OncoTargets and therapy

Notch1 serves as a prognostic factor and regulates metastasis via regulating EGFR expression in hypopharyngeal squamous cell carcinoma.

PMID 30425527


Hypopharyngeal squamous cell carcinoma (HSCC) remains one of the most lethal malignancies in head and neck. Notch1 has been validated to play prominent roles in the occurrence and development of various types of cancer. The aim of this study was to explore the function and underlying mechanism of Notch1 in HSCC. Seventy-one cancer tissue samples and adjacent noncancerous formalin-fixed paraffin embedded tissue specimens were analyzed by immunohistochemistry. As Notch1 is overexpressed in HSCC, we further questioned whether there was a relationship between Notch1 and the clinicopathological characteristics. After confirming the successful knockdown of Notch1 by siRNA, the migration and invasion after gene knockdown were investigated by Transwell chambers. We then tried to identify YBX1 and EGFR expression using real-time PCR (RT-PCR) and Western blot analyses. To further determine whether the downexpression of EGFR was caused by YBX1 and the overexpression of YBX1 was caused by gene amplification, the expression of EGFR was detected by RT-PCR and Western blot assays. We found that the expression of Notch1 and EGFR in HSCC tissues was upregulated compared with those in the adjacent noncancerous tissues. Further clinicopathological characteristics analysis revealed that the expression of Notch1 was positively correlated with distant metastasis (P=0.003) and tumor differentiation (P=0.031). The high expression of Notch1 is an independent prognostic factor for a poor overall survival in patients with HSCC (P=0.015, χ2=10.403). Knocking down of Notch1 significantly inhibits the migration and invasion of FaDu cells in vitro. Mechanistic investigation reveals that Notch1 knockdown is found suppressing the expression of EGFR at transcriptional level. Interestingly, we further found that Notch1 knockdown also decreased the expression of YBX1, which is a transcription factor of EGFR. Moreover, the upregulation of YBX1 reverses the suppression of Notch1 on EGFR. Furthermore, forced overexpression of YBX1 induced the invasion of FaDu cells. Taken together, we found a positively cross-linked role of Notch1 signaling in the outcome of HSCC, providing a novel valuable prognostic marker and potential therapeutic target for the treatment of HSCC patients. Notch1 is a core signaling molecule for regulating migration and invasion via interplaying with EGFR in HSCC cells.