Research Papers:

Asporin enhances colorectal cancer metastasis through activating the EGFR/Src/cortactin signaling pathway

Huo Wu, Xiaoqian Jing, Xi Cheng, Yonggang He, Lei Hu, Haoxuan Wu, Feng Ye and Ren Zhao _

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Oncotarget. 2016; 7:73402-73413. https://doi.org/10.18632/oncotarget.12336

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Huo Wu1,*, Xiaoqian Jing1,*, Xi Cheng1,*, Yonggang He1, Lei Hu1, Haoxuan Wu1, Feng Ye1, Ren Zhao1

1Department of General Surgery, Shanghai Institute of Digestive Surgery, Ruijin Hospital, Shanghai Jiaotong University School of Medicine, Shanghai, China

*These authors contributed equally to this work

Correspondence to:

Ren Zhao, email: [email protected]

Keywords: asporin, colorectal cancer, cortactin, metastasis

Received: March 10, 2016     Accepted: September 25, 2016     Published: September 29, 2016


Asporin has been implicated as an oncogene in various types of human cancers; however, the roles of asporin in the development and progression of colorectal cancer (CRC) have not yet been determined. With clinical samples, we found that asporin was highly expressed in CRC tissues compared to adjacent normal tissues and the asporin expression levels were significantly associated with lymph node metastasis status and TNM stage of the patients. Through knockdown of asporin in CRC cell lines RKO and SW620 or overexpression of asporin in cell lines HT-29 and LoVo, we found that asporin could enhance wound healing, migration and invasion abilities of the CRC cells. Further more, with the human umbilical vein endothelial cells (HUVECs) tube formation assays and the xenograft model, we found that asporin promoted the tumor growth through stimulating the VEGF signaling pathway. The portal vein injection models suggested that asporin overexpression stimulated the liver metastasis of HT29 cell line, while asporin knockdown inhibited the liver metastasis of RKO cell line. In addition, asporin was found to augment the phosphorylation of EGFR/Src/cortactin signaling pathway, which might be contributed to the biological functions of asporin in CRC metastasis. These results suggested that asporin promoted the tumor growth and metastasis of CRC, and it could be a potential therapeutic target for CRC patients in future.

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