Gene Summary

Gene:HGF; hepatocyte growth factor
Aliases: SF, HGFB, HPTA, F-TCF, DFNB39
Summary:This gene encodes a protein that binds to the hepatocyte growth factor receptor to regulate cell growth, cell motility and morphogenesis in numerous cell and tissue types. Alternative splicing results in multiple transcript variants, at least one of which encodes a preproprotein that is proteolytically processed to generate alpha and beta chains, which form the mature heterodimer. This protein is secreted by mesenchymal cells and acts as a multi-functional cytokine on cells of mainly epithelial origin. This protein also plays a role in angiogenesis, tumorogenesis, and tissue regeneration. Although the encoded protein is a member of the peptidase S1 family of serine proteases, it lacks peptidase activity. Mutations in this gene are associated with nonsyndromic hearing loss. [provided by RefSeq, Nov 2015]
Databases:OMIM, HGNC, Ensembl, GeneCard, Gene
Protein:hepatocyte growth factor
Source:NCBIAccessed: 31 August, 2019


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

Research Indicators

Publications Per Year (1994-2019)
Graph generated 31 August 2019 using data from PubMed using criteria.

Literature Analysis

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Tag cloud generated 31 August, 2019 using data from PubMed, MeSH and CancerIndex

Latest Publications: HGF (cancer-related)

Zhang X, Liu N, Zhou M, et al.
DNA Nanorobot Delivers Antisense Oligonucleotides Silencing c-Met Gene Expression for Cancer Therapy.
J Biomed Nanotechnol. 2019; 15(9):1948-1959 [PubMed] Related Publications
Antisense oligonucleotides are considered to be a promising strategy for cancer therapy because of their high specificity and minimal side effects. They can bind specifically to mRNA silencing the expression of target genes. However, ssDNA cannot enter cells in large quantities, which limits its applications. Tetrahedral framework nucleic acids (tFNA) are considered to be optimal nanoscopic drug carriers because of their editability and biocompatibility. Most importantly, they can be modified with functional molecules. The over-expression of c-Met is associated with a wide variety of tumor occurrences, developments, drug resistance and prognoses. Activation of HGF/c-Met signaling pathways can promote cell migration and invasion in cancer. Therefore, blocking the expression of c-Met is a valid technique for cancer therapy. In this study, we used tFNA as carriers to deliver antisense oligonucleotides, which can bind to c-Met mRNA with high specificity and affinity, into cells resulting in the inhibition of c-Met expression for cancer therapy.

Liu J, Song S, Lin S, et al.
Circ-SERPINE2 promotes the development of gastric carcinoma by sponging miR-375 and modulating YWHAZ.
Cell Prolif. 2019; 52(4):e12648 [PubMed] Related Publications
OBJECTIVES: Circular RNAs (circRNAs) exist extensively in the eukaryotic genome. The study aimed to identify the role of hsa_circ_0008365 (Circ-SERPINE2) in gastric carcinoma (GC) cells and its downstream mechanisms.
MATERIALS AND METHODS: Gene Expression Omnibus (GEO) database was applied to screen differentially expressed circRNAs. CircInteractome, TargetScan and miRecords websites were used to predict target relationships. qRT-PCR and RNase R treatment were utilised to detect molecule expression and confirm the existence of circ-SERPINE2. RNA pull-down assay and dual-luciferase reporter assay were performed for interaction between circRNA and miRNA or mRNA. EdU assay, colony formation assay, and flow cytometry for apoptosis and cell cycle detections were utilised to assess cell function. Western blot and immunohistochemistry (IHC) assays were applied for detection of proteins in tissues or cells.
RESULTS: Circ-SERPINE2 and YWHAZ were upregulated, and miR-375 was downregulated in GC tissues and cells. Circ-SERPINE2 and YWHAZ targetedly bound to miR-375. Circ-SERPINE2 promoted cell proliferation and cell cycle progress and inhibited cell apoptosis by sponging miR-375 and regulating YWHAZ expression in vitro. Circ-SERPINE2 repressed solid tumour growth through enhancing miR-375 expression and reducing YWHAZ expression in vivo.
CONCLUSIONS: Circ-SERPINE2 is a novel proliferative promoter through the regulation of miR-375/YWHAZ. Circ-SERPINE2/miR-375/YWHAZ axis might provide a novel therapeutic target of GC.

Matte I, Garde-Granger P, Bessette P, Piché A
Ascites from ovarian cancer patients stimulates MUC16 mucin expression and secretion in human peritoneal mesothelial cells through an Akt-dependent pathway.
BMC Cancer. 2019; 19(1):406 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
BACKGROUND: CA125 is a well-established ovarian cancer (OC) serum biomarker. The CA125 heavily glycosylated epitope is carried by the MUC16 mucin, a high molecular weight transmembrane mucin. Upon proteolytic cleavage, the extracellular domain of MUC16 is released from the cell surface into malignant ascites and blood vessels. Previous studies have shown that both tumor and surrounding mesothelial cells may express MUC16. Although little is known about the regulation of MUC16 expression in these cells, recent evidence suggest that inflammatory cytokines may stimulate MUC16 expression. Because malignant ascites is a pro-inflammatory environment, we investigated whether OC ascites stimulate the expression and release of MUC16 by human peritoneal mesothelial cells (HPMCs).
METHODS: HPMCs were isolated from peritoneal lavages of women operated for conditions other than cancer. MUC16 protein expression was determined by immunoblot, immunofluorescence or immunohistochemistry depending on the experiments. The release of MUC16 from the cell surface was measured using EIA and MUC16 mRNA expression by ddPCR.
RESULTS: We show that high-grade serous ascites from patients with OC (n = 5) enhance MUC16 expression in HPMCs. Malignant ascites, but not benign peritoneal fluids, stimulate the release of MUC16 in HPMCs in a dose-dependent manner, which is abrogated by heat inactivation. Moreover, we establish that ascites-induced MUC16 expression occurs at the post-transcriptional level and demonstrate that ascites-induced MUC16 expression is mediated, at least partially, through an Akt-dependent pathway. A cytokine array identified upregulation of several cytokines and chemokines in ascites that mediate MUC16 upregulation versus those that do not, including CCL7, CCL8, CCL16, CCL20, CXCL1, IL-6, IL-10, HGF and IL-1 R4. However, when individually tested, none of these factors affected MUC16 expression or secretion. Concentrations of CA125 in the serum of a given patient did not correlate with the ability of its corresponding ascites to stimulate MUC16 release in HPMCs.
CONCLUSIONS: Collectively, these data indicate that mesothelial cells are an important source of MUC16 in the context of ovarian cancer and malignant ascites is a strong modulator of MUC16 expression in HPMCs and uncover the Akt pathway as a driving factor for upregulation of MUC16. Factors in ascites associated with enhanced MUC16 expression and release remains to be identified.

