Synovial sarcoma (SS) is an aggressive soft-tissue cancer with a poor prognosis and a propensity for local recurrence and distant metastasis. In this study, we investigated whether S phase kinase-associated protein (Skp2) plays an oncogenic role in tumor initiation, progression, and metastasis of SS. Our study revealed that Skp2 is frequently overexpressed in SS specimens and SS18-SSX transgenic mouse tumors, as well as correlated with clinical stages. Next, we identified that genetic depletion of Skp2 reduced mesenchymal and stemness markers, and inhibited the invasive and proliferative capacities of SS cell lines. Furthermore, Skp2 depletion markedly suppressed the growth of SS xenografts tumors. Treatment of SS cell lines with the skp2 inhibitor flavokawain A (FKA) reduced Skp2 expression in a dose-dependent manner and resulted in cell cycle arrest and apoptosis. FKA also suppressed the invasion and tumor-initiating properties in SS, similar to the effects of Skp2 knockdown. In addition, a combination of FKA and conventional chemotherapy showed a synergistic therapeutic efficacy. Taken together, our results suggest that Skp2 plays an essential role in the biology of SS by promoting the mesenchymal state and cancer stemness. Given that chemotherapy resistance is often associated with cancer stemness, strategies of combining Skp2 inhibitors with conventional chemotherapy in SS may be desirable.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cancer Research