Increased expression of FHL2 promotes tumorigenesis in cervical cancer and is correlated with poor prognosis.

PMID 29800735


Increasing evidence demonstrates that the four and a half LIM domain (FHL) gene and its protein products have different functions in the progression of various malignancies. However, the role of FHL protein 2 (FHL2) in cervical cancer (CC) has not been fully elucidated. In this study, we investigated the prognostic value of FHL2 expression in human CC tissues and the potential molecular mechanisms through which FHL2 modulates CC cell proliferation and apoptosis. We measured FHL2 expression in CC cell lines and tissues by quantitative real-time polymerase chain reaction and Western blot assays. The effects of FHL2 knockdown on cell proliferation and apoptosis in two CC cell lines were examined using RNA interference, cell counting kit-8, Western blot and flow cytometry assays. Furthermore, we assessed phosphorylated protein kinase B (p-AKT) and phosphorylated mammalian target of rapamycin (p-mTOR) expression in two CC cell lines to determine whether the AKT/mTOR pathway is involved in the effects of FHL2 silencing on cell proliferation and apoptosis. Nude mice tumorigenicity experiments were also performed to evaluate the effects of FHL2 on HeLa cell growth in vivo. We found that FHL2 was significantly upregulated in CC cell lines and tissues. According to survival curves, high FHL2 expression levels in patients were correlated with poor prognosis. Moreover, by decreasing p-AKT and p-mTOR protein levels, silencing FHL2 significantly inhibited cell proliferation and induced apoptosis. FHL2 knockdown also induced apoptosis by increasing the Bax-to-Bcl2 ratio. By contrast, FHL2 overexpression significantly promoted cell proliferation. Finally, decreased tumour growth in an in vivo animal model also demonstrated the tumour-suppressing effects of FHL2 knockdown. Our findings indicate that FHL2 is an important prognostic factor in CC and that it plays a crucial oncoprotein role by promoting cell proliferation and inhibiting apoptosis in CC, possibly by targeting the AKT/mTOR pathway.

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EHU063941 MISSION® esiRNA, esiRNA human FHL2 (esiRNA1)