)-derived cholesterol from a lysosome to the site of esterification. It functions as an organizer of a number of critical proteins involved in attachment, migration, and cell signaling. Mutations in this gene causes a dominant, pulverulent cataract.[provided by RefSeq, Jun 2009]
Databases:VEGA, OMIM, HGNC, Ensembl, GeneCard, Gene
Source:NCBIAccessed: 14 March, 2017


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

Research Indicators

Publications Per Year (1992-2017)
Graph generated 14 March 2017 using data from PubMed using criteria.

Literature Analysis

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

Tag cloud generated 14 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: VIM (cancer-related)

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.

Nowakowska M, Matysiak-Burzyńska Z, Kowalska K, et al.
Angiotensin II promotes endometrial cancer cell survival.
Oncol Rep. 2016; 36(2):1101-10 [PubMed] Related Publications
Endometrial cancer (EC) is one of the most common female cancers. One of the key processes involved in EC development is uncontrolled proliferation stimulated by local factors such as angiotensin. The aim of the present study was to evaluate the influence of angiotensin II (Ang II) on human EC cells. Biological assays and gene expression analysis were performed on three cell lines: ISH, MFE-296 and MFE-280. Our results indicated that at the beginning of cancerogenesis Ang II induced abnormal proliferation at lower doses. We also showed that dose-dependent induction of proliferation was connected with changes in the expression of MKI67, CCND1 and CCNE1 genes in well- and poorly differentiated cancer cells. After Ang II treatment, poorly differentiated endometrial cancer cell line acquired a mesenchymal phenotype, which was characterized by induced expression of EMT-related genes (VIM, CD44, SNAI1, ZEB1 and ZEB2). Our study revealed that Ang II influences EC cells in terms of cancer-related processes, and is responsible for increased proliferation, reduction in apoptosis, increased mobility and modulation of adhesion potential. Its effect and effectiveness appear to be highly connected with the differentiation status of the cancerous cells, as Ang II appears to play a crucial role in the early and late stages of malignant transformation.

Zhang XL, Liu N, Weng SF, Wang HS
Bisphenol A Increases the Migration and Invasion of Triple-Negative Breast Cancer Cells via Oestrogen-related Receptor Gamma.
Basic Clin Pharmacol Toxicol. 2016; 119(4):389-95 [PubMed] Related Publications
Triple-negative breast cancer (TNBC) is characterized by great metastasis and invasion capability. Our study revealed that nanomolar bisphenol A (BPA), one of the most ubiquitous endocrine disruptors, can increase wound closure and invasion of both MDA-MB-231 and BT-549 cells. BPA treatment can increase protein and mRNA expression of matrix metalloproteinase-2 (MMP-2) and MMP-9, while had no effect on the expression of vimentin (Vim) and fibronectin (FN) in TNBC cells. The expression of G-protein-coupled receptor (GPER), which has been suggested to mediate rapid oestrogenic signals, was not varied in BPA-treated MDA-MB-231 and BT-549 cells. Its inhibitor G15 also had no effect on BPA-induced MMPs expression and cell invasion. Interestingly, BPA treatment can significantly increase the mRNA and protein expressions of oestrogen-related receptor γ (ERRγ), but not ERRα or ERRβ, in both MDA-MB-231 and BT-549 cells. The knock-down of ERRγ can markedly attenuate BPA-induced expression of MMP-2 and MMP-9 in TNBC cells. BPA treatment can activate both ERK1/2 and Akt in TNBC cells. Both inhibitors of ERK1/2 (PD98059) and Akt (LY294002) can attenuate BPA-induced ERRγ expression and cell invasion of MDA-MB-231 cells. Collectively, our data revealed that BPA can increase the expression of MMPs and in vitro motility of TNBC cells via ERRγ. Both activation of ERK1/2 and Akt participated in this process. Our study suggests that more attention should be paid to the roles of xenoestrogens such as BPA in the development and progression of TNBC.

Zhang YX, Zhao YL
Pathogenic Network Analysis Predicts Candidate Genes for Cervical Cancer.
Comput Math Methods Med. 2016; 2016:3186051 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
PURPOSE: The objective of our study was to predicate candidate genes in cervical cancer (CC) using a network-based strategy and to understand the pathogenic process of CC.
METHODS: A pathogenic network of CC was extracted based on known pathogenic genes (seed genes) and differentially expressed genes (DEGs) between CC and normal controls. Subsequently, cluster analysis was performed to identify the subnetworks in the pathogenic network using ClusterONE. Each gene in the pathogenic network was assigned a weight value, and then candidate genes were obtained based on the weight distribution. Eventually, pathway enrichment analysis for candidate genes was performed.
RESULTS: In this work, a total of 330 DEGs were identified between CC and normal controls. From the pathogenic network, 2 intensely connected clusters were extracted, and a total of 52 candidate genes were detected under the weight values greater than 0.10. Among these candidate genes, VIM had the highest weight value. Moreover, candidate genes MMP1, CDC45, and CAT were, respectively, enriched in pathway in cancer, cell cycle, and methane metabolism.
CONCLUSION: Candidate pathogenic genes including MMP1, CDC45, CAT, and VIM might be involved in the pathogenesis of CC. We believe that our results can provide theoretical guidelines for future clinical application.

Płuciennik E, Nowakowska M, Gałdyszyńska M, et al.
The influence of the WWOX gene on the regulation of biological processes during endometrial carcinogenesis.
Int J Mol Med. 2016; 37(3):807-15 [PubMed] Related Publications
The purpose of the present study was to investigate the role of WW domain containing oxidoreductase (WWOX) downregulation in biological cancer-related processes in normal (non-malignant) and cancer endometrial cell lines. We created an in vitro model using the normal endometrial cell line, THESC, and 2 endometrial cancer cell lines with varying degrees of differentiation, the Ishikawa (well-differentiated) and the MFE296 (moderately differentiated) cells, in which the WWOX tumor suppressor gene was silenced using Gipz lentiviral shRNA. In this model, we examined the changes in invasiveness via biological assays, such as zymography, migration through a basement membrane, the adhesion of cells to extracellular matrix proteins, anchorage-independent growth and colony formation assay. We also evaluated the correlation between the mRNA expression of the WWOX gene and genes involved in the processes of carcinogenesis, namely catenin beta-1 (CTNNB1) and zinc finger E-box binding homeobox 1 (ZEB1) (gene transcription), cadherin 1 (CDH1) and ezrin (EZR) (cell adhesion), vimentin (VIM) (structural proteins), as well as phosphatase and tensin homolog (PTEN) (tumor suppression) and secreted protein, acidic, cysteine-rich (osteonectin) (SPARC) (SPARC) (cell growth regulation) by RT-qPCR. Downregulation of the WWOX gene in the moderately differentiated MFE296 cell line caused decreased migratory capacity, and a reduction of matrix metalloproteinase-2 (MMP-2) activity. However, these cells grew in semisolid medium and exhibited higher expression of CDH1 and EZR (cell adhesion) and secreted protein, acidic, cysteine-rich (osteonectin) (SPARC) (cell growth regulation). Moreover, in the well-differentiated endometrial cancer (Ishikawa) cell line, WWOX gene silencing resulted in an increased ability of the cells to proliferate indefinitely. Additionally, WWOX regulated changes in adhesion potential in both the normal and cancer cell lines. Our results suggest that the WWOX tumor suppressor gene modulated the processes of cell motility, cell adhesion, gene expression and remodeling in endometrial cell lines.

