Background & aims: Diminished forkhead box O3 (FOXO3) function drives inflammation and cancer growth; however, mechanisms fostering these pathobiologies are unclear. Here, we aimed to identify in colon loss of FOXO3-dependent cellular and molecular changes that facilitate inflammation-mediated tumor growth.
Methods: FOXO3 knockout (KO) and wild-type (WT) mice were used in the AOM/DSS model of inflammation-mediated colon cancer. Bioinformatics were used for profiling of mRNA sequencing data from human and mouse colon and tumors; specific targets were validated in human colon cancer cells (shFOXO3).
Results: In mice, FOXO3 deficiency led to significantly elevated colonic tumor burden (incidence and size) compared with WT (P < .05). In FOXO3 KO colon, activated molecular pathways overlapped with those associated with mouse and human colonic inflammation and cancer, especially human colonic tumors with inflammatory microsatellite instability (false discovery rate < 0.05). FOXO3 KO colon, similar to tumors, had increased neutrophils, macrophages, B cells, T cells, and decreased natural killer cells (false discovery rate < 0.05). Moreover, in KO colon differentially expressed transcripts were linked to activation of inflammatory nuclear factor kappa B, tumorigenic cMyc, and bacterial Toll-like receptor signaling. Among differentially expressed transcripts, we validated altered expression of integrin subunit alpha 2 (ITGA2), ADAM metallopeptidase with thrombospondin type 1 motif 12, and ST8 alpha-N-acetyl-neuraminide alpha-2,8-sialyltransferase 5 in mouse WT and FOXO3 KO colon and tumors (P < .05). Similarly, their altered expression was found in human inflammatory bowel disease and colon cancer tissues and linked to poor patient survival. Ultimately, in human colon cancer cells, FOXO3 knockdown (shFOXO3) led to significantly increased ITGA2, and silencing ITGA2 (siRNA) alone diminished cell growth.
Conclusions: We identified the loss of FOXO3-mediated immune landscape, pathways, and transcripts that could serve as biomarkers and new targets for inflammatory colon cancer treatment.
Keywords: Colon Cancer; FOXO3; Inflammation; RNAseq.
Copyright © 2019 The Authors. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.