Gene Summary

Gene:TGFB2; transforming growth factor, beta 2
Aliases: LDS4, TGF-beta2
Summary:This gene encodes a member of the transforming growth factor beta (TGFB) family of cytokines, which are multifunctional peptides that regulate proliferation, differentiation, adhesion, migration, and other functions in many cell types by transducing their signal through combinations of transmembrane type I and type II receptors (TGFBR1 and TGFBR2) and their downstream effectors, the SMAD proteins. Disruption of the TGFB/SMAD pathway has been implicated in a variety of human cancers. The encoded protein is secreted and has suppressive effects of interleukin-2 dependent T-cell growth. Translocation t(1;7)(q41;p21) between this gene and HDAC9 is associated with Peters' anomaly, a congenital defect of the anterior chamber of the eye. The knockout mice lacking this gene show perinatal mortality and a wide range of developmental, including cardiac, defects. Alternatively spliced transcript variants encoding different isoforms have been identified. [provided by RefSeq, Sep 2010]
Databases:OMIM, VEGA, HGNC, Ensembl, GeneCard, Gene
Protein:transforming growth factor beta-2
Source:NCBIAccessed: 28 February, 2015


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

Research Indicators

Publications Per Year (1990-2015)
Graph generated 28 February 2015 using data from PubMed using criteria.

Literature Analysis

Mouse over the terms for more detail; many indicate links which you can click for dedicated pages about the topic.

Tag cloud generated 28 February, 2015 using data from PubMed, MeSH and CancerIndex

Specific Cancers (6)

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: TGFB2 (cancer-related)

Nie L, Lyros O, Medda R, et al.
Endothelial-mesenchymal transition in normal human esophageal endothelial cells cocultured with esophageal adenocarcinoma cells: role of IL-1β and TGF-β2.
Am J Physiol Cell Physiol. 2014; 307(9):C859-77 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 01/11/2015 Related Publications
Endothelial-mesenchymal transition (EndoMT) has been recognized as a key determinant of tumor microenvironment in cancer progression and metastasis. Endothelial cells undergoing EndoMT lose their endothelial markers, acquire the mesenchymal phenotype, and become more invasive with increased migratory abilities. Early stages of esophageal adenocarcinoma (EAC) are characterized by strong microvasculature whose impact in tumor progression remains undefined. Our aim was to determine the role of EndoMT in EAC by investigating the impact of tumor cells on normal primary human esophageal microvascular endothelial cells (HEMEC). HEMEC were either cocultured with OE33 adenocarcinoma cells or treated with IL-1β and transforming growth factor-β2 (TGF-β2) for indicated periods and analyzed for EndoMT-associated changes by real-time PCR, Western blotting, immunofluorescence staining, and functional assays. Additionally, human EAC tissues were investigated for detection of EndoMT-like cells. Our results demonstrate an increased expression of mesenchymal markers [fibroblast-specific protein 1 (FSP1), collagen1α2, vimentin, α-smooth muscle actin (α-SMA), and Snail], decreased expression of endothelial markers [CD31, von Willebrand factor VIII (vWF), and VE-cadherin], and elevated migration ability in HEMEC following coculture with OE33 cells. The EndoMT-related changes were inhibited by IL-1β and TGF-β2 gene silencing in OE33 cells. Recombinant IL-1β and TGF-β2 induced EndoMT in HEMEC. Although the level of VEGF expression was elevated in EndoMT cells, the angiogenic property of these cells was diminished. In vivo, by immunostaining EndoMT-like cells were detected at the invasive front of EAC. Our findings underscore a significant role for EndoMT in EAC and provide new insights into the mechanisms and significance of EndoMT in the context of tumor progression.

Bilandzic M, Wang Y, Ahmed N, et al.
Betaglycan blocks metastatic behaviors in human granulosa cell tumors by suppressing NFκB-mediated induction of MMP2.
Cancer Lett. 2014; 354(1):107-14 [PubMed] Related Publications
Metastatic ovarian granulosa cell tumors (GCT) exhibit loss of betaglycan. Here we test the hypothesis that betaglycan blocks GCT metastasis by suppressing NFκB/TGFβ2-induced matrix metalloprotinease-2 (MMP2). Human GCT and a human GCT cell model demonstrated prominent MMP2 expression, which was dependent on NFκB activity and stimulated by TGFβ2 in an NFκB-dependent manner. Betaglycan suppressed both basal and TGFβ2-induced MMP2 expression and countered metastatic behaviors of GCT cells in non-adherent spheroid culture and in vivo xenograft models of metastasis. These data suggest that NFκB/TGFβ2 promotes, and betaglycan impedes, the early stages of GCT metastasis, when tumor cells first invade the peritoneum.

Nemunaitis J, Barve M, Orr D, et al.
Summary of bi-shRNA/GM-CSF augmented autologous tumor cell immunotherapy (FANG™) in advanced cancer of the liver.
Oncology. 2014; 87(1):21-9 [PubMed] Related Publications
Therapies for advanced hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) are limited. We carried out a phase I trial of a novel autologous whole-cell tumor cell immunotherapy (FANG™), which incorporates a dual granulocyte macrophage colony-stimulating factor (GM-CSF) expressive/bifunctional small hairpin RNA interference (bi-shRNAi) vector. The bi-shRNAi DNA targets furin, which is a proconvertase of transforming growth factors beta (TGFβ) 1 and 2. Safety, mechanism, immunoeffectiveness, and suggested benefit were previously shown [Senzer et al.: Mol Ther 2012;20:679-689; Senzer et al.: J Vaccines Vaccin 2013;4:209]. We now provide further follow-up of a subset of 8 HCC patients. FANG manufacturing was successful in 7 of 8 attempts (one failure due to insufficient cell yield). Median GM-CSF expression was 144 pg/10(6) cells, TGFβ1 knockdown was 100%, and TGFβ2 knockdown was 93% of the vector-transported cells. Five patients were vaccinated (1 or 2.5×10(7) cells/intradermal injection, 6-11 vaccinations). No FANG toxicity was observed. Three of these patients demonstrated evidence of an immune response to the autologous tumor cell sample. Long-term follow-up demonstrated survival of 319, 729, 784, 931+, and 1,043+ days of the FANG-treated patients. In conclusion, evidence supports further assessment of the FANG immunotherapy in HCC.

