Research Papers:

Polycomb complex protein BMI-1 promotes invasion and metastasis of pancreatic cancer stem cells by activating PI3K/AKT signaling, an ex vivo, in vitro, and in vivo study

Min-Cong Wang, Min Jiao, Tao Wu, Li Jing, Jie Cui, Hui Guo, Tao Tian, Zhi-ping Ruan, Yong-Chang Wei, Li-Li Jiang, Hai-Feng Sun, Lan-Xuan Huang, Ke-Jun Nan and Chun-Li Li _

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Oncotarget. 2016; 7:9586-9599. https://doi.org/10.18632/oncotarget.7078

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Min-Cong Wang1, Min Jiao1, Tao Wu1, Li Jing1, Jie Cui1, Hui Guo1, Tao Tian1, Zhi-ping Ruan1, Yong-Chang Wei1, Li-Li Jiang1, Hai-Feng Sun1, Lan-Xuan Huang1, Ke-Jun Nan1, Chun-Li Li1

1Department of Medical Oncology, The First Affiliated Hospital of Xi’an Jiaotong University, Xi’an, Shaanxi Province, People’s Republic of China

Correspondence to:

Ke-Jun Nan, e-mail: [email protected]

Chun-Li Li, e-mail: [email protected]

Keywords: cancer stem cells, BMI-1, invasion, metastasis, pancreatic cancer

Received: June 27, 2015     Accepted: January 02, 2016     Published: January 30, 2016


Cancer stem cell theory indicates cancer stem cells are the key to promote tumor invasion and metastasis. Studies showed that BMI-1 could promote self-renew, differentiation and tumor formation of CSCs and invasion/metastasis of human cancer. However, whether BMI-1 could regulate invasion and metastasis ability of CSCs is still unclear. In our study, we found that up-regulated expression of BMI-1 was associated with tumor invasion, metastasis and poor survival of pancreatic cancer patients. CD133+ cells were obtained by using magnetic cell sorting and identified of CSCs properties such as self-renew, multi-differentiation and tumor formation ability. Then, we found that BMI-1 expression was up-regulated in pancreatic cancer stem cells. Knockdown of BMI-1 expression attenuated invasion ability of pancreatic cancer stem cells in Transwell system and liver metastasis capacity in nude mice which were injected CSCs through the caudal vein. We are the first to reveal that BMI-1 could promote invasion and metastasis ability of pancreatic cancer stem cells. Finally, we identified that BMI-1 expression activating PI3K/AKT singing pathway by negative regulating PTEN was the main mechanism of promoting invasion and metastasis ability of pancreatic CSCs. In summary, our findings indicate that BMI-1 could be used as the therapeutic target to inhibiting CSCs-mediated pancreatic cancer metastasis.

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