Gene Summary

Gene:SOX2; SRY (sex determining region Y)-box 2
Aliases: ANOP3, MCOPS3
Summary:This intronless gene encodes a member of the SRY-related HMG-box (SOX) family of transcription factors involved in the regulation of embryonic development and in the determination of cell fate. The product of this gene is required for stem-cell maintenance in the central nervous system, and also regulates gene expression in the stomach. Mutations in this gene have been associated with optic nerve hypoplasia and with syndromic microphthalmia, a severe form of structural eye malformation. This gene lies within an intron of another gene called SOX2 overlapping transcript (SOX2OT). [provided by RefSeq, Jul 2008]
Databases:OMIM, VEGA, HGNC, Ensembl, GeneCard, Gene
Protein:transcription factor SOX-2
Source:NCBIAccessed: 28 February, 2015


What does this gene/protein do?
Show (57)

Cancer Overview

Research Indicators

Publications Per Year (1990-2015)
Graph generated 28 February 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.

  • Embryonic Stem Cells
  • Chromosome 3
  • siRNA
  • Lung Cancer
  • Drug Resistance
  • Kruppel-Like Transcription Factors
  • Gene Expression
  • Down-Regulation
  • Peptides
  • Cell Differentiation
  • Homeodomain Proteins
  • CD Antigens
  • Cell Movement
  • Squamous Cell Carcinoma
  • Western Blotting
  • DNA Methylation
  • SOX2
  • Apoptosis
  • Glioblastoma
  • Gene Expression Profiling
  • Cancer Stem Cells
  • Pluripotent Stem Cells
  • Cancer Gene Expression Regulation
  • Messenger RNA
  • Neoplastic Cell Transformation
  • Cell Proliferation
  • Base Sequence
  • Breast Cancer
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • MicroRNAs
  • Octamer Transcription Factor-3
  • Epithelial-Mesenchymal Transition
  • Glycoproteins
  • Brain Tumours
  • Promoter Regions
  • Gene Amplification
  • Neoplasm Invasiveness
  • Brain Tumours
  • Phenotype
  • Adenocarcinoma
  • Stem Cells
  • Esophageal Cancer
Tag cloud generated 28 February, 2015 using data from PubMed, MeSH and CancerIndex

Specific Cancers (4)

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: SOX2 (cancer-related)

Yasuda K, Torigoe T, Mariya T, et al.
Fibroblasts induce expression of FGF4 in ovarian cancer stem-like cells/cancer-initiating cells and upregulate their tumor initiation capacity.
Lab Invest. 2014; 94(12):1355-69 [PubMed] Related Publications
Cancer stem-like cells (CSCs)/cancer-initiating cells (CICs) are defined as a small population of cells within cancer that contribute to cancer initiation and progression. Cancer-associated fibroblasts (CAFs) are stromal fibroblasts surrounding tumor cells, and they have important roles in tumor growth and tumor progression. It has been suggested that stromal fibroblasts and CSCs/CICs might mutually cooperate to enhance their growth and tumorigenic capacity. In this study, we investigated the effects of fibroblasts on tumor-initiating capacity and stem-like properties of ovarian CSCs/CICs. CSCs/CICs were isolated from the ovarian carcinoma cell line HTBoA as aldehyde dehydrogenase 1 high (ALDH1(high)) population by the ALDEFLUOR assay. Histological examination of tumor tissues derived from ALDH1(high) cells revealed few fibrous stroma, whereas those derived from fibroblast-mixed ALDH1(high) cells showed abundant fibrous stroma formation. In vivo tumor-initiating capacity and in vitro sphere-forming capacity of ALDH1(high) cells were enhanced in the presence of fibroblasts. Gene expression analysis revealed that fibroblast-mixed ALDH1(high) cells had enhanced expression of fibroblast growth factor 4 (FGF4) as well as stemness-associated genes such as SOX2 and POU5F1. Sphere-forming capacity of ALDH1(high) cells was suppressed by small-interfering RNA (siRNA)-mediated knockdown of FGFR2, the receptor for FGF4 which was expressed preferentially in ALDH1(high) cells. Taken together, the results indicate that interaction of fibroblasts with ovarian CSCs/CICs enhanced tumor-initiating capacity and stem-like properties through autocrine and paracrine FGF4-FGFR2 signaling.

Tulsyan S, Agarwal G, Lal P, Mittal B
Significant association of combination of OCT4, NANOG, and SOX2 gene polymorphisms in susceptibility and response to treatment in North Indian breast cancer patients.
Cancer Chemother Pharmacol. 2014; 74(5):1065-78 [PubMed] Related Publications
PURPOSE: Dysregulations of regulatory genes in embryonic stem cells (ESCs) gene polymorphisms may lead to breast cancer cell growth, differentiation, and tumor metastasis.
METHODS: Polymorphisms in OCT4 (rs3130932), NANOG (rs11055786), LIN28 (rs4274112), and SOX2 (rs11915160) genes were evaluated for susceptibility in 297 breast cancer females and 273 healthy controls from north Indian population. Response to neo-adjuvant chemotherapy was followed in 128 locally advanced breast cancer patients along with clinicopathological features. Genotyping was done using TaqMan allelic discrimination assays. Statistical analysis was performed using SPSS and multifactor dimensionality reduction (MDR).
RESULTS: For OCT4 gene polymorphism, protective effect of genotypes AC [P corr = 0.031, OR = 0.63 (0.44-0.91)] and AC+CC [P corr = 0.031, OR = 0.68 (0.48-0.95)] was seen in patients. However, no association of NANOG, LIN28, and SOX2 gene polymorphisms was found with overall breast cancer susceptibility. Further, significant association of AG+GG genotype [P corr = 0.021, OR = 6.08 (1.83-20.15)] and G allele [P corr = 0.021, OR = 3.07 (1.21-7.77)] of rs4274112 polymorphism was seen with positive lymph node. For OCT4, significant association of allele C was seen with patients having negative hormone receptor [P corr = 0.021, OR = 0.51 (0.29-0.90)], but no association of any of the studied polymorphisms individually was found with response to NACT. On MDR analysis, we found combination of SNPs SOX2 rs11915160, OCT4 rs3130932, and NANOG rs11055786 to be the best interaction model for predicting breast cancer risk [p for permutation test <10(-3), OR = 2.04 (1.43-2.910] and response to NACT [p for permutation test = 0.005, OR = 2.09 (1.24-3.52)].
CONCLUSION: Combination of genetic variants of ESCs gene may have a profound effect in breast cancer risk and response to NACT.

