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Nerve growth factor (NGF)-TrkA axis in head and neck squamous cell carcinoma triggers EMT and confers resistance to the EGFR inhibitor erlotinib.

Authors
  • Lin, Chengzhong1
  • Ren, Zhenhu2
  • Yang, Xi2
  • Yang, Rong2
  • Chen, Yiming2
  • Liu, Zheqi2
  • Dai, Zhenlin2
  • Zhang, Yu2
  • He, Youya2
  • Zhang, Chunye3
  • Wang, Xu4
  • Cao, Wei5
  • Ji, Tong6
  • 1 The 2nd Dental Center, Ninth People's Hospital, Shanghai Jiao Tong University School of Medicine, Shanghai, 200011, China; National Clinical Research Center for Oral Disease, Shanghai, 200011, China; Shanghai Key Laboratory of Stomatology & Shanghai Research Institute of Stomatology, Shanghai, 200011, China. , (China)
  • 2 National Clinical Research Center for Oral Disease, Shanghai, 200011, China; Shanghai Key Laboratory of Stomatology & Shanghai Research Institute of Stomatology, Shanghai, 200011, China; Department of Oral and Maxillofacial-Head and Neck Oncology, Ninth People's Hospital, Shanghai Jiao Tong University, School of Medicine, Shanghai, 200011, China. , (China)
  • 3 National Clinical Research Center for Oral Disease, Shanghai, 200011, China; Shanghai Key Laboratory of Stomatology & Shanghai Research Institute of Stomatology, Shanghai, 200011, China; Department of Oral Pathology, Ninth People's Hospital, Shanghai Jiao Tong University School of Medicine, Shanghai, 200011, China. , (China)
  • 4 National Clinical Research Center for Oral Disease, Shanghai, 200011, China; Shanghai Key Laboratory of Stomatology & Shanghai Research Institute of Stomatology, Shanghai, 200011, China; Department of Oral and Maxillofacial-Head and Neck Oncology, Ninth People's Hospital, Shanghai Jiao Tong University, School of Medicine, Shanghai, 200011, China. Electronic address: [email protected] , (China)
  • 5 National Clinical Research Center for Oral Disease, Shanghai, 200011, China; Shanghai Key Laboratory of Stomatology & Shanghai Research Institute of Stomatology, Shanghai, 200011, China; Department of Oral and Maxillofacial-Head and Neck Oncology, Ninth People's Hospital, Shanghai Jiao Tong University, School of Medicine, Shanghai, 200011, China. Electronic address: [email protected] , (China)
  • 6 National Clinical Research Center for Oral Disease, Shanghai, 200011, China; Shanghai Key Laboratory of Stomatology & Shanghai Research Institute of Stomatology, Shanghai, 200011, China; Department of Oral and Maxillofacial-Head and Neck Oncology, Ninth People's Hospital, Shanghai Jiao Tong University, School of Medicine, Shanghai, 200011, China. Electronic address: [email protected] , (China)
Type
Published Article
Journal
Cancer letters
Publication Date
Mar 01, 2020
Volume
472
Pages
81–96
Identifiers
DOI: 10.1016/j.canlet.2019.12.015
PMID: 31838083
Source
Medline
Keywords
Language
English
License
Unknown

Abstract

Understanding the molecular mechanisms regulating tumor dissemination and therapeutic resistance is of central importance for effective cancer therapies. Here, we report that nerve growth factor (NGF) and its receptor TrkA facilitate epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT) and EGFR inhibitor resistance via STAT3 activation in head and neck squamous cell carcinoma (HNSCC). Both NGF and TrkA expression were elevated in HNSCC, indicating poor clinical outcomes. NGF was highly expressed in cancer cells and nerves in perineural niche, whereas TrkA expression was higher in cancer cells with perineural invasion. The NGF/TrkA axis could promote HNSCC cell dissemination and trigger EMT via STAT3 activation. Moreover, we discovered that the NGF/TrkA axis conferred resistance to the EGFR inhibitor erlotinib via EMT processes in HNSCC cells. Blocking TrkA signaling markedly reversed EMT and sensitized HNSCC cells to erlotinib in both in vitro and in vivo models. Overall, our results demonstrate novel evidence that the paracrine NGF/TrkA axis favors EMT and confers EGFR-targeted therapeutic resistance in HNSCC. Copyright © 2019 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

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