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Smoking behavior associated upregulation of SERPINB12 promotes proliferation and metastasis via activating WNT signaling in NSCLC.

BACKGROUND: Non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) is the leading cause of morality among all malignant tumors. Smoking is one of the most important causes of NSCLC, which contributes not only to the initiation of NSCLC but also to its progression. The identification of specific biomarkers associated with smoking will promote diagnosis and treatment.

METHODS: Data mining was used to identify the smoking associated gene SERPINB12. CCK8 assays, colony formation assays, a mouse xenograft model and transwell assays were performed to measure the biological functions of SERPINB12 in NSCLC. GSEA, luciferase reporter assays and immunofluorescence were conducted to explore the potential molecular mechanisms of SERPINB12 in NSCLC.

RESULTS: In this study, by data mining the TCGA database, we found that SERPINB12 was greatly upregulated in NSCLC patients with cigarette consumption behavior, while the expression level was positively correlated with disease grade and poor prognosis. SERPINB12 is a kind of serpin peptidase inhibitor, but its function in malignant tumors remains largely unknown. Functionally, knockdown of SERPINB12 observably inhibited the proliferation and metastasis of NSCLC cells in vitro and in vivo. Moreover, downregulation of SERPINB12 attenuated Wnt signaling by inhibiting the nuclear translocation of β-catenin, which explained the molecular mechanism underlying tumor progression.

CONCLUSIONS: In conclusion, SERPINB12 functions as a tumorigenesis factor, which could be a promising biomarker for NSCLC patients with smoking behavior, as well as a therapeutic target.

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