ZKSCAN3, a zinc-finger transcription factor, which has been shown to be upregulated in several human cancer. However, the expression level, function and mechanism of ZKSCAN3 in breast cancer remains unknown. In the current study, immunohistochemistry, western blot and quantitative real time polymerase chain reaction (qRT-PCR) results showed that ZKSCAN3 was overexpressed in breast cancer tissue compared with normal breast tissue. Through analyzing the clinicopathological characteristics, we demonstrated that positive ZKSCAN3 expression predicted poor prognosis of patients with breast cancer. The expression level of ZKSCAN3 protein/mRNA in breast cancer cells (MCF-7 and MDA-MB-231) was higher than its expression in normal breast cells (HBL-100). Knocking down ZKSCAN3 via its short hairpin RNA (shRNA) in MCF-7 and MDA-MB-231 inhibited cell viability, migration and invasion. Western blot analysis showed that ZKSCAN3 silencing lead to significant decreases in the expression of Cyclin D1, B-cell lymphoma-2 (Bcl-2), and matrix metalloproteinase (MMP)-2/MMP-9, as well as increases in the expression of Bcl2 Associated X Protein (Bax) in breast cancer cells. Additionally, ZKSCAN3-shRNA expression markedly suppressed tumor growth in breast cancer xenograft mice. Finally, we demonstrated that silencing of ZKSCAN3 was able to inhibit Akt/mTOR signaling pathway by blocking p-Akt and p-mTOR protein expression in breast cancer cells. These results demonstrate that ZKSCAN3 plays a significant role in the progression of breast cancer. Therefore, ZKSCAN3 is a potential therapeutic target for breast cancer.
Keywords: Akt; Breast cancer; Tumor progression; ZKSCAN3; mTOR.
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