Nawata J, Kuramitsu Y, Wang Y, et al.
Active hexose-correlated compound down-regulates sex-determining region Y-box 2 of pancreatic cancer cells.
Anticancer Res. 2014; 34(9):4807-11 [PubMed] Related Publications
BACKGROUND/AIM: Active hexose-correlated compound (AHCC) is an extract of basidiomycete mushroom. It has been used as health food due to its efficacy of enhancing antitumor effects and reducing adverse effects of chemotherapy. Our previous research showed that AHCC down-regulated heat-shock protein (HSP)-27 and exhibited cytotoxic effects against gemcitabine-resistant pancreatic cancer cells. Sex-determining region Y-box 2 (SOX2) is reported to be up-regulated in other kinds of cancer cells and involved in carcinogenesis and malignancy. The aim of this study was to investigate the effects of AHCC on protein expression of SOX2 in the gemcitabine-resistant pancreatic cancer cell line KLM1-R.
MATERIALS AND METHODS: AHCC was applied to KLM1-R cells and expression of SOX2 was analyzed by western blotting.
RESULTS: AHCC down-regulated SOX2 in KLM1-R cells. Nanog and Oct4, co-workers of SOX2 in maintaining pluripotency, did not exhibit any significant change in protein expression.
CONCLUSION: We showed the potential of AHCC to be a candidate for combinatorial therapy in anticancer drug regimens. This result suggests that the target of AHCC in expressing therapeutic efficacy was not the pluripotent cells such as cancer stem cells (CSCs) but SOX2-specific.

Sakurai T, Kashida H, Watanabe T, et al.
Stress response protein cirp links inflammation and tumorigenesis in colitis-associated cancer.
Cancer Res. 2014; 74(21):6119-28 [PubMed] Related Publications
Colitis-associated cancer (CAC) is caused by chronic intestinal inflammation and is reported to be associated with refractory inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). Defective apoptosis of inflammatory cell populations seems to be a relevant pathogenetic mechanism in refractory IBD. We assessed the involvement of stress response protein cold-inducible RNA-binding protein (Cirp) in the development of intestinal inflammation and CAC. In the colonic mucosa of patients with ulcerative colitis, expression of Cirp correlated significantly with the expression of TNFα, IL23/IL17, antiapoptotic proteins Bcl-2 and Bcl-xL, and stem cell markers such as Sox2, Bmi1, and Lgr5. The expression of Cirp and Sox2 was enhanced in the colonic mucosae of refractory ulcerative colitis, suggesting that Cirp expression might be related to increased cancer risk. In human CAC specimens, inflammatory cells expressed Cirp protein. Cirp(-/-) mice given dextran sodium sulfate exhibited decreased susceptibility to colonic inflammation through decreased expression of TNFα, IL23, Bcl-2, and Bcl-xL in colonic lamina propria cells compared with similarly treated wild-type (WT) mice. In the murine CAC model, Cirp deficiency decreased the expression of TNFα, IL23/IL17, Bcl-2, Bcl-xL, and Sox2 and the number of Dclk1(+) cells, leading to attenuated tumorigenic potential. Transplantation of Cirp(-/-) bone marrow into WT mice reduced tumorigenesis, indicating the importance of Cirp in hematopoietic cells. Cirp promotes the development of intestinal inflammation and colorectal tumors through regulating apoptosis and production of TNFα and IL23 in inflammatory cells.

Guzel E, Karatas OF, Duz MB, et al.
Differential expression of stem cell markers and ABCG2 in recurrent prostate cancer.
Prostate. 2014; 74(15):1498-505 [PubMed] Related Publications
BACKGROUND: Prostate cancer (PCa) is the second most common tumor type related to mortality in males in the developed countries. Studies have demonstrated that therapeutic tools mostly ineffective to give positive outcome especially for PCa. Cancer stem cells are composed of a small cell population, which are supposed to have roles in tumorigenesis, metastasis, and tumor recurrence after chemo-radiotherapy. The aim of this research is to investigate expressions of stem cell markers in recurrent PCa and non-recurrent PCa tumors as well as in adjacent normal prostate tissues.
METHODS: We compared the expression of important stemness regulators like SOX2, OCT4, KLF4, and ABCG2 in recurrent, non-recurrent PCa and adjacent normal tissue samples using quantitative real-time polymerase chain reaction (qRT-PCR).
RESULTS: Our results demonstrated that SOX2 and OCT4 are strongly overexpressed in PCa samples. Recurrent PCa samples are markedly positive for stem cell markers SOX2, OCT4, and KLF4. Furthermore, non-recurrent PCa samples presented low levels of ABCG2, a multidrug resistance protein, compared to both normal and recurrent samples, which might be associated with chemo-sensitivity.
CONCLUSIONS: Enhanced expression of ABCG2 and stem cell markers including SOX2, OCT4, and KLF4 in the recurrent PCa tissues postulates the suggestion that enrichment for cells with stem cell characteristics in these tissues might be playing a critical role for chemoresistance and recurrence of cancer.

Li X, Chen S, Sun T, et al.
The transcriptional regulation of SOX2 on FOXA1 gene and its application in diagnosis of human breast and lung cancers.
Clin Lab. 2014; 60(6):909-18 [PubMed] Related Publications
BACKGROUND: Recent study demonstrated the important contribution of SOX2 to tumorigenesis and metastasis properties of various types of cancers and strongly supported the concept that SOX2 can be used as an effective marker for diagnosis and predicting prognosis of cancer patients. However, our previous RNA-Seq results from human lung cancer cell line A549 showed that some oncogenes, including FOXA1 are negatively regulated by SOX2.
METHODS: To further verify the transcriptional regulation effect of SOX2 on FOXA1 and elucidate its application in the diagnosis of human lung and breast cancer, we performed real-time RT-PCR and Western blotting to test the regulation effect of SOX2 on the expression of FOXA1 gene. OncoPrint analysis was used to reveal the alteration of SOX2 and FOXA1 genes in breast invasive carcinoma cases and lung squamous cell carcinoma cases from the Cancer Genome Atlas (TCGA) data portal. Immunohistochemistry staining was performed to test the expression of SOX2 and FOXA1 in human breast and lung carcinoma.
RESULTS: The results showed that there is an inhibitory effect of SOX2 on the expression of FOXA1 gene. In addition, these two genes are altered in 5.8% of 484 breast invasive carcinoma cases and 46.4% of 179 lung squamous cell carcinoma cases from the Cancer Genome Atlas (TCGA) data portal, which showed an increased percentage of carcinoma cases when compared with single gene alteration. Immunohistochemistry staining of SOX2 and FOXA1 in human breast and lung carcinoma further revealed the mutual complementary effect of these two proteins in the diagnosis of carcinoma.
CONCLUSIONS: Our study revealed SOX2 as a negative upstream regulator for FOXA1 gene and demonstrated SOX2 and FOXA1 as effective dual markers in improving the diagnosis efficiency for human lung and breast tumor.

