GDF15

Gene Summary

Gene:GDF15; growth differentiation factor 15
Aliases: PDF, MIC1, PLAB, MIC-1, NAG-1, PTGFB, GDF-15
Location:19p13.11
Summary:Bone morphogenetic proteins (e.g., BMP9; MIM 605120) are members of the transforming growth factor-beta (see TGFB1; MIM 190180) superfamily and regulate tissue differentiation and maintenance. They are synthesized as precursor molecules that are processed at a dibasic cleavage site to release C-terminal domains containing a characteristic motif of 7 conserved cysteines in the mature protein.[supplied by OMIM, Oct 2009]
Databases:OMIM, VEGA, HGNC, Ensembl, GeneCard, Gene
Protein:growth/differentiation factor 15
HPRD
Source:NCBIAccessed: 16 March, 2015

Ontology:

What does this gene/protein do?
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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.

Tag cloud generated 16 March, 2015 using data from PubMed, MeSH and CancerIndex

Specific Cancers (7)

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: GDF15 (cancer-related)

Thapa D, Meng P, Bedolla RG, et al.
NQO1 suppresses NF-κB-p300 interaction to regulate inflammatory mediators associated with prostate tumorigenesis.
Cancer Res. 2014; 74(19):5644-55 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 01/10/2015 Related Publications
UNLABELLED: NADPH reductase
NAD(P)H: quinone oxidoreductase 1 (NQO1) is needed to maintain a cellular pool of antioxidants, and this enzyme may contribute to tumorigenesis on the basis of studies in NQO1-deficient mice. In this work, we sought deeper insights into how NQO1 contributes to prostate carcinogenesis, a setting in which oxidative stress and inflammation are established contributors to disease development and progression. In the TRAMP mouse model of prostate cancer, NQO1 was highly expressed in tumor cells. NQO1 silencing in prostate cancer cells increased levels of nuclear IKKα and NF-κB while decreasing the levels of p53, leading to interactions between NF-κB and p300 that reinforce survival signaling. Gene expression analysis revealed upregulation of a set of immune-associated transcripts associated with inflammation and tumorigenesis in cells in which NQO1 was attenuated, with IL8 confirmed functionally in cell culture as one key NQO1-supported cytokine. Notably, NQO1-silenced prostate cancer cells were more resistant to androgen deprivation. Furthermore, NQO1 inhibition increased migration, including under conditions of androgen deprivation. These results reveal a molecular link between NQO1 expression and proinflammatory cytokine signaling in prostate cancer. Furthermore, our results suggest that altering redox homeostasis through NQO1 inhibition might promote androgen-independent cell survival via opposing effects on NF-κB and p53 function.

Tu M, Liu X, Han B, et al.
Vasohibin‑2 promotes proliferation in human breast cancer cells via upregulation of fibroblast growth factor‑2 and growth/differentiation factor‑15 expression.
Mol Med Rep. 2014; 10(2):663-9 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 01/10/2015 Related Publications
Vasohibin‑2 (VASH2) is an angiogenic factor, and has been previously reported to be a cancer‑related gene, with cytoplasmic and karyotypic forms. In the current study VASH2 expression in human breast cancer tissue and adjacent non‑cancerous tissue was investigated with immunohistochemistry. MCF‑7 and BT474 human breast cancer cells were transfected with lentiviral constructs to generate in vitro VASH2 overexpression and knockdown models. In addition, BALB/cA nude mice were inoculated subcutaneously with transfected cells to generate in vivo models of VASH2 overexpression and knockdown. The effect of VASH2 on cell proliferation was investigated using a bromodeoxyuridine assay in vitro and immunohistochemistry of Ki67 in xenograft tumors. Growth factors were investigated using a human growth factor array, and certain factors were further confirmed by an immunoblot. The results indicated that the expression level of cytoplasmic VASH2 was higher in breast cancer tissues with a Ki67 (a proliferation marker) level of ≥14%, compared with tissues with a Ki67 level of <14%. VASH2 induced proliferation in vitro and in vivo. Four growth factors activated by VASH2 were identified as follows: Fibroblast growth factor 2 (FGF2), growth/differentiation factor‑15 (GDF15), insulin‑like growth factor‑binding protein (IGFBP)3 and IGFBP6. FGF2 and GDF15 may contribute to VASH2‑induced proliferation. The current study identified a novel role for VASH2 in human breast cancer, and this knowledge suggests that VASH2 may be a novel target in breast cancer treatment.

Bruzzese F, Hägglöf C, Leone A, et al.
Local and systemic protumorigenic effects of cancer-associated fibroblast-derived GDF15.
Cancer Res. 2014; 74(13):3408-17 [PubMed] Related Publications
The tumor stroma is vital to tumor development, progression, and metastasis. Cancer-associated fibroblasts (CAF) are among the abundant cell types in the tumor stroma, but the range of their contributions to cancer pathogenicity has yet to be fully understood. Here, we report a critical role for upregulation of the TGFβ/BMP family member GDF15 (MIC-1) in tumor stroma. GDF15 was found upregulated in situ and in primary cultures of CAF from prostate cancer. Ectopic expression of GDF15 in fibroblasts produced prominent paracrine effects on prostate cancer cell migration, invasion, and tumor growth. Notably, GDF15-expressing fibroblasts exerted systemic in vivo effects on the outgrowth of distant and otherwise indolent prostate cancer cells. Our findings identify tumor stromal cells as a novel source of GDF15 in human prostate cancer and illustrate a systemic mechanism of cancer progression driven by the tumor microenvironment. Further, they provide a functional basis to understand GDF15 as a biomarker of poor prognosis and a candidate therapeutic target in prostate cancer.

