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Logo of bmccancBioMed Centralsearchsubmit a manuscriptregisterthis articleBMC Cancer
BMC Cancer. 2012; 12: 321.
Published online 2012 July 28. doi:  10.1186/1471-2407-12-321
PMCID: PMC3418557

Overexpression of cell cycle regulator CDCA3 promotes oral cancer progression by enhancing cell proliferation with prevention of G1 phase arrest



Cell division cycle associated 3 (CDCA3), part of the Skp1-cullin-F-box (SCF) ubiquitin ligase, refers to a trigger of mitotic entry and mediates destruction of the mitosis inhibitory kinase. Little is known about the relevance of CDCA3 to human malignancy including oral squamous cell carcinoma (OSCC). We aimed to characterize the expression state and function of CDCA3 in OSCC.


We evaluated CDCA3 mRNA and protein expression in both OSCC-derived cell lines and primary OSCCs and performed functional analyses of CDCA3 in OSCC-derived cells using the shRNA system.


The CDCA3 expression at both the mRNA and protein levels was frequently up-regulated in all cell lines examined and primary tumors (mRNA, 51/69, 74 %; protein, 79/95, 83 %) compared to normal controls (p < 0.001). In contrast, no significant level of CDCA3 protein expression was seen in oral premalignant lesions (OPLs) (n = 20) compared with the expression in OSCCs. Among the clinical variables analyzed, the CDCA3 expression status was closely related to tumor size (p < 0.05). In addition, suppression of CDCA3 expression with shRNA significantly (p < 0.05) inhibited cellular proliferation compared with the control cells by arresting cell-cycle progression at the G1 phase. Further, there was up-regulation of the cyclin-dependent kinase inhibitors (p21Cip1, p27Kip1, p15INK4B, and p16INK4A) in the knockdown cells.


The current results showed that overexpression of CDCA3 occurs frequently during oral carcinogenesis and this overexpression might be associated closely with progression of OSCCs by preventing the arrest of cell-cycle progression at the G1 phase via decreased expression of the cyclin-dependent kinase inhibitors.

Keywords: Cell division cycle associated 3, Oral squamous cell carcinoma, Proliferation, Cell-cycle arrest, Cyclin-dependent kinase inhibitors

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