Expression of acidosis-dependent genes in human cancer nests

Mol Clin Oncol. 2014 Nov;2(6):1160-1166. doi: 10.3892/mco.2014.344. Epub 2014 Jul 11.


Previous studies investigating cancer cells cultured at acidic pH have shown that the expression level of ~700 genes were more than two-fold higher than those of the cells cultured in alkaline medium at pH 7.5. The aim of the present study was to confirm whether these acidosis-induced genes are expressed in human cancer tissues. Therefore, 7 genes were selected from our previous study, which encoded interleukin 32 (IL-32), lysosomal H+ transporting ATPase, V0 subunit d2 (ATP6V0D2), tumor necrosis factor receptor superfamily, member 9 (TNFRSF9), amphiregulin, schwannoma-derived growth factor (AREG), v-erb-b2 erythroblastic leukemia viral oncogene homolog 3 (ErbB3), PRR5-ARHGAP8 (LOC553158) and dimethylglycine dehydrogenase (DMGDH), and their expression was examined in human clinical specimens from patients with cancer. In addition, the expression of the gene encoding manganese superoxide dismutase (MnSOD) was examined. The specimens from patients with colon, stomach and renal cancer showed increased MnSOD, IL-32, and TNFRSF9 transcripts compared to those from non-tumorous regions of the same patients. Notably, an elevated expression of ATP6V0D2 was found in the specimens from patients with stomach cancer, whereas the expression was decreased in those from patients with colon and renal cancer. The expression of LOC553158 was upregulated in colon and stomach cancer specimens. These results indicate that the investigation of gene expression under acidic conditions is useful for the development of novel cancer markers and/or chemotherapeutic targets.

Keywords: acidic environments; gene expression; human cancer.