Int J Biol Sci 2020; 16(3):495-503. doi:10.7150/ijbs.39582

Research Paper

NKILA, a prognostic indicator, inhibits tumor metastasis by suppressing NF-κB/Slug mediated epithelial-mesenchymal transition in hepatocellular carcinoma

Ronggao Chen1,2*, Qiyang Cheng1,2*, Kwabena Gyabaah Owusu-Ansah1,2, Guangyuan Song1,2, Donghai Jiang1,2,3,4,5, Lin Zhou1,2,3,4,5, Xiao Xu1,2,3,4,5, Jian Wu1,2,3,4,5✉, Shusen Zheng1,2,3,4,5✉

1. Department of Surgery, Division of Hepatobiliary and Pancreatic Surgery, First Affiliated Hospital, School of Medicine, Zhejiang University, Hangzhou 310000, China.
2. NHFPC Key Laboratory of Combined Multi-organ Transplantation, Hangzhou 310000, China.
3. Key Laboratory of the diagnosis and treatment of organ Transplantation, CAMS.
4. Key Laboratory of Organ Transplantation, Zhejiang Province, Hangzhou 310003, China.
5. Collaborative innovation center for Diagnosis treatment of infectious diseases, Hangzhou 310000, China.
*These authors contributed equally to this work.

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Citation:
Chen R, Cheng Q, Owusu-Ansah KG, Song G, Jiang D, Zhou L, Xu X, Wu J, Zheng S. NKILA, a prognostic indicator, inhibits tumor metastasis by suppressing NF-κB/Slug mediated epithelial-mesenchymal transition in hepatocellular carcinoma. Int J Biol Sci 2020; 16(3):495-503. doi:10.7150/ijbs.39582. Available from http://www.ijbs.com/v16p0495.htm

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Abstract

The metastasis of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) is one of the major obstacles hindering its therapeutic efficacy, leading to low surgical resection rate, high mortality and poor prognosis. Accumulating evidence has shown that both long noncoding RNA (lncRNA) and NF-κB play vital roles in the regulation of cancer metastasis. However, the clinical significance and biological function of NKILA (NF-κB interacting lncRNA) and its interaction with NF-κB in HCC remain unknown. In this study, we demonstrated that NKILA was down-regulated in HCC tissues and cell lines, and decreased NKILA expression was significantly associated with larger tumor size and positive vascular invasion in HCC patients. NKILA reduction was an independent risk factor of HCC patients' poor prognosis, and the 5-year overall survival (OS) rates of patients with low and high NKILA expression were 15.6% and 60.0%, respectively. Moreover, NKILA inhibits migration and invasion of HCC cells both in vitro and in vivo. Mechanistically, NKILA prevents Slug/epithelial to mesenchymal transition (EMT) pathway via suppressing phosphorylation of IκBα, p65 nuclear translocation and NF-κB activation. In conclusion, these results indicate that NKILA might serve as an effective prognostic biomarker and a promising therapeutic target against HCC metastasis.

Keywords: LncRNA-NKILA, NF-κB, Hepatocellular carcinoma, Metastasis, Epithelial to mesenchymal transition