ABSTRACT: Selective overexpression of Human epididymal secretory protein E4 (HE4) points to a role in ovarian cancer tumorigenesis but little is known about the role the HE4 gene or the gene product plays. Here we show that elevated HE4 serum levels correlate with chemoresistance and decreased survival rates in EOC patients. HE4 overexpression promoted xenograft tumor growth and chemoresistance against cisplatin in an animal model resulting in reduced survival rates. HE4 displayed responses to tumor microenvironment constituents and presented increased expression as well as nuclear translocation upon EGF, VEGF and Insulin treatment and nucleolar localization with Insulin treatment. HE4 interacts with EGFR, IGF1R, and transcription factor HIF1?. Constructs of antisense phosphorothio-oligonucleotides targeting HE4 arrested tumor growth in nude mice. Collectively these findings implicate increased HE4 expression as a molecular factor in ovarian cancer tumorigenesis. Selective targeting directed towards the HE4 protein demonstrates therapeutic benefits for the treatment of ovarian cancer.
Project description:HE4, also known as WFDC2, is a useful biomarker for ovarian cancer when either used alone or in combination with CA125. HE4 is also overexpressed in endometrial cancer (EC), but its function in cancer cells is not clear. In this study, we investigate the role of HE4 in EC progression. An HE4-overexpression system was established by cloning the HE4 prototypic mRNA variant (HE4-V0) into a eukaryotic expression vector. Following transfection, stable clones in two EC cell lines were selected. The effects of HE4 overexpression on cell growth and function were measured with the use of cell proliferation assay, matrigel invasion, and soft agar gel colony formation assays. HE4-induced cancer cell proliferation in vivo was examined in a mouse xenograft model. HE4 overexpression significantly enhanced EC cell proliferation, matrigel invasion, and colony formation in soft agar. Moreover, HE4 overexpression promoted tumor growth in the mouse xenograft model. HE4 overexpression enhanced several malignant phenotypes in cell culture and in a mouse model. These results are consistent with our previous observation that high levels of serum HE4 closely correlate with the stage, myometrial invasion and tumor size in patients with EC. This study provides evidence that HE4 overexpression directly impacts tumor progression in endometrial cancer.
Project description:Epithelial ovarian cancer (EOC) is a highly lethal gynecologic malignancy arising from the fallopian tubes that has a high rate of chemoresistant recurrence and low five-year survival rate. The ovarian cancer biomarker HE4 is known to promote proliferation, metastasis, chemoresistance, and suppression of cytotoxic lymphocytes. In this study, we sought to examine the effects of HE4 on signaling within diverse cell types that compose the tumor microenvironment. HE4 was found to activate STAT3 signaling and promote upregulation of the pro-angiogenic STAT3 target genes IL8 and HIF1A in immune cells, ovarian cancer cells, and endothelial cells. Moreover, HE4 promoted increases in tube formation in an in vitro model of angiogenesis, which was also dependent upon STAT3 signaling. Clinically, HE4 and IL8 levels positively correlated in ovarian cancer patient tissue. Furthermore, HE4 serum levels correlated with microvascular density in EOC tissue and inversely correlated with cytotoxic T cell infiltration, suggesting that HE4 may cause deregulated blood vessel formation and suppress proper T cell trafficking in tumors. Collectively, this study shows for the first time that HE4 has the ability to affect signaling events and gene expression in multiple cell types of the tumor microenvironment, which could contribute to angiogenesis and altered immunogenic responses in ovarian cancer.
Project description:While selective overexpression of serum clinical biomarker Human epididymis secretory protein 4 (HE4) is indicative of ovarian cancer tumorigenesis, much is still known about the mechanistic role of the HE4 gene or gene product. Here, we examine the role of the secretory glycoprotein HE4 in ovarian cancer immune evasion. Through modified subtractive hybridization analyses of human peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs), we have characterized gene targets of HE4 and established a preliminary mechanism of HE4-mediated immune failure in ovarian tumors. Dual specificity phosphatase 6 (DUSP6) emerged as the most upregulated gene in PBMCs upon in vitro exposure to HE4. DUSP6 was found to be upregulated in CD8+ cells and CD56+ cells. HE4 exposure reduced Erk1/2 phosphorylation specifically in these cell populations and the effect was erased by co-incubation with a DUSP6 inhibitor, (E)-2-benzylidene-3-(cyclohexylamino)-2,3-dihydro-1H-inden-1-one (BCI). In co-culture with PBMCs, HE4-silenced SKOV3 human ovarian cancer cells exhibited enhanced proliferation upon exposure to external HE4, while this effect was partially attenuated by adding BCI to the culture. Additionally, the reversal effects of BCI were erased in the co-culture with CD8+ / CD56+ cell deprived PBMCs. Taken together, these findings show that HE4 enhances tumorigenesis of ovarian cancer by compromising cytotoxic CD8+ and CD56+ cells through upregulation of self-produced DUSP6.
