The prognosis for bladder cancer patients with lymph node (LN) metastasis is dismal and only minimally improved by current treatment modalities. Elucidation of the molecular mechanisms that underlie LN metastasis may provide clinical therapeutic strategies for LN-metastatic bladder cancer. Here, we report that a long noncoding RNA LINC00958, which we have termed bladder cancer–associated transcript 2 (BLACAT2), was markedly upregulated in LN-metastatic bladder cancer and correlated with LN metastasis. Overexpression of BLACAT2 promoted bladder cancer–associated lymphangiogenesis and lymphatic metastasis in both cultured bladder cancer cell lines and mouse models. Furthermore, we demonstrate that BLACAT2 epigenetically upregulated VEGF-C expression by directly associating with WDR5, a core subunit of human H3K4 methyltransferase complexes. Importantly, administration of an anti–VEGF-C antibody inhibited LN metastasis in BLACAT2-overexpressing bladder cancer. Taken together, these findings uncover a molecular mechanism in the lymphatic metastasis of bladder cancer and indicate that BLACAT2 may represent a target for clinical intervention in LN-metastatic bladder cancer.
Wang He, Guangzheng Zhong, Ning Jiang, Bo Wang, Xinxiang Fan, Changhao Chen, Xu Chen, Jian Huang, Tianxin Lin