The Forkhead box M1 (FOXM1) is an oncogenic transcription factor and plays a significant role in cell EMT, proliferation, metastasis in a multitude of human solid tumors including colorectal cancer (CRC). However, the underlying molecular mechanisms by which FoxM1 contributes to epithelial-to-mesenchymal (EMT) and metastasis have not been fully elucidated in CRC.
In our study, we investigated FOXM1 protein expression in 87 CRC tissue specimens, invasive lymph nodes and adjacent paired normal colorectal tissues by immunohistochemical analysis. Then we transfected FOXM1 specific shRNA into SW620 cells to examine effect of FOXM1 on proliferation, colony formation, migration and invasion in vitro. Western blotting and real-time PCR were used to detect the protein and mRNA expression of FOXM1 and EMT-related markers.
FOXM1 was overexpressed in CRC tissues, invasive lymph nodes and CRC cell lines. FoxM1 overexpression was significantly associated with lymph node metastasis (P < 0.001), and tumor recurrence (P < 0.001). Moreover, downregulation of FOXM1 in SW620 cells by shRNA approach inhibited cell growth, clonogenicity, migration and invasion in vitro. In addition, decreased FOXM1 expression in SW620 cells reversed the acquisition of EMT phenotype by up-regulating E-cadherin, as well as reduction Vimentin and Snail expressions at protein and mRNA levels.
FOXM1 may regulate CRC cells metastasis through EMT program and FOXM1 may be a potential target for treatment of CRC.