Liu LY, Wang W, Zhao LY, et al.
Mir-126 inhibits growth of SGC-7901 cells by synergistically targeting the oncogenes PI3KR2 and Crk, and the tumor suppressor PLK2.
Int J Oncol. 2014; 45(3):1257-65 [PubMed] Related Publications
MicroRNA (miRNA)-126 (miR-126) was reported to be downregulated and to act as a tumor suppressor in cancers of the lung, cervix, bladder and prostate. However, the functions of miR-126 in gastric cancer appear to be diverse and are largely unknown. MiR-126 was reported to act as a tumor suppressor by targeting the Crk gene, or as an oncogene by targeting the SOX2 gene in gastric cancer. We identified that the expression of miR-126 was decreased in gastric cancer cell lines and tissues. PLK2, a tumor suppressor gene, was directly regulated by miR-126 in SGC-7901 cells. Overexpression of miR-126 not only suppressed the growth and clone formation of SGC-7901 cells, but also induced apoptosis in vitro, whereas inhibition of miR-126 slightly promoted SGC-7901 cell proliferation. The cell cycle was not affected by miR-126. Moreover, miR-126 suppressed tumor growth in vivo in a xenograft model. PLK2, PI3KR2 and Crk were regulated by miR-126 in SGC-7901 cells. We infer that the functions of miR-126 in gastric cancer depend on synergistic targeting balance between oncogenes and anti-oncogenes. Our study indicates that miR-126 is a tumor suppressor, which in the future may become a therapeutic target for gastric cancer.

Wang X, Ji X, Chen J, et al.
SOX2 enhances the migration and invasion of ovarian cancer cells via Src kinase.
PLoS One. 2014; 9(6):e99594 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Ovarian cancer is the leading cause of death among gynecologic cancers and is the fifth leading cause of all cancer-related deaths among women. The development of novel molecular targets is therefore important to many patients. Recently, the SRY-related transcription factor SOX2 has been widely reported to be involved in multiple pathophysiological diseases, including maintenance of stem cell characteristics and carcinogenesis. Up to now, SOX2 has been mainly shown to promote the development of cancer, although its inhibitory roles in cancer have also been reported. However, the role of SOX2 in ovarian cancer is largely unknown. In the present study, we detected the expression of SOX2 in 64 human serous ovarian carcinoma (SOC) tissues and paired corresponding metastatic specimens using immunohistochemistry. The results showed that the expression of SOX2 in primary tumors is much lower than that in the corresponding metastatic lesions. We further found that SOX2 overexpression promotes proliferation, migration and invasion, while inhibiting adhesion abilities of SOC cells. Finally, we found that SOX2 targets Src kinase, a non-receptor tyrosine kinase that regulates cell migration, invasion and adhesion in SOC cells. Together, these results suggested that Src kinase is a key molecule in SOX2-mediated migration and invasion of SOC cells.

Stoczynska-Fidelus E, Och W, Rieske P, et al.
Spontaneous in vitro senescence of glioma cells confirmed by an antibody against IDH1R132H.
Anticancer Res. 2014; 34(6):2859-67 [PubMed] Related Publications
BACKGROUND: We have recently suggested that glioblastoma cells become spontaneously senescent in cell culture conditions. The antibody specific against IDH1(R132H) offers the perfect opportunity to verify this hypothesis.
MATERIALS AND METHODS: We analyzed the features of senescence in 8 glioma cell cultures showing the IDH1(R132H) mutation based on combination of immunocytochemistry, enzymo-cytochemistry, BrdU incorporation assay and real-time microscopic observation.
RESULTS: We report that glioma cells showing the IDH1(R132H) mutation become rapidly and spontaneously senescent in vitro. Senescence was observed in both classical and novel serum-free cell culture conditions. Importantly, the senescent IDH1(R132H)-positive cells showed the expression of stemness marker (SOX2).
CONCLUSION: In vitro senescence appeared to be the main reason of the difficulties in any kind culturing of glioma cells. 3D cell cultures prolonged the survival and in vitro proliferation of neoplastic IDH1(R132H)-positive cells, however, did not enhance the stabilization efficiency. Senescence of glioma cells is spontaneously triggered in vitro, which offers the opportunity of potential new therapeutic strategies based on this phenomenon.

Sun Y, Wang Y, Fan C, et al.
Estrogen promotes stemness and invasiveness of ER-positive breast cancer cells through Gli1 activation.
Mol Cancer. 2014; 13:137 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
BACKGROUND: Although long-term estrogen (E2) exposure is associated with increased breast cancer (BC) risk, and E2 appears to sustain growth of BC cells that express functional estrogen receptors (ERs), its role in promoting BC stem cells (CSCs) remains unclear. Considering that Gli1, part of the Sonic hedgehog (Shh) developmental pathway, has been shown to mediate CSCs, we investigated whether E2 and Gli1 could promote CSCs and epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT) in ER+ BC cell lines.
METHODS: We knocked down Gli1 in several BC cells using a doxycycline-controlled vector, and compared Gli1-knockdown cells and Gli1+ cells in behavior and expression of ER, Gli1, ALDH1 (BC-CSC marker), Shh, Ptch1 (Shh receptor) and SOX2, Nanog and Bmi-1 (CSC-associated transcriptions factors), using PCR; tissue microarrays, western blot; chromatin immunoprecipitation q-PCR, confocal immunofluorescence microscopy; fluorescence-activated cell sorting; annexin-flow cytometry (for apoptosis); mammosphere culture; and colony formation, immunohistochemistry, Matrigel and wound-scratch assays.
RESULTS: Both mRNA and protein expressions of ER correlated with those of Gli1 and ALDH1. E2 induced Gli1 expression only in ER+ BC cells. E2 promoted CSC renewal, invasiveness and EMT in ER+/Gli1+ cells but not in Gli1-knockdown cells.
CONCLUSIONS: Our results indicate that estrogen acts via Gli1 to promote CSC development and EMT in ER+ BC cells. These findings also imply that Gli1 mediates cancer stem cells, and thus could be a target of a novel treatment for ER+ breast cancer.

