Gene Summary

Gene:ETS2; ETS proto-oncogene 2, transcription factor
Aliases: ETS2IT1
Summary:This gene encodes a transcription factor which regulates genes involved in development and apoptosis. The encoded protein is also a protooncogene and shown to be involved in regulation of telomerase. A pseudogene of this gene is located on the X chromosome. Alternative splicing results in multiple transcript variants. [provided by RefSeq, Jan 2012]
Databases:OMIM, HGNC, Ensembl, GeneCard, Gene
Protein:protein C-ets-2
Source:NCBIAccessed: 29 August, 2019


What does this gene/protein do?
Show (9)
Pathways:What pathways are this gene/protein implicaed in?
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Cancer Overview

Research Indicators

Publications Per Year (1994-2019)
Graph generated 29 August 2019 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.

  • ETS2
  • Neoplasm Invasiveness
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Proto-Oncogene Protein c-ets-2
  • Breast Cancer
  • beta-Galactosidase
  • Transfection
  • Mutation
  • Transcription Factors
  • Down-Regulation
  • Promoter Regions
  • Gene Expression Profiling
  • Acute Myeloid Leukaemia
  • Leukaemia
  • Proto-Oncogene Protein c-ets-1
  • Trans-Activators
  • Chromosome 21
  • Oligonucleotide Array Sequence Analysis
  • Cervical Cancer
  • Single Nucleotide Polymorphism
  • Down Syndrome
  • Telomerase
  • Prostate Cancer
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins
  • Viral Structural Proteins
  • DNA-Binding Proteins
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Telomere
  • Cell Movement
  • Neoplastic Cell Transformation
  • Repressor Proteins
  • Transcription
  • Base Sequence
  • Cancer Gene Expression Regulation
  • ets-Domain Protein Elk-1
  • Transcriptional Regulator ERG
  • Messenger RNA
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Biomarkers, Tumor
  • Lung Cancer
  • Signal Transduction
  • Trisomy
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-ets
Tag cloud generated 29 August, 2019 using data from PubMed, MeSH and CancerIndex

Specific Cancers (7)

Data table showing topics related to specific cancers and associated disorders. Scope includes mutations and abnormal protein expression.

Note: list is not exhaustive. Number of papers are based on searches of PubMed (click on topic title for arbitrary criteria used).

Latest Publications: ETS2 (cancer-related)

Pakula H, Linn DE, Schmidt DR, et al.
Protocols for Studies on TMPRSS2/ERG in Prostate Cancer.
Methods Mol Biol. 2018; 1786:131-151 [PubMed] Related Publications
TMPRSS2/ERG is the most common type of gene fusions found in human prostate cancer. There are two important features of TMPRSS2/ERG fusions. One is that these gene fusions lead to ectopic expression of ERG, an ETS family transcription factor, in prostate epithelial cells from the 5' control region of an androgen/estrogen dual-responsive gene, TMPRSS2; the other is that ~60% of these fusions are generated via intrachromosomal deletion of the interstitial region between TMPRSS2 and ERG. To recapitulate these important aspects of TMPRSS2/ERG fusions, we generated several TMPRSS2/ERG knockin mouse models based on the endogenous Tmprss2 locus. We found that TMPRSS2/ERG represents an early event in prostate tumorigenesis, by sensitizing prostate cells for cooperation with other oncogenic events, such as PTEN-deficiency. We also found that the interstitial region between TMPRSS2 and ERG harbors at least one prostate tumor suppressor, ETS2, whose loss contributes to prostate cancer progression. In this protocol, we describe how these knockin mouse models can be utilized to study roles of TMPRSS2/ERG fusions in prostate cancer development both in vivo and in vitro.

Zhang GW, Tian X, Li Y, et al.
Down-regulation of ETS2 inhibits the invasion and metastasis of renal cell carcinoma cells by inducing EMT via the PI3K/Akt signaling pathway.
Biomed Pharmacother. 2018; 104:119-126 [PubMed] Related Publications
V-ets erythroblastosis virus E26 oncogene homolog 2 (ETS2), belonging to the ETS family of transcription factors, is implicated in a broad range of cellular functions. Recently, ETS2 has been found playing an important role in the progression of some types of cancers. However, it remains unclear whether ETS2 has any effects on renal cell carcinoma (RCC). In this study, we investigated the biological functions of ETS2 in RCC. The results showed that ETS2 was highly expressed in RCC tissues and cell lines and its expression had an association with clinicopathological characteristics of RCC patients. In addition, down-regulation of ETS2 significantly inhibited RCC cell invasion in vitro and metastasis in vivo as well as suppressed the epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT) process. We also found that ETS2 down-regulation significantly reduced the levels of PI3K and Akt phosphorylation in RCC cells. Taken together, we suggest that ETS2 is of potential value as a molecular target for RCC treatment.

