STAT2 contributes to promotion of colorectal and skin carcinogenesis

Cancer Prev Res (Phila). 2010 Apr;3(4):495-504. doi: 10.1158/1940-6207.CAPR-09-0105. Epub 2010 Mar 16.


Signal transducer and activator of transcription 2 (STAT2) is an essential transcription factor in the type I IFN (IFN-alpha/beta) signal transduction pathway and known for its role in mediating antiviral immunity and cell growth inhibition. Unlike other members of the STAT family, IFNs are the only cytokines known to date that can activate STAT2. Given the inflammatory and antiproliferative dual nature of IFNs, we hypothesized that STAT2 prevents inflammation-induced colorectal and skin carcinogenesis by altering the inflammatory immune response. Contrary to our hypothesis, deletion of STAT2 inhibited azoxymethane/dextran sodium sulfate-induced colorectal carcinogenesis as measured by prolonged survival, lower adenoma incidence, smaller polyps, and less chronic inflammation. STAT2 deficiency also inhibited 7,12-dimethylbenz(a)anthracene/12-O-tetradecanoylphorbol-13-acetate-induced skin carcinogenesis as indicated by reduced papilloma multiplicity. A potential mechanism by which STAT2 promotes carcinogenesis is through activation of proinflammatory mediators. Deletion of STAT2 decreased azoxymethane/dextran sodium sulfate-induced expression and release of proinflammatory mediators, such as interleukin-6 and CCL2, and decreased interleukin-6 release from skin carcinoma cells, which then decreased STAT3 activation. Our findings identify STAT2 as a novel contributor to colorectal and skin carcinogenesis that may act to increase the gene expression and secretion of proinflammatory mediators, which in turn activate the oncogenic STAT3 signaling pathway.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Intramural

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Carcinogens / toxicity
  • Cell Transformation, Neoplastic / metabolism
  • Colorectal Neoplasms / genetics
  • Colorectal Neoplasms / immunology
  • Colorectal Neoplasms / metabolism*
  • Female
  • Gene Expression
  • Gene Expression Regulation / physiology
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Inflammation / chemically induced
  • Inflammation / immunology
  • Inflammation / metabolism
  • Mice
  • Mice, Knockout
  • Reverse Transcriptase Polymerase Chain Reaction
  • STAT2 Transcription Factor / genetics
  • STAT2 Transcription Factor / metabolism*
  • Signal Transduction / physiology*
  • Skin Neoplasms / genetics
  • Skin Neoplasms / immunology
  • Skin Neoplasms / metabolism*


  • Carcinogens
  • STAT2 Transcription Factor