LncRNA HOTTIP modulates cancer stem cell properties in human pancreatic cancer by regulating HOXA9

Cancer Lett. 2017 Dec 1;410:68-81. doi: 10.1016/j.canlet.2017.09.019. Epub 2017 Sep 22.


Our previous study demonstrated that long non-coding RNA (lncRNA) HOTTIP was maximally expressed in PDAC, and promoted cancer cell progression and epithelial to mesenchymal transition (EMT). Numerous studies indicated that lncRNAs or EMT supported cancer stem cells. However, the role of HOTTIP in pancreatic cancer stem cells (PCSCs) remains unclear. Here, we evaluated the role and mechanism of HOTTIP in PCSCs. First, we analyzed the relationship between HOTTIP expression and overall or disease-free survival in 90 patients with PDAC after radical resection. Patients with higher HOTTIP expression had shorter disease-free survival and overall survival than those with lower expression. Expression of HOTTIP and other lncRNAs was detected in PCSCs and non-PCSCs by laser capture microdissection (LCM). HOTTIP was highly expressed in PCSCs. In addition, in vitro assays showed that HOTTIP alterations affected stemness, including sphericity, tumorigenesis, and stem factors (LIN28, NANOG, OCT4, and SOX2) and markers (ALDH1, CD44, and CD133). Mechanistically, HOTTIP mediated HOXA9 to enhance the Wnt/β-catenin pathway by binding to WDR5 in PCSCs. In vivo results showed that HOTTIP or HOXA9 alterations influenced stemness. Our results indicate that the HOTTIP/WDR5/HOXA9/Wnt axis contributes to PCSC stemness and is a potential therapeutic target for PDAC.

Keywords: Cancer stem cells; HOTTIP; HOXA9; Long noncoding RNAs; Pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma; Wnt.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Carcinoma, Pancreatic Ductal / genetics
  • Carcinoma, Pancreatic Ductal / metabolism*
  • Carcinoma, Pancreatic Ductal / pathology
  • Carcinoma, Pancreatic Ductal / surgery
  • Cell Line, Tumor
  • Disease-Free Survival
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Neoplastic
  • Histone-Lysine N-Methyltransferase / genetics
  • Histone-Lysine N-Methyltransferase / metabolism
  • Homeodomain Proteins / genetics
  • Homeodomain Proteins / metabolism*
  • Humans
  • Intracellular Signaling Peptides and Proteins
  • Mice, Inbred BALB C
  • Mice, Nude
  • Neoplastic Stem Cells / metabolism*
  • Neoplastic Stem Cells / pathology
  • Pancreatectomy
  • Pancreatic Neoplasms / genetics
  • Pancreatic Neoplasms / metabolism*
  • Pancreatic Neoplasms / pathology
  • Pancreatic Neoplasms / surgery
  • Phenotype
  • Protein Binding
  • RNA, Long Noncoding / genetics
  • RNA, Long Noncoding / metabolism*
  • Time Factors
  • Wnt Signaling Pathway


  • Homeodomain Proteins
  • Intracellular Signaling Peptides and Proteins
  • RNA, Long Noncoding
  • WDR5 protein, human
  • homeobox protein HOXA9
  • long noncoding RNA HOTTIP, human
  • Histone-Lysine N-Methyltransferase