Xing L, Zhang X, Tong D
Systematic Profile Analysis of Prognostic Alternative Messenger RNA Splicing Signatures and Splicing Factors in Head and Neck Squamous Cell Carcinoma.
DNA Cell Biol. 2019; 38(7):627-638 [PubMed] Related Publications
Head and neck squamous cell carcinoma (HNSC) is a common malignancy with high mortality and poor prognosis. Alternative splicing (AS) is a transcriptional regulation mechanism that generates multiple transcripts from same genes, and aberrant AS signatures of cancers can be predictive for prognosis. We identified the survival-related AS events and splicing factors (SFs) from the RNA sequencing data and the corresponding clinical information of an HNSC cohort downloaded from The Cancer Genome Atlas (TCGA) and SpliceSeq. The independent prognostic predictors were assessed by Cox proportional regression analysis, and the regulatory network of SFs and AS events was analyzed by Spearman's test and constructed. A total of 4626 survival-related AS events in 3280 genes were identified, and most were protective factors. Among the different types of splicing events, exon skip was the most frequent. The prognostic models were constructed for each type of AS, and the area under the curve of the receiver operating characteristic curve of the combined prognostic model was 0.765, indicating good predictive performance. Finally, a correlation network between SF and AS events was constructed. We identified prognostic predictors based on AS events that stratified HNSC patients into the high- and low-risk groups, and revealed splicing networks that provide insights into the underlying mechanisms.

Veenstra C, Karlsson E, Mirwani SM, et al.
The effects of PTPN2 loss on cell signalling and clinical outcome in relation to breast cancer subtype.
J Cancer Res Clin Oncol. 2019; 145(7):1845-1856 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
PURPOSE: The protein tyrosine phosphatase PTPN2 dephosphorylates several tyrosine kinases in cancer-related signalling pathways and is thought to be a tumour suppressor. As PTPN2 is not frequently studied in breast cancer, we aimed to explore the role of PTPN2 and the effects of its loss in breast cancer.
METHODS: Protein expression and gene copy number of PTPN2 were analysed in a cohort of pre-menopausal breast cancer patients with immunohistochemistry and droplet digital PCR, respectively. PTPN2 was knocked down in three cell lines, representing different breast cancer subtypes, with siRNA transfection. Several proteins related to PTPN2 were analysed with Western blot.
RESULTS: Low PTPN2 protein expression was found in 50.2% of the tumours (110/219), gene copy loss in 15.4% (33/214). Low protein expression was associated with a higher relapse rate in patients with Luminal A and HER2-positive tumours, but not triple-negative tumours. In vitro studies further suggested a subtype-specific role of PTPN2. Knockdown of PTPN2 had no effect on the triple-negative cell line, whilst knockdown in MCF7 inhibited phosphorylation of Met and promoted that of Akt. Knockdown in SKBR3 led to increased Met phosphorylation and decreased Erk phosphorylation as well as EGF-mediated STAT3 activation.
CONCLUSION: We confirm previous studies showing that the PTPN2 protein is lost in half of the breast cancer cases and gene deletion occurs in 15-18% of the cases. Furthermore, the results suggest that the role of PTPN2 is subtype-related and should be further investigated to assess how this could affect breast cancer prognosis and treatment response.

Hou H, Yu X, Cong P, et al.
Six2 promotes non-small cell lung cancer cell stemness via transcriptionally and epigenetically regulating E-cadherin.
Cell Prolif. 2019; 52(4):e12617 [PubMed] Related Publications
OBJECTIVES: The roles and related mechanisms of six2 in regulating non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) cells progression are unclear. This work aimed to explore the roles of six2 in NSCLC cell stemness.
MATERIALS AND METHODS: Kaplan-Meier plotter analysis was used to examine the correlation between six2 expression and the survival of NSCLC patients. Quantitative reverse transcription PCR and Western blot were performed to detect six2 expression in clinical samples. Moreover, transwell migration, tumour spheroid formation and in vivo tumour formation assays were used to examine the effects of six2 on NSCLC cell progression. Additionally, methylation analysis was carried out to measure E-cadherin methylation level in different cells. Finally, cell viability assay was performed to explore the effects of six2 on chemotherapeutic sensitivity of NSCLC cells.
RESULTS: Lung cancer patients with a higher six2 expression level displayed a shorter overall survival. Six2 expression was higher in lung cancer tissues than in normal adjacent tissues. Additionally, six2 knockdown suppressed NSCLC cell stemness. Mechanistically, six2 overexpression inhibited epithelial marker E-cadherin expression via stimulating its promoter methylation. And E-cadherin knockdown rescued six2 knockdown-induced decrease of NSCLC cancer cell stemness. Notably, six2 knockdown enhanced cisplatin sensitivity in parental NSCLC cells and attenuated cisplatin resistance in cisplatin-resistant NSCLC cells.
CONCLUSIONS: Our results suggest that six2 facilitates NSCLC cell stemness and attenuates chemotherapeutic sensitivity via suppressing E-cadherin expression.