Aumsuwan P, Khan SI, Khan IA, et al.
The anticancer potential of steroidal saponin, dioscin, isolated from wild yam (Dioscorea villosa) root extract in invasive human breast cancer cell line MDA-MB-231 in vitro.
Arch Biochem Biophys. 2016; 591:98-110 [PubMed] Related Publications
Previously, we observed that wild yam (Dioscorea villosa) root extract (WYRE) was able to activate GATA3 in human breast cancer cells targeting epigenome. This study aimed to find out if dioscin (DS), a bioactive compound of WYRE, can modulate GATA3 functions and cellular invasion in human breast cancer cells. MCF-7 and MDA-MB-231 cells were treated in the absence/presence of various concentrations of DS and subjected to gene analysis by RT-qPCR, immunoblotting, and immunocytochemistry. We determined the ability of MDA-MB-231 cells to migrate into wound area and examined the effects of DS on cellular invasion using invasion assay. DS reduced cell viability of both cell lines in a concentration and time-dependent manner. GATA3 expression was enhanced by DS (5.76 μM) in MDA-MB-231 cells. DS (5.76 μM)-treated MDA-MB-231 cells exhibited the morphological characteristic of epithelial-like cells; mRNA expression of DNMT3A, TET2, TET3, ZFPM2 and E-cad were increased while TET1, VIM and MMP9 were decreased. Cellular invasion of MDA-MB-231 was reduced by 65 ± 5% in the presence of 5.76 μM DS. Our data suggested that DS-mediated pathway could promote GATA3 expression at transcription and translation levels. We propose that DS has potential to be used as an anti-invasive agent in breast cancer.

Feng J, Cen J, Li J, et al.
Histone deacetylase inhibitor valproic acid (VPA) promotes the epithelial mesenchymal transition of colorectal cancer cells via up regulation of Snail.
Cell Adh Migr. 2015; 9(6):495-501 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Histone deacetylase inhibitors (HDACIs) have been shown to have antiproliferative activity through cell-cycle arrest, differentiation, and apoptosis in colorectal cancer (CRC) cells. Our present study revealed that one HDAC inhibitor, valproic acid (VPA), can obviously promote in vitro motility of HCT-116 and SW480 cells. VPA treatment significantly down regulates the expression of epithelial markers E-Cadherin (E-Cad) and Zona occludin-1(ZO-1) while up regulates the mesenchymal markers Vimentin (Vim) and N-cadherin (N-Cad), suggesting that VPA can trigger the epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT) of CRC cells. VPA treatment significantly increases the expression and nuclear localization of Snail, the key transcription factors of EMT. Snail knockdown by siRNAs obviously reverses VPA induced EMT of HCT-116 and SW480 cells. Further, VPA can decrease the ubiquitination, increase the acetylation, and then elevate the stabilization of Snail. VPA also increases the phosphorylation of Akt/GSK-3β. The inhibitor of PI3K/Akt, LY2994002, significantly attenuates VPA induced phosphorylation of Akt and GSK-3β and up regulation of Snail and Vim. Collectively, our data reveal that VPA can trigger the EMT of CRC cells via up regulation of Snail through AKT/GSK-3β signals and post-transcriptional modification. It suggests that more attention should be paid when VPA used as a new anticancer drug for CRC patients.

Lu Y, Xiao L, Liu Y, et al.
MIR517C inhibits autophagy and the epithelial-to-mesenchymal (-like) transition phenotype in human glioblastoma through KPNA2-dependent disruption of TP53 nuclear translocation.
Autophagy. 2015; 11(12):2213-32 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
The epithelial-to-mesenchymal (-like) transition (EMT), a crucial embryonic development program, has been linked to the regulation of glioblastoma (GBM) progression and invasion. Here, we investigated the role of MIR517C/miR-517c, which belongs to the C19MC microRNA cluster identified in our preliminary studies, in the pathogenesis of GBM. We found that MIR517C was associated with improved prognosis in patients with GBM. Furthermore, following treatment with the autophagy inducer temozolomide (TMZ) and low glucose (LG), MIR517C degraded KPNA2 (karyopherin alpha 2 [RAG cohort 1, importin alpha 1]) and subsequently disturbed the nuclear translocation of TP53 in the GBM cell line U87 in vitro. Interestingly, this microRNA could inhibit autophagy and reduce cell migration and infiltration in U87 cells harboring wild-type (WT) TP53, but not in U251 cells harboring mutant (MU) TP53. Moreover, the expression of epithelial markers (i.e., CDH13/T-cadherin and CLDN1 [claudin 1]) increased, while the expression of mesenchymal markers (i.e., CDH2/N-cadherin, SNAI1/Snail, and VIM [vimentin]) decreased, indicating that the EMT status was blocked by MIR517C in U87 cells. Compared with MIR517C overexpression, MIR517C knockdown promoted infiltration of U87 cells to the surrounding structures in nude mice in vivo. The above phenotypic changes were also observed in TP53(+/+) and TP53(-/-) HCT116 colon cancer cells. In summary, our study provided support for a link between autophagy and EMT status in WT TP53 GBM cells and provided evidence for the signaling pathway (MIR517C-KPNA2-cytoplasmic TP53) involved in attenuating autophagy and eliminating the increased migration and invasion during the EMT.

