Open Access

MELK predicts poor prognosis and promotes metastasis in esophageal squamous cell carcinoma via activating the NF‑κB pathway

  • Authors:
    • Jiecheng Ye
    • Wanying Deng
    • Ying Zhong
    • Hui Liu
    • Baoyin Guo
    • Zixi Qin
    • Peiwen Li
    • Xueyun Zhong
    • Lihui Wang
  • View Affiliations

  • Published online on: June 21, 2022     https://doi.org/10.3892/ijo.2022.5384
  • Article Number: 94
  • Copyright: © Ye et al. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of Creative Commons Attribution License.

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Abstract

Esophageal squamous cell carcinoma (ESCC) is one of the most common malignancies worldwide with a low 5‑year survival rate due to the lack of effective therapeutic strategies. Accumulating evidence has indicated that maternal embryonic leucine zipper kinase (MELK) is highly expressed in several tumors and associated with tumor development. However, the biological effects of MELK in ESCC remain unknown. In the present study, cell phenotypical experiments and animal metastasis assays were performed to detect the influence of MELK knockdown in vitro and in vivo. The potential molecular mechanism of MELK‑mediated ESCC metastasis was further investigated by western blotting and immunofluorescence staining. The results revealed that the expression of MELK in human ESCC tissues was higher than that in adjacent normal tissues and was positively associated with the poor prognosis of patients. Reducing MELK expression resulted in growth inhibition and suppression of the invasive ability of ESCC cells in vitro and in vivo. MELK inhibition induced alterations of epithelial‑mesenchymal transition‑associated proteins. Mechanistically, MELK interacted with IκB kinase (IKK) and promoted the phosphorylation of IKK, by which MELK regulated activation of the NF‑κB pathway. Collectively, the present study revealed the function and mechanism of MELK in the cell metastasis of ESCC, which may be a potential therapeutic target for ESCC.

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August-2022
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Spandidos Publications style
Ye J, Deng W, Zhong Y, Liu H, Guo B, Qin Z, Li P, Zhong X and Wang L: MELK predicts poor prognosis and promotes metastasis in esophageal squamous cell carcinoma via activating the NF‑κB pathway. Int J Oncol 61: 94, 2022
APA
Ye, J., Deng, W., Zhong, Y., Liu, H., Guo, B., Qin, Z. ... Wang, L. (2022). MELK predicts poor prognosis and promotes metastasis in esophageal squamous cell carcinoma via activating the NF‑κB pathway. International Journal of Oncology, 61, 94. https://doi.org/10.3892/ijo.2022.5384
MLA
Ye, J., Deng, W., Zhong, Y., Liu, H., Guo, B., Qin, Z., Li, P., Zhong, X., Wang, L."MELK predicts poor prognosis and promotes metastasis in esophageal squamous cell carcinoma via activating the NF‑κB pathway". International Journal of Oncology 61.2 (2022): 94.
Chicago
Ye, J., Deng, W., Zhong, Y., Liu, H., Guo, B., Qin, Z., Li, P., Zhong, X., Wang, L."MELK predicts poor prognosis and promotes metastasis in esophageal squamous cell carcinoma via activating the NF‑κB pathway". International Journal of Oncology 61, no. 2 (2022): 94. https://doi.org/10.3892/ijo.2022.5384