Yang MH, Kim J, Khan IA, et al.
Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug activated gene-1 (NAG-1) modulators from natural products as anti-cancer agents.
Life Sci. 2014; 100(2):75-84 [PubMed] Related Publications
Natural products are rich sources of gene modulators that may be useful in prevention and treatment of cancer. Recently, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) activated gene-1 (NAG-1) has been focused as a target of action against diverse cancers like colorectal, pancreatic, prostate, and breast. A variety of natural agents have been reported to play a pivotal role in regulation of NAG-1 through multiple transcriptional mechanisms. The aim of this paper is to review the NAG-1 modulators derived from natural products including plants, marine organisms, and microorganisms. Plant extracts belonging to the families of Fabaceae (Astragalus membranaceus), Ranunculaceae (Coptis chinensis), Menispermaceae (Coscinium fenestratum), Umbelliferae (Pleurospermum kamtschaticum), Lamiaceae (Marubium vulgare), and Rosaceae (Prunus serotina) increased the protein expression of NAG-1 in human colon cancer or hepatocarcinoma cells. Phytochemicals in the class of flavonoids (apigenin, quercetin, isoliquiritigenin, and 2'-hydroxyflavanone), isoflavonoids (formononetin and genistein), catechins (epigallocatechin gallate and epicatechin gallate), stilbenoids (resveratrol and pinosylvin), phenolics (6-gingerol), phloroglucinols (rottlerin and aspidin PB), terpenoids (18 α-glycyrrhetinic acid, platycodin D, pseudolaric acid B, and xanthorrhizol), alkaloids (berberine, capsaicin, and indole-3-carbinol), lignans (isochaihulactone), anthraquinones (damnacanthal), and allyl sulfides (diallyl disulfide) elicited NAG-1 overexpression in various cancer cells. Pectenotoxin-2 from marine organisms and prodigiosin and anisomycin from microorganisms were also reported as NAG-1 modulators. Several transcription factors including EGR-1, p53, ATF-3, Sp1 and PPARγ were involved in natural products-induced NAG-1 transcriptional signaling pathway.

Liu M, Pan H, Zhang F, et al.
Screening of differentially expressed genes among various TNM stages of lung adenocarcinoma by genomewide gene expression profile analysis.
Asian Pac J Cancer Prev. 2013; 14(11):6281-6 [PubMed] Related Publications
BACKGROUND: To further investigate the molecular basis of lung cancer development, we utilize a microarray to identify differentially expressed genes associated with various TNM stages of adenocarcinoma, a subtype with increasing incidence in recent years in China.
METHODS: A 35K oligo gene array, covering about 25,100 genes, was used to screen differentially expressed genes among 90 tumor samples of lung adenocarcinoma in various TNM stages. To verify the gene array data, three genes (Zimp7, GINS2 and NAG-1) were confirmed by real-time RT-PCR in a different set of samples from the gene array.
RESULTS: First, we obtained 640 differentially expressed genes in lung adenocarcinomas compared to the surrounding normal lung tissues. Then, from the 640 candidates we identified 10 differentially expressed genes among different TNM stages (Stage I, II and IIIA), of which Zimp7, GINS2 and NAG-1 genes were first reported to be present at a high level in lung adenocarcinoma. The results of qRT-PCR for the three genes were consistent with those from the gene array.
CONCLUSIONS: We identified 10 candidate genes associated with different TNM stages in lung adenocarcinoma in the Chinese population, which should provide new insights into the molecular basis underlying the development of lung adenocarcinoma and may offer new targets for the diagnosis, therapy and prognosis prediction.

Chang JW, Kang SU, Choi JW, et al.
Tolfenamic acid induces apoptosis and growth inhibition in anaplastic thyroid cancer: Involvement of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug-activated gene-1 expression and intracellular reactive oxygen species generation.
Free Radic Biol Med. 2014; 67:115-30 [PubMed] Related Publications
Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) are usually used for the treatment of inflammatory diseases. However, certain NSAIDs also have antitumor activities in various cancers, including head and neck cancer, through cyclooxygenase-dependent or independent pathways. Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug-activated gene-1 (NAG-1), a TGF-β superfamily protein, is induced by NSAIDs and has been shown to be induced by several antitumorigenic compounds and to exhibit proapoptotic and antitumorigenic activities. In this report, we demonstrate for the first time that tolfenamic acid (TA) transcriptionally induced the expression of NAG-1 during TA-induced apoptosis of anaplastic thyroid cancer (ATC) cells. TA reduced the viability of ATC cells in a dose-dependent manner and induced apoptosis, findings that were coincident with NAG-1 expression. Overexpression of the NAG-1 gene using cDNA enhanced the apoptotic effect of TA, whereas suppression of NAG-1 expression by small interfering RNA attenuated TA-induced apoptosis. Subsequently, we found that intracellular ROS generation plays an important role in activating the proapoptotic protein NAG-1. Then, we confirmed antitumorigenic effects of TA in a nude mouse orthotopic ATC model, and this result accompanied the augmentation of NAG-1 expression and ROS generation in tumor tissue. Taken together, these results demonstrate that TA induces apoptosis via NAG-1 expression and ROS generation in in vitro and in vivo ATC models, providing a novel mechanistic explanation and indicating a potential chemotherapeutic approach for treatment of ATC.

Corre J, Hébraud B, Bourin P
Concise review: growth differentiation factor 15 in pathology: a clinical role?
Stem Cells Transl Med. 2013; 2(12):946-52 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 01/10/2015 Related Publications
Growth differentiation factor 15 (GDF15) is a divergent member of the transforming growth factor β family discovered in a broad range of cells, as indicated by the diversity of its nomenclature. However, the only tissue that expresses a high amount of GDF15 in the physiologic state is placenta. GDF15 is easily detected in blood, and its concentration varies with age. In fact, increased blood concentration of GDF15 is associated with numerous pathological conditions. However, the biological significance underlying these observations is far from clear. GDF15 could have a positive or negative role depending on the state of cells or their environment. Furthermore, study of its biology is hampered by lack of knowledge of its receptor and thus the signaling pathways that drive its action. GDF15 seems to be an integrative signal in pathologic conditions, giving information on severity of disease. Its effectiveness in classifying patients to modulate treatment remains to be shown. Development of therapeutic interventions with GDF15 or anti-GDF15 agents remains difficult until we uncover the mechanism that drives its activity.

