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Malic enzyme 1 (ME1) is a multifunctional protein involved in glycolysis, the citric acid cycle, NADPH production, glutamine metabolism, and lipogenesis. It is overexpressed in various cancers. We examined the expression of ME1 in 119 oral squamous cell carcinomas (OSCCs) using immunohistochemistry. Malic enzyme 1 expression was moderate to strong in 57 (48%) OSCCs and correlated with pT, pN, clinical stage, and histological grade. In 37 cases with prognostic evaluation, moderate to strong ME1 expression indicated a worse prognosis than did weak ME1 expression. Malic enzyme 1 knockdown or inactivation by lanthanide inhibited cell proliferation and motility and suppressed the epithelial-mesenchymal transition in HSC3 human OSCC cells. Knockdown of ME1 also shifted energy metabolism from aerobic glycolysis and lactate fermentation to mitochondrial oxidative phosphorylation, and the redox status from reductive to oxidative. In a mouse tumor model, lanthanide suppressed tumor growth and increased survival time. These findings reveal that ME1 is a valid target for molecular therapy in OSCC. © 2018 The Authors. Cancer Science published by John Wiley & Sons Australia, Ltd on behalf of Japanese Cancer Association.


Chie Nakashima, Kazuhiko Yamamoto, Rina Fujiwara-Tani, Yi Luo, Sayako Matsushima, Kiyomu Fujii, Hitoshi Ohmori, Tomonori Sasahira, Takamitsu Sasaki, Yasuhiko Kitadai, Tadaaki Kirita, Hiroki Kuniyasu. Expression of cytosolic malic enzyme (ME1) is associated with disease progression in human oral squamous cell carcinoma. Cancer science. 2018 Jun;109(6):2036-2045

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PMID: 29601126

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