Trabelsi S, Mama N, Chourabi M, et al.
Meningeal Hemangiopericytomas and Meningomas: a Comparative Immunohistochemical and Genetic Study.
Asian Pac J Cancer Prev. 2015; 16(16):6871-6 [PubMed] Related Publications
BACKGROUND: The meningeal hemangiopericytoma (MHPC) is a vascular tumor arising from pericytes. Most intracranial MHPCs resemble meningiomas (MNGs) in their clinical presentation and histological features and may therefore be misdiagnosed, despite important differences in prognosis.
MATERIALS AND METHODS: We report 8 cases of MHPC and 5 cases of MNG collected from 2007 to 2011 from the Neuro-Surgery and Histopathology departments. All 13 samples were re reviewed by two independent pathologists and investigated by immunohistochemistry (IHC) using mesenchymal, epithelial and neuro-glial markers. Additionally, we screened all tumors for a large panel of chromosomal alterations using multiplex ligation probe amplification (MLPA). Presence of the NAB2-STAT6 fusion gene was inferred by immunohistochemical staining for STAT6.
RESULTS: Compared with MNG, MHPCs showed strong VIM (100% of cases), CD99 (62%), bcl-2 (87%), and p16 (75%) staining but only focal positivity with EMA (33%) and NSE (37%). The p21 antibody was positive in 62% of MHPC and less than 1% in all MNGs. MLPA data did not distinguish HPC from MNG, with PTEN loss and ERBB2 gain found in both. By contrast, STAT6 nuclear staining was observed in 3 MHPC cases and was absent from MNG.
CONCLUSIONS: MNG and MHPC comprise a spectrum of tumors that cannot be easily differentiated based on histopathology. The presence of STAT6 nuclear positivity may however be a useful diagnostic marker.

Yanaka Y, Muramatsu T, Uetake H, et al.
miR-544a induces epithelial-mesenchymal transition through the activation of WNT signaling pathway in gastric cancer.
Carcinogenesis. 2015; 36(11):1363-71 [PubMed] Related Publications
The epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT) contributes to cancer progression, as well as the development of normal organs, wound healing and organ fibrosis. We established a cell-based reporter system for identifying EMT-inducing microRNAs (miRNAs) with a gastric cancer (GC) cell line, MKN1, transfected with a reporter construct containing a promoter sequence of VIM in the 5' upstream region of the TurboRFP reporter gene. Function-based screening using this reporter system was performed with a 328-miRNA library, and resulted in the identification miR-544a as an EMT-inducing miRNA. Although miR-544a is already known to be involved in the regulation of CDH1, the mechanism by which EMT occurs remains poorly understood. Herein, we demonstrated that overexpression of miR-544a induces VIM, SNAI1 and ZEB1 expression, and reduces CDH1 expression, resulting in an EMT phenotype. In addition, we found that CDH1 and AXIN2, which are related to the degradation and the translocation of β-catenin, are direct targets of miR-544a. Subsequently, the reduction of CDH1 and AXIN2 by miR-544a induced the nuclear import of β-catenin, suggesting that miR-544a may activate the WNT signaling pathway through the stabilization of β-catenin in nucleus. Our findings raise the possibility that inhibition of miR-544a may be a therapeutic target of metastatic GC.

Cohen EN, Gao H, Anfossi S, et al.
Inflammation Mediated Metastasis: Immune Induced Epithelial-To-Mesenchymal Transition in Inflammatory Breast Cancer Cells.
PLoS One. 2015; 10(7):e0132710 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Inflammatory breast cancer (IBC) is the most insidious form of locally advanced breast cancer; about a third of patients have distant metastasis at initial staging. Emerging evidence suggests that host factors in the tumor microenvironment may interact with underlying IBC cells to make them aggressive. It is unknown whether immune cells associated to the IBC microenvironment play a role in this scenario to transiently promote epithelial to mesenchymal transition (EMT) in these cells. We hypothesized that soluble factors secreted by activated immune cells can induce an EMT in IBC and thus promote metastasis. In a pilot study of 16 breast cancer patients, TNF-α production by peripheral blood T cells was correlated with the detection of circulating tumor cells expressing EMT markers. In a variety of IBC model cell lines, soluble factors from activated T cells induced expression of EMT-related genes, including FN1, VIM, TGM2, ZEB1. Interestingly, although IBC cells exhibited increased invasion and migration following exposure to immune factors, the expression of E-cadherin (CDH1), a cell adhesion molecule, increased uniquely in IBC cell lines but not in non-IBC cell lines. A combination of TNF-α, IL-6, and TGF-β was able to recapitulate EMT induction in IBC, and conditioned media preloaded with neutralizing antibodies against these factors exhibited decreased EMT. These data suggest that release of cytokines by activated immune cells may contribute to the aggressiveness of IBC and highlight these factors as potential target mediators of immune-IBC interaction.

Tian B, Li X, Kalita M, et al.
Analysis of the TGFβ-induced program in primary airway epithelial cells shows essential role of NF-κB/RelA signaling network in type II epithelial mesenchymal transition.
BMC Genomics. 2015; 16:529 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
BACKGROUND: The airway epithelial cell plays a central role in coordinating the pulmonary response to injury and inflammation. Here, transforming growth factor-β (TGFβ) activates gene expression programs to induce stem cell-like properties, inhibit expression of differentiated epithelial adhesion proteins and express mesenchymal contractile proteins. This process is known as epithelial mesenchymal transition (EMT); although much is known about the role of EMT in cellular metastasis in an oncogene-transformed cell, less is known about Type II EMT, that occurring in normal epithelial cells. In this study, we applied next generation sequencing (RNA-Seq) in primary human airway epithelial cells to understand the gene program controlling Type II EMT and how cytokine-induced inflammation modifies it.
RESULTS: Generalized linear modeling was performed on a two-factor RNA-Seq experiment of 6 treatments of telomerase immortalized human small airway epithelial cells (3 replicates). Using a stringent cut-off, we identified 3,478 differentially expressed genes (DEGs) in response to EMT. Unbiased transcription factor enrichment analysis identified three clusters of EMT regulators, one including SMADs/TP63 and another NF-κB/RelA. Surprisingly, we also observed 527 of the EMT DEGs were also regulated by the TNF-NF-κB/RelA pathway. This Type II EMT program was compared to Type III EMT in TGFβ stimulated A549 alveolar lung cancer cells, revealing significant functional differences. Moreover, we observe that Type II EMT modifies the outcome of the TNF program, reducing IFN signaling and enhancing integrin signaling. We confirmed experimentally that TGFβ-induced the NF-κB/RelA pathway by observing a 2-fold change in NF-κB/RelA nuclear translocation. A small molecule IKK inhibitor blocked TGFβ-induced core transcription factor (SNAIL1, ZEB1 and Twist1) and mesenchymal gene (FN1 and VIM) expression.
CONCLUSIONS: These data indicate that NF-κB/RelA controls a SMAD-independent gene network whose regulation is required for initiation of Type II EMT. Type II EMT dramatically affects the induction and kinetics of TNF-dependent gene networks.

