Cancer research

RABL6A promotes G1-S phase progression and pancreatic neuroendocrine tumor cell proliferation in an Rb1-dependent manner.

PMID 25273089


Mechanisms of neuroendocrine tumor (NET) proliferation are poorly understood, and therapies that effectively control NET progression and metastatic disease are limited. We found amplification of a putative oncogene, RABL6A, in primary human pancreatic NETs (PNET) that correlated with high-level RABL6A protein expression. Consistent with those results, stable silencing of RABL6A in cultured BON-1 PNET cells revealed that it is essential for their proliferation and survival. Cells lacking RABL6A predominantly arrested in G1 phase with a moderate mitotic block. Pathway analysis of microarray data suggested activation of the p53 and retinoblastoma (Rb1) tumor-suppressor pathways in the arrested cells. Loss of p53 had no effect on the RABL6A knockdown phenotype, indicating that RABL6A functions independent of p53 in this setting. By comparison, Rb1 inactivation partially restored G1 to S phase progression in RABL6A-knockdown cells, although it was insufficient to override the mitotic arrest and cell death caused by RABL6A loss. Thus, RABL6A promotes G1 progression in PNET cells by inactivating Rb1, an established suppressor of PNET proliferation and development. This work identifies RABL6A as a novel negative regulator of Rb1 that is essential for PNET proliferation and survival. We suggest RABL6A is a new potential biomarker and target for anticancer therapy in PNET patients.