Wilms’ tumor 1 (WT1) promotes ovarian cancer progression by regulating E-cadherin and ERK1/2 signaling

  • Yun Han (Creator)
  • Chao Song (Creator)
  • Tingting Zhang (Creator)
  • Qianqian Zhou (Creator)
  • Xiaoqian Zhang (Creator)
  • Jing Wang (Creator)
  • Boqun Xu (Creator)
  • Xuesen Zhang (Creator)
  • Xiaoqiu Liu (Creator)
  • Xiaoyan Ying (Creator)



Wilms’ tumor 1 (WT1) is reported to play an important role in tumor invasion and metastasis, two hallmarks of ovarian cancer (OC) that influence treatment efficacy and prognosis. However, the specific roles and underlying mechanisms of WT1 in OC have not been fully understood. Here, we investigated the potential function and signaling pathways of WT1 in OC cells. We showed that WT1 was significantly upregulated in human OC tissues and closely associated with OC type, grade and FIGO stage. In cultured cells and xenograft mouse models, WT1 depletion significantly inhibited cell migration and invasion, reversed epithelial–mesenchymal transition (EMT), and prevented metastasis of OC cells. We further demonstrated that WT1 inhibited E-cadherin expression via targeting E-cadherin gene promoter by chromatin immunoprecipitation and luciferase reporter assay. Moreover, ERK1/2 activation was suppressed upon WT1 silencing. Inhibiting ERK1/2 phosphorylation increased E-cadherin expression and suppressed WT1-induced OC cell migration and invasion. Taken together, our study reveals WT1 exerts a tumor-promoting role in OC, enhancing EMT through negative modulation of E-cadherin expression via ERK1/2 signaling. WT1 may represent a novel therapeutic target that may improve the prognosis of OC.
Date made available7 Sept 2020
PublisherTaylor & Francis

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