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INTS8 accelerates the epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition in hepatocellular carcinoma by upregulating the TGF-β signaling pathway

Authors Tong H, Liu X, Li T, Qiu W, Peng C, Shen BY, Zhu Z

Received 17 August 2018

Accepted for publication 16 November 2018

Published 26 February 2019 Volume 2019:11 Pages 1869—1879


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewer comments 4

Editor who approved publication: Dr Ahmet Emre Eskazan

Hui Tong,1,* Xiaohui Liu,2,* Tao Li,1 Weihua Qiu,1 Chenghong Peng,1 Baiyong Shen,1 Zhecheng Zhu1

1Department of General Surgery, Ruijin Hospital, Shanghai Jiao Tong University School of Medicine, Shanghai 200025, China; 2France National Research Center International Joint Laboratory (CNRS-LIAI), Sino-French Research Center for Life Sciences and Genomics, State Key Laboratory of Medical Genomics, Ruijin Hospital, Shanghai Jiao Tong University School of Medicine, Shanghai 200025, China

*These authors contributed equally to this work

Background: Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) is the third leading cause of death by malignancy worldwide. HCC has a poor prognosis due to tumor invasiveness and metastasis. There is substantial evidence that the epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition (EMT) plays a central role in cancer metastasis. In a previous study, a possible association between integrator complex 8 (INTS8) and the progression and development of HCC was discovered. However, its role and the molecular mechanisms in HCC are poorly understood.
Methods: The PROGgeneV2 platform database and Kaplan–Meier plotter analysis were used to analyze the potential effects of INTS8 in HCC. Moreover, we performed migration, transwell, and metastasis assays to investigate the effects of INTS8 on HCC cells. In addition, relevant signaling pathways were examined by western blot and RT-qPCR assays.
Results: We used the PROGgeneV2 platform database and Kaplan–Meier plotter analysis, which indicated that increased expression of INTS8 is associated with poor overall survival of HCC. Moreover, INTS8 expression was higher in HCC tissues than in adjacent noncancerous tissues. INTS8 depletion reduced the invasion and migration of HCC cell lines. Downregulation of INTS8 in vivo resulted in fewer observed metastatic nodules in lungs. Moreover, INTS8 knockdown also increased the expression of epithelial markers (E-cadherin) and decreased the expression of mesenchymal markers (N-cadherin and vimentin) following the downregulation of SMAD4. In addition, pretreatment with TGF-β1 could partly prevent the decrease in the expression of SMAD4 and EMT markers induced by INTS8 knockdown.
Conclusion: Overall, these findings suggest that INTS8 accelerates the EMT in HCC by upregulating the TGF-β signaling pathway.

Keywords: INTS8, epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition, hepatocellular carcinoma

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