KLF4 suppresses the proliferation of perihilar cholangiocarcinoma by negatively regulating GDF15 and phosphorylating AKT
- Xiaoming Zhang
- Weijia Wang
- Chunlei Lu
- Haifeng Zhang
Affiliations: General Surgery Center of Linyi People's Hospital, Linyi, Shandong 276000, P.R. China
- Published online on: November 6, 2023 https://doi.org/10.3892/or.2023.8659
Copyright: © Zhang
et al. This is an open access article distributed under the
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Krüppel‑like factor 4 (KLF4) is a transcription factor which functions as a tumor suppressor or an oncogene in numerous types of solid tumors. However, its expression levels and function in perihilar cholangiocarcinoma (pCCA) have yet to be elucidated. In the present study, in order to investigate its roles in pCCA, reverse transcription‑quantitative PCR (RT‑qPCR), western blot analysis and immunohistochemistry were used to detect KLF4 expression in pCCA. The Chi‑squared test was used to analyze the associations between KLF4 and the clinicopathological features of patients with pCCA. Univariate and multivariate analyses were subsequently used to analyze the prognostic significance of KLF4. The tumor suppression of KLF4 was investigated for the purposes of illustrating its biological function both in vitro and in vivo. Furthermore, the association between KLF4 and growth/differentiation factor 15 (GDF15) was determined using pCCA tissue microarray (TMA) analysis and RT‑qPCR. The underlying molecular mechanisms between KLF4 and GDF15 were subsequently investigated in vitro. In pCCA tissues, KLF4 was found to be downregulated, and this was negatively associated with the histological grade and tumor size. The knockdown of KLF4 was also found to be a prognostic indicator of the poorer survival of patients with pCCA. Based on in vitro and in vivo analyses, KLF4 was found to suppress tumor progression and induce cell apoptosis. Furthermore, it was found that KLF4 executed its tumor suppressive effects via the regulation of the GDF15/AKT signaling pathway. Taken together, the findings of the present study demonstrate that KLF4 may be considered as an independent biomarker of a favorable prognosis of patients with pCCA, and the KLF4/GDF15/AKT signaling pathway may potentially be a novel molecular therapeutic target for patients with pCCA.