Gene Summary

Gene:ANGPTL4; angiopoietin-like 4
Aliases: NL2, ARP4, FIAF, HARP, PGAR, HFARP, TGQTL, UNQ171, pp1158, ANGPTL2
Summary:This gene encodes a glycosylated, secreted protein containing a C-terminal fibrinogen domain. The encoded protein is induced by peroxisome proliferation activators and functions as a serum hormone that regulates glucose homeostasis, lipid metabolism, and insulin sensitivity. This protein can also act as an apoptosis survival factor for vascular endothelial cells and can prevent metastasis by inhibiting vascular growth and tumor cell invasion. The C-terminal domain may be proteolytically-cleaved from the full-length secreted protein. Decreased expression of this gene has been associated with type 2 diabetes. Alternative splicing results in multiple transcript variants. This gene was previously referred to as ANGPTL2 but has been renamed ANGPTL4. [provided by RefSeq, Sep 2013]
Databases:OMIM, VEGA, HGNC, Ensembl, GeneCard, Gene
Protein:angiopoietin-related protein 4
Source:NCBIAccessed: 16 March, 2015


What does this gene/protein do?
Show (17)
Pathways:What pathways are this gene/protein implicaed in?
Show (1)

Cancer Overview

Research Indicators

Publications Per Year (1990-2015)
Graph generated 16 March 2015 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.

  • Gene Knockdown Techniques
  • Integrins
  • Angiopoietins
  • Cadherins
  • Tumor Suppressor Proteins
  • Tumor Markers
  • Gene Silencing
  • CD Antigens
  • Spheroids, Cellular
  • Gene Expression Profiling
  • Neoplasm Metastasis
  • Signal Transduction
  • RHOA
  • Messenger RNA
  • Intercellular Signaling Peptides and Proteins
  • Transfection
  • Mice, Inbred BALB C
  • Cell Proliferation
  • Anoxia
  • MicroRNAs
  • Tumor Microenvironment
  • Chromosome 19
  • Endothelial Cells
  • Adenocarcinoma
  • Xenograft Models
  • Neoplasm Invasiveness
  • Lymphatic Metastasis
  • beta Catenin
  • Cell Line
  • Cancer Gene Expression Regulation
  • Angiogenesis
  • Western Blotting
  • Veins
  • siRNA
  • Cell Movement
  • Colorectal Cancer
  • Protein Binding
  • Breast Cancer
Tag cloud generated 16 March, 2015 using data from PubMed, MeSH and CancerIndex

Specific Cancers (2)

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: ANGPTL4 (cancer-related)

Horiguchi H, Endo M, Miyamoto Y, et al.
Angiopoietin-like protein 2 renders colorectal cancer cells resistant to chemotherapy by activating spleen tyrosine kinase-phosphoinositide 3-kinase-dependent anti-apoptotic signaling.
Cancer Sci. 2014; 105(12):1550-9 [PubMed] Related Publications
Angiopoietin-like protein 2 (ANGPTL2) plays an important role in inflammatory carcinogenesis and tumor metastasis by activating tumor angiogenesis and tumor cell chemotaxis and invasiveness. However, it is unclear whether ANGPTL2 expression has an effect on tumor cell survival. Here, we explored that possibility by determining whether ANGPTL2 expression altered survival of human colorectal cancer cell lines treated with antineoplastic drugs. To do so, we generated SW480 cells expressing ANGPTL2 (SW480/ANGPTL2) and control (SW480/Ctrl) cells. Apoptosis induced by antineoplastic drug treatment was significantly decreased in SW480/ANGPTL2 compared to control cells. Expression of anti-apoptotic BCL-2 family genes was upregulated in SW480/ANGPTL2 compared to SW480/Ctrl cells. To assess signaling downstream of ANGPTL2 underlying this effect, we carried out RNA sequencing analysis of SW480/ANGPTL2 and SW480/Ctrl cells. That analysis, combined with in vitro experiments, indicated that Syk-PI3K signaling induced expression of BCL-2 family genes in SW480/ANGPTL2 cells. Furthermore, ANGPTL2 increased its own expression in a feedback loop by activating the spleen tyrosine kinase-nuclear factor of activated T cells (Syk-NFAT) pathway. Finally, we observed a correlation between higher ANGPTL2 expression in primary unresectable tumors from colorectal cancer patients who underwent chemotherapy with a lower objective response rate. These findings suggest that attenuating ANGPTL2 signaling in tumor cells may block tumor cell resistance to antineoplastic therapies.

Evans RL, Pottala JV, Egland KA
Classifying patients for breast cancer by detection of autoantibodies against a panel of conformation-carrying antigens.
Cancer Prev Res (Phila). 2014; 7(5):545-55 [PubMed] Related Publications
Patients with breast cancer elicit an autoantibody response against cancer proteins, which reflects and amplifies the cellular changes associated with tumorigenesis. Detection of autoantibodies in plasma may provide a minimally invasive mechanism for early detection of breast cancer. To identify cancer proteins that elicit a humoral response, we generated a cDNA library enriched for breast cancer genes that encode membrane and secreted proteins, which are more likely to induce an antibody response compared with intracellular proteins. To generate conformation-carrying antigens that are efficiently recognized by patients' antibodies, a eukaryotic expression strategy was established. Plasma from 200 patients with breast cancer and 200 age-matched healthy controls were measured for autoantibody activity against 20 different antigens designed to have conformational epitopes using ELISA. A conditional logistic regression model was used to select a combination of autoantibody responses against the 20 different antigens to classify patients with breast cancer from healthy controls. The best combination included ANGPTL4, DKK1, GAL1, MUC1, GFRA1, GRN, and LRRC15; however, autoantibody responses against GFRA1, GRN, and LRRC15 were inversely correlated with breast cancer. When the autoantibody responses against the 7 antigens were added to the base model, including age, BMI, race and current smoking status, the assay had the following diagnostic capabilities: c-stat (95% CI), 0.82 (0.78-0.86); sensitivity, 73%; specificity, 76%; and positive likelihood ratio (95% CI), 3.04 (2.34-3.94). The model was calibrated across risk deciles (Hosmer-Lemeshow, P = 0.13) and performed well in specific subtypes of breast cancer including estrogen receptor positive, HER-2 positive, invasive, in situ and tumor sizes >1 cm.

