Eukaryotic initiation factor 4A2 promotes experimental metastasis and oxaliplatin resistance in colorectal cancer

J Exp Clin Cancer Res. 2019 May 14;38(1):196. doi: 10.1186/s13046-019-1178-z.


Background: Deregulation of protein translation control is a hallmark of cancers. Eukaryotic initiation factor 4A2 (EIF4A2) is required for mRNA binding to ribosome and plays an important role in translation initiation. However, little is known about its functions in colorectal cancer (CRC).

Methods: Analysis of CRC transcriptome data from TCGA identified that EIF4A2 was associated with poor prognosis. Immunohistochemistry study of EIF4A2 was carried out in 297 paired colorectal tumor and adjacent normal tissue samples. In vitro and in vivo cell-biological assays were performed to study the biological functions of EIF4A2 on experimental metastasis and sensitivity to oxaliplatin treatment. Bioinformatic prediction, chromatin immunoprecipitation (ChIP) and dual-luciferase reporter assay were carried out to unveil the transcription factor of EIF4A2 regulation.

Results: EIF4A2 Expression is significantly higher in colorectal tumors. Multivariate analysis suggests EIF4A2 as an independent predictor of overall, disease-free and progression-free survival. Dysfunction of EIF4A2 by genetic knock-down or small-molecule inhibitor silvestrol dramatically inhibited CRC invasion and migration, sphere formation and enhanced sensitivity to oxaliplatin treatment in vitro and in vivo. Notably, EIF4A2 knock-down also suppressed lung metastasis in vivo. qRT-PCR and immunoblotting analyses identified c-Myc as a downstream target and effector of EIF4A2. ChIP and dual-luciferase reporter assays validated the bioinformatical prediction of ZNF143 as a specific transcription factor of EIF4A2.

Conclusions: EIF4A2 promotes experimental metastasis and oxaliplatin resistance in CRC. Silvestrol inhibits tumor growth and has synergistic effects with oxaliplatin to induce apoptosis in cell-derived xenograft (CDX) and patient-derived xenograft (PDX) models.

Keywords: Colorectal cancer; Eukaryotic initiation factor 4A2 (EIF4A2); PDX; Silvestrol; ZNF143.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Animals
  • Antineoplastic Agents / pharmacology*
  • Biomarkers
  • Cell Line, Tumor
  • Cell Movement / drug effects
  • Cell Proliferation / drug effects
  • Colorectal Neoplasms / drug therapy
  • Colorectal Neoplasms / metabolism*
  • Colorectal Neoplasms / mortality
  • Colorectal Neoplasms / pathology
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Drug Resistance, Neoplasm*
  • Eukaryotic Initiation Factor-4A / metabolism*
  • Female
  • Gene Knockdown Techniques
  • Humans
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Middle Aged
  • Oxaliplatin / pharmacology*
  • Prognosis
  • Survival Analysis
  • Xenograft Model Antitumor Assays


  • Antineoplastic Agents
  • Biomarkers
  • Oxaliplatin
  • Eukaryotic Initiation Factor-4A