Shahinian H, Loessner D, Biniossek ML, et al.
Secretome and degradome profiling shows that Kallikrein-related peptidases 4, 5, 6, and 7 induce TGFβ-1 signaling in ovarian cancer cells.
Mol Oncol. 2014; 8(1):68-82 [PubMed] Related Publications
Kallikrein-related peptidases, in particular KLK4, 5, 6 and 7 (4-7), often have elevated expression levels in ovarian cancer. In OV-MZ-6 ovarian cancer cells, combined expression of KLK4-7 reduces cell adhesion and increases cell invasion and resistance to paclitaxel. The present work investigates how KLK4-7 shape the secreted proteome ("secretome") and proteolytic profile ("degradome") of ovarian cancer cells. The secretome comparison consistently identified >900 proteins in three replicate analyses. Expression of KLK4-7 predominantly affected the abundance of proteins involved in cell-cell communication. Among others, this includes increased levels of transforming growth factor β-1 (TGFβ-1). KLK4-7 co-transfected OV-MZ-6 cells share prominent features of elevated TGFβ-1 signaling, including increased abundance of neural cell adhesion molecule L1 (L1CAM). Augmented levels of TGFβ-1 and L1CAM upon expression of KLK4-7 were corroborated in vivo by an ovarian cancer xenograft model. The degradomic analysis showed that KLK4-7 expression mostly affected cleavage sites C-terminal to arginine, corresponding to the preference of kallikreins 4, 5 and 6. Putative kallikrein substrates include chemokines, such as growth differentiation factor 15 (GDF 15) and macrophage migration inhibitory factor (MIF). Proteolytic maturation of TGFβ-1 was also elevated. KLK4-7 have a pronounced, yet non-degrading impact on the secreted proteome, with a strong association between these proteases and TGFβ-1 signaling in tumor biology.

Monteiro-Reis S, Leça L, Almeida M, et al.
Accurate detection of upper tract urothelial carcinoma in tissue and urine by means of quantitative GDF15, TMEFF2 and VIM promoter methylation.
Eur J Cancer. 2014; 50(1):226-33 [PubMed] Related Publications
AIM OF THE STUDY: Upper tract urothelial carcinoma (UTUC) accounts for 5-10% of all urothelial tumours. It is mostly diagnosed at advanced stages, entailing a worse prognosis, owing to the lack of early and specific symptoms as well as of effective diagnostic tools. We previously identified a panel of epigenetic biomarkers (GDF15, TMEFF2 and VIM promoter methylation) that accurately identifies bladder cancer in urine. Herein, we assessed the performance of the same panel for UTUC detection and prognosis, in tissue and urine.
MATERIAL AND METHODS: Methylation levels of reference and target genes were determined using real-time quantitative methylation-specific polymerase chain reaction (MSP) in bisulphite-modified DNA of 57 UTUC tissues, 36 normal upper tract urothelium (NUTUs), 22 urines from UTUC suspects and 20 urines from controls. Receiver operator characteristics (ROC)-curve analysis was performed to determine the performance of the biomarker panel and survival analyses were conducted to evaluate their prognostic value.
RESULTS: Methylation levels of GDF15, TMEFF2 and VIM were significantly higher in UTUC compared to NUTUs (P=0.022; P<0.001; P<0.001, respectively). The panel accurately identified UTUC with 100% and 91% sensitivity, corresponding to an area under the curve of 1.000 and 0.923 in tissue and urines, respectively, with 100% specificity. Low VIM promoter methylation levels independently predicted poor disease-specific survival.
CONCLUSIONS: GDF15, TMEFF2 and VIM promoter methylation allows for accurate identification of UTUC, in tissue and urine and VIM methylation provides relevant prognostic information, especially in high-stage disease. This assay may improve the clinical management of UTUC patients.

Liggett JL, Choi CK, Donnell RL, et al.
Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug sulindac sulfide suppresses structural protein Nesprin-2 expression in colorectal cancer cells.
Biochim Biophys Acta. 2014; 1840(1):322-31 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 01/10/2015 Related Publications
BACKGROUND: Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) are well known for treating inflammatory disease and have been reported to have anti-tumorigenic effects. Their mechanisms are not fully understood, but both cyclooxygenase (COX) dependent and independent pathways are involved. Our goal was to shed further light on COX-independent activity.
METHODS: Human colorectal cancer cells were observed under differential interference contrast microscopy (DICM), fluorescent microscopy, and micro-impedance measurement. Microarray analysis was performed using HCT-116 cells treated with sulindac sulfide (SS). PCR and Western blots were performed to confirm the microarray data and immunohistochemistry was performed to screen for Nesprin-2 expression. Micro-impedance was repeating including Nesprin-2 knock-down by siRNA.
RESULTS: HCT-116 cells treated with SS showed dramatic morphological changes under DICM and fluorescent microscopy, as well as weakened cellular adhesion as measured by micro-impedance. Nesprin-2 was selected from two independent microarrays, based on its novelty in relation to cancer and its role in cell organization. SS diminished Nesprin-2 mRNA expression as assessed by reverse transcriptase and real time PCR. Various other NSAIDs were also tested and demonstrated that inhibition of Nesprin-2 mRNA was not unique to SS. Additionally, immunohistochemistry showed higher levels of Nesprin-2 in many tumors in comparison with normal tissues. Further micro-impedance experiments on cells with reduced Nesprin-2 expression showed a proportional loss of cellular adhesion.
CONCLUSIONS: Nesprin-2 is down-regulated by NSAIDs and highly expressed in many cancers.
GENERAL SIGNIFICANCE: Our data suggest that Nesprin-2 may be a potential novel oncogene in human cancer cells and NSAIDs could decrease its expression.

Aw Yong KM, Zeng Y, Vindivich D, et al.
Morphological effects on expression of growth differentiation factor 15 (GDF15), a marker of metastasis.
J Cell Physiol. 2014; 229(3):362-73 [PubMed] Related Publications
Cancer cells typically demonstrate altered morphology during the various stages of disease progression as well as metastasis. While much is known about how altered cell morphology in cancer is a result of genetic regulation, less is known about how changes in cell morphology affect cell function by influencing gene expression. In this study, we altered cell morphology in different types of cancer cells by disrupting the actin cytoskeleton or by modulating attachment and observed a rapid up-regulation of growth differentiation factor 15 (GDF15), a member of the transforming growth factor-beta (TGF-β) super-family. Strikingly, this up-regulation was sustained as long as the cell morphology remained altered but was reversed upon allowing cell morphology to return to its typical configuration. The potential significance of these findings was examined in vivo using a mouse model: a small number of cancer cells grown in diffusion chambers that altered morphology increased mouse serum GDF15. Taken together, we propose that during the process of metastasis, cancer cells experience changes in cell morphology, resulting in the increased production and secretion of GDF15 into the surrounding environment. This indicates a possible relationship between serum GDF15 levels and circulating tumor cells may exist. Further investigation into the exact nature of this relationship is warranted.

