J Cancer 2020; 11(2):432-440. doi:10.7150/jca.30976 This issue

Research Paper

Tankyrases/β-catenin Signaling Pathway as an Anti-proliferation and Anti-metastatic Target in Hepatocarcinoma Cell Lines

Jianghai Huang1,2, Qiang Qu3, Yong Guo4, Yuqi Xiang2, Deyun Feng2,5✉

1. Department of Pathology, the Second Xiangya Hospital.
2. Department of Pathology, School of Basic Medical Sciences.
3. Department of Pharmacy, Xiangya Hospital.
4. Department of neurosurgery, Xiangya Hospital.
5. Department of Pathology, Xiangya Hospital, Central South University, Changsha city, Hunan province, China.

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Huang J, Qu Q, Guo Y, Xiang Y, Feng D. Tankyrases/β-catenin Signaling Pathway as an Anti-proliferation and Anti-metastatic Target in Hepatocarcinoma Cell Lines. J Cancer 2020; 11(2):432-440. doi:10.7150/jca.30976. Available from https://www.jcancer.org/v11p0432.htm

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Objective: The Wnt/β-catenin pathway is involved in the development of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) and malignant events such as the epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT), metastasis, and invasion. Studies have illustrated that the inhibition of tankyrases (TNKS) antagonizes Wnt/β-catenin signaling in many cancer cells.

Methods: The expression levels of proteins related to the Wnt/β-catenin pathway and EMT were analyzed by immunohistochemistry in HCC tissue and paired adjacent normal tissue (n = 10), and in an analysis of The Cancer Genome Atlas (TCGA) data. Additionally, after treatment of HCC cell lines with TNKS1/2 small interfering RNA (siRNA) and a novel TNKS inhibitor (NVP-TNKS656), cell viability, cell clone formation, wound-healing, and cell invasion assays were performed.

Results: Higher expression of β-catenin, TNKS, vimentin, and N-cadherin was observed in HCC tissue compared to adjacent normal tissue, but lower expression of E-cadherin was found in HCC tissue. These findings were also observed in the TCGA analysis. In addition, TNKS inhibition (using TNKS1/2 siRNA and NVP-TNKS656) not only abrogated the proliferation of the HCC cell lines but also suppressed metastasis, invasion, and EMT phenotypic features. Moreover, the mechanisms related to TNKS inhibition in HCC probably involved the stabilization of AXIN levels and the downregulation of β-catenin, which mediates EMT marker expression.

Conclusion: The TNKS/β-catenin signaling pathway is a potential anti-proliferation and anti-metastatic target in HCC.

Keywords: Tankyrases, β-catenin, metastatic, invasion, EMT, HCC