Deregulated expression of hnRNP A/B proteins in human non-small cell lung cancer: parallel assessment of protein and mRNA levels in paired tumour/non-tumour tissues

BMC Cancer. 2010 Aug 17:10:434. doi: 10.1186/1471-2407-10-434.


Background: Heterogeneous nuclear ribonucleoproteins (hnRNPs) of the A/B type (hnRNP A1, A2/B1, A3) are highly related multifunctional proteins participating in alternative splicing by antagonising other splicing factors, notably ASF/SF2. The altered expression pattern of hnRNP A2/B1 and/or splicing variant B1 alone in human lung cancer and their potential to serve as molecular markers for early diagnosis remain issues of intense investigation. The main objective of the present study was to use paired tumour/non-tumour biopsies from patients with non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) to investigate the expression profiles of hnRNP A1, A2/B1 and A3 in conjunction with ASF/SF2.

Methods: We combined western blotting of tissue homogenates with immunohistochemical examination of fixed tissue sections and quantification of mRNA expression levels in tumour versus adjacent normal-looking areas of the lung in the same patient.

Results: Our study, in addition to clear evidence of mostly uncoupled deregulation of hnRNPs A/B, has revealed hnRNP A1 to be the most deregulated protein with a high frequency of over-expression (76%), followed by A3 (52%) and A2/B1 (43%). Moreover, direct comparison of protein/mRNA levels showed a lack of correlation in the case of hnRNP A1 (as well as of ASF/SF2), but not of A2/B1, suggesting that different mechanisms underlie their deregulation.

Conclusion: Our results provide strong evidence for the up-regulation of hnRNP A/B in NSCLC, and they support the existence of distinct mechanisms responsible for their deregulated expression.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adenocarcinoma / genetics
  • Adenocarcinoma / metabolism
  • Adenocarcinoma / secondary
  • Adenocarcinoma, Bronchiolo-Alveolar / genetics
  • Adenocarcinoma, Bronchiolo-Alveolar / metabolism
  • Adenocarcinoma, Bronchiolo-Alveolar / secondary
  • Aged
  • Blotting, Western
  • Carcinoma, Large Cell / genetics
  • Carcinoma, Large Cell / metabolism
  • Carcinoma, Large Cell / secondary
  • Carcinoma, Non-Small-Cell Lung / genetics*
  • Carcinoma, Non-Small-Cell Lung / metabolism*
  • Carcinoma, Non-Small-Cell Lung / pathology
  • Carcinoma, Squamous Cell / genetics
  • Carcinoma, Squamous Cell / metabolism
  • Carcinoma, Squamous Cell / secondary
  • Female
  • Heterogeneous Nuclear Ribonucleoprotein A1
  • Heterogeneous-Nuclear Ribonucleoprotein Group A-B / genetics
  • Heterogeneous-Nuclear Ribonucleoprotein Group A-B / metabolism*
  • Humans
  • Immunoenzyme Techniques
  • Lung / metabolism*
  • Lung / pathology
  • Lung Neoplasms / genetics
  • Lung Neoplasms / metabolism
  • Lung Neoplasms / pathology
  • Lymphatic Metastasis
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Neoplasm Staging
  • Nuclear Proteins / genetics
  • Nuclear Proteins / metabolism
  • RNA, Messenger / genetics*
  • RNA-Binding Proteins / genetics
  • RNA-Binding Proteins / metabolism
  • Reverse Transcriptase Polymerase Chain Reaction
  • Serine-Arginine Splicing Factors
  • Survival Rate
  • Treatment Outcome


  • HNRNPA3 protein, human
  • Heterogeneous Nuclear Ribonucleoprotein A1
  • Heterogeneous-Nuclear Ribonucleoprotein Group A-B
  • Nuclear Proteins
  • RNA, Messenger
  • RNA-Binding Proteins
  • Serine-Arginine Splicing Factors