The TUSC2 tumour suppressor inhibits the malignant phenotype of human thyroid cancer cells via SMAC/DIABLO protein

Raffaela Mariarosaria Mariniello, Francesca Maria Orlandella, Anna Elisa De Stefano, Paola Lucia Chiara Iervolino, Giovanni Smaldone, Neila Luciano, Nara Cervone, Francesco Munciguerra, Silvia Esposito, Peppino Mirabelli, Giuliana Salvatore

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Thyroid carcinoma is the most common endocrine cancer and includes different forms. Among these, anaplastic thyroid carcinoma (ATC) is the rarest but the most lethal subtype, compared to papillary thyroid carcinoma (PTC) which shows an overall good prognosis. We have previously showed that Tumor Suppressor Candidate 2 (TUSC2), a known tumour suppressor gene, is downregulated in human PTC and ATC compared to normal thyroid samples. The aim of this study was to gain insight into the molecular mechanisms induced by TUSC2 in thyroid cancer cells. Here, we stably transfected TUSC2 in papillary (TPC-1) and in anaplastic (8505C) thyroid cancer cell lines and studied its effects on several biological processes, demonstrating that TUSC2 overexpression decreased thyroid cancer cell proliferation, migration and invasion. Through the proteome profiler apoptosis array, we observed that TUSC2 increased sensitivity to apoptosis by increasing the SMAC/DIABLO and CYTOCHROME C proteins. On the other hand, transient silencing of TUSC2, by siRNA, in an immortalized thyroid follicular epithelial cell line (Nthy-ori 3-1) showed the opposite effect. Finally modulation of SMAC/DIABLO partially rescued the biological effects of TUSC2. Thus, our data highlight a tumour suppressor role of TUSC2 in thyroid carcinogenesis, suggesting that it could be a promising target and biomarker for thyroid carcinoma.

Original languageEnglish
Article number702
JournalInternational Journal of Molecular Sciences
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Feb 1 2020


  • Apoptosis
  • Invasion
  • Migration
  • Thyroid cancer
  • TUSC2

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Catalysis
  • Molecular Biology
  • Spectroscopy
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry
  • Organic Chemistry
  • Inorganic Chemistry


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