Citron kinase (CIT-K) promotes aggressiveness and tumorigenesis of breast cancer cells in vitro and in vivo: preliminary study of the underlying mechanism.

Research paper by D D Meng, Q Q Yu, L L Feng, M M Luo, S S Shao, S S Huang, G G Wang, X X Jing, Z Z Tong, X X Zhao, R R Liu

Indexed on: 20 Dec '18Published on: 20 Dec '18Published in: Clinical and Translational Oncology


Citron kinase (CIT-K), as a key Rho effector, functions to maintain proper structure of the midbody during cell mitosis. This study assessed CIT-K expression and its role in breast cancer cells. Paraffin-embedded breast cancer and para-tumor tissues from 43 invasive breast cancer patients and 33 normal mammary glands were collected for immunohistochemistry. CIT-K expression knockdown was achieved using lentivirus carrying CIT-K shRNA in a wide range of breast cancer cell lines. Cells were then subjected to Western blot, qRT-PCR, cell proliferation, colony formation, transwell, and flow cytometric assays. The tumorigenicity of CIT-K knocked-down breast cancer cells was assessed using the nude mouse xenograft assay. Microarray analysis was performed to elucidate the underlying gene regulation after CIT-K silencing. CIT-K protein was overexpressed in breast cancer tissues, which is associated with advanced tumor stage, HER-2 expression and Ki-67 expression, whereas knockdown of CIT-K expression reduced breast cancer cell proliferation and colony formation, but promoted tumor cell apoptosis and cell-cycle arrest. Knockdown of CIT-K expression also inhibited breast cancer cell migration and invasion capacity. Moreover, CIT-K knockdown suppressed the tumorigenicity of breast cancer cells in nude mice. Molecularly, the expression of a variety of signaling genes, such as cyclin D1, EGFR, JAK1, TGF-α, PTK2, RAF1, RALB, SOS1, mTOR, and PTGS2, were altered after CIT-K knockdown. This study demonstrated that CIT-K is associated with aggressive breast cancer behavior and targeting CIT-K may be a novel strategy for the future control of breast cancer.