Yao Y, Wang T, Liu Y, Zhang N
Co-delivery of sorafenib and VEGF-siRNA via pH-sensitive liposomes for the synergistic treatment of hepatocellular carcinoma.
Artif Cells Nanomed Biotechnol. 2019; 47(1):1374-1383 [PubMed] Related Publications
Non-viral nanocarrier affords a platform for drug and siRNA combination, the focus of which is to load drug and siRNA into a single carrier, allowing for co-delivery and a synergistic effect at tumour site. In our previous study, pH-sensitive carboxymethyl chitosan-modified liposomes (CMCS-SiSf-CL) were assembled for sorafenib (Sf) and Cy3-siRNA co-loaded. The present study evaluated in vitro and in vivo co-delivery of the co-loaded liposomes. Further, in vitro inhibiting hepatocellular carcinoma of the pH-sensitive sorafenib (Sf) and VEGF-siRNA co-loaded liposomes was discussed. The experimental results demonstrated co-delivery and penetration into 2-dimensional (2D) cultured HepG2 cells, 3-dimensional (3D) cultured HepG2 tumour spheroids and tumour regions of H22 tumour-bearing mice. Compared with free siRNA and single loaded carrier, co-delivery liposomes exhibited enhanced VEGF downregulating effect, inducing cell early apoptosis. Therefore, the CMCS-SiSf-CL delivery system can lay the foundation for the co-delivery systems development and provide new area for HCC therapy.

Klein S, Mauch C, Wagener-Ryczek S, et al.
Immune-phenotyping of pleomorphic dermal sarcomas suggests this entity as a potential candidate for immunotherapy.
Cancer Immunol Immunother. 2019; 68(6):973-982 [PubMed] Related Publications
BACKGROUND: Pleomorphic dermal sarcomas (PDS) are sarcomas of the skin with local recurrences in up to 28% of cases, and distant metastases in up to 20%. Although recent evidence provides a strong rational to explore immunotherapeutics in solid tumors, nothing is known about the immune environment of PDS.
METHODS: In the current study, a comprehensive immune-phenotyping of 14 PDS using RNA and protein expression analyses, as well as quantitative assessment of immune cells using an image-analysis tool was performed.
RESULTS: Three out of 14 PDS revealed high levels of CD8-positive tumor-infiltrating T-lymphocytes (TILs), also showing elevated levels of immune-related cytokines such as IL1A, IL2, as well as markers that were very recently linked to enhanced response of immunotherapy in malignant melanoma, including CD27, and CD40L. Using a multivariate analysis, we found a number of differentially expressed genes in the CD8-high group including: CD74, LYZ and HLA-B, while the remaining cases revealed enhanced levels of immune-suppressive cytokines including CXCL14. The "CD8-high" PDS showed strong MHC-I expression and revealed infiltration by PD-L1-, PD-1- and LAG-3-expressing immune cells. Tumor-associated macrophages (TAMs) predominantly consisted of CD68 + , CD163 + , and CD204 + M2 macrophages showing an accentuation at the tumor invasion front.
CONCLUSIONS: Together, we provide first explorative evidence about the immune-environment of PDS tumors that may guide future decisions whether individuals presenting with advanced PDS could qualify for immunotherapeutic options.

Denichenko P, Mogilevsky M, Cléry A, et al.
Specific inhibition of splicing factor activity by decoy RNA oligonucleotides.
Nat Commun. 2019; 10(1):1590 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Alternative splicing, a fundamental step in gene expression, is deregulated in many diseases. Splicing factors (SFs), which regulate this process, are up- or down regulated or mutated in several diseases including cancer. To date, there are no inhibitors that directly inhibit the activity of SFs. We designed decoy oligonucleotides, composed of several repeats of a RNA motif, which is recognized by a single SF. Here we show that decoy oligonucleotides targeting splicing factors RBFOX1/2, SRSF1 and PTBP1, can specifically bind to their respective SFs and inhibit their splicing and biological activities both in vitro and in vivo. These decoy oligonucleotides present an approach to specifically downregulate SF activity in conditions where SFs are either up-regulated or hyperactive.

Jaafari-Ashkvandi Z, Shirazi SY, Rezaeifard S, et al.
Cytotoxic Effects of Pistacia Atlantica (Baneh) Fruit Extract on Human KB Cancer Cell Line.
Acta Medica (Hradec Kralove). 2019; 62(1):30-34 [PubMed] Related Publications
Plants with anticancer properties are considered as cancer preventive and treatment sources, due to their some biological effects. Apoptosis induction and anti-proliferative effects of Baneh extract on various cancer cell lines have been reported. Hence, this study was designed to evaluate the cytotoxic effects of this fruit on KB and human gingival fibroblast cell lines (HGF). KB and HGF cells were treated with various concentrations of ethanolic Baneh extract and cisplatin as positive control. Cytotoxic activity and apoptosis induction were investigated using WST-1 and Annexin V assays. Data were analyzed using ANOVA and student's t-tests. IC50 after 24 and 48 hours treatment were respectively 2.6 and 1 mg/mL for KB cell line, and 1.5 and 1.6 mg/mL for HGF cell. During 48 hours Baneh extract induced apoptosis without significant necrosis, in a time- and dose-dependent manner. The induction of apoptosis in KB cells was significantly higher than HGF. It seems that ethanolic extract of Baneh contains compounds that can suppress KB cell growth through the induction of apoptosis. Within 48 hours, less cytotoxic effects were observed on normal fibroblast cells; therefore, it might be a potential anticancer agent.