Torres A, Alshalalfa M, Davicioni E, et al.
ETS2 is a prostate basal cell marker and is highly expressed in prostate cancers aberrantly expressing p63.
Prostate. 2018; 78(12):896-904 [PubMed] Related Publications
BACKGROUND: Rare prostate carcinomas aberrantly express p63 and have an immunophenotype intermediate between basal and luminal cells. Here, we performed gene expression profiling on p63-expressing prostatic carcinomas and compared them to usual-type adenocarcinoma. We identify ETS2 as highly expressed in p63-expressing prostatic carcinomas and benign prostate basal cells, with lower expression in luminal cells and primary usual-type adenocarcinomas.
METHODS: A total of 8 p63-expressing prostate carcinomas at radical prostatectomy were compared to 358 usual-type adenocarcinomas by gene expression profiling performed on formalin fixed paraffin embedded tumor tissue using Affymetrix 1.0 ST microarrays. Correlation between differentially expressed genes and TP63 expression was performed in 5239 prostate adenocarcinomas available in the Decipher GRID. For validation, ETS2 in situ hybridization was performed on 19 p63-expressing prostate carcinomas and 30 usual-type adenocarcinomas arrayed on tissue microarrays (TMA).
RESULTS: By gene expression, p63-expressing prostate carcinomas showed low cell cycle activity and low Decipher prognostic scores, but were predicted to have high Gleason grade compared to usual-type adenocarcinomas by gene expression signatures and morphology. Among the genes over-expressed in p63-expressing carcinoma relative to usual-type adenocarcinoma were known p63-regulated genes, along with ETS2, an ETS family member previously implicated as a prostate cancer tumor suppressor gene. Across several cohorts of prostate samples, ETS2 gene expression was correlated with TP63 expression and was significantly higher in benign prostate compared to usual-type adenocarcinoma. By in situ hybridization, ETS2 gene expression was high in benign basal cells, and low to undetectable in benign luminal cells or usual-type adenocarcinoma. In contrast, ETS2 was highly expressed in 95% (18/19) of p63-expressing prostate carcinomas.
CONCLUSIONS: ETS2 is a predominantly basally-expressed gene in the prostate, with low expression in usual-type adenocarcinoma and high expression in p63-expressing carcinomas. Given this pattern, the significance of ETS2 loss by deletion or mutation in usual-type adenocarcinomas is uncertain.

Izadpanah MH, Abbaszadegan MR, Fahim Y, Forghanifard MM
Ectopic expression of TWIST1 upregulates the stemness marker OCT4 in the esophageal squamous cell carcinoma cell line KYSE30.
Cell Mol Biol Lett. 2017; 22:33 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Background: The transcription factor TWIST1 plays an important role in the epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT) process and in the migration, invasion and metastasis of cancer cells. OCT4, which is a homeobox transcription factor, has an important role in the self-renewal potential of cancer cells. Our aim here is to elucidate impact of ectopic expression of TWIST1 on OCT4 gene expression in esophageal squamous cell carcinoma (ESCC).
Methods: The ESCC line was KYSE30. GP293T cells were transfected with purf-IRES-GFP and pGP plasmids to produce recombinant viral particles. A semi-confluent KYSE30 culture was transduced with the prepared retroviral particles. mRNA extraction and cDNA synthesis were performed from normal KYSE30 cells and those ectopically expressing
Results: Ectopic expression of
Conclusions: Overexpressed

Pajcini KV, Xu L, Shao L, et al.
MAFB enhances oncogenic Notch signaling in T cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia.
Sci Signal. 2017; 10(505) [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Activating mutations in the gene encoding the cell-cell contact signaling protein Notch1 are common in human T cell acute lymphoblastic leukemias (T-ALLs). However, expressing

Liu X, Zhang C, Zhang Z, et al.
E26 Transformation-Specific Transcription Factor ETS2 as an Oncogene Promotes the Progression of Hypopharyngeal Cancer.
Cancer Biother Radiopharm. 2017; 32(9):327-334 [PubMed] Related Publications
The E26 transformation-specific (ETS) family is one of the largest families of transcription factors. Upon activation by MAPK pathway, ETS participates in cell proliferation, differentiation, migration, apoptosis, and metastasis. However, the mechanism by which ETS is deregulated in cancer is unclear. In this study, the authors investigated the role of ETS factor, ETS2, in hypopharyngeal cancer pathogenesis in hypopharyngeal cancer tissues (N = 20) and corresponding non-neoplastic tissues (N = 20). The results showed that expression of ETS2 was increased in cancer tissues as compared with the expression in corresponding non-neoplastic tissues. Analysis of clinicopathological characteristics showed that increased level of ETS2 is associated with III-IV tumor node metastasis stage and lymph node metastasis. In addition, knockdown of ETS2 by siRNA in pharyngeal cancer cell line, FaDu, significantly decreased cell's vitality and colony-forming ability by inducing caspase-3-dependent apoptosis and cell cycle arrest. Furthermore, inhibition of ETS2 could abrogate the migration, invasion, and transforming growth factor-β-induced epithelial mesenchymal transition through the upregulation of E-cadherin, zona occludens protein-1, together with downregulation of vimentin and α-sooth muscle actin. These functions of ETS2 could be associated with the activation of MAPK/p38/ERK/JNK signals. Taken together, the authors opined that ETS2 functions as an oncogene and plays a key role in the progression of hypopharyngeal cancer.

Liu DD, Kang Y
Ets2 anchors the prometastatic function of mutant p53 in osteosarcoma.
Genes Dev. 2017; 31(18):1823-1824 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Mutations in the tumor suppressor p53 occur in a majority of human cancers. Some gain-of-function (GOF) p53 mutations endow tumor cells with increased metastatic ability, although our understanding of the underlying mechanism remains incomplete. In this issue of

Pourebrahim R, Zhang Y, Liu B, et al.
Integrative genome analysis of somatic p53 mutant osteosarcomas identifies Ets2-dependent regulation of small nucleolar RNAs by mutant p53 protein.
Genes Dev. 2017; 31(18):1847-1857 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications

Yuan J, Jiang YY, Mayakonda A, et al.
Super-Enhancers Promote Transcriptional Dysregulation in Nasopharyngeal Carcinoma.
Cancer Res. 2017; 77(23):6614-6626 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Nasopharyngeal carcinoma (NPC) is an invasive cancer with particularly high incidence in Southeast Asia and Southern China. The pathogenic mechanisms of NPC, particularly those involving epigenetic dysregulation, remain largely elusive, hampering clinical management of this malignancy. To identify novel druggable targets, we carried out an unbiased high-throughput chemical screening and observed that NPC cells were highly sensitive to inhibitors of cyclin-dependent kinases (CDK), especially THZ1, a covalent inhibitor of CDK7. THZ1 demonstrated pronounced antineoplastic activities both