Charbonneau B, Moysich KB, Kalli KR, et al.
Large-scale evaluation of common variation in regulatory T cell-related genes and ovarian cancer outcome.
Cancer Immunol Res. 2014; 2(4):332-40 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 01/11/2015 Related Publications
The presence of regulatory T cells (Treg) in solid tumors is known to play a role in patient survival in ovarian cancer and other malignancies. We assessed inherited genetic variations via 749 tag single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNP) in 25 Treg-associated genes (CD28, CTLA4, FOXP3, IDO1, IL10, IL10RA, IL15, 1L17RA, IL23A, IL23R, IL2RA, IL6, IL6R, IL8, LGALS1, LGALS9, MAP3K8, STAT5A, STAT5B, TGFB1, TGFB2, TGFB3, TGFBR1, TGRBR2, and TGFBR3) in relation to ovarian cancer survival. We analyzed genotype and overall survival in 10,084 women with invasive epithelial ovarian cancer, including 5,248 high-grade serous, 1,452 endometrioid, 795 clear cell, and 661 mucinous carcinoma cases of European descent across 28 studies from the Ovarian Cancer Association Consortium (OCAC). The strongest associations were found for endometrioid carcinoma and IL2RA SNPs rs11256497 [HR, 1.42; 95% confidence interval (CI), 1.22-1.64; P = 5.7 × 10(-6)], rs791587 (HR, 1.36; 95% CI, 1.17-1.57; P = 6.2 × 10(-5)), rs2476491 (HR, = 1.40; 95% CI, 1.19-1.64; P = 5.6 × 10(-5)), and rs10795763 (HR, 1.35; 95% CI, 1.17-1.57; P = 7.9 × 10(-5)), and for clear cell carcinoma and CTLA4 SNP rs231775 (HR, 0.67; 95% CI, 0.54-0.82; P = 9.3 × 10(-5)) after adjustment for age, study site, population stratification, stage, grade, and oral contraceptive use. The rs231775 allele associated with improved survival in our study also results in an amino acid change in CTLA4 and previously has been reported to be associated with autoimmune conditions. Thus, we found evidence that SNPs in genes related to Tregs seem to play a role in ovarian cancer survival, particularly in patients with clear cell and endometrioid epithelial ovarian cancer.

Olkhov-Mitsel E, Zdravic D, Kron K, et al.
Novel multiplex MethyLight protocol for detection of DNA methylation in patient tissues and bodily fluids.
Sci Rep. 2014; 4:4432 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 01/11/2015 Related Publications
Aberrant DNA methylation is a hallmark of cancer and is an important potential biomarker. Particularly, combined analysis of a panel of hypermethylated genes shows the most promising clinical performance. Herein, we developed, optimized and standardized a multiplex MethyLight assay to simultaneously detect hypermethylation of APC, HOXD3 and TGFB2 in DNA extracted from prostate cancer (PCa) cell lines, archival tissue specimens, and urine samples. We established that the assay is capable of discriminating between fully methylated and unmethylated alleles with 100% specificity and demonstrated the assay as highly accurate and reproducible as the singleplex approach. For proof of principle, we analyzed the methylation status of these genes in tissue and urine samples of PCa patients as well as PCa-free controls. These data show that the multiplex MethyLight assay offers a significant advantage when working with limited quantities of DNA and has potential applications in research and clinical settings.

Cui XP, Qin CK, Zhang ZH, et al.
HOXA10 promotes cell invasion and MMP-3 expression via TGFβ2-mediated activation of the p38 MAPK pathway in pancreatic cancer cells.
Dig Dis Sci. 2014; 59(7):1442-51 [PubMed] Related Publications
BACKGROUND: HOXA10 is closely related to tumor progression in many human cancers. However, the role of HOXA10 in pancreatic cancer remains unclear. The aim of this study was to determine the involvement of HOXA10 in pancreatic cancer cell invasion and migration.
METHODS: The effect of HOXA10 on the invasion and migration of pancreatic cancer cells was assessed by invasion and migration assays. The protein of transforming growth factor beta-2 (TGFβ2) was neutralized by TGFβ2 blocking antibody. The activation of p38 was inhibited by SB239063.
RESULTS: HOXA10 could promote the invasion and migration of pancreatic cancer cells. Knockdown of HOXA10 decreased the expressions of TGFβ2 and matrix metallopeptidase-3 (MMP-3) and suppressed the activation of p38. Conversely, overexpression of HOXA10 increased the levels of TGFβ2 and MMP-3. Further experiments identified that TGFβ2 contributed to the HOXA10-promoted invasion and migration and regulated MMP-3 expression and p38 activation. Additionally, inhibition of p38 suppressed cell invasion and MMP-3 expression in pancreatic cancer cells.
CONCLUSIONS: HOXA10 promotes cell invasion and MMP-3 expression of pancreatic cancer cells via TGFβ2-p38 MAPK pathway. Thus, HOXA10 could be a useful target for the treatment of pancreatic cancer.

Ko SY, Ladanyi A, Lengyel E, Naora H
Expression of the homeobox gene HOXA9 in ovarian cancer induces peritoneal macrophages to acquire an M2 tumor-promoting phenotype.
Am J Pathol. 2014; 184(1):271-81 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 01/11/2015 Related Publications
Tumor-associated macrophages (TAMs) exhibit an M2 macrophage phenotype that suppresses anti-tumor immune responses and often correlates with poor outcomes in patients with cancer. Patients with ovarian cancer frequently present with peritoneal carcinomatosis, but the mechanisms that induce naïve peritoneal macrophages into TAMs are poorly understood. In this study, we found an increased abundance of TAMs in mouse i.p. xenograft models of ovarian cancer that expressed HOXA9, a homeobox gene that is associated with poor prognosis in patients with ovarian cancer. HOXA9 expression in ovarian cancer cells stimulated chemotaxis of peritoneal macrophages and induced macrophages to acquire TAM-like features. These features included induction of the M2 markers, CD163 and CD206, and the immunosuppressive cytokines, IL-10 and chemokine ligand 17, and down-regulation of the immunostimulatory cytokine, IL-12. HOXA9-mediated induction of TAMs was primarily due to the combinatorial effects of HOXA9-induced, tumor-derived transforming growth factor-β2 and chemokine ligand 2 levels. High HOXA9 expression in clinical specimens of ovarian cancer was strongly associated with increased abundance of TAMs and intratumoral T-regulatory cells and decreased abundance of CD8(+) tumor-infiltrating lymphocytes. Levels of immunosuppressive cytokines were also elevated in ascites fluid of patients with tumors that highly expressed HOXA9. HOXA9 may, therefore, stimulate ovarian cancer progression by promoting an immunosuppressive microenvironment via paracrine effects on peritoneal macrophages.