Unsicker K, Spittau B, Krieglstein K
The multiple facets of the TGF-β family cytokine growth/differentiation factor-15/macrophage inhibitory cytokine-1.
Cytokine Growth Factor Rev. 2013; 24(4):373-84 [PubMed] Related Publications
GDF-15 (also MIC-1, NAG-1, PLAB, PTGFB) is a member of the TGF-β superfamily, which is widely distributed in mammalian tissues and has been shown to play multiple roles in various pathologies, including inflammation, cancer, cardiovascular diseases, and obesity. GDF-15 serum levels are a highly reliable predictor of disease progression. Both the anti-tumorigenic potential of GDF-15 and its capacity to promote metastasis have been documented for a large variety of cancers, yet its opposing functions, which are typical for members of the TGF-β superfamily, have only partly been resolved on the molecular level. Knowledge on physiological functions in the non-diseased organism is scarce. In the nervous system GDF-15 knockout analyses have revealed that GDF-15 is essential for the postnatal maintenance of various neuron populations. When applied exogenously GDF-15 is a powerful factor for promoting survival of developing and lesioned neurons in vitro and in vivo. Receptor activation by GDF-15 has only been partially resolved.

Padi SK, Zhang Q, Rustum YM, et al.
MicroRNA-627 mediates the epigenetic mechanisms of vitamin D to suppress proliferation of human colorectal cancer cells and growth of xenograft tumors in mice.
Gastroenterology. 2013; 145(2):437-46 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 01/10/2015 Related Publications
BACKGROUND & AIMS: Vitamin D protects against colorectal cancer through unclear mechanisms. We investigated the effects of calcitriol (1α,25-dihydroxyvitamin D3; the active form of vitamin D) on levels of different microRNAs (miRNAs) in colorectal cancer cells from humans and xenograft tumors in mice.
METHODS: Expression of miRNAs in colorectal cancer cell lines was examined using the Ambion mirVana miRNA Bioarray. The effects of calcitriol on expression of miR-627 and cell proliferation were determined by real-time polymerase chain reaction and WST-1 assay, respectively; growth of colorectal xenograft tumors was examined in nude mice. Real-time polymerase chain reaction was used to analyze levels of miR-627 in human colon adenocarcinoma samples and nontumor colon mucosa tissues (controls).
RESULTS: In HT-29 cells, miR-627 was the only miRNA significantly up-regulated by calcitriol. Jumonji domain containing 1A (JMJD1A), which encodes a histone demethylase, was found to be a target of miR-627. By down-regulating JMJD1A, miR-627 increased methylation of histone H3K9 and suppressed expression of proliferative factors, such as growth and differentiation factor 15. Calcitriol induced expression of miR-627, which down-regulated JMJD1A and suppressed growth of xenograft tumors from HCT-116 cells in nude mice. Overexpression of miR-627 prevented proliferation of colorectal cancer cell lines in culture and growth of xenograft tumors in mice. Conversely, blocking the activity of miR-627 inhibited the tumor suppressive effects of calcitriol in cultured colorectal cancer cells and in mice. Levels of miR-627 were decreased in human colon adenocarcinoma samples compared with controls.
CONCLUSIONS: miR-627 mediates tumor-suppressive epigenetic activities of vitamin D on colorectal cancer cells and xenograft tumors in mice. The messenger RNA that encodes the histone demethylase JMJD1A is a direct target of miR-627. Reagents designed to target JMJD1A or its messenger RNA, or increase the function of miR-627, might have the same antitumor activities of vitamin D without the hypercalcemic side effects.

Choi HJ, Kim J, Do KH, et al.
Enteropathogenic Escherichia coli-induced macrophage inhibitory cytokine 1 mediates cancer cell survival: an in vitro implication of infection-linked tumor dissemination.
Oncogene. 2013; 32(41):4960-9 [PubMed] Related Publications
Mucosally adherent Escherichia coli is frequently observed in intestinal surface of patients with colorectal cancer, but rarely in healthy control. Particularly, enteropathogenic Escherichia coli (EPEC) is known to be closely associated with colorectal carcinogenesis in human. In this study, one consequence of EPEC infection in human intestinal cancer cells was induction of macrophage inhibitory cytokine 1 (MIC-1), which is a multifunctional cytokine with biological activities involved in cancer cell growth, differentiation and migration. The present investigation assessed the involvement of MIC-1 protein in EPEC infection-mediated cancer cell survival. The challenge with EPEC induced cancer cell detachment via cytoskeleton rearrangement, which was positively associated with induced MIC-1 expression. Moreover, MIC-1 also mediated RhoA GTPase-linked survival of the detached cancer cells. Blocking of MIC-1 or RhoA activity increased cellular apoptosis of the detached cancer cells. In terms of signaling pathway, MIC-1 triggered transforming growth factorβ-activated kinase 1 (TAK1), which enhanced expression of RhoA GTPase. We conclude that EPEC enhances MIC-1 gene expression in the human intestinal cancer cells, which can be associated with enhanced tumor cell resistance to anchorage-dependent tumor cell death via enhanced TAK1 and RhoA GTPase.

Barderas R, Mendes M, Torres S, et al.
In-depth characterization of the secretome of colorectal cancer metastatic cells identifies key proteins in cell adhesion, migration, and invasion.
Mol Cell Proteomics. 2013; 12(6):1602-20 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 01/10/2015 Related Publications
Liver metastasis in colorectal cancer is the major cause of cancer-related deaths. To identify and characterize proteins associated with colon cancer metastasis, we have compared the conditioned serum-free medium of highly metastatic KM12SM colorectal cancer cells with the parental, poorly metastatic KM12C cells using quantitative stable isotope labeling by amino acids in cell culture (SILAC) analyses on a linear ion trap-Orbitrap Velos mass spectrometer. In total, 1337 proteins were simultaneously identified in SILAC forward and reverse experiments. For quantification, 1098 proteins were selected in both experiments, with 155 proteins showing >1.5-fold change. About 52% of these proteins were secreted directly or using alternative secretion pathways. GDF15, S100A8/A9, and SERPINI1 showed capacity to discriminate cancer serum samples from healthy controls using ELISAs. In silico analyses of deregulated proteins in the secretome of metastatic cells showed a major abundance of proteins involved in cell adhesion, migration, and invasion. To characterize the tumorigenic and metastatic properties of some top up- and down-regulated proteins, we used siRNA silencing and antibody blocking. Knockdown expression of NEO1, SERPINI1, and PODXL showed a significant effect on cellular adhesion. Silencing or blocking experiments with SOSTDC1, CTSS, EFNA3, CD137L/TNFSF9, ZG16B, and Midkine caused a significant decrease in migration and invasion of highly metastatic cells. In addition, silencing of SOSTDC1, EFNA3, and CD137L/TNFSF9 reduced liver colonization capacity of KM12SM cells. Finally, the panel of six proteins involved in invasion showed association with poor prognosis and overall survival after dataset analysis of gene alterations. In summary, we have defined a collection of proteins that are relevant for understanding the mechanisms underlying adhesion, migration, invasion, and metastasis in colorectal cancer.

