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    Blocking transforming growth factor-beta up-regulates E-cadherin and reduces migration and invasion of hepatocellular carcinoma cells. Fransvea Emilia,Angelotti Umberto,Antonaci Salvatore,Giannelli Gianluigi Hepatology (Baltimore, Md.) UNLABELLED:Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) treatment is challenging because the mechanisms underlying tumor progression are still largely unknown. Transforming growth factor (TGF)-beta1 is considered a crucial molecule in HCC tumorigenesis because increased levels of patients' serum and urine are associated with disease progression. The aim of the present study was to investigate the inhibition of TGF-beta signaling and its impact on HCC progression. Human HCC cell lines were treated with a TGF-beta receptor kinase inhibitor (LY2109761) whose selectivity was determined in a kinase assay. Exogenous TGF-beta1 phosphorylates the TGF-beta receptor, consequently activating Smad-2, whereas the drug selectively blocks this effect and dephosphorylates autocrine p-Smad-2 at concentrations ranging from 0.001 to 0.1 microM. A cytotoxic effect documented by 3-[4,5-dimethylthiazol-2-yl]-2,5-diphenyltetrazolium bromide (MTT), trypan blue, and propidium iodide staining assays was observed at 10microM, whereas the drug inhibits (P < 0.001) the migration of HCC cells on fibronectin, laminin-5, and vitronectin and invasion through Matrigel (P < 0.001) at concentrations up to 0.1 microM. LY2109761 up-regulates (P < 0.001) E-cadherin mRNA and protein levels. This increase was localized at the cellular membrane where E-cadherin mediates anchorage that is cell-cell dependent. Consistently, a functional monoclonal antibody that inhibits E-cadherin-dependent cell-cell contact restores the migratory and invasive activity. Finally, nonmetastatic HCC tissues from 7 patients were cultured with TGF-beta1 in the presence or absence of LY2109761. E-cadherin expression was reduced by TGF-beta1 and was significantly (P < 0.0001) increased by LY2109761 treatment, measured by quantitative real-time PCR on microdissected tissues and by immunohistochemistry on serial sections. In 72 patients, E-cadherin tissue expression was more weakly expressed in metastatic than in nonmetastatic HCC (P < 0.0001). CONCLUSION:LY2109761 blocks migration and invasion of HCC cells by up-regulating E-cadherin, suggesting that there could be a mechanistic use for this molecule in clinical trials. 10.1002/hep.22201
    TGF beta1 and related-Smads contribute to pulmonary metastasis of hepatocellular carcinoma in mice model. Li Guo-Cai,Ye Qing-Hai,Dong Qiong-Zhu,Ren Ning,Jia Hu-Liang,Qin Lun-Xiu Journal of experimental & clinical cancer research : CR BACKGROUND:Recent studies indicate that Transforming Growth Factor beta (TGF β) correlated with pulmonary metastasis of cancers. However, the correlation between TGF β and pulmonary metastasis of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) is till unknown. METHODS:We detected the in vitro and in vivo expression levels of TGF β1/Smads by Real-time PCR and Western blot in MHCC97-H and MHCC97-L cell lines, which are HCC cell lines and have higher and lower pulmonary metastatic potential respectively. RESULTS:TGF β1 mRNA level in MHCC97-L tumors were higher than that in MHCC97-H tumors, (2.81±1.61 vs. 1.24±0.96, P=0.002), TGF β1 protein level in MHCC97-L tumors were also higher than that in MHCC97-H tumors (1.37±0.95 vs. 0.32±0.22, P<0.001). In addition, the TGF β1 mRNA level positively correlated with pulmonary metastasis, and the relations between TGF β1 and Smads were also found (R2=0.12 and 0.40, respectively). CONCLUSIONS:Our results suggest that TGF β/ Smads promote pulmonary metastasis of HCC. 10.1186/1756-9966-31-93
    MicroRNA-216a/217-induced epithelial-mesenchymal transition targets PTEN and SMAD7 to promote drug resistance and recurrence of liver cancer. Xia Hongping,Ooi London Lucien P J,Hui Kam M Hepatology (Baltimore, Md.) UNLABELLED:Tumor recurrence and metastases are the major obstacles to improving the prognosis of patients with hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). To identify novel risk factors associated with HCC recurrence and metastases, we have established a panel of recurrence-associated microRNAs (miRNAs) by comparing miRNA expression in recurrent and nonrecurrent human HCC tissue samples using microarrays (recurrence is defined as recurrent disease occurring within a 2-year time point of the original treatment). Among the panel, expression of the miR-216a/217 cluster was consistently and significantly up-regulated in HCC tissue samples and cell lines associated with early tumor recurrence, poor disease-free survival, and an epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT) phenotype. Stable overexpression of miR-216a/217-induced EMT increased the stem-like cell population, migration, and metastatic ability of epithelial HCC cells. Phosphatase and tensin homolog (PTEN) and mothers against decapentaplegic homolog 7 (SMAD7) were subsequently identified as two functional targets of miR-216a/217, and both PTEN and SMAD7 were down-regulated in HCC. Ectopic expression of PTEN or SMAD7 partially rescued miR-216a/217-mediated EMT, cell migration, and stem-like properties of HCC cells. Previously, SMAD7 was shown to be a transforming growth factor beta (TGF-β) type 1 receptor antagonist. Here, we further demonstrated that overexpression of miR-216a/217 acted as a positive feedback regulator for the TGF-β pathway and the canonical pathway involved in the activation of phosphoinositide 3-kinase/protein kinase K (PI3K/Akt) signaling in HCC cells. Additionally, activation of the TGF-β- and PI3K/Akt-signaling pathways in HCC cells resulted in an acquired resistance to sorafenib, whereas blocking activation of the TGF-β pathway overcame miR-216a/217-induced sorafenib resistance and prevented tumor metastases in HCC. CONCLUSION:Overexpression of miR-216a/217 activates the PI3K/Akt and TGF-β pathways by targeting PTEN and SMAD7, contributing to hepatocarcinogenesis and tumor recurrence in HCC. 10.1002/hep.26369
