TGM3, a candidate tumor suppressor gene, contributes to human head and neck cancer

Xiangbing Wu, Wei Cao, Xu Wang, Jianjun Zhang, Zhongjing Lv, Xing Qin, Yadi Wu, Wantao Chen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

47 Scopus citations


Background: In our previous study using oligonucleotide microarrays, we revealed that transglutaminase 3 (TGM3) was remarkably down-regulated in head and neck cancer (HNC). However, the potential of TGM3 as a useful biomarker or molecular target for HNC is unclear. Methods: The transcriptional and post-translational status of TGM3 in HNC cell lines and specimens was detected using real-time PCR and western blot analysis. Bisulfate-treated DNA sequencing was used to analyze the molecular mechanism of TGM3 gene silencing. In addition, the effects of TGM3 on the proliferation, colony formation and induction of apoptosis in vitro and tumorigenicity in vivo were investigated through exogenous expression of TGM3 in HNC cells. Immunohistochemistry was used to evaluate TGM3 expression in large HNC samples. Results: TGM3 was down-regulated in HNC samples and cell lines (P < 0.0001). The hypermethylation of a promoter CpG island was one of the mechanisms of silencing the TGM3 gene in HNC. Exogenous expression of TGM3 in HNC cells could inhibit the proliferation and enhance the apoptosis of HNC cells in vitro and suppress tumor growth in vivo. In addition, TGM3 protein levels were strongly associated with the pathological differentiation of HNC tissues (P = 0.0037). Survival analysis revealed that low TGM3 expression was associated with worse overall survival (P = 0.0002), and TGM3 expression level was an independent predictor in patients with HNC.Conclusions: The studies prove that TGM3, as a candidate tumor suppressor, contributes to the carcinogenesis and development of HNC and may serve as a useful biomarker for patients with HNC.

Original languageEnglish
Article number151
JournalMolecular Cancer
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 1 2013

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This study was supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (30973343, 81072171 and 91229103) and by projects of the Shanghai Science and Technology Committee (11DZ2291800, 10DZ1951300 and 10XD1402500).


  • Head and neck cancer
  • Methylation
  • Prognostic predictor
  • Transglutaminase 3
  • Tumor suppressor

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Medicine
  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


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