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Loss of MADD expression inhibits cellular growth and metastasis in anaplastic thyroid cancer


Anaplastic Thyroid Cancer (ATC) is an aggressive malignancy with limited therapeutic options and dismal patient survival. We have previously shown MADD to be differentially overexpressed in multiple cancer histologies and to contribute to tumor cell growth and survival. Therefore, we targeted MADD by gene silencing, explored its effect on cellular proliferation and metastases and examined its therapeutic potential in an orthotopic ATC model in athymic nude mice. When compared to untreated control and scramble siRNA, MADD siRNA treatment inhibited the proliferative capacity of 8505C, C643 and HTH7 cells in vitro and 8505C-derived-orthotopic tumor growth in vivo. MADD ablation caused a significant reduction in cellular migration and invasion potential; clonogenic capacity; as well as, mitochondrial length and potential in vitro. This MADD siRNA-induced anti-migratory/invasive effect corresponded with inhibition of epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT) and Wnt signaling. Mechanistically, MADD siRNA inhibited TNFα induced activation of pERK, pGSK3β and β-catenin, suggesting that MADD knockdown might exert its anti-migratory/invasive effects, by blocking TNFα/ERK/GSK3β axis. MADD siRNA can inhibit β-catenin nuclear translocation and consequently, the expression of its target genes in ATC cells. In in vivo experiments, along with tumor regression, MADD siRNA treatment also decreased evidence of lung metastases. Immunohistochemically, MADD siRNA-treated tumor tissues exhibited a reduction in Ki67 and N-Cadherin expression, and an increase in E-Cadherin expression. In conclusion, we show the crucial role of MADD in ATC tumorigenesis and metastasis and its potential implications as a molecular target for ATC therapy.

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