J Nat Cancer Inst. 2010;102(2):127-133.

E2F1 in melanoma progression and metastasis.

Alla V, Engelmann D, Niemetz A, Pahnke J, Schmidt A, Kunz M, Emmrich S, Steder M, Koczan D, Pützer BM.


Metastases are responsible for cancer deaths, but the molecular alterations leading to tumor progression are unclear. Overexpression of the E2F1 transcription factor is common in high-grade tumors that are associated with poor patient survival. To investigate the association of enhanced E2F1 activity with aggressive phenotype, we performed a gene-specific silencing approach in a metastatic melanoma model. Knockdown of endogenous E2F1 via E2F1 small hairpin RNA (shRNA) expression increased E-cadherin expression of metastatic SK-Mel-147 melanoma cells and reduced their invasive potential but not their proliferative activity. Although growth rates of SK-Mel-147 and SK-Mel-103 xenograft tumors expressing E2F1 shRNA or control shRNA were similar, mice implanted with cells expressing E2F1 shRNA had a smaller area of metastases per lung than control mice (n = 3 mice per group; 5% vs 46%, difference = 41%, 95% confidence interval = 15% to 67%; P = .01; one-way analysis of variance). We identified epidermal growth factor receptor as a direct target of E2F1 and demonstrated that inhibition of receptor signaling abrogates E2F1-induced invasiveness, emphasizing the importance of the E2F1-epidermal growth factor receptor interaction as a driving force in melanoma progression that may serve as a paradigm for E2F1-induced metastasis in other human cancers.