Gene Summary

Gene:TGFA; transforming growth factor alpha
Aliases: TFGA
Summary:This gene encodes a growth factor that is a ligand for the epidermal growth factor receptor, which activates a signaling pathway for cell proliferation, differentiation and development. This protein may act as either a transmembrane-bound ligand or a soluble ligand. This gene has been associated with many types of cancers, and it may also be involved in some cases of cleft lip/palate. Alternatively spliced transcript variants encoding different isoforms have been found for this gene. [provided by RefSeq, Sep 2011]
Databases:OMIM, HGNC, Ensembl, GeneCard, Gene
Protein:protransforming growth factor alpha
Source:NCBIAccessed: 01 September, 2019


What does this gene/protein do?
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Cancer Overview

Research Indicators

Publications Per Year (1994-2019)
Graph generated 01 September 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.

Tag cloud generated 01 September, 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: TGFA (cancer-related)

Silva TM, Moretto FCF, Sibio MT, et al.
Triiodothyronine (T3) upregulates the expression of proto-oncogene TGFA independent of MAPK/ERK pathway activation in the human breast adenocarcinoma cell line, MCF7.
Arch Endocrinol Metab. 2019 Mar-Apr; 63(2):142-147 [PubMed] Related Publications
OBJECTIVE: To verify the physiological action of triiodothyronine T3 on the expression of transforming growth factor α (TGFA) mRNA in MCF7 cells by inhibition of RNA Polymerase II and the MAPK/ERK pathway.
MATERIALS AND METHODS: The cell line was treated with T3 at a physiological dose (10-9M) for 10 minutes, 1 and 4 hour (h) in the presence or absence of the inhibitors, α-amanitin (RNA polymerase II inhibitor) and PD98059 (MAPK/ERK pathway inhibitor). TGFA mRNA expression was analyzed by RT-PCR. For data analysis, we used ANOVA, complemented with the Tukey test and Student t-test, with a minimum significance of 5%.
RESULTS: T3 increases the expression of TGFA mRNA in MCF7 cells in 4 h of treatment. Inhibition of RNA polymerase II modulates the effect of T3 treatment on the expression of TGFA in MCF7 cells. Activation of the MAPK/ERK pathway is not required for T3 to affect the expression of TGFA mRNA.
CONCLUSION: Treatment with a physiological concentration of T3 after RNA polymerase II inhibition altered the expression of TGFA. Inhibition of the MAPK/ERK pathway after T3 treatment does not interfere with the TGFA gene expression in a breast adenocarcinoma cell line.

Roskoski R
Small molecule inhibitors targeting the EGFR/ErbB family of protein-tyrosine kinases in human cancers.
Pharmacol Res. 2019; 139:395-411 [PubMed] Related Publications
The EGFR family is among the most investigated receptor protein-tyrosine kinase groups owing to its general role in signal transduction and in oncogenesis. This family consists of four members that belong to the ErbB lineage of proteins (ErbB1-4). The ErbB proteins function as homo and heterodimers. These receptors contain an extracellular domain that consists of four parts: domains I and III are leucine-rich segments that participate in growth factor binding (except for ErbB2) and domains II and IV contain multiple disulfide bonds. Moreover, domain II participates in both homo and heterodimer formation within the ErbB/HER family of proteins. Seven ligands bind to EGFR including epidermal growth factor and transforming growth factor-α, none bind to ErbB2, two bind to ErbB3, and seven ligands bind to ErbB4. The extracellular domain is followed by a single transmembrane segment of about 25 amino acid residues and an intracellular portion of about 550 amino acid residues that contains (i) a short juxtamembrane segment, (ii) a protein kinase domain, and (iii) a carboxyterminal tail. ErbB2 lacks a known activating ligand and ErbB3 is kinase impaired. Surprisingly, the ErbB2-ErbB3 heterodimer complex is the most active dimer in the family. These receptors are implicated in the pathogenesis of a large proportion of lung and breast cancers, which rank first and second, respectively, in the incidence of all types of cancers (excluding skin) worldwide. On the order of 20% of non-small cell lung cancers bear activating mutations in EGFR. More than 90% of these patients have exon-19 deletions (

Kwan AK, Um CY, Rutherford RE, et al.
Effects of vitamin D and calcium on expression of MSH2 and transforming growth factors in normal-appearing colorectal mucosa of sporadic colorectal adenoma patients: A randomized clinical trial.
Mol Carcinog. 2019; 58(4):511-523 [PubMed] Related Publications
Abnormal expression of the DNA mismatch repair protein MSH2 and autocrine/paracrine transforming growth factors TGFα (growth promoter) and TGFβ

Gautam J, Banskota S, Chaudhary P, et al.
Antitumor activity of BJ-1207, a 6-amino-2,4,5-trimethylpyridin-3-ol derivative, in human lung cancer.
Chem Biol Interact. 2018; 294:1-8 [PubMed] Related Publications
Enhanced expression of NADPH oxidase (NOX) and the subsequent production of reactive oxygen species (ROS) are associated with lung cancer. In the present study, fifty 6-amino-2,4,5-trimethylpyridin-3-ol derivatives were screened for anticancer activity by targeting NOX2-derived ROS. The compounds suppressed ROS production and decreased cancer cell viability (R

