Xin-Long Yan

Institute for Transfusion Medicine, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, United States

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Publications (6)46.59 Total impact

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    ABSTRACT: Unlabelled: Emerging evidence suggests that epithelial-mesenchymal transitions (EMTs) play important roles in tumor metastasis and recurrence. Understanding molecular mechanisms that regulate the EMT process is crucial for improving treatment of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). MicroRNAs (miRNAs) play important roles in HCC; however, the mechanisms by which miRNAs target the EMT and their therapeutic potential remains largely unknown. To better explore the roles of miRNAs in the EMT process, we established an EMT model in HCC cells by transforming growth factor beta 1 treatment and found that several tumor-related miRNAs were significantly decreased. Among these miRNAs, miR-125b expression was most strongly suppressed. We also found down-regulation of miR-125b in most HCC cells and clinical specimens, which correlated with cellular differentiation in HCC patients. We then demonstrated that miR-125b overexpression attenuated EMT phenotype in HCC cancer cells, whereas knockdown of miR-125b promoted the EMT phenotype in vitro and in vivo. Moreover, we found that miR-125b attenuated EMT-associated traits, including chemoresistance, migration, and stemness in HCC cells, and negatively correlated with EMT and cancer stem cell (CSC) marker expressions in HCC specimens. miR-125b overexpression could inhibit CSC generation and decrease tumor incidence in the mouse xenograft model. Mechanistically, our data revealed that miR-125b suppressed EMT and EMT-associated traits of HCC cells by targeting small mothers against decapentaplegic (SMAD)2 and 4. Most important, the therapeutic delivery of synthetic miR-125b mimics decreased the target molecule of CSC and inhibited metastasis in the mice model. These findings suggest a potential therapeutic treatment of miR-125b for liver cancer. Conclusion: miR-125b exerts inhibitory effects on EMT and EMT-associated traits in HCC by SMAD2 and 4. Ectopic expression of miR-125b provides a promising strategy to treat HCC. (Hepatology 2015;62:801-815).
    Hepatology 05/2015; 62(3). DOI:10.1002/hep.27887 · 11.06 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Unlabelled: Cancer-associated mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) play a pivotal role in modulating tumor progression. However, the interactions between liver cancer-associated MSCs (LC-MSCs) and hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) remain unreported. Here, we identified the presence of MSCs in HCC tissues. We also showed that LC-MSCs significantly enhanced tumor growth in vivo and promoted tumor sphere formation in vitro. LC-MSCs also promoted HCC metastasis in an orthotopic liver transplantation model. Complementary DNA (cDNA) microarray analysis showed that S100A4 expression was significantly higher in LC-MSCs compared with liver normal MSCs (LN-MSCs) from adjacent cancer-free tissues. Importantly, the inhibition of S100A4 led to a reduction of proliferation and invasion of HCC cells, while exogenous S100A4 expression in HCC cells resulted in heavier tumors and more metastasis sites. Our results indicate that S100A4 secreted from LC-MSCs can promote HCC cell proliferation and invasion. We then found the expression of oncogenic microRNA (miR)-155 in HCC cells was significantly up-regulated by coculture with LC-MSCs and by S100A4 ectopic overexpression. The invasion-promoting effects of S100A4 were significantly attenuated by a miR-155 inhibitor. These results suggest that S100A4 exerts its effects through the regulation of miR-155 expression in HCC cells. We demonstrate that S100A4 secreted from LC-MSCs promotes the expression of miR-155, which mediates the down-regulation of suppressor of cytokine signaling 1, leading to the subsequent activation of STAT3 signaling. This promotes the expression of matrix metalloproteinases 9, which results in increased tumor invasiveness. Conclusion: S100A4 secreted from LC-MSCs is involved in the modulation of HCC progression, and may be a potential therapeutic target. (HEPATOLOGY 2013).
    Hepatology 06/2013; 57(6). DOI:10.1002/hep.26257 · 11.06 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: SPINDLIN1, a new member of the SPIN/SSTY gene family, was first identified as a gene highly expressed in ovarian cancer cells. We have previously shown that it is involved in the process of spindle organization and chromosomal stability and plays a role in the development of cancer. Nevertheless, the mechanisms underlying its oncogenic role are still largely unknown. Here, we first showed that expression of SPINDLIN1 is upregulated in clinical tumors. Ectopic expression of SPINDLIN1 promoted cancer cell proliferation and activated WNT/T-cell factor (TCF)-4 signaling. The Ser84 and Ser99 amino acids within SPINDLIN1 were further identified as the key functional sites in WNT/TCF-4 signaling activation. Mutation of these two sites of SPINDLIN1 abolished its effects on promoting WNT/TCF-4 signaling and cancer cell proliferation. We further found that Aurora-A could interact with and phosphorylate SPINDLIN1 at its key functional sites, Ser84 and Ser99, suggesting that phosphorylation of SPINDLIN1 is involved in its oncogenic function. Collectively, these results suggest that SPINDLIN1, which may be a novel substrate of the Aurora-A kinase, promotes cancer cell growth through WNT/TCF-4 signaling activation.
