Medical Oncology

, Volume 29, Issue 2, pp 448–453 | Cite as

Reactivation of Syk gene by AZA suppresses metastasis but not proliferation of breast cancer cells

  • Tian-Song Xia
  • Jing-Ping Shi
  • Qiang Ding
  • Xiao-An Liu
  • Yi Zhao
  • Yue-Xian Liu
  • Jian-Guo Xia
  • Shui Wang
  • Yong-Bin Ding
Original Paper


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.


Spleen tyrosine kinase Breast cancer Metastasis AZA Reactivation 



This research was supported in part by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (81071753), the Six Kinds of Outstanding Talent Foundation of Jiangsu Province (06-B-069), the Science and Education for Health foundation of Jiangsu Province (RC2007054), and the Natural Science Foundation of Jiangsu Province (BK2008476, BK2009438 and BK2010581). We thank Ji-Fu Wei (Clinical Experiment Center, the First Affiliated Hospital of Nanjing Medical University) for critical discussion in our study.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Tian-Song Xia
    • 1
  • Jing-Ping Shi
    • 2
  • Qiang Ding
    • 1
  • Xiao-An Liu
    • 1
  • Yi Zhao
    • 1
  • Yue-Xian Liu
    • 4
  • Jian-Guo Xia
    • 3
  • Shui Wang
    • 1
  • Yong-Bin Ding
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of Breast SurgeryThe First Affiliated Hospital of Nanjing Medical UniversityNanjingPeople’s Republic of China
  2. 2.Department of Plastic and Burn SurgeryThe First Affiliated Hospital of Nanjing Medical UniversityNanjingPeople’s Republic of China
  3. 3.Department of General SurgeryThe First Affiliated Hospital of Nanjing Medical UniversityNanjingPeople’s Republic of China
  4. 4.Nanjing University of Chinese MedicineNanjingChina

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