Purpose: Epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition (EMT) is important in cancer progression and metastasis. We and others have previously reported that lysyl oxidase (LOX) is overexpressed in aggressive cancers, is associated with increased mortality, and regulates EMT. However, the mechanism by which LOX mediates EMT is unknown. In this study, we investigated the effect of LOX on mediators of EMT.
Experimental Design: We used chromatin immunoprecipitation and promoter luciferase assays to determine the target gene of LOX. To determine the effects of SNAI2 in vivo, we used our metastatic anaplastic thyroid cancer (ATC) mouse model. To investigate the effects of LOX and SNAI2 on MMPs and TIMPs, protein arrays were used. Primary tumors from patients with metastatic, breast and colon cancer, and tissue array for thyroid cancer were assessed for SNAI2 and TIMP4 expression by immunohistochemistry.
Results: We found that LOX knockdown decreases SNAI2 expression in cancer cell lines. Furthermore, knockdown of LOX reduced SNAI2 expression in a metastatic mouse model of thyroid cancer. We also demonstrated that LOX binds and transactivates the SNAI2 promoter. We found a direct correlation in thyroid and breast cancer samples between LOX and SNAI2 expression. To understand how LOX/SNAI2 axis mediates these effects, we performed a comprehensive analysis of MMPs/TIMPs. LOX and SNAI2 depletion reduced TIMP4 secretion. Analysis of SNAI2 and TIMP4 expression showed overexpression of both proteins in aggressive thyroid, colon, and breast tumors.
Conclusions: Our findings provide new evidence that LOX regulates SNAI2 expression and that SNAI2-mediated TIMP4 secretion plays a role in cancer progression. Clin Cancer Res; 22(17); 4491–504. ©2016 AACR.
This article is featured in Highlights of This Issue, p. 4275
Note: Supplementary data for this article are available at Clinical Cancer Research Online (http://clincancerres.aacrjournals.org/).
- Received October 10, 2015.
- Revision received March 21, 2016.
- Accepted March 24, 2016.
- ©2016 American Association for Cancer Research.