Jung K, Wu F, Wang P, et al.
YB-1 regulates Sox2 to coordinately sustain stemness and tumorigenic properties in a phenotypically distinct subset of breast cancer cells.
BMC Cancer. 2014; 14:328 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
BACKGROUND: Sox2, a transcription factor and an embryonic stem cell marker, has been implicated in the pathogenesis of breast cancer (BC). YB-1 is another transcription factor that has been shown to promote stemness in BC cells.
METHODS: Western blotting, quantitative PCR, and siRNAs were used to query the regulatory relationships between YB-1, Sox2, and their downstream targets. Chromatin immunoprecipitation was used to detect YB-1 interactions at the Sox2 promoter. Mammosphere and soft agar assays were used to assess the phenotypic consequences of YB-1 knockdown.
RESULTS: Here, we report that YB-1 regulates Sox2. YB-1 was found to bind to the SOX2 promoter and down-regulate its expression in MCF7 and ZR751. The regulatory interaction between YB-1 and Sox2 was drastically different between the two phenotypically distinct cell subsets, purified based on their differential response to a Sox2 reporter. They are referred to as the reporter unresponsive (RU) cells and the reporter responsive (RR) cells. Upon siRNA knockdown of YB-1, RU cells showed an increase in Sox2 expression but no change in Sox2 reporter activity; in contrast, RR cells exhibited increased expression and reporter activity of Sox2. Correlating with these findings, YB-1 knockdown induced a differential response in the expression of genes known to be regulated by both Sox2 and YB-1 (e.g. CCND1 and ITGA6). For instance, in response to YB-1 knockdown, CCND1 and ITGA6 expression were decreased or unchanged in RU cells but paradoxically increased in RR cells. Compared to RU cells, RR cells were significantly more resistant to the suppression of mammosphere formation due to YB-1 knockdown. Importantly, mammospheres derived from parental MCF7 cells treated with YB-1 siRNA knockdown exhibited higher expression levels of SOX2 and its downstream targets.
CONCLUSIONS: To conclude, in a subset of BC cells, namely RR cells, YB-1 regulates Sox2 to coordinately maintain stemness and tumorigenic properties.

Ma K, Pan X, Fan P, et al.
Loss of miR-638 in vitro promotes cell invasion and a mesenchymal-like transition by influencing SOX2 expression in colorectal carcinoma cells.
Mol Cancer. 2014; 13:118 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
BACKGROUND: Colorectal carcinoma (CRC) is a major cause of cancer mortality. The aberrant expression of several microRNAs is associated with CRC progression; however, the molecular mechanisms underlying this phenomenon are unclear.
METHODS: miR-638 and SRY-box 2 (SOX2) expression levels were detected in 36 tumor samples and their adjacent, non-tumor tissues from patients with CRC, as well as in 4 CRC cell lines, using real-time quantitative RT-PCR (qRT-PCR). SOX2 expression levels were detected in 90 tumor samples and their adjacent tissue using immunohistochemistry. Luciferase reporter and Western blot assays were used to validate SOX2 as a target gene of miR-638. The regulation of SOX2 expression by miR-638 was assessed using qRT-PCR and Western blot assays, and the effects of exogenous miR-638 and SOX2 on cell invasion and migration were evaluated in vitro using the HCT-116 and SW1116 CRC cell lines.
RESULTS: We found that miR-638 expression was differentially impaired in CRC specimens and dependent on tumor grade. The inhibition of miR-638 by an antagomiR promoted cell invasion and a mesenchymal-like transition (lamellipodium stretching increased and cell-cell contacts decreased, which was accompanied by the suppression of the epithelial cell marker ZO-1/E-cadherin and the upregulation of the mesenchymal cell marker vimentin). A reporter assay revealed that miR-638 repressed the luciferase activity of a reporter gene coupled to the 3'-untranslated region of SOX2. miR-638 overexpression downregulated SOX2 expression, and miR-638 inhibition upregulated SOX2 expression. Moreover, miR-638 expression levels were correlated inversely with SOX2 mRNA levels in human CRC tissues. The RNAi-mediated knockdown of SOX2 phenocopied the invasion-inhibiting effect of miR-638; furthermore, SOX2 overexpression blocked the miR-638-induced CRC cell transition to epithelial-like cells.
CONCLUSIONS: These results demonstrate that the loss of miR-638 promotes invasion and a mesenchymal-like transition by directly targeting SOX2 in vitro. These findings define miR-638 as a new, invasion-associated tumor suppressor of CRC.

He KF, Zhang L, Huang CF, et al.
CD163+ tumor-associated macrophages correlated with poor prognosis and cancer stem cells in oral squamous cell carcinoma.
Biomed Res Int. 2014; 2014:838632 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Tumor-associated macrophages (TAMs) play an important role in the progression and prognostication of numerous cancers. However, the role and clinical significance of TAM markers in oral squamous cell carcinoma (OSCC) has not been elucidated. The present study was designed to investigate the correlation between the expression of TAM markers and pathological features in OSCC by tissue microarray. Tissue microarrays containing 16 normal oral mucosa, 6 oral epithelial dysplasia, and 43 OSCC specimens were studied by immunohistochemistry. We observed that the protein expression of the TAM markers CD68 and CD163 as well as the cancer stem cell (CSC) markers ALDH1, CD44, and SOX2 increased successively from the normal oral mucosa to OSCC. The expressions of CD68 and CD163 were significantly associated with lymph node status, and SOX2 was significantly correlated with pathological grade and lymph node status, whereas ALDH1 was correlated with tumor stage. Furthermore, CD68 was significantly correlated with CD163, SOX2, and ALDH1 (P < 0.05). Kaplan-Meier analysis revealed that OSCC patients overexpressing CD163 had significantly worse overall survival (P < 0.05). TAM markers are associated with cancer stem cell marker and OSCC overall survival, suggesting their potential prognostic value in OSCC.

Kanehira M, Kikuchi T, Santoso A, et al.
Human marrow stromal cells downsize the stem cell fraction of lung cancers by fibroblast growth factor 10.
Mol Cell Biol. 2014; 34(15):2848-56 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
The functional interplay between cancer cells and marrow stromal cells (MSCs) has attracted a great deal of interest due to the MSC tropism for tumors but remains to be fully elucidated. In this study, we investigated human MSC-secreted paracrine factors that appear to have critical functions in cancer stem cell subpopulations. We show that MSC-conditioned medium reduced the cancer stem cell-enriched subpopulation, which was detected as a side population and quiescent (G0) cell cycle fraction in human lung cancer cells by virtue of fibroblast growth factor 10 (FGF10). This reduction of the stem cell-enriched fraction was also observed in lung cancer cells supplemented with recombinant human FGF10 protein. Moreover, supplementary FGF10 attenuated the expression of stemness genes encoding transcription factors, such as OCT3/4 and SOX2, and crippled the self-renewal capacity of lung cancer cells, as evidenced by the impaired formation of floating spheres in the suspension culture. We finally confirmed the therapeutic potential of the FGF10 treatment, which rendered lung cancer cells prone to a chemotherapeutic agent, probably due to the reduced cancer stem cell subpopulation. Collectively, these results add further clarification to the molecular mechanisms underlying MSC-mediated cancer cell kinetics, facilitating the development of future therapies.