Braun R, Ronquist S, Wangsa D, et al.
Single Chromosome Aneuploidy Induces Genome-Wide Perturbation of Nuclear Organization and Gene Expression.
Neoplasia. 2019; 21(4):401-412 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Chromosomal aneuploidy is a defining feature of carcinomas and results in tumor-entity specific genomic imbalances. For instance, most sporadic colorectal carcinomas carry extra copies of chromosome 7, an aneuploidy that emerges already in premalignant adenomas, and is maintained throughout tumor progression and in derived cell lines. A comprehensive understanding on how chromosomal aneuploidy affects nuclear organization and gene expression, i.e., the nucleome, remains elusive. We now analyzed a cell line established from healthy colon mucosa with a normal karyotype (46,XY) and its isogenic derived cell line that acquired an extra copy of chromosome 7 as its sole anomaly (47,XY,+7). We studied structure/function relationships consequent to aneuploidization using genome-wide chromosome conformation capture (Hi-C), RNA sequencing and protein profiling. The gain of chromosome 7 resulted in an increase of transcript levels of resident genes as well as genome-wide gene and protein expression changes. The Hi-C analysis showed that the extra copy of chromosome 7 is reflected in more interchromosomal contacts between the triploid chromosomes. Chromatin organization changes are observed genome-wide, as determined by changes in A/B compartmentalization and topologically associating domain (TAD) boundaries. Most notably, chromosome 4 shows a profound loss of chromatin organization, and chromosome 14 contains a large A/B compartment switch region, concurrent with resident gene expression changes. No changes to the nuclear position of the additional chromosome 7 territory were observed when measuring distances of chromosome painting probes by interphase FISH. Genome and protein data showed enrichment in signaling pathways crucial for malignant transformation, such as the HGF/MET-axis. We conclude that a specific chromosomal aneuploidy has profound impact on nuclear structure and function, both locally and genome-wide. Our study provides a benchmark for the analysis of cancer nucleomes with complex karyotypes.

Yu G, Wang Z, Zeng S, et al.
Paeoniflorin Inhibits Hepatocyte Growth Factor- (HGF-) Induced Migration and Invasion and Actin Rearrangement via Suppression of c-Met-Mediated RhoA/ROCK Signaling in Glioblastoma.
Biomed Res Int. 2019; 2019:9053295 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Paeoniflorin (PF), as one of the important valid natural compounds of the total glucosides of peony, has displayed a potential effect in cancer prevention and treatment. Aggressive migration and invasion, as an important process, can contribute to tumor progression through infiltrating the surround normal tissue. Actin cytoskeleton rearrangement plays a key role in cells migration and invasion, involving multiple signal pathways. HGF/c-Met signal, as an important couple of oncoprotein, has been demonstrated to regulate actin cytoskeleton rearrangement. In our study, we aim to explore whether paeoniflorin can inhibit migration and invasion and actin cytoskeleton rearrangement via regulation of HGF/c-Met/RhoA/ROCK signal. Various approaches were applied to demonstrate the mechanism of paeoniflorin-mediated anticancer effect, including cell wound healing assay, invasion assay, immunofluorescence staining and transfection, and western blotting. We observed that paeoniflorin inhibited HGF-induced migration and invasion and actin cytoskeleton rearrangement in glioblastoma cells. Furthermore, the inhibition of HGF-induced migration and invasion and actin cytoskeleton rearrangement involved c-Met-mediated RhoA/ROCK signaling in glioblastoma. Thus, our study proved that paeoniflorin could inhibit migration and invasion and actin cytoskeleton rearrangement through inhibition of HGF/c-Met/RhoA/ROCK signaling in glioblastoma, suggesting that paeoniflorin might be a candidate compound to treat glioblastoma.

Gerresheim GK, Bathke J, Michel AM, et al.
Cellular Gene Expression during Hepatitis C Virus Replication as Revealed by Ribosome Profiling.
Int J Mol Sci. 2019; 20(6) [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
BACKGROUND: Hepatitis C virus (HCV) infects human liver hepatocytes, often leading to liver cirrhosis and hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). It is believed that chronic infection alters host gene expression and favors HCC development. In particular, HCV replication in Endoplasmic Reticulum (ER) derived membranes induces chronic ER stress. How HCV replication affects host mRNA translation and transcription at a genome wide level is not yet known.
METHODS: We used Riboseq (Ribosome Profiling) to analyze transcriptome and translatome changes in the Huh-7.5 hepatocarcinoma cell line replicating HCV for 6 days.
RESULTS: Established viral replication does not cause global changes in host gene expression-only around 30 genes are significantly differentially expressed. Upregulated genes are related to ER stress and HCV replication, and several regulated genes are known to be involved in HCC development. Some mRNAs (
CONCLUSION: After establishing HCV replication, the lack of global changes in cellular gene expression indicates an adaptation to chronic infection, while the downregulation of mitochondrial respiratory chain genes indicates how a virus may further contribute to cancer cell-like metabolic reprogramming ("Warburg effect") even in the hepatocellular carcinoma cells used here.

