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Neoplasia. 2012 Nov;14(11):1015-22.

Receptor-type Protein tyrosine phosphatase β regulates met phosphorylation and function in head and neck squamous cell carcinoma.

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  • 1Department of Dermatology, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI 48109-5609, USA.


Head and neck squamous cell carcinoma (HNSCC) is the sixth most common cancer and has a high rate of mortality. Emerging evidence indicates that hepatocyte growth factor receptor (or Met) pathway plays a pivotal role in HNSCC metastasis and resistance to chemotherapy. Met function is dependent on tyrosine phosphorylation that is under direct control by receptor-type protein tyrosine phosphatase β (RPTP-β). We report here that RPTP-β expression is significantly downregulated in HNSCC cells derived from metastatic tumors compared to subject-matched cells from primary tumors. Knockdown of endogenous RPTP-β in HNSCC cells from primary tumor potentiated Met tyrosine phosphorylation, downstream mitogen-activated protein (MAP) kinase pathway activation, cell migration, and invasion. Conversely, restoration of RPTP-β expression in cells from matched metastatic tumor decreased Met tyrosine phosphorylation and downstream functions. Furthermore, we observed that six of eight HNSCC tumors had reduced levels of RPTP-β protein in comparison with normal oral tissues. Collectively, the results demonstrate the importance of RPTP-β in tumor biology of HNSCC through direct dephosphorylation of Met and regulation of downstream signal transduction pathways. Reduced RPTP-β levels, with or without Met overexpression, could promote Met activation in HNSCC tumors.

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