Sonic hedgehog (Shh) signaling and epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT) are both known to relate to cancer progression. The purpose of this study was to investigate the role of Shh signaling and EMT in renal cell carcinoma (RCC).
Materials and Methods
Cell proliferation was assayed in RCC cell lines in the presence or absence of a Shh signaling stimulator, recombinant Shh (r-Shh) protein, or a Shh signaling inhibitor, cyclopamine. Real-time reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) was performed to study the expression of EMT markers (E-cadherin, N-cadherin, and vimentin) and osteonectin. The expression of Ki-67, Gli-1, osteonectin, and EMT markers in nephrectomy specimens from RCC patients was also measured by immunohistochemical (IHC) staining.
RCC cells showed enhanced cell proliferation by r-Shh protein, whereas cell proliferation was suppressed by the addition of cyclopamine in RenCa cells. Real-time RT-PCR showed that r-Shh suppressed the expression of E-cadherin and that this suppression was partly blocked by cyclopamine alone in RenCa cells. In the IHC results, osteonectin significantly correlated with vein sinus invasion (p=0.0218), and the expression of vimentin significantly correlated with lymphatic invasion (p=0.0392).
Shh signaling and EMT play roles in RCC progression, and the Shh signaling inhibitor cyclopamine might be a possible molecular targeted therapeutic strategy for RCC.