Liu F, Cox CD, Chowdhury R, et al.
SPINT2 is hypermethylated in both IDH1 mutated and wild-type glioblastomas, and exerts tumor suppression via reduction of c-Met activation.
J Neurooncol. 2019; 142(3):423-434 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 01/05/2020 Related Publications
PURPOSE: Both IDH1-mutated and wild-type gliomas abundantly display aberrant CpG island hypermethylation. However, the potential role of hypermethylation in promoting gliomas, especially the most aggressive form, glioblastoma (GBM), remains poorly understood.
METHODS: We analyzed RRBS-generated methylation profiles for 11 IDH1
RESULTS: We identified SPINT2 as a candidate tumor-suppressor gene within a group of CpG islands (designated G
CONCLUSIONS: We defined a previously under-recognized group of coordinately methylated CpG islands common to both IDH1

Rauth M, Freund P, Orlova A, et al.
Cell Metabolism Control Through O-GlcNAcylation of STAT5: A Full or Empty Fuel Tank Makes a Big Difference for Cancer Cell Growth and Survival.
Int J Mol Sci. 2019; 20(5) [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 01/05/2020 Related Publications
O-GlcNAcylation is a post-translational modification that influences tyrosine phosphorylation in healthy and malignant cells. O-GlcNAc is a product of the hexosamine biosynthetic pathway, a side pathway of glucose metabolism. It is essential for cell survival and proper gene regulation, mirroring the metabolic status of a cell. STAT3 and STAT5 proteins are essential transcription factors that can act in a mutational context-dependent manner as oncogenes or tumor suppressors. They regulate gene expression for vital processes such as cell differentiation, survival, or growth, and are also critically involved in metabolic control. The role of STAT3/5 proteins in metabolic processes is partly independent of their transcriptional regulatory role, but is still poorly understood. Interestingly, STAT3 and STAT5 are modified by O-GlcNAc in response to the metabolic status of the cell. Here, we discuss and summarize evidence of O-GlcNAcylation-regulating STAT function, focusing in particular on hyperactive STAT5A transplant studies in the hematopoietic system. We emphasize that a single O-GlcNAc modification is essential to promote development of neoplastic cell growth through enhancing STAT5A tyrosine phosphorylation. Inhibition of O-GlcNAcylation of STAT5A on threonine 92 lowers tyrosine phosphorylation of oncogenic STAT5A and ablates malignant transformation. We conclude on strategies for new therapeutic options to block O-GlcNAcylation in combination with tyrosine kinase inhibitors to target neoplastic cancer cell growth and survival.

Meinsohn MC, Smith OE, Bertolin K, Murphy BD
The Orphan Nuclear Receptors Steroidogenic Factor-1 and Liver Receptor Homolog-1: Structure, Regulation, and Essential Roles in Mammalian Reproduction.
Physiol Rev. 2019; 99(2):1249-1279 [PubMed] Related Publications
Nuclear receptors are intracellular proteins that act as transcription factors. Proteins with classic nuclear receptor domain structure lacking identified signaling ligands are designated orphan nuclear receptors. Two of these, steroidogenic factor-1 (NR5A1, also known as SF-1) and liver receptor homolog-1 (NR5A2, also known as LRH-1), bind to the same DNA sequences, with different and nonoverlapping effects on targets. Endogenous regulation of both is achieved predominantly by cofactor interactions. SF-1 is expressed primarily in steroidogenic tissues, LRH-1 in tissues of endodermal origin and the gonads. Both receptors modulate cholesterol homeostasis, steroidogenesis, tissue-specific cell proliferation, and stem cell pluripotency. LRH-1 is essential for development beyond gastrulation and SF-1 for genesis of the adrenal, sexual differentiation, and Leydig cell function. Ovary-specific depletion of SF-1 disrupts follicle development, while LRH-1 depletion prevents ovulation, cumulus expansion, and luteinization. Uterine depletion of LRH-1 compromises decidualization and pregnancy. In humans, SF-1 is present in endometriotic tissue, where it regulates estrogen synthesis. SF-1 is underexpressed in ovarian cancer cells and overexpressed in Leydig cell tumors. In breast cancer cells, proliferation, migration and invasion, and chemotherapy resistance are regulated by LRH-1. In conclusion, the NR5A orphan nuclear receptors are nonredundant factors that are crucial regulators of a panoply of biological processes, across multiple reproductive tissues.

Zhang J, Yang S, Xu B, et al.
p62 functions as an oncogene in colorectal cancer through inhibiting apoptosis and promoting cell proliferation by interacting with the vitamin D receptor.
Cell Prolif. 2019; 52(3):e12585 [PubMed] Related Publications
OBJECTIVES: The role of p62 in cancer is controversial. Evidence has shown that p62 is upregulated in different cancers and promotes tumour growth, such as in liver cancer and lung cancer. However, a recent study showed that the downregulation of p62 in hepatic stellate cells (HSCs) promotes hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) development. How p62 is regulated in colorectal cancer (CRC) remains largely unknown. In this study, we aimed to investigate the roles and molecular mechanisms of p62 in CRC.
MATERIALS AND METHODS: The expression levels of p62 in CRC tissues and adjacent non-tumour tissues were determined by immunohistochemistry (IHC). Stable p62-overexpression HCT116 cells and p62-knockdown SW480 cells were established with lentiviral vectors. The role of p62 in CRC was investigated in in vitro and in vivo functional studies. The relationship between p62 and the vitamin D receptor (VDR) was investigated by coimmunoprecipitation (Co-IP) assays.
RESULTS: p62 was significantly upregulated in CRC, and a high p62 level was an independent risk factor for a poor prognosis in CRC patients. p62 promoted CRC migration and invasion by inhibiting apoptosis and promoting cell proliferation in vitro, and p62 aggravated tumour growth and metastasis in vivo. Co-IP assays indicated that p62 interacts with the VDR and may target the NRF2-NQO1 axis.
CONCLUSIONS: Our study suggested that p62 functions as an oncogene in CRC through inhibiting apoptosis and promoting cell proliferation by interacting with the VDR.

