Research Papers:

IL-6/STAT3/TWIST inhibition reverses ionizing radiation-induced EMT and radioresistance in esophageal squamous carcinoma

Chunbao Zang, Xujie Liu, Bing Li, Yanqiong He, Shen Jing, Yujia He, Wenli Wu, Bingqian Zhang, Shuhong Ma, Weiwei Dai, Shaolin Li and Zhiping Peng _

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Oncotarget. 2017; 8:11228-11238. https://doi.org/10.18632/oncotarget.14495

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Chunbao Zang1,*, Xujie Liu1,*, Bing Li2,*, Yanqiong He1, Shen Jing1, Yujia He1, Wenli Wu1, Bingqian Zhang1, Shuhong Ma1, Weiwei Dai1, Shaolin Li1, Zhiping Peng1

1Department of Radiological Medicine, Chongqing Medical University, Chonging, China

2Department of Otorhinolaryngology, The First Affiliated Hospital of Chonqqing Medical University, Chongqing, China

*These authors contributed equally to this work

Correspondence to:

Zhiping Peng, email: [email protected]

Keywords: radioresistance, EMT, IL-6/STAT3/TWIST pathway

Received: July 25, 2016     Accepted: December 27, 2016     Published: January 04, 2017


The acquisition of radioresistance by esophageal squamous carcinoma (ESC) cells during radiotherapy may lead to cancer recurrence and poor survival. Previous studies have demonstrated that ionizing radiation (IR) induces epithelial–mesenchymal transition (EMT) of ESC cells accompanied by increased migration, invasion, and radioresistance. However, the underlying molecular mechanisms of IR-induced EMT and radioresistance are not well established, hampering the development of potential solutions. To address this issue, we investigated the role of the IL-6/STAT3/TWIST signaling pathway in IR-induced EMT. We found not only the pathway was activated during IR-induced EMT but also STAT3 inhibition or Twist depletion reversed the EMT process and attenuated radioresistance. These results improve our understanding of the underlying mechanisms involved in IR-induced EMT and suggest potential interventions to prevent EMT-induced acquisition of radioresistance.

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