Research Papers:

Connective tissue growth factor mediates TGF-β1-induced low-grade serous ovarian tumor cell apoptosis

Jung-Chien Cheng, Hsun-Ming Chang and Peter C.K. Leung _

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Oncotarget. 2017; 8:85224-85233. https://doi.org/10.18632/oncotarget.19626

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Jung-Chien Cheng1, Hsun-Ming Chang1 and Peter C.K. Leung1

1Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, BC Children’s Hospital Research Institute, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, British Columbia, V5Z 4H4, Canada

Correspondence to:

Peter C.K. Leung, email: [email protected]

Keywords: apoptosis, CTGF, low-grade serous carcinoma, ovarian cancer, TGF-β1

Received: May 03, 2017     Accepted: July 03, 2017     Published: July 27, 2017


Ovarian low-grade serous carcinoma (LGSC) is a rare disease and is now considered to be a distinct entity from high-grade serous carcinoma (HGSC), which is the most common and malignant form of epithelial ovarian cancer. Connective tissue growth factor (CTGF) is a secreted matricellular protein that has been shown to modulate many biological functions by interacting with multiple molecules in the microenvironment. Increasing evidence indicates that aberrant expression of CTGF is associated with cancer development and progression. Transforming growth factor-β1 (TGF-β1) is a well-known molecule that can strongly up-regulate CTGF expression in different types of normal and cancer cells. Our previous study demonstrated that TGF-β1 induces apoptosis of LGSC cells. However, the effect of TGF-β1 on CTGF expression in LGSC needs to be defined. In addition, whether CTGF mediates TGF-β1-induced LGSC cell apoptosis remains unknown. In the present study, we show that TGF-β1 treatment up-regulates CTGF expression by activating SMAD3 signaling in two human LGSC cell lines. Additionally, siRNA-mediated CTGF knockdown attenuates TGF-β1-induced cell apoptosis. Moreover, our results show that the inhibitory effect of the CTGF knockdown on TGF-β1-induced cell apoptosis is mediated by down-regulating SMAD3 expression. This study demonstrates an important role for CTGF in mediating the pro-apoptotic effects of TGF-β1 on LGCS.

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