Objective: To investigate the correlation between estrogen-related receptor a (ERRα) expression level and gastric cancer (GC).

Methods: We collected GC and adjacent normal tissues from 50 patients. The parameters of the patients were summarized, and correlation with the expression level of ERRα was calculated. Downregulated ERRα using lentivirus was designed and transfected to SGC-7901 and MGC-803 cells. Cell migration, invasion and wound assays were conducted to determine the correlation between ERRα and capacity for cell migration and invasion. The expression level of the genes involved in epithelial–mesenchymal transition, including E-cadherin, γ-catenin, N-cadherin and vimentin, was determined via real-time or quantitative polymerase chain reaction(qPCR) and Western blot analysis.

Results: The expression of ERRα tends to be higher in GC tissues than in adjacent normal tissues. Analyses ofthe expression level of ERRα and patient parameters show that the ERRα level is significantly correlated with TNM staging and patient survival (P<0.05). The downregulation of ERRα can inhibit cell invasion and migration, which was proven by Transwell and cell wound assays. The levels of E-cadherin and γ-catenin increased by conducting qPCR and Western blot analysis. Meanwhile, the levels of N-cadherin and vimentin decreased when ERRα expression was reduced.

Conclusion: ERRα is highly expressed in GC tissues and can promote the migration and invasion of cancer cells. It can be a potential marker for GC diagnosis.