Oncology reports

Critical role of aquaporin-3 in epidermal growth factor-induced migration of colorectal carcinoma cells and its clinical significance.

PMID 23165320


Aquaporins (AQPs) are a family of small, integral membrane proteins that have been shown to play an important role in tumor development and metastasis. Several studies have demonstrated that expression of AQP3 contributes to the enhanced migration of epithelial cells and is related to differentiation, metastasis and vascular invasion in lung and gastric cancer. Therefore, we investigated whether AQP3 could enhance human colorectal carcinoma cell migration and we examined the role of AQP3 in the prognosis of colorectal carcinoma. Our results showed that human epidermal growth factor (hEGF) increased the expression of AQP3 and, subsequently, the migration ability of human colorectal carcinoma cells HCT116 in a dose- and time-dependent manner. The enhanced migration ability of HCT116 cells was blocked by the AQP3 inhibitor, CuSO(4). Overexpression of AQP3 induced by hEGF was inhibited by a PI3K/AKT inhibitor, LY294002, but the ERK inhibitor U0126 had a minor effect on the hEGF-induced AQP3 upregulation. Immunohistochemical staining of the cancer tissues and corresponding normal tissues showed that AQP3 expression in cancer tissue was higher compared to that in normal tissue. The expression intensity of AQP3 was associated with the differentiation, lymph node and distant metastasis of colorectal carcinoma patients. Our results suggest that AQP3 overexpression could facilitate colorectal carcinoma cell migration and AQP3 may be considered a potential indicator and therapeutic target for colon tumor metastasis and prognosis.