Williams CC, Singleton BA, Llopis SD, Skripnikova EV
Metformin induces a senescence-associated gene signature in breast cancer cells.
J Health Care Poor Underserved. 2013; 24(1 Suppl):93-103 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 01/10/2015 Related Publications
Diabetic patients taking metformin have lower incidence of breast cancer than those taking other anti-diabetic medications. Additionally, triple negative breast cancer (TNBC), a form of breast cancer disproportionately afflicting premenopausal African American women, shows atypical susceptibility to metformin's antiproliferative effect. The mechanisms involved in metformin's function in TNBC has not yet been fully elucidated. Therefore, we sought to identify pathways regulated by metformin in using the MDA-MB-468 TNBC cell model. Metformin dose-dependently caused apoptosis, decreased cell viability, and induced cell morphology/chromatin condensation consistent with the permanent proliferative arrest. Furthermore, gene expression arrays revealed that metformin caused expression of stress markers DDIT3, CYP1A1,and GDF-15 and a concomitant reduction in PTGS1 expression. Our findings show that metformin may affect the viability and proliferative capacity of TNBC by inducing an antiproliferative gene signature, and that metformin may be effective in the treatment/prevention of TNBC.

Shimizu S, Kadowaki M, Yoshioka H, et al.
Proteasome inhibitor MG132 induces NAG-1/GDF15 expression through the p38 MAPK pathway in glioblastoma cells.
Biochem Biophys Res Commun. 2013; 430(4):1277-82 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 01/10/2015 Related Publications
The expression of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug-activated gene-1 (NAG-1) is regulated by the p53 and Egr-1 tumor suppressor pathways. Many anti-cancer drugs and chemicals induce NAG-1 expression, but the mechanisms are not fully understood. Transgenic mice expressing human NAG-1 are resistant to intestinal and prostate cancer, suggesting that NAG-1 is a tumor suppressor. Proteasome inhibitors exhibit anti-glioblastoma activities in preclinical studies. Here, we show that the proteasome inhibitors MG132 and bortezomib induced NAG-1 expression and secretion in glioblastoma cells. MG132 increased NAG-1 expression through transcriptional and post-transcriptional mechanisms. At the transcriptional level, the induction of NAG-1 required the -133 to +41 bp region of the promoter. At post-transcriptional levels, MG132 stabilized NAG-1 mRNA by increasing the half-life from 1.5 h to >8 h. Because of the dramatic increase in mRNA stability, this is likely the major contributor to MG132-mediated NAG-1 induction. Further probing into the mechanism revealed that MG132 increased phosphorylation of the p38 MAPK pathway. Consequently, inhibiting p38 phosphorylation blocked activation of the NAG-1 promoter and decreased mRNA stability, indicating that p38 MAPK activation mediates both MG132-dependent promoter activation and mRNA stabilization of NAG-1. We propose that the induction of NAG-1 by p38 MAPK is a potential contributor to the anti-glioblastoma activity of proteasome inhibitors.

Meyer RM, Hoppe RT
Point/counterpoint: early-stage Hodgkin lymphoma and the role of radiation therapy.
Hematology Am Soc Hematol Educ Program. 2012; 2012:313-21 [PubMed] Related Publications
The results of recent clinical trials for the management of limited-stage Hodgkin lymphoma have led to considerable debate, especially regarding the role of radiation therapy. This review highlights those recent trials and provides perspectives regarding their interpretation from a radiation oncologist and a hematologist. The trial protocol is available at http://www.nejm.org/doi/suppl/10.1056/NEJMoa1111961/suppl_file/nejmoa1111961_protocol.pdf.

Khaled YS, Elkord E, Ammori BJ
Macrophage inhibitory cytokine-1: a review of its pleiotropic actions in cancer.
Cancer Biomark. 2012; 11(5):183-90 [PubMed] Related Publications
BACKGROUND AND AIMS: The macrophage inhibitory cytokine-1 (MIC-1) is a divergent member of the transforming growth factor-β (TGF-β) superfamily that can serve as a potential immune-therapeutic target and/or a prognostic biomarker for the treatment of some cancers. This article reviews the current published data on the molecular and clinical application of MIC-1 in cancer.
METHODS: Literature review was conducted using Medline, PubMed, Embase and Cochrane databases.
RESULTS: MIC-1 is the only known secreted p53-regulated cytokine and therefore can serve as a biomarker for p53 activation both in vitro and in vivo. MIC-1 gene can be activated by cyclooxygenase inhibitors and has pro-apoptotic and anti-tumour activities. Although MIC-1 may induce anti-tumour role in the early stages of cancer, it can promote the invasiveness and metastatic behaviour in advanced stages. Greater concentration of MIC-1 was associated with the induction of cancer-related anorexia and weight loss in animals and humans. Of clinical interest, MIC-1 out-performs all available biomarkers including CA19-9 in the differentiation of patients with resectable pancreatic cancer from patients with benign pancreatic disease. MIC-1 gene was over-expressed in colorectal cancer (CRC), and a progressive rise of MIC-1 serum levels was noted in patients with adenomatous polyps and further in patients with CRC.
CONCLUSIONS: MIC-1 cytokine has the potential characteristics for a new diagnostic biomarker and a target for cancer treatment. Further research however is required to characterise MIC-1 receptors and to revalidate its diagnostic power in larger and better-standardised clinical studies.

