Research Papers:

Activin B induces human endometrial cancer cell adhesion, migration and invasion by up-regulating integrin β3 via SMAD2/3 signaling

Siyuan Xiong, Christian Klausen, Jung-Chien Cheng, Hua Zhu and Peter C.K. Leung _

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Oncotarget. 2015; 6:31659-31673. https://doi.org/10.18632/oncotarget.5229

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Siyuan Xiong1, Christian Klausen1, Jung-Chien Cheng1, Hua Zhu1 and Peter C.K. Leung1

1 Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, Child and Family Research Institute, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada

Correspondence to:

Peter C.K. Leung, email:

Keywords: activin B, inhibin subunit βB, integrin β3, integrin αv, serous endometrial cancer

Received: June 29, 2015 Accepted: August 09, 2015 Published: August 28, 2015


Endometrial cancer is the fourth most common female cancer and the most common gynecological malignancy. Although it comprises only ~10% of all endometrial cancers, the serous histological subtype accounts for ~40% of deaths due to its aggressive behavior and propensity to metastasize. Histopathological studies suggest that elevated expression of activin/inhibin βB subunit is associated with reduced survival in non-endometrioid endometrial cancers (type II, mostly serous). However, little is known about the specific roles and mechanisms of activin B (βB dimer) in serous endometrial cancer growth and progression. In the present study, we examined the biological functions of activin B in type II endometrial cancer cell lines, HEC-1B and KLE. Our results demonstrate that treatment with activin B increases cell migration, invasion and adhesion to vitronectin, but does not affect cell viability. Moreover, we show that activin B treatment increases integrin β3 mRNA and protein levels via SMAD2/3-SMAD4 signaling. Importantly, siRNA knockdown studies revealed that integrin β3 is required for basal and activin B-induced cell migration, invasion and adhesion. Our results suggest that activin B-SMAD2/3-integrin β3 signaling could contribute to poor patient survival by promoting the invasion and/or metastasis of type II endometrial cancers.

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