    KLF17 empowers TGF-β/Smad signaling by targeting Smad3-dependent pathway to suppress tumor growth and metastasis during cancer progression. Ali A,Zhang P,Liangfang Y,Wenshe S,Wang H,Lin X,Dai Y,Feng X-h,Moses R,Wang D,Li X,Xiao J Cell death & disease Inhibition of tumor suppressive signaling is linked to cancer progression, metastasis and epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT). Transforming growth factor-β1 (TGF-β)/Smad signaling plays an important role in tumor suppression. Kruppel-like-factor 17 (KLF17) is a negative regulator of metastasis and EMT. However, underlying mechanisms leading to tumor suppressive and anti-metastatic function of KLF17 still remains unknown. Here, we show that KLF17 plays an integral role in potentiating TGF-β/Smad signaling via Smad3-dependent pathway to suppress tumor progression. Intriguingly, TGF-β/Smad3 signaling induces KLF17 expression, generating a positive feedback loop. TGF-β/Smad3-KLF17 loop is critical for anti-metastasis and tumor inhibition in cancer cells. Mechanistically, silencing KLF17 reduced Smad3-DNA complex formation on Smad binding element (SBE) and affects the expression of TGF-β/Smad target genes. Moreover, KLF17 alters Smad3 binding pattern on chromatin. KLF17 regulates TGF-β target genes that are Smad3-dependent. Smad3 and KLF17 physically interact with each other via KLF17 responsive elements/SBE region. Intriguingly, TGF-β stimulates the recruitment of KLF17 on chromatin to subsets of metastasis-associated genes. Functionally, depletion of KLF17 enhanced tumorigenic features in cancer cells. KLF17 is critical for full cytostatic function of TGF-β/Smad signaling. Clinically, KLF17 expression significantly decreases during advance HCC. KLF17 shows positive correlation with Smad3 levels in cancer samples. Our data shows that enhance KLF17 activity has important therapeutic implications for targeted-therapies aimed at TGF-β/Smad3 pathway. These findings define novel mechanism by which TGF-β/Smad-KLF17 pathway mutually affect each other during cancer metastasis, provide a new model of regulation of TGF-β/Smad signaling by KLF17 and defines new insights into anti-metastatic function of KLF17. 10.1038/cddis.2015.48
    TGF-β as Multifaceted Orchestrator in HCC Progression: Signaling, EMT, Immune Microenvironment, and Novel Therapeutic Perspectives. Dituri Francesco,Mancarella Serena,Cigliano Antonio,Chieti Annarita,Giannelli Gianluigi Seminars in liver disease Therapeutic attempts to treat hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) frequently result in a poor response or treatment failure. The efficacy of approved drugs and survival expectancies is affected by an ample degree of variability that can be explained at least in part by the enormous between-patient cellular and molecular heterogeneity of this neoplasm. Transforming growth factor-β (TGF-β) is hyperactivated in a large fraction of HCCs, where it influences complex interactive networks covering multiple cell types and a plethora of other local soluble ligands, ultimately establishing several malignancy traits. This cytokine boosts the invasiveness of cancerous epithelial cells through promoting the epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition program, but also skews the phenotype of immune cells toward a tumor-supporting status. Here, we discuss recent strategies pursued to offset TGF-β-dependent processes that promote metastatic progression and immune surveillance escape in solid cancers, including HCC. Moreover, we report findings indicating that TGF-β reduces the expression of the proinflammatory factors CCL4 and interleukin-1β (IL-1β in human ex vivo treated HCC tissues. While this is consistent with the anti-inflammatory properties of TGF-β, whether it is an outright tumor promoter or suppressor is still a matter of some debate. Indeed, IL-1β has also been shown to support angiogenesis and cell invasiveness in some cancers. In addition, we describe an inhibitory effect of TGF-β on the secretion of CCL2 and CXCL1 by HCC-derived fibroblasts, which suggests the existence of an indirect stroma-mediated functional link between TGF-β and downstream immunity. 10.1055/s-0038-1676121
    POH1 contributes to hyperactivation of TGF-β signaling and facilitates hepatocellular carcinoma metastasis through deubiquitinating TGF-β receptors and caveolin-1. Wang Boshi,Xu Xiaoli,Yang Zhaojuan,Zhang Li,Liu Yun,Ma Aihui,Xu Guiqin,Tang Ming,Jing Tiantian,Wu Lin,Liu Yongzhong EBioMedicine BACKGROUND:Hyper-activation of TGF-β signaling is critically involved in progression of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). However, the events that contribute to the dysregulation of TGF-β pathway in HCC, especially at the post-translational level, are not well understood. METHODS:Associations of deubiquitinase POH1 with TGF-β signaling activity and the outcomes of HCC patients were examined by data mining of online HCC datasets, immunohistochemistry analyses using human HCC specimens, spearman correlation and survival analyses. The effects of POH1 on the ubiquitination and stability of the TGF-β receptors (TGFBR1 and TGFBR2) and the activation of downstream effectors were tested by western blotting. Primary mouse liver tissues from polyinosinic:polycytidylic acid (poly I:C)- treated Mx-Cre+, poh1 mice and control mice were used to detect the TGF-β receptors. The metastatic-related capabilities of HCC cells were studied in vitro and in mice. FINDINGS:Here we show that POH1 is a critical regulator of TGF-β signaling and promotes tumor metastasis. Integrative analyses of HCC subgroups classified with unsupervised transcriptome clustering of the TGF-β response, metastatic potential and outcomes, reveal that POH1 expression positively correlates with activities of TGF-β signaling in tumors and with malignant disease progression. Functionally, POH1 intensifies TGF-β signaling delivery and, as a consequence, promotes HCC cell metastatic properties both in vitro and in vivo. The expression of the TGF-β receptors was severely downregulated in POH1-deficient mouse hepatocytes. Mechanistically, POH1 deubiquitinates the TGF-β receptors and CAV1, therefore negatively regulates lysosome pathway-mediated turnover of TGF-β receptors. CONCLUSION:Our study highlights the pathological significance of aberrantly expressed POH1 in TGF-β signaling hyperactivation and aggressive progression in HCC. 10.1016/j.ebiom.2019.01.058
