Feedback loop between p66Shc and Nrf2 promotes lung cancer progression

Wei Du, Yuan Jiang, Zhichao Zheng, Zhenfa Zhang, Na Chen, Zhenyi Ma, Zhi Yao, Lance Terada, Zhe Liu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

23 Scopus citations


p66Shc, one of the SHC1 gene encoding proteins, promotes cell death and reports cell anchorage status, mediating anoikis in vitro and functioning as a metastasis suppressor in vivo. However, very little is known about p66Shc gene regulation in cancer cells. Here, we show that methylation of a specific CpG site in the early post-transcriptional region correlates with p66Shc repression in clinical human lung cancer samples and cancer cell lines. We also find that the stress related transcription factor Nrf2 associates with p66Shc gene promoter in the methylated region, and promotes p66Shc transcription. However, p66Shc induction by Nrf2 requires demethylation of the Nrf2 binding site in p66Shc promoter. Knock-down of p66Shc leads to a positive feedback upregulation of Nrf2 expression and accordingly, Nrf2 is found to be highly expressed in tumors with low p66Shc expression. Further, Nrf2 expression level positively correlates with tumor grade of patients. Thus, we propose that epigenetic repression of p66Shc in cancer cells might be a key factor leading to Nrf2 upregulation, increased cell survival, and tumor progression.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)58-65
Number of pages8
JournalCancer Letters
Issue number1
StatePublished - Aug 28 2013


  • DNA methylation
  • Feedback
  • Lung cancer
  • Nrf2
  • P66

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


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