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Annals of Surgical Oncology

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Roles of Pin1 as a Key Molecule for EMT Induction by Activation of STAT3 and NF-κB in Human Gallbladder Cancer

Shinichiro Nakada MD, Satoshi Kuboki MD, Hiroyuki Nojima MD, Hideyuki Yoshitomi MD, Katsunori Furukawa MD, Tsukasa Takayashiki MD, Shigetsugu Takano MD, Masaru Miyazaki MD, Masayuki Ohtsuka MD
Translational Research and Biomarkers
Volume 26, Issue 3 / March , 2019



Despite developments in multidisciplinary treatment, the prognosis for advanced gallbladder cancer (GBC) still is poor because of its rapid progression. Epithelial–mesenchymal transition (EMT) plays a central role in promoting tumor invasion and metastasis in malignancies thorough signal transducer and activator of transcription-3 (STAT3) and nuclear factor κB (NF-κB) activation. Whereas Pin1 mediates STAT3 and NF-κB activation, the involvement of Pin1 in GBC progression is unclear.


Factors regulating Pin1-related STAT3 and NF-κB activation were evaluated using surgical specimens collected from 76 GBC patients, GBC cells, and orthotopic GBC xenograft mice.


In the patients with GBC, high Pin1 expression in GBC was associated with aggressive tumor invasion and increased tumor metastasis, and was an independent factor for a poor prognosis. Pin1 expression was correlated with phosphorylation of STAT3(Ser727) and NF-κB-p65(Ser276), thereby activating STAT3 and NF-κB in GBC. Pin1-mediated STAT3 and NF-κB activation induced EMT in GBC. When Pin1 knockdown was performed in GBC cells, the phosphorylation of STAT3(Ser727) and NF-κB-p65(Ser276) was inhibited, and STAT3 and NF-κB activation was suppressed. Inactivation of STAT3 and NF-κB in Pin1-depleted cells decreased snail and zeb-2 expression, thereby reducing the rate of mesenchymal-like cells, suggesting that EMT was inhibited in GBC cells. PiB, a Pin1-specific inhibitor, inhibited EMT and reduced tumor cell invasion by inactivating STAT3 and NF-κB in vitro. Moreover, PiB treatment inhibited lymph node metastasis and intrahepatic metastasis in orthotopic GBC xenograft tumor in vivo.


Pin1 accelerates GBC invasion and metastasis by activating STAT3 and NF-κB. Therefore, Pin1 inhibition by PiB is an excellent therapy for GBC by safely inhibiting its metastasis.

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