    lncRNA AWPPH promotes the migration and invasion of glioma cells by activating the TGF-β pathway. Dai Bin,Xiao Zhiyong,Mao Beibei,Zhu Guangtong,Huang Hui,Guan Feng,Su Haiyang,Lin Zhenyang,Peng Weicheng,Hu Zhiqiang Oncology letters The long noncoding RNA (lncRNA) AWPPH, also termed microRNA-4435-2HG, has been associated with the poor prognosis of patients with hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC), and has been demonstrated to promote the progression of HCC and bladder cancer. The present study aimed to investigate the role of lncRNA AWPPH in glioma. The expression levels of AWPPH in tumor tissues obtained from patients with glioma and in plasma samples obtained from patients with glioma and healthy controls were detected by reverse transcription-quantitative polymerase chain reaction. The plasma levels of transforming growth factor (TGF)-β1 were measured by an enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay. An AWPPH expression vector was transfected into human glioma cell lines. Subsequently, cancer cell migration and invasion were assessed by Transwell migration and invasion assays, respectively. The expression of TGF-β1 in the transfected-glioma cells was detected by western blot analysis. It was identified that AWPPH expression levels in tumor tissues were higher in patients with metastatic glioma; however, no significant differences in AWPPH expression were revealed between patients with different tumor sizes. The plasma levels of AWPPH were positively correlated with the plasma levels of TGF-β1 in patients with glioma but not in healthy controls. In addition, AWPPH overexpression enhanced cancer cell migration and invasion, and upregulated TGF-β1 expression. Treatment with TGF-β1 demonstrated no significant effect on AWPPH expression; however, a TGF-β inhibitor attenuated the effects of AWPPH overexpression on cell migration and invasion. Therefore, the present study proposed that AWPPH may promote the migration and invasion of glioma cells by activating the TGF-β pathway. 10.3892/ol.2019.10918
    Iron elevates mesenchymal and metastatic biomarkers in HepG2 cells. Mehta Kosha J,Sharp Paul A Scientific reports Liver iron excess is observed in several chronic liver diseases and is associated with the development of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). However, apart from oxidative stress, other cellular mechanisms by which excess iron may mediate/increase HCC predisposition/progression are not known. HCC pathology involves epithelial to mesenchymal transition (EMT), the basis of cancer phenotype acquisition. Here, the effect of excess iron (holo-transferrin 0-2 g/L for 24 and 48 h) on EMT biomarkers in the liver-derived HepG2 cells was investigated. Holo-transferrin substantially increased intracellular iron. Unexpectedly, mRNA and protein expression of the epithelial marker E-cadherin either remained unaltered or increased. The mRNA and protein levels of metastasis marker N-cadherin and mesenchymal marker vimentin increased significantly. While the mRNA expression of EMT transcription factors SNAI1 and SNAI2 increased and decreased, respectively after 24 h, both factors increased after 48 h. The mRNA expression of TGF-β (EMT-inducer) showed no significant alterations. In conclusion, data showed direct link between iron and EMT. Iron elevated mesenchymal and metastatic biomarkers in HepG2 cells without concomitant decrement in the epithelial marker E-cadherin and altered the expression of the key EMT-mediating transcription factors. Such studies can help identify molecular targets to devise iron-related adjunctive therapies to ameliorate HCC pathophysiology. 10.1038/s41598-020-78348-5
    PRRX1 deficiency induces mesenchymal-epithelial transition through PITX2/miR-200-dependent SLUG/CTNNB1 regulation in hepatocellular carcinoma. Chen Weibo,Wu Junyi,Shi Weiwei,Zhang Guang,Chen Xuemin,Ji Anlai,Wang Zhongxia,Wu Junhua,Jiang Chunping Cancer science Metastasis is a major obstacle to better prognosis in patients with hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). Mesenchymal-epithelial transition (MET) is the driving force for metastatic colonization in which E-cadherin re-expression is a critical procedure. It has been reported that the loss of paired-related homeobox transcription factor 1 (PRRX1) is required for cancer cell metastasis. However, the role of PRRX1 in MET and how its downregulation triggers E-cadherin re-expression are unknown. In this study, we performed a systematic, mechanistic study regarding the role of PRRX1 in MET of HCC. We observed PRRX1 downregulation in HCC tissues, which correlated with early metastasis and short overall survival. Overexpression of PRRX1 induced epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT), but did not promote metastasis formation, while knockdown of PRRX1 promoted metastasis and colonization of circulating HCC cells as shown in animal model. PRRX1 protein levels reversely correlated with E-cadherin levels in HCC cell lines. PRRX1 knockdown promoted E-cadherin re-expression and cell proliferation and inhibited cell invasion and migration. The microarray results showed that PRRX1 deficiency regulated extracellular matrix (ECM) interaction, focal adhesion, TGF-β signaling and cancer pathways. PRRX1 knockdown upregulated paired-like homeodomain 2 (PITX2) and inhibited catenin beta 1 (CTNNB1) and SNAIL family zinc finger 2 (SLUG). Silencing of PITX2 reversed CTNNB1 and SLUG inhibition and E-cadherin re-expression. PITX2 upregulation increased miR-200a and miR-200b/429, which further inhibited the transcription of CTNNB1 and SLUG, respectively, thus abrogating the inhibitory effect on E-cadherin. In conclusion, our data showed that the downregulation of PRRX1 induced E-cadherin re-expression through PITX2/miR-200a/CTNNB1 and PITX2/miR-200b/429/SLUG pathway. 10.1111/cas.14853
