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TMEM17 promotes malignant progression of breast cancer via AKT/GSK3β signaling

Authors Zhao Y, Song K, Zhang Y, Xu H, Zhang X, Wang L, Fan C, Jiang G, Wang E

Received 20 March 2018

Accepted for publication 14 May 2018

Published 2 August 2018 Volume 2018:10 Pages 2419—2428

DOI https://doi.org/10.2147/CMAR.S168723

Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewers approved by Dr Colin Mak

Peer reviewer comments 2

Editor who approved publication: Professor Nakshatri


Yue Zhao,1 Kuiyuan Song,1 Yong Zhang,2 Hongtao Xu,1 Xiupeng Zhang,1 Liang Wang,1 Chuifeng Fan,1 Guiyang Jiang,1 Enhua Wang1

1Department of Pathology, First Affiliated Hospital and College of Basic Medical Sciences, China Medical University, Shenyang, China; 2Departments of Pathology, Cancer Hospital of China Medical University, Liaoning Cancer Hospital and Institute, Shenyang, China

Purpose: Current knowledge of TMEM17, a recently identified protein of the transmembrane (TMEM) family, is limited, especially with respect to its expression and biological functions in malignant tumors. This study analyzed TMEM17 expression in invasive breast cancer tissue and breast cell lines and its relevance to clinicopathological factors, and investigated the mechanisms underlying the biological effects of TMEM17 on breast cancer cells.
Patients and methods: TMEM17 protein expression was determined in 20 freshly harvested specimens (tumor and paired normal tissues) by Western blotting. Immunohistochemical analysis was performed to determine the expression and subcellular localization of TMEM17 in samples from 167 patients (mean age, 49 years) diagnosed with invasive ductal carcinoma (38 with triple-negative breast cancer; 129 with non-triple-negative breast cancer) who underwent complete resection in the First Affiliated Hospital of China Medical University between 2011 and 2013. Furthermore, TMEM17 was knocked down by small interfering RNAs in breast cancer cell lines.
Results: TMEM17 was found to be significantly upregulated in breast cancer tissues compared to the corresponding normal breast tissues by Western blotting (p=0.015). Immunohistochemical analysis revealed that TMEM was significantly upregulated in invasive breast cancer cells compared to adjacent normal breast duct glandular epithelial cells (10.78% vs 76.05%, p<0.001), and its expression was closely related to the patient’s T-stage (p=0.022), advanced TNM stages (p=0.007), and lymph node metastasis (p=0.012). After TMEM17 knockdown or overexpression in breast cancer cell lines, TMEM17 upregulated p-AKT, p-GSK3β, active β-catenin, and Snail, and downstream target proteins c-myc and cyclin D1, and downregulated E-cadherin, resulting in increased cancer cell proliferation, invasion, and migration. These effects were reversed by the AKT inhibitor LY294002.
Conclusion: Our results indicate that TMEM17 is upregulated in breast cancer tissues and can promote malignant progression of breast cancer cells by activating the AKT/GSK3β signaling pathway.

Keywords: proliferation, invasion, migration, β-catenin, Snail

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