Open Access Research article

LATS2 is De-methylated and Overexpressed in Nasopharyngeal Carcinoma and Predicts Poor Prognosis

Yan Zhang12, Chun-Fang Hu23, Jing Chen12, Li-Xu Yan12, Yi-Xin Zeng14 and Jian-Yong Shao124*

Author Affiliations

1 State Key Laboratory of Oncology in Southern China, Sun Yat-Sen University Cancer Center, Guangzhou, China

2 Department of Pathology, Sun Yat-Sen University Cancer Center, Guangzhou, China

3 Institute for Cancer Studies, University of Birmingham, Birmingham, UK

4 Department of Experiment Research, Sun Yat-Sen University Cancer Center, Guangzhou, China

For all author emails, please log on.

BMC Cancer 2010, 10:538  doi:10.1186/1471-2407-10-538

Published: 8 October 2010



LATS2, which encodes a novel serine/threonine kinase, is known to be important in centrosome duplication and in the maintenance of genomic stability. Recently, a potential role for LATS2 in cancer has been reported. In breast cancer and acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL), LATS2 mRNA is downregulated and has been suggested to be a tumor suppressor. However, the role of LATS2 in nasopharyngeal carcinoma has not been investigated. In this study, we aimed to investigate the expression pattern of LATS2 and its clinicopathological involvement in nasopharyngeal carcinoma to understand its effect on cell survival.


Using quantitative real time PCR and immunoblotting, the expression of LATS2 was detected in nasopharyngeal carcinoma cell lines and in the immortalized nasopharyngeal epithelial cell line NP69. Using immunohistochemistry, we analyzed LATS2 protein expression in 220 nasopharyngeal carcinoma cases. The association of LATS2 protein expression with the clinicopathological characteristics and the prognosis of nasopharyngeal carcinoma were subsequently assessed. Using methylation specific PCR, we detected the methylation status of the LATS2 promoter. RNA interference was performed by transfecting siRNA to specifically knock down LATS2 expression in 5-8F and CNE2.


LATS2 protein was detected in 178 of 220 (80.91%) cases of nasopharyngeal carcinoma. LATS2 overexpression was a significant, independent prognosis predictor (P = 0.037) in nasopharyngeal carcinoma patients. Methylation specific PCR revealed that 36.7% (11/30) of nasopharyngeal carcinoma tissues and all of the chronic nasopharyngeal inflammation samples were methylated. Functional studies showed that the suppression of LATS2 expression in nasopharyngeal carcinoma (5-8F and CNE2) cell lines by using specific small interfering (siRNA) resulted in the inhibition of growth, induction of apoptosis and S-phase cell cycle increase. Overexpression of LATS2 in NP69 stimulated cell proliferation.


Our results indicate that LATS2 might play a role in the tumorigenesis of nasopharyngeal carcinoma by promoting the growth of nasopharyngeal carcinoma cells. Transfection with specific siRNA might be feasible for the inhibition of growth, induction of apoptosis and S phase increase in nasopharyngeal carcinoma.