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Oncogene. 2001 Jun 28;20(29):3845-56.

Tyrosine kinase inhibitor STI571 enhances thyroid cancer cell motile response to Hepatocyte Growth Factor.

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Istituto di Medicina Interna, Malattie Endocrine e Del Metabolismo, Università di Catania, Ospedale Garibaldi, Piazza S. Maria di Gesù, 95123 Catania, Italy.


The Hepatocyte Growth Factor (HGF) and its receptor Met are physiological regulators of cell migration. HGF and Met have also been implicated in tumor progression and metastasis. We show here that the tyrosine kinase inhibitor STI571 has a stimulatory effect on HGF-induced migration and branching morphogenesis in thyroid cancer but not in primary or immortalized thyroid epithelial cells. These stimulatory effects of STI571 are observed at a concentration that is clinically relevant. The STI571-enhanced motile response can be correlated with an increase in the Met receptor tyrosine phosphorylation as well as ERK and Akt activation by HGF. Interestingly, one of the targets of STI571, namely the c-Abl tyrosine kinase, is activated by HGF and is recruited at the migrating edge of thyroid cancer cells. These data suggests that c-Abl and/or STI571-inhibited tyrosine kinases can negatively regulate the Met receptor to restrain the motile response in thyroid cancer cells.

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