Clinicopathological and biological significance of aberrant activation of glycogen synthase kinase-3 in ovarian cancer
Yunfeng Fu,1 Xinyu Wang,1 Xiaodong Cheng,1 Feng Ye,2 Xing Xie,1,2 Weiguo Lu1,2
1Department of Gynecologic Oncology, Women's Hospital, School of Medicine, Zhejiang University, 2Women's Reproduction and Health Laboratory of Zhejiang Province, Hangzhou, People's Republic of China
Background: Glycogen synthase kinase-3 (GSK-3) plays an important role in human cancer. The aim of this study is to evaluate the clinicopathological significance of expression of GSK-3α/β and pGSK-3α/βTyr279/216 in patients with epithelial ovarian cancer and to investigate whether GSK-3 inhibition can influence cell viability and tumor growth of ovarian cancer.
Methods: Immunohistochemistry was used to examine expression of GSK-3α/β and pGSK-3α/βTyr279/216 in 71 human epithelial ovarian cancer tissues and correlations between protein expression, and clinicopathological factors were analyzed. Cell viability was determined by 3-(4,5-dimethylthiazol-2-yl)-2,5-diphenyltetrazolium bromide (MTT) assay following exposure of ovarian carcinoma cells to pharmacological inhibitors of GSK-3 or GSK-3 small interfering RNA. In vivo validation of tumor growth inhibition was performed with xenograft mice.
Results: The expression levels of GSK-3α/β and pGSK-3α/βTyr279/216 in ovarian cancers were significantly higher than those in benign tumors. High expression of GSK-3α/β was more likely to be found in patients with advanced International Federation of Gynecology and Obstetrics (FIGO) stages and high serum cancer antigen 125. Higher expression of pGSK-3α/βTyr279/216 was associated with advanced FIGO stages, residual tumor mass, high serum cancer antigen 125, and poor chemoresponse. Worse overall survival was revealed by Kaplan–Meier survival curves in patients with high expression of GSK-3α/β or pGSK-3α/βTyr279/216. Multivariate analysis indicated that FIGO stage, GSK-3α/β expression, and pGSK-3α/βTyr279/216 expression were independent prognostic factors for overall survival. GSK-3 inhibition by lithium chloride, 4-benzyl-2-methyl-1,2,4-thiadiazolidine-3,5-dione (TDZD-8), or GSK-3 small interfering RNA can decrease viability of SKOV3 and SKOV3-TR30 ovarian cancer cells. Additionally, lithium chloride-treated SKOV3 xenograft mice had a significant reduction in tumor growth compared with control-treated animals.
Conclusion: Our findings suggest that overexpression and aberrant activation of GSK-3 may contribute to progression and poor prognosis in ovarian cancer. Inhibition of GSK-3 may be a potential therapy for ovarian cancer.
Keywords: ovarian carcinoma, immunohistochemistry, lithium chloride, TDZD-8
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