Semczuk A, Zakrzewski PK, Forma E, et al.
TGFβ-pathway is down-regulated in a uterine carcinosarcoma: a case study.
Pathol Res Pract. 2013; 209(11):740-4 [PubMed] Related Publications
Data assessing the role of various genetic alterations in uterine carcinosarcoma (CS), particularly the transforming growth factors-β (TGFβ) that play a crucial role in many cellular processes, including proliferation, differentiation, adhesion and migration, are scarce. TGFβ exert their effects through specific receptors and associated auxiliary receptors. In the current study, we investigated the expression of TGFβ isoforms and their receptors, as well as selected genes in a case of CS. We applied the real-time fluorescence detection PCR method with FAM dye-labeled TaqMan specific probes. In a comparison to the normal counterpart, TGFB1, TGFB2, TGFBRII, TGFBR3, ENG and CD109 were all down-regulated in uterine CS samples at different extents. BIRC5 and hTERT, markers of tumor survival, were up-regulated in CS as compared with normal counterparts. A concomitant increase of the hypoxia marker HIF1A expression pattern was noted, whereas the expression of GPR120, responsible for free fatty acids sensing, was not different in both counterparts evaluated. In conclusion, deregulation of various cellular mechanisms in uterine CS is associated with alterations at many levels - cell growth and proliferation, apoptosis, and impaired response to stimuli from extracellular environment.

Lin ZY, Wu CC, Chuang YH, Chuang WL
Anti-cancer mechanisms of clinically acceptable colchicine concentrations on hepatocellular carcinoma.
Life Sci. 2013; 93(8):323-8 [PubMed] Related Publications
AIMS: This study was to investigate whether the clinically acceptable colchicine concentrations had anti-cancer effects on hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) and their anti-cancer mechanisms.
MAIN METHODS: Two human HCC cell lines (HCC24/KMUH, HCC38/KMUH) and two human cancer-associated fibroblast (CAF) cell lines (F28/KMUH, F59/KMUH) were investigated by proliferative assay, microarray, quantitative reverse transcriptase-polymerase chain reaction, and nude mouse study using clinically acceptable colchicine concentrations.
KEY FINDINGS: Both 2 and 6ng/mL colchicine significantly inhibited the cellular proliferation of all cell lines tested (P<0.05). The anti-proliferative effects of colchicine on F28/KMUH, HCC24/KMUH and HCC38/KMUH cells were dose-dependent. The anti-proliferative effects of 6ng/mL colchicine on both HCC cell lines were similar to the effects of 1μg/mL epirubicin. The anti-proliferative effects of colchicine on HCC cells could be partially explained by dose-dependent up-regulations of 2 anti-proliferative genes (AKAP12, TGFB2) in these cells. TGFB2 was also up-regulated in CAFs but was not dose-dependent. Up-regulation of MX1 which can accelerate cell death was a common effect of 6ng/mL colchicine on both CAF cell lines, but 2ng/mL colchicine down-regulated MX1 in F28/KMUH cells. Nude mouse (BALB/c-nu) experiment showed that colchicine-treated mice (0.07mgcolchicine/kg/day×14days) had lower increased tumor volume ratios, slower tumor growth rates and larger percentages of tumor necrotic areas than control mice (all P<0.05).
SIGNIFICANCE: Clinically acceptable colchicine concentrations have anti-cancer effects on HCC. This drug has potential for the palliative treatment of HCC.

Shen Z, Seppänen H, Kauttu T, et al.
Vasohibin-1 expression is regulated by transforming growth factor-β/bone morphogenic protein signaling pathway between tumor-associated macrophages and pancreatic cancer cells.
J Interferon Cytokine Res. 2013; 33(8):428-33 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 01/11/2015 Related Publications
Vasohibin-1 has been detected in endothelial cells as an intrinsic angiogenesis inhibitor. Both tumor-associated macrophages (TAMs) and transforming growth factor-β (TGF-β)/bone morphogenic protein (BMP) signaling have been reported to promote angiogenesis in cancer. However, whether vasohibin-1 expression is regulated by TGF-β/BMP signaling between TAMs and cancer cells remains unclear. The expression of TGF-β1, TGF-β2, BMP-4, and BMP-7 in TAMs and the expression of vasohibin-1, vascular endothelial growth factor-A (VEGF-A), and VEGF-C in two pancreatic cancer cell lines (a nonmetastatic cell line Panc-1 and a distant metastatic cell line HPAF-II) were measured by real-time reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR). The TGF-β receptor 1 and BMP receptor 1 were inhibited by the inhibitor SB-431542 and LDN193189, respectively. Thereafter, vasohibin-1, VEGF-A, and VEGF-C expression was detected by real-time RT-PCR. We found that the expression of TGF-β1, TGF-β2, BMP-4, and BMP-7 was upregulated in TAMs cocultured with pancreatic cancer cells. Vasohibin-1, VEGF-A, and VEGF-C mRNA expression in pancreatic cancer cells was upregulated by TAMs. Vasohibin-1 expression in pancreatic cancer cells cocultured with TAMs was upregulated significantly when TGF-β receptors or BMP receptors were inhibited, but VEGF-C expression was downregulated. Therefore, Vasohibin-1 expression is regulated by the TGF-β/BMP signaling between TAMs and pancreatic cancer cells. These results might shed a new light on the antiangiogenesis therapy in the pancreatic cancer.

Shen Z, Kauttu T, Cao J, et al.
Macrophage coculture enhanced invasion of gastric cancer cells via TGF-β and BMP pathways.
Scand J Gastroenterol. 2013; 48(4):466-72 [PubMed] Related Publications
OBJECTIVE: Transforming growth factor β (TGF-β) superfamily plays an important role in regulating gastric cancer progression. As previously demonstrated, tumor-associated macrophages (TAMs) promoted the invasion of gastric cancer cells in Matrigel. However, the role of TGF-β superfamily signaling between TAMs and gastric cancer remains unclear.
MATERIAL AND METHODS: Three-dimensional dynamic migration imaging system was used to detect gastric cancer invasion rate cocultured with macrophages in Matrigel before or after TGF-β receptor 1 or bone morphogenic protein (BMP) receptor 1A and 1B inhibition; real-time RT-PCR was used to quantitatively investigate gene expression (TGF-β1, TGF-β2, BMP4, and BMP7, ADAM9, MMP9, TIMP3, VEGF-A, and VEGF-C).
RESULTS: TGF-β1, TGF-β2, BMP4, and BMP7 expressions were increased significantly in macrophages grown with cancer cells as compared to macrophages grown alone. The invasion rate and invasion-related genes expressions of both AGS and Hs-746T gastric cancer cell lines were upregulated by macrophages, although the expression profile was different. Invasion rate and invasion-related genes' expressions of AGS cells cocultured with macrophages were downregulated significantly after TGF-βR1 and BMPR1 inhibition.
CONCLUSIONS: Macrophages associated with tumor might promote gastric cancer cells invasion though enhancing TGF-β/BMPs signal pathway. Inhibiting TGF-β/BMPs signal between TAMs and gastric cancer cells might provide a new therapeutic method of gastric cancer.

