Tertil M., Golda S., Skrzypek K., Florczyk U., Weglarczyk K., Kotlinowski J., Maleszewska M., Czauderna S., Pichon C., Kieda C., Jozkowicz A. and Dulak J.
Free radical biology & medicine (2015) 89 147-157 - doi : 10.1016/j.freeradbiomed.2015.08.004
Lung mucoepidermoid carcinoma (MEC) is a very poorly characterized rare subtype of non-small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC) associated with more favorable prognoses than other forms of intrathoracic malignancies. We have previously identified that heme oxygenase-1 (HO-1, encoded by HMOX1) inhibits MEC tumor growth and modulates the transcriptome of microRNAs. Here we investigate the role of a major upstream regulator of HO-1 and a master regulator of cellular antioxidant responses, transcription factor Nrf2, in MEC biology. Nrf2 overexpression in the NCI-H292 MEC cell line mimicked the phenotype of HO-1 overexpressing cells, leading to inhibition of cell proliferation and migration and down-regulation of oncogenic miR-378. HMOX1 silencing identified HO-1 as a major mediator of Nrf2 action. Nrf2- and HO-1 overexpressing cells exhibited strongly diminished expression of multiple matrix metalloproteinases and inflammatory cytokine interleukin-1beta, which was confirmed in an NCI-HO-1 xenograft model. Overexpression of HO-1 altered not only human MMP levels in tumor cells but also murine MMP levels within tumor microenvironment and metastatic niche. This could possibly contribute to decreased metastasis to the lungs and inhibitory effects of HO-1 on MEC tumor growth. Our profound transcriptome analysis and molecular characterization of the mucoepidermoid lung carcinoma helps to understand the specific clinical presentations of these tumors, emphasizing a unique antitumoral role of the Nrf2-HO-1 axis.