CXC Chemokine Receptor-4 Antagonist Blocks Both Growth of Primary Tumor and Metastasis of Head and Neck Cancer in Xenograft Mouse Models

Younghyoun YoonZhongxing LiangXin ZhangMison ChoeAizhi ZhuHeidi T. ChoDong M. ShinMark M. GoodmanZhuo (Georgia) Chenand Hyunsuk Shim
Dept. of Pathology (병리학)
Issue Date
Cancer Research, Vol.67(15) : 7518-7524, 2007
Squamous cell carcinoma of the head and neck (SCCHN) metastasizes to the lymph nodes and lungs. We have generated previously an orthotopic mouse model for head and neck metastasis and did in vivo selection of SCCHN cells through four rounds of serial metastases. A subpopulation of 686LN cells with high metastatic potential (686LN-Ms) was isolated. When the highly metastatic cells were compared with their low metastatic parental cells (686LN-Ps), we found that CXC chemokine receptor-4 (CXCR4) mRNA levels were significantly higher in the 686LN-Ms cells than the 686LN-Ps cells. Interestingly, the metastatic subclones had lost epithelial morphology and acquired mesenchymal features, which were maintained during cell expansion in vitro. This was featured by decreased E-cadherin and involucrin and increased vimentin and integrin β1. These results imply that CXCR4 and epithelial-mesenchymal transition markers can be potential biomarkers to identify the subpopulation of cells with high metastatic potential. Using the orthotopic SCCHN animal model, we showed that anti-CXCR4 treatment suppressed primary tumor growth by inhibiting tumor angiogenesis and prevented lung metastasis. Because the reduction of metastasis seen in the treated group could have resulted from 2-fold reduction in primary tumor size compared with that in the control group, we examined the effects of the CXCR4 antagonist in an experimental metastatic animal model in which 686LN-Ms cells were i.v. injected. 686LN-Ms cells failed to metastasize in the CXCR4 antagonist-treated group, whereas they metastasized to the lungs in the control group. Our data indicate that CXCR4 is an important target to inhibit tumor progression in SCCHN. [Cancer Res 2007;67(15):7518–23] squamous cell carcinoma CXCR4 tumor angiogenesis metastasis epithelial mesenchymal transition
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