Cai Y, Yan P, Zhang G, et al.
Long non-coding RNA TP73-AS1 sponges miR-194 to promote colorectal cancer cell proliferation, migration and invasion via up-regulating TGFα.
Cancer Biomark. 2018; 23(1):145-156 [PubMed] Related Publications
OBJECTIVE: Colorectal cancer (CRC) is the 3rd most common cancer worldwide. Recently, long non-coding RNAs (lncRNAs) were found to be critical modulators in the CRC progression. The aim of this study is to investigate the potential roles of lncRNA P73 antisense RNA 1T (TP73-AS1) in CRC development and progression.
METHODS: Quantitative real-time PCR (qRT-PCR) was performed to determine relevant gene expression levels; western blot was performed to determine protein expression levels; CCK-8, colony formation, wound healing and Transwell invasion assays were used to determined CRC cell proliferation, migration and invasion; in vivo tumor growth was assessed in xenograft mice model.
RESULTS: TP73-AS1 was up-regulated in both CRC tissues and CRC cell lines. Overexpression of TP73-AS1 was associated with metastasis and advanced clinical stages in CRC patients. Overexpression of TP73-AS1 promoted CRC cell growth, proliferation, migration and invasion in vitro; and knockdown of TP73-AS1 significantly inhibited CRC cell growth, proliferation, migration and invasion in vitro as well as tumor growth in vivo. Bioinformatics analysis and luciferase reporter assay indicated that TP73-AS1 could bind directly with miR-194, and TP73-AS1 negatively regulated the expression of miR-194 in CRC cells. Further study indicated that miR-194 negatively regulated the downstream target of transforming growth factor alpha (TGFα) via targeting its 3' untranslated region, and TP73-AS1 positively regulated the expression of TGFα in CRC cells. Moreover, overexpression of miR-194 suppressed CRC cell proliferation and invasion, and attenuated the effects of TP73-AS1 overexpression on CRC cell proliferation and invasion. Silence of TGFα inhibited CRC cell proliferation and invasion, and also reversed the effects of TP73-AS1 overexpression on CRC cell proliferation and invasion.
CONCLUSIONS: this study demonstrated that TP73-AS1 regulated CRC progression by acting as a competitive endogenous RNA to sponge miR-194 to modulate the expression of TGFα.

Paranjyothi MV, Kumaraswamy KL, Begum LF, et al.
Tooth agenesis: A susceptible indicator for colorectal cancer?
J Cancer Res Ther. 2018 Apr-Jun; 14(3):527-531 [PubMed] Related Publications
Context/Background: Tooth agenesis (excluding third molars) is a common congenital disorder that affects 2.2-10% of the general population. A number of different genes have been shown to be associated with cases of tooth agenesis including AXIN2, IRF6, FGFR1, MSX1, PAX9, and TGFA. Wingless/integration signaling gene, AXIN2, is linked to tooth agenesis and also to colorectal cancer (CRC).
Aims: To analyze the correlation between tooth agenesis and CRC.
Materials and Methods: The study included 50 individuals, who were divided into two groups. Group A: 25 individuals diagnosed with CRC and Group B: 25 individuals as a control group. The clinical details were recorded using preformed questionnaire, approved by ethical committee. Orthopantomogram was obtained for all the cases and controls.
Results: We observed that 16% of cases and 8% of controls reported having tooth agenesis and there was no statistical significance of difference between them (P = 0.384). Among the study group, 4% reported oligodontia and 12% cases reported hypodontia. In the control group 8% reported hypodontia, there was no incidence of oligodontia. Additional finding in the study group was that 24% cases had fissured tongue which was not seen in the control group.
Conclusion: Individuals with tooth agenesis might have an increased risk for CRC. A larger epidemiological study along with genetic mapping and gene sequencing is necessary to rule out the risk and relationship between tooth agenesis and CRC.

Zhang K, Kong X, Feng G, et al.
Investigation of hypoxia networks in ovarian cancer via bioinformatics analysis.
J Ovarian Res. 2018; 11(1):16 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
BACKGROUND: Ovarian cancer is a leading cause of the death from gynecologic malignancies. Hypoxia is closely related to the malignant growth of cells. However, the molecular mechanism of hypoxia-regulated ovarian cancer cells remains unclear. Thus, this study was conducted to identify the key genes and pathways implicated in the regulation of hypoxia by bioinformatics analysis.
METHODS: Using the datasets of GSE53012 downloaded from the Gene Expression Omnibus (GEO), the differentially expressed genes (DEGs) were screened by comparing the RNA expression from cycling hypoxia group, chronic hypoxia group, and control group. Subsequently, cluster analysis was performed followed by the construction of the protein-protein interaction (PPI) network of the overlapping DEGs between the cycling hypoxia and chronic hypoxia using ClusterONE. In addition, gene ontology (GO) functional and pathway enrichment analyses of the DEGs in the most remarkable module were performed using Database for Annotation, Visualization and Integrated Discovery (DAVID) software. Ultimately, the signaling pathways associated with hypoxia were verified by RT-PCR, WB, and MTT assays.
RESULTS: A total of 931 overlapping DEGs were identified. Nine hub genes and seven node genes were screened by analyzing the PPI and pathway integration networks, including ESR1, MMP2, ErbB2, MYC, VIM, CYBB, EDN1, SERPINE1, and PDK. Additionally, 11 key pathways closely associated with hypoxia were identified, including focal adhesion, ErbB signaling, and proteoglycans in cancer, among which the ErbB signaling pathway was verified by RT-PCR, WB, and MTT assays. Furthermore, functional enrichment analysis revealed that these genes were mainly involved in the proliferation of ovarian cancer cells, such as regulation of cell proliferation, cell adhesion, positive regulation of cell migration, focal adhesion, and extracellular matrix binding.
CONCLUSION: The results show that hypoxia can promote the proliferation of ovarian cancer cells by affecting the invasion and adhesion functions through the dysregulation of ErbB signaling, which may be governed by the HIF-1α-TGFA-EGFR-ErbB2-MYC axis. These findings will contribute to the identification of new targets for the diagnosis and treatment of ovarian cancer.