Szarc vel Szic K, Op de Beeck K, Ratman D, et al.
Pharmacological levels of Withaferin A (Withania somnifera) trigger clinically relevant anticancer effects specific to triple negative breast cancer cells.
PLoS One. 2014; 9(2):e87850 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Withaferin A (WA) isolated from Withania somnifera (Ashwagandha) has recently become an attractive phytochemical under investigation in various preclinical studies for treatment of different cancer types. In the present study, a comparative pathway-based transcriptome analysis was applied in epithelial-like MCF-7 and triple negative mesenchymal MDA-MB-231 breast cancer cells exposed to different concentrations of WA which can be detected systemically in in vivo experiments. Whereas WA treatment demonstrated attenuation of multiple cancer hallmarks, the withanolide analogue Withanone (WN) did not exert any of the described effects at comparable concentrations. Pathway enrichment analysis revealed that WA targets specific cancer processes related to cell death, cell cycle and proliferation, which could be functionally validated by flow cytometry and real-time cell proliferation assays. WA also strongly decreased MDA-MB-231 invasion as determined by single-cell collagen invasion assay. This was further supported by decreased gene expression of extracellular matrix-degrading proteases (uPA, PLAT, ADAM8), cell adhesion molecules (integrins, laminins), pro-inflammatory mediators of the metastasis-promoting tumor microenvironment (TNFSF12, IL6, ANGPTL2, CSF1R) and concomitant increased expression of the validated breast cancer metastasis suppressor gene (BRMS1). In line with the transcriptional changes, nanomolar concentrations of WA significantly decreased protein levels and corresponding activity of uPA in MDA-MB-231 cell supernatant, further supporting its anti-metastatic properties. Finally, hierarchical clustering analysis of 84 chromatin writer-reader-eraser enzymes revealed that WA treatment of invasive mesenchymal MDA-MB-231 cells reprogrammed their transcription levels more similarly towards the pattern observed in non-invasive MCF-7 cells. In conclusion, taking into account that sub-cytotoxic concentrations of WA target multiple metastatic effectors in therapy-resistant triple negative breast cancer, WA-based therapeutic strategies targeting the uPA pathway hold promise for further (pre)clinical development to defeat aggressive metastatic breast cancer.

Yao J, Li WY, Li SG, et al.
Recombinant lentivirus targeting the pleotrophin gene reduces pleotrophin protein expression in pancreatic cancer cells and inhibits neurite outgrowth of dorsal root ganglion neurons.
Mol Med Rep. 2014; 9(3):999-1004 [PubMed] Related Publications
The objectives of the present study were to construct the recombinant primate lentivirus‑short hairpin RNA-pleiotrophin (pLV-shRNA-PTN) vector, to investigate the silencing effect of pLV-shRNA-PTN on PTN expression in MIA PaCa-2 cells and to observe the inhibition efficiency of pLV-shRNA‑PTN on neurite outgrowth from dorsal root ganglion (DRG) neurons in vitro. The construction procedure for recombinant lentivirus pLV-shRNA-PTN has been described previously. In the present study, pLV-shRNA‑PTN was used to infect MIA PaCa-2 pancreatic cancer cells and the efficiency of the knockdown of the PTN gene on day 7 following infection was analyzed using western blotting. The morphological changes in the cultured DRG neurons were observed by monoculture of DRG neurons and co-culture with MIA PaCa-2 cells in vitro. The recombinant lentivirus pLV-shRNA‑PTN was successfully constructed. The western blot analysis showed that the inhibition rates of PTN expression were 46, 80, 20 and 21%, respectively, following pLV-shRNA‑PTN-A, B, C and D infection. pLV-shRNA-PTN‑B showed the highest knockdown efficiency. DRG neurons co-cultured with infected MIA PaCa-2 cells were decreased in size when compared with the control, and there was a significant decrease in the number and length of neurites. The results suggest that efficient and specific knockdown of PTN in MIA PaCa-2 pancreatic cancer cells and the subsequent reduction in PTN expression results in the inhibition of neurite outgrowth from DRG neurons.

Mas-Oliva J, Navarro-Vidal E, Tapia-Vieyra JV
ARP2, a novel pro-apoptotic protein expressed in epithelial prostate cancer LNCaP cells and epithelial ovary CHO transformed cells.
PLoS One. 2014; 9(1):e86089 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Neoplastic epithelial cells generate the most aggressive types of cancers such as those located in the lung, breast, colon, prostate and ovary. During advanced stages of prostate cancer, epithelial cells are associated to the appearance of androgen-independent tumors, an apoptotic-resistant phenotype that ultimately overgrows and promotes metastatic events. We have previously identified and electrophysiologically characterized a novel Ca(2+)-permeable channel activated during apoptosis in the androgen-independent prostate epithelial cancer cell line, LNCaP. In addition, we reported for the first time the cloning and characterization of this channel-like molecule named apoptosis regulated protein 2 (ARP2) associated to a lethal influx of Ca(2+) in Xenopus oocytes. In the present study, LNCaP cells and Chinese hamster ovary cells (CHO cell line) transfected with arp2-cDNA are induced to undergo apoptosis showing an important impact on cell viability and activation of caspases 3 and 7 when compared to serum deprived grown cells and ionomycin treated cells. The subcellular localization of ARP2 in CHO cells undergoing apoptosis was studied using confocal microscopy. While apoptosis progresses, ARP2 initially localized in the peri-nuclear region of cells migrates with time towards the plasma membrane region. Based on the present results and those of our previous studies, the fact that ARP2 constitutes a novel cation channel is supported. Therefore, ARP2 becomes a valuable target to modulate the influx and concentration of calcium in the cytoplasm of epithelial cancer cells showing an apoptotic-resistant phenotype during the onset of an apoptotic event.

Yao PL, Morales JL, Zhu B, et al.
Activation of peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor-β/δ (PPAR-β/δ) inhibits human breast cancer cell line tumorigenicity.
Mol Cancer Ther. 2014; 13(4):1008-17 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 01/04/2015 Related Publications
The effect of activation and overexpression of the nuclear receptor PPAR-β/δ in human MDA-MB-231 (estrogen receptor-negative; ER(-)) and MCF7 (estrogen-receptor-positive; ER(+)) breast cancer cell lines was examined. Target gene induction by ligand activation of PPAR-β/δ was increased by overexpression of PPAR-β/δ compared with controls. Overexpression of PPAR-β/δ caused a decrease in cell proliferation in MCF7 and MDA-MB-231 cells compared with controls, whereas ligand activation of PPAR-β/δ further inhibited proliferation of MCF7 but not MDA-MB-231 cells. Overexpression and/or ligand activation of PPAR-β/δ in MDA-MB-231 or MCF7 cells had no effect on experimental apoptosis. Decreased clonogenicity was observed in both MDA-MB-231 and MCF7 overexpressing PPAR-β/δ in response to ligand activation of PPAR-β/δ as compared with controls. Ectopic xenografts developed from MDA-MB-231 and MCF7 cells overexpressing PPAR-β/δ were significantly smaller, and ligand activation of PPAR-β/δ caused an even greater reduction in tumor volume as compared with controls. Interestingly, the decrease in MDA-MB-231 tumor size after overexpressing PPAR-β/δ and ligand activation of PPAR-β/δ correlated with increased necrosis. These data show that ligand activation and/or overexpression of PPAR-β/δ in two human breast cancer cell lines inhibits relative breast cancer tumorigenicity and provide further support for the development of ligands for PPAR-β/δ to specifically inhibit breast carcinogenesis. These new cell-based models will be invaluable tools for delineating the role of PPAR-β/δ in breast cancer and evaluating the effects of PPAR-β/δ agonists.