Xi WD, Liu YJ, Sun XB, et al.
Bioinformatics analysis of RNA-seq data revealed critical genes in colon adenocarcinoma.
Eur Rev Med Pharmacol Sci. 2017; 21(13):3012-3020 [PubMed] Related Publications
OBJECTIVE: RNA-seq data of colon adenocarcinoma (COAD) were analyzed with bioinformatics tools to discover critical genes in the disease. Relevant small molecule drugs, transcription factors (TFs) and microRNAs (miRNAs) were also investigated.
MATERIALS AND METHODS: RNA-seq data of COAD were downloaded from The Cancer Genome Atlas (TCGA). Differential analysis was performed with package edgeR. False positive discovery (FDR) < 0.05 and |log2 (fold change)|>1 were set as the cut-offs to screen out differentially expressed genes (DEGs). Gene coexpression network was constructed with package Ebcoexpress. GO enrichment analysis was performed for the DEGs in the gene coexpression network with DAVID. Kyoto Encyclopedia of Genes and Genomes (KEGG) pathway enrichment analysis was also performed for the genes with KOBASS 2.0. Modules were identified with MCODE of Cytoscape. Relevant small molecules drugs were predicted by Connectivity map. Relevant miRNAs and TFs were searched by WebGestalt.
RESULTS: A total of 457 DEGs, including 255 up-regulated and 202 down-regulated genes, were identified from 437 COAD and 39 control samples. A gene coexpression network was constructed containing 40 DEGs and 101 edges. The genes were mainly associated with collagen fibril organization, extracellular matrix organization and translation. Two modules were identified from the gene coexpression network, which were implicated in muscle contraction and extracellular matrix organization, respectively. Several critical genes were disclosed, such as MYH11, COL5A2 and ribosomal proteins. Nine relevant small molecule drugs were identified, such as scriptaid and STOCK1N-35874. Accordingly, a total of 17 TFs and 10 miRNAs related to COAD were acquired, such as ETS2, NFAT, AP4, miR-124A, MiR-9, miR-96 and let-7.
CONCLUSIONS: Several critical genes and relevant drugs, TFs and miRNAs were revealed in COAD. These findings could advance the understanding of the disease and benefit therapy development.

Fu L, Fu H, Wu Q, et al.
High expression of ETS2 predicts poor prognosis in acute myeloid leukemia and may guide treatment decisions.
J Transl Med. 2017; 15(1):159 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
BACKGROUND: ETS2 is a downstream effector of the RAS/RAF/ERK pathway, which plays a critical role in the development of malignant tumor. However, the clinical impact of ETS2 expression in AML remains unknown.
METHODS: In this study, we evaluated the prognostic significance of ETS2 expression using two relatively large cohorts of AML patients.
RESULTS: In the first cohort, compared to low expression of ETS2 (ETS2
CONCLUSIONS: Our results indicate that ETS2

Bose R, Karthaus WR, Armenia J, et al.
ERF mutations reveal a balance of ETS factors controlling prostate oncogenesis.
Nature. 2017; 546(7660):671-675 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Half of all prostate cancers are caused by the TMPRSS2-ERG gene-fusion, which enables androgens to drive expression of the normally silent E26 transformation-specific (ETS) transcription factor ERG in prostate cells. Recent genomic landscape studies of such cancers have reported recurrent point mutations and focal deletions of another ETS member, the ETS2 repressor factor ERF. Here we show these ERF mutations cause decreased protein stability and mostly occur in tumours without ERG upregulation. ERF loss recapitulates the morphological and phenotypic features of ERG gain in normal mouse prostate cells, including expansion of the androgen receptor transcriptional repertoire, and ERF has tumour suppressor activity in the same genetic background of Pten loss that yields oncogenic activity by ERG. In the more common scenario of ERG upregulation, chromatin immunoprecipitation followed by sequencing indicates that ERG inhibits the ability of ERF to bind DNA at consensus ETS sites both in normal and in cancerous prostate cells. Consistent with a competition model, ERF overexpression blocks ERG-dependent tumour growth, and ERF loss rescues TMPRSS2-ERG-positive prostate cancer cells from ERG dependency. Collectively, these data provide evidence that the oncogenicity of ERG is mediated, in part, by competition with ERF and they raise the larger question of whether other gain-of-function oncogenic transcription factors might also inactivate endogenous tumour suppressors.

Tsuboi K, Nagatomo T, Gohno T, et al.
Single CpG site methylation controls estrogen receptor gene transcription and correlates with hormone therapy resistance.
J Steroid Biochem Mol Biol. 2017; 171:209-217 [PubMed] Related Publications
Hormone therapy is the most effective treatment for patients with estrogen receptor α-positive breast cancers. However, although resistance occurs during treatment in some cases and often reflects changed estrogen receptor α status, the relationship between changes in estrogen receptor α expression and resistance to therapy are poorly understood. In this study, we identified a mechanism for altered estrogen receptor α expression during disease progression and acquired hormone therapy resistance in aromatase inhibitor-resistant breast cancer cell lines. Subsequently, we investigated promoter switching and DNA methylation status of the estrogen receptor α promoter, and found marked changes of methylation at a single CpG site (CpG4) in resistant cells. In addition, luciferase reporter assays showed reduced transcriptional activity from this methylated CpG site. This CpG region was also completely conserved among species, suggesting that it acts as a methylation-sensitive Ets-2 transcription factor binding site, as confirmed using chromatin immunoprecipitation assays. In estrogen receptor α-positive tumors, CpG4 methylation levels were inversely correlated with estrogen receptor α expression status, suggesting that single CpG site plays an important role in the regulation of estrogen receptor α transcription.

