Asian Pacific journal of cancer prevention : APJCP

Low expression of the FoxO4 gene may contribute to the phenomenon of EMT in non-small cell lung cancer.

PMID 24935588


Because of its importance in tumor invasion and metastasis, the epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT) has become a research focus in the field of cancer. Recently, evidence has been presented that FoxO4 might be involved in EMT. Our study aimed to detect the expression of FoxO4, E-cadherin and vimentin in non-small cell lung cancers (NSCLCs). We also investigated clinical features and their correlations with the markers. In our study, FoxO4, E-cadherin and vimentin were assessed by immunohistochemistry in a tissue microarray (TMA) containing 150 cases of NSCLC. In addition, the expression level of FoxO4 protein was determined by Western blotting. The percentages of FoxO4, E-cadherin and vimentin positive expression in NSCLCs were 42.7%, 38.7% and 55.3%, respectively. Immunoreactivity of FoxO4 was low in NSCLC when compared with paired normal lung tissues. There were significant correlations between FoxO4 and TNM stage (P<0.001), histological differentiation (P=0.004) and lymph node metastasis (P<0.001), but no significant links with age (P=0.323), gender (P=0.410), tumor size (P=0.084), smoking status (P=0.721) and histological type (P=0.281). Our study showed that low expression of FoxO4 correlated with decreased expression of E-cadherin and elevated expression of vimentin. Cox regression analysis indicated FoxO4 to be an independent prognostic factor in NSCLC (P=0.046). These data suggested that FoxO4 might inhibit the process of EMT in NSCLC, and might therefore be a target for therapy.