Increased survival, proliferation, and migration in metastatic human pancreatic tumor cells expressing functional CXCR4

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In this study, we have evaluated 11 pancreatic tumor cell lines and tumor cells from surgical samples of patients with pancreatic adenocarcinoma for expression of the chemokine receptor CXCR4. Six of 11 cell lines expressed detectable mRNA of CXCR4, with three cell lines (AsPC1, Capan1, and Hs766T) having substantial amounts of transcripts. Expression was higher in lines derived from metastatic lesions compared with those derived from primary tumors. Different inflammatory cytokines did not modify expression, whereas IFN-γ down-regulated and hypoxia up-regulated CXCR4 transcripts. Transcript expression was associated with surface expression in pancreatic carcinoma cell lines. All surgical carcinoma samples tested expressed higher levels of CXCR4 than normal pancreatic ducts, which were used as reference tissue. The chemokine CXCL12 induced chemotaxis in CXCR4-positive pancreatic carcinoma cell lines, which was inhibited by anti-CXCR4 monoclonal antibody and by the antagonist AMD3100. Transendothelial migration, Matrigel invasion, and activation of matrix metalloproteases were also enhanced by CXCL12. In CXCR4-positive cell lines, CXCL12 stimulated cell proliferation. The cell line Hs766T produces high levels of CXCL12, and addition of the CXCR4 antagonist AMD3100 partially inhibited proliferation, indicating an autocrine loop. Moreover, the addition of exogenous CXCL12 inhibited apoptosis induced by serum starvation. These results indicate that the CXCR4 receptor is frequently expressed in metastatic pancreatic tumor cells. CXCR4 not only stimulates cell motility and invasion but also promotes survival and proliferation. Strategies to target CXCR4 expressed on tumor cells may be of benefit in patients with pancreatic cancer.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)8420-8427
Number of pages8
JournalCancer Research
Issue number22
Publication statusPublished - Nov 15 2004

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cancer Research
  • Oncology


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