Differential expression of COL4A3 and collagen in upward and downward progressing types of nasopharyngeal carcinoma
- Xiting Yang
- Qiuji Wu
- Fengyang Wu
- Yahua Zhong
Affiliations: Department of Radiation and Medical Oncology, Hubei Key Laboratory of Tumor Biological Behaviors, Hubei Cancer Clinical Study Center, Zhongnan Hospital of Wuhan University, Wuhan, Hubei 430071, P.R. China
- Published online on: January 21, 2021 https://doi.org/10.3892/ol.2021.12484
Copyright: © Yang
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Upward (local growth and invasion of the base of skull), downward (distant metastasis) and mixed progressing types of nasopharyngeal carcinoma (NPC) have been identified and are distinctly different with respect to clinical symptoms, therapeutic strategies and prognosis. The present study aimed to identify the genetic difference and collagen expression levels in the upward and downward progressing types of NPC. Whole exon sequencing (WES) was used to detect genes differentially mutated between the upward and downward progressing types of NPC. Collagen deposition in the upward and downward progressing types of NPC was determined using Masson trichromatic staining, while the protein expression level of COL4A3 was detected using immunohistochemistry. Survival analysis was also performed using the Kaplan-Meier Plotter database to examine the role of COL4A3 expression level in the prognosis of head and neck squamous cell carcinoma. Knockdown of COL4A3 was performed using short interfering (si)RNA-COL4A3 in a 5-8F NPC cell line. Reverse transcription-quantitative PCR and western blot analyses were utilized to analyze the mRNA and protein expression levels of COL4A3, respectively. The roles of COL4A3 in the migration and invasion of the 5-8F cell line were examined using wound-healing Transwell and Matrigel assays, respectively. A total of 21 genes were differentially mutated between the upward and downward progressing types of NPC. The COL4A3 was investigated further, as it was found to be associated with extracellular matrix deposition and cancer metastasis. The COL4A3 gene was markedly downregulated in the downward progressing type compared with that in the upward progressing type (2.161±1.306 vs. 5.077±3.619; P<0.05). In addition, the deposition of collagen in the downward progressing type was also significantly decreased compared with that in the upward progressing type (5.63±6.83 vs. 10.94±9.60; P<0.05). Kaplan-Meier analysis indicated that high expression level of COL4A3 was positively associated with a favorable prognosis of head and neck squamous cell carcinoma (HR, 0.69; 95% CI, 0.49‑ 0.97; P=0.031). To confirm the role of COL4A3, the expression level of COL4A3 was knocked down using siRNA in the 5-8F cell line and the results showed that the invasion and migration was significantly increased when the expression of COL4A3 was inhibited (P<0.0001). In conclusion, the gene mutation patterns were significantly different between the upward and downward progressing types of NPC. In addition, the expression level of the COL4A3 gene was decreased in the downward progressing type, which might promote NPC metastasis through the downregulation of extracellular collagen expression.