JOURNAL ARTICLE

RUNX2 Plays An Oncogenic Role in Esophageal Carcinoma by Activating the PI3K/AKT and ERK Signaling Pathways

Huibin Lu, Tian Jiang, Kewei Ren, Zongming Li Li, Jianzhuang Ren, Gang Wu, Xinwei Han
Cellular Physiology and Biochemistry 2018, 49 (1): 217-225
30138923

BACKGROUND/AIMS: Esophageal carcinoma is a frequently occurring cancer at upper gastrointestinal tract. We aimed to evaluate the roles and possible mechanism of Runt Related Transcription Factor 2 (RUNX2) in the development of esophageal cancer.

METHODS: The expression of RUNX2 in esophageal carcinoma tissues and cells was investigated by qRT-PCR. Effects of RUNX2 on cell viability, apoptosis, migration and invasion were assessed using MTT assay, flow cytometry assay/western blot analysis, and Transwell assays, respectively. Afterwards, effects of RUNX2 on of the activation of the PI3K/AKT and ERK pathways were explored by Western blot analysis. In addition, a PI3K/AKT pathway inhibitor LY294002 and an ERK inhibitor U0126 were applied to further verify the regulatory relationship between RUNX2 and the PI3K/AKT and ERK signaling pathways. Besides, the RUNX2 function on tumor formation in vivo was investigated by tumor xenograft experiment.

RESULTS: The result showed that RUNX2 was highly expressed in esophageal carcinoma tissues and cells. Knockdown of RUNX2 significantly inhibited TE-1 and EC-109 cell viability, repressed TE-1 cell migration and invasion, and increased TE-1 cell apoptosis. RUNX2 overexpression showed the opposite effects on HET-1A cells. Moreover, RUNX2-mediated TE-1 cell viability, migration and invasion were associated with the activation of the PI3K/AKT and ERK pathways. Besides, knockdown of RUNX2 markedly suppressed tumor formation in vivo.

CONCLUSION: Our results indicate that RUNX2 may play an oncogenic role in esophageal carcinoma by activating the PI3K/ AKT and ERK pathways. RUNX2 may serve as a potent target for the treatment of esophageal carcinoma.

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