Kakoschky B, Pleli T, Schmithals C, et al.
Selective targeting of tumor associated macrophages in different tumor models.
PLoS One. 2018; 13(2):e0193015 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Tumor progression largely depends on the presence of alternatively polarized (M2) tumor-associated macrophages (TAMs), whereas the classical M1-polarized macrophages can promote anti-tumorigenic immune responses. Thus, selective inhibition of M2-TAMs is a desirable anti-cancer approach in highly resistant tumor entities such as hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) or breast cancer. We here examined whether a peptide that selectively binds to and is internalized by in vitro-differentiated murine M2 macrophages as compared to M1 macrophages, termed M2pep, could be used to selectively target TAMs in HCC and breast carcinoma. We confirmed selectivity of M2pep for in vitro M2 polarized macrophages. Upon incubation of suspended mixed 4T1 tumor cells with M2pep, high amounts of the TAMs were found to be associated with M2pep, whereas in mixed tumor cell suspensions from two HCC mouse models, M2pep showed only low-degree binding to TAMs. M2pep also showed low-degree targeting of liver macrophages. This indicates that the TAMs in different tumor entities show different targeting of M2pep and that M2pep is a very promising approach to develop selective M2-TAM-targeting in tumor entities containing M2-TAMs with significant amounts of the so far elusive M2pep receptor(s).

Liu B, Zhou Y, Chen X, Peng D
IL-1β-mediated NF-κB signaling augments the osteosarcoma cell growth through modulating miR-376c/TGFA axis.
Pharmazie. 2017; 72(7):419-424 [PubMed] Related Publications
Overexpression of IL-1β, one of the most well-known pro-inflammatory cytokines, is related to a plenty of diseases including cancer. Diversion of microRNAs exposed to pro-inflammatory cytokines have been noted in cancer cells, however, their functions in inflammation stress are still to be further studied. In our previous study, we reported that miR-376c inhibited the growth of osteosarcoma (OS) cells by targeting TGFA. Here, we revealed that miR-376c was downregulated in OS tissues and cells while IL-1β, NF-κB and TGFA were upregulated in OS tissues and cells. IL-1β or NF-κB could promote the OS cells growth through inducing miR-376c expression and decreasing TGFA protein levels. Furthermore, forced expression of miR-376c restored the suppression of IL-1β on the OS cells. A decrease in miR-376c and an increase in TGFA depended on IL-1β-induced NF-κB protein level, which attenuates miR-376c expression upon IL-1β reduction. Taken together, our findings indicated that IL-1β augmented miR-376c-reduction to promote OS cell growth via upregulating NF-κB levels. Knock-down NF-κB suppressed the expression of TGFA. Enhanced TGFA upon IL-1β induction was attenuated by NF-κB inhibition. Hence, the regulation of IL-1β/NF-κB/miR-376c/TGFA signaling in OS might present a promising strategy for the treatment of OS.

Calaf GM, Roy D
Metastatic genes targeted by an antioxidant in an established radiation- and estrogen-breast cancer model.
Int J Oncol. 2017; 51(5):1590-1600 [PubMed] Related Publications
Breast cancer remains the second most common disease worldwide. Radiotherapy, alone or in combination with chemotherapy, is widely used after surgery as a treatment for cancer with proven therapeutic efficacy manifested by reduced incidence of loco-regional and distant recurrences. However, clinical evidence indicates that relapses occurring after radiotherapy are associated with increased metastatic potential and poor prognosis in the breast. Among the anticarcinogenic and antiproliferative agents, curcumin is a well-known major dietary natural yellow pigment derived from the rhizome of the herb Curcuma longa (Zingiberaceae). The aim of the present study was to analyze the differential expression of metastatic genes in radiation- and estrogen-induced breast cancer cell model and the effect of curcumin on such metastatic genes in breast carcinogenesis. Expression levels of TGF-α and TGFβ1 genes were upregulated in MCF-10F and downregulated in Tumor2 cell lines treated with curcumin. Expression levels of other genes such as caspase 9 and collagen 4 A2 were upregulated in both MCF-10F and Tumor2-treated cell lines. Integrin α5 and cathepsin B and D decreased its expression in Tumor2, whereas E-Cadherin, c-myc and CD44 expressions were only increased in MCF-10F. It can be concluded that metastatic genes can be affected by curcumin in cancer progression and such substance can be used in breast cancer patients with advanced disease without side-effects commonly observed with therapeutic drugs.

Wilson JL, Kefaloyianni E, Stopfer L, et al.
Functional Genomics Approach Identifies Novel Signaling Regulators of TGFα Ectodomain Shedding.
Mol Cancer Res. 2018; 16(1):147-161 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Ectodomain shedding of cell-surface precursor proteins by metalloproteases generates important cellular signaling molecules. Of importance for disease is the release of ligands that activate the EGFR, such as TGFα, which is mostly carried out by ADAM17 [a member of the A-disintegrin and metalloprotease (ADAM) domain family]. EGFR ligand shedding has been linked to many diseases, in particular cancer development, growth and metastasis, as well as resistance to cancer therapeutics. Excessive EGFR ligand release can outcompete therapeutic EGFR inhibition or the inhibition of other growth factor pathways by providing bypass signaling via EGFR activation. Drugging metalloproteases directly have failed clinically because it indiscriminately affected shedding of numerous substrates. It is therefore essential to identify regulators for EGFR ligand cleavage. Here, integration of a functional shRNA genomic screen, computational network analysis, and dedicated validation tests succeeded in identifying several key signaling pathways as novel regulators of TGFα shedding in cancer cells. Most notably, a cluster of genes with NFκB pathway regulatory functions was found to strongly influence TGFα release, albeit independent of their NFκB regulatory functions. Inflammatory regulators thus also govern cancer cell growth-promoting ectodomain cleavage, lending mechanistic understanding to the well-known connection between inflammation and cancer.

