BACKGROUND: The biological behavior of epithelial ovarian cancer (EOC) is unique since EOC cells metastasize early to the peritoneum. Thereby, new anti-target agents designed to block trans-coelomic dissemination of EOC cells may be useful as anti-metastatic drugs. The Urokinase Plasminogen Activator Receptor (uPAR) is overexpressed in EOC tissues, and its truncated forms released in sera and/or ascitic fluid are associated with poor prognosis and unfavorable clinical outcome. We documented that uPAR triggers intra-abdominal dissemination of EOC cells through the interaction of its 84-95 sequence with the Formyl Peptide Receptor type 1 (FPR1), even as short linear peptide Ser-Arg-Ser-Arg-Tyr (SRSRY). While the pro-metastatic role of uPAR is well documented, little information regarding the expression and role of FPR1 in EOC is currently available. METHODS: Expression levels of uPAR and FPR1 in EOC cells and tissues were assessed by immunofluorescence, Western blot, or immunohystochemistry. Cell adhesion to extra-cellular matrix proteins and mesothelium as well as mesothelium invasion kinetics by EOC cells were monitored using the xCELLigence technology or assessed by measuring cell-associated fluorescence. Cell internalization of FPR1 was identified on multiple z-series by confocal microscopy. Data from in vitro assays were analysed by one-way ANOVA and post-hoc Dunnett t-test for multiple comparisons. Tissue microarray data were analyzed with the Pearson's Chi-square (chi(2)) test. RESULTS: Co-expression of uPAR and FPR1 by SKOV-3 and primary EOC cells confers a marked adhesion to vitronectin. The extent of cell adhesion decreases to basal level by pre-exposure to anti-uPAR84-95 Abs, or to the RI-3 peptide, blocking the uPAR84-95/FPR1 interaction. Furthermore, EOC cells exposed to RI-3 or desensitized with an excess of SRSRY, fail to adhere also to mesothelial cell monolayers, losing the ability to cross them. Finally, primary and metastatic EOC tissues express a high level of FPR1. CONCLUSIONS: Our findings identify for the first time FPR1 as a potential biomarker of aggressive EOC and suggests that inhibitors of the uPAR84-95/FPR1 crosstalk may be useful for the treatment of metastatic EOC.
|Journal||Journal of experimental & clinical cancer research : CR|
|Publication status||Published - 2019|