Mazibrada J, Longo L, Vatrano S, et al.
Differential expression of HER2, STAT3, SOX2, IFI16 and cell cycle markers during HPV-related head and neck carcinogenesis.
New Microbiol. 2014; 37(2):129-43 [PubMed] Related Publications
The aim of this study was to analyze protein and gene expression of HER2 in 224 head and neck precancerous and malignant lesions by immunohistochemistry and FISH analysis. In parallel, expression of pStat3, Sox2, IFI16 and p16, Ki67 was evaluated. Immunohistochemical analysis was assessed on formalin-fixed paraffin-embedded (FFPE) tissue specimens. A combined method for HPV detection consisting of p16 immunostaining and two PCR probes was applied. HER2 gene status was evaluated by FISH analysis. HPV DNA was detected in 24% of cases with predominant HPV16 genotype. HPV-positive lesions had higher HER2, pStat3 and within carcinoma group, and higher IFI16 expression compared to the HPV-negative group (Fig. 1A-B-C). A strong positive correlation between Sox2 and proliferative activity was observed, whereas IFI16 expression displayed a negative relationship with Sox2 and Ki67 activity. The most striking result was higher pStat3 expression in HPV-positive lesions and its strong positive correlation with IFI16 expression. The presence of HPV may induce upregulation of HER2/neu, pStat3 and IFI16. High levels and a strong positive correlation between pStat3 and IFI16 suggest their synergistic pro-apoptotic effects in HPV-positive lesions.

Kan YY, Liou YL, Wang HJ, et al.
PAX1 methylation as a potential biomarker for cervical cancer screening.
Int J Gynecol Cancer. 2014; 24(5):928-34 [PubMed] Related Publications
OBJECTIVES: DNA methylation is a potential biomarker for early cancer detection. Previous studies suggested that the methylations of several genes are promising markers for the detection of cervical intraepithelial neoplasia at grade III or worse (CIN3+). The purpose of the present study was to explore the feasibility of these DNA methylation testing in cervical cancer screening.
METHODS: A total of 443 women were recruited from the Yuan's General Hospital. Cervical scrapings were collected for Papanicolaou (Pap) test by using cervical brushes, and the cytological data were used for analysis. The residual cells on the brush were preserved in phosphate-buffered saline solution at 4°C until DNA extraction. Then, the extracted DNA were used for molecular tests, which included human papillomavirus typing and quantification of the methylation levels for PAX1, SOX1, and NKX6-1 genes. Subjects who had abnormal Pap test results underwent colposcopy or biopsy with subsequent conization or major surgery when biopsy results revealed CIN2+. The final diagnosis for this group was confirmed by colposcopy or pathological examination. The study was approved by the institutional review board of Yuan's General Hospital, and all the molecular tests were performed by ISO17025 certified laboratories.
RESULTS: The sensitivity of PAX1 and SOX1 was greater than 80%, and the specificity of PAX1 and NXK6-1 was greater than 80% for the detection of CIN3+ lesions. PAX1 detection alone had a sensitivity and specificity of 86% and 85%, respectively, whereas when used as a cotest with the Pap test, the sensitivity and specificity were 89% and 83%, respectively.
CONCLUSIONS: PAX1 showed great potential as a biomarker for cervical cancer screening. When incorporating PAX1 detection into current screening protocol, the efficacy of screening could be greatly improved. Moreover, unnecessary referral for colposcopy and biopsy could be reduced up to 60%. However, prospective population-based studies are necessary for further implementation of this screening program.

Xia Y, Wu Y, Liu B, et al.
Downregulation of miR-638 promotes invasion and proliferation by regulating SOX2 and induces EMT in NSCLC.
FEBS Lett. 2014; 588(14):2238-45 [PubMed] Related Publications
Aberrant expression of microRNAs has been shown to regulate the biological processes of lung cancer cells. However, the role of miR-638 in the development of NSCLC is still unclear. In this study, low miR-638 and high SOX2 were shown to be associated with tumor size and metastasis of NSCLC patients. Downregulated miR-638 could promote cell invasion and proliferation, while high miR-638 expression reversed the effect. Furthermore, miR-638 could regulate SOX2 by directly binding to its 3'-UTR. Silencing of SOX2 by siRNA partially abolished the enhancement of cell invasion and proliferation induced by downregulated miR-638. Aberrant miR-638 expression could modulate the expression levels of markers of epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition. Our results indicate that miR-638 may play a pivotal role in the development of NSCLC.

Bauer N, Liu L, Aleksandrowicz E, Herr I
Establishment of hypoxia induction in an in vivo animal replacement model for experimental evaluation of pancreatic cancer.
Oncol Rep. 2014; 32(1):153-8 [PubMed] Related Publications
Transplantation of tumor xenografts to fertilized chicken eggs is a promising animal replacement method, which has successfully been used for xenotransplantation of pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDA) cells. PDA is characterized by a pronounced tumor hypoxia, which mediates aggressive growth, therapy resistance and cancer stem cell (CSC) features. For in vivo experimental evaluation of hypoxia-targeting therapeutic strategies, the xenografting of tumors to chicken eggs combined with the induction of hypoxia is necessary. However, the chicken embryos do not survive the conventional method of hypoxia induction by a gas mixture of 1% O2, 5% CO2, 94% N2, not even when hypoxia is applied for only 30 min. Therefore, we employed chemical induction of hypoxia by the hypoxia mimetic agent cobalt chloride (CoCl2). Whereas CoCl2 did not further increase tumor growth, it mediated the induction of carbonic anhydrase IX (CAIX) in the tumor xenografts and led to enhanced expression of the human CSC markers CD133, Sox2 and CD44. Side-effects in chicken embryos were not observed as evaluated by H&E staining of embryo-derived liver sections and the determination of the embryo weight. These results suggest the successful induction of hypoxia in chicken eggs and xenografted tumors by CoCl2. For therapeutic intervention and as a control, we treated the eggs with the plant-derived anti-inflammatory agent triptolide, which recently showed promising effects toward hypoxia-induced tumor progression in experimental PDA. Triptolide abolished tumor growth and the CoCl2-induced hypoxic effects, without inducing obvious side-effects. Collectively, our data present a new in vivo animal replacement method for the successful induction of tumor hypoxia in PDA.

