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Keywords:

  • KIF14;
  • ovarian cancer;
  • oncogene;
  • prognosis;
  • therapeutic target

Abstract

The novel oncogene KIF14 (kinesin family member 14) shows genomic gain and overexpression in many cancers including OvCa (ovarian cancer). We discovered that expression of the mitotic kinesin KIF14 is predictive of poor outcome in breast and lung cancers. We now determine the prognostic significance of KIF14 expression in primary OvCa tumors, and evaluate KIF14 action on OvCa cell tumorigenicity in vitro. Gene-specific multiplex PCR and real-time QPCR were used to measure KIF14 genomic (109 samples) and mRNA levels (122 samples) in OvCa tumors. Association of KIF14 with clinical variables was studied using Kaplan–Meier survival and Cox regression analyses. Cellular effects of KIF14 overexpression (stable transfection) and inhibition (stable shRNA knockdown) were studied by proliferation (cell counts), survival (Annexin V immunocytochemistry) and colony formation (soft-agar growth). KIF14 genomic gain (>2.6 copies) was present in 30% of serous OvCas, and KIF14 mRNA was elevated in 91% of tumors versus normal epithelium. High KIF14 in tumors independently predicted for worse outcome (p = 0.03) with loss of correlation with proliferation marker expression and increased rates of recurrence. Overexpression of KIF14 in OvCa cell lines increased proliferation and colony formation (p < 0.01), whereas KIF14 knockdown induced apoptosis and dramatically reduced colony formation (p < 0.05). Our findings indicate that KIF14 mRNA is an independent prognostic marker in serous OvCa. Dependence of OvCa cells on KIF14 for maintenance of in vitro colony formation suggests a role of KIF14 in promoting a tumorigenic phenotype, beyond its known role in proliferation.