Biochemical and Biophysical Research Communications, Vol.534, 254-260, 2021
RNAi mediated silencing of Nanog expression suppresses the growth of human colorectal cancer stem cells
Colorectal cancer (CRC) is the third most common cancer in the world known for its poor recurrence-free prognosis. Previous studies have shown that it is closely linked with cancer stem cells (CSCs), which have self-renewal potential and the capacity to differentiate into diverse populations. Nanog is an important transcription factor that functions to maintain the self-renewal and proliferation of embryonic stem cells; however, many recent studies have shown that Nanog is also highly expressed in many cancer stem cells. To investigate whether Nanog plays a crucial role in maintaining the stemness of colorectal CSCs, RNA interference was used to downregulate Nanog expression in the CRC stem cell line, EpCAM(+)CD44(+)HCT-116 cells (CCSCs). We examined the anti-tumor function of Nanog in vitro and in vivo, using small interfering RNA. Our results revealed that the Nanog mRNA expression level in CCSCs was higher than that in HCT-116 cells. We found that the depletion of Nanog inhibited proliferation and promoted apoptosis in CCSCs. In addition, the invasive ability of CCSCs was markedly restricted when Nanog was silenced by small interfering RNA. Furthermore, we found that the silencing of Nanog decreased tumor size and weight and improved the survival rate of tumor-bearing mice. In conclusion, these findings collectively demonstrate that Nanog, which is highly expressed in CRC stem cells, is a key factor in the development of tumor growth, and it may serve as a potential marker of prognosis and a novel and effective therapeutic target for the treatment of CRC. (C) 2020 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.