Intestinal metaplasia induced by ectopic expression of caudal-type homeobox (CDX)2 and/or CDX1 (CDX) is frequently observed around gastric cancer (GC). Abnormal expression of CDX is also observed in GC and suggests that inappropriate gastrointestinal differentiation plays essential roles in gastric tumorigenesis, but their roles on tumorigenesis remain unelucidated. Publicly available databases show that GC patients with higher CDX expression have significantly better clinical outcomes. We introduced CDX2 and CDX1 genes separately into GC-originated MKN7 and TMK1 cells deficient in CDX. Marked suppression of cell growth and dramatic morphological change into spindle-shaped flat form were observed along with induction of intestinal marker genes. G0-G1 growth arrest was accompanied by changed expression of cell cycle-related genes but not with apoptosis or senescence. Microarray analyses additionally showed decreased expression of gastric marker genes and increased expression of stemness-associated genes. Hierarchical clustering of 111 GC tissues and 21 non-cancerous gastric tissues by selected 18 signature genes based on our transcriptome analyses clearly categorized the 132 tissues into non-cancer, “CDX signature”-positive GC, and “CDX signature”-negative GC. Gene set enrichment analysis indicated that “CDX signature”-positive GC has lower malignant features. Immunohistochemistry of 89 GC specimens showed that 50.6% were CDX2-deficient, 66.3% were CDX1-deficient, and 44.9% were concomitant CDX2/CDX1-deficient, suggesting that potentially targetable GC cases by induced intestinal differentiation are quite common. In conclusion, exogenous expression of CDX2/CDX1 can lead to efficient growth inhibition of CDX-deficient GC cells. It is based on rapidly induced intestinal differentiation, which may be a future therapeutic strategy.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Cancer Research