Reactivation of Syk gene by AZA suppresses metastasis but not proliferation of breast cancer cells
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Spleen tyrosine kinase (Syk) is reported to be involved in the suppression of proliferation and invasion of breast cancer. Methylation-mediated Syk gene silencing is found in a subset of breast cancer. In this study, we used a DNA methyltransferase inhibitor, 5-aza-2-deoxycytidine (AZA), to restore Syk expression of breast cancer cells. Surprisingly, we found that AZA treatment could reestablish the expression of Syk, but not affect the proliferation of breast cancer cells. Moreover, tumor formation in situ by MDA-MB-435s treated with (+) or without (−) AZA in a nude mice MFP (Mammary fat pad) model did not show significant difference, too. Interestingly, pulmonary metastasis was still significantly suppressed in MDA-MB-435s(+) group (1/9 vs. 7/9). Our findings suggested Syk may be more correlated to metastasis rather than proliferation. This study implied a potential use of Syk methylation as a valuable biomarker to detect high metastatic potential cancerous lesions and the prospect of AZA to join the arsenal of drug candidates to be developed as a new reagent for management of advanced breast cancer.