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Carcinogenesis. 2014 Feb;35(2):324-32. doi: 10.1093/carcin/bgt332. Epub 2013 Oct 1.

Mechanisms of platelet-stimulated colon cancer invasion: role of clusterin and thrombospondin 1 in regulation of the P38MAPK-MMP-9 pathway.

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Department of Pharmacology, School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences.


Platelets have been implicated in colon cancer metastasis and prognosis but the underlying molecular mechanisms remain unclear. We evaluated the role of the different mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) pathways in platelet-stimulated matrix metalloproteinase-9 (MMP-9) generation and colon cancer invasion. In addition, proteins released during platelet-tumour cell interactions were studied. For this purpose, interactions of Caco-2 and HT29 cells with platelets were studied using scanning electron microscopy, aggregometry, flow cytometry and cell invasion chambers. Quantitative PCR and zymography were used to study MMP-9 gene expression and activity, respectively, whereas western blot was used to study p38MAPK. Finally, the origin of proteins during platelet-cancer cell interactions was investigated using stable isotope labelling by amino acids in cell culture (SILAC)-based proteomics. We found that platelets promoted p38MAPK phosphorylation and MMP-9 up-regulation in both cell lines, with the subsequent cell-invasion-promoting effects. Pharmacological inhibition of p38MAPK led to a significant down-regulation of MMP-9 and colon cancer cell invasiveness. Also, p38MAPK-small interfering RNA abolished the induction of platelet-stimulated MMP-9. SILAC experiments demonstrated that thrombospondin 1 (TSP1) was released mainly from platelets and clusterin by both platelets and cancer cells. Finally, inhibition of TSP1 and clusterin abolished p38MAPK phosphorylation, MMP-9 activity and platelet-stimulated colon cancer invasion. Our results indicate that platelet-secreted TSP1 and clusterin promote the signal regulation of MMP-9 in platelet-induced colonic cancer invasion via a P38MAPK-regulated pathway. These findings are relevant to the development of therapeutic approaches to preventing and reducing tumour cell metastasis induced by colon adenocarcinoma.

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