Nemunaitis J, Senzer N, Olivares J, et al.
Immune response and survival of refractory cancer patients who received TGF-β2 antisense/GM-CSF gene modified autologous tumor cell (TAG) vaccine.
Gene Ther. 2013; 20(9):875-9 [PubMed] Related Publications
TAG vaccine is a novel 'triad vaccine' that involves transfection of autologous tumor with a dual plasmid, TGFβ2 antisense gene and GM-CSF gene. Patients with advanced cancer who failed standard therapy were treated. IFN-γ ELISPOT analysis (Enzyme-Linked Immunospot Assay for Interferon Gamma) using TAG autologous vaccine target cells was performed prior to vaccination and at week 12 after the third vaccination. The purpose of this assessment was to correlate the IFN-γ ELISPOT immune response with long-term survival of advanced cancer patients who received TAG vaccination. Twenty-three of 28 patients received ≥ 3 TAG vaccinations (two patients withdrew consent and three had disease progression prior to the third vaccination). Eleven patients demonstrated a positive ELISPOT response (>10 spots and ≥ 2 × baseline) at week 12 and 12 patients did not (P=0.002). Median survival from time of treatment between ELISPOT-positive and -negative groups was significantly different (550 vs 159 days, P=0.036), as was median survival from the time of procurement (627 vs 257 days, respectively, P=0.043). In conclusion, the IFN-γ ELISPOT assay may provide an effective measure of immune response following treatment with 'triad vaccines', but additional patient numbers and/or other immune modulatory parameters are necessary for future testing.

Qin W, Zhang K, Kliethermes B, et al.
Differential expression of cancer-associated proteins in breastmilk.
Breastfeed Med. 2013; 8(1):120-6 [PubMed] Related Publications
Breast cancer that develops during or shortly after pregnancy is frequently more aggressive than cancer diagnosed at other times in a woman's life. To better understand the patterns of cancer-related protein expression in the breasts of lactating women, we determined the differences in total and individual protein expression in milk based on (a) three time points during lactation (early, mid, and late), (b) length of lactation, and (c) parity. Breastmilk was collected from 72 healthy lactating women within 10 days of starting lactation (transitional [T]), 2 months after lactation started, and during breast weaning (W). Sixteen proteins whose expression is altered in breast cancer (11 kallikreins [KLKs], basic fibroblast growth factor [bFGF], YKL-40, neutrophil gelatinase-associated lipocalin, and transforming growth factor [TGF] β1 and β2) were evaluated. The concentration of total milk protein decreased over time (p<0.01 at 2 months and W compared with T). After we controlled for total protein, KLK6 and TGFβ2 significantly increased, and bFGF decreased from T to W. Neither length of nursing nor parity significantly influenced individual protein expression at the W time point. On the other hand, length of nursing did influence the difference in KLK6, -7, and -8 expression between the W and T time points. Total milk protein concentration is lower in the mid and late phases of nursing. Biomarker differences between T and W milk samples in KLK6, TGFβ2, and bFGF are consistent with a protective effect of nursing.

Hassona Y, Cirillo N, Lim KP, et al.
Progression of genotype-specific oral cancer leads to senescence of cancer-associated fibroblasts and is mediated by oxidative stress and TGF-β.
Carcinogenesis. 2013; 34(6):1286-95 [PubMed] Related Publications
Keratinocyte senescence acts as a barrier to tumor progression but appears to be lost in late pre-malignancy to yield genetically unstable oral squamous cell carcinomas (GU-OSCC); a subset of OSCC possessing wild-type p53 and are genetically stable (GS-OSCC). In this study, fibroblasts from GU-OSCC were senescent relative to fibroblasts from GS-OSCC, epithelial dysplastic tissues or normal oral mucosa, as demonstrated by increased senescence-associated β-galactosidase (SA β-Gal) activity and overexpression of p16(INK4A). Keratinocytes from GU-OSCC produced high levels of reactive oxygen species (ROS) and this was associated with an increase in the production of transforming growth factor-β1 (TGF-β1) and TGF-β2 in stromal fibroblasts. Treatment of normal fibroblasts with keratinocyte conditioned media (CM) from GU-OSCC, but not GS-OSCC or dysplastic keratinocytes with dysfunctional p53, induced fibroblast senescence. This phenomenon was inhibited by antioxidants and anti-TGF-β antibodies. Fibroblast activation by TGF-β1 preceded cellular senescence and was associated with increased ROS levels; antioxidants inhibited this reaction. Senescent fibroblasts derived from GU-OSCC or normal fibroblasts treated with CM from GU-OSCC or hydrogen peroxide, but not non-senescent fibroblasts derived from GS-OSCC, promoted invasion of keratinocytes in vitro. Epithelial invasion was stimulated by fibroblast activation and amplified further by fibroblast senescence. The data demonstrate that malignant keratinocytes from GU-OSCC, but not their pre-malignant counterparts, produce high levels of ROS, which, in turn, increase TGF-β1 expression and induce fibroblast activation and senescence in a p5-independent manner. Fibroblasts from GU-OSCC were particularly susceptible to oxidative DNA damage because of high levels of ROS production, downregulation of antioxidant genes and upregulation of pro-oxidant genes. The results demonstrate the functional diversity of cancer-associated fibroblasts and show that malignant keratinocytes from GU-OSCC reinforce their malignant behavior by inducing fibroblast activation and senescence through ROS and TGF-β-dependent mechanisms.