Bertolini I, Terrasi A, Martelli C, et al.
A GBM-like V-ATPase signature directs cell-cell tumor signaling and reprogramming via large oncosomes.
EBioMedicine. 2019; 41:225-235 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 01/05/2020 Related Publications
BACKGROUND: The V-ATPase proton pump controls acidification of intra and extra-cellular milieu in both physiological and pathological conditions. We previously showed that some V-ATPase subunits are enriched in glioma stem cells and in patients with poor survival. In this study, we investigated how expression of a GBM-like V-ATPase pump influences the non-neoplastic brain microenvironment.
METHODS: Large oncosome (LO) vesicles were isolated from primary glioblastoma (GBM) neurospheres, or from patient sera, and co-cultured with primary neoplastic or non-neoplastic brain cells. LO transcript and protein contents were analyzed by qPCR, immunoblotting and immunogold staining. Activation of pathways in recipient cells was determined at gene and protein expression levels. V-ATPase activity was impaired by Bafilomycin A1 or gene silencing.
FINDINGS: GBM neurospheres influence their non-neoplastic microenvironment by delivering the V-ATPase subunit V1G1 and the homeobox genes HOXA7, HOXA10, and POU3F2 to recipient cells via LO. LOs reprogram recipient cells to proliferate, grow as spheres and to migrate. Moreover, LOs are particularly abundant in the circulation of GBM patients with short survival time. Finally, impairment of V-ATPase reduces LOs activity.
INTERPRETATION: We identified a novel mechanism adopted by glioma stem cells to promote disease progression via LO-mediated reprogramming of their microenvironment. Our data provide preliminary evidence for future development of LO-based liquid biopsies and suggest a novel potential strategy to contrast glioma progression. FUND: This work was supported by Fondazione Cariplo (2014-1148 to VV) and by the Italian Minister of Health-Ricerca Corrente program 2017 (to SF).

Niland S, Eble JA
Neuropilins in the Context of Tumor Vasculature.
Int J Mol Sci. 2019; 20(3) [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 01/05/2020 Related Publications
Neuropilin-1 and Neuropilin-2 form a small family of plasma membrane spanning receptors originally identified by the binding of semaphorin and vascular endothelial growth factor. Having no cytosolic protein kinase domain, they function predominantly as co-receptors of other receptors for various ligands. As such, they critically modulate the signaling of various receptor tyrosine kinases, integrins, and other molecules involved in the regulation of physiological and pathological angiogenic processes. This review highlights the diverse neuropilin ligands and interacting partners on endothelial cells, which are relevant in the context of the tumor vasculature and the tumor microenvironment. In addition to tumor cells, the latter contains cancer-associated fibroblasts, immune cells, and endothelial cells. Based on the prevalent neuropilin-mediated interactions, the suitability of various neuropilin-targeted substances for influencing tumor angiogenesis as a possible building block of a tumor therapy is discussed.

Zhan FB, Zhang XW, Feng SL, et al.
MicroRNA-206 Reduces Osteosarcoma Cell Malignancy
Yonsei Med J. 2019; 60(2):163-173 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 01/05/2020 Related Publications
PURPOSE: This study was undertaken to explore how miR-206 represses osteosarcoma (OS) development.
MATERIALS AND METHODS: Expression levels of miR-206, PAX3, and MET mRNA were explored in paired OS and adjacent tissue specimens. A patient-derived OS cell line was established. miR-206 overexpression and knockdown were achieved by lentiviral transduction. PAX3 and MET overexpression were achieved by plasmid transfection. Treatment with hepatocyte growth factor (HGF) was utilized to activate c-Met receptor. Associations between miR-206 and PAX3 or MET mRNA in OS cells were verified by AGO2-RNA immunoprecipitation assay and miRNA pulldown assay. OS cell malignancy was evaluated
RESULTS: Expression levels of miR-206 were significantly decreased in OS tissue specimens, compared to adjacent counterparts, and were inversely correlated with expression of PAX3 and MET mRNA. miR-206 directly interacted with PAX3 and MET mRNA in OS cells. miR-206 overexpression significantly reduced PAX3 and MET gene expression in OS cells
CONCLUSION: miR-206 reduces OS cell malignancy

Köhler M, Ehrenfeld S, Halbach S, et al.
B-Raf deficiency impairs tumor initiation and progression in a murine breast cancer model.
Oncogene. 2019; 38(8):1324-1339 [PubMed] Related Publications
Copy number gains, point mutations and epigenetic silencing events are increasingly observed in genes encoding elements of the Ras/Raf/MEK/ERK signaling axis in human breast cancer. The three Raf kinases A-Raf, B-Raf, and Raf-1 have an important role as gatekeepers in ERK pathway activation and are often dysregulated by somatic alterations of their genes or by the aberrant activity of receptor tyrosine kinases (RTKs) and Ras-GTPases. B-Raf represents the most potent Raf isoform and a critical effector downstream of RTKs and RAS proteins. Aberrant RTK signaling is mimicked by the polyoma middle T antigen (PyMT), which activates various oncogenic signaling pathways, incl. the RAS/ERK axis, in a similar manner as RTKs in human breast cancer. Mammary epithelial cell directed expression of PyMT in mice by the MMTV-PyMT transgene induces mammary hyperplasia progressing over adenoma to metastatic breast cancer with an almost complete penetrance. To understand the functional role of B-Raf in this model for luminal type B breast cancer, we crossed MMTV-PyMT mice with animals that either lack B-Raf expression in the mammary gland or express the signaling impaired B-Raf