Zhou G, Sun G, Zhou Y, Wang Q
Transcriptomic analysis of human non-small lung cancer cells A549 treated by one synthetic curcumin derivative MHMD.
Cell Mol Biol (Noisy-le-grand). 2017; 63(9):35-39 [PubMed] Related Publications
In our previous studies, we have identified one curcumin analog MHMD could induce apoptosis of lung cancer cells A549 via extrinsic and intrinsic pathways in our previous studies. But the specific regulatory genes and molecular mechanisms remain poorly understood. Here, the transcriptomic profile of A549 cells was detected with RNA-seq technique after MHMD treatment at 48 h. A total of 16584651 clean data from 21831774 sequence reads were obtained and 80.75% of them could be mapped on the human test genome. 18635 unigenes with the mean length of 4027 bp were finally assembled. 850 up-regulated and 855 down-regulated genes were differently expressed in MHMD-incubated A549 cells, which were involved in many cellular pathways of MHMD-treated A549 cells. Furthermore, the major genes involved in the apoptotic and NSCLC pathways were analyzed. mRNAs of four genes (casp7, p53, tgfa, prkar1b) were validated by RT-PCR, which suggested that MHMD indeed activated the apoptotic pathway of A549 cells.

Guo P, Yu Y, Li H, et al.
TGF-â1-induced miR-503 controls cell growth and apoptosis by targeting PDCD4 in glioblastoma cells.
Sci Rep. 2017; 7(1):11569 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Aberrant expression of microRNAs hae been shown to be closely associated with glioblastoma cell proliferation, apoptosis and drug resistance. However, mechanisms underlying the role of mcroRNAs in glioblastoma cell growth and apoptosis are not fully understood. In this study, we report that miR-503 is overexpressed in glioblastoma tissue compared with normal human brain tissue. Mechanistically, miR-503 can be induced by TGF-â1 at the transcriptional level by binding the smad2/3 binding elements in the promoter. Ectopic overexpression of miR-503 promotes cell growth and inhibits apoptosis by targeting PDCD4. In contrast, inhibition of miR-503 reduces cell growth. Furthermore, miR-503 inhibitor augments the growth inhibitory effect of temozolomide in glioblastoma cells. These results establish miR-503 as a promising molecular target for glioblastoma therapy.

Kawazu M, Kojima S, Ueno T, et al.
Integrative analysis of genomic alterations in triple-negative breast cancer in association with homologous recombination deficiency.
PLoS Genet. 2017; 13(6):e1006853 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Triple-negative breast cancer (TNBC) cells do not express estrogen receptors, progesterone receptors, or human epidermal growth factor receptor 2. Currently, apart from poly ADP-ribose polymerase inhibitors, there are few effective therapeutic options for this type of cancer. Here, we present comprehensive characterization of the genetic alterations in TNBC performed by high coverage whole genome sequencing together with transcriptome and whole exome sequencing. Silencing of the BRCA1 gene impaired the homologous recombination pathway in a subset of TNBCs, which exhibited similar phenotypes to tumors with BRCA1 mutations; they harbored many structural variations (SVs) with relative enrichment for tandem duplication. Clonal analysis suggested that TP53 mutations and methylation of CpG dinucleotides in the BRCA1 promoter were early events of carcinogenesis. SVs were associated with driver oncogenic events such as amplification of MYC, NOTCH2, or NOTCH3 and affected tumor suppressor genes including RB1, PTEN, and KMT2C. Furthermore, we identified putative TGFA enhancer regions. Recurrent SVs that affected the TGFA enhancer region led to enhanced expression of the TGFA oncogene that encodes one of the high affinity ligands for epidermal growth factor receptor. We also identified a variety of oncogenes that could transform 3T3 mouse fibroblasts, suggesting that individual TNBC tumors may undergo a unique driver event that can be targetable. Thus, we revealed several features of TNBC with clinically important implications.

Hassounah NB, Nunez M, Fordyce C, et al.
Inhibition of Ciliogenesis Promotes Hedgehog Signaling, Tumorigenesis, and Metastasis in Breast Cancer.
Mol Cancer Res. 2017; 15(10):1421-1430 [PubMed] Related Publications
Primary cilia are chemosensors that play a dual role to either activate or repress Hedgehog signaling, depending on presence or absence of ligand, respectively. While inhibition of ciliogenesis has been shown to be characteristic of breast cancers, the functional consequence is unknown. Here, for the first time, inhibition of ciliogenesis led to earlier tumor formation, faster tumor growth rate, higher grade tumor formation, and increased metastasis in the polyoma middle T (PyMT) mouse model of breast cancer. In

Schrevel M, Osse EM, Prins FA, et al.
Autocrine expression of the epidermal growth factor receptor ligand heparin-binding EGF-like growth factor in cervical cancer.
Int J Oncol. 2017; 50(6):1947-1954 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
In cervical cancer, the epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) is overexpressed in 70-90% of the cases and has been associated with poor prognosis. EGFR-based therapy is currently being explored in cervical cancer. We investigated which EGFR ligand is primarily expressed in cervical cancer and which cell type functions as the major source of this ligand. We hypothesized that macrophages are the main source of EGFR ligands and that a paracrine loop between tumor cells and macrophages is responsible for ligand expression. mRNA expression analysis was performed on 32 cervical cancer cases to determine the expression of the EGFR ligands amphiregulin, β-cellulin, epidermal growth factor (EGF), epiregulin, heparin-binding EGF-like growth factor (HB‑EGF) and transforming growth factor α (TGFα). Subsequently, protein expression was determined immunohistochemically on 36 additional cases. To assess whether macrophages are the major source of EGFR ligands, immunohistochemical double staining was performed on four representative tissue slides. Expression of the chemokines granulocyte-macrophage colony-stimulating factor (GM-CSF) and C-C motif ligand 2 (CCL2) was determined by mRNA in situ hybridization. Of the known EGFR ligands, HB‑EGF had the highest mRNA expression and HB‑EGF and EGFR protein expression were highly correlated. Tumor specimens with high EGFR expression showed higher numbers of macrophages, and higher expression of GM-CSF and CCL2, but only a small subset (9%) of macrophages was found to be HB‑EGF-positive. Strikingly, 78% of cervical cancer specimens were found to express HB‑EGF. Standardized assessment of staining intensity, using spectral imaging analysis, showed that HB‑EGF expression was higher in the tumor compartment than in the stromal compartment. These results suggest that HB‑EGF is an important EGFR ligand in cervical cancer and that cervical cancer cells are the predominant source of HB‑EGF. Therefore, we propose an autocrine EGFR stimulation model in cervical carcinomas.

