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Impact of high-mobility-group A2 overexpression on epithelial-mesenchymal transition in pancreatic cancer

Authors Gong J, Wang Y, Jiang B, Xu B, Hu C

Received 23 December 2018

Accepted for publication 22 March 2019

Published 3 May 2019 Volume 2019:11 Pages 4075—4084


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewer comments 2

Editor who approved publication: Dr Kenan Onel

Jian Gong,1 Yuxiang Wang,1 Buping Jiang,1 Bin Xu,1 Chuanzhen Hu2,3

1Department of Hepato-Biliary-Pancreatic Surgery, Shanghai Tenth People’s Hospital Affiliated to Tongji University, Shanghai 200072, People’s Republic of China; 2Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, Shanghai Tenth People’s Hospital Affiliated to Tongji University, Shanghai 200072, People’s Republic of China; 3Institute of Bone Tumor Affiliated to Tongji University School of Medicine, Shanghai 200072, People’s Republic of China

Background: Tumor metastasis causes high mortality in patients with malignancies. In carcinomas, overexpression of high-mobility-group A2 (HMGA2) in cancer cells would lead to tumor development and epithelial to mesenchymal transition (EMT), promoting metastasis. This study evaluated HMGA2 overexpression for its effects on pancreatic cancer (PC).
Methods: HMGA2 protein levels were immunohistochemically assessed in human PC tissue specimens and evaluated for associations with patients’ clinicopathological findings. In human PC CAPAN 1 cells after HMGA2 expression was silenced or overexpressed, Transwell migration and invasion assays were performed, and EMT marker levels (E-cadherin, N-cadherin and Vimentin) were determined by immunoblot.
Results: HMGA2 and Vimentin were found in 43% and 45% of PC tissue samples, respectively, while E-cadherin was absent in 60%. HMGA2 expression, loss of E-cadherin and Vimentin expression were significantly associated with clinical stage, tumor differentiation and lymph node metastasis. More importantly, univariate and multivariate analysis demonstrated that HMGA2 expression is an independent prognostic factor for patients with pancreatic cancer. Meanwhile, HMGA2-silenced CAPAN 1 cells showed reduced migration and invasion ability while HMGA2-overexpressed CAPAN 1 cells showed increased migration and invasion ability. Increased E-cadherin (epithelial marker) and reduced N-cadherin and Vimentin (mesenchymal markers) were found in HMGA2-silenced cells, while reduced E-cadherin and increased N-cadherin and Vimentin were found in HMGA2-overexpressed cells. Furthermore, Snail and Zeb1 (transcriptional factors) were reduced in HMGA2-silenced cells and increased in HMGA2-overexpressed cells.
Conclusion: Our findings demonstrate that HMGA2 expression correlates with advanced tumor grades, lymph node metastasis and poor prognosis and may be a novel prognosis/therapeutic marker for PC.

Keywords: HMGA2, human pancreatic cancer, prognosis, EMT

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