Project description:The ovarian cancer biomarker HE4 has been shown to have multiple effects on ovarian cancer pathogenesis. In order to reveal gene regulation upstream of HE4 biological effects in ovarian cancer, HE4 was overexpressed in OVCAR8 wild type ovarian cancer cells and compared to null vector transfected cells. To gain a more comprehensive understanding of HE4 effects and elucidate similarities/differences between short-term HE4 exposure versus stable overexpression, we also compared untreated wild type cells with cells exposed to recombinant HE4 protein.
Project description:Antiestrogens including tamoxifen and fulvestrant have been evaluated as chemotherapeutics for ovarian cancer, particularly in cases of platinum resistant disease. Human epididymis protein 4 (HE4) is highly overexpressed in women with ovarian cancer and overexpression of HE4 has been found to correlate with platinum resistance. However, the role of HE4 in modulating responses to hormones and hormonal therapy has not been characterized in ovarian cancer. Here we demonstrate that 17?-estradiol, tamoxifen, and fulvestrant induce nuclear and nucleolar translocation of HE4 and that HE4 overexpression induces resistance to antiestrogens. HE4 was found to interact with estrogen receptor-? (ER-?), and HE4 overexpression resulted in ER-? downregulation in vitro and in human ovarian cancers. We identified a novel role for importin-4 in governing the nuclear transport of HE4. Treatment with ivermectin, an importin inhibitor, blocked HE4/importin-4 nuclear accumulation and sensitized HE4-overexpressing ovarian cancer cells to fulvestrant and tamoxifen.
Project description:WAP four-disulfide core domain 2 (WFDC2) is a small secretory protein that has been widely studied in ovarian cancer. It has been proven that WFDC2 promotes proliferation and metastasis in ovarian cancer, and serves as a diagnostic biomarker. However, the specific function of WFDC2 in prostate cancer has not been reported. Here, we first screened the diagnostic marker and favorable prognostic factor WFDC2 in prostate cancer by bioinformatics. WFDC2 expression was negatively correlated with Gleason score and metastasis in prostate cancer. Then, we revealed that overexpression of WFDC2, and addition of recombinant protein HE4 can significantly inhibit prostate cancer metastasis in vivo and in vitro. By co-immunoprecipitation and co-localization assays, we proved that WFDC2 binds to the extracellular domain of epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR). Immunoblot showed that WFDC2 overexpression and recombinant protein HE4 addition inactivated the EGFR/AKT/GSK3B/Snail signaling pathway, and then restrained the progression of epithelial-mesenchymal transition. In conclusion, our study identified that the tumor suppressor WFDC2 can suppress prostate cancer metastasis by inactivating EGFR signaling.
Project description:Background:Paclitaxel is a first-line chemotherapy drug for pancreatic, ovarian, endometrial cancers and other malignancies. However, its efficacy is often compromised by decreased cell sensitivity or the development of resistance. Human epididymis protein 4 (HE4) is highly expressed in gynecologic and pancreatic cancer tissues, and its serum levels are used for patient triage and assistant diagnosis of gynecologic cancers. Previous studies have shown that HE4 overexpression could promote cancer cell proliferation and the growth of tumor xenografts, which suggests its potential involvement in cancer chemosensitivity. Methods:Two pancreatic cancer cell lines, Capan-1 and Suit-2, were transiently transfected with an HE4 overexpression plasmid, and transfected cells were treated with paclitaxel. S-phase cells were labeled using BrdU, and cell positivity rates were determined by counting BrdU-positive cells. Following HE4 overexpression and/or drug treatment, a western blotting analysis was performed to determine the protein alterations of PCNA and p21, two important cell cycle regulators. Results:HE4 overexpression not only promoted the proliferation of the Capan-1 pancreatic cells, but also significantly decreased cell sensitivity to paclitaxel. Results from western blotting showed that paclitaxel inhibited cell proliferation by decreasing the expression of PCNA and increasing the expression of p21. Data analysis indicated interactive actions between HE4 function and paclitaxel effects, both converging to cell cycle regulation. Conclusion:These findings suggest that HE4 could be a potential therapeutic target for the sensitization of pancreatic cancer cells to paclitaxel treatment. HE4 expression levels may be used to predict the sensitivity of pancreatic cancer patients to paclitaxel.
