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J Cell Mol Med. 2018 May 12. doi: 10.1111/jcmm.13637. [Epub ahead of print]

ZEB1-mediated vasculogenic mimicry formation associates with epithelial-mesenchymal transition and cancer stem cell phenotypes in prostate cancer.

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Department of Urology, The First Affiliated Hospital of Sun Yat-Sen University, Guangzhou, China.
Research Center for Clinical Laboratory Standard, Zhongshan School of Medicine, Sun Yat-sen University, Guangzhou, China.
Department of Urology, Hui Ya hospital of The First Affiliated Hospital, Sun Yat-Sen University, Guangzhou, China.


The zinc finger E-box-binding homeobox 1 (ZEB1) induced the epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT) and altered ZEB1 expression could lead to aggressive and cancer stem cell (CSC) phenotypes in various cancers. Tissue specimens from 96 prostate cancer patients were collected for immunohistochemistry and CD34/periodic acid-Schiff double staining. Prostate cancer cells were subjected to ZEB1 knockdown or overexpression and assessment of the effects on vasculogenic mimicry formation in vitro and in vivo. The underlying molecular events of ZEB1-induced vasculogenic mimicry formation in prostate cancer were then explored. The data showed that the presence of VM and high ZEB1 expression was associated with higher Gleason score, TNM stage, and lymph node and distant metastases as well as with the expression of vimentin and CD133 in prostate cancer tissues. Furthermore, ZEB1 was required for VM formation and altered expression of EMT-related and CSC-associated proteins in prostate cancer cells in vitro and in vivo. ZEB1 also facilitated tumour cell migration, invasion and clonogenicity. In addition, the effects of ZEB1 in prostate cancer cells were mediated by Src signalling; that is PP2, a specific inhibitor of the Src signalling, dose dependently reduced the p-Src527 level but not p-Src416 level, while ZEB1 knockdown also down-regulated the level of p-Src527 in PC3 and DU-145 cells. PP2 treatment also significantly reduced the expression of VE-cadherin, vimentin and CD133 in these prostate cancer cells. Src signalling mediated the effects of ZEB1 on VM formation and gene expression.


CSC ; EMT ; ZEB1; prostate cancer; vasculogenic mimicry

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