ETV5 transcription program links BDNF and promotion of EMT at invasive front of endometrial carcinomas.

PMID 25233929


Myometrial infiltration represents a main clinical determinant of endometrial carcinomas (EC) presenting as aggressive high-grade deeply invasive neoplasms, substantially associated with risk of recurrence and death. The up-regulation of ETV5 transcription factor linked to the promotion of epithelial to mesenchymal transition is considered as a basic mechanism underlying the initial steps of EC invasion. In this work, we aimed to investigate the transcription program of tumor invasion regulated by ETV5. We performed a comparative Chip-on-chip analysis at invasive front and superficial area of human EC. ETV5 specific binding to promoter regions of genes related to cellular migration, adhesion and invasion at deep invasion tumor areas highlighted the relevance of neural networks associated with cellular plasticity. Interestingly, brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) demonstrated a principal role orchestrating ETV5-mediated epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition in endometrial cancer. Impairment of the BDNF/tropomyosin-related kinase B (TrkB)/extracellular signal-regulated kinase axis in endometrial cancer cell lines reversed the aggressive and invasive phenotype promoted by the up-regulation of ETV5 at the invasive front of EC. Likewise, BDNF directly impacted on the efficiency of ETV5 promoted metastasis in a mice model of endometrial distant dissemination. These results translate the recognized role of BDNF/TrkB on neural plasticity into a relevant cancer metastasis event; suggest common mechanisms shared by neural development and tumor invasion; and offer new therapeutic opportunities specifically directed against disseminated disease in endometrial cancer.