    Design, synthesis and bioactivity study of evodiamine derivatives as multifunctional agents for the treatment of hepatocellular carcinoma. Fan Xiaohong,Deng Jiedan,Shi Tao,Wen Huaixiu,Li Junfang,Liang Ziyi,Lei Fang,Liu Dan,Zhang Honghua,Liang Yan,Hao Xiangyong,Wang Zhen Bioorganic chemistry Topoisomerase has been found extremely high level of expression in hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) and proven to promote the proliferation and survival of HCC. Cancer-associated fibroblasts (CAFs) as a kind of key reactive stromal cell that abundantly present in the microenvironment of HCC, could enhance the metastatic ability and drug resistance of HCC. Therefore, developing new drugs that address the above conundrums would be of the upmost significant in the fight against HCC. Evodiamine, as a multi-target natural product, has been found to exert various biological activities such as anti-cancer and anti-hepatic fibrosis via blocking topoisomerase, NF-κB, TGF-β/HGF, and Smad2/3. Inspired by these facts, 15 evodiamine derivatives were designed and synthesized for HCC treatment by simultaneously targeting Topo I and CAFs. Most of them displayed preferable anti-HCC activities on three HCC cell lines and low cytotoxicity on one normal hepatic cell. In particular, compound 8 showed the best inhibitory effect on HCC cell lines and a good inhibition on Topo I in vitro. Meanwhile, it also induced obvious G/M arrest and apoptosis, and significantly decreased the migration and invasion capacity of HCC cells. In addition, compound 8 down-regulated the expression of type I collagen in the activated HSC-T6 cells, and induced the apoptosis of activated HSC-T6 cells. In vivo studies demonstrated that compound 8 markedly decreased the volume and weight of tumor (TGI = 40.53%). In vitro and in vivo studies showed that its effects were superior to those of evodiamine. This preliminary attempt may provide a promising strategy for developing anti-HCC lead compounds taking effect through simultaneous inhibition on Topo I and CAFs. 10.1016/j.bioorg.2021.105154
    TGF-β-MTA1-SMAD7-SMAD3-SOX4-EZH2 Signaling Axis Promotes Viability, Migration, Invasion and EMT of Hepatocellular Carcinoma Cells. Zhang Kangjun,Fang Taishi,Shao Yajie,Wu Yanhui Cancer management and research Introduction:Enhancer of zeste homolog 2 (EZH2) is implicated in hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC), but whether transforming growth factor-β (TGF-β)-metastasis associated 1 (MTA1)-SMAD7-SMAD3-SRY-Box Transcription Factor 4 (SOX4)-EZH2 signaling axis, in which EZH2 participates, is also involved in HCC remained unknown. Methods:Data on EZH2 expression in liver hepatocellular carcinoma (LIHC) and its relation with prognosis of HCC patients were predicted and analyzed using online databases. Following transfection with or without TGF-β1, HCC cell viability, migration and invasion were determined with MTT, Scratch and Transwell assays. Relative expressions of epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition (EMT)-related factors (N-Cadherin, Vimentin, and E-Cadherin) and TGF-β-MTA1-SMAD7-SMAD3-SOX4-EZH2 signaling axis factors (TGF-β, MTA1, SMAD7, phosphorylated-SMAD3, SOX4 and EZH2) were calculated via reverse transcription-quantitative polymerase chain reaction (RT-qPCR) and Western blot. Results:EZH2 was upregulated in HCC, which was related to poor prognosis. Silencing EZH2 suppressed EZH2 expression and HCC cell viability, migration, and invasion, and increased E-Cadherin expression yet decreased N-Cadherin and Vimentin expression, whereas EZH2 overexpression did conversely. Also, silencing EZH2 reversed the effects of TGF-β1 on promoting viability, migration, and invasion, as well as N-Cadherin and Vimentin expressions, yet suppressing E-Cadherin expression in HCC cells. In addition, TGF-β1 promoted TGF-β, MTA1, SOX4 and EZH2 expressions and p-SMAD3/SMAD3 ratio yet suppressed SMAD7, whereas silencing EZH2 solely reversed the effects of TGF-β1 on EZH2 expression in HCC cells. Conclusion:The present study provides a theoretical basis for TGF-β-MTA1-SMAD7-SMAD3-SOX4-EZH2 signaling cascade in viability, migration, invasion, and EMT of HCC cells. Inhibiting these signals may represent a therapeutic pathway for the treatment of metastatic HCC. 10.2147/CMAR.S297765
