The prognostic significance of histone demethylase UTX in esophageal squamous cell carcinoma

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The dysregulation of the ubiquitously transcribed TPR gene on the X chromosome (UTX) has been reported to be involved in the oncogenesis of several types of cancers. However, the expression and significance of UTX in esophageal squamous cell carcinoma (ESCC) remains largely undetermined. Immunohistochemistry was performed in 106 ESCC patients, and correlated with clinicopathological features and survival. The functional role of UTX in ESCC cells was determined by UTX-mediated siRNA. Univariate analyses showed that high UTX expression was associated with superior overall survival (OS, p = 0.011) and disease-free survival (DFS, p = 0.01). UTX overexpression was an independent prognosticator in multivariate analysis for OS (p = 0.013, hazard ratio = 1.996) and DFS (p = 0.009, hazard ratio = 1.972). The 5-year OS rates were 39% and 61% in patients with low expression and high expression of UTX, respectively. Inhibition of endogenous UTX in ESCC cells increased cell viability and BrdU incorporation, and decreased the expression of epithelial marker E-cadherin. Immunohistochemically, UTX expression was also positively correlated with E-cadherin expression. High UTX expression is independently associated with a better prognosis in patients with ESCC and downregulation of UTX increases ESCC cell growth and decreases E-cadherin expression. Our results suggest that UTX may be a novel therapeutic target for patients with ESCC.




Li, S. H., Lu, H. I., Huang, W. T., Tien, W. Y., Lan, Y. C., Lin, W. C., … Chen, C. H. (2018). The prognostic significance of histone demethylase UTX in esophageal squamous cell carcinoma. International Journal of Molecular Sciences, 19(1).

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