Tumor Biology

, Volume 37, Issue 2, pp 2161–2169 | Cite as

Slug silencing inhibited perineural invasion through regulation of EMMPRIN expression in human salivary adenoid cystic carcinoma

  • Baolei Wu
  • Jianhua Wei
  • Zhiqiang Hu
  • Chun Shan
  • Lei Wang
  • Chenping Zhang
  • Xi Yang
  • Xinjie Yang
  • Delin Lei
Original Article


Salivary adenoid cystic carcinoma (SACC) is the most frequent salivary gland malignancy with a unique characteristic that has been named perineural invasion (PNI). EMMPRIN is a transmembrane glycoprotein that has been demonstrated to promote PNI in SACC. Slug, one of the most effective promoters of the epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition (EMT), has been found to be associated with PNI in SACC. The aim of the present study was to investigate the roles and relationships of Slug, EMMPRIN, and E-cadherin in the PNI process of SACC. The expression levels of Slug, EMMPRIN, and E-cadherin in 115 primary SACC cases were statistically analyzed by immunohistochemistry. Simultaneously, the SACC cell line SACC-83 was transfected with recombinant plasmids of silencing Slug (si-Slug) and/or silencing EMMPRIN (si-EMMPRIN). The functions of Slug and EMMPRIN in the EMT and PNI process were assessed by reverse transcription PCR (RT-PCR), western blotting, morphological observation, scratch test, migration assay, and in vitro perineural invasion assay. The immunohistochemical statistics revealed that the high expression of Slug and EMMPRIN and the low expression of E-cadherin were significantly associated with the PNI of SACC (P < 0.05). Slug expression was significantly associated with EMMPRIN expression (P < 0.05), and Slug expression and EMMPRIN expression were both significantly negatively associated with E-cadherin expression (P < 0.05). Slug and EMMPRIN silencing both significantly inhibited EMMPRIN expression but promoted E-cadherin expression in SACC-83 cells (P < 0.01). The series of in vitro assays revealed that silencing of Slug, EMMPRIN, or both induced cell morphology changes and inhibited tumor cell motility and PNI ability in SACC-83 cells (P < 0.01). These results suggested that Slug silencing could inhibit the EMT process by downregulating EMMPRIN and then upregulating E-cadherin in the PNI process of SACC. The present study indicated that Slug and EMMPRIN are potential biomarkers and therapeutic targets for the diagnosis and treatment of PNI in human SACC.


Salivary adenoid cystic carcinoma Slug EMMPRIN EMT Perineural invasion 



We thank Dr. Yuan Liu and Dr. Tao Liang for their excellent technical assistance. This work was supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China for Dr Xinjie Yang (Grant No.81302352) and Prof Delin Lei (Grant No.81372901), and Science and Technology Commission of Shanghai (15411950300) for Prof. Chenping Zhang.

Conflicts of interest



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Copyright information

© International Society of Oncology and BioMarkers (ISOBM) 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Baolei Wu
    • 1
  • Jianhua Wei
    • 1
  • Zhiqiang Hu
    • 1
  • Chun Shan
    • 1
  • Lei Wang
    • 1
  • Chenping Zhang
    • 2
  • Xi Yang
    • 2
  • Xinjie Yang
    • 1
  • Delin Lei
    • 1
  1. 1.State Key Laboratory of Military Stomatology, Department of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery, School of StomatologyThe Fourth Military Medical UniversityXi’anChina
  2. 2.Shanghai Key Laboratory of Stomatology, Department of Oral & Maxillofacial-Head & Neck Oncology, School of StomatologyNinth People’s Hospital, Shanghai Jiao Tong University School of MedicineShanghaiChina

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