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Glia. 2004 Feb;45(3):297-306.

CD44-independent hepatocyte growth factor/c-Met autocrine loop promotes malignant peripheral nerve sheath tumor cell invasion in vitro.

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Division of Neuroscience, Oregon National Primate Research Center, Oregon Health and Science University, Beaverton, Oregon 97006, USA.


Malignant peripheral nerve sheath tumors (MPNSTs) are invasive peripheral nerve neoplasms that express both the receptor tyrosine kinase c-Met and its ligand hepatocyte growth factor (HGF). The combined expression of these proteins has been implicated in tumor cell growth and metastasis. However, HGF/c-Met autocrine activity requires the presence of a serine protease, the HGF activator (HGFA), and, in some cells, the CD44 transmembrane glycoprotein. Here, we found that HGFA, HGF, c-Met, and CD44 are coexpressed in MPNSTs but their localization did not correlate with increased cell proliferation. The ST8814 MPNST cell line also expresses all of these proteins, can convert pro-HGF to active HGF, and exhibits constitutive c-Met phosphorylation. Blocking c-Met activity or expression inhibits the invasive behavior of these cells but not their proliferation. Interestingly, although a CD44 splice variant contributes to MPNST cell invasion and interacts with c-Met and HGF in ST8814 cells, it is not required for c-Met activation. These data indicate that an HGF/c-Met autocrine loop can promote MPNST invasion through a CD44-independent mechanism and suggest that c-Met, HGFA, and HGF are potential molecular targets to inhibit MPNST metastasis.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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