TGF-β in Epithelial to Mesenchymal Transition and Metastasis of Liver Carcinoma

Department of Medicine I, Division: Institute of Cancer Research, Medical University of Vienna, Borschke-Gasse 8a, 1090 Vienna, Austria. .
Current pharmaceutical design (Impact Factor: 3.45). 05/2012; 18(27):4135-47. DOI: 10.2174/138161212802430477
Source: PubMed


Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) and cholangiocellular carcinoma (CCC) represent the majority of hepatic malignancies and are among the most frequent causes of cancer deaths worldwide with a rising incidence in western countries. Upon progression of liver cancer, the epithelial to mesenchymal transition (EMT) is considered a key process that drives intrahepatic metastasis. EMT is the transformation of epithelial cells to a mesenchymal phenotype exacerbating motility and invasiveness of various epithelial cell types. In this review we focus on EMT in hepatic fibrosis, HCC and CCC that is governed by the transforming growth factor (TGF)-β signaling. This cytokine has been shown to play diverse and conflicting roles in malignant development, acting as a tumor-suppressor in early cancerogenesis but enhancing tumor dissemination in later stages of tumor progression. Importantly, TGF-β can induce EMT in a variety of cancers including HCC and CCC, even though the complex molecular mechanisms underlying this process are not yet fully understood. We aim at collecting recent findings on the impact of TGF-β-induced EMT in liver carcinoma progression and at discussing new insights on promising drugable targets for future therapeutic approaches against CCC and HCC.

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    • "TGF-β is a multifunctional factor that has critical roles in HBV-related liver pathogenesis, including HCC metastasis 92. Growing evidence indicates that TGF-β promotes tumor metastasis by activating its downstream mediators, which usually leads to EMT. "
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    ABSTRACT: Hepatitis B virus (HBV) infection is a global problem and a major risk factor for hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). microRNAs (miRNAs) comprise a group of small noncoding RNAs regulating gene expression at the posttranslational level, thereby participating in fundamental biological processes, including cell proliferation, differentiation, and apoptosis. In this review, we summarize the roles of miRNAs in HBV infection, the recently identified mechanism underlying dysregulation of miRNAs in HBV-associated HCC, and their association with hepatocarcinogenesis. Moreover, we discuss the recent advances in the use of circulating miRNAs in the early diagnosis of HCC as well as therapies based on these aberrantly expressed miRNAs.
    Preview · Article · Sep 2014 · Theranostics
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    • "The EMT or MET is tightly regulated by multiple signaling pathways. Several studies have shown that multiple signaling pathways, including WNT, Notch, NFkB, and TGFβ, are involved in EMT or MET transition in cancers [32], [33], [34], [35]. Previous studies also showed that TGFβ promotes EMT in ovarian cancer cells [36], [37]. "
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    ABSTRACT: Ovarian cancer presents therapeutic challenges due to its typically late detection, aggressive metastasis, and therapeutic resistance. The transcription factor Krüppel-like factor 4 (KLF4) has been implicated in human cancers as a tumor suppressor or oncogene, although its role depends greatly on the cellular context. The role of KLF4 in ovarian cancer has not been elucidated in mechanistic detail. In this study, we investigated the role of KLF4 in ovarian cancer cells by transducing the ovarian cancer cell lines SKOV3 and OVCAR3 with a doxycycline-inducible KLF4 lentiviral vector. Overexpression of KLF4 reduced cell proliferation, migration, and invasion. The epithelial cell marker gene E-cadherin was significantly upregulated, whereas the mesenchymal cell marker genes vimentin, twist1and snail2 (slug) were downregulated in both KLF4-expressing SKOV3 and OVCAR3 cells. KLF4 inhibited the transforming growth factor β (TGFβ)-induced epithelial to mesenchymal transition (EMT) in ovarian cancer cells. Taken together, our data demonstrate that KLF4 functions as a tumor suppressor gene in ovarian cancer cells by inhibiting TGFβ-induced EMT.
    Full-text · Article · Aug 2014 · PLoS ONE
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    • "Here, we expanded on these findings and investigated the functional role of GLI1 in HCC and the interaction between GLI1, TGFβ1 and SNAI1 in the context of the EMT, and finally defined novel molecular events underlying the EMT in HCC. These findings further support the role of the transcription factor GLI1 in the regulation of EMT and expand the repertoire of molecules including ZEB1, ZEB2, SNAI2 and TWIST [13]–[15] that act in concert with TGFβ1 and GLI1 pathways to control EMT in cancer cells. "
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    ABSTRACT: The role of the epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition (EMT) during hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) progression is well established, however the regulatory mechanisms modulating this phenomenon remain unclear. Here, we demonstrate that transcription factor glioma-associated oncogene 1 (GLI1) modulates EMT through direct up-regulation of SNAI1 and serves as a downstream effector of the transforming growth factor-β1 (TGFβ1) pathway, a well-known regulator of EMT in cancer cells. Overexpression of GLI1 increased proliferation, viability, migration, invasion, and colony formation by HCC cells. Conversely, GLI1 knockdown led to a decrease in all the above-mentioned cancer-associated phenotypes in HCC cells. Further analysis of GLI1 regulated cellular functions showed that this transcription factor is able to induce EMT and identified SNAI1 as a transcriptional target of GLI1 mediating this cellular effect in HCC cells. Moreover, we demonstrated that an intact GLI1-SNAI1 axis is required by TGFβ1 to induce EMT in these cells. Together, these findings define a novel cellular mechanism regulated by GLI1, which controls the growth and EMT phenotype in HCC.
    Full-text · Article · Nov 2012 · PLoS ONE
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