    Elafin promotes tumour metastasis and attenuates the anti-metastatic effects of erlotinib via binding to EGFR in hepatocellular carcinoma. Wang Chenwei,Liao Yadi,He Wei,Zhang Hong,Zuo Dinglan,Liu Wenwu,Yang Zhiwen,Qiu Jiliang,Yuan Yichuan,Li Kai,Zhang Yuanping,Wang Yongjin,Shi Yunxing,Qiu Yuxiong,Gao Song,Yuan Yunfei,Li Binkui Journal of experimental & clinical cancer research : CR BACKGROUND:Elafin is a serine protease inhibitor critical for host defence. We previously reported that Elafin was associated with the recurrence of early-stage hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) after surgery. However, the exact role of Elafin in HCC remains obscure. METHODS:HCC tissue microarrays were used to investigate the correlation between Elafin expression and the prognosis of HCC patients. In vitro migration, invasion and wound healing assays and in vivo lung metastasis models were used to determine the role of Elafin in HCC metastasis. Mass spectrometry, co-immunoprecipitation, western blotting, and immunofluorescence staining assays were performed to uncover the mechanism of Elafin in HCC. Dual-luciferase reporter and chromatin immunoprecipitation assays were employed to observe the transcriptional regulation of Elafin. RESULTS:Elafin expression was frequently increased in HCC tissues compared to normal tissues, and high Elafin expression in HCC tissues was correlated with aggressive tumour phenotypes and a poor prognosis in HCC patients. Elafin dramatically enhanced the metastasis of HCC cells both in vitro and in vivo by interacting with EGFR and activating EGFR/AKT signalling. Moreover, Elafin attenuated the suppressive effects of erlotinib on HCC metastasis. Besides, Elafin was transcriptionally regulated by Sp1 in HCC cells. Clinically, Elafin expression was positively correlated with Sp1, Vimentin, and EGFR signalling in both our HCC tissue microarrays and TCGA database analysis. CONCLUSIONS:Upregulation of Elafin by Sp1 enhanced HCC metastasis via EGFR/AKT pathway, and overexpression of Elafin attenuated the anti-metastatic effects of erlotinib, suggesting a valuable prognostic biomarker and therapeutic target for HCC. 10.1186/s13046-021-01904-y
    In vitro and in vivo anti-metastatic effect of the alkaliod matrine from Sophora flavecens on hepatocellular carcinoma and its mechanisms. Dai Meiqin,Chen Nana,Li Jinzhou,Tan Lizhuan,Li Xiaojuan,Wen Jiayong,Lei Linsheng,Guo Dan Phytomedicine : international journal of phytotherapy and phytopharmacology BACKGROUNDS:Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) is one of the most prevalent and lethal cancer with high metastasis and recurrence rates. Hypoxia-induced miRNAs and HIF-1α are demonstrated to play essential roles in tumor metastasis. Matrine (CHNO), an alkaloid extracted from Sophora flavescens Aiton, has been used as adjuvant therapy for liver cancer in China. The anti-metastasis effects of matrine on HCC and the underlying mechanisms remain poorly understood. PURPOSE:We aimed to investigate the effects of matrine on metastasis of HCC both in vitro and in vivo, and explored whether miR-199a-5p and HIF-1α are involved in the action of matrine. METHODS:MTT method, colony formation, wound healing and matrigel transwell assays were performed to evaluate the effects of matrine on cell proliferation, migration and invasion. Nude mice xenograft model and immunohistochemistry (IHC) assay were employed to investigate the anti-metastatic action of matrine in vivo. Quantitative real-time PCR, western blot and dual luciferase reporter assay were conducted to determine the underlying mechanisms of matrine. RESULTS:Matrine exerted stronger anti-proliferative action on Bel7402 and SMMC-7721 cells under hypoxia than that in normoxia. Both matrine and miR-199a-5p exhibited significant inhibitory effects on migration, invasion and EMT in Bel7402 and SMMC-7721 cells under hypoxia. Further study showed that miR-199a-5p was downregulated in HCC cell lines, and this microRNA was identified to directly target HIF-1α, resulting in decreased HIF-1α expression. Matrine induced miR-199a-5p expression, decreased HIF-1α expression and inhibited metastasis of Bel7402 and SMMC-7721 cells, while miR-199a-5p knockdown reversed the inhibitory effects of matrine on cell migration, invasion, EMT and HIF-1α expression. In vivo, matrine showed significant anti-metastatic activity in the nude mouse xenograft model. H&E and IHC analysis indicated that lung and liver metastasis nodules were reduced, and the protein expression of HIF-1α and Vimentin were significantly decreased by i.p injection of matrine. CONCLUSIONS:Matrine exhibits significant anti-metastatic effect on HCC, which is attributed to enhanced miR-199a-5p expression and subsequently impaired HIF-1α signaling and EMT. These findings suggest that miR-199a-5p is a potential therapeutic target of HCC, and matrine may represent a promising anti-metastatic medication for HCC therapy. 10.1016/j.phymed.2021.153580
    B-Cell Receptor-Associated Protein 31 Promotes Metastasis AKT/β-Catenin/Snail Pathway in Hepatocellular Carcinoma. Liu Tengfei,Yu Junming,Ge Chao,Zhao Fangyu,Miao Chunxiao,Jin Wenjiao,Su Yang,Geng Qin,Chen Taoyang,Xie Haiyang,Cui Ying,Yao Ming,Li Jinjun,Hou Helei,Li Hong Frontiers in molecular biosciences Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) is one of the most lethal cancer worldwide, characterized with high heterogeneity and inclination to metastasize. Emerging evidence suggests that BAP31 gets involved in cancer progression with different kinds. It still remains unknown whether and how BAP31 plays a role in HCC metastasis. Epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT) has been a common feature in tumor micro-environment, whose inducer TGF-β increased BAP31 expression in this research. Elevated expression of BAP31 was positively correlated with tumor size, vascular invasion and poor prognosis in human HCC. Ectopic expression of BAP31 promoted cell migration and invasion while BAP31 knockdown markedly attenuated metastatic potential in HCC cells and mice orthotopic xenografts. BAP31 induced EMT process, and enhanced the expression level of EMT-related factor Snail and decreased contents and membrane distribution of E-cadherin. BAP31 also activated AKT/β-catenin pathway, which mediated its promotional effects on HCC metastasis. AKT inhibitor further counteracted the activated AKT/β-catenin/Snail upon BAP31 over-expression. Moreover, silencing Snail in BAP31-overexpressed cells impaired enhanced migratory and invasive abilities of HCC cells. In HCC tissues, BAP31 expression was positively associated with Snail. In conclusion, BAP31 promotes HCC metastasis by activating AKT/β-catenin/Snail pathway. Thus, our study implicates BAP31 as potential prognostic biomarker, and provides valuable information for HCC prognosis and treatment. 10.3389/fmolb.2021.656151