Yu C, Wang M, Chen M, et al.
Upregulation of microRNA‑138‑5p inhibits pancreatic cancer cell migration and increases chemotherapy sensitivity.
Mol Med Rep. 2015; 12(4):5135-40 [PubMed] Related Publications
The present study investigated the role of microRNA (miR)‑138‑5p in regulating carcinoma migration and sensitivity to chemotherapy in pancreatic cancer. Reverse transcription‑quantitative polymerase chain reaction (RT‑qPCR) was used to assess the expression levels of miR‑138‑5p in pancreatic cancer cell lines and primary carcinoma tissues from human patients. A lentiviral vector, containing miR‑138‑5p mimics (lv‑miR‑138‑m) or miR‑138‑5p inhibitor (lv‑miR‑138‑i), was used to either upregulate or downregulate the expression levels of miR‑138‑5p in PANC‑1 cells, respectively. The effects of miR‑138‑3p regulation on pancreatic cancer cell migration and sensitivity to chemotherapy were examined. The predicted targeting of miR‑138‑5p on vimentin (VIM) was assessed by western blotting in PANC‑1 cells. VIM was subsequently downregulated using small interfering (si)RNA to determine its effect on miR‑138‑5p‑modulated pancreatic cancer cell development. The expression levels of miR‑138‑5p were downregulated in pancreatic cancer cell lines and primary carcinoma tissues. In PANC‑1 cells, lentivirus-mediated upregulation of miR‑138‑5p inhibited cancer cell migration and increased cell chemosensitivity to 5‑fluorouracil (5‑FU). By contrast, downregulation of miR‑138‑5p promoted cancer cell migration and decreased cell chemosensitivity to 5‑FU. A luciferase assay revealed that VIM was a direct target of miR‑138‑5p. Western blotting demonstrated that VIM was downregulated upon the upregulation of miR‑138‑5p in PANC‑1 cells. siRNA‑mediated downregulation of VIM inhibited pancreatic cancer cell migration in the control and miR‑138‑5p downregulated PANC‑1 cells. The present study demonstrated that miR‑138‑5p is important in regulating pancreatic cancer development, possibly through targeting VIM.

Kim S, Lee J, Jeon M, et al.
Elevated TGF-β1 and -β2 expression accelerates the epithelial to mesenchymal transition in triple-negative breast cancer cells.
Cytokine. 2015; 75(1):151-8 [PubMed] Related Publications
The epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT) is a key process in tumor invasion and migration. Transforming growth factor-βs (TGF-βs) are multifunctional growth factors and powerful modulators of the EMT. Here, we investigated the relationship between TGF-β expression and invasion by treated triple-negative breast cancer (TNBC) cells. Our results show that invasion capacity of TNBC cells was markedly higher than that of non-TNBC cells. In addition, EMT-related gene signatures, including vimentin (vim), fibronectin (FN), snail, and slug were highly expressed in TNBC cells. Interestingly, our results show that TGF-β1 and β2 mRNA expression levels were higher in TNBC cells than those in non-TNBC cells. Thus, we examined the effect of the TGF-β receptor I/II inhibitor LY2109761 on EMT-related gene expression and cell motility. Our data show that vim, FN, and slug mRNA expression levels dose-dependently decreased in response to LY2109761. TNBC cell motility also decreased in response to LY2109761. Finally, we investigated the effect of LY2109761 on TGF-β1 or TGF-β2-induced E-cadherin (E-cad), vim, and FN mRNA and protein expression. The reduction in E-cad and induction of vim and FN expression by TGF-β1 or TGF-β2 were completely reversed by LY2109761 treatment in HCC1806 TNBC cells. Taken together, we demonstrated that elevated TGF-β expression triggers invasion and migration by TNBCs through the EMT process. Inhibiting the TGF-β signaling pathway is considered a promising therapeutic strategy for treating TNBC.

Vaca-Paniagua F, Oliver J, Nogueira da Costa A, et al.
Targeted deep DNA methylation analysis of circulating cell-free DNA in plasma using massively parallel semiconductor sequencing.
Epigenomics. 2015; 7(3):353-62 [PubMed] Related Publications
AIM: To set up a targeted methylation analysis using semiconductor sequencing and evaluate the potential for studying methylation in circulating cell-free DNA (cfDNA).
MATERIALS & METHODS: Methylation of VIM, FBLN1, LTBP2, HINT2, h19 and IGF2 was analyzed in plasma cfDNA and white blood cell DNA obtained from eight hepatocellular carcinoma patients and eight controls using Ion Torrent™ PGM sequencer.
RESULTS: h19 and IGF2 showed consistent methylation levels and methylation was detected for VIM and FBLN1, whereas LTBP2 and HINT2 did not show methylation for target regions. VIM gene promoter methylation was higher in HCC cfDNA than in cfDNA of controls or white blood cell DNA.
CONCLUSION: Semiconductor sequencing is a suitable method for analyzing methylation profiles in cfDNA. Furthermore, differences in cfDNA methylation can be detected between controls and hepatocellular carcinoma cases, even though due to the small sample set these results need further validation.

Huang RY, Kuay KT, Tan TZ, et al.
Functional relevance of a six mesenchymal gene signature in epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT) reversal by the triple angiokinase inhibitor, nintedanib (BIBF1120).
Oncotarget. 2015; 6(26):22098-113 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT), a crucial mechanism in carcinoma progression, describes the process whereby epithelial cells lose their apico-basal polarity and junctional complexes and acquire a mesenchymal-like morphology. Several markers are considered to be authentic indicators of an epithelial or mesenchymal status; however, there is currently no comprehensive or systematic method with which to determine their functional relevance. Previously, we identified a 33-gene EMT signature comprising 25 epithelial and 6 mesenchymal genes that best describe this concept of the EMT spectrum. Here, we designed small-scale siRNA screens targeting these six mesenchymal signature genes (CD99L2, EMP3, ITGA5, SYDE1, VIM, ZEB1) to explore their functional relevance and their roles during EMT reversal by nintedanib (BIBF1120) in a mesenchymal-like SKOV3 ovarian cancer cell line. We found that neither cell proliferation nor cytotoxicity was affected by silencing any of these genes. SKOV3 cells expressing siRNA against mesenchymal genes (ZEB1, EMP3, CD99L2, ITGA5, and SYDE1) showed enhanced colony compaction (reduced inter-nuclear distance). Inductions of E-cadherin expression were only observed in SYDE1- and ZEB1-silenced SKOV3 cells. In addition, only SYDE1-silenced SKOV3 cells showed increased anoikis. Finally, we identified that SYDE1 and ZEB1 were down-regulated in nintedanib-treated SKOV3 cells and SYDE1- and ZEB1-silenced SKOV3 cells showed enhanced nintedanib-induced up-regulation of E-cadherin. Nintedanib-treated SKOV3 cells also showed colony compaction and decreases in EMT scores both in vitro and in vivo. We conclude that SYDE1 and ZEB1 are functionally relevant in EMT reversal. This study thus provides a proof-of-concept for the use of in vitro siRNA screening to explore the EMT-related functions of selected genes and their potential relevance in the discovery of EMT reversing drugs.

