Theranostics 2017; 7(14):3478-3488. doi:10.7150/thno.20717

Research Paper

CBX8 Suppresses Tumor Metastasis via Repressing Snail in Esophageal Squamous Cell Carcinoma

Gang Wang1, 2*, Jianjun Tang1, 3*, Weixiang Zhan1*, Ruhua Zhang1, Meifang Zhang1, Dan Liao1, Xin Wang1, Yuanzhong Wu1, Tiebang Kang1, 2✉

1. State Key Laboratory of Oncology in South China, Collaborative Innovation Center for Cancer Medicine, Sun Yat-Sen University Cancer Center, Guangzhou 510060, P. R. China;
2. Guangdong Esophageal Cancer Research Institute, Guangzhou 510060, Guangdong, P. R. China;
3. Department of Gastroenterology, Jiangxi Cancer Hospital, Nanchang 330029, P.R. China.
* These authors contributed equally to this work.

This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY-NC) license ( See for full terms and conditions.
Wang G, Tang J, Zhan W, Zhang R, Zhang M, Liao D, Wang X, Wu Y, Kang T. CBX8 Suppresses Tumor Metastasis via Repressing Snail in Esophageal Squamous Cell Carcinoma. Theranostics 2017; 7(14):3478-3488. doi:10.7150/thno.20717. Available from

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The poor clinical outcome and prognosis of esophageal squamous cell carcinoma (ESCC) is mainly attributed to its highly invasive and metastatic nature, making it urgent to further elicit the molecular mechanisms of the metastasis of ESCC. The function of each polycomb chromobox (CBX) protein in cancer is cell-type-dependent. Although CBX8 has been reported to promote the esophageal squamous cell carcinoma (ESCC) tumorigenesis, its role in ESCC metastasis has not been explored yet. In this study, we report that the inhibition of cell migration, invasion, and metastasis in ESCC requires CBX8-mediated repression of Snail, a key transcription factor that induces epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition (EMT), and that CBX8 inversely correlated with Snail in the ESCC tissues. Moreover, this novel function of CBX8 is dependent on its binding with the Snail promoter, which in turn suppresses the transcription of Snail. Collectively, CBX8 may play paradoxical roles in ESCC, inhibiting metastasis while promoting cell proliferation.

Keywords: CBX8, Snail, EMT, Tumor metastasis, Esophageal squamous cell carcinoma.