Yang N, Hui L, Wang Y, et al.
Overexpression of SOX2 promotes migration, invasion, and epithelial-mesenchymal transition through the Wnt/β-catenin pathway in laryngeal cancer Hep-2 cells.
Tumour Biol. 2014; 35(8):7965-73 [PubMed] Related Publications
SOX2 is a high-mobility group box containing transcription factor essential for the maintenance of embryonic stem cells. Recent evidence indicates that SOX2 overexpression correlates with metastasis and poor prognosis in patients with laryngeal squamous cell cancer. To investigate how SOX2 contributes to this aggressive phenotype, we introduced the human SOX2 gene into a low SOX2-expressing human laryngeal cancer cell line Hep-2. Cell migration and invasion were determined by the Transwell assay with or without Matrigel coating. The epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT)-related markers were assayed by Western blot analysis or immunofluorescence. Our results showed that exogenous expression of SOX2 in Hep-2 cells substantially promoted their migratory and invasive capabilities in culture. Moreover, Hep-2 cells stably overexpressing SOX2 underwent EMT phenotype, as evidenced by mesenchymal morphology, decreased expression of epithelial marker (E-cadherin), and increased expression of mesenchymal markers (N-cadherin, vimentin, fibronectin, and α-smooth muscle actin). Strikingly, Western blot analysis and immunofluorescence also showed that overexpression of SOX2 resulted in substantial increase and nuclear accumulation of β-catenin in Hep-2 cells. However, small interfering RNA targeting β-catenin significantly attenuated the reduced expression of E-cadherin and increased cell migration and invasion abilities in SOX2-overexpressing cells, suggesting that SOX2-induced EMT process, migration, and invasion are dependent on β-catenin activation. Taken together, our findings underscore a novel role for SOX2 in laryngeal cancer migration and invasion.

Ma R, Minsky N, Morshed SA, Davies TF
Stemness in human thyroid cancers and derived cell lines: the role of asymmetrically dividing cancer stem cells resistant to chemotherapy.
J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2014; 99(3):E400-9 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 01/03/2015 Related Publications
CONTEXT: Cancer stem cells (CSCs) have the ability to self-renew through symmetric and asymmetric cell division. CSCs may arise from mutations within an embryonic stem cell/progenitor cell population or via epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT), and recent advances in the study of thyroid stem cells have led to a growing recognition of the likely central importance of CSCs in thyroid tumorigenesis.
OBJECTIVE: The objectives of this study were to establish the presence of a stem cell population in human thyroid tumors and to identify, isolate, and characterize CSCs in thyroid cancer cell lines.
RESULTS: 1) Human thyroid cancers (n = 10) and thyroid cancer cell lines (n = 6) contained a stem cell population as evidenced by pluripotent stem cell gene expression. 2) Pulse-chase experiments with thyroid cancer cells identified a label-retaining cell population, a primary characteristic of CSCs, which at mitosis divided their DNA both symmetrically and asymmetrically and included a population of cells expressing the progenitor marker, stage-specific embryonic antigen 1 (SSEA-1). 3) Cells positive for SSEA-1 expressed additional stem cell markers including Oct4, Sox2, and Nanog were confirmed as CSCs by their tumor-initiating properties in vivo, their resistance to chemotherapy, and their multipotent capability. 4) SSEA-1-positive cells showed enhanced vimentin expression and decreased E-cadherin expression, indicating their likely derivation via EMT.
CONCLUSIONS: Cellular diversity in thyroid cancer occurs through both symmetric and asymmetric cell division, and SSEA-1-positive cells are one form of CSCs that appear to have arisen via EMT and may be the source of malignant thyroid tumor formation. This would suggest that thyroid cancer CSCs were the result of thyroid cancer transformation rather than the source.

Kryczek I, Lin Y, Nagarsheth N, et al.
IL-22(+)CD4(+) T cells promote colorectal cancer stemness via STAT3 transcription factor activation and induction of the methyltransferase DOT1L.
Immunity. 2014; 40(5):772-84 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 15/05/2015 Related Publications
Little is known about how the immune system impacts human colorectal cancer invasiveness and stemness. Here we detected interleukin-22 (IL-22) in patient colorectal cancer tissues that was produced predominantly by CD4(+) T cells. In a mouse model, migration of these cells into the colon cancer microenvironment required the chemokine receptor CCR6 and its ligand CCL20. IL-22 acted on cancer cells to promote activation of the transcription factor STAT3 and expression of the histone 3 lysine 79 (H3K79) methytransferase DOT1L. The DOT1L complex induced the core stem cell genes NANOG, SOX2, and Pou5F1, resulting in increased cancer stemness and tumorigenic potential. Furthermore, high DOT1L expression and H3K79me2 in colorectal cancer tissues was a predictor of poor patient survival. Thus, IL-22(+) cells promote colon cancer stemness via regulation of stemness genes that negatively affects patient outcome. Efforts to target this network might be a strategy in treating colorectal cancer patients.

Polakova I, Duskova M, Smahel M
Antitumor DNA vaccination against the Sox2 transcription factor.
Int J Oncol. 2014; 45(1):139-46 [PubMed] Related Publications
As cancer stem cells (CSCs) are resistant to chemotherapy, radiotherapy and targeted molecular therapy, immunotherapy of tumors could be aimed at their elimination. Markers specific for CSCs have not been identified to date, but microarray analyses have shown that CSCs and embryonic stem cells use similar transcriptional programs, thus suggesting the production of shared transcription factors. In this study, we developed an experimental DNA vaccine against the transcription factor Sox2 that is important for self-renewal of stem cells and is overexpressed in numerous human cancers. The Sox2 gene was codon optimized for the expression in human cells, its sequences encoding two nuclear localization signals (NLSs) were mutagenized, and the sequence coding for the PADRE helper epitope was fused with its 5' terminus. While codon optimization did not increase Sox2 production and mutagenesis in NLSs only partially reduced nuclear localization of Sox2, the addition of the PADRE epitope was crucial for the enhancement of Sox2 immunogenicity. The antitumor effect was shown after immunization against mouse oncogenic TC-1/B7 cells derived from the lung cancer cell line TC-1 and characterized by high Sox2 production. Sox2-specific reactivity in an ELISPOT assay was further augmented by the depletion of regulatory T (Treg) cells, but this depletion did not enhance the antitumor effect. These data demonstrated the induction of immune responses against the Sox2 self-antigen, but did not confirm the usefulness of Treg depletion when combined with antitumor vaccination.

Asadi MH, Derakhshani A, Mowla SJ
Concomitant upregulation of nucleostemin and downregulation of Sox2 and Klf4 in gastric adenocarcinoma.
Tumour Biol. 2014; 35(7):7177-85 [PubMed] Related Publications
Nucleostemin (NS) is a nucleolar protein involved in stem cell (SC) self-renewal by controlling cell cycle progression. In addition to SCs, NS is also expressed in some highly proliferating cells including several adult stem cells and cancer cell lines. NS knock-down in different cell lines demonstrated its cell type-dependent function in arresting cell cycle in either G1 or G2/M phases. Here, we have evaluated the expression of NS and iPS genes in 36 gastric cancer and their matched marginal nontumor tissues by means of real-time polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR). We have also examined a potential causative role of NS in gastric tumorigenesis by suppressing its expression in a gastric cancer cell line, AGS. Our data revealed that NS expression level is much higher in tumor tissues (p = 0.046), especially in high-grade ones (p < 0.001), whereas the expression of Klf4 and Sox2 is downregulated in tumor tissues compared to marginal nontumor samples (p < 0.001). Furthermore, NS suppression in the AGS cell line caused some morphological alterations, a cell cycle arrest at G1 phase, and an upregulation of iPS genes: Nanog, Sox2, and Klf4. Based on our results, NS overexpression seems to have a causative role in gastric tumorigenesis and/or progression, and it could be considered as a potential tumor marker for diagnosis, molecular classification, and molecular therapy of gastric adenocarcinoma.

