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Cancer Lett. 2016 Jun 28;376(1):188-96. doi: 10.1016/j.canlet.2016.03.023. Epub 2016 Mar 17.

An integrin beta4-EGFR unit promotes hepatocellular carcinoma lung metastases by enhancing anchorage independence through activation of FAK-AKT pathway.

Author information

1
Hepatic Surgery Center, Tongji Hospital, Tongji Medical College, Huazhong University of Science and Technology, 430030 Wuhan, Hubei, China.
2
Hepatic Surgery Center, Tongji Hospital, Tongji Medical College, Huazhong University of Science and Technology, 430030 Wuhan, Hubei, China. Electronic address: lianghuifang1997@126.com.
3
Hepatic Surgery Center, Tongji Hospital, Tongji Medical College, Huazhong University of Science and Technology, 430030 Wuhan, Hubei, China. Electronic address: bixiangzhang@163.com.

Abstract

Anoikis, a form of programmed cell death, occurs when the cells are detached from the appropriate extracellular matrix. Anoikis resistance or anchorage independence is necessary for distant metastases of cancer. The mechanisms by which hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) cells become resistant to anoikis are not fully understood. Integrin beta4 (ITGB4, also known as CD104) is associated with progression of many human cancers. In this study, we demonstrate that ITGB4 is over-expressed in HCC tissues and aggressive HCC cell lines. To explore the role of ITGB4 in HCC, we inhibited its expression using small interfering RNA in two HCC cell lines: HCCLM3 and HLF. We show that knockdown of ITGB4 significantly enhanced susceptibility to anoikis through inhibition of AKT/PKB signaling. Moreover, ITGB4 interacts with epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) in a ligand independent manner. Inactivation of EGFR inhibits the anchorage independence and AKT pathway promoted by ITGB4. Further investigation proved that the ITGB4-EGFR unit triggers the focal adhesion kinase (FAK) to activate the AKT signaling pathway. Finally, we demonstrate that over-expression of ITGB4 is positively associated with tumor growth and lung metastases of HCC in vivo. Collectively, we demonstrate for the first time that ITGB4 is overexpressed in HCC tissues and promotes metastases of HCC by conferring anchorage independence through EGFR-dependent FAK-AKT activation.

KEYWORDS:

Anoikis; EGFR; Hepatocellular carcinoma; Integrin beta4; Metastases

PMID:
26996299
DOI:
10.1016/j.canlet.2016.03.023
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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