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J Natl Cancer Inst. 2009 Feb 18;101(4):237-47. doi: 10.1093/jnci/djn491. Epub 2009 Feb 10.

Interference with netrin-1 and tumor cell death in non-small cell lung cancer.

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Apoptosis, Cancer and Development Laboratory-Equipe labellisée La Ligue, CNRS UMR5238, Université de Lyon, Centre Léon Bérard, Lyon, France.



Netrin-1 may promote colorectal and breast tumorigenesis, by inhibiting apoptosis induced by its dependence receptors, deleted in colorectal cancer (DCC) and uncoordinated-5-homolog (UNC5H). The status of netrin-1 and its receptors in non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) was unknown.


The levels of netrin-1 and its receptors were analyzed in a panel of 92 NSCLC and 25 human lung cancer cell lines by quantitative reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction and immunohistochemistry. In lung cancer cell lines that express netrin-1, the expression of netrin-1 was inhibited by using small interfering RNA (siRNA), or interference with netrin-1 was performed by treatment with a decoy recombinant DCC ectodomain protein (DCC-5Fbn). Cell death was monitored with a trypan blue exclusion assay or by measuring caspase-3 activity. The effect of netrin-1 interference on tumor growth was analyzed by DCC-5Fbn intratumoral or netrin-1 siRNA intraperitoneal injection in mice engrafted with lung cancer cell lines. All statistical tests were two-sided.


High levels of netrin-1 were found in 43 of the 92 NSCLC tumor samples (47%). Interference with netrin-1 in human lung cancer cell lines was associated with UNC5H-mediated cell death in vitro (percentage of cell death in untreated and in DCC-5Fbn-treated cells = 8% and 26%, respectively, difference = 18%, 95% confidence interval [CI] = 10% to 26%; P = .049) and with lung tumor growth inhibition and/or regression in xenografted nude mice (12 mice in DCC-5Fbn-treated group and 13 mice in control group). Mean volume of control and DCC-5Fbn-treated tumors on day 46 was 489 and 84 mm(3), respectively (difference = 404 mm(3), 95% CI = 145 to 664 mm(3); P < .001).


Almost half of the NSCLC tissue samples examined expressed high levels of netrin-1. Extracellular targeting of the interaction between netrin-1 and UNC5H may be a promising therapeutic approach for NSCLCs that express netrin-1.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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