p63 plays a critical role in normal development and maintenance of stratified epithelia, including the urothelium. In the normal urothelium, urothelial cells in the basal layers abundantly express the predominant p63 isoform ΔNp63α. We previously showed that (a) ΔNp63α expression at the similar level to the normal urothelium is retained in most low-grade papillary noninvasive (LPN) tumors, whereas frequently lost in high-grade invasive carcinomas, and that (b) loss of ΔNp63α is associated with poor prognosis of invasive bladder urothelial carcinoma patients. However, a functional role of ΔNp63α in progression of urothelial carcinomas remains to be elucidated. Here, we show that loss of ΔNp63α expression promotes invasion of urothelial carcinoma cells. In 5637 cells substantially expressing only ΔNp63α isoform at the protein level, knockdown of endogenous p63 upregulated N-cadherin, which recruited more Src homology and collagen to N-cadherin and activated extracellular signal-regulated kinase (ERK) signaling, and consequently potentiated cell motility, excretion of matrix metalloproteinase-9, and invasion. In T24 cells originally lacking endogenous ΔNp63α expression, exogenous expression of ΔNp63α attenuated invasion by downregulating N-cadherin expression and ERK activity, confirming an invasion-suppressive role of ΔNp63α in urothelial carcinoma cells. We further documented loss of ΔNp63 expression accompanied by N-cadherin upregulation during muscle-invasive recurrence in patients whose bladder cancer had progressed from LPN tumors to muscle-invasive disease. These results suggest that loss of ΔNp63α and subsequent upregulation of N-cadherin is one of the mechanisms underlying progression of bladder cancer.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cancer Research