Bovine lactoferrin reverses programming of epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition to mesenchymal-to-epithelial transition in oral squamous cell carcinoma.
Biochem Biophys Res Commun. 2018 12 9 ;507(1-4):142-147. Epub 2018 Nov 8. PMID: 30415774
Epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition (EMT) is a biological process of invasion and metastasis in cancers, including in oral squamous cell carcinoma (OSCC). However, an effective anticancer drug that directly targets EMT has not yet been discovered. Therefore, we aimed to investigate the repressive effects of bovine lactoferrin (bLF) on EMT to achieve mesenchymal-to-epithelial transition (MET) in OSCC. OSCC cell lines, HOC313 (EMT-induced) and SCCVII (without EMT induction), were treated with bLF. The effects of bLF on EMT in OSCC were identified histologically by haematoxylin and eosin staining and observed morphologically and immunohistochemically using an anti-E-cadherin antibody. Expression levels of E-cadherin and vimentin were investigated using RT-PCR and western blotting. Immuno-expression of E-cadherin was examined in vivo in tumour tissues of C3H/HeN mice, transplanted with SCCVII cells, with or without bLF administration. We found that bLF changed the spindle-like mesenchymal cells to cuboidal-like epithelial cells and enhanced the affinity of membrane-bound E-cadherin in HOC313 cells. The transformation ofEMT-MET in HOC313 cells was confirmed by the upregulation of E-cadherin and suppression of vimentin. Moreover, bLF suppressed TWIST expression through downregulation of ERK1/2 phosphorylation. Additionally, the inhibition tumour cell infiltration and increase in E-cadherin expression were observed in xenografts of the mice orally administered with bLF. Thus, based on the results from in vitro and in vivo studies, we concluded that bLF caused the restoration of epithelial properties through MET. Importantly, this finding is novel and is the first report indicating that bLF inhibited EMT and induced MET in OSCC, suggesting that bLF may provide a novel therapeutic strategy in OSCC.