Modern pathology : an official journal of the United States and Canadian Academy of Pathology, Inc

A role for the transducer of the Hippo pathway, TAZ, in the development of aggressive types of endometrial cancer.

PMID 26381823


Although TAZ, the final effector of the Hippo pathway that modulates epithelial to mesenchymal transition and stemness, has been implicated in the development of different types of cancer, its role in endometrial cancer has not yet been studied. Thus, we evaluated the expression of TAZ in different types of endometrial cancer by immunohistochemistry. TAZ expression was detected in 76% of undifferentiated endometrial carcinomas, 54% of endometrial carcinosarcomas, 46% of endometrial serous carcinomas, 36% of grade 3 endometrioid carcinomas, and 18% of grade 1-2 endometrioid carcinomas, with statistically significant differences. We analyzed the WWTR1 gene that encodes TAZ by FISH and MassARRAY spectrometry, ruling out gene amplification and differential promoter methylation as the main mechanisms that modulate TAZ expression in endometrial tumors. However, we did detect a significant association between Scribble hypoexpression and delocalization with TAZ expression. Moreover, we demonstrated that TAZ promoted invasiveness, and it favored cell motility and tumor growth, in endometrial cancer cell lines. In addition, TAZ expression was associated with the transition from an epithelial to mesenchymal phenotype, both in vitro and in human tumors. Together, these data reveal a previously unknown role for TAZ and the Hippo pathway in the progression of aggressive subtypes of endometrial cancer.