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J Exp Clin Cancer Res. 2012 Mar 29;31:29. doi: 10.1186/1756-9966-31-29.

Response gene to complement-32 enhances metastatic phenotype by mediating transforming growth factor beta-induced epithelial-mesenchymal transition in human pancreatic cancer cell line BxPC-3.

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Department of Gastroenterology, Tongji Hospital, Tongji Medical College, Huazhong University of Science and Technology, Wuhan, China.



Response gene to complement-32 (RGC-32) is comprehensively expressed in many kinds of tissues and has been reported to be expressed abnormally in different kinds of human tumors. However, the role of RGC-32 in cancer remains controversial and no reports have described the effect of RGC-32 in pancreatic cancer. The present study investigated the expression of RGC-32 in pancreatic cancer tissues and explored the role of RGC-32 in transforming growth factor-beta (TGF-β)-induced epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT) in human pancreatic cancer cell line BxPC-3.


Immunohistochemical staining of RGC-32 and E-cadherin was performed on specimens from 42 patients with pancreatic cancer, 12 with chronic pancreatitis and 8 with normal pancreas. To evaluate the role of RGC-32 in TGF-β-induced EMT in pancreatic cancer cells, BxPC-3 cells were treated with TGF-β1, and RGC-32 siRNA silencing and gene overexpression were performed as well. The mRNA expression and protein expression of RGC-32 and EMT markers such E-cadherin and vimentin were determined by quantitative reverse transcription-PCR (qRT-PCR) and western blot respectively. Finally, migration ability of BxPC-3 cells treated with TGF-β and RGC-32 siRNA transfection was examined by transwell cell migration assay.


We found stronger expression of RGC-32 and higher abnormal expression rate of E-cadherin in pancreatic cancer tissues than those in chronic pancreatitis tissues and normal pancreatic tissues. Immunohistochemical analysis revealed that both RGC-32 positive expression and E-cadherin abnormal expression in pancreatic cancer were correlated with lymph node metastasis and TNM staging. In addition, a significant and positive correlation was found between positive expression of RGC-32 and abnormal expression of E-cadherin. Furthermore, in vitro, we found sustained TGF-β stimuli induced EMT and up-regulated RGC-32 expression in BxPC-3 cells. By means of siRNA silencing and gene overexpression, we further demonstrated that RGC-32 mediated TGF-β-induced EMT and migration in BxPC-3 cells.


The results above indicated that RGC-32 might be a novel metastasis promoting gene in pancreatic cancer and it enhances metastatic phenotype by mediating TGF-β-induced EMT in human pancreatic cancer cell line BxPC-3.

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