SKP2 is the substrate recognition subunit of the SCFSKP2 ubiquitin ligase complex. It is implicated in ubiquitin-mediated degradation of the cyclin-dependent kinase (CDK) inhibitor p27KIP1 and positively regulates the G1/S transition. Overexpression of SKP2 has been found in many kinds of tumors. In the present study, we found that SKP2 expression levels increased in esophageal squamous cell carcinoma tissues. Elevated expression of SKP2 correlated significantly with tumor stage and positive lymph node metastasis (P < 0.05). Moreover, a significantly negative correlation was found between SKP2 expression and the survival of patients who received radiotherapy (P < 0.05). At the molecular level, induced expression of SKP2 promoted the radioresistance of EC9706 cells. Knockdown of SKP2 expression sensitized cancer cells to radiation, and a wobble mutant of SKP2 that was resistant to SKP2 siRNA was able to rescue this effect. Increased or decreased expression levels of SKP2 had effects on Rad51 expression after irradiation. These results demonstrate for the first time that overexpression of SKP2 was correlated with the increased radioresistance of esophageal squamous cell carcinoma. Elevated expression of SKP2 promoted the radioresistance of cancer cells, and this effect was mediated at least in part by the Rad51 pathway.
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Vol. 177 • No. 1