Leonetti E, Gesualdi L, Scheri KC, et al.
c-Src Recruitment is Involved in c-MET-Mediated Malignant Behaviour of NT2D1 Non-Seminoma Cells.
Int J Mol Sci. 2019; 20(2) [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 01/05/2020 Related Publications

Monteiro-Reis S, Lobo J, Henrique R, Jerónimo C
Epigenetic Mechanisms Influencing Epithelial to Mesenchymal Transition in Bladder Cancer.
Int J Mol Sci. 2019; 20(2) [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 01/05/2020 Related Publications
Bladder cancer is one of the most incident neoplasms worldwide, and its treatment remains a significant challenge, since the mechanisms underlying disease progression are still poorly understood. The epithelial to mesenchymal transition (EMT) has been proven to play an important role in the tumorigenic process, particularly in cancer cell invasiveness and metastatic potential. Several studies have reported the importance of epigenetic mechanisms and enzymes, which orchestrate them in several features of cancer cells and, specifically, in EMT. In this paper, we discuss the epigenetic enzymes, protein-coding and non-coding genes, and mechanisms altered in the EMT process occurring in bladder cancer cells, as well as its implications, which allows for improved understanding of bladder cancer biology and for the development of novel targeted therapies.

Giannoni P, Fais F, Cutrona G, Totero D
Hepatocyte Growth Factor: A Microenvironmental Resource for Leukemic Cell Growth.
Int J Mol Sci. 2019; 20(2) [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 01/05/2020 Related Publications
Chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) is characterized by the progressive expansion of B lymphocytes CD5+/CD23+ in peripheral blood, lymph-nodes, and bone marrow. The pivotal role played by the microenvironment in disease pathogenesis has become increasingly clear. We demonstrated that bone marrow stromal cells and trabecular bone cells sustain survival of leukemic B cells through the production of hepatocyte growth factor (HGF). Indeed the trans-membrane kinase receptor for HGF, c-MET, is expressed on CLL cells and STAT3 TYR

Jung M, Mertens C, Tomat E, Brüne B
Iron as a Central Player and Promising Target in Cancer Progression.
Int J Mol Sci. 2019; 20(2) [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 01/05/2020 Related Publications
Iron is an essential element for virtually all organisms. On the one hand, it facilitates cell proliferation and growth. On the other hand, iron may be detrimental due to its redox abilities, thereby contributing to free radical formation, which in turn may provoke oxidative stress and DNA damage. Iron also plays a crucial role in tumor progression and metastasis due to its major function in tumor cell survival and reprogramming of the tumor microenvironment. Therefore, pathways of iron acquisition, export, and storage are often perturbed in cancers, suggesting that targeting iron metabolic pathways might represent opportunities towards innovative approaches in cancer treatment. Recent evidence points to a crucial role of tumor-associated macrophages (TAMs) as a source of iron within the tumor microenvironment, implying that specifically targeting the TAM iron pool might add to the efficacy of tumor therapy. Here, we provide a brief summary of tumor cell iron metabolism and updated molecular mechanisms that regulate cellular and systemic iron homeostasis with regard to the development of cancer. Since iron adds to shaping major hallmarks of cancer, we emphasize innovative therapeutic strategies to address the iron pool of tumor cells or cells of the tumor microenvironment for the treatment of cancer.

Lobo J, Gillis AJM, Jerónimo C, et al.
Human Germ Cell Tumors are Developmental Cancers: Impact of Epigenetics on Pathobiology and Clinic.
Int J Mol Sci. 2019; 20(2) [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 01/05/2020 Related Publications
Current (high throughput omics-based) data support the model that human (malignant) germ cell tumors are not initiated by somatic mutations, but, instead through a defined locked epigenetic status, representative of their cell of origin. This elegantly explains the role of both genetic susceptibility as well as environmental factors in the pathogenesis, referred to as 'genvironment'. Moreover, it could also explain various epidemiological findings, including the rising incidence of this type of cancer in Western societies. In addition, it allows for identification of clinically relevant and informative biomarkers both for diagnosis and follow-up of individual patients. The current status of these findings will be discussed, including the use of high throughput DNA methylation profiling for determination of differentially methylated regions (DMRs) as well as chromosomal copy number variation (CNV). Finally, the potential value of methylation-specific tumor DNA fragments (i.e.,

Martins-Costa MC, Lindsey SC, Cunha LL, et al.
A pioneering RET genetic screening study in the State of Ceará, Brazil, evaluating patients with medullary thyroid cancer and at-risk relatives: experience with 247 individuals.
Arch Endocrinol Metab. 2018; 62(6):623-635 [PubMed] Related Publications
OBJECTIVE: Initial diagnosis of medullary thyroid carcinoma (MTC) is frequently associated with advanced stages and a poor prognosis. Thus, the need for earlier diagnoses and detection in relatives at risk for the disease has led to increased use of RET genetic screening.
SUBJECTS AND METHODS: We performed RET screening in 247 subjects who were referred to the Brazilian Research Consortium for Multiple Endocrine Neoplasia (BRASMEN) Center in the State of Ceará. Direct genetic sequencing was used to analyze exons 8, 10, 11, and 13-16 in MTC index cases and specific exons in at risk relatives. Afterward, clinical follow-up was offered to all the patients with MTC and their affected relatives.
RESULTS: RET screening was performed in 60 MTC index patients and 187 at-risk family members. At the initial clinical assessment of the index patients, 54 (90%) were diagnosed with apparently sporadic disease and 6 (10%) diagnosed with hereditary disease. After RET screening, we found that 31 (52%) index patients had sporadic disease, and 29 (48%) had hereditary disease. Regarding at-risk relatives, 73/187 were mutation carriers. Mutations in RET codon 804 and the rare p.M918V mutation were the most prevalent.
CONCLUSIONS: Performing RET screening in Ceará allowed us to identify a different mutation profile in this region compared with other areas. RET screening also enabled the diagnosis of a significant number of hereditary MTC patients who were initially classified as sporadic disease patients and benefited their relatives, who were unaware of the risks and the consequences of bearing a RET mutation.