Wang X, Baek SJ, Eling TE
The diverse roles of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug activated gene (NAG-1/GDF15) in cancer.
Biochem Pharmacol. 2013; 85(5):597-606 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 01/10/2015 Related Publications
Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) activated gene-1, NAG-1, is a divergent member of the transforming growth factor-beta (TGF-β) superfamily that plays a complex but poorly understood role in several human diseases including cancer. NAG-1 expression is substantially increased during cancer development and progression especially in gastrointestinal, prostate, pancreatic, colorectal, breast, melanoma, and glioblastoma brain tumors. Aberrant increases in the serum levels of secreted NAG-1 correlate with poor prognosis and patient survival rates in some cancers. In contrast, the expression of NAG-1 is up-regulated by several tumor suppressor pathways including p53, GSK-3β, and EGR-1. NAG-1 expression is also induced by many drugs and dietary compounds which are documented to prevent the development and progression of cancer in mouse models. Studies with transgenic mice expressing human NAG-1 demonstrated that the expression of NAG-1 inhibits the development of intestinal tumors and prostate tumors in animal models. Laboratory and clinical evidence suggest that NAG-1, like other TGF-β family members, may have different or pleiotropic functions in the early and late stages of carcinogenesis. Upon understanding the molecular mechanism and function of NAG-1 during carcinogenesis, NAG-1 may serve as a potential biomarker for the diagnosis and prognosis of cancer and a therapeutic target for the inhibition and treatment of cancer development and progression.

Voltan R, Secchiero P, Corallini F, Zauli G
Selective induction of TP53I3/p53-inducible gene 3 (PIG3) in myeloid leukemic cells, but not in normal cells, by Nutlin-3.
Mol Carcinog. 2014; 53(6):498-504 [PubMed] Related Publications
The small molecule inhibitor of the MDM2/p53 interaction Nutlin-3 is a promising anti-cancer agent, which exhibits activity against a variety of cancers, including acute myeloid leukemia (AML). Previous studies have shown that Nutlin-3 variably induces apoptosis and cell cycle arrest in cancer cells while it shows low/absent cytotoxicity in normal cells. However, the reason for the selective pro-apoptotic activity in cancer cells with respect to normal counterparts is incompletely understood. In this study, we have compared the induction of several known target genes of p53 in two p53(wild-type) AML cell lines, OCI-AML3 and MOLM, in comparison with primary normal peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMC). Among several p53-target genes activated both in AML cell lines and normal PBMC (BBC3, BAX, MDM2, FAS, CDKN1A, GDF15, GADD45A, TNFRSF10B, TP53I3/PIG3), only TP53I3/PIG3 was selectively activated in MOLM and OCI-AML3, but not in PBMC. The important role of TP53I3/PIG3 in mediating the apoptotic activity of Nutlin-3 was underlined by knock-down experiments with siRNA specific for TP53I3/PIG3, which resulted in a significant decrease in the pro-apoptotic activity of Nutlin-3.

Kang HS, Ock J, Lee HJ, et al.
Early growth response protein 1 upregulation and nuclear translocation by 2'-benzoyloxycinnamaldehyde induces prostate cancer cell death.
Cancer Lett. 2013; 329(2):217-27 [PubMed] Related Publications
2'-Benzoyloxycinnamaldehyde (BCA) induces apoptosis in human cancer cells through ROS generation. BCA upregulates proapoptotic genes such as activating transcription factor 3 (ATF3), NSAID-activated gene 1 protein (NAG-1), and growth arrest and DNA-damage-inducible protein alpha (GADD45A) in prostate cancer cells. These genes are known to be induced by transcription factor early growth response protein 1 (EGR1). BCA induces significant EGR1 upregulation, while EGR1 knockdown decreases the induction of these genes with concurrent alleviation of cell death by BCA. Antioxidant glutathione pretreatment with BCA removes EGR1 expression increase, suggesting that EGR1 upregulation is dependent on oxidative stress generated by BCA. In prostate cancer cells, EGR1 localizes in the cytoplasm; however, BCA remarkably upregulates EGR1 nuclear translocalization, suggesting its possible effect as a transcriptional activator. BCA induces transient upregulation of importin-7 (IPO7) which is critical for EGR1 nuclear translocation, and IPO7 knockdown led to a significant decrease in chemosensitivity to BCA. Taken together, our findings suggest that BCA induces prostate cancer cell death via EGR1 upregulation and nuclear translocalization, followed by activation of proapoptotic target genes.

Sun Y, Gao C, Luo M, et al.
Aspidin PB, a phloroglucinol derivative, induces apoptosis in human hepatocarcinoma HepG2 cells by modulating PI3K/Akt/GSK3β pathway.
Chem Biol Interact. 2013; 201(1-3):1-8 [PubMed] Related Publications
Aspidin PB, a phloroglucinol derivative isolated from Dryopteris fragrans (L.) Schott, has been previously reported to exert high biological activities. In the present study, we analyzed the apoptotic mechanisms of aspidin PB on human hepatoma cell line, HepG2. Initially, aspidin PB was shown to inhibit the growth of HepG2 cells in a time and dose-dependent manner. After treatment with aspidin PB for 72 h, 48 h and 24 h using MTT assay, the IC(50) values were 10.59 μM, 20.86 μM and 46.59 μM, respectively. Aspidin PB was capable to induce apoptosis, as measured by mitochondrial membrane potential (ΔΨm), acridine orange (AO) staining and propidium iodide (PI)/annexin V-FITC double staining. To further explore the signaling pathway of aspidin PB-mediated apoptosis, we examined PI3K/Akt related proteins. Western blot analysis revealed that aspidin PB inhibited PI3K expression, phosphorylation of Ser473 Akt and Ser9 GSK3β followed by up-regulation of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs activated gene-1 (NAG-1) expression. Similarly, the effects of aspidin PB on PI3K, Akt, GSK3β, NAG-1 expression were abolished by treatment with the PI3K inhibitor, wortmannin. Taken together, our data suggested that the PI3K/Akt/GSK3β signal pathway may represent one of the major mechanisms of the effects of aspidin PB on human hepatocarcinoma cells.

