J Cancer 2020; 11(6):1596-1605. doi:10.7150/jca.38217 This issue

Research Paper

Hypoxia-induced MFAP5 Promotes Tumor Migration and Invasion via AKT Pathway in Head and Neck Squamous Cell Carcinoma

Qiaoshi Xu1,2,3#, Hanyue Chang1,2,3,4#, Xuerui Tian1,2,3, Chao Lou1,2,3, Hailong Ma1,2,3✉, Xi Yang1,2,3✉

1. Department of Oral Maxillofacial-Head and Neck Oncology, Shanghai Ninth People's Hospital, College of Stomatology, Shanghai Jiao Tong University School of Medicine, No 639, Zhizaoju Rd, Shanghai 200011, China
2. National Clinical Research Center for Oral Diseases, Shanghai 200011, China.
3. Shanghai Key Laboratory of Stomatology & Shanghai Research Institute of Stomatology, Shanghai 200011, China.
4. Key Laboratory of Oral Medicine, Guangzhou Institute of Oral Disease, Stomatology Hospital of Guangzhou Medical University, Guangzhou, 510140, China.
#Qiaoshi Xu and Hanyue Chang contributed equally to this work.

This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/). See http://ivyspring.com/terms for full terms and conditions.
Xu Q, Chang H, Tian X, Lou C, Ma H, Yang X. Hypoxia-induced MFAP5 Promotes Tumor Migration and Invasion via AKT Pathway in Head and Neck Squamous Cell Carcinoma. J Cancer 2020; 11(6):1596-1605. doi:10.7150/jca.38217. Available from https://www.jcancer.org/v11p1596.htm

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Objective: Microfibrillar-associated protein 5 (MFAP5) is highly expressed in many types of cancers. Our previous study has observed that overexpression of MFAP5 was correlated with lymph nodes metastasis and poor prognosis in head and neck squamous cell carcinoma (HNSCC), but the underlying mechanism is poorly understood.

Materials and methods: The MFAP5 expression is detected under hypoxia condition. HNSCC cell lines are transfected with MFAP5-expressing lentivirus vector to establish stable overexpression model. Wound-healing, migration and invasion assay are used to determine the effect of MFAP5 on HNSCC and metastasis-related proteins are examined by Western blot. In vivo lung metastasis assays are conducted by the tail vein injection. In addition, immunohistochemistry is applied to analyze the correlation of MFAP5, hypoxia-induced factor-1 α (HIF-1α), and vimentin in 84 HNSCC patients' tissue samples.

Results: Firstly, MFAP5 expression can be markedly induced under hypoxia condition in HNSCC cell lines. Cell lines with MFAP5 overexpression has a significant higher ability of migration and invasion. In addition, in vivo assay observes that overexpression of MFAP5 can promote tumor lung metastasis. Furthermore, MFAP5 facilitates this process by activating epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT) program via AKT pathway in HNSCC cell lines. The pro-metastatic effect of MFAP5 can be reversed by MK2206, an AKT phosphorylation inhibitor. Lastly, the positive correlation among HIF-1α, MFAP5 and vimentin from tissue samples and TCGA dataset are also observed in HNSCC.

Conclusion: Our study demonstrates MFAP5 plays a critical role in hypoxia-induced EMT program via AKT pathway in HNSCC, which would be a very promising therapeutic target.

Keywords: Microfibrillar-associated protein 5, Head and neck squamous cell carcinoma, Migration, Invasion, AKT