Lim D, Kim KS, Kim H, et al.
Anti-tumor activity of an immunotoxin (TGFα-PE38) delivered by attenuated Salmonella typhimurium.
Oncotarget. 2017; 8(23):37550-37560 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
The anticancer strategy underlying the use of immunotoxins is as follows: the cancer-binding domain delivers the toxin to a cancer cell, after which the toxin enters and kills the cell. TGFα-PE38 is an immunotoxin comprising transforming growth factor alpha (TGFα), a natural ligand of epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR), and a modified Pseudomonas exotoxin A (PE38) lacking N terminal cell-binding domain, a highly potent cytotoxic protein moiety. Tumor cells with high level of EGFR undergo apoptosis upon treatment with TGFα-PE38. However, clinical trials demonstrated that this immunotoxin delivered by an intracerebral infusion technique has only a limited inhibitory effect on intracranial tumors mainly due to inconsistent drug delivery. To circumvent this problem, we turned to tumor-seeking bacterial system. Here, we engineered Salmonella typhimurium to selectively express and release TGFα-PE38. Engineered bacteria were administered to mice implanted with mouse colon or breast tumor cells expressing high level of EGFR. We observed that controlled expression and release of TGFα-PE38 from intra-tumoral Salmonellae by either an engineered phage lysis system or by a bacterial membrane transport signal led to significant inhibition of solid tumor growth. These results demonstrated that delivery by tumor-seeking bacteria would greatly augment efficacy of immunotoxin in cancer therapeutics.

Matsushima-Nishiwaki R, Toyoda H, Takamatsu R, et al.
Heat shock protein 22 (HSPB8) reduces the migration of hepatocellular carcinoma cells through the suppression of the phosphoinositide 3-kinase (PI3K)/AKT pathway.
Biochim Biophys Acta Mol Basis Dis. 2017; 1863(6):1629-1639 [PubMed] Related Publications
Small heat shock proteins (HSPs) regulate a variety of cell functions. Among them, HSP22 and HSP20 are recognized to be ubiquitously expressed in various tissues. With regard to hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) cells, we previously reported that phosphorylated HSP20 plays a suppressive role in transforming growth factor (TGF)-α-induced cell migration and invasion. In the present study, we investigated whether or not HSP22 is implicated in HCC cell migration. We detected HSP22 protein expression both in human HCC tumor (189.9±68.4ng/mg protein) and the adjacent non-tumor liver tissues (167.9±94.6ng/mg protein). The cases of low-quantity HSP22 protein level group (88.3≧ng/mg protein, the optimum cut-off value of HSP22) were increased in tumor tissues compared with the adjacent non-tumor tissues. The migration of human HCC-derived HuH-7 cells stimulated by TGF-α or hepatocyte growth factor (HGF) was significantly enhanced by the knockdown of HSP22 expression. Down-regulation of HSP22 protein in the cells markedly strengthened the AKT phosphorylation induced by TGF-α or HGF. Inhibitors of the phosphoinositide 3-kinase (PI3K)/AKT pathway, which suppressed the TGF-α-induced migration, significantly reduced the amplification by HSP22 knockdown. PI3K but not AKT was coimmunoprecipitated with HSP22 in HuH-7 cells. In addition, in human HCC tissues, a significantly lower HSP22 protein level in tumor tissues than in adjacent non-tumor tissues was observed more frequently in cases of moderately or poorly differentiated HCC than well-differentiated HCC. Taken together, our results strongly suggest that HSP22 represses HCC progression, especially HCC cell migration, by the down-regulation of the PI3K/AKT signaling pathway.

Byeon SJ, Lee HS, Kim MA, et al.
Expression of the ERBB Family of Ligands and Receptors in Gastric Cancer.
Pathobiology. 2017; 84(4):210-217 [PubMed] Related Publications
OBJECTIVE: Gastric cancer (GC) is the second most common cancer and the third leading cause of cancer-related death in Korea. Alterations in the ERBB (homology to the erythroblastoma viral gene product, v-erbB) receptor family and ERBB-related signaling pathways are frequently observed in GC. However, the roles of the ERBB receptors and their ligands in GC are not well established.
METHODS: We evaluated the expression levels of various ERBB receptor ligands (i.e., heparin-binding epidermal growth factor-like growth factor [HBEGF], transforming growth factor-α [TGFA], amphiregulin [AREG], epiregulin [EREG], epidermal growth factor [EGF], and betacellulin [BTC]) and 3 ERBB family receptors (i.e., epidermal growth factor receptor [EGFR], human EGFR2 [HER2], and ERBB3) in 313 cases of GC using immunohistochemistry, fluorescence in situ hybridization, and mRNA in situ hybridization.
RESULTS: A high expression of EGFR, HER2, and ERBB3 was observed in 30, 32, and 27 cases, respectively. A high expression of HBEGF, TGFA, AREG, EREG, EGF, and BTC was observed in 91, 97, 151, 74, 26, and 37 cases, respectively. A high expression of TGFA was associated with better survival, while a high expression of BTC was associated with worse survival. These results were confirmed using Cox proportional hazards analysis. HBEGF, TGFA, AREG, tumor-node-metastasis classification, Lauren's classification, and ERBB3 were significant survival parameters in multivariate analysis.
CONCLUSION: Among the ERBB family receptors and ligands examined, 3 ligands (i.e., TGFA, HBEGF, and AREG) and ERBB3 had a prognostic impact.