Tian Y, Jia X, Wang S, et al.
SOX2 oncogenes amplified and operate to activate AKT signaling in gastric cancer and predict immunotherapy responsiveness.
J Cancer Res Clin Oncol. 2014; 140(7):1117-24 [PubMed] Related Publications
INTRODUCTION: Gastric cancer is the second leading cause of cancer mortality in the world. Whether the oncogene, amplified on chromosome 3q26, SOX2, a master transcriptional regulator of stemness, operate to drive strong growth phenotype in gastric cancer were unknown.
MATERIALS AND METHODS: The gene expression changes of SOX2 in human gastric cancer tissues compared with non-cancerous tissues was detected using real-time quantitative reverse transcriptase-polymerase chain reaction (QRT-PCR) analysis and immunohistochemistry, which identified the gene overexpression of SOX2 in gastric cancer. Moreover, we discovered that SOX2 promoted cancer cell proliferation in vitro/vivo and SOX2 expression correlated with elevated AKT phosphorylation in gastric cancer, while the AKT phosphorylation was required for SOX2's oncogenic effects. Next, our data point to the usefulness of SOX2 overexpression, as a new predictive marker for responsiveness to trastuzumab.
CONCLUSION: SOX2 is a commonly activated tumor promoter that activate AKT signaling in gastric cancer and a new predictive marker for targeted therapy.

Dogan I, Kawabata S, Bergbower E, et al.
SOX2 expression is an early event in a murine model of EGFR mutant lung cancer and promotes proliferation of a subset of EGFR mutant lung adenocarcinoma cell lines.
Lung Cancer. 2014; 85(1):1-6 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 01/07/2015 Related Publications
OBJECTIVES: Primary and acquired resistance to EGFR TKIs in EGFR mutant lung cancer occurs primarily through secondary mutations in EGFR or Met amplification. Drug resistance can also be mediated by expression of pluripotency transcription factors, such as OCT4, SOX2 and NANOG that decrease terminal differentiation. In this study, we investigated the expression and role of SOX2 in model systems of EGFR mutant tumors.
MATERIALS AND METHODS: Immunoblotting or immunohistochemistry was used to assess expression of pluripotency transcription factors in lungs of transgenic mice or in human NSCLC cell lines. Expression of SOX2 was reduced by shRNA knockdown, and response to erlotinib and cellular proliferation were assessed.
RESULTS AND CONCLUSION: Induction of mutant EGFR in transgenic CCSP-rtTA/TetO-EGFR(L858R/T790M) mice correlated with increased OCT4 and SOX2 expression in lung tissue prior to tumor development. Established lung tumors retained SOX2 expression. To assess a role for SOX2 in tumorigenesis, a panel of NSCLC cell lines with activating EGFR mutations was assessed for SOX2 expression. Two of six cell lines with mutant EGFR showed detectable SOX2 levels, suggesting SOX2 expression did not correlate with EGFR mutation status. To assess the role of SOX2 in these cell lines, HCC827 and H1975 cells were infected with lentivirus containing SOX2 shRNA. Knockdown of SOX2 decreased proliferation in both cell lines and increased sensitivity to erlotinib in HCC827 cells. Because constitutive activation of the PI3K/Akt pathway is associated with EGFR TKI resistance, cells were treated with PI3K/AKT inhibitors and expression of SOX2 was examined. PI3K/Akt inhibitors decreased SOX2 expression in a time-dependent manner. These data suggest targeting SOX2 may provide therapeutic benefit in the subset of EGFR-mutant tumors with high constitutive levels of SOX2, and that until more direct means of inhibiting SOX2 are developed, PI3K/Akt inhibitors might be useful to inhibit SOX2 in EGFR TKI resistant tumors.

Wang R, Liu W, Helfer CM, et al.
Activation of SOX2 expression by BRD4-NUT oncogenic fusion drives neoplastic transformation in NUT midline carcinoma.
Cancer Res. 2014; 74(12):3332-43 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 15/06/2015 Related Publications
BRD4 is implicated in the pathogenesis of a number of different cancers. It is also the target of translocation t(15;19) that accounts for the highly aggressive NUT midline carcinoma (NMC). We discovered that t(15;19) NMC cells display the ability to grow into stem cell-like spheres and express an exceptionally high level of the stem cell marker, SOX2. The BRD4-NUT fusion oncogene resulting from t(15;19) translocation is required for the abnormal activation of SOX2, which drives the stem cell-like proliferation and cellular transformation in NMC cells. SOX2 knockdown phenocopies the effects of BRD4-NUT inhibition, whereas ectopic SOX2 expression rescues the phenotype. The BRD4-NUT-induced abnormal SOX2 activation was observed in multiple NMC cell lines as well as in NMC primary tumors. We further demonstrate that BRD4-NUT oncoprotein recruits p300 to stimulate transcription activation and that inhibition of p300 represses SOX2 transcription in NMC cells. These studies identify this stem cell marker as a novel BRD4-NUT target that supports the highly aggressive transforming activity of t(15;19) carcinomas. Our study provides new mechanistic insights for understanding how alteration of BRD4 function by BRD4-NUT oncogene leads to the highly malignant NMC carcinoma. Because abnormal stem cell self-renewal is frequently observed during tumor formation and metastasis, the aberrant stem cell-like proliferation associated with BRD4 dysregulation observed in NMC carcinoma may have implications for studying the oncogenic mechanism of other BRD4-associated tumors.

