International journal of gynecological cancer : official journal of the International Gynecological Cancer Society

Follicle-stimulating hormone induced epithelial-mesenchymal transition of epithelial ovarian cancer cells through follicle-stimulating hormone receptor PI3K/Akt-Snail signaling pathway.

PMID 25340291


It has previously been shown that follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) and its receptor contribute to epithelial ovarian cancer (EOC) development. Epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT) is the early event of metastasis in cancer. Therefore, the aim of this study was to investigate the roles of FSH and the FSH receptor (FSHR) in EMT of EOC. Ovarian cancer cells treated with various doses of FSH were used to investigate the effect of FSH on EMT. Small interfering RNA-mediated FSHR depletion or reexpression of FSHR by acute transfecting pcDNA-hFSHR plasmid was performed to determine the role of FSHR in FSH-induced EMT. Moreover, LY294002, a potent and specific cell-permeable inhibitor of phosphatidylinositol 3-kinases (PI3K), was selected to pretreat ovarian cancer cells to confirm whether PI3K/Akt signaling is involved in this event. In the current study, FSH was found to induce the phenotypes of EMT including migration and invasion in EOC cells. Elevated FSHR levels promoted EMT, migration, and invasion, whereas small interfering RNA-mediated FSHR knockdown inhibited these processes. Moreover, the inhibition of FSH-induced PI3K/Akt signaling pathway attenuated Snail expression and the EMT process. Collectively, the findings of the current study indicate that FSH induced the EMT of ovarian cancer cells through the FSHR-PI3K/Akt-Snail signaling pathway.