Neuroglobin and myoglobin in non-small cell lung cancer: expression, regulation and prognosis

Urszula Oleksiewicz, Nikoleta Daskoulidou, Triantafillos Liloglou, Kelly Tasopoulou, Julie Bryan, John R Gosney, John K Field, George Xinarianos

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (journal)peer-review

55 Citations (Scopus)


Globins are respiratory proteins involved in oxygen metabolism, which is a critical factor in tumor growth and progression. The status of neuroglobin and myoglobin is largely unknown in human malignancies, including lung cancer. The aim of this study was to explore mRNA expression profiles, potential regulatory mechanisms and clinicopathological associations of neuroglobin and myoglobin in non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC). We screened 208 surgically resected NSCLC specimens and a panel of lung normal and cancer cell lines. The mRNA expression of neuroglobin, myoglobin and hypoxia markers (HIF1α and VEGFa) was measured with qRTPCR, while neuroglobin promoter methylation was assessed with Pyrosequencing. Neuroglobin and myoglobin were upregulated in the tumor samples compared to normal tissue (p=1.3×10(-22) and p=1.9×10(-9), respectively). Neuroglobin was more frequently overexpressed in squamous cell carcinomas (SqCCL) than adenocarcinomas. Overexpression of myoglobin was more profound in adenocarcinomas, which correlated with poor survival (p=0.013). Neuroglobin promoter was hypermethylated in 30.8% of NSCLC cases, which correlated with neuroglobin mRNA downregulation. The epigenetic regulation of neuroglobin was confirmed by treating lung cell lines with 5'azadeoxycytidine and/or trichostatin A. Expression of both genes correlated with the expression of HIF1α (neuroglobin: p=3.8×10(-5), myoglobin: p=1.1×10(-11)). Myoglobin expression was also associated to that of VEGFa (p=2.1×10(-7)). Hypoxia-dependent upregulation of both globins was validated in vitro. In summary, neuroglobin and myoglobin overexpression in NSCLC is associated with histological subtype, hypoxia and, in case of neuroglobin - epigenetic regulation. Myoglobin expression may have potential significance in the prognostication of lung adenocarcinomas.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)411-8
Number of pages8
JournalLung Cancer
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2011


  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Carcinoma, Non-Small-Cell Lung/diagnosis
  • Cell Line, Tumor
  • DNA Methylation
  • Female
  • Gene Expression Regulation
  • Globins/genetics
  • Humans
  • Hypoxia-Inducible Factor 1, alpha Subunit/genetics
  • Lung Neoplasms/diagnosis
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Myoglobin/genetics
  • Nerve Tissue Proteins/genetics
  • Neuroglobin
  • Prognosis


Dive into the research topics of 'Neuroglobin and myoglobin in non-small cell lung cancer: expression, regulation and prognosis'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this