Bayo P, Jou A, Stenzinger A, et al.
Loss of SOX2 expression induces cell motility via vimentin up-regulation and is an unfavorable risk factor for survival of head and neck squamous cell carcinoma.
Mol Oncol. 2015; 9(8):1704-19 [PubMed] Related Publications
Recurrent gain on chromosome 3q26 encompassing the gene locus for the transcription factor SOX2 is a frequent event in human squamous cell carcinoma, including head and neck squamous cell carcinoma (HNSCC). Numerous studies demonstrated that SOX2 expression and function is related to distinct aspects of tumor cell pathophysiology. However, the underlying molecular mechanisms are not well understood, and the correlation between SOX2 expression and clinical outcome revealed conflicting data. Transcriptional profiling after silencing of SOX2 expression in a HNSCC cell line identified a set of up-regulated genes related to cell motility (e.g. VIM, FN1, CDH2). The inverse regulation of SOX2 and aforementioned genes was validated in 18 independent HNSCC cell lines from different anatomical sites. The inhibition of cell migration and invasion by SOX2 was confirmed by constant or conditional gene silencing and accelerated motility of HNSCC cells after SOX2 silencing was partially reverted by down-regulation of vimentin. In a retrospective study, SOX2 expression was determined by immunohistochemical staining on tissue microarrays containing primary tumor specimens of two independent HNSCC patient cohorts. Low SOX2 expression was found in 19.3% and 44.9% of primary tumor specimens, respectively. Univariate analysis demonstrated a statistically significant correlation between low SOX2 protein levels and reduced progression-free survival (Cohort I 51 vs. 16 months; Cohort II 33 vs. 12 months) and overall survival (Cohort I 150 vs. 37 months; Cohort II 33 vs. 16 months). Multivariate Cox proportional hazard model analysis confirmed that low SOX2 expression serves as an independent prognostic marker for HNSCC patients. We conclude that SOX2 inhibits tumor cell motility in HNSCC cells and that low SOX2 expression serves as a prognosticator to identify HNSCC patients at high risk for treatment failure.

Chen Y, Cha Z, Fang W, et al.
The prognostic potential and oncogenic effects of PRR11 expression in hilar cholangiocarcinoma.
Oncotarget. 2015; 6(24):20419-33 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
PRR11 is a newly identified oncogene in lung cancer, yet its role in others tumors remains unclear. Gastrointestinal tissue microarrays were used to evaluate PRR11 expression and its association with clinical outcome was analyzed in patients with hilar cholangiocarcinoma. Overexpression of PRR11 was observed in esophageal, gastric, pancreatic, colorectal, and hilar cholangiocarcinoma. Expression of PRR11 correlated with lymph node metastasis and CA199 level in two HC patient cohorts. After an R0 resection, a high level of PRR11 expression was found to be an independent indicator of recurrence (P = 0.001). In cell culture, PRR11 silencing resulted in decreased cellular proliferation, cell migration, tumor growth of QBC939 cells. Microarray analysis revealed that several genes involved in cell proliferation, cell adhesion, and cell migration were altered in PRR11-knockout cells, including: vimentin (VIM), Ubiquitin carboxyl-terminal hydrolase 1 (UCHL1), early growth response protein (EGR1), and System A amino acid transporter1 (SNAT1). Silencing PRR11 inhibited the expression of UCHL1, EGR1, and SNAT1 proteins, with immunoassays revealing a significant correlation among the levels of these four proteins. These results indicate that PRR11 is an independent prognostic indicator for patients with HC.

Gerecke C, Scholtka B, Löwenstein Y, et al.
Hypermethylation of ITGA4, TFPI2 and VIMENTIN promoters is increased in inflamed colon tissue: putative risk markers for colitis-associated cancer.
J Cancer Res Clin Oncol. 2015; 141(12):2097-107 [PubMed] Related Publications
PURPOSE: Epigenetic silencing of tumor suppressor genes is involved in early transforming events and has a high impact on colorectal carcinogenesis. Likewise, colon cancers that derive from chronically inflamed bowel diseases frequently exhibit epigenetic changes. But there is little data about epigenetic aberrations causing colorectal cancer in chronically inflamed tissue. The aim of the present study was to evaluate the aberrant gain of methylation in the gene promoters of VIM, TFPI2 and ITGA4 as putative early markers in the development from inflamed tissue via precancerous lesions toward colorectal cancer.
METHODS: Initial screening of different cancer cell lines by using methylation-specific PCR revealed a putative colon cancer-specific methylation pattern. Additionally, a demethylation assay was performed to investigate the methylation-dependent gene silencing of ITGA4. The candidate markers were analyzed in colonic tissue specimens from patients with colorectal cancer (n = 15), adenomas (n = 76), serrated lesions (n = 13), chronic inflammation (n = 10) and normal mucosal samples (n = 9).
RESULTS: A high methylation frequency of VIM (55.6 %) was observed in normal colon tissue, whereas ITGA4 and TFPI2 were completely unmethylated in controls. A significant gain of methylation frequency with progression of disease as well as an age-dependent effect was detectable for TFPI2. ITGA4 methylation frequency was high in precancerous and cancerous tissues as well as in inflammatory bowel diseases (IBD).
CONCLUSION: The already established methylation marker VIM does not permit a specific and sensitive discrimination of healthy and neoplastic tissue. The methylation markers ITGA4 and TFPI2 seem to be suitable risk markers for inflammation-associated colon cancer.

