Fibulin-5 inhibits hepatocellular carcinoma cell migration and invasion by down-regulating matrix metalloproteinase-7 expression

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Background: Fibulin-5 has been considered as a tumor suppressor through inhibiting tumor growth and invasion. Reduced expression of Fibulin-5 is frequently observed in various human cancers. In this study, we investigate the clinical significance of Fibulin-5 and its role in hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) cell migration and invasion. Methods: The expression of Fibulin-5 was evaluated by qRT-PCR and immunoblotting in HCC and matched noncancerous tissues. Fibulin-5 was over-expressed or knocked down by a retrovirus-mediated expression plasmid or a specific siRNA in HCC cells. Boyden chamber and Transwell assays were used to test HCC cell migration and invasion. Immunostaining was performed to determine matrix metalloproteinase-7 (MMP-7) expression in HCC specimens. MMP-7 retroviruses and siRNA were used to alter MMP-7 expression in HCC cells. Results: In our study, the expression levels of Fibulin-5 protein and mRNA were down-regulated in HCC tissues as compared with those in matched noncancerous tissues. Reduced expression of Fibulin-5 was observed in all HCC cell lines (HepG2, SMMC-7721, MHCC97L, Hep3B, MHCC97H and HCC-LM3) as compare with that in a non-transformed hepatic cell line (LO2). Low expression of Fibulin-5 was significantly correlated with poor prognostic features including multiple tumor nodes, venous infiltration, high Edmondson-Steiner grading and advanced tumornode- metastasis (TNM) tumor stage. Furthermore, we demonstrated that Fibulin-5 was a novel independent prognostic marker for predicting 5-year survival of HCC patients. Our in vitro studies showed that Fibulin-5 overexpression inhibited HCC cell migration and invasion. While Fibulin-5 knockdown increased the number of migrated and invaded HCC cells. Fibulin-5 negatively regulated MMP-7 abundance in HCC cells. Moreover, the inverse correlation between Fibulin-5 and MMP-7 expressions was observed in HCC tissues. Mechanistically, we disclosed that MMP-7 knockdown reduced the number of migrated and invaded HCC cells. Restoring MMP-7 expression abrogated the suppressive effect of Fibulin-5 on HCC cell migration and invasion in vitro, suggesting that Fibulin-5 exerted its anti-metastatic function, at least in part, by down-regulating the expression of MMP-7 in HCC cells. Conclusions: These results indicate that Fibulin-5 may serve as a prognostic biomarker and inhibits HCC invasion and metastasis by suppressing MMP-7 expression.




Tu, K., Dou, C., Zheng, X., Li, C., Yang, W., Yao, Y., & Liu, Q. (2014). Fibulin-5 inhibits hepatocellular carcinoma cell migration and invasion by down-regulating matrix metalloproteinase-7 expression. BMC Cancer, 14(1).

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