    Molecular Cancer Research 02/2012; 10(3):326-35. DOI:10.1158/1541-7786.MCR-11-0440 · 4.38 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The high incidence rate of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) is mainly the result of frequent metastasis and tumor recurrence. Unfortunately, the underlying molecular mechanisms driving HCC metastasis are still not fully understood. It has been demonstrated that tumor stroma cells contribute to primary tumor growth and metastasis. Within the HCC environment, activated hepatic stellate cells (HSCs) can release a number of molecules and enhance cancer cell proliferation and invasiveness in a paracrine manner. Here, for the first time, we demonstrate that epimorphin (EPM; also called syntaxin-2), an extracellular protein, is strongly elevated in activated HSCs within tumor stroma. We show that knockdown of EPM expression in HSCs substantially abolishes their effects on cancer cell invasion and metastasis. Ectopic expression of EPM in HCC cancer cells enhances their invasiveness; we demonstrate that the cells expressing EPM have markedly increased metastasis potential. Furthermore, EPM-mediated invasion and metastasis of cancer cells is found to require up-regulation of matrix metalloproteinase-9 (MMP-9) through the activation of focal adhesion kinase (FAK)/extracellular signal-regulated kinase (ERK) axis. CONCLUSION: Our results show that EPM, secreted by activated HSCs within HCC stroma, promotes invasion and metastasis of cancer cells by activating MMP-9 expression through the FAK-ERK pathway.
    Hepatology 11/2011; 54(5):1808-18. DOI:10.1002/hep.24562 · 11.06 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Human mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) have therapeutic potential because of their ability to self-renew and differentiate into multiple tissues. However, senescence often occurs in MSCs when they are cultured in vitro and the molecular mechanisms underlying this effect remain unclear. In this study, we found that NAD-dependent protein deacetylase SIRT1 is differentially expressed in both human bone marrow-derived MSCs (B-MSCs) and adipose tissue-derived MSCs after increasing passages of cell culture. Using lentiviral shRNA we demonstrated that selective knockdown of SIRT1 in human MSCs at early passage slows down cell growth and accelerates cellular senescence. Conversely, overexpression of SIRT1 delays senescence in B-MSCs that have undergone prolonged in vitro culturing and the cells do not lose adipogenic and osteogenic potential. In addition, we found that the delayed accumulation of the protein p16 is involved in the effect of SIRT1. However, resveratrol, which has been used as an activator of SIRT1 deacetylase activity, only transiently promotes proliferation of B-MSCs. Our findings will help us understand the role of SIRT1 in the aging of normal diploid cells and may contribute to the prevention of human MSCs senescence thus benefiting MSCs-based tissue engineering and therapies.
    Journal of Molecular Medicine 10/2011; 90(4):389-400. DOI:10.1007/s00109-011-0825-4 · 5.11 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) play a critical role in promoting cancer progression. However, it is not clear whether MSCs are located in breast cancer tissues and correlated with tumor proliferation. The aim of this study was to investigate the presence of MSCs in breast cancer tissues and evaluate their interactions with cancer cells. We successfully isolated and identified MSCs from primary breast cancer tissues. Breast cancer-associated MSCs (BC-MSCs) showed homogenous immunophenotype, and possessed tri-lineage differentiation potential (osteoblast, adipocyte, and chondrocyte). When co-transplanted with cancer cells in a xenograft model in vivo, BC-MSCs significantly increased the volume and weight of tumors. We observed that BC-MSCs stimulated mammosphere formation in the transwell co-culture system in vitro. This effect was significantly suppressed by the EGF receptor inhibitor. We verified that BC-MSCs could secrete EGF and activate cancer cell's EGF receptors. Furthermore, our data showed that EGF derived from BC-MSCs could promote mammosphere formation via the PI3K/Akt signaling pathway. Our results confirmed the presence of MSC in primary breast cancer tissues, and they could provide a favorable microenvironment for tumor cell growth in vivo, partially enhance mammosphere formation via the EGF/EGFR/Akt pathway.
    Breast Cancer Research and Treatment 05/2011; 132(1):153-64. DOI:10.1007/s10549-011-1577-0 · 3.94 Impact Factor

Publication Stats

128 Citations
46.59 Total Impact Points


  • 2011-2015
    • Institute for Transfusion Medicine
      Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, United States
  • 2012
    • Institute for Stem Cell Biology and Regenerative Medicine
      Bengalūru, Karnataka, India