SIX2 and CITED1, markers of nephronic progenitor self-renewal, remain active in primitive elements of Wilms' tumor.

Murphy AJ, Pierce J, de Caestecker C, Taylor C, Anderson JR, Perantoni AO, de Caestecker MP, Lovvorn HN
J Pediatr Surg. 2012 47 (6): 1239-49

PMID: 22703800 · PMCID: PMC3377935 · DOI:10.1016/j.jpedsurg.2012.03.034

PURPOSE - SIX2 and CITED1 are transcriptional regulators that specify self-renewing nephronic progenitor cells of the embryonic kidney. We hypothesized that SIX2, which promotes and maintains this stem cell population, and CITED1 remain active in Wilms' tumor (WT).

METHODS - To evaluate expression domains and the pathogenic significance of SIX2 and CITED1 across WT, the Children's Oncology Group provided 40 WT specimens of stages I to IV (n = 10 per stage), which were enriched for unfavorable histology (n = 20) and treatment failure (relapse or death, n = 20). SIX2 and CITED1 protein expression was evaluated qualitatively (immunohistochemistry) and quantitatively (Western blot, or WB). Gene transcription was estimated using quantitative real-time polymerase chain reaction (qRT-PCR).

RESULTS - SIX2 was visualized by immunohistochemistry in 36 (94.7%) of 38 specimens. Protein and messenger RNA expression of SIX2 were quantitatively similar across all stages of disease (P = .48 WB; P = 0.38 qPCR), in favorable or unfavorable histology (P = 0.51 WB; P = 0.58 qPCR), and in treatment failure or success (P = 0.86 WB; P = 0.49 qPCR). Although CITED1 expression paralleled SIX2 qualitatively, no quantitative correlation between SIX2 and CITED1 expression was observed (Spearman correlation coefficient, 0.28; P = 0.08). As in the fetal kidney, overlapping, but also distinct, WT cellular expression domains were observed between SIX2 and CITED1.

CONCLUSION - SIX2 and CITED1 remain active across all disease characteristics of WT. Activity of these genes in WT potentially identifies a population of self-renewing cancer cells that exhibit an embryonic, stemlike phenotype. Taken together, these transcriptional regulators may be fundamental to WT cellular self-renewal and may represent targets for novel therapies that promote terminal differentiation.

Copyright © 2012 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

MeSH Terms (25)

Apoptosis Regulatory Proteins Biomarkers, Tumor Blotting, Western Cell Nucleus Cytosol Gene Expression Regulation, Neoplastic Homeodomain Proteins Humans Immunoenzyme Techniques Kidney Kidney Neoplasms Microscopy, Fluorescence Neoplasm Proteins Neoplastic Stem Cells Nephrons Nerve Tissue Proteins Nuclear Proteins Prognosis Reverse Transcriptase Polymerase Chain Reaction RNA, Messenger RNA, Neoplasm Single-Blind Method Trans-Activators Transcription Factors Wilms Tumor

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