Odagiri H, Kadomatsu T, Endo M, et al.
The secreted protein ANGPTL2 promotes metastasis of osteosarcoma cells through integrin α5β1, p38 MAPK, and matrix metalloproteinases.
Sci Signal. 2014; 7(309):ra7 [PubMed] Related Publications
The tumor microenvironment can enhance the invasive capacity of tumor cells. We showed that expression of angiopoietin-like protein 2 (ANGPTL2) in osteosarcoma (OS) cell lines increased and the methylation of its promoter decreased with time when grown as xenografts in mice compared with culture. Compared with cells grown in normal culture conditions, the expression of genes encoding DNA demethylation-related enzymes increased in tumor cells implanted into mice or grown in hypoxic, serum-starved culture conditions. ANGPTL2 expression in OS cell lines correlated with increased tumor metastasis and decreased animal survival by promoting tumor cell intravasation mediated by the integrin α5β1, p38 mitogen-activated protein kinase, and matrix metalloproteinases. The tolloid-like 1 (TLL1) protease cleaved ANGPTL2 into fragments in vitro that did not enhance tumor progression when overexpressed in xenografts. Expression of TLL1 was weak in OS patient tumors, suggesting that ANGPTL2 may not be efficiently cleaved upon secretion from OS cells. These findings demonstrate that preventing ANGPTL2 signaling stimulated by the tumor microenvironment could inhibit tumor cell migration and metastasis.

Ferguson BW, Gao X, Zelazowski MJ, et al.
The cancer gene WWOX behaves as an inhibitor of SMAD3 transcriptional activity via direct binding.
BMC Cancer. 2013; 13:593 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 01/04/2015 Related Publications
BACKGROUND: The WW domain containing protein WWOX has been postulated to behave as a tumor suppressor in breast and other cancers. Expression of this protein is lost in over 70% of ER negative tumors. This prompted us to investigate the phenotypic and gene expression effects of loss of WWOX expression in breast cells.
METHODS: Gene expression microarrays and standard in vitro assays were performed on stably silenced WWOX (shRNA) normal breast cells. Bioinformatic analyses were used to identify gene networks and transcriptional regulators affected by WWOX silencing. Co-immunoprecipitations and GST-pulldowns were used to demonstrate a direct interaction between WWOX and SMAD3. Reporter assays, ChIP, confocal microscopy and in silico analyses were employed to determine the effect of WWOX silencing on TGFβ-signaling.
RESULTS: WWOX silencing affected cell proliferation, motility, attachment and deregulated expression of genes involved in cell cycle, motility and DNA damage. Interestingly, we detected an enrichment of targets activated by the SMAD3 transcription factor, including significant upregulation of ANGPTL4, FST, PTHLH and SERPINE1 transcripts. Importantly, we demonstrate that the WWOX protein physically interacts with SMAD3 via WW domain 1. Furthermore, WWOX expression dramatically decreases SMAD3 occupancy at the ANGPTL4 and SERPINE1 promoters and significantly quenches activation of a TGFβ responsive reporter. Additionally, WWOX expression leads to redistribution of SMAD3 from the nuclear to the cytoplasmic compartment. Since the TGFβ target ANGPTL4 plays a key role in lung metastasis development, we performed a meta-analysis of ANGPTL4 expression relative to WWOX in microarray datasets from breast carcinomas. We observed a significant inverse correlation between WWOX and ANGPTL4. Furthermore, the WWOX(lo)/ANGPTL4(hi) cluster of breast tumors is enriched in triple-negative and basal-like sub-types. Tumors with this gene expression signature could represent candidates for anti-TGFβ targeted therapies.
CONCLUSIONS: We show for the first time that WWOX modulates SMAD3 signaling in breast cells via direct WW-domain mediated binding and potential cytoplasmic sequestration of SMAD3 protein. Since loss of WWOX expression increases with breast cancer progression and it behaves as an inhibitor of SMAD3 transcriptional activity these observations may help explain, at least in part, the paradoxical pro-tumorigenic effects of TGFβ signaling in advanced breast cancer.

Zhang T, Niu X, Liao L, et al.
The contributions of HIF-target genes to tumor growth in RCC.
PLoS One. 2013; 8(11):e80544 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 01/04/2015 Related Publications
Somatic mutations or loss of expression of tumor suppressor VHL happen in the vast majority of clear cell Renal Cell Carcinoma, and it's causal for kidney cancer development. Without VHL, constitutively active transcription factor HIF is strongly oncogenic and is essential for tumor growth. However, the contribution of individual HIF-responsive genes to tumor growth is not well understood. In this study we examined the contribution of important HIF-responsive genes such as VEGF, CCND1, ANGPTL4, EGLN3, ENO2, GLUT1 and IGFBP3 to tumor growth in a xenograft model using immune-compromised nude mice. We found that the suppression of VEGF or CCND1 impaired tumor growth, suggesting that they are tumor-promoting genes. We further discovered that the lack of ANGPTL4, EGLN3 or ENO2 expression did not change tumor growth. Surprisingly, depletion of GLUT1 or IGFBP3 significantly increased tumor growth, suggesting that they have tumor-inhibitory functions. Depletion of IGFBP3 did not lead to obvious activation of IGFIR. Unexpectedly, the depletion of IGFIR protein led to significant increase of IGFBP3 at both the protein and mRNA levels. Concomitantly, the tumor growth was greatly impaired, suggesting that IGFBP3 might suppress tumor growth in an IGFIR-independent manner. In summary, although the overall transcriptional activity of HIF is strongly tumor-promoting, the expression of each individual HIF-responsive gene could either enhance, reduce or do nothing to the kidney cancer tumor growth.