Boque-Sastre R, Soler M, Oliveira-Mateos C, et al.
Head-to-head antisense transcription and R-loop formation promotes transcriptional activation.
Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2015; 112(18):5785-90 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
The mechanisms used by antisense transcripts to regulate their corresponding sense mRNAs are not fully understood. Herein, we have addressed this issue for the vimentin (VIM) gene, a member of the intermediate filament family involved in cell and tissue integrity that is deregulated in different types of cancer. VIM mRNA levels are positively correlated with the expression of a previously uncharacterized head-to-head antisense transcript, both transcripts being silenced in colon primary tumors concomitant with promoter hypermethylation. Furthermore, antisense transcription promotes formation of an R-loop structure that can be disfavored in vitro and in vivo by ribonuclease H1 overexpression, resulting in VIM down-regulation. Antisense knockdown and R-loop destabilization both result in chromatin compaction around the VIM promoter and a reduction in the binding of transcriptional activators of the NF-κB pathway. These results are the first examples to our knowledge of R-loop-mediated enhancement of gene expression involving head-to-head antisense transcription at a cancer-related locus.

Płuciennik E, Nowakowska M, Pospiech K, et al.
The role of WWOX tumor suppressor gene in the regulation of EMT process via regulation of CDH1-ZEB1-VIM expression in endometrial cancer.
Int J Oncol. 2015; 46(6):2639-48 [PubMed] Related Publications
This study defines the role of WWOX in the regulation of epithelial to mesenchymal transition. A group of 164 endometrial adenocarcinoma patients was studied as well as an ECC1 well-differentiated steroid-responsive endometrial cell line, which was transducted with WWOX cDNA by a retroviral system. The relationship between WWOX gene and EMT marker (CDH1, VIM, ZEB1, SNAI1) expression on mRNA (RT-qPCR) and protein levels (western blotting) was evaluated. The EMT processes were also analysed in vitro by adhesion of cells to extracellular matrix proteins, migration through a basement membrane, anchorage-independent growth and MMP activity assay. DNA microarrays (HumanOneArray™) were used to determine WWOX-dependent pathways in an ECC1 cell line. A positive correlation was observed between WWOX and ZEB1, and a negative correlation between CDH1 and VIM. WWOX expression was found to inversely correlate with the risk of recurrence of tumors in patients. However, in the WWOX-expressing ECC1 cell line, WWOX expression was found to be inversely related with VIM and positively with CDH1. The ECC1/WWOX cell line variant demonstrated increased migratory capacity, with increased expression of metalloproteinases MMP2/MMP9. However, these cells were not able to form colonies in suspension and revealed decreased adhesion to fibronectin and fibrinogen. Microarray analysis demonstrated that WWOX has an impact on the variety of cellular pathways including the cadherin and integrin signalling pathways. Our results suggest that the WWOX gene plays a role in the regulation of EMT processes in endometrial cancer by controlling the expression of proteins associated with cell motility, thus influencing tissue remodeling, with the suppression of mesenchymal markers.

Person RJ, Ngalame NN, Makia NL, et al.
Chronic inorganic arsenic exposure in vitro induces a cancer cell phenotype in human peripheral lung epithelial cells.
Toxicol Appl Pharmacol. 2015; 286(1):36-43 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Inorganic arsenic is a human lung carcinogen. We studied the ability of chronic inorganic arsenic (2 μM; as sodium arsenite) exposure to induce a cancer phenotype in the immortalized, non-tumorigenic human lung peripheral epithelial cell line, HPL-1D. After 38 weeks of continuous arsenic exposure, secreted matrix metalloproteinase-2 (MMP2) activity increased to over 200% of control, levels linked to arsenic-induced cancer phenotypes in other cell lines. The invasive capacity of these chronic arsenic-treated lung epithelial (CATLE) cells increased to 320% of control and colony formation increased to 280% of control. CATLE cells showed enhanced proliferation in serum-free media indicative of autonomous growth. Compared to control cells, CATLE cells showed reduced protein expression of the tumor suppressor gene PTEN (decreased to 26% of control) and the putative tumor suppressor gene SLC38A3 (14% of control). Morphological evidence of epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition (EMT) occurred in CATLE cells together with appropriate changes in expression of the EMT markers vimentin (VIM; increased to 300% of control) and e-cadherin (CDH1; decreased to 16% of control). EMT is common in carcinogenic transformation of epithelial cells. CATLE cells showed increased KRAS (291%), ERK1/2 (274%), phosphorylated ERK (p-ERK; 152%), and phosphorylated AKT1 (p-AKT1; 170%) protein expression. Increased transcript expression of metallothioneins, MT1A and MT2A and the stress response genes HMOX1 (690%) and HIF1A (247%) occurred in CATLE cells possibly in adaptation to chronic arsenic exposure. Thus, arsenic induced multiple cancer cell characteristics in human peripheral lung epithelial cells. This model may be useful to assess mechanisms of arsenic-induced lung cancer.

Zheng P, Xiong Q, Wu Y, et al.
Quantitative Proteomics Analysis Reveals Novel Insights into Mechanisms of Action of Long Noncoding RNA Hox Transcript Antisense Intergenic RNA (HOTAIR) in HeLa Cells.
Mol Cell Proteomics. 2015; 14(6):1447-63 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Long noncoding RNAs (lncRNAs), which have emerged in recent years as a new and crucial layer of gene regulators, regulate various biological processes such as carcinogenesis and metastasis. HOTAIR (Hox transcript antisense intergenic RNA), a lncRNA overexpressed in most human cancers, has been shown to be an oncogenic lncRNA. Here, we explored the role of HOTAIR in HeLa cells and searched for proteins regulated by HOTAIR. To understand the mechanism of action of HOTAIR from a systems perspective, we employed a quantitative proteomic strategy to systematically identify potential targets of HOTAIR. The expression of 170 proteins was significantly dys-regulated after inhibition of HOTAIR, implying that they could be potential targets of HOTAIR. Analysis of this data at the systems level revealed major changes in proteins involved in diverse cellular components, including the cytoskeleton and the respiratory chain. Further functional studies on vimentin (VIM), a key protein involved in the cytoskeleton, revealed that HOTAIR exerts its effects on migration and invasion of HeLa cells, at least in part, through the regulation of VIM expression. Inhibition of HOTAIR leads to mitochondrial dysfunction and ultrastructural alterations, suggesting a novel role of HOTAIR in maintaining mitochondrial function in cancer cells. Our results provide novel insights into the mechanisms underlying the function of HOTAIR in cancer cells. We expect that the methods used in this study will become an integral part of functional studies of lncRNAs.