Plotnik JP, Hollenhorst PC
Interaction with ZMYND11 mediates opposing roles of Ras-responsive transcription factors ETS1 and ETS2.
Nucleic Acids Res. 2017; 45(8):4452-4462 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Aberrant activation of RAS/MAPK signaling is a driver of over one third of all human carcinomas. The homologous transcription factors ETS1 and ETS2 mediate activation of gene expression programs downstream of RAS/MAPK signaling. ETS1 is important for oncogenesis in many tumor types. However, ETS2 can act as an oncogene in some cellular backgrounds, and as a tumor suppressor in others, and the molecular mechanism responsible for this cell-type specific function remains unknown. Here, we show that ETS1 and ETS2 can regulate a cell migration gene expression program in opposite directions, and provide the first comparison of the ETS1 and ETS2 cistromes. This genomic data and an ETS1 deletion line reveal that the opposite function of ETS2 is a result of binding site competition and transcriptional attenuation due to weaker transcriptional activation by ETS2 compared to ETS1. This weaker activation was mapped to the ETS2 N-terminus and a specific interaction with the co-repressor ZMYND11 (BS69). Furthermore, ZMYND11 expression levels in patient tumors correlated with oncogenic versus tumor suppressive roles of ETS2. Therefore, these data indicate a novel and specific mechanism allowing ETS2 to switch between oncogenic and tumor suppressive functions in a cell-type specific manner.

O'Malley PG, Nguyen DP, Al Hussein Al Awamlh B, et al.
Racial Variation in the Utility of Urinary Biomarkers PCA3 and T2ERG in a Large Multicenter Study.
J Urol. 2017; 198(1):42-49 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
PURPOSE: To our knowledge it is unknown whether urinary biomarkers for prostate cancer have added utility to clinical risk calculators in different racial groups. We examined the utility of urinary biomarkers added to clinical risk calculators for predicting prostate cancer in African American and nonAfrican American men.
MATERIALS AND METHODS: Demographics, PCPT (Prostate Cancer Prevention Trial) risk scores, data on the biomarkers data PCA3 (prostate cancer antigen 3) and T2ERG (transmembrane protease serine 2 and v-ets erythroblastosis virus E26 oncogene homolog gene fusion), and biopsy pathology features were prospectively collected on 718 men as part of EDRN (Early Detection Research Network). Utility was determined by generating ROC curves and comparing AUC values for the baseline multivariable PCPT model and for models containing biomarker scores.
RESULTS: PCA3 and T2ERG added utility for the prediction of prostate cancer and clinically significant prostate cancer when combined with the PCPT Risk Calculator. This utility was seen in nonAfrican American men only for PCA3 (AUC 0.64 increased to 0.75 for prostate cancer and to 0.69-0.77 for clinically significant prostate cancer, both p <0.001) and for T2ERG (AUC 0.64-0.74 for prostate cancer, p <0.001, and 0.69-0.73 for clinically significant prostate cancer, p = 0.029). African American men did not have an added benefit with the addition of biomarkers, including PCA3 (AUC 0.75-0.77, p = 0.64, and 0.65-0.66, p = 0.74) and T2ERG (AUC 0.75-0.74, p = 0.74, and 0.65-0.64, p = 0.88), for prostate cancer and clinically significant prostate cancer, respectively. Limitations include the small number of African American men (72). The post hoc subgroup analysis nature of the study limited findings to being hypothesis generating.
CONCLUSIONS: As novel biomarkers are discovered, clinical utility should be established across demographically diverse cohorts.

Wang Y, Jiang T, Li Z, et al.
Analysis of differentially co-expressed genes based on microarray data of hepatocellular carcinoma.
Neoplasma. 2017; 64(2):216-221 [PubMed] Related Publications
Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) is the third leading cause of cancer related death worldwide. Although great progress in diagnosis and management of HCC have been made, the exact molecular mechanisms remain poorly understood. The study aims to identify potential biomarkers for HCC progression, mainly at transcription level. In this study, chip data GSE 29721 was utilized, which contains 10 HCC samples and 10 normal adjacent tissue samples. Differentially expressed genes (DEGs) between two sample types were selected by t-test method. Following, the differentially co-expressed genes (DCGs) and differentially co-expressed Links (DCLs) were identified by DCGL package in R with the threshold of q < 0.25. Afterwards, pathway enrichment analysis of the DCGs was carried out by DAVID. Then, DCLs were mapped to TRANSFAC database to reveal associations between relevant transcriptional factors (TFs) and their target genes. Quantitative real-time RT-PCR was performed for TFs or genes of interest. As a result, a total of 388 DCGs and 35,771 DCLs were obtained. The predominant pathways enriched by these genes were Cytokine-cytokine receptor interaction, ECM-receptor interaction and TGF-β signaling pathway. Three TF-target interactions, LEF1-NCAM1, EGR1-FN1 and FOS-MT2A were predicted. Compared with control, expressions of the TF genes EGR1, FOS and ETS2 were all up-regulated in the HCC cell line, HepG2; while LEF1 was down-regulated. Except NCAM1, all the target genes were up-regulated in HepG2. Our findings suggest these TFs and genes might play important roles in the pathogenesis of HCC and may be used as therapeutic targets for HCC management.

