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Carcinogenesis. 2013 Dec;34(12):2778-88. doi: 10.1093/carcin/bgt318. Epub 2013 Sep 24.

JWA inhibits melanoma angiogenesis by suppressing ILK signaling and is an independent prognostic biomarker for melanoma.

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  • 1Department of Dermatology and Skin Science, Research Pavilion, Vancouver Coastal Health Research Institute, University of British Columbia, 828 West 10th Avenue, Vancouver, British Columbia, V5Z 1L8, Canada.


Melanoma is the deadliest cutaneous malignancy because of its high incidence of metastasis. Melanoma growth and metastasis relies on sustained angiogenesis; therefore, inhibiting angiogenesis is a promising approach to treat metastatic melanoma. JWA is a novel microtubule-associated protein and our previous work revealed that JWA inhibited melanoma cell invasion and metastasis. However, the role of JWA in melanoma angiogenesis and the prognostic value are still unknown. Here, we report that JWA in melanoma cells significantly inhibited the tube formation of endothelial cells. In addition, JWA regulated integrin-linked kinase (ILK) through integrin αVβ3 and such regulation was achieved through the transcription factor Sp1. Notably, both in vitro and in vivo angiogenesis assays revealed that JWA dramatically suppressed melanoma angiogenesis by inhibiting ILK signaling. Furthermore, we examined the expression of JWA protein in a large set of melanocytic lesions (n = 505) at different stages by tissue microarray and found an inverse correlation between JWA expression and melanoma progression (P = 5 × 10(-6)). Importantly, reduced JWA expression was correlated with a poorer overall, and disease-specific 5 year survival of patients (P = 0.001 and 0.007, respectively). Multivariate Cox regression analyses indicated that JWA was an independent prognostic marker for melanoma patients. Moreover, we found a significant negative correlation between JWA and ILK in melanoma biopsies, and their concomitant expression was closely correlated with melanoma patient survival (P = 0.004), further indicating the regulation of ILK expression by JWA is critical in melanoma. Taken together, our data highlight the function of JWA in melanoma angiogenesis and reveal the clinical prognostic value of JWA.

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