Linkage between Twist1 and Bmi1: Molecular mechanism of cancer metastasis/stemness and clinical implications
1. Cancer metastasis is the major cause of cancer‐related death despite significant improvements in multimodal cancer therapy. Epithelial–mesenchymal transition (EMT), a major mechanism of cancer metastasis, is a process that generates cells with stem cell‐like properties (cancer stemness).
2. Cancer stemness is a concept that describes a minor population of cells (cancer stem cells) residing within a tumour that are able to self‐renew and are resistant to conventional therapy. The mechanisms delineating the generation of cancer stemness and its connection to cancer metastasis remain largely unknown.
3. Twist1 is an EMT regulator and increased Twist1 expression, which has prognostic significance in various human cancers, has been widely reported. Bmi1 is a critical component of polycomb repressive complex (PRC) 1, which maintains self‐renewal and stemness. Bmi1 is frequently overexpressed in different types of human cancers and can induce drug resistance (Table 2).
4. Recent studies have shown that Twist1 directly activates Bmi1 expression and that these two molecules function together to mediate cancer stemness and EMT. These results present a unique mechanism of EMT‐induced cancer metastasis and stemness.
5. Further investigation of the mechanisms of EMT‐mediated cancer metastasis and stemness will contribute to the management and treatment of metastatic cancers.
Document Type: Research Article
Affiliations: 1: Department of Occupational Medicine, Far Eastern Memorial Hospital, New Taipei City 2: Division of Thoracic Surgery, Department of Surgery, Taipei Veterans General Hospital and School of Medicine 3: Institute of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, National Yang-Ming University, Taipei, Taiwan
Publication date: August 1, 2012