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Frontiers of Medicine doi: 10.1007/s11684-022-0919-0

Superenhancers activate the autophagy-related genes Beclin1 and LC3B to drive metastasis and drug resistance in osteosarcoma

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Metastasis and drug resistance are the leading causes of poor prognosis in patients with osteosarcoma. Identifying the relevant factors that drive metastasis and drug resistance is the key to improving the therapeutic outcome of osteosarcoma. Here, we reported that autophagy was highly activated in metastatic osteosarcoma. We found increased autophagolysosomes in metastatic osteosarcoma cell lines by using electron microscopy, Western blot, and immunofluorescence experiments. We further examined the expression of the autophagy-related genes Beclin1 and LC3B in 82 patients through immunohistochemistry and found that Beclin1 and LC3B were highly related to unfavorable prognosis of osteosarcoma. Knockdown of Beclin1 and LC3B reduced invasion, metastasis, and proliferation in metastatic osteosarcoma cells. In vitro and in vivo studies also demonstrated that inhibiting by 3-MA inhibited cell growth and metastasis. Moreover, we demonstrated that autophagy-related genes were activated by SEs and that the inhibition of SEs by JQ-1 decreased the metastasis of osteosarcoma. Overall, our findings highlighted the association of autophagy with osteosarcoma progression and shed new light on autophagy-targeting therapy for osteosarcoma.

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