Promoter hypermethylation-related reduced somatostatin production promotes uncontrolled cell proliferation in colorectal cancer

Published on Tuesday, 17 March 2015


BACKGROUND: Somatostatin (SST) has anti-proliferative and pro-apoptotic effects. Our aims were to analyze and compare the SST expression during normal aging and colorectal carcinogenesis at mRNA and protein levels. Furthermore, we tested the methylation status of SST in biopsy samples, and the cell growth inhibitory effect of the SST analogue octreotide in human colorectal adenocarcinoma cell line.

METHODS: Colonic samples were collected from healthy children (n1 = 6), healthy adults (n2 = 41) and colorectal cancer patients (CRCs) (n3 = 34) for SST mRNA expression analysis, using HGU133 Plus2.0 microarrays. Results were validated both on original (n1 = 6; n2 = 6; n3 = 6) and independent samples ((n1 = 6; n2 = 6; n3 = 6) by real-time PCR. SST expressing cells were detected by immunohistochemistry on colonic biopsy samples (n1 = 14; n2 = 20; n3 = 23). The effect of octreotide on cell growth was tested on Caco-2 cell line. SST methylation percentage in biopsy samples (n1 = 5; n2 = 5; n3 = 9) was defined using methylation-sensitive restriction enzyme digestion.

RESULTS: In case of normal aging SST mRNA expression did not alter, but decreased in cancer (p < 0.05). The ratio of SST immunoreactive cells was significantly higher in children (0.70%±0.79%) compared to CRC (0%±0%) (p < 0.05). Octreotide significantly increased the proportion of apoptotic Caco-2 cells. SST showed significantly higher methylation level in tumor samples (30.2%±11.6%) compared to healthy young individuals (3.5%±1.9%) (p < 0.05).

CONCLUSIONS: In cancerous colonic mucosa the reduced SST production may contribute to the uncontrolled cell proliferation. Our observation that in colon cancer cells octreotide significantly enhanced cell death and attenuated cell proliferation suggests that SST may act as a regulator of epithelial cell kinetics. The inhibition of SST expression in CRC can be epigenetically regulated by promoter hypermethylation.



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See also Somatostatin in oncology, the overlooked evidences.