Background: The protein syntenin-1 is expressed by a variety of cell types, and is upregulated in various malignancies, including melanoma, breast cancer and glioma. Although the mechanism by which elevated syntenin-1 expression contributes to cancer has been described, the exact pathway has not been elucidated. Methods: To investigate the involvement of syntenin-1 in colorectal cancer (CRC), we performed immunohistochemical analysis of 139 CRC surgical specimens. We also examined syntenin-1 knockdown in CRC cell lines. Results: High syntenin-1 expression was associated with less differentiated histologic grade and poor prognosis, and was an independent prognostic indicator in CRC. Syntenin-1 knockdown in CRC cells reduced the presence of cancer stem cells (CSCs), oxaliplatin chemoresistance and migration. DNA microarray analysis and quantitative real-time polymerase chain reaction showed decreased prostaglandin E2 receptor 2 (PTGER2) expression in syntenin-1-knockdown cells. PTGER2 knockdown in CRC cells yielded the same phenotype as syntenin-1 knockdown. Celecoxib, which has anti-inflammatory effects by targeting cyclooxygenase-2, reduced CSCs and decreased chemoresistance, while prostaglandin E2 (PGE2) had the opposite effect. Conclusions: Our findings suggested that syntenin-1 enhanced CSC expansion, oxaliplatin chemoresistance and migration capability through regulation of PTGER2 expression. Syntenin-1 may be a promising new prognostic factor and target for anti-cancer therapies.
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