Liu X, Chen Q, Tsai HJ, et al.
Maternal preconception body mass index and offspring cord blood DNA methylation: exploration of early life origins of disease.
Environ Mol Mutagen. 2014; 55(3):223-30 [PubMed] Related Publications
Maternal obesity is associated with a variety of common diseases in the offspring. One possible underlying mechanism could be maternal obesity induced alterations in DNA methylation. However, this hypothesis is yet to be tested. We performed epigenomic mapping of cord blood among 308 Black mother-infant pairs delivered at term at the Boston Medical Center using the Illumina HumanMethylation27 BeadChip. Linear regression and pathway analyses were conducted to evaluate the associations between DNA methylation levels and prepregnancy maternal BMI (<25, 25-30, ≥30 kg/m(2) ). The methylation levels of 20 CpG sites were associated with maternal BMI at a significance level of P-value <10(-4) in the overall sample, and boys and girls, separately. One CpG site remained statistically significant after correction for multiple comparisons (FDR corrected P-value = 0.04) and was annotated to a potential cancer gene, ZCCHC10. Some of the other CpG site annotated genes appear to be critical to the development of cancers and cardiovascular diseases (i.e., WNT16, C18orf8, ANGPTL2, SAPCD2, ADCY3, PRR16, ERBB2, DOK2, PLAC1). Significant findings from pathway analysis, such as infectious and inflammatory and lipid metabolism pathways, lends support for the potential impact of maternal BMI on the above stated disorders. This study demonstrates that prepregnancy maternal BMI might lead to alterations in offspring DNA methylation in genes relevant to the development of a range of complex chronic diseases, providing evidence of trans-generational influence on disease susceptibility via epigenetic mechanism.

Khong TL, Thairu N, Larsen H, et al.
Identification of the angiogenic gene signature induced by EGF and hypoxia in colorectal cancer.
BMC Cancer. 2013; 13:518 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 01/04/2015 Related Publications
BACKGROUND: Colorectal cancer (CRC) is characterised by hypoxia, which activates gene transcription through hypoxia-inducible factors (HIF), as well as by expression of epidermal growth factor (EGF) and EGF receptors, targeting of which has been demonstrated to provide therapeutic benefit in CRC. Although EGF has been demonstrated to induce expression of angiogenic mediators, potential interactions in CRC between EGF-mediated signalling and the hypoxia/HIF pathway remain uncharacterised.
METHODS: PCR-based profiling was applied to identify angiogenic genes in Caco-2 CRC cells regulated by hypoxia, the hypoxia mimetic dimethyloxallylglycine (DMOG) and/or EGF. Western blotting was used to determine the role of HIF-1alpha, HIF-2alpha and MAPK cell signalling in mediating the angiogenic responses.
RESULTS: We identified a total of 9 angiogenic genes, including angiopoietin-like (ANGPTL) 4, ephrin (EFNA) 3, transforming growth factor (TGF) β1 and vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF), to be upregulated in a HIF dependent manner in Caco-2 CRC cells in response to both hypoxia and the hypoxia mimetic dimethyloxallylglycine (DMOG). Stimulation with EGF resulted in EGFR tyrosine autophosphorylation, activation of p42/p44 MAP kinases and stabilisation of HIF-1α and HIF-2α proteins. However, expression of 84 angiogenic genes remained unchanged in response to EGF alone. Crucially, addition of DMOG in combination with EGF significantly increased expression of a further 11 genes (in addition to the 9 genes upregulated in response to either DMOG alone or hypoxia alone). These additional genes included chemokines (CCL-11/eotaxin-1 and interleukin-8), collagen type IV α3 chain, integrin β3 chain, TGFα and VEGF receptor KDR.
CONCLUSION: These findings suggest that although EGFR phosphorylation activates the MAP kinase signalling and promotes HIF stabilisation in CRC, this alone is not sufficient to induce angiogenic gene expression. In contrast, HIF activation downstream of hypoxia/DMOG drives expression of genes such as ANGPTL4, EFNA3, TGFβ1 and VEGF. Finally, HIF activation synergises with EGF-mediated signalling to additionally induce a unique sub-group of candidate angiogenic genes. Our data highlight the complex interrelationship between tumour hypoxia, EGF and angiogenesis in the pathogenesis of CRC.

Ning H, Mitsui H, Wang CQ, et al.
Identification of anaplastic lymphoma kinase as a potential therapeutic target in Basal Cell Carcinoma.
Oncotarget. 2013; 4(12):2237-48 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 01/04/2015 Related Publications
The pathogenesis of BCC is associated with sonic hedgehog (SHH) signaling. Vismodegib, a smoothened inhibitor that targets this pathway, is now in clinical use for advanced BCC patients, but its efficacy is limited. Therefore, new therapeutic options for this cancer are required. We studied gene expression profiling of BCC tumour tissues coupled with laser capture microdissection to identify tumour specific receptor tyrosine kinase expression that can be targeted by small molecule inhibitors. We found a >250 fold increase (FDR<10-4) of the oncogene, anaplastic lymphoma kinase (ALK) as well as its ligands, pleiotrophin and midkine in BCC compared to microdissected normal epidermis. qRT-PCR confirmed increased expression of ALK (p<0.05). Stronger expression of phosphorylated ALK in BCC tumour nests than normal skin was observed by immunohistochemistry. Crizotinib, an FDA-approved ALK inhibitor, reduced keratinocyte proliferation in culture, whereas a c-Met inhibitor did not. Crizotinib significantly reduced the expression of GLI1 and CCND2 (members of SHH-pathway) mRNA by approximately 60% and 20%, respectively (p<0.01). Our data suggest that ALK may increase GLI1 expression in parallel with the conventional SHH-pathway and promote keratinocyte proliferation. Hence, an ALK inhibitor alone or in combination with targeting SHH-pathway molecules may be a potential treatment for BCC patients.

Dozsa A, Dezso B, Toth BI, et al.
PPARγ-mediated and arachidonic acid-dependent signaling is involved in differentiation and lipid production of human sebocytes.
J Invest Dermatol. 2014; 134(4):910-20 [PubMed] Related Publications
The transcriptional basis of sebocyte differentiation and lipid production is mostly unclear. Peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor gamma (PPARγ), a lipid-activated transcription factor, has been implicated in differentiation and lipid metabolism of various cell types. Here, we show that PPARγ is differentially expressed in normal and pathological human sebocytes and appears to have roles in their differentiation and lipid production. We used laser-microdissected normal and pathological human sebaceous glands (SGs) and SZ95 cells (immortalized sebocyte cell line) analyzed by real-time quantitative PCR and immunohistochemistry. Lipids were analyzed by quantitative fluorimetry- and mass spectrometry-based approaches. We have observed that PPARγ and its target genes, ADRP (adipose differentiation-related protein) and PGAR (PPARγ angiopoietin-related protein), are expressed in sebocytes and show association with their level of differentiation. Also, PPARγ is present in normal and hyperplastic SG, whereas its expression levels are decreased in SG adenoma and SG carcinoma cells, reflecting a maturation-linked expression pattern. Furthermore, in SZ95 sebocytes, naturally occurring lipids, including arachidonic acid and arachidonic acid keto-metabolites (e.g., 5-KETE (5-oxo-6E,8Z,11Z,14Z-eicosatetraenoic acid), 12-KETE (12-oxo-5Z,8Z,10E,14Z-eicosatetraenoic acid)), appear to regulate PPARγ signaling pathways, which in turn modulate phospholipid biosynthesis and induce neutral lipid synthesis. Collectively, our findings highlight the importance of endogenous ligand-activated PPARγ signaling in human sebocyte biology and suggest that PPARγ might be a promising candidate for the clinical management of SG disorders.

