Dopamine receptor type 2 (DRD2) inhibits migration and invasion of human tumorous pituitary cells through ROCK-mediated cofilin inactivation

Erika Maria Peverelli, Elena Giardino, D. Treppiedi, Marco Locatelli, Valentina Vaira, Stefano Ferrero, Silvano Bosari, Andrea Gerardo Antonio Lania, Anna Maria Spada, Giovanna Mantovani

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Non-functioning pituitary tumors (NFPTs) frequently present local invasiveness. Dopamine receptor 2 (DRD2) agonists are the only medical therapy that induces tumor shrinkage in some patients. Invasion requires cytoskeleton rearrangements that are tightly regulated by cofilin pathway, whose alterations correlate with invasion in different tumors. We investigated the effect of DR2D agonist on NFPT cells migration/invasion and the molecular mechanisms involved. We demonstrated that DRD2 agonist reduced migration (−44 ± 25%, p < 0.01) and invasion (−34 ± 6%, p < 0.001) and increased about 4-fold Ser3-phosphorylated inactive cofilin (P-cofilin) in NFPT cells. These effects were abolished by inhibiting ROCK, a kinase that phosphorylates cofilin. The overexpression of wild-type or phosphodeficient S3A-cofilin increased HP75 cells migration (+49 ± 6% and +57 ± 9% vs empty vector, respectively, p < 0.05), while phosphomimetic mutant had no effect. Interestingly, P-cofilin levels were lower in invasive vs non-invasive tumors by both western blot (mean P-cofilin/total cofilin ratio 0.77 and 1.93, respectively, p < 0.05) and immunohistochemistry (mean percentage of P-cofilin positive cells 17.6 and 45.7, respectively, p < 0.05). In conclusion, we showed that the invasiveness of pituitary tumors is promoted by the activation of cofilin, which can be regulated by DRD2 and might represent a novel biomarker for pituitary tumors' invasive behavior.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)279-286
Number of pages8
JournalCancer Letters
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Oct 28 2016


  • Cofilin
  • Dopamine receptor type 2
  • Invasion
  • Migration
  • Pituitary tumor

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)
  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research

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