    Essential Oil Inhibits Hepatocellular Carcinoma Metastasis via Suppression of DEPDC1 Dependent Wnt/β-Catenin Signaling Pathway. Li Yanli,Tian Yang,Zhong Wei,Wang Ning,Wang Yafeng,Zhang Yan,Zhang Zhuangli,Li Jianbo,Ma Fang,Zhao Zhihong,Peng Youmei Frontiers in cell and developmental biology The tumor metastasis is the major hurdle for the treatment of advanced hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC), due in part to the lack of effective systemic treatments. DEPDC1, a novel oncoantigen upregulated in HCC, is thought to be a molecular-target for novel therapeutic drugs. is a traditional Chinese medicine with anti-inflammatory and anti-tumor activities. This study investigated the potential therapeutic benefits of essential oil (AAEO) in suppressing metastasis of HCC by targeting DEPDC1. Assessment of AAEO cytotoxicity was performed by MTT assay. Anti-metastatic effects of AAEO were investigated using wound healing and transwell assays. The HepG2 cells were transduced with lentiviral vector containing luciferase (Luc). A metastasis model of nude mice was established by tail vein injection of HepG2-Luc cells. The nude mice were treated with AAEO (57.5, 115, and 230 mg/kg) or sorafenib (40 mg/kg). Metastasis of HCC cells was monitored via bioluminescence imaging. After treatment for 21 days, tissues were collected for histological examination and immunohistochemistry analysis. Gene and protein levels were determined by real-time quantitative PCR and western blotting. The results revealed that AAEO significantly inhibits the migration and invasion in a concentration-dependent manner. assays further confirmed that AAEO markedly inhibits HCC metastasis into lung, brain, and femur tissues and exhibits low toxicity. Our results suggested that AAEO significantly downregulates the mRNA and protein expression of DEPDC1. Also, AAEO attenuated Wnt/β-catenin signaling through reduction of Wnt1 and β-catenin production. Moreover, AAEO prevented epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT) by downregulation of vimentin and upregulation of E-cadherin. Furthermore, we found that promoted HCC migration and invasion via Wnt/β-catenin signaling pathway and EMT. These results demonstrate that AAEO effectively inhibits HCC metastasis via attenuating Wnt/β-catenin signaling and inhibiting EMT by suppressing DEPDC1 expression. Thus, AAEO likely acts as a novel inhibitor of the DEPDC1 dependent Wnt/β-catenin signaling pathway. 10.3389/fcell.2021.664791
    CK-3, A Novel Methsulfonyl Pyridine Derivative, Suppresses Hepatocellular Carcinoma Proliferation and Invasion by Blocking the PI3K/AKT/mTOR and MAPK/ERK Pathways. Wu Qiong,Liu Tian-Yi,Hu Bai-Chun,Li Xiang,Wu Yu-Ting,Sun Xiao-Tong,Jiang Xiao-Wen,Wang Shu,Qin Xiao-Chun,Ding Huai-Wei,Zhao Qing-Chun Frontiers in oncology Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) is an aggressive tumor with a poor prognosis that highly expresses phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase (PI3K) and mitogen-activated protein kinase (ERK). The PI3K/AKT/mTOR and MAPK/ERK signaling pathways play a crucial role in HCC tumor formation, cell cycle, apoptosis and survival. However, no effective targeted therapies against these pathways is available, mainly due to the extensive and complex negative feedback loops between them. Here we used CK-3, a dual blocker of the PI3K/AKT/mTOR and MAPK/ERK pathways, against HCC cell lines to verify its anti-tumor activity . CK-3 exhibited cytotoxic activity against HCC, as demonstrated with MTT and colony formation assays. The anti-metastatic potential of CK-3 was demonstrated with wound healing and cell invasion assays. The ability of CK-3 to block both the PI3K/AKT/mTOR and MAPK/ERK pathways was also confirmed. CK-3 induced the apoptosis of Hep3B cells, while Bel7402 cells died mitotic catastrophe (MC). Oral administration of CK-3 also inhibited the subcutaneous growth of BEL7402 cells in nude mice. Simultaneous PI3K/AKT/mTOR and MAPK/ERK pathway inhibition with CK-3 may be superior to single pathway monotherapies by inhibiting their feedback-regulation, and represents a potential treatment for HCC. 10.3389/fonc.2021.717626
    Disulfiram combined with copper inhibits metastasis and epithelial-mesenchymal transition in hepatocellular carcinoma through the NF-κB and TGF-β pathways. Li Yi,Wang Li-Hui,Zhang Hao-Tian,Wang Ya-Ting,Liu Shuai,Zhou Wen-Long,Yuan Xiang-Zhong,Li Tian-Yang,Wu Chun-Fu,Yang Jing-Yu Journal of cellular and molecular medicine Late-stage hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) usually has a low survival rate because of the high risk of metastases and the lack of an effective cure. Disulfiram (DSF) has copper (Cu)-dependent anticancer properties in vitro and in vivo. The present work aims to explore the anti-metastasis effects and molecular mechanisms of DSF/Cu on HCC cells both in vitro and in vivo. The results showed that DSF inhibited the proliferation, migration and invasion of HCC cells. Cu improved the anti-metastatic activity of DSF, while Cu alone had no effect. Furthermore, DSF/Cu inhibited both NF-κB and TGF-β signalling, including the nuclear translocation of NF-κB subunits and the expression of Smad4, leading to down-regulation of Snail and Slug, which contributed to phenotype epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT). Finally, DSF/Cu inhibited the lung metastasis of Hep3B cells not only in a subcutaneous tumour model but also in an orthotopic liver metastasis assay. These results indicated that DSF/Cu suppressed the metastasis and EMT of hepatic carcinoma through NF-κB and TGF-β signalling. Our study indicates the potential of DSF/Cu for therapeutic use. 10.1111/jcmm.13334
