Research Papers:

Enhanced chemosensitization of anoikis-resistant melanoma cells through syndecan-2 upregulation upon anchorage independency

TingTing Tseng, WuChing Uen, JenChih Tseng and ShaoChen Lee _

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Oncotarget. 2017; 8:61528-61537. https://doi.org/10.18632/oncotarget.18616

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TingTing Tseng1, WuChing Uen1,2, JenChih Tseng1 and ShaoChen Lee1

1School of Medicine, Fu Jen Catholic University, New Taipei City 242, Taiwan

2Department of Hematology and Oncology, Shin Kong Wu Ho-Su Memorial Hospital, Taipei City 111, Taiwan

Correspondence to:

ShaoChen Lee, email: [email protected]

Keywords: melanoma, anchorage independency, syndecan-2, chemosensitivity

Received: November 14, 2016     Accepted: May 29, 2017     Published: June 27, 2017


Syndecan family proteins are heparan sulfate proteoglycans, which involved in various cellular activities and associating with metastatic potential and chemosensitivity of tumor cells. Melanoma is one of malignant tumors with poor prognosis upon metastasis. Previously, we had shown that melanoma cells remained survived under cell detachment, which was similar to the initial steps of tumor metastasis. Downregulation of syndecan-1 and upregulation of syndecan-2 in melanoma A375 cells were observed by different suspension conditions. Specific gene alterations also increased melanoma malignancy under anchorage independency. Thus, we would like to investigate in further the role of specific gene alteration, so that it could be used to develop novel strategy to treat melanoma.

In this paper, we found that syndecan-2 expression level as well the kinase phosphorylation levels increased upon anchorage independency. The pathway to regulate syndecan-2 expression shifted from PKCα/β-dependent under adhesion into PKCδ-dependent under cell suspension. Manipulation of syndecan-2 expression showed that PI3K and ERK phosphorylation as well the migratory ability increased with increased syndecan-2 expression level. In addition, suspended melanoma cells were more sensitive to chemoagents, which correlated with syndecan-2 overexpression, PI3K and ERK activations, serum level, and the presence of glycosaminoglycans.

In conclusion, we showed upregulation of syndecan-2 in anoikis-resistant melanoma cells enhanced chemosensitivity through PI3K and ERK activation. This observation would support and refine the strategy of adjuvant chemotherapy to overcome metastatic melanoma.

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