J Cancer 2016; 7(8):1020-1028. doi:10.7150/jca.14539

Research Paper

DJ-1 Is Upregulated in Oral Squamous Cell Carcinoma and Promotes Oral Cancer Cell Proliferation and Invasion

Shuaimei Xu1*, Dandan Ma2*, Rui Zhuang3, Wenjuan Sun4, Ying Liu1, Jun Wen1, Li Cui5#✉

1. Department of Endodontics, Guangdong Provincial Stomatological Hospital, Guangzhou, China
2. Department of Dentistry, Nanfang Hospital, Guangzhou, China
3. Department of Oral Implantology, School of Stomatology, Capital Medical University, Beijing, China
4. Department of Stomatology, The Third Affiliated Hospital, Sun Yat-sen University, Guangzhou, China
5. Department of Dentistry, Maoming People's Hospital, Maoming, China
*These authors contributed equally to this work
#Current address: School of Dentistry, University of California, Los Angeles, California, Unite states of America

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Xu S, Ma D, Zhuang R, Sun W, Liu Y, Wen J, Cui L. DJ-1 Is Upregulated in Oral Squamous Cell Carcinoma and Promotes Oral Cancer Cell Proliferation and Invasion. J Cancer 2016; 7(8):1020-1028. doi:10.7150/jca.14539. Available from http://www.jcancer.org/v07p1020.htm

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Background: The development of oral squamous cell carcinoma (OSCC) is a multistep process that involves in both genetic alterations and epigenetic modifications. DJ-1, a negative regulator of tumor suppressor PTEN, functions as an oncogene in many types of cancers. However, its role in OSCC is poorly known.

Methods: Immunohistochemical staining and Western blotting were performed to evaluate the expression level of DJ-1 in oral leukoplakia (OLK) and OSCC tissues respectively. Then lentiviral mediated DJ-1 shRNA was constructed and used to infect the OSCC cell lines (Tca8113 and CAL-27). MTT, cell counting, and Matrigel invasion assay were utilized to examine the effects of DJ-1 down-regulation on proliferation and invasion capacity of oral cancer cells.

Results: The immunoreactivity and expression level of DJ-1 protein was significantly increased in OLK and OSCC tissues compared with the controls. Lentiviral-delivered shRNA targeting DJ-1 could effectively knock down DJ-1 at mRNA and protein level (P<0.01). The proliferative and invasion ability of OSCC cell lines was significantly suppressed following DJ-1 inhibition (P<0.01).

Conclusions: Our study indicated that DJ-1 is over-expressed in both oral precancer and cancer tissues and shRNA inhibition of DJ-1 expression led to decreased proliferation and invasion capability of oral cancer cells. These findings suggest that DJ-1 might be actively involved in the development of OSCC. Future studies will investigate the potential of DJ-1 as a biomarker for early detection of OSCC.

Keywords: DJ-1, Invasion, Oral leukoplakia, Oral squamous cell carcinoma, Proliferation