Liu X, Chen L, Tian XD, Zhang T
MiR-137 and its target TGFA modulate cell growth and tumorigenesis of non-small cell lung cancer.
Eur Rev Med Pharmacol Sci. 2017; 21(3):511-517 [PubMed] Related Publications
OBJECTIVE: MiR-137 has been reported to serve as a tumor suppressor in non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC). However, the potential mechanism remains largely unclear. The present study aimed to explore the potential molecular mechanisms by which miR-137 regulated NSCLC.
MATERIALS AND METHODS: Quantitative reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (qRT-PCR) was used to quantify the expression levels of miR-137 in NSCLC tissues and cell lines. Dual-luciferase reporter assay was employed to confirm the specificity of miR-137 target genes. An MTT assay and flow cytometry were used to determine the rates of cell proliferation and cell cycle distribution. Furthermore, the effect of miR-137 up-regulation on TGFA expression was examined by western blot.
RESULTS: miR-137 expression levels in NSCLC cell lines or tissue were significantly lower than in a normal human lung cell line or adjacent normal tissues. We further found that upregulation of miR-137 inhibited the proliferation of NSCLC cells, whereas silencing of miR-137 promoted the proliferation of NSCLC. Moreover, we identified TGFA as a direct target gene of miR-137 in NSCLC cell. Finally, Similarly, knockdown of TGFA led to the suppression of NSCLC cell proliferation.
CONCLUSIONS: Overall, our findings indicated that miR-137 served as a tumor suppressor in NSCLC and its suppressive effect is mediated by repressing TGFA expression.

Wei JW, Cai JQ, Fang C, et al.
Signal Peptide Peptidase, Encoded by HM13, Contributes to Tumor Progression by Affecting EGFRvIII Secretion Profiles in Glioblastoma.
CNS Neurosci Ther. 2017; 23(3):257-265 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
BACKGROUND AND AIMS: EGFRvIII is the most prevalent glioblastoma mutation, occurring in more than 25% of glioblastomas. EGFRvIII cells release microvesicles that contain proteins, miRNAs, and mRNAs that enhance the growth and survival of surrounding tumor cells. However, little is known about the maturation process and regulatory mechanisms of secreted vesicles in EGFRvIII cells.
METHODS: Signal peptide peptidase (SPP) provides a fascinating mechanism for protein cleavage and subsequent dislocation in the endoplasmic reticulum transmembrane domain.
RESULTS: In this study, we reported that SPP facilitates the secretion of cytokines in vitro and promotes tumor progression in mice. Human cytokine antibody arrays revealed that EGFRvIII secreted higher levels of cytokines, but these levels were significantly reduced following SPP knockdown, suggesting that cytokines in EGFRvIII secretion profiles play important roles in GBM development. Identical results were confirmed in intracellular maturation tracking of TGF-β1 in mouse serum. Clinically, analyses of GBM patient data from the database revealed that HM13 expression was closely related to patient prognosis and survival, suggesting an influence by the secreted vesicles of EGFRvIII tumor cells.
CONCLUSIONS: Collectively, our study identifies that SPP affects EGFRvIII secretion profiles and thus promotes tumor progression, providing further understanding of the formation of secreted vesicles and driving role of EGFRvIII in GBM.

Haghgoo SM, Khosravi A, Mortaz E, et al.
Prognostic value of rare and complex mutations in EGFR and serum levels of soluble EGFR and its ligands in non-small cell lung carcinoma patients.
Clin Biochem. 2017; 50(6):293-300 [PubMed] Related Publications
BACKGROUND: A number of complex and rare mutations in epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) gene have been identified and the clinical implication of serum EGFR ligands has also been reported. However, the prognostic significance of these mutations and also the serum EGFR and its ligands in Non-Small Cell Lung Carcinoma (NSCLC) has remained a challenging issue. This study is aimed at finding the prognostic importance of EGFR rare mutations and serum EGFR, amphiregulin (AR), and TGF-α (Transforming Growth Factor-alpha) in NSCLC.
MATERIALS AND METHOD: NSCLC patients (n=98) with mean age of 59±10.5 were enrolled (M/F: 75/23). DNA was extracted from formalin fixed paraffin embedded tissues. Exons 19 and 21 were amplified using polymerase chain reaction followed by direct sequencing for identification of mutations. Serum EGFR, AR, and TGF-α were measured by ELISA.
RESULTS: EGFR mutation rate in patients was 37% (exon 19 deletions: 72.2%, exon 21 substitutions: 27.8%). The E872K in exon 21 mutation-positive cases was the most frequent rare mutation detected (90%; 9/10 samples). A significant relationship was found between EGFR exon 21mutations and serum EGFR and TGF-α (P<0.05). Increased serum AR (>3pg/ml) and TGF-α (>10.5pg/ml) were associated with shorter overall survival (P<0.05).
CONCLUSIONS: The data clearly show that elevation of serum TGF-α and AR are associated with poor prognosis of NSCLC. In addition to the close relationship between EGFR mutations and serum EGFR, serum TGF-α changes was associated with the gene mutations. These findings could be implicated in clinical decision making related to EGFR-TKIs.

Luo W, He H, Xiao W, et al.
MALAT1 promotes osteosarcoma development by targeting TGFA via MIR376A.
Oncotarget. 2016; 7(34):54733-54743 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Metastasis-associated lung adenocarcinoma transcript 1 (MALAT1) is a long non-coding RNA (lncRNA) that contributes to the initiation and development of many solid tumors, including osteosarcoma (OS). Here, we showed that MALAT1 was increased in human OS cell lines and tissues and promoted OS cell growth, while MALAT1 knockdown suppressed OS cell growth. We also detected downregulation of MIR376A, a suppressor of OS growth, and upregulation of TGFA, a promoter of OS growth, in OS tissues. TGFA expression was positively correlated with MALAT1 expression, and both were negatively correlated with MIR376A expression. There was a direct interaction between MIR376A and MALAT1 via a putative MIR376A binding site within the MALAT1 3'-untranslated region (3'-UTR). There was also a direct interaction between MIR376A and the TGFA 3'-UTR. Thus, MALAT1 may promote OS cell growth through inhibition of MIR376A, leading to increased expression of TGFA. Our results suggest a MALAT1/MIR376A/TGFA axis mediates OS cell proliferation and tumor progression.

