Background: Pin1 promotes oncogenesis by regulating multiple oncogenic signaling. In this study, we investigated the involvement of Pin1 in tumor progression and in the prognosis of human esophageal squamous cell carcinoma (ESCC).
Results: We observed that proliferation, clonogenicity and tumorigenesis of CE81T cells were inhibited by Pin1 knockdown. We next analyzed Pin1 expression in clinical ESCC specimens. When compared to the corresponding non-tumor part, Pin1 protein and mRNA levels in tumor part were higher in 84% and 62% patients, respectively. By immunohistochemistry, we identified that high Pin1 expression was associated with higher primary tumor stage (p = 0.035), higher overall cancer stage (p = 0.047) and poor overall survival (p < 0.001). Furthermore, the association between expression of Pin1 and levels of β-catenin and cyclin D in cell line and clinical specimens was evaluated. β-catenin and cyclin D1 were decreased in CE81T cells with Pin1 knockdown. Cyclin D1 level correlated with Pin1 expression in clinical ESCC specimens.
Conclusions: Pin1 upregulation was associated with advanced stage and poor prognosis of ESCC. Pin1 knockdown inhibited aggressiveness of ESCC cells. β-catenin and cyclin D1 were positively regulated by Pin1. These results indicated that targeting Pin1 pathway could represent a potential modality for treating ESCC.