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Engrailed-2 (EN2), a member of the engrailed homeobox family, has been shown to be abnormally expressed in a variety of cancers. However, the expression and the clinical significance of EN2 in colorectal cancer (CRC) are largely unknown. Firstly, we found that EN2 acted as an oncogene in CRC. EN2 was upregulated in colorectal cancer tissues compared with adjacent normal tissues. Higher EN2 expression was significantly associated with poorer survival rate. Knockdown of EN2 markedly inhibited proliferation and migration capacities of SW480 cells in vitro, and suppressed tumorigenicity in vivo. Mechanistically, Chemokine ligand 20 (CCL20), a member of the C-C motif chemokine subfamily, was identified as a direct target gene of EN2 in CRC. CCL20 expression was positively correlated with EN2 expression in CRC tissues. Moreover, EN2 promoted the proliferation and migration of CRC cells by regulating the expression of CCL20 in vitro. These results suggest that EN2 plays a critical role in the CRC tumor progression and may serve as a potential target for CRC prevention and therapy.


Yimin Li, Jiaxin Liu, Qing Xiao, Ruotong Tian, Zhengwei Zhou, Yaqi Gan, Yuanyuan Li, Guang Shu, Gang Yin. EN2 as an oncogene promotes tumor progression via regulating CCL20 in colorectal cancer. Cell death & disease. 2020 Jul 30;11(7):604

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PMID: 32732864

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