Andresen K, Boberg KM, Vedeld HM, et al.
Four DNA methylation biomarkers in biliary brush samples accurately identify the presence of cholangiocarcinoma.
Hepatology. 2015; 61(5):1651-9 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
UNLABELLED: Early detection of the highly aggressive malignancy cholangiocarcinoma (CCA) remains a challenge but has the potential to render the tumor curable by surgical removal. This study evaluates a biomarker panel for the diagnosis of CCA by DNA methylation analyses of biliary brush samples. The methylation status of 13 candidate genes (CDO1, CNRIP1, DCLK1, FBN1, INA, MAL, SEPT9, SFRP1, SNCA, SPG20, TMEFF2, VIM, and ZSCAN18) was investigated in 93 tissue samples (39 CCAs and 54 nonmalignant controls) using quantitative methylation-specific polymerase chain reaction. The 13 genes were further analyzed in a test series of biliary brush samples (15 CCAs and 20 nonmalignant primary sclerosing cholangitis controls), and the methylation status of the four best performing markers was validated (34 CCAs and 34 primary sclerosing cholangitis controls). Receiver operating characteristic curve analyses were used to evaluate the performance of individual biomarkers and the combination of biomarkers. The 13 candidate genes displayed a methylation frequency of 26%-82% in tissue samples. The four best-performing genes (CDO1, CNRIP1, SEPT9, and VIM) displayed individual methylation frequencies of 45%-77% in biliary brushes from CCA patients. Across the test and validation biliary brush series, this four-gene biomarker panel achieved a sensitivity of 85% and a specificity of 98%, with an area under the receiver operating characteristic curve of 0.944.
CONCLUSION: We report a straightforward biomarker assay with high sensitivity and specificity for CCA, outperforming standard brush cytology, and suggest that the biomarker panel, potentially in combination with cytological evaluation, may improve CCA detection, particularly among primary sclerosing cholangitis patients.

Conroy S, Kruyt FA, Joseph JV, et al.
Subclassification of newly diagnosed glioblastomas through an immunohistochemical approach.
PLoS One. 2014; 9(12):e115687 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Molecular signatures in Glioblastoma (GBM) have been described that correlate with clinical outcome and response to therapy. The Proneural (PN) and Mesenchymal (MES) signatures have been identified most consistently, but others including Classical (CLAS) have also been reported. The molecular signatures have been detected by array techniques at RNA and DNA level, but these methods are costly and cannot take into account individual contributions of different cells within a tumor. Therefore, the aim of this study was to investigate whether subclasses of newly diagnosed GBMs could be assessed and assigned by application of standard pathology laboratory procedures. 123 newly diagnosed GBMs were analyzed for the tumor cell expression of 23 pre-identified proteins and EGFR amplification, together allowing for the subclassification of 65% of the tumors. Immunohistochemistry (IHC)-based profiling was found to be analogous to transcription-based profiling using a 9-gene transcriptional signature for PN and MES subclasses. Based on these data a novel, minimal IHC-based scheme for subclass assignment for GBMs is proposed. Positive staining for IDH1R132H can be used for PN subclass assignment, high EGFR expression for the CLAS subtype and a combined high expression of PTEN, VIM and/or YKL40 for the MES subclass. The application of the proposed scheme was evaluated in an independent tumor set, which resulted in similar subclass assignment rates as those observed in the training set. The IHC-based subclassification scheme proposed in this study therefore could provide very useful in future studies for stratification of individual patient samples.

Huang JW, Guan BZ, Yin LH, et al.
Effects of estrogen-related receptor alpha (ERRα) on proliferation and metastasis of human lung cancer A549 cells.
J Huazhong Univ Sci Technolog Med Sci. 2014; 34(6):875-81 [PubMed] Related Publications
Estrogen-related receptor alpha (ERRα) plays an important role in the development of hormone-dependent cancers, but its roles in lung cancer remain elusive. The present study was aimed to investigate the effects of ERRα on the proliferation and metastasis of lung cancer A549 cells. The mRNA and protein levels of ERRα were detected in lung cancer A549 and MCF-7 cells and bronchial epithelial BEAS-2B cells by qRT-PCR and Western blotting, respectively. ERRα plasmid transfection and XCT-790 (an inverse agonist of ERRα) were used to up-regulate or down-regulate ERRα expression in A549 cells, respectively. The viability of A549 cells was measured by cell counting kit-8 (CCK-8) and the motility of A549 cells by wound healing assay and Transwell migration/invasion assay. The epithelial markers E-cadherin (E-Cad) and zona occludin-1 (ZO-1), the mesenchymal markers fibronectin (FN) and vimentin (Vim) and the transcription factors (Snail, Zeb1 Twist and Slug) were further detected at mRNA and protein levels by qRT-PCR and Western blotting, respectively. The results showed that ERRα promoted the growth of lung cancer A549 cells in vitro. XCT-790 significantly inhibited the migration and invasion of A549 cells. Over-expression of ERRα promoted the epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition (EMT) of A549 cells, down-regulated the epithelial makers E-Cad and ZO-1, and up-regulated the mesenchymal makers FN and Vim. Silencing of Slug, but not other transcription factors, significantly abolished the ERRα-induced EMT of A549 cells. It was suggested that ERRα promoted the migration and invasion of A549 cells by inducing EMT, and Slug was involved in the process. Targeting ERRα might be an efficient approach for lung cancer treatment.

