Growth factor receptor bound protein-7 (Grb7) is a multi-domain adaptor protein that is co-opted by numerous tyrosine kinases involved in various cellular signaling. The objective of this study was to investigate the expression of Grb7 and its clinicopathological significance in cervical cancer. Utilising immunohistochemical staining, we examined the expression of Grb7 in 120 cases of human cervical cancer tissue and 10 cases of adjacent non-cancerous cervical tissue. The positive rate of Grb7 protein expression was 34.2%, which was significantly higher than that in adjacent non-cancerous cervical tissue (0%, p<0.05). The expression of Grb7 was found to be correlated with age, tumor size, serosal invasion, differentiated degree, tumor stage, early or advanced stage and lymph node metastasis. Kaplan-Meier survival analysis showed that patients with positive Grb7 protein expression had a lower overall survival rate than patients without Grb7 expression. In addition, Grb7 plays an important role in promoting tumor progression, including invasion and anti-apoptosis, in cervical cancer cell line. Down-regulation of Grb7 repressed the expression of MMP-9 and Bcl-2, and increased the expression of Bax in Grb7 knockdown Hela cells. Cell invasion assay showed decreased number of Grb7 knockdown Hela cells (18.7±2.1) compared to Hela cells (65.3±2.5, P<0.05). Our results indicated that Grb7 over-expression may facilitate invasion and inhibit apoptosis in cervical cancer and Grb7 is a potentially molecular target of cervical cancer chemotherapy.
Keywords: Bax; Bcl-2; Cervical cancer; Grb7; MMP-9; Migration; Overall survival.
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