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Int J Cancer. 2011 Mar 1;128(5):1057-68. doi: 10.1002/ijc.25445.

A distinct role of RhoB in gastric cancer suppression.

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Department of Medical Oncology and Laboratory of Signal Transduction and Molecular Targeting Therapy, The State Key Laboratory of Biotherapy, Cancer Center, West China Hospital, Sichuan University, Chengdu, Sichuan Province, People's Republic of China.


Although Rho family GTPases RhoA, RhoB and RhoC share more than 85% amino acid sequence identity, they may play distinct roles in tumor progression. RhoA and RhoC have been suggested to have positive effects on tumor progression, but the role of RhoB in cancer, particularly in gastric cancer, remains unclear. In our study, we have examined the expression levels of these three Rho GTPases in a large panel of specimens from gastric cancer patients by immunohistochemistry. We found that RhoA and RhoC expression were significantly elevated, while RhoB was reduced or absent, in surgically removed gastric cancer tissues when compared to normal gastric tissues. The significant reduction of RhoB expression was confirmed in another group of gastric cancer samples in comparison to the adjacent non-neoplastic tissues. Then we transfected the plasmids containing RhoA, RhoB or RhoC cDNA into two gastric cancer cell lines, SGC7901 and AGS cells, respectively. By overexpression experiments, we found that RhoA promoted the gastric cancer cell proliferation and RhoC stimulated migration and invasion of the cancer cell. RhoB expression, however, significantly inhibited the proliferation, migration and invasion of the gastric cancer cells and also enhanced the chemosensitivity of these cells to anticancer drugs. It appears that RhoB plays an opposing role from that of RhoA and/or RhoC in gastric cancer cells. Our work suggests that RhoB may play a tumor suppressor role and subsequently may have potential implications in future targeted therapy.

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