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Notch1 serves as a prognostic factor and regulates metastasis via regulating EGFR expression in hypopharyngeal squamous cell carcinoma

Authors Tian J, Liu X, Liu X, Jing P, Sa N, Wang H, Xu W

Received 26 May 2018

Accepted for publication 10 September 2018

Published 24 October 2018 Volume 2018:11 Pages 7395—7405


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single anonymous peer review

Peer reviewer comments 2

Editor who approved publication: Dr Sanjeev Srivastava

Jiajun Tian,1 Xianfang Liu,2 Xiuxiu Liu,2 Peihang Jing,1 Na Sa,1 Haibo Wang,1,2 Wei Xu1,2

1Department of Otorhinolaryngology–Head and Neck Surgery, Shandong Provincial Hospital Affiliated to Shandong University, Jinan 250021, China; 2Shandong Provincial Key Laboratory of Otology, Jinan 250022, Shandong, China

Objective: Hypopharyngeal squamous cell carcinoma (HSCC) remains one of the most lethal malignancies in head and neck. Notch1 has been validated to play prominent roles in the occurrence and development of various types of cancer. The aim of this study was to explore the function and underlying mechanism of Notch1 in HSCC.
Patients and methods: Seventy-one cancer tissue samples and adjacent noncancerous formalin-fixed paraffin embedded tissue specimens were analyzed by immunohistochemistry. As Notch1 is overexpressed in HSCC, we further questioned whether there was a relationship between Notch1 and the clinicopathological characteristics. After confirming the successful knockdown of Notch1 by siRNA, the migration and invasion after gene knockdown were investigated by Transwell chambers. We then tried to identify YBX1 and EGFR expression using real-time PCR (RT-PCR) and Western blot analyses. To further determine whether the downexpression of EGFR was caused by YBX1 and the overexpression of YBX1 was caused by gene amplification, the expression of EGFR was detected by RT-PCR and Western blot assays.
Results: We found that the expression of Notch1 and EGFR in HSCC tissues was upregulated compared with those in the adjacent noncancerous tissues. Further clinicopathological characteristics analysis revealed that the expression of Notch1 was positively correlated with distant metastasis (P=0.003) and tumor differentiation (P=0.031). The high expression of Notch1 is an independent prognostic factor for a poor overall survival in patients with HSCC (P=0.015, χ2=10.403). Knocking down of Notch1 significantly inhibits the migration and invasion of FaDu cells in vitro. Mechanistic investigation reveals that Notch1 knockdown is found suppressing the expression of EGFR at transcriptional level. Interestingly, we further found that Notch1 knockdown also decreased the expression of YBX1, which is a transcription factor of EGFR. Moreover, the upregulation of YBX1 reverses the suppression of Notch1 on EGFR. Furthermore, forced overexpression of YBX1 induced the invasion of FaDu cells.
Conclusion: Taken together, we found a positively cross-linked role of Notch1 signaling in the outcome of HSCC, providing a novel valuable prognostic marker and potential therapeutic target for the treatment of HSCC patients. Notch1 is a core signaling molecule for regulating migration and invasion via interplaying with EGFR in HSCC cells.

Keywords: hypopharyngeal squamous cell carcinoma, metastasis, Notch1, EGFR

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