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Holzer K.,University of Heidelberg | Drucker E.,University of Heidelberg | Oliver S.,University of Heidelberg | Winkler J.,University of Heidelberg | And 5 more authors.
International Journal of Oncology | Year: 2016

Thyroid carcinoma is among the most common malignant endocrine neoplasms with a rising incidence. Genetic alterations occurring in thyroid cancer frequently affect the RAS/RAF/MEK/ERK-pathway such as the oncogenic, kinase-activating BRAFV600E mutation. Nuclear transport receptors including importins and exportins represent an important part of the nuclear transport machinery providing nucleo-cytoplasmic exchange of macromolecules. The role of nuclear transport receptors in the development and progression of thyroid carcinomas is largely unknown. Here, we studied the expression and function of the exportin cellular apoptosis susceptibility (CAS) in thyroid carcinogenesis and its link to the BRAFV600E mutation. By using immunohistochemistry (IHC) we found significantly increased IHC scores of CAS in primary papillary (PTC) and medullary (MTC), but not in follicular (FTC) thyroid carcinoma compared to non-tumorous (NT) thyroid tissue. Interestingly, metastases of the aforementioned subtypes including FTC showed a strong CAS positivity. Among PTCs we observed that CAS immunoreactivity was significantly higher in the tumors harboring the BRAFV600E mutation. Furthermore, depletion of CAS by RNAi in the BRAFV600E-positive PTC cell line B-CPAP led to reduced tumor cell growth measured by crystal violet assays. This phenotype could be attributed to reduced proliferation and increased cell death as assayed by BrdU ELISAs and immunoblotting for PARP-cleavage, respectively. Finally, we found additive effects of CAS siRNA and vemurafenib treatment in B-CPAP cells. Collectively, these data suggest that CAS overexpression in thyroid carcinoma depends on the subtype and the disease stage. Our findings also indicate that CAS maintains PTC cell proliferation and survival. Targeting CAS could represent a potential therapeutic approach particularly in combination with BRAF inhibitors such as vemurafenib in BRAFV600E-positive tumors.


Winkler J.,University of Heidelberg | Roessler S.,University of Heidelberg | Sticht C.,University of Heidelberg | DiGuilio A.L.,Stevens Institute of Technology | And 12 more authors.
Oncotarget | Year: 2016

Importins and exportins represent an integral part of the nucleocytoplasmic transport machinery with fundamental importance for eukaryotic cell function. A variety of malignancies including hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) show de-regulation of nuclear transport factors such as overexpression of the exportin Cellular Apoptosis Susceptibility (CAS). The functional implications of CAS in hepatocarcinogenesis remain, however, poorly understood. Here we integrated proteomics, transcriptomics and functional assays with patient data to further characterize the role of CAS in HCC. By analyzing ~1700 proteins using quantitative mass spectrometry in HCC cells we found that CAS depletion by RNAi leads to de-regulation of integrins, particularly down-regulation of integrin β1. Consistent with this finding, CAS knockdown resulted in substantially reduced migration and invasion of HCC cell lines as analyzed by 2D 'scratch' and invasion chamber assays, respectively. Supporting the potential in vivo relevance, high expression levels of CAS in HCC tissue samples were associated with macroangioinvasion and poorer patient outcome. Our data suggest a previously unanticipated link between CAS and integrin signaling which correlates with an aggressive HCC phenotype.

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