JOURNAL ARTICLE

Loss of vinculin and membrane-bound β-catenin promotes metastasis and predicts poor prognosis in colorectal cancer

Ting Li, Hanqing Guo, Ying Song, Xiaodi Zhao, Yongquan Shi, Yuanyuan Lu, Sijun Hu, Yongzhan Nie, Daiming Fan, Kaichun Wu
Molecular Cancer 2014, 13: 263
25496021

BACKGROUND: Loss of cell-cell adhesion is important for the development of cancer invasion and metastasis. Vinculin, a key adhesion-related protein, can affect metastasis and prognosis in several tumours. Here, we determined the biological roles of vinculin in the metastasis of colorectal cancer (CRC) and evaluated its clinical significance as a potential disease biomarker.

METHODS: The expression level of vinculin in CRC cell lines and tissues was measured using Real-Time PCR and western blotting. Moreover, vinculin function was analysed using Transwell assays and in vivo metastasis assays in gain- and loss-of-function experiments. Furthermore, the impact of vinculin together with membrane-bound β-catenin on the prognosis of 228 CRC patients was investigated by immunohistochemistry. Additionally, the expression of epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT) indicators was verified by immunohistochemistry in CRC tissues obtained from these patients.

RESULT: Vinculin expression was found to be significantly downregulated in highly metastatic CRC cell lines and metastatic tissues. Both in vitro and in vivo experiments showed that vinculin suppressed invasion, migration and metastasis in CRC cells and that this suppression could be attenuated by silencing β-catenin. Moreover, the expression of vinculin and membrane-bound β-catenin were positively correlated in CRC tissues, and lack of vinculin expression emerged as an independent prognostic factor in patients with CRC. Finally, the loss of vinculin and membrane-bound β-catenin was associated with node metastasis, organ metastasis and expression of EMT indicators.

CONCLUSION: Our results suggest that vinculin may play specific roles in the EMT and metastasis of CRC and that loss of vinculin could be used as a prognostic factor for CRC.

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