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Oncotarget

ATF3 functions as a novel tumor suppressor with prognostic significance in esophageal squamous cell carcinoma.


PMID 25149542

Abstract

ATF3 was a transcription factor involved in the progression of certain cancers. Here, we sought to explore the expression and biological function of ATF3 in esophageal squamous cell carcinomas (ESCC). The prognostic significance of ATF3 expression was evaluated in 150 ESCC samples and 21 normal squamous cell epithelium tissues. Results showed that ATF3 was down-regulated in ESCC lesions compared with paired non-cancerous tissues and low tumorous ATF3 expression significantly correlated with shorter overall survival (OS) and disease-free survival (DFS). Cox regression analysis confirmed that ATF3 expression was an independent prognostic factor. Experimentally, forced expression of ATF3 led to decreased growth and invasion properties of ESCC cells in vitro and in vivo, whereas knockdown of ATF3 did the opposite. Furthermore, ATF3 upregulated the expression of MDM2 by increasing the nuclear translocation of P53 and formed an ATF3/MDM2/MMP-2 complex that facilitated MMP-2 degradation, which subsequently led to inhibition of cell invasion. Finally, we showed that Cisplatin could restrain the invasion of ESCC cells by inducing the expression of ATF3 via P53 signaling. Combined, our findings highlight a suppressed role for ATF3 in ESCC and targeting ATF3 might be a potential therapeutic strategy.