Hao H, Maeda Y, Fukazawa T, et al.
Inhibition of the growth factor MDK/midkine by a novel small molecule compound to treat non-small cell lung cancer.
PLoS One. 2013; 8(8):e71093 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 01/04/2015 Related Publications
Midkine (MDK) is a heparin-binding growth factor that is highly expressed in many malignant tumors, including lung cancers. MDK activates the PI3K pathway and induces anti-apoptotic activity, in turn enhancing the survival of tumors. Therefore, the inhibition of MDK is considered a potential strategy for cancer therapy. In the present study, we demonstrate a novel small molecule compound (iMDK) that targets MDK. iMDK inhibited the cell growth of MDK-positive H441 lung adenocarcinoma cells that harbor an oncogenic KRAS mutation and H520 squamous cell lung cancer cells, both of which are types of untreatable lung cancer. However, iMDK did not reduce the cell viability of MDK-negative A549 lung adenocarcinoma cells or normal human lung fibroblast (NHLF) cells indicating its specificity. iMDK suppressed the endogenous expression of MDK but not that of other growth factors such as PTN or VEGF. iMDK suppressed the growth of H441 cells by inhibiting the PI3K pathway and inducing apoptosis. Systemic administration of iMDK significantly inhibited tumor growth in a xenograft mouse model in vivo. Inhibition of MDK with iMDK provides a potential therapeutic approach for the treatment of lung cancers that are driven by MDK.

Kuphal S, Wallner S, Bosserhoff AK
Impact of LIF (leukemia inhibitory factor) expression in malignant melanoma.
Exp Mol Pathol. 2013; 95(2):156-65 [PubMed] Related Publications
Leukemia inhibitory factor (LIF) signaling regulates cellular processes to maintain the self-renewal and pluripotency of embryonic stem (ES) cells. Independent of these capabilities, LIF was also identified to be responsible for cancer development and progression. However, its detailed cellular function in cancer remains unclear thus far. We found LIF to be expressed in melanoma cell lines of primary and metastatic origin and in melanoma tissue. We further elucidated stimuli that are responsible for the high expression levels of LIF. Interestingly, hypoxia, specifically through HIF-1α, is involved in regulating LIF. Furthermore, our data showed that the signaling of LIF was not mediated by the classically described pathway via STAT3, but rather through BMP4 and BMP7. We hypothesize that the co-expression of LIF and BMP is necessary for a de-differentiated cancer phenotype. Ancillary to BMP4 and BMP7, classical stem cell proteins, e.g., SOX2, NANOG, OCT3/4 and GBX2, are regulated by LIF. We therefore speculate that LIF can induce a typical "cancer stem cell"-like behavior, as the appropriate genes are regulated by LIF. Particularly, the expression of these genes has been proposed as a driving force for tumorigenesis and the initiation of metastasis. Notably, LIF has an important role not only for ES cells but also for cancer development. Melanoblast-related cells (MBrcs), which resemble the neural crest precursor cells of melanocytes, expressed LIF in minor amounts compared to normal human melanocytes. These data, along with the data that LIF is upregulated in melanoma cell lines compared to melanocytes, strongly indicate that LIF is important for the stabilization of the melanoma phenotype. To elucidate the role of LIF in cellular melanoma behavior, we analyzed proliferation, attachment, migration and colony formation after silencing LIF by siRNA, and found all four characteristics restricted. In summary, we can show that LIF is an important factor in melanoma progression.

Okochi-Takada E, Hattori N, Tsukamoto T, et al.
ANGPTL4 is a secreted tumor suppressor that inhibits angiogenesis.
Oncogene. 2014; 33(17):2273-8 [PubMed] Related Publications
Tumor suppressors with extracellular function are likely to have advantages as targets for cancer therapy, but few are known. Here, we focused on angiopoietin-like 4 (ANGPTL4), which is a secreted glycoprotein involved in lipoprotein metabolism and angiogenesis, is methylation-silenced in human cancers, but has unclear roles in cancer development and progression. We found a deletion mutation in its coiled-coil domain at its N-terminal in human gastric cancers, in addition to hypermethylation of the ANGPTL4 promoter CpG islands. Forced expression of wild-type ANGPTL4, but not ANGPTL4 with the deletion, at physiological levels markedly suppressed in vivo tumorigenicity and tumor angiogenesis, indicating that the latter caused the former. Tumor-derived ANGPTL4 suppressed in vitro vascular tube formation and proliferation of human umbilical vascular endothelial cells, partly due to suppression of ERK signaling. These showed that ANGPTL4 is a genetically and epigenetically inactivated secreted tumor suppressor that inhibits tumor angiogenesis.

Koyama-Nasu R, Haruta R, Nasu-Nishimura Y, et al.
The pleiotrophin-ALK axis is required for tumorigenicity of glioblastoma stem cells.
Oncogene. 2014; 33(17):2236-44 [PubMed] Related Publications
Increasing evidence suggests that brain tumors arise from the transformation of neural stem/precursor/progenitor cells. Much current research on human brain tumors is focused on the stem-like properties of glioblastoma. Here we show that anaplastic lymphoma kinase (ALK) and its ligand pleiotrophin are required for the self-renewal and tumorigenicity of glioblastoma stem cells (GSCs). Furthermore, we demonstrate that pleiotrophin is transactivated directly by SOX2, a transcription factor essential for the maintenance of both neural stem cells and GSCs. We speculate that the pleiotrophin-ALK axis may be a promising target for the therapy of glioblastoma.

Fang Q, Mok PY, Thomas AE, et al.
Pleiotrophin gene therapy for peripheral ischemia: evaluation of full-length and truncated gene variants.
PLoS One. 2013; 8(4):e61413 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 01/04/2015 Related Publications
Pleiotrophin (PTN) is a growth factor with both pro-angiogenic and limited pro-tumorigenic activity. We evaluated the potential for PTN to be used for safe angiogenic gene therapy using the full length gene and a truncated gene variant lacking the domain implicated in tumorigenesis. Mouse myoblasts were transduced to express full length or truncated PTN (PTN or T-PTN), along with a LacZ reporter gene, and injected into mouse limb muscle and myocardium. In cultured myoblasts, PTN was expressed and secreted via the Golgi apparatus, but T-PTN was not properly secreted. Nonetheless, no evidence of uncontrolled growth was observed in cells expressing either form of PTN. PTN gene delivery to myocardium, and non-ischemic skeletal muscle, did not result in a detectable change in vascularity or function. In ischemic hindlimb at 14 days post-implantation, intramuscular injection with PTN-expressing myoblasts led to a significant increase in skin perfusion and muscle arteriole density. We conclude that (1) delivery of the full length PTN gene to muscle can be accomplished without tumorigenesis, (2) the truncated PTN gene may be difficult to use in a gene therapy context due to inefficient secretion, (3) PTN gene delivery leads to functional benefit in the mouse acute ischemic hindlimb model.