Li SC, Martijn C, Cui T, et al.
The somatostatin analogue octreotide inhibits growth of small intestine neuroendocrine tumour cells.
PLoS One. 2012; 7(10):e48411 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 01/10/2015 Related Publications
Octreotide is a widely used synthetic somatostatin analogue that significantly improves the management of neuroendocrine tumours (NETs). Octreotide acts through somatostatin receptors (SSTRs). However, the molecular mechanisms leading to successful disease control or symptom management, especially when SSTRs levels are low, are largely unknown. We provide novel insights into how octreotide controls NET cells. CNDT2.5 cells were treated from 1 day up to 16 months with octreotide and then were profiled using Affymetrix microarray analysis. Quantitative real-time PCR and western blot analyses were used to validate microarray profiling in silico data. WST-1 cell proliferation assay was applied to evaluate cell growth of CNDT2.5 cells in the presence or absence of 1 µM octreotide at different time points. Moreover, laser capture microdissected tumour cells and paraffin embedded tissue slides from SI-NETs at different stages of disease were used to identify transcriptional and translational expression. Microarrays analyses did not reveal relevant changes in SSTR expression levels. Unexpectedly, six novel genes were found to be upregulated by octreotide: annexin A1 (ANXA1), rho GTPase-activating protein 18 (ARHGAP18), epithelial membrane protein 1 (EMP1), growth/differentiation factor 15 (GDF15), TGF-beta type II receptor (TGFBR2) and tumour necrosis factor (ligand) superfamily member 15 (TNFSF15). Furthermore, these novel genes were expressed in tumour tissues at transcript and protein levels. We suggest that octreotide may use a potential novel framework to exert its beneficial effect as a drug and to convey its action on neuroendocrine cells. Thus, six novel genes may regulate cell growth and differentiation in normal and tumour neuroendocrine cells and have a role in a novel octreotide mechanism system.

Griner SE, Joshi JP, Nahta R
Growth differentiation factor 15 stimulates rapamycin-sensitive ovarian cancer cell growth and invasion.
Biochem Pharmacol. 2013; 85(1):46-58 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 01/10/2015 Related Publications
Identification of novel molecular markers and therapeutic targets may improve survival rates for patients with ovarian cancer. In the current study, immunohistochemical (IHC) analysis of two human ovarian tumor tissue arrays showed high staining for GDF15 in a majority of tissues. Exogenous stimulation of ovarian cancer cell lines with recombinant human GDF15 (rhGDF15) or stable over-expression of a GDF15 expression plasmid promoted anchorage-independent growth, increased invasion, and up-regulation of matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs) and vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF). MMP inhibition suppressed GDF15-mediated invasion. In addition, IHC analysis of human ovarian tumor tissue arrays indicated that GDF15 expression correlated significantly with high MMP2 and MMP9 expression. Exogenous and endogenous GDF15 over-expression stimulated phosphorylation of p38, Erk1/2, and Akt. Pharmacologic inhibition of p38, MEK, or PI3K suppressed GDF15-stimulated growth. Further, proliferation, growth, and invasion of GDF15 stable clones were blocked by rapamycin. IHC analysis demonstrated significant correlation between GDF15 expression and phosphorylation of mTOR. Finally, knockdown of endogenous GDF15 or neutralization of secreted GDF15 suppressed invasion and growth of a GDF15-over-expressing ovarian cancer cell line. These data indicate that GDF15 over-expression, which occurred in a majority of human ovarian cancers, promoted rapamycin-sensitive invasion and growth of ovarian cancer cells. Inhibition of mTOR may be an effective therapeutic strategy for ovarian cancers that over-express GDF15. Future studies should examine GDF15 as a novel molecular target for blocking ovarian cancer progression.

Ray-Coquard I, Blay JY, Italiano A, et al.
Effect of the MDM2 antagonist RG7112 on the P53 pathway in patients with MDM2-amplified, well-differentiated or dedifferentiated liposarcoma: an exploratory proof-of-mechanism study.
Lancet Oncol. 2012; 13(11):1133-40 [PubMed] Related Publications
BACKGROUND: We report a proof-of-mechanism study of RG7112, a small-molecule MDM2 antagonist, in patients with chemotherapy-naive primary or relapsed well-differentiated or dedifferentiated MDM2-amplified liposarcoma who were eligible for resection.
METHODS: Patients with well-differentiated or dedifferentiated liposarcoma were enrolled at four centres in France. Patients received up to three 28-day neoadjuvant treatment cycles of RG7112 1440 mg/m(2) per day for 10 days. If a patient progressed at any point after the first cycle, the lesion was resected or, if unresectable, an end-of-study biopsy was done. The primary endpoint was to assess markers of RG7112-dependent MDM2 inhibition and P53 pathway activation (P53, P21, MDM2, Ki-67, macrophage inhibitory cytokine-1 [MIC-1], and apoptosis). All analyses were per protocol. This trial is registered with EudraCT, number 2009-015522-10.
RESULTS: Between June 3, and Dec 14, 2010, 20 patients were enrolled and completed pretreatment and day 8 biopsies. 18 of 20 patients had TP53 wild-type tumours and two carried missense TP53 mutations. 14 of 17 assessed patients had MDM2 gene amplification. Compared with baseline, P53 and P21 concentrations, assessed by immunohistochemistry, had increased by a median of 4·86 times (IQR 4·38-7·97; p=0·0001) and 3·48 times (2·05-4·09; p=0·0001), respectively, at day 8 (give or take 2 days). At the same timepoint, relative MDM2 mRNA expression had increased by a median of 3·03 times (1·23-4·93; p=0·003) that at baseline. The median change from baseline for Ki-67-positive tumour cells was -5·05% (IQR -12·55 to 0·05; p=0·01). Drug exposure correlated with blood concentrations of MIC-1 (p<0·0001) and haematological toxicity. One patient had a confirmed partial response and 14 had stable disease. All patients experienced at least one adverse event, mostly nausea (14 patients), vomiting (11 patients), asthenia (nine patients), diarrhoea (nine patients), and thrombocytopenia (eight patients). There were 12 serious adverse events in eight patients, the most common of which were neutropenia (six patients) and thrombocytopenia (three patients).
DISCUSSION: MDM2 inhibition activates the P53 pathway and decreases cell proliferation in MDM2-amplified liposarcoma. This study suggests that it is feasible to undertake neoadjuvant biopsy-driven biomarker studies in liposarcoma.
FUNDING: F Hoffmann-La Roche.

