HSCs-derived COMP drives hepatocellular carcinoma progression by activating MEK/ERK and PI3K/AKT signaling pathways

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Date: Sept. 19, 2018
Publisher: BioMed Central Ltd.
Document Type: Report
Length: 7,475 words
Lexile Measure: 1520L

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Abstract :

Background Cartilage oligomeric matrix protein (COMP) is known to promote fibrosis in skin, lung and liver. Emerging evidence shows that COMP plays critical roles in tumor development, including breast cancer, colon cancer and hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). Nevertheless, the role of COMP in HCC proliferation and metastasis and its underlying mechanisms remain fully unclear. Methods Serum COMP was determined by ELISA. Cell Counting Kit-8 and plate colony formation were performed to evaluate cell proliferation. Wound healing and transwell assays were used to determine migration and invasion of HCC cells. Western blotting and immunofluorescence were carried out for detection of epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition (EMT) markers and MMPs in HCC cells. The in vivo role of COMP was evaluated using mouse models. We also measured effects of hepatic stellate cells (HSCs)-conditioned medium (CM) on HCC progression using transwell coculture system. Results Here, we found that serum COMP levels in HCC patients were significantly higher than those in healthy controls. Accordingly, high serum COMP levels in HCC patients significantly correlated with malignant clinical characteristics and poor clinical outcomes. Next, we investigated that recombinant human COMP protein (rCOMP) treatment resulted in increased abilities of proliferation, invasion and migration of HCC cells. Furthermore, rCOMP treatment enhanced proliferative and metastatic colonization of HCC cells in vivo. Mechanistically, CD36 receptor played an essential role in COMP-mediated HCC cell proliferation and metastasis. Functionally, COMP/CD36 signaling caused phosphorylation of ERK and AKT, resulting in the upregulation of tumor-progressive genes such as EMT markers, MMP-2/9, Slug and Twist in HCC cells. Interestingly, we revealed that COMP was secreted by HSCs. CM of LX2 cells with COMP knockdown showed weaker effects on the activation of MEK/ERK and PI3K/AKT signaling pathways in HCC cells compared to control CM. Conclusions Our findings indicated that HSCs-derived COMP collaborated with CD36 and subsequently played an essential role in MEK/ERK and PI3K/AKT-mediated HCC progression. COMP might act as a promising target for the diagnosis and treatment of aggressive HCC. Keywords: Hepatocellular carcinoma, Microenvironment, Hepatic stellate cells, COMP, Tumor progression

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Gale Document Number: GALE|A557714788