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Cancer Res. 2008 Jan 15;68(2):492-7. doi: 10.1158/0008-5472.CAN-07-2930.

The adenocarcinoma-associated antigen, AGR2, promotes tumor growth, cell migration, and cellular transformation.

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  • 1Department of Medicine, Stanford University, Stanford, California 94305-5187, USA.


The AGR2 gene encodes a secretory protein that is highly expressed in adenocarcinomas of the esophagus, pancreas, breast, and prostate. This study explores the effect of AGR2 expression with well-established in vitro and in vivo assays that screen for cellular transformation and tumor growth. AGR2 expression in SEG-1 esophageal adenocarcinoma cells was reduced with RNA interference. Cellular transformation was examined using NIH3T3 cells that express AGR2 after stable transfection. The cell lines were studied in vitro with assays for density-dependent and anchorage-independent growth, and in vivo as tumor xenografts in nude mice. SEG-1 cells with reduced AGR2 expression showed an 82% decrease in anchorage-independent colony growth and a 60% reduction in tumor xenograft size. In vitro assays of AGR2-expressing NIH3T3 cells displayed enhanced foci formation and anchorage-independent growth. In vivo, AGR2-expressing NIH3T3 cells established tumors in nude mice. Thus, AGR2 expression promotes tumor growth in esophageal adenocarcinoma cells and is able to transform NIH3T3 cells. Immunohistochemistry of the normal mouse intestine detected AGR2 expression in proliferating and differentiated intestinal cells of secretory lineage. AGR2 may be important for the growth and development of the intestine as well as esophageal adenocarcinomas.

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