HMGA2 participates in transformation in human lung cancer

Francescopaolo Di Cello, Joelle Hillion, Alexandra Hristov, Lisa J. Wood, Mita Mukherjee, Andrew Schuldenfrei, Jeanne Kowalski, Raka Bhattacharya, Raheela Ashfaq, Linda M.S. Resar

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    111 Scopus citations


    Although previous studies have established a prominent role for HMGA1 (formerly HMG-I/Y) in aggressive human cancers, the role of HMGA2 (formerly HMGI-C) in malignant transformation has not been clearly defined. The HMGA gene family includes HMGA1, which encodes the HMGA1a and HMGA1b protein isoforms, and HMGA2, which encodes HMGA2. These chromatin-binding proteins function in transcriptional regulation and recent studies also suggest a role in cellular senescence. HMGA1 proteins also appear to participate in cell cycle regulation and malignant transformation, whereas HMGA2 has been implicated primarily in the pathogenesis of benign, mesenchymal tumors. Here, we show that overexpression of HMGA2 leads to a transformed phenotype in cultured lung cells derived from normal tissue. Conversely, inhibiting HMGA2 expression blocks the transformed phenotype in metastatic human non-small cell lung cancer cells. Moreover, we show that HMGA2 mRNA and protein are overexpressed in primary human lung cancers compared with normal tissue or indolent tumors. In addition, there is a statistically significant correlation between HMGA2 protein staining by immunohistochemical analysis and tumor grade (P < 0.001). Our results indicate that HMGA2 is an oncogene important in the pathogenesis of human lung cancer. Although additional studies with animal models are needed, these findings suggest that targeting HMGA2 could be therapeutically beneficial in lung cancer and other cancers characterized by increased HMGA2 expression.

    Original languageEnglish (US)
    Pages (from-to)743-750
    Number of pages8
    JournalMolecular Cancer Research
    Issue number5
    StatePublished - May 1 2008

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Molecular Biology
    • Oncology
    • Cancer Research


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