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Mol Cancer Res. 2007 Jan;5(1):21-33.

Stromal cell-derived factor-1/chemokine (C-X-C motif) ligand 12 stimulates human hepatoma cell growth, migration, and invasion.

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UPRES 3410, Université Paris XIII, 74 rue Marcel Cachin, 93017 Bobigny, France.


In addition to their physiologic effects in inflammation and angiogenesis, chemokines are involved in cancer pathology. The aim of this study was to determine whether the chemokine stromal cell-derived factor 1 (SDF-1) induces the growth, migration, and invasion of human hepatoma cells. We show that SDF-1 G protein-coupled receptor, chemokine (C-X-C motif) receptor 4 (CXCR4), and SDF-1 mRNA are expressed in human hepatoma Huh7 cells, which secrete and bind SDF-1. This binding depends on CXCR4 and glycosaminoglycans. SDF-1 associates with CXCR4, and syndecan-4 (SDC-4), a heparan sulfate proteoglycan at the plasma membrane of Huh7 cells, induces the growth of Huh7 cells by promoting their entry into the cell cycle, and inhibits the tumor necrosis factor-alpha-mediated apoptosis of the cells. SDF-1 also reorganizes Huh7 cytoskeleton and induces tyrosine phosphorylation of focal adhesion kinase. Finally, SDF-1 activates matrix metalloproteinase-9, resulting in increased migration and invasion of Huh7 cells. These biological effects of SDF-1 were strongly inhibited by the CXCR4 antagonist AMD3100, by a glycosaminoglycan, heparin, as well as by beta-D-xyloside treatment of the cells, or by c-jun NH(2)-terminal kinase/stress-activated protein kinase inhibitor. Therefore, the CXCR4, glycosaminoglycans, and the mitogen-activated protein kinase signaling pathways are involved in these events. The fact that reducing SDC-4 expression by RNA interference decreased SDF-1-induced Huh7 hepatoma cell migration and invasion strongly indicates that SDC-4 may be an auxiliary receptor for SDF-1. Finally, the fact that CXCR4 is expressed in hepatocellular carcinoma cells from liver biopsies indicates that the in vitro results reported here could be extended to in vivo conditions.

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