Chicken ovalbumin upstream promoter-transcription factor II (COUP-TFII, also known as NR2F2) promotes metastasis by functioning in the tumour microenvironment; however, the role of COUP-TFII in colorectal cancer remains unknown. Human colon adenocarcinoma tissues were collected to test COUP-TFII expression. Wound-healing and cell invasion assay were used to evaluate migration and invasion of cells. Chicken ovalbumin upstream promoter-transcription factor II and related protein expression was assessed by immunostaining, immunoblotting and real-time PCR assay. Tamoxifen-inducible COUP-TFII knockout mice were employed to test COUP-TFII functions on colon cancer metastasis in vivo. Elevated expression of COUP-TFII in colorectal adenocarcinoma tissue correlated with overexpression of the Snail1 transcription factor. High COUP-TFII expression correlated with metastasis and shorter patient survival. Chicken ovalbumin upstream promoter-transcription factor II regulated the migration and invasion of cancer cells. With Snail1, COUP-TFII inhibited expression of adherence molecules such as ZO-1, E-cadherin and β-catenin in colorectal cancer cells. Overexpression of COUP-TFII was required for cancer cells to metastasise in vivo. Chicken ovalbumin upstream promoter-transcription factor II regulated the transcription and expression of Snail1 by directly targeting the Snail1 promoter and regulated associated genes. Chicken ovalbumin upstream promoter-transcription factor II was crucial for colorectal cancer metastasis and regulated cell migration and metastasis in conjunction with Snail1. Chicken ovalbumin upstream promoter-transcription factor II was found to be a biomarker associated with patient survival and colorectal cancer metastasis.
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