Background: PGC-1α and ERRα are closely related to tumor formation and progression. However, the mechanism underlying the involvement of PGC-1α/ERRα in regulating invasion and migration in endometrial cancer remains to be explored.

Results: Elevated levels of PGC-1α and ERRα were associated with advanced myometrial invasion, and PGC-1α and Vimentin expression was related to the depth of myometrial invasion in premenopausal endometrial cancer. Silencing of PGC-1α reduced ERRα activation and inhibited epithelial-mesenchymal-transition phenotypes, resulting in significant inhibition of invasion and migration. Overexpression of ERRα led to enhanced PGC-1α expression and increased activity of TFEB, promoting epithelial-mesenchymal-transition in endometrial cancer cells.

Conclusions: PGC-1α and ERRα induce the epithelial-mesenchymal-transition therefore invasion and migration in endometrial cancer, and may be novel biomarkers to predict the risk of advanced myometrial invasion.

Methods: PGC-1α, ERRα, and vimentin expression was analyzed in tissue microarrays using immunohistochemistry. PGC-1α and ERRα expression in endometrial cancer cell lines was investigated using quantitative PCR and western blotting analyses after infection with lentivirus-mediated small interfering RNA (siRNA) targeting PGC-1α (siRNA-PGC-1α) or overexpressing ERRα. E-cadherin and vimentin levels were determined using western blotting and cell immunouorescence analyses. Cell migration and invasiveness were evaluated using scratch and trans-well chamber assays.