Pten-NOLC1 fusion promotes cancers involving MET and EGFR signalings

Oncogene. 2021 Feb;40(6):1064-1076. doi: 10.1038/s41388-020-01582-8. Epub 2020 Dec 15.


Inactivation of Pten gene through deletions and mutations leading to excessive pro-growth signaling pathway activations frequently occurs in cancers. Here, we report a Pten derived pro-cancer growth gene fusion Pten-NOLC1 originated from a chr10 genome rearrangement and identified through a transcriptome sequencing analysis of human cancers. Pten-NOLC1 fusion is present in primary human cancer samples and cancer cell lines from different organs. The product of Pten-NOLC1 is a nuclear protein that interacts and activates promoters of EGFR, c-MET, and their signaling molecules. Pten-NOLC1 promotes cancer proliferation, growth, invasion, and metastasis, and reduces the survival of animals xenografted with Pten-NOLC1-expressing cancer cells. Genomic disruption of Pten-NOLC1 induces cancer cell death, while genomic integration of this fusion gene into the liver coupled with somatic Pten deletion produces spontaneous liver cancers in mice. Our studies indicate that Pten-NOLC1 gene fusion is a driver for human cancers.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cell Line, Tumor
  • Cell Proliferation / genetics
  • ErbB Receptors / genetics
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Neoplastic / genetics
  • Genome, Human / genetics
  • Heterografts
  • Humans
  • Liver Neoplasms / genetics*
  • Liver Neoplasms / pathology
  • Mice
  • Nuclear Proteins / genetics*
  • Oncogene Proteins, Fusion / genetics
  • PTEN Phosphohydrolase / genetics*
  • Phosphoproteins / genetics*
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-met / genetics*
  • Signal Transduction / genetics


  • NOLC1 protein, human
  • Nuclear Proteins
  • Oncogene Proteins, Fusion
  • Phosphoproteins
  • EGFR protein, human
  • ErbB Receptors
  • MET protein, human
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-met
  • PTEN Phosphohydrolase
  • PTEN protein, human