Pitarresi JR, Liu X, Sharma SM, et al.
Stromal ETS2 Regulates Chemokine Production and Immune Cell Recruitment during Acinar-to-Ductal Metaplasia.
Neoplasia. 2016; 18(9):541-52 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Preclinical studies have suggested that the pancreatic tumor microenvironment both inhibits and promotes tumor development and growth. Here we establish the role of stromal fibroblasts during acinar-to-ductal metaplasia (ADM), an initiating event in pancreatic cancer formation. The transcription factor V-Ets avian erythroblastosis virus E26 oncogene homolog 2 (ETS2) was elevated in smooth muscle actin-positive fibroblasts in the stroma of pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC) patient tissue samples relative to normal pancreatic controls. LSL-Kras(G12D/+); LSL-Trp53(R172H/+); Pdx-1-Cre (KPC) mice showed that ETS2 expression initially increased in fibroblasts during ADM and remained elevated through progression to PDAC. Conditional ablation of Ets-2 in pancreatic fibroblasts in a Kras(G12D)-driven mouse ADM model decreased the amount of ADM events. ADMs from fibroblast Ets-2-deleted animals had reduced epithelial cell proliferation and increased apoptosis. Surprisingly, fibroblast Ets-2 deletion significantly altered immune cell infiltration into the stroma, with an increased CD8+ T-cell population, and decreased presence of regulatory T cells (Tregs), myeloid-derived suppressor cells, and mature macrophages. The mechanism involved ETS2-dependent chemokine ligand production in fibroblasts. ETS2 directly bound to regulatory sequences for Ccl3, Ccl4, Cxcl4, Cxcl5, and Cxcl10, a group of chemokines that act as potent mediators of immune cell recruitment. These results suggest an unappreciated role for ETS2 in fibroblasts in establishing an immune-suppressive microenvironment in response to oncogenic Kras(G12D) signaling during the initial stages of tumor development.

Li Q, Yang L, Han K, et al.
Ets2 knockdown inhibits tumorigenesis in esophageal squamous cell carcinoma in vivo and in vitro.
Oncotarget. 2016; 7(38):61458-61468 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Increased expression of Ets2 is reported upregulated in esophageal squamous cell carcinoma tissue. However, the function of Ets2 in carcinogenesis of ESCC is poorly understood. Here, the rise of Ets2 was confirmed in ESCC cells and Ets2 depletion by RNA interference promotes cell apoptosis, inhibits cell proliferation, attenuates cell invasion and induces cell cycle G0/G1 arrest in vitro. Moreover, in vivo, Xenograft mouse model studies showed Ets2 knockdown inhibits tumor formation and metastasis significantly. Furthermore, Ets2 depletion inactivates the mTOR/p70S6K signaling pathway both in vitro and in vivo. Taken together, these findings strongly suggest that a critical role of Ets2 in human ESCC pathogenesis via the inactivation of the mTOR/p70S6K signaling pathway.

Christensen LL, True K, Hamilton MP, et al.
SNHG16 is regulated by the Wnt pathway in colorectal cancer and affects genes involved in lipid metabolism.
Mol Oncol. 2016; 10(8):1266-82 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
It is well established that lncRNAs are aberrantly expressed in cancer where they have been shown to act as oncogenes or tumor suppressors. RNA profiling of 314 colorectal adenomas/adenocarcinomas and 292 adjacent normal colon mucosa samples using RNA-sequencing demonstrated that the snoRNA host gene 16 (SNHG16) is significantly up-regulated in adenomas and all stages of CRC. SNHG16 expression was positively correlated to the expression of Wnt-regulated transcription factors, including ASCL2, ETS2, and c-Myc. In vitro abrogation of Wnt signaling in CRC cells reduced the expression of SNHG16 indicating that SNHG16 is regulated by the Wnt pathway. Silencing of SNHG16 resulted in reduced viability, increased apoptotic cell death and impaired cell migration. The SNHG16 silencing particularly affected expression of genes involved in lipid metabolism. A connection between SNHG16 and genes involved in lipid metabolism was also observed in clinical tumors. Argonaute CrossLinking and ImmunoPrecipitation (AGO-CLIP) demonstrated that SNHG16 heavily binds AGO and has 27 AGO/miRNA target sites along its length, indicating that SNHG16 may act as a competing endogenous RNA (ceRNA) "sponging" miRNAs off their cognate targets. Most interestingly, half of the miRNA families with high confidence targets on SNHG16 also target the 3'UTR of Stearoyl-CoA Desaturase (SCD). SCD is involved in lipid metabolism and is down-regulated upon SNHG16 silencing. In conclusion, up-regulation of SNHG16 is a frequent event in CRC, likely caused by deregulated Wnt signaling. In vitro analyses demonstrate that SNHG16 may play an oncogenic role in CRC and that it affects genes involved in lipid metabolism, possible through ceRNA related mechanisms.