Kang SU, Lee BS, Lee SH, et al.
Expression of NSAID-activated gene-1 by EGCG in head and neck cancer: involvement of ATM-dependent p53 expression.
J Nutr Biochem. 2013; 24(6):986-99 [PubMed] Related Publications
Epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG), a major polyphenolic constituent of green tea, possesses remarkable chemopreventive and therapeutic potential against various types of cancer, including head and neck squamous cell carcinoma (HNSCC). However, the molecular mechanism involved is not completely understood. Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug-activated gene-1 (NAG-1), a transforming growth factor β superfamily protein, is shown to be induced by several antitumorigenic compounds and to exhibit proapoptotic and antitumorigenic activities. In this report, we demonstrate that EGCG transcriptionally induced the expression of NAG-1 during EGCG-induced apoptosis of HNSCC cells. Reporter assays, using the luciferase constructs containing the NAG-1 promoter, demonstrate that p53 is required for EGCG-mediated activation of NAG-1. Overexpression of NAG-1 enhanced the apoptotic effect of EGCG, whereas suppression of NAG-1 expression by small interfering RNA attenuated EGCG-induced apoptosis in HNSCC cells. Subsequently, we found that ataxia-telangiectasia mutated (ATM) plays an important role in activating these proapoptotic proteins (NAG-1 and p53) and cell cycle inhibitor (p21). Furthermore, EGCG significantly inhibited tumor formation as assessed by xenograft models, and this result is accompanied with induction of apoptotic cells and NAG-1 expression in tumor tissue samples. Taken together, these results demonstrate for the first time that EGCG induces apoptosis via ATM/p53-dependent NAG-1 expression in HNSCC, providing an additional mechanistic explanation for the apoptotic activity of EGCG.

Zsippai A, Szabó DR, Tömböl Z, et al.
Effects of mitotane on gene expression in the adrenocortical cell line NCI-H295R: a microarray study.
Pharmacogenomics. 2012; 13(12):1351-61 [PubMed] Related Publications
AIM: The adrenolytic agent mitotane is widely used in the treatment of adrenocortical cancer; however, its mechanism of action is poorly elucidated. We have studied mitotane-induced mRNA expression changes in the NCI-H295R adrenocortical cancer cell line.
MATERIALS & METHODS: Cell viability and hormone assays were used to select the optimal mitotane concentration effectively inhibiting hormone secretion without affecting cell viability. RNA isolated from cultures treated for 48 and 72 h was subjected to Agilent 4×44K microarray platforms. Microarray results were validated by quantitative reverse-transcription PCR.
RESULTS: Altogether, 117 significantly differentially expressed genes were detected at 48 h and 72 h (p < 0.05) in mitotane-treated samples relative to controls. Three significantly underexpressed genes involved in steroid hormone biosynthesis (HSD3B1, HSD3B2 and CYP21A2) and four significantly overexpressed genes (GDF15, ALDH1L2, TRIB3 and SERPINE2) have been validated.
CONCLUSION: Gene-expression changes might be involved in the adrenal action of mitotane and in the inhibition of hormone secretion.

Ko JK, Auyeung KK
Target-oriented mechanisms of novel herbal therapeutics in the chemotherapy of gastrointestinal cancer and inflammation.
Curr Pharm Des. 2013; 19(1):48-66 [PubMed] Related Publications
A prominent group of effective cancer chemopreventive drugs has been derived from natural products having low toxicity while possessing apparent benefit in the disease process. It is plausible that there are multiple target molecules critical to cancer cell survival. Herbal terpenoids have demonstrated excellent target-specific anti-neoplastic functions by suppression of cell proliferation and induction of apoptosis. Transcriptional molecules in the NF-κB, MEK/ERK and PI3K/Akt/mTOR pathways are important molecular targets of chemotherapy that play distinctive roles in modulating the apoptosis cascades. It is recently suggested that NSAID-activated gene (NAG-1), a novel proapoptotic protein, is the upstream anti-carcinogenic target of NSAIDs, PPAR ligands and herbal chemotherapeutic agents that triggers some of the events mentioned above. Besides, angiogenesis, oxidative stress as well as inflammation are important factors that contribute to the development and metastasis of cancer, which could be actively modulated by novel agents of plant origin. The aim of the present review is to discuss and summarize the contemporary use of herbal therapeutics and phytochemicals in the treatment of human cancers, in particular that of the colon. The major events and signaling pathways in the carcinogenesis process being potentially modulated by natural products and novel herbal compounds will be evaluated, with emphasis on some terpenoids. Advances in eliciting the precise cellular and molecular mechanisms during the anti-tumorigenic process of novel herbal therapeutics will be of imperative clinical significance to increase the efficacy and reduce prominent adverse drug effects in cancer patients through target-specific therapy.

Tsui KH, Chang YL, Feng TH, et al.
Growth differentiation factor-15 upregulates interleukin-6 to promote tumorigenesis of prostate carcinoma PC-3 cells.
J Mol Endocrinol. 2012; 49(2):153-63 [PubMed] Related Publications
Growth differentiation factor-15 (GDF15), a member of the transforming growth factor-β superfamily, is associated with human cancer progress. We evaluated the role GDF15 plays in tumorigenesis of prostate carcinoma PC-3 cells. Results from real-time RT-PCR and ELISA revealed that expression of GDF15 was approximately threefold higher in LNCaP cells than in PC-3 cells. Other prostate cell lines (PZ-HPV-7, CA-HPV-10, and DU145 cells) expressed extremely low levels of GDF15. Stable overexpression of GDF15 in PC-3 cells enhanced the degree of cell proliferation and invasion as shown in the (3)H-thymidine incorporation assay and in the Matrigel invasion assay respectively. Soft agar assays and xenograft animal studies indicated that overexpression of GDF15 in PC-3 cells increased tumorigenesis in vitro and in vivo. Results from RT-PCR, immunoblot, and reporter assays revealed that overexpression of GDF15 resulted in decreased expression of maspin and upregulation of interleukin-6 (IL6), matriptase, and N-myc downstream-regulated gene 1 (NDRG1) expression. Further studies revealed that overexpression of IL6 enhanced GDF15 expression in LNCaP cells while knockdown of IL6 blocked the expression of GDF15 in PC-3 cells, suggesting that expression of GDF15 is upregulated by IL6. This study demonstrated that expression of GDF15 induces cell proliferation, invasion, and tumorigenesis of prostate carcinoma PC-3 cells. The enhancement of tumorigenesis and invasiveness of prostate carcinoma cells that stably overexpress GDF15 may be caused by the dysregulation of maspin, matriptase, and IL6 gene expression. The expression of GDF15 and IL6 is controlled via a positive feedback loop in PC-3 cells.

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