Abnormalities in nuclear shape are a well-known feature of cancer, but their contribution to malignant progression remains poorly understood. Here, we show that depletion of the cytoskeletal regulator, Diaphanous-related formin 3 (DIAPH3), or the nuclear membrane-associated proteins, lamin A/C, in prostate and breast cancer cells, induces nuclear shape instability, with a corresponding gain in malignant properties, including secretion of extracellular vesicles that contain genomic material. This transformation is characterized by a reduction and/or mislocalization of the inner nuclear membrane protein, emerin. Consistent with this, depletion of emerin evokes nuclear shape instability and promotes metastasis. By visualizing emerin localization, evidence for nuclear shape instability was observed in cultured tumor cells, in experimental models of prostate cancer, in human prostate cancer tissues, and in circulating tumor cells from patients with metastatic disease. Quantitation of emerin mislocalization discriminated cancer from benign tissue and correlated with disease progression in a prostate cancer cohort. Taken together, these results identify emerin as a mediator of nuclear shape stability in cancer and show that destabilization of emerin can promote metastasis. This study identifies a novel mechanism integrating the control of nuclear structure with the metastatic phenotype, and our inclusion of two types of human specimens (cancer tissues and circulating tumor cells) demonstrates direct relevance to human cancer. http://cancerres.aacrjournals.org/content/canres/78/21/6086/F1.large.jpg .
©2018 American Association for Cancer Research.