An ADAM12 and FAK positive feedback loop amplifies the interaction signal of tumor cells with extracellular matrix to promote esophageal cancer metastasis

Man Li Luo, Zhuan Zhou, Lichao Sun, Long Yu, Lixin Sun, Jun Liu, Zhihua Yang, Yuliang Ran, Yandan Yao, Hai Hu*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

6 Scopus citations

Abstract

Esophageal squamous cell carcinomas (ESCCs) have a poor prognosis mostly due to early metastasis. To explore the early event of metastasis in ESCC, we established an in vitro selection model to mimic the interaction of tumor cells with extracellular matrix, through which a sub-line of ESCC cells with high invasive ability was generated. By comparing the gene expression profile of the highly invasive sub-line to that of the parental cells, ADAM12-L was identified as a candidate gene promoting ESCC cell invasion. Immunohistochemistry revealed that the ADAM12-L was overexpressed in human ESCC tissues, especially at cancer invasive edge, and ADAM12-L overexpression tightly correlated with increased metastasis and poor outcome of ESCC patients. Indeed, ADAM12-L knockdown reduced the invasion and metastasis of ESCC cells both in vitro and in vivo. Furthermore, we demonstrated that ADAM12-L participated in focal adhesion turnover and promoted the activation of focal adhesion kinase (FAK), which in turn increased ADAM12-L transcription through FAK/JNK/c-Jun axis. Therefore, a loop initiated from the cancer cell upon the engagement with extracellular matrix through FAK and c-Jun to enhance ADAM12-L expression is established, leading to the positive feedback of further FAK activation and prompting metastasis. Our study indicates that overexpression of ADAM12-L can serve as a precision marker to determine the activation of this loop. Targeting ADAM12-L to disrupt this positive feedback loop represents a promising strategy to treat the metastasis of esophageal cancers.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)118-128
Number of pages11
JournalCancer Letters
Volume422
DOIs
StatePublished - May 28 2018

Keywords

  • ADAM12-L
  • Esophageal cancer
  • FAK
  • Metastasis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research

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