Project description:Human epididymis protein 4 (HE4) is well known to be a predictor of ovarian cancer clinically. HE4 is reported to play crucial roles in ovarian cancer progression and metastasis. The purpose of the present study was to explore its biological role and molecular mechanism in ovarian cancer. In our study, we found that expression levels of HE4 in tissues, serum and urine in ovarian cancer were upregulated compared to healthy and benign groups. HE4 expression was elevated in ovarian cancer cells. Knockdown of HE4 dampened cell proliferation and Ki67 expression, as well as enhanced apoptosis, caspase-3 activity and cleaved-caspase-3 expression. In addition, HE4 downregulation repressed invasion and migration capabilities of ovarian cancer cells. Western blot analyses showed that knockdown of HE4 reduced the levels of matrix metalloproteinases (MMP-2 and MMP-9) and inhibited epithelial to mesenchymal transition (EMT) in ovarian cancer cells. In vivo animal experiments revealed that HE4 downregulation constrained the growth of xenograft tumor. Mechanism research showed that knockdown HE4 inhibited the activity of JAK/STAT3 pathway in vitro and in vivo In conclusion, our findings reported that knockdown of HE4 suppresses aggressive cell growth and malignant progression of ovarian cancer by inhibiting the JAK/STAT3 pathway, which provides valuable insights to contribute to develop novel HE4-targeted therapies.
Project description:In screening for epithelial ovarian cancer, unnecessary surgery can be reduced by limiting use of transvaginal ultrasound (TVU) to women with increasing CA125 serum levels. Replacing or augmenting TVU with measurement of a serum marker specific for malignancy might further improve screening performance. Serum samples from 112 invasive ovarian cancer patients and 706 matched control subjects from the Prostate, Lung, Colorectal, and Ovarian trial were used to evaluate human epididymis protein 4 (HE4), mesothelin, matrix metalloproteinase 7 (MMP7), SLPI, Spondin2, and insulin-like growth factor binding protein 2 (IGFBP2) for their potential use in screening. TVU results were available for a subset of 84 patients and 516 control subjects used to compare the best marker with TVU. HE4 was found to perform better than TVU as a second-line screen, confirming 27 of 39 cancers with increasing CA125 serum levels compared with 17 cancers confirmed by TVU (P = .03). Serum HE4 levels were found to increase with age and smoking status, suggesting that a longitudinal algorithm might improve its performance.
Project description:BACKGROUND:It is known that the transcription factor zinc finger protein 703 (ZNF703) plays an important role in physiological functions and the occurrence and development of various tumors. However, the role and mechanism of ZNF703 in ovarian cancer are unclear. MATERIALS AND METHODS:Immunohistochemistry was used to analyze the expression of ZNF703 in ovarian cancer patients and to assess the effect of ZNF703 expression on the survival and prognosis of ovarian cancer patients. ZNF703 overexpression and suppression expression experiments were used to evaluate the effect of ZNF703 on malignant biological behavior of ovarian cancer cells in vitro. Detecting the interaction between HE4 and ZNF703 by immunofluorescence colocalization and coprecipitation, and nuclear translocation. Chromatin immunoprecipitation-sequencing (ChIP-Seq), dual luciferase reporter assay, ChIP-PCR, in vivo model were applied to study the molecular mechanism of ZNF703 affecting the development of ovarian cancer. RESULTS:ZNF703 was highly expressed in ovarian cancer tissues, and its expression level is related to the prognosis of ovarian cancer patients. In vivo and in vitro experiments confirmed that ZNF703 overexpression/inhibition expression will promoted/inhibited the malignant biological behavior of ovarian cancer. Mechanically, ZNF703 interacted with HE4, and HE4 promoted nuclear translocation of ZNF703. ChIP-Seq identified multiple regulatory targets of ZNF703, of which ZNF703 directly binds to the enhancer region of PEA15 to promote the transcription of PEA15 and thereby promoted the proliferation of cancer cells. CONCLUSION:The results showed that ZNF703 as an oncogene played an important role in the epigenetic modification of ovarian cancer proliferation, and suggested that ZNF703 as a transcription factor may become a prognostic factor and a potential therapeutic target for ovarian cancer.