Despite considerable advances in gastrectomy and chemotherapy, the prognosis of gastric cancer (GC) has not noticeably improved due to lymph node or distant metastases. P21-activated serine/threonine kinase 4 (Pak4) plays an important role in cell morphology and cytoskeletal reorganization—both prerequisite steps for cell migration. However, it is still unclear if activated Pak4 (p-Pak4) is related to prognosis in GC patients. In our study, the level of p-Pak4 in 95 GC tissue specimens was examined by immunohistochemistry (IHC). We observed significant correlation between the level of p-Pak4 and grosstype (advanced stage GC vs. early stage GC, P = 0.04). Moreover, GC patients with higher p-Pak4 levels had a poorer prognosis than those with lower p-Pak4 levels (17 vs. 38 months, P = 0.001). Multivariate analysis showed that high phosphorylation level of Pak4, advanced stage GC, and lymph node metastasis were independent prognostic factors for GC patients (p-Pak4, P = 0.026; advanced stage GC, P = 0.030; lymph node metastasis, P = 0.016). In addition, in vitro assays indicated that knockdown of Pak4 accompanied with decreased p-Pak4, inhibited cell migration via downregulation of the traditional downstream signaling pathways of Pak4, LIMK1, and cofilin. In conclusion, this report reveals that high level of p-Pak4 correlates with poor prognosis in GC, thereby suggesting that p-Pak4 might be a potential prognostic marker for GC.
p-Pak4 Gastric cancer Prognosis Migration
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Conflicts of interest
This work was supported by the National Science and Technology Major Project (No. 2013ZX09303002) and the National Natural Science Foundation of China (Nos. 81270036, 81472193, 81372546, 81372485).
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