Secretome profiling identifies neuron-derived neurotrophic factor as a tumor-suppressive factor in lung cancer

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date



JCI Insight








© 2019, American Society for Clinical Investigation. Clinical and preclinical studies show tissue-specific differences in tumorigenesis. Tissue specificity is controlled by differential gene expression. We prioritized genes that encode secreted proteins according to their preferential expression in normal lungs to identify candidates associated with lung cancer. Indeed, most of the lung-enriched genes identified in our analysis have known or suspected roles in lung cancer. We focused on the gene encoding neuron-derived neurotrophic factor (NDNF), which had not yet been associated with lung cancer. We determined that NDNF was preferentially expressed in the normal adult lung and that its expression was decreased in human lung adenocarcinoma and a mouse model of this cancer. Higher expression of NDNF was associated with better clinical outcome of patients with lung adenocarcinoma. Purified NDNF inhibited proliferation of lung cancer cells, whereas silencing NDNF promoted tumor cell growth in culture and in xenograft models. We determined that NDNF is downregulated through DNA hypermethylation near CpG island shores in human lung adenocarcinoma. Furthermore, the lung cancer–related DNA hypermethylation sites corresponded to the methylation sites that occurred in tissues with low NDNF expression. Thus, by analyzing the tissue-specific secretome, we identified a tumor-suppressive factor, NDNF, which is associated with patient outcomes in lung adenocarcinoma.