Activation of EZH2 and SUZ12 Regulated by E2F1 Predicts the Disease Progression and Aggressive Characteristics of Bladder Cancer

Clin Cancer Res. 2015 Dec 1;21(23):5391-403. doi: 10.1158/1078-0432.CCR-14-2680. Epub 2015 Aug 12.


Purpose: Previous study identified E2F1 as a key mediator of non-muscle-invasive bladder cancer (NMIBC) progression. The aim of this study was to identify the E2F1-related genes associated with poor prognosis and aggressive characteristics of bladder cancer.

Experimental design: Microarray analysis was performed to find E2F1-related genes associated with tumor progression and aggressiveness in the gene expression data from 165 primary patients with bladder cancer. The biologic activity of E2F1-related genes in tumor progression and aggressiveness was confirmed with experimental assays using bladder cancer cells and tumor xenograft assay.

Results: The expression of E2F1 was significantly associated with EZH2 and SUZ12. The overexpression of E2F1, EZH2, and SUZ12 enhanced cancer progression including cell colony formation, migration, and invasiveness. Knockdown of these genes reduced motility, blocked invasion, and decreased tumor size in vivo. E2F1 bound the proximal EZH2 and SUZ12 promoter to activate transcription, suggesting that E2F1 and its downstream effectors, EZH2 and SUZ12, could be important mediators for the cancer progression. In addition, we confirmed an association between these genes and aggressive characteristics. Interestingly, the treatment of anticancer drugs to the cells overexpressing E2F1, EZH2, and SUZ12 induced the expression of CD44, KLF4, OCT4, and ABCG2 known as cancer stem cell (CSC)-related genes.

Conclusions: The link between E2F1, EZH2, and/or SUZ12 revealed that E2f1 directly regulates transcription of the EZH2 and SUZ12 genes. The signature of E2F1-EZH2-SUZ12 shows a predictive value for prognosis in bladder tumors and the E2F1-EZH2-SUZ12-driven transcriptional events may regulate the cancer aggressiveness and chemo-resistance, which may provide opportunity for development of new treatment modalities.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cell Line, Tumor
  • Cell Proliferation
  • Cell Survival / genetics
  • Cell Transformation, Neoplastic / genetics
  • Cell Transformation, Neoplastic / metabolism
  • Cluster Analysis
  • Disease Progression
  • Drug Resistance, Neoplasm / genetics
  • E2F1 Transcription Factor / metabolism*
  • Enhancer of Zeste Homolog 2 Protein
  • Gene Expression Profiling
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Neoplastic*
  • Humans
  • Mice
  • Neoplasm Invasiveness
  • Polycomb Repressive Complex 2 / genetics*
  • Prognosis
  • Spheroids, Cellular
  • Transcriptome
  • Tumor Cells, Cultured
  • Urinary Bladder Neoplasms / genetics*
  • Urinary Bladder Neoplasms / metabolism*
  • Urinary Bladder Neoplasms / mortality
  • Urinary Bladder Neoplasms / pathology


  • E2F1 Transcription Factor
  • SUZ12 protein, human
  • EZH2 protein, human
  • Enhancer of Zeste Homolog 2 Protein
  • Polycomb Repressive Complex 2