Andey T, Marepally S, Patel A, et al.
Cationic lipid guided short-hairpin RNA interference of annexin A2 attenuates tumor growth and metastasis in a mouse lung cancer stem cell model.
J Control Release. 2014; 184:67-78 [PubMed] Related Publications
The role of side populations (SP) or cancer stem-like cells (CSC) in promoting the resistance phenotype presents a viable anticancer target. Human-derived H1650 SP cells over-express annexin A2 (AnxA2) and SOX2, and are resistant to conventional cytotoxic chemotherapeutics. AnxA2 and SOX2 bind to proto-oncogenes, c-Myc and c-Src, and AnxA2 forms a functional heterotetramer with S100A10 to promote tumor motility. However, the combined role of AnxA2, S100A10 and SOX2 in promoting the resistant phenotype of SP cells has not been investigated. In the current studies, we examined for the first time a possible role of AnxA2 in regulating SA100A10 and SOX2 in promoting a resistant phenotype of lung tumors derived from H1650 SP cells. The resistance of H1650 SP cells to chemotherapy compared to H1650 MP cells was investigated by cell viability studies. A short hairpin RNA targeting AnxA2 (shAnxA2) was formulated in a liposomal (cationic ligand-guided, CLG) carrier and characterized for size, charge and entrapment and loading efficiencies; CLG carrier uptake by H1650 SP cells was demonstrated by fluorescence microscopy, and knockdown of AnxA2 confirmed by qRT-PCR and Western blot. Targeting of xenograft and orthotopic lung tumors was demonstrated with fluorescent (DiR) CLG carriers in mice. The therapeutic efficacy of CLG-AnxA2, compared to that of placebo, was investigated after 2 weeks of treatment in terms of tumor weights and tumor burden in vivo. Compared to mixed population cells, H1650 SP cells showed exponential resistance to docetaxel (15-fold), cisplatin (13-fold), 5-fluorouracil (31-fold), camptothecin (7-fold), and gemcitabine (16-fold). CLG carriers were nanoparticulate (199nm) with a slight positive charge (21.82mV); CLG-shAnx2 was of similar size (217nm) with decreased charge (12.11mV), and entrapment and loading efficiencies of 97% and 6.13% respectively. Fluorescence microscopy showed high uptake of CLG-shAnxA2 in H1650 SP cells after 2h resulting in a 6-fold reduction in AnxA2 mRNA expression and 92% decreased protein expression. Fluorescence imaging confirmed targeting of tumors and lungs by DiR-CLG carriers with sustained localization up to 4h in mice. CLG-shAnxA2 treatment of mice significantly reduced the weights of lung tumors derived from H1650 SP cells and tumor burden was reduced to only 19% of controls. The loss in tumor weights in response to CLG-shAnxA2 was associated with a significant loss in the relative levels of AnxA2, SOX2, total β-catenin and S100A10, both at the RNA and protein levels. These results suggest the intriguing possibility that AnxA2 may directly or indirectly regulate relative levels of β-catenin, S100A10 and SOX2, and that the combination of these factors may contribute to the resistant phenotype of H1650 SP cells. Thus down-regulating AnxA2 using RNAi methods may provide a useful method for targeting cancer stem cells and help advance therapeutic efficacy against lung cancers.

Suvà ML, Rheinbay E, Gillespie SM, et al.
Reconstructing and reprogramming the tumor-propagating potential of glioblastoma stem-like cells.
Cell. 2014; 157(3):580-94 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 24/04/2015 Related Publications
Developmental fate decisions are dictated by master transcription factors (TFs) that interact with cis-regulatory elements to direct transcriptional programs. Certain malignant tumors may also depend on cellular hierarchies reminiscent of normal development but superimposed on underlying genetic aberrations. In glioblastoma (GBM), a subset of stem-like tumor-propagating cells (TPCs) appears to drive tumor progression and underlie therapeutic resistance yet remain poorly understood. Here, we identify a core set of neurodevelopmental TFs (POU3F2, SOX2, SALL2, and OLIG2) essential for GBM propagation. These TFs coordinately bind and activate TPC-specific regulatory elements and are sufficient to fully reprogram differentiated GBM cells to "induced" TPCs, recapitulating the epigenetic landscape and phenotype of native TPCs. We reconstruct a network model that highlights critical interactions and identifies candidate therapeutic targets for eliminating TPCs. Our study establishes the epigenetic basis of a developmental hierarchy in GBM, provides detailed insight into underlying gene regulatory programs, and suggests attendant therapeutic strategies. PAPERCLIP:

Caliò A, Nottegar A, Gilioli E, et al.
ALK/EML4 fusion gene may be found in pure squamous carcinoma of the lung.
J Thorac Oncol. 2014; 9(5):729-32 [PubMed] Related Publications
INTRODUCTION: The report of cases of lung squamous cell cancers harboring anaplastic lymphoma kinase (ALK) gene rearrangements raises the question whether this histologic subtype should be also evaluated for such molecular predictive test.
METHODS: A consecutive series of 40 lung pure squamous cell carcinomas were analyzed for ALK gene status by fluorescence in situ hybridization. Squamous differentiation was validated using an immunohistochemical panel including n-p63 (p40), cytokeratin (CK) 5/6, sex-determining region Y (SRY)-Box2 (SOX2), thyroid transcription factor 1, CK7, and Napsin-A.
RESULTS: Squamous differentiation was confirmed in all tumors as they stained positive for n-p63 and CK5/6 and negative for thyroid transcription factor 1 and Napsin-A. One of 40 cases (2.5%) showed an ALK rearrangement on fluorescence in situ hybridization analysis.
CONCLUSIONS: ALK translocation may be found in lung pure squamous cell carcinomas. Our data suggest the opportunity to test ALK rearrangements on biopsy samples harboring squamous cell cancer differentiation.

Yang N, Hui L, Wang Y, et al.
SOX2 promotes the migration and invasion of laryngeal cancer cells by induction of MMP-2 via the PI3K/Akt/mTOR pathway.
Oncol Rep. 2014; 31(6):2651-9 [PubMed] Related Publications
SOX2 is a high mobility group box containing transcription factor that has been reported to be aberrantly overexpressed in various human malignancies, including laryngeal squamous cell carcinoma (LSCC). However, the potential role of SOX2 in LSCC migration and invasion remains to be elucidated. In the present study, we generated stable transformants of human LSCC cells constitutively overexpressing SOX2 and investigated the effects of SOX2 overexpression on migration and invasion in LSCC cells as well as the possible underlying mechanisms. We found that ectopic overexpression of SOX2 in LSCC cells enhanced their migratory and invasive ability in vitro, accompanied by increased expression and activity of matrix metalloproteinase (MMP)-2. Meanwhile, SOX2-induced cell migration and invasion were significantly abrogated by a neutralizing anti-MMP-2 antibody or small interfering RNA targeting MMP-2. Furthermore, overexpression of SOX2 induced phosphorylation of Akt and mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR), which are downstream effectors of the PI3K pathway. Finally, LY294002, an inhibitor of PI3K, also markedly abolished SOX2-induced activation of the Akt/mTOR pathway and increased cell invasion and MMP-2 expression. Taken together, we conclude that SOX2 promotes migration and invasion of laryngeal cancer cells by inducing MMP-2 via the PI3K/Akt/mTOR pathway. Our findings suggest that SOX2 may serve as a potential therapeutic target for LSCC.

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