Sulfatase-1 overexpression indicates poor prognosis in urothelial carcinoma of the urinary bladder and upper tract

Hsiang Ying Lee, Bi Wen Yeh, Ti Chun Chan, Kei Fu Yang, Wei Ming Li, Chun Nung Huang, Hung Lung Ke, Ching Chia Li, Hsin Chih Yeh, Peir In Liang, Yow Ling Shiue, Wen Jeng Wu, Chien Feng Li

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17 Scopus citations


Urothelial carcinoma (UC), arising from the urothelium of the urinary tract, can occur in the upper (UTUC) and the urinary bladder (UBUC). A representative molecular aberration for UC characteristics and prognosis remains unclear. Data mining of Gene Expression Omnibus focusing on UBUC, we identified sulfatase-1 (SULF1) upregulation is associated with UC progression. SULF1 controls the sulfation status of heparan sulfate proteoglycans and plays a role in tumor growth and metastasis, while its role is unexplored in UC. To first elucidate the clinical significance of SULF1 transcript expression, real-time quantitative RT-PCR was performed in a pilot study of 24 UTUC and 24 UBUC fresh samples. We identified that increased SULF1 transcript abundance was associated with higher primary tumor (pT) status. By testing SULF1 immunoexpression in independent UTUC and UBUC cohorts consisted of 340 and 295 cases, respectively, high SULF1 expression was significantly associated with advanced pT and nodal status, higher histological grade and presence of vascular invasion in both UTUC and UBUC. In multivariate survival analyses, high SULF1 expression was independently associated with worse DSS (UTUC hazard ratio [HR] = 3.574, P < 0.001; UBUC HR = 2.523, P = 0.011) and MeFS (UTUC HR = 3.233, P < 0.001; UBUC HR = 1.851, P = 0.021). Furthermore, depletion of SULF1 expression by using RNA interference leaded to impaired cell proliferative, migratory, and invasive abilities in vitro. In addition, we further confirmed oncogenic role of SULF1 with gain-of function experiments. In conclusion, our findings implicate the oncogenic role of SULF1 expression in UC, suggesting SULF1 as a prognostic and therapeutic target of UC.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)47216-47229
Number of pages14
Issue number29
StatePublished - 2017
Externally publishedYes


  • Prognosis
  • SULF1
  • Transcriptome
  • Urothelial carcinoma

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology


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