Naito A, Sakao S, Lang IM, et al.
Endothelial cells from pulmonary endarterectomy specimens possess a high angiogenic potential and express high levels of hepatocyte growth factor.
BMC Pulm Med. 2018; 18(1):197 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 01/05/2020 Related Publications
BACKGROUND: Impaired angiogenesis is assumed to be an important factor in the development of chronic thromboembolic pulmonary hypertension (CTEPH). However, the role of endothelial cells (ECs) in CTEPH remains unclear. The aim of this study was to investigate the angiogenic potential of ECs from pulmonary endarterectomy (PEA) specimens.
METHODS: We isolated ECs from PEA specimens (CTEPH-ECs) and control EC lines from the intact pulmonary arteries of patients with peripheral lung cancers, using a MACS system. These cells were analyzed in vitro including PCR-array analysis, and the PEA specimens were analyzed with immunohistochemistry. Additionally, the serum HGF levels were determined in CTEPH patients.
RESULTS: A three-dimensional culture assay revealed that CTEPH-ECs were highly angiogenic. An angiogenesis-focused gene PCR array revealed a high expression of hepatocyte growth factor (HGF) in CTEPH-ECs. The high expression of HGF was also confirmed in the supernatant extracted from PEA specimens. The immunohistochemical analysis showed expression of HGF on the surface of the thrombus vessels. The serum HGF levels in CTEPH patients were higher than those in pulmonary thromboembolism survivors.
CONCLUSION: Our study suggests that there are ECs with pro-angiogenetic character and high expression of HGF in PEA specimens. It remains unknown how these results are attributable to the etiology. However, further investigation focused on the HGF pathway may provide novel diagnostic and therapeutic tools for patients with CTEPH.

Kim J, Luo W, Wang M, et al.
Prevalence of pathogenic/likely pathogenic variants in the 24 cancer genes of the ACMG Secondary Findings v2.0 list in a large cancer cohort and ethnicity-matched controls.
Genome Med. 2018; 10(1):99 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 01/05/2020 Related Publications
BACKGROUND: Prior research has established that the prevalence of pathogenic/likely pathogenic (P/LP) variants across all of the American College of Medical Genetics (ACMG) Secondary Findings (SF) genes is approximately 0.8-5%. We investigated the prevalence of P/LP variants in the 24 ACMG SF v2.0 cancer genes in a family-based cancer research cohort (n = 1173) and in cancer-free ethnicity-matched controls (n = 982).
METHODS: We used InterVar to classify variants and subsequently conducted a manual review to further examine variants of unknown significance (VUS).
RESULTS: In the 24 genes on the ACMG SF v2.0 list associated with a cancer phenotype, we observed 8 P/LP unique variants (8 individuals; 0.8%) in controls and 11 P/LP unique variants (14 individuals; 1.2%) in cases, a non-significant difference. We reviewed 115 VUS. The median estimated per-variant review time required was 30 min; the first variant within a gene took significantly (p = 0.0009) longer to review (median = 60 min) compared with subsequent variants (median = 30 min). The concordance rate was 83.3% for the variants examined by two reviewers.
CONCLUSION: The 115 VUS required database and literature review, a time- and labor-intensive process hampered by the difficulty in interpreting conflicting P/LP determinations. By rigorously investigating the 24 ACMG SF v2.0 cancer genes, our work establishes a benchmark P/LP variant prevalence rate in a familial cancer cohort and controls.

Du M, Wang J, Chen H, et al.
MicroRNA‑200a suppresses migration and invasion and enhances the radiosensitivity of NSCLC cells by inhibiting the HGF/c‑Met signaling pathway.
Oncol Rep. 2019; 41(3):1497-1508 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 01/05/2020 Related Publications
Hepatocyte growth factor (HGF), an activator of the c‑Met signaling pathway, is involved in tumor invasiveness, metastasis and radiotherapy resistance. In the present study, a novel HGF regulatory pathway in lung cancer involving micro-RNAs (miRNAs/miR) is described. Immunohistochemical staining and western blot analyses demonstrated that HGF was upregulated and associated with miR‑200a downregulation in non‑small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) samples compared with normal lung tissues. The association between HGF and miR‑200a was associated with the degree of tumor malignancy and cell migration and invasion. miR‑200a negatively regulated HGF expression by targeting the 3'‑untranslated region of the HGF mRNA. miR‑200a overexpression induced HGF downregulation, decreased NSCLC cell migration and invasion, promoted apoptosis, and decreased cell survival in A549 and H1299 cells in response to ionizing radiation. The present results revealed a previously uncharacterized role of miRNA‑200a in regulating tumor malignancy and radiosensitivity by suppressing HGF expression, a key factor in the HGF/c‑Met pathway.

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