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Oncogene. 2006 Nov 23;25(55):7260-6. Epub 2006 Jun 19.

Squamous cell carcinoma growth in mice and in culture is regulated by c-Jun and its control of matrix metalloproteinase-2 and -9 expression.

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Centre for Vascular Research, University of New South Wales, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia.


Squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) is an invasive malignancy of epidermal keratinocytes. Surgical excision is currently the main treatment; however, this can cause scarring and disfigurement. There is accordingly, an acute need for alternative strategies to treat SCC. The transcription factor c-Jun is expressed in human SCC and another common form of invasive skin cancer, basal cell carcinoma together with the mitogenic marker-proliferating cell nuclear antigen. Here, we have employed DNAzymes (catalytic DNA molecules) targeting c-Jun (Dz13) to inhibit c-Jun expression in SCC cells. Dz13 inhibits SCC proliferation and suppresses solid SCC tumor growth and tumor angiogenesis in severe combined immunodeficient mice. We further demonstrate that Dz13 inhibits c-Jun, together with matrix metalloproteinase (MMP)-2 and MMP-9 expression in the tumors, consistent with DNAzyme inhibition of MMP-2 and MMP-9 gelatinolytic activity by zymography. Dz13 also suppressed the expression of vascular endothelial growth factor and fibroblast growth factor-2 in the tumors. These findings demonstrate that c-Jun regulates SCC growth and suggest that DNAzymes targeting this transcription factor may potentially be useful as inhibitors of cutaneous carcinoma.

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