J Cancer 2015; 6(12):1245-1254. doi:10.7150/jca.12825

Research Paper

High Expression of FGFR4 Enhances Tumor Growth and Metastasis in Nasopharyngeal Carcinoma

Si Shi1*, Xingyu Li2*, Bo You1, Ying Shan1, Xiaolei Cao2✉, Yiwen You1✉

1. Department of Otorhinolaryngology Head and Neck surgery, Affiliated Hospital of Nantong University, Nantong, Jiangsu Province, China
2. Department of Pathology, Medical School of Nantong University, Nantong, Jiangsu Province, China
* Si Shi and Xingyu Li contributed equally to this work.

This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY-NC) License. See http://ivyspring.com/terms for full terms and conditions.
Shi S, Li X, You B, Shan Y, Cao X, You Y. High Expression of FGFR4 Enhances Tumor Growth and Metastasis in Nasopharyngeal Carcinoma. J Cancer 2015; 6(12):1245-1254. doi:10.7150/jca.12825. Available from http://www.jcancer.org/v06p1245.htm

File import instruction


Background: FGF receptor (FGFR) family can be activated by FGFs and play important roles in regulating cell growth, differentiation, migration and angiogenesis. Recent studies suggested that FGFR4 could regulate several processes including tumor progression. Nasopharyngeal carcinoma (NPC) is a malignancy with a high occurrence in Southeast Asia and Southern China. However, the molecule mechanism and the potential roles of FGFR4 in NPC remain unknown

Methods: Immunohistochemistry and western blot were used to investigate the expression of FGFR4 in NPC samples. Then we used statistical analysis to evaluate the diagnostic value and the associations of FGFR4 expression with clinical parameters. In vitro studies, the effects of FGFR4 on proliferation and migration of NPC cell line CNE2 were measured by the starvation-refeeding experiment, CCK8 assay, wounding healing assay and transwell migration assay. The changes of the epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT) markers in CNE2 cells after knocking down the expression of FGFR4 were measured by Western blot and immunofluorescence analysis.

Results: FGFR4 was overexpressed in NPC as compared with the inflammatory tissues. High expression of FGFR4 was correlated with Ki67 expression, clinical stages and prognosis in NPC patients (P<0.05).While in vitro, the upregulation of FGFR4 was accompanied with CNE2 cells released from serum starvation. Moreover, it could increase cell proliferation and migration by regulating EMT markers in CNE2 cells.

Conclusion: Our data suggested that FGFR4 might induce NPC progression and act as a potential therapeutic target in NPC.

Keywords: nasopharyngeal carcinoma, FGFR4, prognosis, growth, metastasis