Yu J, Liang Q, Wang J, et al.
REC8 functions as a tumor suppressor and is epigenetically downregulated in gastric cancer, especially in EBV-positive subtype.
Oncogene. 2017; 36(2):182-193 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
REC8 meiotic recombination protein (REC8) was found to be preferentially methylated in gastric cancer (GC) using promoter methylation array. We aimed to elucidate the epigenetic alteration and biological function of REC8 in GC. REC8 was downregulated in 100% (3/3) of Epstein-Barr virus (EBV)-positive and 80% (8/10) of EBV-negative GC cell lines by promoter methylation, but the expression could be restored through demethylation treatment. Protein expression of REC8 was significantly lower in human primary gastric tumors than in adjacent non-tumor tissues. A negative correlation between methylation and mRNA expression of REC8 was observed in 223 gastric samples of The Cancer Genome Atlas study (r=-0.7018, P<0.001). The methylation level (%) of the REC8 promoter was significantly higher in EBV-positive gastric tumors than in EBV-negative gastric tumors, as shown by bisulfite genomic sequencing (77.6 (69.3-80.5) vs 51.4 (39.5-62.3), median (interquartile range); P<0.001); methylation levels in both subtypes of tumors were significantly higher than in normal stomach tissues (14.8 (4.2-24.0)) (both P<0.001). Multivariate analysis revealed that REC8 methylation was an independent factor for poor survival in GC patients (hazard ratio=1.68, P<0.05). REC8 expression significantly suppressed cell viability, clonogenicity and cell cycle progression; it induced apoptosis and inhibited migration of AGS-EBV (EBV-positive) and BGC823 (EBV-negative) GC cells, and it suppressed tumorigenicity in nude mice. In contrast, knockdown of REC8 in gastric epithelial immortalized GES-1 cells significantly increased cell viability, clonogenicity and migration ability. The tumor-suppressive effect of REC8 is mediated at least in part by the downregulation of genes involved in cell growth (G6PD, SLC2A1, NOL3, MCM2, SNAI1 and SNAI2), and the upregulation of apoptosis/migration inhibitors (GADD45G and LDHA) and tumor suppressors (PinX1, IGFBP3 and ETS2). In conclusion, REC8 is a novel tumor suppressor that is commonly downregulated by promoter methylation in GC, especially in the EBV-associated subtype. Promoter methylation of REC8 is an independent risk factor for the shortened survival of GC patients.

Chang H, Liu Y, Xue M, et al.
Synergistic action of master transcription factors controls epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition.
Nucleic Acids Res. 2016; 44(6):2514-27 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition (EMT) is a complex multistep process in which phenotype switches are mediated by a network of transcription factors (TFs). Systematic characterization of all dynamic TFs controlling EMT state transitions, especially for the intermediate partial-EMT state, represents a highly relevant yet largely unexplored task. Here, we performed a computational analysis that integrated time-course EMT transcriptomic data with public cistromic data and identified three synergistic master TFs (ETS2, HNF4A and JUNB) that regulate the transition through the partial-EMT state. Overexpression of these regulators predicted a poor clinical outcome, and their elimination readily abolished TGF-β-induced EMT. Importantly, these factors utilized a clique motif, physically interact and their cumulative binding generally characterized EMT-associated genes. Furthermore, analyses of H3K27ac ChIP-seq data revealed that ETS2, HNF4A and JUNB are associated with super-enhancers and the administration of BRD4 inhibitor readily abolished TGF-β-induced EMT. These findings have implications for systematic discovery of master EMT regulators and super-enhancers as novel targets for controlling metastasis.

Hong MJ, Lee SY, Choi JE, et al.
A genetic variation in microRNA target site of ETS2 is associated with clinical outcomes of paclitaxel-cisplatin chemotherapy in non-small cell lung cancer.
Oncotarget. 2016; 7(13):15948-58 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
The present study was performed to investigate the association of single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) located in the miRNA target sites with the clinical outcomes of first line paclitaxel-cisplatin chemotherapy in advanced NSCLC. Eighty SNPs in miRNA binding sites of cancer related genes selected from 18,500 miRNA:target bindings in crosslinking, ligation, and sequencing of hybrids (CLASH) data were investigated in 379 advanced NSCLC patients using a sequenom mass spectrometry-based genotype assay. qRT-PCR and luciferase assay were conducted to examine functional relevance of potentially functional SNPs in miRNA binding sites. Of the 80 SNPs analyzed, 16 SNPs were significantly associated with the clinical outcomes after chemotherapy. Among these, ANAPC1 rs3814026C>T, ETS2 rs461155A>G, SORBS1 rs7081076C>A and POLR2A rs2071504C>T could predict both chemotherapy response and survival. Notably, ETS2 rs461155A>G was significantly associated with decreased ETS2 mRNA expression in both tumor and paired normal lung tissues (Ptrend = 4 × 10-7, and 3 × 10-4, respectively). Consistently, a decreased expression of the reporter gene for the G allele of rs461155 compared with the A allele was observed by luciferase assay. These findings suggest that the four SNPs, especially ETS2 rs461155A>G, could be used as biomarkers predicting the clinical outcomes of NSCLC patients treated with first-line paclitaxel-cisplatin chemotherapy.

Linn DE, Penney KL, Bronson RT, et al.
Deletion of Interstitial Genes between TMPRSS2 and ERG Promotes Prostate Cancer Progression.
Cancer Res. 2016; 76(7):1869-81 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
TMPRSS2-ERG gene fusions that occur frequently in human prostate cancers can be generated either through insertional chromosomal rearrangement or by intrachromosomal deletion. Genetically, a key difference between these two mechanisms is that the latter results in deletion of a ∼3-Mb interstitial region containing genes with unexplored roles in prostate cancer. In this study, we characterized two mouse models recapitulating TMPRSS2-ERG insertion or deletion events in the background of prostate-specific PTEN deficiency. We found that only the mice that lacked the interstitial region developed prostate adenocarcinomas marked by poor differentiation and epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition. Mechanistic investigations identified several interstitial genes, including Ets2 and Bace2, whose reduced expression correlated in the gene homologs in human prostate cancer with biochemical relapse and lethal disease. Accordingly, PTEN-deficient mice with prostate-specific knockout of Ets2 exhibited marked progression of prostate adenocarcinomas that was partly attributed to activation of MAPK signaling. Collectively, our findings established that Ets2 is a tumor suppressor gene in prostate cancer, and its loss along with other genes within the TMPRSS2-ERG interstitial region contributes to disease progression. Cancer Res; 76(7); 1869-81. ©2016 AACR.

