Inflammatory Cytokines Induce Podoplanin Expression at the Tumor Invasive Front

Akiko Kunita, Vanessa Baeriswyl, Claudia Meda, Erik Cabuy, Kimiko Takeshita, Enrico Giraudo, Andreas Wicki, Masashi Fukayama, Gerhard Christofori

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Tumor invasion is a critical first step in the organismic dissemination of cancer cells and the formation of metastasis in distant organs, the most important prognostic factor and the actual cause of death in most of the cancer patients. We report herein that the cell surface protein podoplanin (PDPN), a potent inducer of cancer cell invasion, is conspicuously expressed by the invasive front of squamous cell carcinomas (SCCs) of the cervix in patients and in the transgenic human papillomavirus/estrogen mouse model of cervical cancer. Laser capture microscopy combined with gene expression profiling reveals that the expression of interferon-responsive genes is up-regulated in PDPN-expressing cells at the tumor invasive front, which are exposed to CD45-positive inflammatory cells. Indeed, PDPN expression can be induced in cultured SCC cell lines by single or combined treatments with interferon-γ, transforming growth factor-β, and/or tumor necrosis factor-α. Notably, shRNA-mediated ablation of either PDPN or STAT1 in A431 SCC cells repressed cancer cell invasion on s.c. transplantation into immunodeficient mice. The results highlight the induction of tumor cell invasion by the inflammatory cytokine–stimulated expression of PDPN in the outermost cell layers of cervical SCC.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1276-1288
Number of pages13
JournalAmerican Journal of Pathology
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - May 1 2018

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine


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