Purpose: Chemoresistance is the main cause of treatment failure in cancer and is associated with distant metastases and epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition (EMT). This study was aimed to explore the mechanism of metastases and EMT in chemoresistant gastric cancer.
Experimental Design: A key molecular pathway was identified via gene profiling and a bioinformatic analysis in a chemoresistant gastric cancer model. The roles of FOXL2, HMGA2, and ITGA2 were validated via loss-of-function and gain-of-function experiments in vitro and in an orthotopic gastric cancer animal model. The regulation of FOXL2 by HMGA2 was explored via immunoprecipitation and luciferase reporter assays. The expression of these proteins in gastric cancer tissues was examined by IHC.
Results: HMGA2 and FOXL2 directly regulated the metastasis and EMT of chemoresistant gastric cancer. The interaction between HMGA2 and pRb facilitated the transactivation of FOXL2 by E2F1, and ITGA2 was the downstream effector of the HMGA2–FOXL2 pathway. HMGA2, FOXL2, and ITGA2 were associated with the TNM classification and staging of gastric cancer and were increased in metastatic lymph nodes and distant metastases. Increased HMGA2, FOXL2, and ITGA2 levels were associated with reduced overall survival periods of patients with gastric cancer.
Conclusions: This study demonstrated that the transactivation of FOXL2 driven by interactions between HMGA2 and pRb might exert critical effects on the metastases and EMT of chemoresistant gastric cancer. Blocking the HMGA2–FOXL2–ITGA2 pathway could serve as a new strategy for gastric cancer treatment. Clin Cancer Res; 1–13. ©2017 AACR.
Note: Supplementary data for this article are available at Clinical Cancer Research Online (http://clincancerres.aacrjournals.org/).
- Received August 31, 2016.
- Revision received December 23, 2016.
- Accepted January 8, 2017.
- ©2017 American Association for Cancer Research.