Recent studies indicated undisputed contribution of connective tissue growth factor (CTGF) in the development of many cancers, including non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC). However, the functional role and regulation of CTGF expression during tumorigenesis remain elusive. Our goal was to determine CTGF transcript and protein levels in tumoral and matched control tissues from 98 NSCLC patients, to correlate the results with clinicopathological features and to investigate whether the CTGF expression can be epigenetically regulated in NSCLC.
We used quantitative PCR, Western blotting and immunohistochemistry to evaluate CTGF expression in lung cancerous and histopathologically unchanged tissues. We tested the impact of 5-Aza-2′-deoxycytidine (5-dAzaC) and trichostatin A (TSA) on CTGF transcript and protein levels in NSCLC cells (A549, Calu-1). DNA methylation status of the CTGF regulatory region was evaluated by bisulfite sequencing. The influence of 5-dAzaC and TSA on NSCLC cells viability and proliferation was monitored by the trypan blue assay.
We found significantly decreased levels of CTGF mRNA and protein (both p < 0.0000001) in cancerous tissues of NSCLC patients. Down-regulation of CTGF occurred regardless of gender in all histological subtypes of NSCLC. Moreover, we showed that 5-dAzaC and TSA were able to restore CTGF mRNA and protein contents in NSCLC cells. However, no methylation within CTGF regulatory region was detected. Both compounds significantly reduced NSCLC cells proliferation.
Decreased expression of CTGF is a common feature in NSCLC; however, it can be restored by the chromatin-modifying agents such as 5-dAzaC or TSA and consequently restrain cancer development.