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Clin Cancer Res. 2009 Nov 15;15(22):6820-9. doi: 10.1158/1078-0432.CCR-09-1558. Epub 2009 Nov 3.

Snail promotes CXCR2 ligand-dependent tumor progression in non-small cell lung carcinoma.

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Lung Cancer Research Program, Division of Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine, 10833 Le Conte Avenue, 37-131 CHS, Los Angeles, CA 90095-1690, USA.



As a transcriptional repressor of E-cadherin, Snail has predominantly been associated with epithelial-mesenchymal transition, invasion, and metastasis. However, other important Snail-dependent malignant phenotypes have not been fully explored. Here, we investigate the contributions of Snail to the progression of non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC).


Immunohistochemistry was done to quantify and localize Snail in human lung cancer tissues, and tissue microarray analysis was used to correlate these findings with survival. NSCLC cell lines gene-modified to stably overexpress Snail were evaluated in vivo in two severe combined immunodeficiency murine tumor models. Differential gene expression between Snail-overexpressing and control cell lines was evaluated using gene expression microarray analysis.


Snail is upregulated in human NSCLC tissue, and high levels of Snail expression correlate with decreased survival (P < 0.026). In a heterotopic model, mice bearing Snail-overexpressing tumors developed increased primary tumor burden (P = 0.008). In an orthotopic model, mice bearing Snail-overexpressing tumors also showed a trend toward increased metastases. In addition, Snail overexpression led to increased angiogenesis in primary tumors as measured by MECA-32 (P < 0.05) positivity and CXCL8 (P = 0.002) and CXCL5 (P = 0.0003) concentrations in tumor homogenates. Demonstrating the importance of these proangiogenic chemokines, the Snail-mediated increase in tumor burden was abrogated with CXCR2 blockade. Gene expression analysis also revealed Snail-associated differential gene expression with the potential to affect angiogenesis and diverse aspects of lung cancer progression.


Snail upregulation plays a role in human NSCLC by promoting tumor progression mediated by CXCR2 ligands.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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