Galván JA, García-Martínez J, Vázquez-Villa F, et al.
Validation of COL11A1/procollagen 11A1 expression in TGF-β1-activated immortalised human mesenchymal cells and in stromal cells of human colon adenocarcinoma.
BMC Cancer. 2014; 14:867 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
BACKGROUND: The human COL11A1 gene has been shown to be up-regulated in stromal cells of colorectal tumours, but, so far, the immunodetection of procollagen 11A1, the primary protein product of COL11A1, has not been studied in detail in human colon adenocarcinomas. Some cancer-associated stromal cells seem to be derived from bone marrow mesenchymal cells; the expression of the COL11A1 gene and the parallel immunodetection of procollagen 11A1 have not been evaluated in these latter cells, either.
METHODS: We used quantitative RT-PCR and/or immunocytochemistry to study the expression of DES/desmin, VIM/vimentin, ACTA2/αSMA (alpha smooth muscle actin) and COL11A1/procollagen 11A1 in HCT 116 human colorectal adenocarcinoma cells, in immortalised human bone marrow mesenchymal cells and in human colon adenocarcinoma-derived cultured stromal cells. The immunodetection of procollagen 11A1 was performed with the new recently described DMTX1/1E8.33 mouse monoclonal antibody. Human colon adenocarcinomas and non-malignant colon tissues were evaluated by immunohistochemistry as well. Statistical associations were sought between anti-procollagen 11A1 immunoscoring and patient clinicopathological features.
RESULTS: Procollagen 11A1 was immunodetected in human bone marrow mesenchymal cells and in human colon adenocarcinoma-associated spindle-shaped stromal cells but not in colon epithelial or stromal cells of the normal colon. This immunodetection paralleled, in both kinds of cells, that of the other mesenchymal-related biomarkers studied: vimentin and alpha smooth muscle actin, but not desmin. Thus, procollagen 11A1(+) adenocarcinoma-associated stromal cells are similar to "activated myofibroblasts". In the series of human colon adenocarcinomas here studied, a high procollagen 11A1 expression was associated with nodal involvement (p = 0.05), the development of distant metastases (p = 0.017), and advanced Dukes stages (p = 0.047).
CONCLUSION: The immunodetection of procollagen 11A1 in cancer-associated stromal cells could be a useful biomarker for human colon adenocarcinoma characterisation.

Suh SS, Yoo JY, Cui R, et al.
FHIT suppresses epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT) and metastasis in lung cancer through modulation of microRNAs.
PLoS Genet. 2014; 10(10):e1004652 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Metastasis is the principal cause of cancer death and occurs through multiple, complex processes that involve the concerted action of many genes. A number of studies have indicated that the Fragile Histidine Triad (FHIT) gene product, FHIT, functions as a tumor suppressor in a variety of common human cancers. Although there are suggestions of a role for FHIT loss in progression of various cancers, a role for such loss in metastasis has not been defined. Here, via in vivo and in vitro assays, we reveal that the enforced expression of FHIT significantly suppresses metastasis, accompanied by inhibition of the epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT), a process involved in metastasis through coordinate modulation of EMT-related genes. Specifically, miR-30c, a FHIT-upregulated microRNA, contributes to FHIT function in suppression of EMT and metastasis by directly targeting metastasis genes Metadherin (MTDH), High-mobility group AT-hook 2 (HMGA2), and the mesenchymal markers, Vimentin (VIM) and Fibronectin (FN1), in human lung cancer. Finally, we demonstrate that the expression pattern of FHIT and miR-30c is inversely correlated with that of MTDH and HMGA2 in normal tissue, non-metastatic and metastatic tumors, serving as a potential biomarker for metastasis in lung cancer.

Ziegler E, Hansen MT, Haase M, et al.
Generation of MCF-7 cells with aggressive metastatic potential in vitro and in vivo.
Breast Cancer Res Treat. 2014; 148(2):269-77 [PubMed] Related Publications
Epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT) is a cellular development program characterized by loss of cell adhesion and increased cell mobility. It is essential for numerous processes including metastasis. In this study we have generated "aggressive" MCF-7 breast cancer cells (MCF-7-EMT), which show significantly increased invasion in contrast to wild type MCF-7 (MCF-7 WT) cells. In addition, we have analyzed, whether these cell lines differ in their metastatic behavior in vivo and in expression of invasion and/or EMT-relevant genes. Invasive behavior of different human breast cancer cell lines was tested. "Aggressive" MCF-7 cells (MCF-7-EMT) were generated using coculture and mammosphere culture techniques. To analyze whether or not MCF-7-EMT cells in contrast to MCF-7 WT cells form metastases in vivo, we assessed metastases in a nude mouse model. mRNA expression profiles of MCF-7 WT cells and MCF-7-EMT cells were compared using the Affymetrix micro array technique. Expression of selected genes was validated using real-time PCR. In addition, protein expression of epithelial marker E-cadherin (CDH1) and mesenchymal markers N-cadherin (CDH2), Vimentin (VIM), and TWIST was compared. The breast cancer cell lines showed different invasive behavior from hardly any invasion to a stronger cell movement. Coculture with osteoblast-like MG63 cells led to significantly increased cell invasion rates. The highest increase was shown using MCF-7 WT cells. Generated MCF-7-EMT cells showed significantly increased invasion as compared to MCF-7 WT cells. In 8 of 10 mice bearing orthotopically growing MCF-7-EMT tumors, we could detect metastases in liver and lung. In mice bearing MCF-7 WT tumors (n = 10), no metastases were found. MCF-7 WT cells and MCF-7-EMT cells were different in expression of 325 genes. Forty-four of the most regulated 50 invasion and/or EMT-related genes were upregulated and 6 genes were downregulated in MCF-7-EMT cells. Protein expression of mesenchymal markers CDH2, VIM, and TWIST was clearly increased in MCF-7-EMT cells. Protein expression of epithelial marker CDH1 was clearly decreased. With the breast cancer cell lines, MCF-7-EMT and MCF-7 WT cells, we have an excellent model of cells for further studies of EMT and invasion in vitro and in vivo.

Shelygin YA, Pospekhova NI, Shubin VP, et al.
Epithelial-mesenchymal transition and somatic alteration in colorectal cancer with and without peritoneal carcinomatosis.
Biomed Res Int. 2014; 2014:629496 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Colorectal cancer is highly metastatic even when the tumors are small. To disseminate, cells use a complex and multistage process known as the epithelial-mesenchymal transition, in which epithelial phenotype is transformed into mesenchymal phenotype. The objective of this study is to describe the epithelial-mesenchymal transition in terms of gene expression profile and somatic alterations in samples of colorectal cancer with or without peritoneal carcinomatosis. We analyzed samples taken from 38 patients with colorectal cancer (stages II-IV) and samples from 20 patients with colorectal cancer complicated by peritoneal carcinomatosis. The expression of ZEB1, ZEB2, CDH1, VIM, and SNAI1 was analyzed by real-time PCR. KRAS/BRAF mutations were mapped using sequencing. Microsatellite instability was evaluated by fragment analysis. Epithelial-mesenchymal transition was detected in 6 out of 38 samples of colorectal cancer (stages II-IV), 7 out of 20 tumors from patients with peritoneal carcinomatosis, and 19 out of 20 samples taken from carcinomatous nodules. Tumors of the mesenchymal subtype displayed high frequency of somatic mutations, microsatellite stability, and low degree of differentiation. The identification of epithelial-mesenchymal transition may be used as a marker of high metastatic potential, which is particularly relevant at early stages of tumor growth.

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