TOPK/PBK promotes cell migration via modulation of the PI3K/PTEN/AKT pathway and is associated with poor prognosis in lung cancer

M. C. Shih, J. Y. Chen, Y. C. Wu, Y. H. Jan, B. M. Yang, P. J. Lu, H. C. Cheng, M. S. Huang, C. J. Yang, M. Hsiao, J. M. Lai

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141 Citations (Scopus)


We integrated four gene expression profile data sets, namely two different pair-matched stage I lung adenocarcinoma data sets, secondary metastatic tumors vs benign tumors and lung tumor metastasizes to the brain, and we identified one kinase, T-LAK Cell-Originated Protein Kinase (TOPK), as a putative gene that promotes metastasis. To delineate the role of TOPK in lung cancer, we showed that overexpression of TOPK, but not a catalytically inactive form of TOPK, can enhance the migration and invasion of lung fibroblasts or cells with low TOPK expression. In addition, TOPK-induced cell migration was shown to be a PI3K/AKT-dependent event. TOPK concurrently promoted AKT phosphorylation at Ser473 and decreased the phosphatase and tensin homolog (PTEN) levels, whereas TOPK knockdown had the reverse effects. LY294002, a PI3K inhibitor, did not inhibit the TOPK-induced decrease in PTEN, and co-expression of PTEN significantly reduced TOPK-induced AKT phosphorylation in a dose-dependent manner; these results indicate that the TOPK-mediated PTEN decrease has an upstream role in regulating PI3K/AKT-stimulated migration. Using immunohistochemical analysis of lung cancer tissue samples, we showed that a high TOPK expression level correlates strongly with reduced overall and disease-free survivals. Moreover, an inverse correlation between TOPK and PTEN expression was present and is consistent with the biochemical findings. Finally, a combination of high TOPK and low PTEN expression was inversely correlated with overall and disease-free survivals, independent of other pathologic staging factors. Our results suggest that TOPK is a potential therapeutic target in lung cancer that promotes cell migration by modulating a PI3K/PTEN/AKT-dependent signaling pathway; they also suggest that high TOPK expression, either alone or in combination with a low level of PTEN, may serve as a prognostic marker for lung cancer.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2389-2400
Number of pages12
Issue number19
Publication statusPublished - 2012 May 10

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Molecular Biology
  • Genetics
  • Cancer Research


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