Ondrušová L, Vachtenheim J, Réda J, et al.
MITF-independent pro-survival role of BRG1-containing SWI/SNF complex in melanoma cells.
PLoS One. 2013; 8(1):e54110 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 01/11/2015 Related Publications
Metastasized malignant melanoma has a poor prognosis because of its intrinsic resistance to chemotherapy and radiotherapy. The central role in the melanoma transcriptional network has the transcription factor MITF (microphthalmia-associated transcription factor). It has been shown recently that the expression of MITF and some of its target genes require the SWI/SNF chromatin remodeling complex. Here we demonstrate that survival of melanoma cells requires functional SWI/SNF complex not only by supporting expression of MITF and its targets and but also by activating expression of prosurvival proteins not directly regulated by MITF. Microarray analysis revealed that besides the MITF-driven genes, expression of proteins like osteopontin, IGF1, TGFß2 and survivin, the factors known to be generally associated with progression of tumors and the antiapoptotic properties, were reduced in acute BRG1-depleted 501mel cells. Western blots and RT-PCR confirmed the microarray findings. These proteins have been verified to be expressed independently of MITF, because MITF depletion did not impair their expression. Because these genes are not regulated by MITF, the data suggests that loss of BRG1-based SWI/SNF complexes negatively affects survival pathways beyond the MITF cascade. Immunohistochemistry showed high expression of both BRM and BRG1 in primary melanomas. Exogenous CDK2, osteopontin, or IGF1 each alone partly relieved the block of proliferation imposed by BRG1 depletion, implicating that more factors, besides the MITF target genes, are involved in melanoma cell survival. Together these results demonstrate an essential role of SWI/SNF for the expression of MITF-dependent and MITF-independent prosurvival factors in melanoma cells and suggest that SWI/SNF may be a potential and effective target in melanoma therapy.

Bilandzic M, Chu S, Wang Y, et al.
Betaglycan alters NFκB-TGFβ2 cross talk to reduce survival of human granulosa tumor cells.
Mol Endocrinol. 2013; 27(3):466-79 [PubMed] Related Publications
The molecular pathways controlling granulosa cell tumor (GCT) survival are poorly understood. In many cell types, nuclear factor-κB (NFκB) and TGFβ coordinately regulate cell survival to maintain tissue homeostasis. Because GCT cell lines exhibit constitutively activated NFκB, we hypothesized that NFκB blocks TGFβ-mediated cell death in GCT cells. To test this hypothesis, we used the human GCT cell line KGN, which exhibits loss of betaglycan, a TGFβ co-receptor. After inhibition of NFκB in KGN cells, re-expression of betaglycan resulted in a decrease in cell viability, which was further decreased by TGFβ2. Intriguingly, TGFβ2 increased NFκB reporter activity in control cells, but betaglycan expression suppressed both basal and TGFβ2-stimulated NFκB activity. Chemical inhibition of Mothers against decapentaplegic homolog 2/3 (SMAD2/3) signaling or SMAD2/3 gene silencing revealed that both SMADs contributed to cell survival. Furthermore, inhibiting NFκB activity resulted in a specific reduction in SMAD3 expression. Conversely, overexpression of SMAD3 increased basal NFκB activity and countered betaglycan-mediated suppression of NFκB activity. Finally, ERK1/2 activation emerged as the point of convergence of NFκB, SMAD3, and TGFβ2/betaglycan governance of GCT cell viability. Key findings in KGN cells were reproduced in a second GCT cell line, COV434. Collectively, our data establish that both SMAD2/3 and NFκB signaling pathways support GCT cell viability and suggest the existence of a positive feedback loop between NFκB and SMAD3 signaling in late-stage GCT. Furthermore, our data suggest that loss of betaglycan during tumor progression in GCT alters the functional outcomes generated by NFκB and TGFβ pathway cross talk.

Oh S, Kim E, Kang D, et al.
Transforming growth factor-β gene silencing using adenovirus expressing TGF-β1 or TGF-β2 shRNA.
Cancer Gene Ther. 2013; 20(2):94-100 [PubMed] Related Publications
Tumor cells secrete a variety of cytokines to outgrow and evade host immune surveillance. In this context, transforming growth factor-β1 (TGF-β1) is an extremely interesting cytokine because it has biphasic effects in cancer cells and normal cells. TGF-β1 acts as a growth inhibitor in normal cells, whereas it promotes tumor growth and progression in tumor cells. Overexpression of TGF-β1 in tumor cells also provides additional oncogenic activities by circumventing the host immune surveillance. Therefore, this study ultimately aimed to test the hypothesis that suppression of TGF-β1 in tumor cells by RNA interference can have antitumorigenic effects. However, we demonstrated here that the interrelation between TGF-β isotypes should be carefully considered for the antitumor effect in addition to the selection of target sequences with highest efficacy. The target sequences were proven to be highly specific and effective for suppressing both TGF-β1 mRNA and protein expression in cells after infection with an adenovirus expressing TGF-β1 short hairpin RNA (shRNA). A single base pair change in the shRNA sequence completely abrogated the suppressive effect on TGF-β1. Surprisingly, the suppression of TGF-β1 induced TGF-β3 upregulation, and the suppression of TGF-β2 induced another unexpected downregulation of both TGF-β1 and TGF-β3. Taken together, this information may prove useful when considering the design for a novel cancer immunogene therapy.

Mytilinaiou M, Bano A, Nikitovic D, et al.
Syndecan-2 is a key regulator of transforming growth factor beta 2/Smad2-mediated adhesion in fibrosarcoma cells.
IUBMB Life. 2013; 65(2):134-43 [PubMed] Related Publications
Fibrosarcoma is a rare malignant tumor originating from fibroblasts. Transforming growth factor beta 2 (TGFβ2) has been established to regulate processes correlated to fibrosarcoma tumorigenesis. In this study, we investigated the possible participation of syndecan-2 (SDC-2), a cell membrane heparan sulfate (HS) proteoglycan on these TGFβ2 functions. Our results demonstrate that the inhibition of SDC-2 expression by short interfering RNA (siSDC2) abolished TGFβ2-dependent HT1080 cell adhesion (P ≤ 0.01). In parallel, the downregulation of SDC-2 significantly inhibited TGFβ2-induced Smad2 phosphorylation (P ≤ 0.01). The immunoflourescence signal of TGF receptor III as well as its protein expression was decreased in SDC-2-deficient cells. The enhancement of adhesion molecules integrin β1 (P ≤ 0.01) and focal adhesion kinase expression, induced by TGFβ2 treatment (P ≤ 0.001), was markedly inhibited in SDC-2-defficient cells (P ≤ 0.01). Conclusively, the obtained data suggest that SDC-2 modulates TGFβ2 transcriptional regulation via Smad signaling to facilitate fibrosarcoma cell adhesion.