Yang H, Schramek D, Adam RC, et al.
ETS family transcriptional regulators drive chromatin dynamics and malignancy in squamous cell carcinomas.
Elife. 2015; 4:e10870 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Tumor-initiating stem cells (SCs) exhibit distinct patterns of transcription factors and gene expression compared to healthy counterparts. Here, we show that dramatic shifts in large open-chromatin domain (super-enhancer) landscapes underlie these differences and reflect tumor microenvironment. By in vivo super-enhancer and transcriptional profiling, we uncover a dynamic cancer-specific epigenetic network selectively enriched for binding motifs of a transcription factor cohort expressed in squamous cell carcinoma SCs (SCC-SCs). Many of their genes, including Ets2 and Elk3, are themselves regulated by SCC-SC super-enhancers suggesting a cooperative feed-forward loop. Malignant progression requires these genes, whose knockdown severely impairs tumor growth and prohibits progression from benign papillomas to SCCs. ETS2-deficiency disrupts the SCC-SC super-enhancer landscape and downstream cancer genes while ETS2-overactivation in epidermal-SCs induces hyperproliferation and SCC super-enhancer-associated genes Fos, Junb and Klf5. Together, our findings unearth an essential regulatory network required for the SCC-SC chromatin landscape and unveil its importance in malignant progression.

Capaldo BJ, Roller D, Axelrod MJ, et al.
Systems Analysis of Adaptive Responses to MAP Kinase Pathway Blockade in BRAF Mutant Melanoma.
PLoS One. 2015; 10(9):e0138210 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Fifty percent of cutaneous melanomas are driven by activated BRAFV600E, but tumors treated with RAF inhibitors, even when they respond dramatically, rapidly adapt and develop resistance. Thus, there is a pressing need to identify the major mechanisms of intrinsic and adaptive resistance and develop drug combinations that target these resistance mechanisms. In a combinatorial drug screen on a panel of 12 treatment-naïve BRAFV600E mutant melanoma cell lines of varying levels of resistance to mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) pathway inhibition, we identified the combination of PLX4720, a targeted inhibitor of mutated BRaf, and lapatinib, an inhibitor of the ErbB family of receptor tyrosine kinases, as synergistically cytotoxic in the subset of cell lines that displayed the most resistance to PLX4720. To identify potential mechanisms of resistance to PLX4720 treatment and synergy with lapatinib treatment, we performed a multi-platform functional genomics analysis to profile the genome as well as the transcriptional and proteomic responses of these cell lines to treatment with PLX4720. We found modest levels of resistance correlated with the zygosity of the BRAF V600E allele and receptor tyrosine kinase (RTK) mutational status. Layered over base-line resistance was substantial upregulation of many ErbB pathway genes in response to BRaf inhibition, thus generating the vulnerability to combination with lapatinib. The transcriptional responses of ErbB pathway genes are associated with a number of transcription factors, including ETS2 and its associated cofactors that represent a convergent regulatory mechanism conferring synergistic drug susceptibility in the context of diverse mutational landscapes.

Li Y, Zhou QL, Sun W, et al.
Non-canonical NF-κB signalling and ETS1/2 cooperatively drive C250T mutant TERT promoter activation.
Nat Cell Biol. 2015; 17(10):1327-38 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Transcriptional reactivation of TERT, the catalytic subunit of telomerase, is necessary for cancer progression in about 90% of human cancers. The recent discovery of two prevalent somatic mutations-C250T and C228T-in the TERT promoter in various cancers has provided insight into a plausible mechanism of TERT reactivation. Although the two hotspot mutations create a similar binding motif for E-twenty-six (ETS) transcription factors, we show that they are functionally distinct, in that the C250T unlike the C228T TERT promoter is driven by non-canonical NF-κB signalling. We demonstrate that binding of ETS to the mutant TERT promoter is insufficient in driving its transcription but this process requires non-canonical NF-κB signalling for stimulus responsiveness, sustained telomerase activity and hence cancer progression. Our findings highlight a previously unrecognized role of non-canonical NF-κB signalling in tumorigenesis and elucidate a fundamental mechanism for TERT reactivation in cancers, which if targeted could have immense therapeutic implications.

Hannafon BN, Carpenter KJ, Berry WL, et al.
Exosome-mediated microRNA signaling from breast cancer cells is altered by the anti-angiogenesis agent docosahexaenoic acid (DHA).
Mol Cancer. 2015; 14:133 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
BACKGROUND: Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) is a natural compound with anticancer and anti-angiogenesis activity that is currently under investigation as both a preventative agent and an adjuvant to breast cancer therapy. However, the precise mechanisms of DHA's anticancer activities are unclear. It is understood that the intercommunication between cancer cells and their microenvironment is essential to tumor angiogenesis. Exosomes are extracellular vesicles that are important mediators of intercellular communication and play a role in promoting angiogenesis. However, very little is known about the contribution of breast cancer exosomes to tumor angiogenesis or whether exosomes can mediate DHA's anticancer action.
RESULTS: Exosomes were collected from MCF7 and MDA-MB-231 breast cancer cells after treatment with DHA. We observed an increase in exosome secretion and exosome microRNA contents from the DHA-treated cells. The expression of 83 microRNAs in the MCF7 exosomes was altered by DHA (>2-fold). The most abundant exosome microRNAs (let-7a, miR-23b, miR-27a/b, miR-21, let-7, and miR-320b) are known to have anti-cancer and/or anti-angiogenic activity. These microRNAs were also increased by DHA treatment in the exosomes from other breast cancer lines (MDA-MB-231, ZR751 and BT20), but not in exosomes from normal breast cells (MCF10A). When DHA-treated MCF7 cells were co-cultured with or their exosomes were directly applied to endothelial cell cultures, we observed an increase in the expression of these microRNAs in the endothelial cells. Furthermore, overexpression of miR-23b and miR-320b in endothelial cells decreased the expression of their pro-angiogenic target genes (PLAU, AMOTL1, NRP1 and ETS2) and significantly inhibited tube formation by endothelial cells, suggesting that the microRNAs transferred by exosomes mediate DHA's anti-angiogenic action. These effects could be reversed by knockdown of the Rab GTPase, Rab27A, which controls exosome release.
CONCLUSIONS: We conclude that DHA alters breast cancer exosome secretion and microRNA contents, which leads to the inhibition of angiogenesis. Our data demonstrate that breast cancer exosome signaling can be targeted to inhibit tumor angiogenesis and provide new insight into DHA's anticancer action, further supporting its use in cancer therapy.

