Indexed on: 22 Aug '15Published on: 22 Aug '15Published in: Virchows Archiv
Sperm associated antigen 9 (SPAG9) protein has been found to play an important role in cancer progression but the involved mechanisms are still obscure. Its clinical significance in human gastric cancers remains unexplored. In the present study, SPAG9 expression was analyzed in 147 gastric cancer specimens. We observed weak staining in normal gastric mucosa and positive staining in 65 out of 147 (44.2 %) cancer samples. Overexpression of SPAG9 correlated with local invasion (p = 0.0101), lymph node metastasis (p = 0.0488), TNM stage (p = 0.0002), and relapse (p = 0.0018). Importantly, SPAG9 overexpression correlated with poor overall survival (p = 0.0008). Furthermore, we performed siRNA knockdown of SPAG9 in HGC-27 cells with high endogenous expression and transfected SPAG9 plasmid in SGC-7901 cell line with low endogenous level. SPAG9 overexpression promoted while its depletion inhibited cell proliferation, cell cycle transition, and invasive cell growth. SPAG9 overxpression also increased chemoresistance to 5--fluorouracil (5-FU) in SGC-7901 cells. Further analysis showed that SPAG9 knockdown downregulated and its overexpression upregulated cyclin D1, MMP9, and p-p38 expression. In conclusion, SPAG9 overexpression in gastric cancer correlates with poor prognosis and contributes to gastric cancer cell proliferation, invasion, and chemoresistance. SPAG9 promotes gastric cancer invasion, possibly through p38-MMP9 signaling pathways.