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Wei-Jen Chen

Wei-Jen Chen

(Associate Professor; Ph. D)


Tel(Office):886-4-2473-0022 ext 11808


Interests in Research

Epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT), a reversibly cellular process where an epithelial cell loses cell-cell contacts and acquires mesenchymal features, has recently been implicated in the onset of invasive behavior during tumor progression and metastasis. Oncogenic EMT can be induced by EMT regulators including Snail, Slug and Twist along with some signaling pathways, such as Wnt/β-catenin, with poor clinical outcomes. Therefore, inhibition or reversion of EMT mediated by Wnt/β-catenin signaling might be an accessible strategy to reduce the incidence of malignant tumors. Resveratrol, a naturally occurring stilbene phytoalexin from berries and grapes, has been suggested as a potential cancer preventive agent due to its diverse antitumor activity including anti-oxidation, anti-inflammation, anti-proliferation, anti-angiogenesis and induction of apoptosis. However, the effects of resveratrol on EMT in epithelia-derived tumor remain unclear yet. Our previous studies suggest that introduction of methoxy groups on the phenyl ring motif of resveratrol might increase its pro-apoptotic and growth-inhibitory activities. Thus, our research project will determine and compare the capacity of resveratrol and its methoxylated derivatives on Wnt/β-catenin-modulated EMT, and explore the action mechanisms responsible for these effects.

Experimental designs will be divided into three parts to perform: (i) First, we will investigate the effect of resveratrol and its methoxylated derivatives on the regulation of Wnt/β-catenin signaling, EMT and invasion of human MCF-7 or MDA-MB-231 breast adenocarcinoma cell lines. (ii) To evaluate the anti-EMT capacity of resveratrol and its methoxylated derivatives in vivo, an animal model of azoxymethane-induced aberrant crypt foci (ACF) and colon carcinogenesis will be applied to define whether resveratrol and its methoxylated derivatives suppress azoxymethane-induced Wnt/β-catenin activation and prevent normal colonic tissues undergoing EMT and malignant progression, i.e. ACF and colorectal adenoma. (iii) To elucidate whether resveratrol and its methoxylated analogues suppress xenograft tumor metastasis in vivo, human breast cancer cells will be xenotransplanted into inguinal mammary fat pad in nude mice, with intraperitoneal injection of test compounds. Then we will determine the effects and the possible mechanisms involving modulation of Wnt/β-catenin pathway and EMT of resveratrol and its methoxylated derivatives on xenograft tumor growth and lung metastasis. With the research efforts, we hope to define new cancer chemopreventive mechanisms of dietary polyphenolics and provide novel information for synthetic chemists to design new anti-cancer agents against mesenchyme-like malignant tumors.

Publications (at most 7 publications in recent 5 years)

  • Jie-Heng Tsai, Li-Sung Hsu, Hsiu-Chen Huang, Chih-Li Lin, Min-Hsiung Pan, Hui-Mei Hong, and Wei-Jen Chen* (2016). 1-(2-Hydroxy-5-methylphenyl)-3-phenyl-1,3-propanedione induces G1 cell cycle arrest and autophagy in HeLa cervical cancer cells. International Journal of Molecular Sciences. Vol. 17, pp. 1274-88. doi:10.3390/ijms17081274
  • Kuei-Yang Han, Maw-Soan Soon, Ming-Chian Hong, Chia-Cheng Kuo, Shih-Chan Lai, Ke-Ming Chen, Chih-Jung Chen, Kun-Tu Yeh, Li-Sung Hsu, Wei-Jen Chen* (2016). Naringenin attenuated prostate cancer invasion via reversed epithelial to mesenchymal transition and inhibited urokinase plasminogen activator activities. Experimental and Therapeutic Medicine. Vol. 17, pp. 1274-88. doi:10.3390/ijms17081274
  • James Cheng-Chung Wei, Hsiu-Chen Huang, Wei-Jen Chen, Chien-Ning Huang, Chiung-Huei Peng, and Chih-Li Lin* (2016). Epigallocatechin gallate attenuates amyloid β-induced inflammation and neurotoxicity in EOC 13.31 microglia. European Journal of Pharmacology. Vol. 770, pp. 16-24.
  • Wai-Fai Tung, Wei-Jen Chen, Hui-Chih Hung, Guang-Yaw Liu, Jai-Nien Tung, Chien-Chih Huang, and Chih-Li Lin* (2015). 4-Phenylbutyric Acid (4-PBA) and Lithium cooperatively attenuate cell death during oxygen-glucose deprivation (OGD) and reoxygenation. Cellular and Molecular Neurobiology. Vol. 35, pp. 849-859.
  • Cheng Huang, Yi Jing Chen, Wei-Jen Chen, Chih-Li Lin, Yu Xuan Wei, and Hsiu Chen Huang* (2015). Combined treatment with Chrysin and 1,2,3,4,6-Penta-O-Galloyl-β-D-Glucose synergistically inhibits LRP6 and Skp2 activation in triple-negative breast cancer and xenografts. Molecular Carcinogenesis. Vol. 54, pp. 1613-1625.
  • Tsai, Jie-Heng, Hsu, Li-Sung, Lin, Chih-Li, Hong, Hui-Mei, Pan, Min-Hsiung, Way, Tzong-Der, Chen, Wei-Jen* (2013). 3,5,4’-Trimethoxystilbene, a natural methoxylated analogue of resveratrol, inhibits breast cancer cell invasiveness by downregulation of PI3K/Akt and Wnt/β-catenin signaling cascades and reversal of epithelial-mesenchymal transition. Toxicology and Applied Pharmacology. Vol. 272, pp. 746-756.
  • Tsai, M. L., Lai, C. S., Chang, Y. H., Chen, W. J., Ho, C. T. and Pan, M. H.* (2012). Pterostilbene, a natural analogue of resveratrol, potently inhibits 7,12-dimethylbenz[a]anthracene (DMBA)/12-Otetradecanoylphorbol-13-acetate (TPA)-induced mouse skin carcinogenesis. Food and Function. Vol. 3, pp. 1185-1194.