Katanasaka Y, Kodera Y, Kitamura Y, et al.
Epidermal growth factor receptor variant type III markedly accelerates angiogenesis and tumor growth via inducing c-myc mediated angiopoietin-like 4 expression in malignant glioma.
Mol Cancer. 2013; 12:31 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 01/04/2015 Related Publications
BACKGROUND: Expression of the constitutively activated mutant EGFR variant III (EGFRvIII), the most common mutation in glioblastoma multiforme (GBMs), has been clinically correlated with tumor proliferation, invasion, and angiogenesis. In this study, we examined the role of EGFRvIII on the tumor microenvironment, especially on angiogenesis.
METHODS: To study the role of EGFRvIII in tumor angiogenesis, we prepared LN229 glioblastoma transfected with enhanced green fluorescent protein (EGFP), wild-type EGFR, or EGFRvIII (LN229-WT or -vIII), and examined tumor growth and microvessel density in the tumors. Additionally, the potential angiogenic factors were identified by real-time PCR analysis, and the functions in LN229-vIII cells were examined.
RESULTS: LN229-vIII cells showed more aggressive tumor growth and higher vascularity as compared to LN229-WT cells in vivo, although there was no significant difference in the cell growth rates in vitro. We next investigated the expression of 60 angiogenesis-related factors to clarify the mechanisms underlying the difference in vascularity between tumor xenografts of LN229-vIII and LN229-WT. We found that the mRNA and protein expressions of angiopoietin-like 4 (Angptl4), a secreted protein involved in angiogenesis and metabolism regulation, were significantly induced by EGFRvIII overexpression, both in vitro and in vivo. Constitutive knockdown of Angptl4 in LN229-vIII using shRNA significantly decreased the microvessel density in the tumor xenografts and suppressed tumor growth. To clarify the regulatory mechanisms of Angptl4 by EGFRvIII, we analyzed the signaling pathways and transcription factors by pharmacological inhibition and RNA interference. U0126, an ERK signal inhibitor dramatically suppressed Angptl4 expression. The transcription factor c-Myc, which is regulated by ERK, was activated in the LN229-vIII cells and knockdown of c-Myc using siRNA also attenuated Angptl4 expression in the LN229-vIII cells. Furthermore, chromatin immunoprecipitation (ChIP) assay revealed increased recruitment of c-Myc to the promoter region of Angptl4 in the LN229-vIII cells.
CONCLUSIONS: In summary, we demonstrated that EGFRvIII induces Angptl4 expression through the ERK/c-Myc pathway and promotes tumor angiogenesis in malignant gliomas.

Ligocki AJ, Rounds WH, Cameron EM, et al.
Expansion of CD27high plasmablasts in transverse myelitis patients that utilize VH4 and JH6 genes and undergo extensive somatic hypermutation.
Genes Immun. 2013 Jul-Aug; 14(5):291-301 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 01/04/2015 Related Publications
Patients with the autoimmune disease multiple sclerosis (MS) typically present with the clinically isolated syndromes (CIS) transverse myelitis (TM) or optic neuritis (ON). B-cell disturbances have been well documented in patients with MS and CIS patients with ON, but not in CIS patients with TM, despite the fact that these patients have the worst clinical outcome of all CIS types. The goal of this study was to characterize the B-cell populations and immunoglobulin genetics in TM patients. We found a unique expansion of CD27(high) plasmablasts in both the cerebrospinal fluid and periphery of TM patients that is not present in ON patients. Additionally, plasmablasts from TM patients show evidence for positive selection with increased somatic hypermutation accumulation in VH4(+) B cells and receptor editing that is not observed in ON patients. These characteristics unique to TM patients may impact disease severity and progression.

Wang XY, Hao JW, Zhou RJ, et al.
Meta-analysis of gene expression data identifies causal genes for prostate cancer.
Asian Pac J Cancer Prev. 2013; 14(1):457-61 [PubMed] Related Publications
Prostate cancer is a leading cause of death in male populations across the globe. With the advent of gene expression arrays, many microarray studies have been conducted in prostate cancer, but the results have varied across different studies. To better understand the genetic and biologic mechanisms of prostate cancer, we conducted a meta-analysis of two studies on prostate cancer. Eight key genes were identified to be differentially expressed with progression. After gene co-expression analysis based on data from the GEO database, we obtained a co- expressed gene list which included 725 genes. Gene Ontology analysis revealed that these genes are involved in actin filament-based processes, locomotion and cell morphogenesis. Further analysis of the gene list should provide important clues for developing new prognostic markers and therapeutic targets.

Yotsumoto F, Tokunaga E, Oki E, et al.
Molecular hierarchy of heparin-binding EGF-like growth factor-regulated angiogenesis in triple-negative breast cancer.
Mol Cancer Res. 2013; 11(5):506-17 [PubMed] Related Publications
Heparin-binding EGF-like growth factor (HB-EGF) is one of several proangiogenic factors and represents a possible therapeutic target for patients with triple-negative breast cancer (TNBC). However, the role of HB-EGF in promoting tumor aggressiveness in TNBC remains unclear. To investigate specific genes and pathways involved in TNBC tumorigenesis, we profiled gene expression changes in two TNBC cell lines under two-dimensional culture (2DC) and three-dimensional culture (3DC) and in a tumor xenograft model. We identified simultaneous upregulation of HB-EGF, VEGFA, and angiopoietin-like 4 (ANGPTL4) in 3DC and tumor xenografts, compared with 2DC. We show that HB-EGF regulates the expression of VEGFA or ANGPTL4 via transcriptional regulation of hypoxia-inducible factor-1α and NF-κB. Furthermore, suppression of VEGFA or ANGPTL4 expression enhanced HB-EGF expression, highlighting a unique regulatory loop underlying this angiogenesis network. Targeted knockdown of HB-EGF significantly suppressed tumor formation in a TNBC xenograft model, compared with individual knockdown of either VEGFA or ANGPTL4, by reducing the expression of both VEGFA and ANGPTL4. In patients with TNBC, VEGFA or ANGPTL4 expression was also significantly correlated with HB-EGF expression. Low concentrations of exogenously added HB-EGF strongly activated the proliferation of endothelial cells, tube formation, and vascular permeability in blood vessels, in a similar fashion to high doses of VEGFA and ANGPTL4. Taken together, these results suggest that HB-EGF plays a pivotal role in the acquisition of tumor aggressiveness in TNBC by orchestrating a molecular hierarchy regulating tumor angiogenesis.