Kotake Y, Naemura M, Murasaki C, et al.
Transcriptional Regulation of the p16 Tumor Suppressor Gene.
Anticancer Res. 2015; 35(8):4397-401 [PubMed] Related Publications
The p16 tumor suppressor gene encodes a specific inhibitor of cyclin-dependent kinase (CDK) 4 and 6 and is found altered in a wide range of human cancers. p16 plays a pivotal role in tumor suppressor networks through inducing cellular senescence that acts as a barrier to cellular transformation by oncogenic signals. p16 protein is relatively stable and its expression is primary regulated by transcriptional control. Polycomb group (PcG) proteins associate with the p16 locus in a long non-coding RNA, ANRIL-dependent manner, leading to repression of p16 transcription. YB1, a transcription factor, also represses the p16 transcription through direct association with its promoter region. Conversely, the transcription factors Ets1/2 and histone H3K4 methyltransferase MLL1 directly bind to the p16 locus and mediate p16 induction during replicative and premature senescence. In the present review, we discuss the molecular mechanisms by which these factors regulate p16 transcription.

Mosrati MA, Malmström A, Lysiak M, et al.
TERT promoter mutations and polymorphisms as prognostic factors in primary glioblastoma.
Oncotarget. 2015; 6(18):16663-73 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Telomerase reverse transcriptase (TERT) activity is up-regulated in several types of tumors including glioblastoma (GBM). In the present study, 128 primary glioblastoma patients were examined for single nucleotide polymorphisms of TERT in blood and in 92 cases for TERT promoter mutations in tumors. TERT promoter mutations were observed in 86% of the tumors and of these, C228T (-124 bp upstream start codon) was detected in 75% and C250T (-146 bp) in 25% of cases. TERT promoter mutations were associated with shorter overall survival (11 vs. 20 months p = 0.002 and 12 vs. 20, p = 0.04 for C228T and C250T, respectively). The minor alleles of rs2736100 and rs10069690 SNP's, located in intron 2 and the promotor regions, respectively, were associated with an increased risk of developing GBM (p = 0.004 and 0.001). GBM patients having both TERT promoter mutations and being homozygous carriers of the rs2853669 C-allele displayed significantly shorter overall survival than those with the wild type allele. The rs2853669 SNP is located in a putative Ets2 binding site in the promoter (-246 bp upstream start codon) close to the C228T and C250T mutation hot spots. Interleukin-6 (IL-6) expression regulated by TERT promoter status and polymorphism, what leads us to think that TERT and IL-6 plays a significant role in GBM, where specific SNPs increase the risk of developing GBM while the rs2853669 SNP and specific mutations in the TERT promoter of the tumor lead to shorter survival.

Ding X, Zhou X, Jiang B, et al.
Triptolide suppresses proliferation, hypoxia-inducible factor-1α and c-Myc expression in pancreatic cancer cells.
Mol Med Rep. 2015; 12(3):4508-4513 [PubMed] Related Publications
Triptolide (TL) is known to suppress the proliferation of a number of pancreatic cancer cell lines in vitro. Marked antitumor effects were also observed in a xenograft model of pancreatic cancer. Hypoxia‑inducible factor‑1α (HIF‑1α) is highly expressed in pancreatic cancer cells lines. The present study therefore tested the hypothesis that suppression of HIF‑1α is associated with the antitumor activity of TL. Quantitative polymerase chain reaction and western blot analysis were used to determine the level of gene expression. A xenograft tumor model of pancreatic cancer was established in athymic nude mice and the tumor size was measured to evaluate the outcome of TL treatment. Immunohistochemistry was used to detect the expression of HIF‑1α and vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF), and to assess microvessel density. Microarray was used to investigate gene expression in pancreatic cancer cells following TL treatment. The expression of HIF‑1α was shown to be reduced in pancreatic cell lines following treatment with TL, and this effect occurred in a dose‑dependent manner. In a xenograft model of pancreatic cancer, reduced levels of HIF‑1α were also observed in mice that were treated with TL. Furthermore, the expression of VEGF, which is a direct target of HIF‑1α, was also suppressed, and the microvessel density of tumor tissues was consequently reduced. A microarray analysis of gene expression was performed in order to investigate the potential mechanisms underlying the antitumor activity of TL. The results showed that 11 genes, including c‑Myc, SOX9 and Ets2, were downregulated at an early stage following treatment with TL. A recent study indicated that overexpression of c‑Myc in colon cancer cells promotes increased expression of HIF‑1α and VEGF. Therefore, TL may suppress HIF‑1α through a c‑Myc‑dependent mechanism, which is involved in antitumor effects in mouse models of pancreatic cancer.

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