    Isoviolanthin Extracted from Reverses TGF-β1-Mediated Epithelial⁻Mesenchymal Transition in Hepatocellular Carcinoma Cells via Deactivating the TGF-β/Smad and PI3K/Akt/mTOR Signaling Pathways. Xing Shangping,Yu Wenxia,Zhang Xiaofeng,Luo Yingyi,Lei Zhouxi,Huang Dandan,Lin Ji,Huang Yuechun,Huang Shaowei,Nong Feifei,Zhou Chunhua,Wei Gang International journal of molecular sciences is a precious medicinal herb and health food, and its pharmacological actions have been studied and proved. However, the mechanisms by which its active flavonoid glycosides affect epithelial⁻mesenchymal transition (EMT) in hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) cells, such as HepG2 and Bel-7402 cells, have not been previously investigated. Therefore, we investigated whether isoviolanthin extracted from the leaves of inhibits transforming growth factor (TGF)-β1-induced EMT in HCC cells. In this study, the physicochemical properties and structure of isoviolanthin were identified by HPLC, UV, ESIMS, and NMR and were compared with literature data. HCC cells were pretreated with 10 ng/mL TGF-β1 to induce EMT and then treated with isoviolanthin. Herein, we found that isoviolanthin exhibited no cytotoxic effects on normal liver LO2 cells but notably reduced the migratory and invasive capacities of TGF-β1-treated HCC cells. Additionally, isoviolanthin treatment decreased matrix metalloproteinase (MMP)-2 and -9 levels, and remarkably altered the expression of EMT markers via regulating the TGF-β/Smad and PI3K/Akt/mTOR signaling pathways; Western blot analysis confirmed that the effects of the inhibitors SB431542 and LY294002 were consistent with those of isoviolanthin. These findings demonstrate the potential of isoviolanthin as a therapeutic agent for the treatment of advanced-stage metastatic HCC. 10.3390/ijms19061556
    Epithelial Mesenchymal and Endothelial Mesenchymal Transitions in Hepatocellular Carcinoma: A Review. Gurzu Simona,Kobori Laszlo,Fodor Decebal,Jung Ioan BioMed research international Purpose:To present a comprehensive review of the literature data, published between 2000 and 2019 on the PubMed and Web of Science databases, in the field of the tumor microenvironment in hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). All the data were combined with the personal experiences of the authors. Design:From 1002 representative papers, we selected 86 representative publications which included data on epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition (EMT), angiogenesis, cancer stem-like cells (CSCs), and molecular background of chemoresistance or resistance to radiotherapy. Results:Although the central event concerns activation of the Wnt/-catenin pathway, other signal pathways, such as c-Met/HGF/Snail, Notch-1/NF-B, TGF-/SMAD, and basic fibroblast growth factor-related signaling, play a role in the EMT of HCC cells. This pathway is targeted by specific miRNAs and long noncoding RNAs, as explored in this paper. A central player in the tumor microenvironment proved to be the CSCs which can be marked by CD133, CD44, CD90, EpCAM, and CD105. CSCs can induce resistance to cytotoxic therapy or, alternatively, can be synthesized, de novo, after chemo- or radiotherapy, especially after transarterial chemoembolization- or radiofrequency ablation-induced hypoxia. The circulating tumor cells proved to have epithelial, intermediate, or mesenchymal features; their properties have a critical prognostic role. Conclusion:The metastatic pathway of HCC seems to be related to the Wnt- or, rather, TGF1-mediated inflammation-angiogenesis-EMT-CSCs crosstalk link. Molecular therapy should target this molecular axis controlling the HCC microenvironment. 10.1155/2019/2962580
    Exosome-mediated miRNA delivery promotes liver cancer EMT and metastasis. Lin Qu,Zhou Chu-Ren,Bai Ming-Jun,Zhu Duo,Chen Jun-Wei,Wang Hao-Fan,Li Ming-An,Wu Chun,Li Zheng-Ran,Huang Ming-Sheng American journal of translational research The deregulation of exosomal microRNAs (miRNAs) plays an important role in the progression of hepatocarcinogenesis. In this study, we highlight exosomes as mediators involved in modulating miRNA profiles in liver cancer cells after induction of the epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT) and metastasis. Initially, we induced EMT in a hepatocellular carcinoma cell (HCC) line (Hep3B) by stimulation with transforming growth factor-β (TGF-β) and confirmed by western blot detection of EMT markers such as vimentin and E-cadherin. Exosomes were then isolated from the cells and identified by nanoparticle tracking analysis (NTA). The isolated exosomal particles from unstimulated Hep3B cells (Hep3B exo) or TGF-β-stimulated EMT Hep3B cells (EMT-Hep3B exo) contained higher levels of exosome marker proteins, CD63 and TSG101. After incubation with EMT-Hep3B exo, Hep3B cell proliferation increased. EMT-Hep3B exo promoted the migration and invasion of Hep3B and 7721 cells. High-throughput sequencing of miRNAs and mRNA within the exosomes showed 119 upregulated and 186 downregulated miRNAs and 156 upregulated and 166 downregulated mRNA sequences in the EMT-Hep3B exo compared with the control Hep3B exo. The most differentially expressed miRNAs and target mRNA sequences were validated by RT-qPCR. Based on the known miRNA targets for specific mRNA sequences, we hypothesized that GADD45A was regulated by miR-374a-5p. Inhibition of miR-374a-5p in Hep3B cells resulted in exosomes that inhibited the proliferation, migration, and invasion of HCC cells. These results enhance our understanding of metastatic progression of liver cancer and provide a foundation for the future development of potential biomarkers for diagnosis and prognosis of hepatic cancer.