Wu JZ, Lu P, Liu R, Yang TJ
Transcription regulation network analysis of MCF7 breast cancer cells exposed to estradiol.
Asian Pac J Cancer Prev. 2012; 13(8):3681-5 [PubMed] Related Publications
BACKGROUND: In breast cancer, estrogen receptors have been demonstrated to interact with transcription factors to regulate target gene expression. However, high-throughput identification of the transcription regulation relationship between transcription factors and their target genes in response to estradiol is still in its infancy.
PURPOSE: Thus, the objective of our study was to interpret the transcription regulation network of MCF7 breast cancer cells exposed to estradiol.
METHODS: In this work, GSE11352 microarray data were used to identify differentially expressed genes (DEGs).
RESULTS: Our results showed that the MYB (v-myb myeloblastosis viral oncogene homolog [avian]), PGR (progesterone receptor), and MYC (v-myc myelocytomatosis viral oncogene homolog [avian]) were hub nodes in our transcriptome network, which may interact with ER and, in turn, regulate target gene expression. MYB can up-regulate MCM3 (minichromosome maintenance 3) and MCM7 expression; PGR can suppress BCL2 (B-cell lymphoma 2) expression; MYC can inhibit TGFB2 (transforming growth factor, beta 2) expression. These genes are associated with breast cancer progression via cell cycling and the TGFβ signaling pathway.
CONCLUSION: Analysis of transcriptional regulation may provide a better understanding of molecular mechanisms and clues to potential therapeutic targets in the treatment of breast cancer.

Szemes M, Dallosso AR, Melegh Z, et al.
Control of epigenetic states by WT1 via regulation of de novo DNA methyltransferase 3A.
Hum Mol Genet. 2013; 22(1):74-83 [PubMed] Related Publications
Although tumour suppressor gene hypermethylation is a universal feature of cancer cells, little is known about the necessary molecular triggers. Here, we show that Wilms' tumour 1 (WT1), a developmental master regulator that can also act as a tumour suppressor or oncoprotein, transcriptionally regulates the de novo DNA methyltransferase 3A (DNMT3A) and that cellular WT1 levels can influence DNA methylation of gene promoters genome-wide. Specifically, we demonstrate that depletion of WT1 by short-interfering RNAs leads to reduced DNMT3A in Wilms' tumour cells and human embryonal kidney-derived cell lines. Chromatin immunoprecipitation assays demonstrate WT1 recruitment to the DNMT3A promoter region and reporter assays confirm that WT1 directly transactivates DNMT3A expression. Consistent with this regulatory role, immunohistochemical analysis shows co-expression of WT1 and DNMT3A proteins in nuclei of blastemal cells in human fetal kidney and Wilms' tumours. Using genome-wide promoter methylation arrays, we show that human embryonal kidney cells over-expressing WT1 acquire DNA methylation changes at specific gene promoters where DNMT3A recruitment is increased, with hypermethylation being associated with silencing of gene expression. Elevated DNMT3A is also demonstrated at hypermethylated genes in Wilms' tumour cells, including a region of long-range epigenetic silencing. Finally, we show that depletion of WT1 in Wilms' tumour cells can lead to reactivation of gene expression from methylated promoters, such as TGFB2, a key modulator of epithelial-mesenchymal transitions. Collectively, our work defines a new regulatory modality for WT1 involving elicitation of epigenetic alterations which is most likely crucial to its functions in development and disease.

Ko SY, Barengo N, Ladanyi A, et al.
HOXA9 promotes ovarian cancer growth by stimulating cancer-associated fibroblasts.
J Clin Invest. 2012; 122(10):3603-17 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 01/11/2015 Related Publications
Epithelial ovarian cancers (EOCs) often exhibit morphologic features of embryonic Müllerian duct-derived tissue lineages and colonize peritoneal surfaces that overlie connective and adipose tissues. However, the mechanisms that enable EOC cells to readily adapt to the peritoneal environment are poorly understood. In this study, we show that expression of HOXA9, a Müllerian-patterning gene, is strongly associated with poor outcomes in patients with EOC and in mouse xenograft models of EOC. Whereas HOXA9 promoted EOC growth in vivo, HOXA9 did not stimulate autonomous tumor cell growth in vitro. On the other hand, expression of HOXA9 in EOC cells induced normal peritoneal fibroblasts to express markers of cancer-associated fibroblasts (CAFs) and to stimulate growth of EOC and endothelial cells. Similarly, expression of HOXA9 in EOC cells induced normal adipose- and bone marrow-derived mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) to acquire features of CAFs. These effects of HOXA9 were due in substantial part to its transcriptional activation of the gene encoding TGF-β2 that acted in a paracrine manner on peritoneal fibroblasts and MSCs to induce CXCL12, IL-6, and VEGF-A expression. These results indicate that HOXA9 expression in EOC cells promotes a microenvironment that is permissive for tumor growth.

Long J, Luo G, Liu C, et al.
Development of a unique mouse model for pancreatic cancer lymphatic metastasis.
Int J Oncol. 2012; 41(5):1662-8 [PubMed] Related Publications
Lymphatic metastasis of pancreatic cancer is a predictor of poor prognosis. However, the molecular mechanisms are largely unknown, thus, making the development of appropriate cell lines and experimental models critically important for future investigations. The purpose of the present study was to establish a 'pancreatic cancer cell and mouse model with high lymphatic metastasis potential' for in-depth study of the underlying mechanisms. The BxPC-3-LN subline, derived from the BxPC-3 human pancreatic cancer cell line, was established through serial passages in nude mice via footpad injections. The subline was able to develop notable lymphatic metastases in 100% of the recipient mice 8 weeks after tumor cell implantation. Compared with the parental BxPC-3 cells, BxPC-3-LN cells were more aggressive, displaying invasive ultrastructure, increased migration and invasion ability, and chemoresistance. Metastasis-related gene alteration including upregulation of MMP14, MMP24, MIF and ADRM1, and downregulation of TGFB2 and ROBO1 were also observed in BxPC-3-LN cells by cDNA microarrays. Thus, the newly selected BxPC-3-LN subline can serve as a unique model for further study of lymphatic metastasis of pancreatic cancer.

Putnik M, Zhao C, Gustafsson JÅ, Dahlman-Wright K
Global identification of genes regulated by estrogen signaling and demethylation in MCF-7 breast cancer cells.
Biochem Biophys Res Commun. 2012; 426(1):26-32 [PubMed] Related Publications
Estrogen signaling and epigenetic modifications, in particular DNA methylation, are involved in regulation of gene expression in breast cancers. Here we investigated a potential regulatory cross-talk between these two pathways by identifying their common target genes and exploring underlying molecular mechanisms in human MCF-7 breast cancer cells. Gene expression profiling revealed that the expression of approximately 140 genes was influenced by both 17β-estradiol (E2) and a demethylating agent 5-aza-2'-deoxycytidine (DAC). Gene ontology (GO) analysis suggests that these genes are involved in intracellular signaling cascades, regulation of cell proliferation and apoptosis. Based on previously reported association with breast cancer, estrogen signaling and/or DNA methylation, CpG island prediction and GO analysis, we selected six genes (BTG3, FHL2, PMAIP1, BTG2, CDKN1A and TGFB2) for further analysis. Tamoxifen reverses the effect of E2 on the expression of all selected genes, suggesting that they are direct targets of estrogen receptor. Furthermore, DAC treatment reactivates the expression of all selected genes in a dose-dependent manner. Promoter CpG island methylation status analysis revealed that only the promoters of BTG3 and FHL2 genes are methylated, with DAC inducing demethylation, suggesting DNA methylation directs repression of these genes in MCF-7 cells. In a further analysis of the potential interplay between estrogen signaling and DNA methylation, E2 treatment showed no effect on the methylation status of these promoters. Additionally, we show that the ERα recruitment occurs at the FHL2 promoter in an E2- and DAC-independent fashion. In conclusion, we identified a set of genes regulated by both estrogen signaling and DNA methylation. However, our data does not support a direct molecular interplay of mediators of estrogen and epigenetic signaling at promoters of regulated genes.

