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Cancer Res. 2009 Apr 15;69(8):3374-81. doi: 10.1158/0008-5472.CAN-08-4290. Epub 2009 Apr 7.

Thrombin induces tumor cell cycle activation and spontaneous growth by down-regulation of p27Kip1, in association with the up-regulation of Skp2 and MiR-222.

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  • 1Department of Medicine, New York University School of Medicine, New York, USA.


The effect of thrombin on tumor cell cycle activation and spontaneous growth was examined in synchronized serum-starved tumor cell lines and a model of spontaneous prostate cancer development in TRAMP mice. BrdUrd incorporation and propidium iodide staining of prostate LNCaP cells arrested in G(0) and treated with thrombin or serum revealed a 48- and 29-fold increase in S phase cells, respectively, at 8 hours. Similar results were obtained with TRAMP cells and a glioblastoma cell line, T98G. Cell cycle kinases and inhibitors in synchronized tumor cells revealed high levels of p27(Kip1) and low levels of Skp2 and cyclins D1 and A. Addition of thrombin, TFLLRN, or serum down-regulated p27(Kip1) with concomitant induction of Skp2, Cyclin D1, and Cyclin A with similar kinetics. LNCaP p27(Kip1)-transfected cells or Skp2 knockdown cells were refractory to thrombin-induced cell cycle activation. MicroRNA 222, an inhibitor of p27(Kip1), was robustly up-regulated by thrombin. The in vitro observations were tested in vivo with transgenic TRAMP mice. Repetitive thrombin injection enhanced prostate tumor volume 6- to 8-fold (P < 0.04). Repetitive hirudin, a specific potent antithrombin, decreased tumor volume 13- to 24-fold (P < 0.04). Thus, thrombin stimulates tumor cell growth in vivo by down-regulation of p27(Kip1).

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