Burmester JK, Bell LN, Cross D, et al.
A SMAD4 mutation indicative of juvenile polyposis syndrome in a family previously diagnosed with Menetrier's disease.
Dig Liver Dis. 2016; 48(10):1255-9 [PubMed] Related Publications
BACKGROUND: Menetrier's disease (MD) is a rare disease with unknown aetiology, characterized by hypertrophic folds within the fundus and body of the stomach.
AIMS: We investigated mutations of the candidate genes SMAD4, BMPR1A, TGF-α, and PDX1 within a family with MD.
METHODS: A large 4-generation family with MD was identified. This family had 5 cases of MD, 1 case of MD and juvenile polyposis syndrome (JPS) and 3 cases of JPS. Participants provided saliva for DNA extraction and completed a health questionnaire designed to assess conditions that may be found in patients with MD. Following pedigree analysis, we sequenced the coding regions of the SMAD4 and BMPR1A genes and the regulatory regions of the TGF-α and PDX1 genes in affected and non-affected family members.
RESULTS: No mutations were identified in the sequenced regions of BMPR1A, TGF-α, or PDX1. A dominant 1244_1247delACAG mutation of SMAD4 was identified in each of the subjects with JPS as well as in each of the subjects with MD. Although this mutation segregated with disease, there were also unaffected/undiagnosed carriers.
CONCLUSION: The 1244_1247delACAG mutation of SMAD4 is the cause of JPS and the likely cause of MD in a large family initially diagnosed with MD.

Wu H, Liu Y, Shu XO, Cai Q
MiR-374a suppresses lung adenocarcinoma cell proliferation and invasion by targeting TGFA gene expression.
Carcinogenesis. 2016; 37(6):567-75 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Aberrant expression of miR-374a has been reported in several types of human cancers, including lung cancer. However, the functional significance and molecular mechanisms underlying the role of miR-374a in lung cancer remain largely unknown. We found that the expression of miR-374a was significantly downregulated in lung adenocarcinoma tissues compared to adjacent normal lung tissues in samples included in The Cancer Genome Atlas. Functional studies revealed that overexpression of miR-374a led to inhibition of lung adenocarcinoma cell proliferation, migration and invasion and that miR-374a negatively regulated transforming growth factor-alpha (TGFA) gene expression by directly targeting the 3'-UTR of TGFA mRNA. Treating lung adenocarcinoma cells with TGF-α neutralizing antibody resulted in suppression of cell proliferation and invasion, which mimicked the action of miR-374a. Additionally, TGFA gene expression was significantly higher in tumor tissues compared to adjacent normal tissue and high TGFA gene expression strongly correlated with poor survival in patients with lung adenocarcinoma. Taken together, our studies suggest that miR-374a suppresses lung adenocarcinoma cell proliferation and invasion via targeting TGFA gene expression. Our findings may provide novel treatment strategies for lung adenocarcinoma patients.

Matsushima-Nishiwaki R, Toyoda H, Nagasawa T, et al.
Phosphorylated Heat Shock Protein 20 (HSPB6) Regulates Transforming Growth Factor-α-Induced Migration and Invasion of Hepatocellular Carcinoma Cells.
PLoS One. 2016; 11(4):e0151907 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Human hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) is one of the major malignancies in the world. Small heat shock proteins (HSPs) are reported to play an important role in the regulation of a variety of cancer cell functions, and the functions of small HSPs are regulated by post-translational modifications such as phosphorylation. We previously reported that protein levels of a small HSP, HSP20 (HSPB6), decrease in vascular invasion positive HCC compared with those in the negative vascular invasion. Therefore, in the present study, we investigated whether HSP20 is implicated in HCC cell migration and the invasion using human HCC-derived HuH7 cells. The transforming growth factor (TGF)-α-induced migration and invasion were suppressed in the wild-type-HSP20 overexpressed cells in which phosphorylated HSP20 was detected. Phospho-mimic-HSP20 overexpression reduced the migration and invasion compared with unphosphorylated HSP20 overexpression. Dibutyryl cAMP, which enhanced the phosphorylation of wild-type-HSP20, significantly reduced the TGF-α-induced cell migration of wild-type HSP20 overexpressed cells. The TGF-α-induced cell migration was inhibited by SP600125, a c-Jun N-terminal kinases (JNK) inhibitor. In phospho-mimic-HSP20 overexpressed HuH7 cells, TGF-α-stimulated JNK phosphorylation was suppressed compared with the unphosphorylated HSP20 overexpressed cells. Moreover, the level of phospho-HSP20 protein in human HCC tissues was significantly correlated with tumor invasion. Taken together, our findings strongly suggest that phosphorylated HSP20 inhibits TGF-α-induced HCC cell migration and invasion via suppression of the JNK signaling pathway.

Wang H, Hu L, Zang M, et al.
REG4 promotes peritoneal metastasis of gastric cancer through GPR37.
Oncotarget. 2016; 7(19):27874-88 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Being the major reason of recurrence and death after surgery, peritoneal metastasis of gastric cancer dooms the prognosis of advanced gastric cancer patients. Regenerating islet-derived family, member 4 (REG4) is believed to promote peritoneal metastasis, however, its mechanism is still a moot point at present. In the present study, we show that high expression of REG4 correlates with advanced stage and poor survival prognosis for gastric cancer patients. REG4 overexpression significantly enhances peritoneal metastasis by increasing adhesion ability. Moreover, SP1 is proved to be a transcription factor of REG4 and induce REG4 expression upon TGF-alpha stimulation. Also, G protein-coupled receptor 37 (GPR37) is identified to be in the same complex of REG4, which mediates REG4's signal transduction and promotes peritoneal metastasis of gastric cancer cell. Interestingly, we also discover a positive feedback loop triggered by REG4, amplifying itself through EGFR transactivation, consisting of GPR37, ADAM17, TGF-alpha, EGFR, SP1 and REG4. In conclusion, REG4 promotes peritoneal metastasis of gastric cancer through GPR37 and triggers a positive feedback loop.