    Cooperative involvement of NFAT and SnoN mediates transforming growth factor-β (TGF-β) induced EMT in metastatic breast cancer (MDA-MB 231) cells. Sengupta Suman,Jana Samir,Biswas Subir,Mandal Palash Kumar,Bhattacharyya Arindam Clinical & experimental metastasis Epithelial to mesenchymal transition (EMT) is a secondary phenomenon concomitantly associated with the tumor progression. The regulatory signals and mechanistic details of EMT are not fully elucidated. Here, we shared a TGF-β mediated mechanism of EMT in breast cancer (MDA-MB 231) cells. Initial exposure of TGF-β for 48 h, enhanced the rate of cell proliferation and associated with EMT of MDA-MB 231 cells. The EMT was characterized by observing the increased N-cadherin, fibronectin, Snail expression and associated with the morphological change with a reduced E-cadherin expression. NFAT, a transcription factor, alters tumor suppressive function of TGF-β towards tumor progression. Up regulation of NFAT, coupled with a foremost translocation of one oncogenic protein SnoN from cytoplasm to nucleus was noticed during this TGF-β mediated EMT. Silencing of NFAT also showed the inhibition of TGF-β mediated EMT characterized by down regulation of N-cadherin and associated with reduced expression of SnoN. In addition, it was also observed that NFAT sequestering the Smad3 prevents the proteasome mediated degradation of SnoN and this SnoN has a role on the regulation of MMP-2, MMP-9 activity. Increased Smad3-SnoN interaction and proteasome mediated degradation of SnoN were detected after silencing of NFAT with a reduced MMP-2, MMP-9 activity. All of these observations provide a fresh mechanism in which by a twofold involvement of NFAT and SnoN plays a crucial role in TGF-β mediated EMT by recruiting the effector molecules N-cadherin and MMP-2, MMP-9. 10.1007/s10585-013-9600-y
    The dual roles of calycosin in growth inhibition and metastatic progression during pancreatic cancer development: A "TGF-β paradox". Zhang Zhu,Auyeung Kathy Ka-Wai,Sze Stephen Cho-Wing,Zhang Shiqing,Yung Ken Kin-Lam,Ko Joshua Ka-Shun Phytomedicine : international journal of phytotherapy and phytopharmacology BACKGROUND:Calycosin is a bioactive isoflavonoid of the medicinal plant Astragalus membranaceus that exhibits a wide range of pharmacological properties. In the present study, we have attempted to explore the anti-tumorigenic potential of calycosin in pancreatic cancer. METHODS:MTT assay was used to determine cancer cell viability. Cell cycle analysis and detection of apoptosis were performed using flow cytometry. A wound healing assay was employed to study the migratory activity of cancer cells. Western blotting and RT-PCR were used to explore the mechanism by assessing the target proteins and genes. An orthotopic tumor xenograft mouse model was also used to study the drug effects in vivo. RESULTS:Calycosin inhibited the growth of pancreatic cancer cells by inducing p21-induced cell cycle arrest and caspase-dependent apoptosis. Alternatively, it also promoted MIA PaCa-2 cell migration by eliciting epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT) and matrix metalloproteinase activation. In vivo study has confirmed that calycosin would provoke the pro-invasive and angiogenic drive and subsequent EMT in pancreatic tumors. Further mechanistic study suggests that induction of the Raf/MEK/ERK pathway and facilitated polarization of M2 tumor-associated macrophage in the tumor microenvironment both contribute to the pro-metastatic potential of calycosin. These events appear to be associated with increased expression of TGF-β1 at both transcriptional and post-translational levels, which may explain the paradoxical drug actions since TGF-β has been implicated to play dual roles as both tumor suppressor and tumor promoter in pancreatic cancer development. CONCLUSION:Findings of this study provide innovative insights about the impact of calycosin in pancreatic cancer progression through induction of cell cycle arrest and apoptosis while possessing certain tumor-promoting property by modulation of the tumor microenvironment. 10.1016/j.phymed.2020.153177
    PTPRε Acts as a Metastatic Promoter in Hepatocellular Carcinoma by Facilitating Recruitment of SMAD3 to TGF-β Receptor 1. Liao Zhibin,Chen Lin,Zhang Xuewu,Zhang Hongwei,Tan Xiaolong,Dong Keshuai,Lu Xun,Zhu He,Liu Qiumeng,Zhang Zhanguo,Ding Zeyang,Dong Wei,Zhu Peng,Chu Liang,Liang Huifang,Datta Pran K,Zhang Bixiang,Chen Xiaoping Hepatology (Baltimore, Md.) BACKGROUND AND AIMS:Transforming growth factor beta (TGF-β) suppresses early stages of tumorigenesis, but contributes to the migration and metastasis of cancer cells. However, the role of TGF-β signaling in invasive prometastatic hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) is poorly understood. In this study, we investigated the roles of canonical TGF-β/mothers against decapentaplegic homolog 3 (SMAD3) signaling and identified downstream effectors on HCC migration and metastasis. APPROACH AND RESULTS:By using in vitro trans-well migration and invasion assays and in vivo metastasis models, we demonstrated that SMAD3 and protein tyrosine phosphatase receptor epsilon (PTPRε) promote migration, invasion, and metastasis of HCC cells in vitro and in vivo. Further mechanistic studies revealed that, following TGF-β stimulation, SMAD3 binds directly to PTPRε promoters to activate its expression. PTPRε interacts with TGFBR1/SMAD3 and facilitates recruitment of SMAD3 to TGFBR1, resulting in a sustained SMAD3 activation status. The tyrosine phosphatase activity of PTPRε is important for binding with TGFBR1, recruitment and activation of SMAD3, and its prometastatic role in vitro. A positive correlation between pSMAD3/SMAD3 and PTPRε expression was determined in HCC samples, and high expression of SMAD3 or PTPRε was associated with poor prognosis of patients with HCC. CONCLUSIONS:PTPRε positive feedback regulates TGF-β/SMAD3 signaling to promote HCC metastasis. 10.1002/hep.31104
    Epithelial-mesenchymal transition in hepatocellular carcinoma. van Zijl Franziska,Zulehner Gudrun,Petz Michaela,Schneller Doris,Kornauth Christoph,Hau Mara,Machat Georg,Grubinger Markus,Huber Heidemarie,Mikulits Wolfgang Future oncology (London, England) The transition of epithelial cells to a mesenchymal phenotype is of paramount relevance for embryonic development and adult wound healing. During the past decade, the epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT) has been increasingly recognized to occur during the progression of various carcinomas such as hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). Here, we focus on EMT in both experimental liver models and human HCC, emphasizing the underlying molecular mechanisms which show partial recurrence of embryonic programs such as TGF-beta and Wnt/ beta-catenin signaling, including collaboration with hepatitis viruses. We further discuss the differentiation repertoire of malignant hepatocytes with respect to the potential acquisition of stemness, and the involvement of the mesenchymal to epithelial transition, the reversal of EMT, in cancer dissemination and metastatic colonization. The strong evidence for EMT in HCC patients demands novel strategies in pathological assessments and therapeutic concepts to efficiently combat HCC progression. 10.2217/fon.09.91