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Nat Med. 1999 Jun;5(6):662-8.

Extracellular matrix proteins protect small cell lung cancer cells against apoptosis: a mechanism for small cell lung cancer growth and drug resistance in vivo.

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Respiratory Medicine Unit, Rayne Laboratory, University of Edinburgh Medical School, Scotland, UK.


Resistance to chemotherapy is a principal problem in the treatment of small cell lung cancer (SCLC). We show here that SCLC is surrounded by an extensive stroma of extracellular matrix (ECM) at both primary and metastatic sites. Adhesion of SCLC cells to ECM enhances tumorigenicity and confers resistance to chemotherapeutic agents as a result of beta1 integrin-stimulated tyrosine kinase activation suppressing chemotherapy-induced apoptosis. SCLC may create a specialized microenvironment, and the survival of cells bound to ECM could explain the partial responses and local recurrence of SCLC often seen clinically after chemotherapy. Strategies based on blocking beta1 integrin-mediated survival signals may represent a new therapeutic approach to improve the response to chemotherapy in SCLC.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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