Mol Cancer 2008 Jun 3;7:47. Epub 2008 Jun 3.
Department of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery, Graduate school of Dental Science, Kyushu University, Higashi-Ku, Fukuoka, Japan.
Background: Antisense (AS) induced down-regulation of uPAR in ACCS adenoid-cyctic carcinoma cells decreased the cellular adhesion and invasion on various extracellular matrices. Additionally, ACCS-AS cells showed an increased EGFR expression and other behavioral similarities to NA-SCC, a typical highly proliferative but less invasive squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) cell line of the head and neck. ACCS, ACCS-AS and NA-SCC cells were used to elucidate the relationships between uPAR down-regulation and EGFR inhibition.
Results: Tyrosine kinase inhibitor Gefitinib (IRESSA, ZD 1839) significantly reduced the chemotactic cell migration and adhesion. This was associated with reduced EGFR and ERK activation. In addition, anti-proliferative effect of gefitinib in uPAR down-regulated ACCS-AS was significantly higher than parental ACCS, to levels comparable to gefitinib-sensitive NA-SCC cells. This was evidenced by both reduced dosage and duration of treatment. Furthermore, time-lapse videography showed that treatment with gefitinib was also associated with cell rounding and loss of pseudopodia, mostly in ACCS-AS rather than parental ACCS cells. There were also evidences of formation and exocytosis of vacuole-like structures in ACCS-AS, as well as NA-SCC, but not in parental ACCS cells. Interestingly, immunocytochemistry showed that the exocytotic vacuoles actually contained de-activated EGFR.
Conclusion: Our results suggested that down-regulation of uPAR affected the fate of EGFR in high EGFR expressing cells. Furthermore, combining the uPAR down-regulation with EGFR inhibition showed a synergistic anti-tumor effect and might provide an alternative method to increase anti-proliferative effect of tyrosine kinase inhibitors with lower doses and duration to reduce their side effects during cancer control.