Neilsen PM, Noll JE, Mattiske S, et al.
Mutant p53 drives invasion in breast tumors through up-regulation of miR-155.
Oncogene. 2013; 32(24):2992-3000 [PubMed] Related Publications
Loss of p53 function is a critical event during tumorigenesis, with half of all cancers harboring mutations within the TP53 gene. Such events frequently result in the expression of a mutated p53 protein with gain-of-function properties that drive invasion and metastasis. Here, we show that the expression of miR-155 was up-regulated by mutant p53 to drive invasion. The miR-155 host gene was directly repressed by p63, providing the molecular basis for mutant p53 to drive miR-155 expression. Significant overlap was observed between miR-155 targets and the molecular profile of mutant p53-expressing breast tumors in vivo. A search for cancer-related target genes of miR-155 revealed ZNF652, a novel zinc-finger transcriptional repressor. ZNF652 directly repressed key drivers of invasion and metastasis, such as TGFB1, TGFB2, TGFBR2, EGFR, SMAD2 and VIM. Furthermore, silencing of ZNF652 in epithelial cancer cell lines promoted invasion into matrigel. Importantly, loss of ZNF652 expression in primary breast tumors was significantly correlated with increased local invasion and defined a population of breast cancer patients with metastatic tumors. Collectively, these findings suggest that miR-155 targeted therapies may provide an attractive approach to treat mutant p53-expressing tumors.

Dieterich LC, Mellberg S, Langenkamp E, et al.
Transcriptional profiling of human glioblastoma vessels indicates a key role of VEGF-A and TGFβ2 in vascular abnormalization.
J Pathol. 2012; 228(3):378-90 [PubMed] Related Publications
Glioblastoma are aggressive astrocytic brain tumours characterized by microvascular proliferation and an abnormal vasculature, giving rise to brain oedema and increased patient morbidity. Here, we have characterized the transcriptome of tumour-associated blood vessels and describe a gene signature clearly associated with pleomorphic, pathologically altered vessels in human glioblastoma (grade IV glioma). We identified 95 genes differentially expressed in glioblastoma vessels, while no significant differences in gene expression were detected between vessels in non-malignant brain and grade II glioma. Differential vascular expression of ANGPT2, CD93, ESM1, ELTD1, FILIP1L and TENC1 in human glioblastoma was validated by immunohistochemistry, using a tissue microarray. Through qPCR analysis of gene induction in primary endothelial cells, we provide evidence that increased VEGF-A and TGFβ2 signalling in the tumour microenvironment is sufficient to invoke many of the changes in gene expression noted in glioblastoma vessels. Notably, we found an enrichment of Smad target genes within the distinct gene signature of glioblastoma vessels and a significant increase of Smad signalling complexes in the vasculature of human glioblastoma in situ. This indicates a key role of TGFβ signalling in regulating vascular phenotype and suggests that, in addition to VEGF-A, TGFβ2 may represent a new target for vascular normalization therapy.

Lee YF, Miller LD, Chan XB, et al.
JMJD6 is a driver of cellular proliferation and motility and a marker of poor prognosis in breast cancer.
Breast Cancer Res. 2012; 14(3):R85 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 01/11/2015 Related Publications
INTRODUCTION: We developed an analytic strategy that correlates gene expression and clinical outcomes as a means to identify novel candidate oncogenes operative in breast cancer. This analysis, followed by functional characterization, resulted in the identification of Jumonji Domain Containing 6 (JMJD6) protein as a novel driver of oncogenic properties in breast cancer.
METHODS: Through microarray informatics, Cox proportional hazards regression was used to analyze the correlation between gene expression and distant metastasis-free survival (DMFS) of patients in 14 independent breast cancer cohorts. JMJD6 emerged as a top candidate gene robustly associated with poor patient survival. Immunohistochemistry, siRNA-mediated silencing, and forced overexpression of JMJD6 in cell-based assays elucidated molecular mechanisms of JMJD6 action in breast cancer progression and shed light on the clinical breast cancer subtypes relevant to JMJD6 action.
RESULTS: JMJD6 was expressed at highest levels in tumors associated with worse outcomes, including ER- and basal-like, Claudin-low, Her2-enriched, and ER+ Luminal B tumors. High nuclear JMJD6 protein was associated with ER negativity, advanced grade, and poor differentiation in tissue microarrays. Separation of ER+/LN- patients that received endocrine monotherapy indicated that JMJD6 is predictive of poor outcome in treatment-specific subgroups. In breast cancer cell lines, loss of JMJD6 consistently resulted in suppressed proliferation but not apoptosis, whereas forced stable overexpression increased growth. In addition, knockdown of JMJD6 in invasive cell lines, such as MDA-MB231, decreased motility and invasion, whereas overexpression in MCF-7 cells slightly promoted motility but did not confer invasive growth. Microarray analysis showed that the most significant transcriptional changes occurred in cell-proliferation genes and genes of the TGF-β tumor-suppressor pathway. High proliferation was characterized by constitutively high cyclin E protein levels. The inverse relation of JMJD6 expression with TGF-β2 could be extrapolated to the breast cancer cohorts, suggesting that JMJD6 may affect similar pathways in primary breast cancer.
CONCLUSIONS: JMJD6 is a novel biomarker of tumor aggressiveness with functional implications in breast cancer growth and migration.