Chou J, Lin JH, Brenot A, et al.
GATA3 suppresses metastasis and modulates the tumour microenvironment by regulating microRNA-29b expression.
Nat Cell Biol. 2013; 15(2):201-13 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 01/04/2015 Related Publications
Despite advances in our understanding of breast cancer, patients with metastatic disease have poor prognoses. GATA3 is a transcription factor that specifies and maintains mammary luminal epithelial cell fate, and its expression is lost in breast cancer, correlating with a worse prognosis in human patients. Here, we show that GATA3 promotes differentiation, suppresses metastasis and alters the tumour microenvironment in breast cancer by inducing microRNA-29b (miR-29b) expression. Accordingly, miR-29b is enriched in luminal breast cancers and loss of miR-29b, even in GATA3-expressing cells, increases metastasis and promotes a mesenchymal phenotype. Mechanistically, miR-29b inhibits metastasis by targeting a network of pro-metastatic regulators involved in angiogenesis, collagen remodelling and proteolysis, including VEGFA, ANGPTL4, PDGF, LOX and MMP9, and targeting ITGA6, ITGB1 and TGFB, thereby indirectly affecting differentiation and epithelial plasticity. The discovery that a GATA3-miR-29b axis regulates the tumour microenvironment and inhibits metastasis opens up possibilities for therapeutic intervention in breast cancer.

Kobayashi T, Yan H, Kurahashi Y, et al.
Role of GalNAc4S-6ST in astrocytic tumor progression.
PLoS One. 2013; 8(1):e54278 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 01/04/2015 Related Publications
N-Acetylgalactosamine 4-sulfate 6-O-sulfotransferase (GalNAc4S-6ST) is the sulfotransferase responsible for biosynthesis of highly sulfated chondroitin sulfate CS-E. Although involvements of CS-E in neuronal cell functions have been extensively analyzed, the role of GalNAc4S-6ST in astrocytic tumor progression remains unknown. Here, we reveal that GalNAc4S-6ST transcripts were detected in astrocytic tumors derived from all 30 patients examined using quantitative reverse transcription-PCR analysis. Patients with high GalNAc4S-6ST mRNA expression had significantly worse outcome compared with patients with low expression, and multivariate survival analysis disclosed that GalNAc4S-6ST is an independent poor prognostic factor for astrocytic tumors. We then tested whether CS-E enhanced haptotaxic migration of glioblastoma U251-MG cells that endogenously express both the CS-E's scaffold tyrosine phosphatase ζ (PTPζ) and GalNAc4S-6ST, in the presence of CS-E's preferred ligands, pleiotrophin (PTN) or midkine (MK), using a modified Boyden chamber method. Haptotaxic stimulation of cell migration by PTN was most robust on control siRNA-transfected U251-MG cells, while that enhancing effect was cancelled following transduction of GalNAc4S-6ST siRNA. Similar results were obtained using MK, suggesting that both PTN and MK enhance migration of U251-MG cells by binding to CS-E. We also found that PTPζ as well as PTN and MK were frequently expressed in astrocytic tumor cells. Thus, our findings indicate that GalNAc4S-6ST mRNA expressed by astrocytic tumor cells is associated with poor patient prognosis likely by enhancing CS-E-mediated tumor cell motility in the presence of PTN and/or MK.

Alex S, Lange K, Amolo T, et al.
Short-chain fatty acids stimulate angiopoietin-like 4 synthesis in human colon adenocarcinoma cells by activating peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor γ.
Mol Cell Biol. 2013; 33(7):1303-16 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 01/04/2015 Related Publications
Angiopoietin-like protein 4 (ANGPTL4/FIAF) has been proposed as a circulating mediator between the gut microbiota and fat storage. Here, we show that transcription and secretion of ANGPTL4 in human T84 and HT29 colon adenocarcinoma cells is highly induced by physiological concentrations of short-chain fatty acids (SCFA). SCFA induce ANGPTL4 by activating the nuclear receptor peroxisome proliferator activated receptor γ (PPARγ), as demonstrated using PPARγ antagonist, PPARγ knockdown, and transactivation assays, which show activation of PPARγ but not PPARα and PPARδ by SCFA. At concentrations required for PPARγ activation and ANGPTL4 induction in colon adenocarcinoma cells, SCFA do not stimulate PPARγ in mouse 3T3-L1 and human SGBS adipocytes, suggesting that SCFA act as selective PPARγ modulators (SPPARM), which is supported by coactivator peptide recruitment assay and structural modeling. Consistent with the notion that fermentation leads to PPAR activation in vivo, feeding mice a diet rich in inulin induced PPAR target genes and pathways in the colon. We conclude that (i) SCFA potently stimulate ANGPTL4 synthesis in human colon adenocarcinoma cells and (ii) SCFA transactivate and bind to PPARγ. Our data point to activation of PPARs as a novel mechanism of gene regulation by SCFA in the colon, in addition to other mechanisms of action of SCFA.

Adhikary T, Brandt DT, Kaddatz K, et al.
Inverse PPARβ/δ agonists suppress oncogenic signaling to the ANGPTL4 gene and inhibit cancer cell invasion.
Oncogene. 2013; 32(44):5241-52 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 01/04/2015 Related Publications
Besides its established functions in intermediary metabolism and developmental processes, the nuclear receptor peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor β/δ (PPARβ/δ) has a less defined role in tumorigenesis. In the present study, we have identified a function for PPARβ/δ in cancer cell invasion. We show that two structurally divergent inhibitory ligands for PPARβ/δ, the inverse agonists ST247 and DG172, strongly inhibit the serum- and transforming growth factor β (TGFβ)-induced invasion of MDA-MB-231 human breast cancer cells into a three-dimensional matrigel matrix. To elucidate the molecular basis of this finding, we performed chromatin immunoprecipitation sequencing (ChIP-Seq) and microarray analyses, which identified the gene encoding angiopoietin-like 4 (ANGPTL4) as the major transcriptional PPARβ/δ target in MDA-MB-231 cells, previously implicated in TGFβ-mediated tumor progression and metastatic dissemination. We show that the induction of ANGPTL4 by TGFβ and other oncogenic signals is strongly repressed by ST247 and DG172 in a PPARβ/δ-dependent fashion, resulting in the inhibition of ANGPTL4 secretion. This effect is attributable to these ligands' ability to induce a dominant transcriptional repressor complex at the site of transcription initiation that blocks preinitiation complex formation through an histone deacetylase-independent, non-canonical mechanism. Repression of ANGPTL4 transcription by inverse PPARβ/δ agonists is functionally linked to the inhibition of cancer cell invasion into a three-dimensional matrix, as (i) invasion of MDA-MB-231 cells is critically dependent on ANGPTL4 expression, (ii) recombinant ANGPTL4 stimulates invasion, and (iii) reverses the inhibitory effect of ST247 and DG172. These findings indicate that a PPARβ/δ-ANGPTL4 pathway is involved in the regulation of tumor cell invasion and that its pharmacological manipulation by inverse PPARβ/δ agonists is feasible.

