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BMC Cancer


Background: Well-differentiated and dedifferentiated liposarcomas are rare soft tissue tumors originating in adipose tissue that share genetic abnormalities but have significantly different metastatic potential. Dedifferentiated liposarcoma (DDLPS) is highly aggressive and has an overall 5-year survival rate of 30% as compared to 90% for well-differentiated liposarcoma (WDLPS). This discrepancy may be connected to their potential to form adipocytes, where WDLPS is adipogenic but DDLPS is adipogenic-impaired. Normal adipogenesis requires Zinc Finger Protein 423 (ZFP423), a transcriptional coregulator of Perixosome Proliferator Activated Receptor gamma (PPARG2) mRNA expression that defines committed preadipocytes. Expression of ZFP423 in preadipocytes is promoted by Seven-In-Absentia Homolog 2 (SIAH2)-mediated degradation of Zinc Finger Protein 521 (ZFP521). This study investigated the potential role of ZFP423, SIAH2 and ZFP521 in the adipogenic potential of WDLPS and DDLPS. Methods: Human WDLPS and DDLPS fresh and paraffin-embedded tissues were used to assess the gene and protein expression of proadipogenic regulators. In parallel, normal adipose tissue stromal cells along with WDLPS and DDLPS cell lines were cultured, genetically modified, and induced to undergo adipogenesis in vitro. Results: Impaired adipogenic potential in DDLPS was associated with reduced ZFP423 protein levels in parallel with reduced PPARG2 expression, potentially involving regulation of ZFP521. SIAH2 protein levels did not define a clear distinction related to adipogenesis in these liposarcomas. However, in primary tumor specimens, SIAH2 mRNA was consistently upregulated in DDLPS compared to WDLPS when assayed by fluorescence in situ hybridization or real-time PCR. Conclusions: These data provide novel insights into ZFP423 expression in adipogenic regulation between WDLPS and DDLPS adipocytic tumor development. The data also introduces SIAH2 mRNA levels as a possible molecular marker to distinguish between WDLPS and DDLPS.

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