Feng C, Zuo Z
Regulatory factor X1-induced down-regulation of transforming growth factor β2 transcription in human neuroblastoma cells.
J Biol Chem. 2012; 287(27):22730-9 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 01/11/2015 Related Publications
Regulatory factor X (RFX) proteins are transcription factors. Seven mammalian RFX proteins have been identified. RFX1 is the prototype RFX. However, its biological functions are not known. Here, RFX1 overexpression reduced fetal bovine serum-stimulated proliferation of SH-SY5Y cells, a human neuroblastoma cell line. This inhibition is associated with decreased transforming growth factor β2 (TGFβ2) and phospho-extracellular signal-regulated kinase (ERK). Exogenous TGFβ2 increased cell proliferation and phospho-ERK in cells overexpressing RFX1. An anti-TGFβ2 antibody and PD98059, an ERK activation inhibitor, inhibited SH-SY5Y cell proliferation. TGFβ2 promoter activity was decreased in cells overexpressing RFX1. Chromosome immunoprecipitation assay showed that RFX1 bound the TGFβ2 promoter. RFX1 down-regulation increased TGFβ2 in SH-SY5Y and HCN-1A cells, a normal human neuronal cell line. More importantly, TGFβ2 concentrations were negatively correlated with RFX1 levels in human medulloblastoma tissues with a R(2) of 0.464. These results suggest that RFX1 reduces cell proliferation through inhibiting the TGFβ2-ERK signaling pathway. RFX1 blocks TGFβ2 expression through its direct action on TGFβ2 transcription. This effect also appears in human brain tumor tissues. Because TGFβ is known to be involved in cancer development, our results provide initial evidence to suggest that RFX1 may play an important role in human tumor biology.

Azuara D, Rodriguez-Moranta F, de Oca J, et al.
Novel methylation panel for the early detection of neoplasia in high-risk ulcerative colitis and Crohn's colitis patients.
Inflamm Bowel Dis. 2013; 19(1):165-73 [PubMed] Related Publications
BACKGROUND: Patients with ulcerative colitis and Crohn's colonic disease are at increased risk of developing colorectal cancer (CRC). The aim of the study was to analyze the methylation status of selected genes as a risk marker for CRC in inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) patients.
METHODS: We evaluated the methylation status of four genes (TGFB2, SLIT2, HS3ST2, and TMEFF2) in biopsies of four groups of patients: 60 patients with sporadic CRC, 32 patients with IBD-associated neoplasia, 85 patients with IBD without associated neoplasia (20 at high risk and 65 at low risk), and 28 healthy controls. Methylation-specific melting curve analysis (MS-MCA) was used. Methylation status of these genes was also assessed in stool DNA from 60 IBD patients without neoplasia.
RESULTS: Methylation of the panel of genes analyzed was a very common phenomenon (78%) in IBD-associated neoplasia. The prevalence of methylation in adjacent nonneoplastic mucosa was also high (12/30). This prevalence was higher than in mucosa from healthy controls (2/28;7.1%; P < 0.05). Methylation of SLIT2 and TMEFF2 was more frequently detected in the mucosa of IBD patients at high risk of dysplasia or cancer (15/20) than patients at low risk (32/63) (P = 0.05 and P = 0.03, respectively). When stool samples were assessed, only SLIT2 gene methylation was more frequently methylated in the group of patients at high risk of dysplasia or cancer (4/16) compared to low risk (0/37) (P = 0.006).
CONCLUSIONS: Analysis of a panel of methylation markers may help in the early identification of colorectal dysplasia or cancer in high-risk IBD patients.

Leontovich AA, Zhang S, Quatraro C, et al.
Raf-1 oncogenic signaling is linked to activation of mesenchymal to epithelial transition pathway in metastatic breast cancer cells.
Int J Oncol. 2012; 40(6):1858-64 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 01/11/2015 Related Publications
Aberrant activation of the Raf/MEK/MAPK pathway plays a key role in breast cancer development and progression. Dysregulation of Raf/MEK/MAPK oncogenic signaling often results from overexpression of the HER-2/Neu tyrosine kinase receptor leading to chemoendocrine resistance, development of distant metastases and ultimately poor prognosis in breast cancer patients. HER-2/Neu overexpression is also linked to activation of the epithelial to mesenchymal transition (EMT) pathway, loss of adhesion molecules and metastasis. Recently, it has been demonstrated that cancer cells that undergo EMT acquire a CD44+/CD24-/low basal cancer stem cell-like phenotype and are characterized by activation of HER-2/Neu and TGFβ oncogenic signaling pathways with increased capacity of self-renewal, drug resistance, invasion and distant metastases. Following metastatic dissemination, cancer cells re-activate certain epithelial properties through mesenchymal to epithelial transition (MET) to establish neoplastic lesions at secondary sites, although the molecular mechanisms regulating MET remain elusive. In this study we demonstrate that constitutive activation of Raf-1 oncogenic signaling induces HER-2/Neu overexpression leading to the development of distant metastases in ERα+ MCF-7 breast cancer xenografts. Importantly, development of distant metastases in xenograft models was linked to activation of the MET pathway characterized by reduced expression of EMT inducer genes (TGFB2, TWIST1 and FOXC1) and overexpression of BMB7, CXCR7 and EGR family of transcription factors. In summary, our results demonstrate for the first time that amplification of Raf/MEK/MAPK oncogenic signaling during tumor growth promotes the genesis of metastatic lesions from primary tumors by activating the mesenchymal epithelial transition.

Davies M, Prime SS, Eveson JW, et al.
Transforming growth factor-β enhances invasion and metastasis in Ras-transfected human malignant epidermal keratinocytes.
Int J Exp Pathol. 2012; 93(2):148-56 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 01/11/2015 Related Publications
Transforming growth factor-β (TGF-β) is known to act as a tumour suppressor early in carcinogenesis, but then switches to a pro-metastatic factor in some late stage cancers. However, the actions of TGF-β are context dependent, and it is currently unclear how TGF-β influences the progression of human squamous cell carcinoma (SCC). This study examined the effect of overexpression of TGF-β1 or TGF-β2 in Ras-transfected human malignant epidermal keratinocytes that represent the early stages of human SCC. In vitro, the proliferation of cells overexpressing TGF-β1 or TGF-β2 was inhibited by exogenous TGF-β1; cells overexpressing TGF-β1 also grew more slowly than controls, but the growth rate of TGF-β2 overexpressing cells was unaltered. However, cells that overexpressed either TGF-β1 or TGF-β2 were markedly more invasive than controls in an organotypic model of SCC. The proliferation of the invading TGF-β1 overexpressing cells in the organotypic assays was higher than controls. Similarly, tumours formed by the TGF-β1 overexpressing cells following transplantation to athymic mice were larger than tumours formed by control cells and proliferated at a higher rate. Our results demonstrate that elevated expression of either TGF-β1 or TGF-β2 in cells that represent the early stages in the development of human SCC results in a more aggressive phenotype.

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