Research Papers:

The axon guidance molecule semaphorin 3F is a negative regulator of tumor progression and proliferation in ileal neuroendocrine tumors

Julien Bollard _, Patrick Massoma, Cécile Vercherat, Martine Blanc, Florian Lepinasse, Nicolas Gadot, Christophe Couderc, Gilles Poncet, Thomas Walter, Marie-Odile Joly, Valérie Hervieu, Jean-Yves Scoazec and Colette Roche

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Oncotarget. 2015; 6:36731-36745. https://doi.org/10.18632/oncotarget.5481

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Julien Bollard1,*, Patrick Massoma1,*, Cécile Vercherat1, Martine Blanc1, Florian Lepinasse2, Nicolas Gadot3, Christophe Couderc1, Gilles Poncet4, Thomas Walter4, Marie-Odile Joly1,2,5, Valérie Hervieu1,2,5, Jean-Yves Scoazec1,2,3,5, Colette Roche1

1Centre de Recherche en Cancérologie de Lyon, INSERM U1052, CNRS UMR5286, Equipe «Différenciation endocrine et tumorigenèse», Faculté Laënnec, F-69372 Lyon, France

2Hospices Civils de Lyon, Hôpital Edouard Herriot, Service Central d’Anatomie et de Cytologie Pathologiques, F-69437 Lyon, France

3Université Lyon 1, Fédération de Recherche Santé Lyon-Est, ANIPATH, Faculté Laennec, F-69372 Lyon, France

4Hospices Civils de Lyon, Hôpital Edouard Herriot, Fédération des Spécialités Digestives, F-69437 Lyon, France

5Université de Lyon, Université Lyon 1, F-69622 Villeurbanne, France

*These authors have contributed equally to this work

Correspondence to:

Colette Roche, e-mail: [email protected]

Keywords: small intestine neuroendocrine tumor, semaphorin, proliferation, tumor progression

Received: May 20, 2015     Accepted: September 21, 2015     Published: October 02, 2015


Gastro-intestinal neuroendocrine tumors (GI-NETs) are rare neoplasms, frequently metastatic, raising difficult clinical and therapeutic challenges due to a poor knowledge of their biology. As neuroendocrine cells express both epithelial and neural cell markers, we studied the possible involvement in GI-NETs of axon guidance molecules, which have been shown to decrease tumor cell proliferation and metastatic dissemination in several tumor types. We focused on the role of Semaphorin 3F (SEMA3F) in ileal NETs, one of the most frequent subtypes of GI-NETs.

SEMA3F expression was detected in normal neuroendocrine cells but was lost in most of human primary tumors and all their metastases. SEMA3F loss of expression was associated with promoter gene methylation. After increasing endogenous SEMA3F levels through stable transfection, enteroendocrine cell lines STC-1 and GluTag showed a reduced proliferation rate in vitro. In two different xenograft mouse models, SEMA3F-overexpressing cells exhibited a reduced ability to form tumors and a hampered liver dissemination potential in vivo. This resulted, at least in part, from the inhibition of mTOR and MAPK signaling pathways.

This study demonstrates an anti-tumoral role of SEMA3F in ileal NETs. We thus suggest that SEMA3F and/or its cellular signaling pathway could represent a target for ileal NET therapy.

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