Sun KX, Chen Y, Chen S, et al.
The correlation between microRNA490-3p and TGFα in endometrial carcinoma tumorigenesis and progression.
Oncotarget. 2016; 7(8):9236-49 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are small non-coding RNAs that negatively regulate the translation of messenger RNAs by binding their 3'-untranslated region (3' UTR). MiR-490-3p has been reported to be a suppressor in various human cancers; however, little is known about the biological functions of miR-490-3p in endometrial cancer (EC). In our study, we found that MiR-490-3p mRNA expression was significantly lower in ECs than in normal endometrial tissues. MiR-490-3p mRNA expression was also negatively associated with depth of invasion (mucosa vs. muscular and serosa) and lymph node metastasis (negative vs. positive) in EC. MiR-490-3p overexpression reduced proliferation; promoted G1 arrest and apoptosis; suppressed migration and invasion; and reduced TGFα, NF-kB, cyclin D1, survivin, matrix metalloproteinase 2 (MMP2) mRNA and protein expression, and improved Bax mRNA and protein expression. The dual-luciferase reporter assay indicated that miR-490-3p directly targeted TGFα by binding its 3' untranslated region. MiR-490-3P transfection also suppressed tumor development and TGFα expression (as determined by immunohistochemistry and western blotting) in vivo in the xenograft mouse model. This is the first demonstration that miR-490-3P might act as a suppressor in EC tumorigenesis and progression by targeting TGFα. Our results provide a theoretical basis for the further study on the molecular target for endometrial cancer.

Chen S, Sun KX, Liu BL, et al.
MicroRNA-505 functions as a tumor suppressor in endometrial cancer by targeting TGF-α.
Mol Cancer. 2016; 15:11 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
BACKGROUND: Endometrial carcinoma (EC) is one of the most lethal gynecologic cancers. Patients frequently have regional or distant metastasis at diagnosis. MicroRNAs are small non-coding RNAs that participate in numerous biological processes. Recent studies have demonstrated that miR-505 is associated with several types of cancer; however, the expression and function of miR-505 have not been investigated in EC.
METHODS: miR-505 expression in normal endometrial tissue, endometrial carcinomas were quantified by Quantitative reverse transcription PCR. The endometrial carcinoma cell lines HEC-1B and Ishikawa were each transfected with miR-505 or scrambled mimics, after which cell phenotype and expression of relevant molecules were assayed. Dual-luciferase reporter assay and a xenograft mouse model were used to examine miR-505 and its target gene TGF-α.
RESULTS: RT-PCR results demonstrated that miR-505 was significantly downregulated in human EC tissues compared to normal endometrial tissues. Besides, miR-505 expression was negatively associated with FIGO stage (stage I-II vs. III-IV), and lymph node metastasis (negative vs. positive). In vitro, overexpression of miR-505 significantly suppressed EC cell proliferation, increased apoptosis and reduced migratory and invasive activity. A miR-505 binding site was identified in the 3' untranslated region of TGF-α mRNA (TGFA) using miRNA target-detecting software; a dual luciferase reporter assay confirmed that miR-505 directly targets and regulates TGFA. RT-PCR and Western-blotting results indicated that overexpressing miR-505 reduced the expression of TGF-α and the TGF-α-regulated proteins MMP2, MMP9, CDK2, while induced Bax and cleaved-PARP expression in EC cells. In vivo, overexpression of miR-505 reduced the tumorigenicity and inhibited the growth of xenograft tumors in a mouse model of EC.
CONCLUSIONS: Taken together, this study demonstrates that miR-505 acts as tumor suppressor in EC by regulating TGF-α.

Yeganeh M, Gui Y, Kandhi R, et al.
Suppressor of cytokine signaling 1-dependent regulation of the expression and oncogenic functions of p21(CIP1/WAF1) in the liver.
Oncogene. 2016; 35(32):4200-11 [PubMed] Related Publications
The SOCS1 gene coding for suppressor of cytokine signaling 1 is frequently repressed in hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC), and hence SOCS1 is considered a tumor suppressor in the liver. However, the tumor-suppressor mechanisms of SOCS1 are not yet well understood. SOCS1 is known to inhibit pro-inflammatory cytokine production and signaling and to promote activation of the p53 tumor suppressor. However, we observed that SOCS1-deficient mice developed numerous and large liver tumor nodules following treatment with the hepatocarcinogen diethylnitrosamine (DEN) without showing increased interleukin-6 production or activation of p53. On the other hand, the livers of DEN-treated Socs1-null mice showed elevated levels of p21(CIP1/WAF1) protein (p21). Even though p21 generally functions as a tumor suppressor, paradoxically many cancers, including HCC, are known to express elevated levels of p21 that correlate with poor prognosis. We observed elevated p21 expression also in the regenerating livers of SOCS1-deficient mice and in cisplatin-treated Socs1-null hepatocytes, wherein the p21 protein showed increased stability. We show that SOCS1 interacts with p21 and promotes its ubiquitination and proteasomal degradation. Besides, the DEN-treated livers of Socs1-null mice showed increased nuclear and cytosolic p21 staining, and the latter was associated with growth factor-induced, phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase-dependent phosphorylation of p21 in SOCS1-deficient hepatocytes. Cytosolic p21 is often associated with malignancy and chemo-resistance in many cancers. Accordingly, SOCS1-deficient hepatocytes showed increased resistance to apoptosis that was reversed by shRNA-mediated p21 knockdown. In the regenerating livers of Socs1-null mice, increased p21 expression coincided with elevated cyclinD levels. Correspondingly, SOCS1-deficient hepatocytes showed increased proliferation to growth factor stimulation that was reversed by p21 knockdown. Overall, our findings indicate that the tumor-suppressor functions of SOCS1 in the liver could be mediated, at least partly, via regulation of the expression, stability and subcellular distribution of p21 and its paradoxical oncogenic functions, namely, resistance to apoptosis and increased proliferation.

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