Expression and role of autophagy-associated p62 (SQSTM1) in multidrug resistant ovarian cancer

Publication date: July 2018
Source:Gynecologic Oncology, Volume 150, Issue 1
Author(s): Jinglu Wang, Cassandra Garbutt, Hangzhan Ma, Peng Gao, Francis J. Hornicek, Quancheng Kan, Huirong Shi, Zhenfeng Duan
ObjectiveMultidrug resistance is the major cause of treatment failure in ovarian cancer. p62 (SQSTM1) is a multifunctional protein involved in multiple cellular processes including proliferation, drug sensitivity and autophagy-associated cancer cell growth. However, the role of p62 in drug resistance remains controversial.MethodsIn this study, we examined p62 expression by immunohistochemistry in a unique ovarian cancer tissue microarray (TMA), which was constructed with paired primary, metastatic, and recurrent tumor tissues. The expression levels of p62 and autophagy related proteins were evaluated in two panels of human cancer cell lines by western blot. Cell viabilities were determined by MTT assay after exposure ovarian cancer cells to different concentrations of paclitaxel alone or in combination with autophagy inhibitors.ResultsBoth the metastatic and recurrent tumor tissues expressed less p62 than the patient-matched primary tumor. A significant inverse correlation has been found between p62 expression and both the disease-free survival and overall survival. Additionally, multidrug resistant cancer cell lines expressed lower levels of p62 as compared with their parental drug sensitive cell lines. Importantly, inhibition of autophagy enhanced paclitaxel sensitivity in drug resistant ovarian cancer cells. Furthermore, the wound healing assay exhibited that the inhibition of autophagy significantly decreased resistant ovarian cancer cell migration in vitro.ConclusionOur findings highlight the potential of p62 as a new prognostic marker for ovarian cancer patients and p62’s associated autophagy pathway may be a promising therapeutic target to prevent metastasis, recurrence and to reverse drug resistance in ovarian cancer.