Oncol Rep 2015 May 17;33(5):2319-30. Epub 2015 Mar 17.
Department of Pathology, Yuebei People's Hospital, Shaoguan, Guangdong 512026, P.R. China.
Engrailed 2 (EN2) is a member of the homeobox gene family. Many studies suggest that overexpression of EN2 protein may be associated with tumor development, including bladder cancer (BC). However, to date, the mechanisms of how EN2 functions to promote BC progression remain elusive. The present study introduced RNAi to silence the expression of EN2 in BC cell lines. In vitro invasion and migration assays and in vivo experiments were carried out to examine the functions of EN2 in BC invasion and metastasis. The results of the present study indicated that EN2 was significantly expressed in BC cells. Ectopic expression of EN2 in normal urothelial cells significantly enhanced cellular proliferation and invasion, but inhibited cellular apoptosis. EN2 knockdown significantly promoted cell cycle arrest and apoptosis of BC cells with inhibition of proliferation and invasion in vitro as well as EN2 knockdown decreased the tumor growth of BC. The tumor growth was decreased by regulation of the cell cycle, apoptosis and epithelial-mesenchymal transition-related proteins, with inhibition of metastasis to the liver and lung in vivo. Furthermore, EN2 knockdown significantly decreased the levels of pAkt-473, pAkt-308 and phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase (PI3K), whereas EN2 knockdown increased the expression of PTEN in vitro. Taken together, EN2 may be a candidate oncogene in BC by activating the PI3K/Akt pathway and inhibiting PTEN, and may be a potential therapeutic target for the treatment of BC.