Molecular and Cellular Biochemistry

, Volume 445, Issue 1–2, pp 123–134 | Cite as

Expression of PFKFB3 and Ki67 in lung adenocarcinomas and targeting PFKFB3 as a therapeutic strategy

  • Xiaoli Li
  • Jian Liu
  • Li Qian
  • Honggang Ke
  • Chan Yao
  • Wei Tian
  • Yifei Liu
  • Jianguo Zhang


Phosphofructokinase-2/fructose-2, 6-bisphosphatase 3 (PFKFB3) catalyzes the synthesis of F2,6BP, which is an allosteric activator of 6-phosphofructo-1-kinase (PFK-1): the rate-limiting enzyme of glycolysis. During tumorigenesis, PFKFB3 increases glycolysis, angiogenesis, and tumor progression. In this study, our aim was to investigate the significance of PFKFB3 and Ki67 in human lung adenocarcinomas and to target PFKFB3 as a therapeutic strategy. In this study, we determined the expression levels of PFKFB3 mRNA and proteins in cancerous and normal lung adenocarcinomas by quantitative reverse transcription PCR (qRT-PCR), Western blot analysis, and tissue microarray immunohistochemistry analysis, respectively. In human adenocarcinoma tissues, PFKFB3 and Ki67 protein levels were related to the clinical characteristics and overall survival. Both PFKFB3 mRNA and protein were significantly higher in lung adenocarcinoma cells (all P < 0.05). A high expression of PFKFB3 and Ki67 were associated with the degree of differentiation, TNM staging, lymph node metastasis, and survival. A high expression of PFKFB3 protein was an independent prognostic marker in lung adenocarcinoma. Subsequently, 1-(4-pyridinyl)-3-(2-quinolinyl)-2-propen-1-one (PFK15) was used as a selective antagonist of PFKFB3. Glycolytic flux was determined by measuring glucose uptake, F2,6BP, and lactate production. Cell viability, cell cycle, cell apoptosis, cell migration, and invasion were analyzed by MTT, flow cytometry, Western blot analysis, wound healing assay, and transwell chamber assay. By targeting PFKFB3, it inhibited cell viability and glycolytic activity. It also caused apoptosis and induced cell cycle arrest. Furthermore, the migration and invasion of A549 cells was inhibited. We conclude that PFKFB3 bears an oncogene-like regulatory element in lung adenocarcinoma progression. In the treatment of lung adenocarcinoma, targeting PFKFB3 would be a promising therapeutic strategy.


PFKFB3 Ki67 Lung adenocarcinoma A549 Prognosis Therapy 



This study was funded by grants from Six talent peaks project in Jiangsu Province, China (No. WSN-059), the Science Foundation of Nantong City, Jiangsu, China (No. MS12015007), Scientific research topic of Jiangsu provincial health and Family Planning Commission, China (No. H201626), and Key talents of Medical Science in Jiangsu Province, China (No. QNRC2016682).

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declared that they have no competing interests.

Supplementary material

11010_2017_3258_MOESM1_ESM.doc (229 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (DOC 229 KB)


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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PathologyAffiliated Hospital of Nantong UniversityNantongPeople’s Republic of China
  2. 2.Department of ChemotherapyAffiliated Hospital of Nantong UniversityNantongPeople’s Republic of China
  3. 3.Department of Respiratory MedicineHaian County People’s Hospital, Affiliated to Nantong UniversityNantongPeople’s Republic of China

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