Koutsioumpa M, Polytarchou C, Courty J, et al.
Interplay between αvβ3 integrin and nucleolin regulates human endothelial and glioma cell migration.
J Biol Chem. 2013; 288(1):343-54 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 01/04/2015 Related Publications
The multifunctional protein nucleolin (NCL) is overexpressed on the surface of activated endothelial and tumor cells and mediates the stimulatory actions of several angiogenic growth factors, such as pleiotrophin (PTN). Because α(v)β(3) integrin is also required for PTN-induced cell migration, the aim of the present work was to study the interplay between NCL and α(v)β(3) by using biochemical, immunofluorescence, and proximity ligation assays in cells with genetically altered expression of the studied molecules. Interestingly, cell surface NCL localization was detected only in cells expressing α(v)β(3) and depended on the phosphorylation of β(3) at Tyr(773) through receptor protein-tyrosine phosphatase β/ζ (RPTPβ/ζ) and c-Src activation. Downstream of α(v)β(3,) PI3K activity mediated this phenomenon and cell surface NCL was found to interact with both α(v)β(3) and RPTPβ/ζ. Positive correlation of cell surface NCL and α(v)β(3) expression was also observed in human glioblastoma tissue arrays, and inhibition of cell migration by cell surface NCL antagonists was observed only in cells expressing α(v)β(3). Collectively, these data suggest that both expression and β(3) integrin phosphorylation at Tyr(773) determine the cell surface localization of NCL downstream of the RPTPβ/ζ/c-Src signaling cascade and can be used as a biomarker for the use of cell surface NCL antagonists as anticancer agents.

Sethi G, Pathak HB, Zhang H, et al.
An RNA interference lethality screen of the human druggable genome to identify molecular vulnerabilities in epithelial ovarian cancer.
PLoS One. 2012; 7(10):e47086 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 01/04/2015 Related Publications
Targeted therapies have been used to combat many tumor types; however, few have effectively improved the overall survival in women with epithelial ovarian cancer, begging for a better understanding of this deadly disease and identification of essential drivers of tumorigenesis that can be targeted effectively. Therefore, we used a loss-of-function screening approach to help identify molecular vulnerabilities that may represent key points of therapeutic intervention. We employed an unbiased high-throughput lethality screen using a 24,088 siRNA library targeting over 6,000 druggable genes and studied their effects on growth and/or survival of epithelial ovarian cancer (EOC) cell lines. The top 300 "hits" affecting the viability of A1847 cells were rescreened across additional EOC cell lines and non-tumorigenic, human immortalized ovarian epithelial cell lines. Fifty-three gene candidates were found to exhibit effects in all tumorigenic cell lines tested. Extensive validation of these hits refined the list to four high quality candidates (HSPA5, NDC80, NUF2, and PTN). Mechanistic studies show that silencing of three genes leads to increased apoptosis, while HSPA5 silencing appears to alter cell growth through G1 cell cycle arrest. Furthermore, two independent gene expression studies show that NDC80, NUF2 and PTN were significantly aberrantly overexpressed in serous adenocarcinomas. Overall, our functional genomics results integrated with the genomics data provide an important unbiased avenue towards the identification of prospective therapeutic targets for drug discovery, which is an urgent and unmet clinical need for ovarian cancer.

Tan MJ, Teo Z, Sng MK, et al.
Emerging roles of angiopoietin-like 4 in human cancer.
Mol Cancer Res. 2012; 10(6):677-88 [PubMed] Related Publications
Angiopoietin-like 4 (ANGPTL4) is best known for its role as an adipokine involved in the regulation of lipid and glucose metabolism. The characterization of ANGPTL4 as an adipokine is largely due to our limited understanding of the interaction partners of ANGPTL4 and how ANGPTL4 initiates intracellular signaling. Recent findings have revealed a critical role for ANGPTL4 in cancer growth and progression, anoikis resistance, altered redox regulation, angiogenesis, and metastasis. Emerging evidence suggests that ANGPTL4 function may be drastically altered depending on the proteolytic processing and posttranslational modifications of ANGPTL4, which may clarify several conflicting roles of ANGPTL4 in different cancers. Although the N-terminal coiled-coil region of ANGPTL4 has been largely responsible for the endocrine regulatory role in lipid metabolism, insulin sensitivity, and glucose homeostasis, it has now emerged that the COOH-terminal fibrinogen-like domain of ANGPTL4 may be a key regulator in the multifaceted signaling during cancer development. New insights into the mechanistic action of this functional domain have opened a new chapter into the possible clinical application of ANGPTL4 as a promising candidate for clinical intervention in the fight against cancer. This review summarizes our current understanding of ANGPTL4 in cancer and highlights areas that warrant further investigation. A better understanding of the underlying cellular and molecular mechanisms of ANGPTL4 will reveal novel insights into other aspects of tumorigenesis and the potential therapeutic value of ANGPTL4.

Suzuki K, Hayashi R, Ichikawa T, et al.
SRT1720, a SIRT1 activator, promotes tumor cell migration, and lung metastasis of breast cancer in mice.
Oncol Rep. 2012; 27(6):1726-32 [PubMed] Related Publications
Silent information regulator 2 (SIR2) is a highly conserved protein, the mammalian orthologue of which, SIRT1, exhibits histone deacetylase activity. SIRT1 is involved not in only longevity due to caloric restriction but in a variety of diseases such as diabetes, cardiovascular dysfunction and neurodegeneration. However, accumulating evidence shows that SIRT1 is overexpressed in various types of malignant cells, and its inhibitors suppress the growth of tumor cells. The relationship between SIRT1 and metastasis remains to be clarified. Here, we examined the effect of SRT1720, a SIRT1 activator, on lung metastasis of breast cancer cells. 4T1 breast cancer cells were subcutaneously implanted into syngeneic BALB/c mice and SRT1720 was administered alone or with an antitumor agent, cisplatin. As expected, cisplatin decreased the lung metastasis score, whereas SRT1720 increased metastasis irrespective of cisplatin. In the primary tumors, cisplatin suppressed the mRNA level of angiopoietin-like protein 4 (angptl4), a lung metastasis-promoting gene product of breast cancer, but SRT1720 reduced the effectiveness of cisplatin. The results obtained with animal experiments were in accordance with those in human cancer cells; SRT1720 significantly increased the amount of VEGF secreted from MDA-MB-231 cells. Moreover, a transendothelial cell migration assay showed that SRT1720 promotes the migration of MDA-MB-231 cells across an endothelial cell layer despite the presence of cisplatin. These findings imply that SRT1720 promotes the pulmonary metastasis of breast cancer cells and SIRT1 may be an important target for suppressing metastasis to the lung.

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