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Br J Cancer. 2009 Jun 16;100(12):1949-56. doi: 10.1038/sj.bjc.6605068. Epub 2009 May 19.

Alternative implication of CXCR4 in JAK2/STAT3 activation in small cell lung cancer.

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Department of Internal Medicine, Freiburg University Hospital, Freiburg, Germany.


Small cell lung cancer (SCLC) is an aggressive, rapidly metastasising tumour. Previously, we demonstrated the influence of CXCL12-CXCR4 interaction on processes involved in metastasis and chemoresistance in SCLC. We show here that STAT3 is expressed in both primary SCLC tumour tissues and SCLC cell lines. We investigated the function of STAT3 upon CXCL12 stimulation in SCLC cell lines. Small cell lung cancer cell lines present constitutive phosphorylation of STAT3, and in the reference cell lines NCI-H69 and NCI-H82 constitutive phosphorylation was further increased by CXCL12 stimulation. Further investigating this signalling cascade, we showed that it involves interactions between CXCR4 and JAK2 in both cell lines. However CXCL12-induced adhesion to VCAM-1 could be completely inhibited by the JAK2 inhibitor AG490 only in NCI-H82. Furthermore, CXCR4 antagonist but not AG490 inhibited cell adhesion whereas both antagonisms were shown to inhibit growth of the cells in soft agar, indicating the central involvement of this signalling in anchorage-independent growth of SCLC cells. Most interestingly, while using primary tumour material, we observed that in contrast to non-small-cell lung cancer samples from primary tumour tissues, all analysed samples from SCLC were strongly positive for tyrosine-phosphorylated STAT3. Taken together, these data indicate that STAT3 is constitutively phosphorylated in SCLC and is important in SCLC growth and spreading thus presenting an interesting target for therapy.

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