Upregulation of SALL4 by EGFR activation regulates the stemness of CD44-positive lung cancer
Oncogenesis. 2018 Apr 25;7(4):36. (IF: 4.143)
The transcriptional factor SALL4, an important stem cell regulator, is expressed in hematopoietic stem cells and various malignancies, but its role in EGFR-mutated NSCLCs has not been studied yet. Here, we report that the expression of Sal-like protein 4 (SALL4), was significantly higher in EGFR mutated lung tumors than in non-tumor tissue. SALL4-high lung cancer patients had poorer prognosis after surgery than SALL4-low patients. The expression of SALL4 could be induced by the activation of EGFR through the extracellular signal-regulated kinase 1/2 (ERK1/2) signaling pathway. The knockdown of SALL4 expression could suppress spheroid formation and the expression of lung cancer stem cell marker CD44. More interestingly, the knockdown of SALL4 expression could suppress the migration, invasion, and metastasis of the lung cancer cells and significantly increase the sensitivity of EGFR mutated cells to Erlotinib. These results suggest that SALL4 may be a novel potential therapeutic target for the diagnosis and treatment of lung cancer.