Invasion of uterine cervical squamous cell carcinoma cells is facilitated by locoregional interaction with cancer-associated fibroblasts via activating transforming growth factor-beta.
OBJECTIVE: Local invasion is a common pattern of spread in uterine cervical squamous cell carcinoma (CSCC). Although transforming growth factor-beta (TGF-β) facilitates invasion of various types of cancer cells, the role of the TGF-β pathway in CSCC is unclear. In this study, we analyzed the role of TGF-β signaling in the progression of CSCC. METHODS: Immunohistochemistry was used to examine the expression of TGF-β pathway molecules in 67 CSCC samples with clinicopathological data. Activation of the TGF-β pathway was investigated following co-culture of CSCC cells and cervical cancer-associated fibroblasts (CCAFs). RESULTS: Clinicopathological analysis of CSCC samples revealed that prominent expression of TGF-β receptor-2 was more frequent in CSCC with lymphovascular space invasion (LVSI) than without LVSI (p < 0.01). Lymph node metastasis was more frequent in cases in which phosphorylated SMAD3 (pSMAD3) was localized exclusively at the boundary of tumor clusters (n = 9, p < 0.05). Recombinant TGF-β1 increased pSMAD3 expression and enhanced cellular invasion (p < 0.005) in CSCC cells, which was attenuated by an inhibitor of the TGF-β receptor (p < 0.005). Enhanced pSMAD3 expression and invasion was also observed when conditioned media from CSCC cells co-cultured with CCAFs were administered. Luciferase assays showed that this medium contained a large amount of active TGF-β. Along with TGF-β activation, thrombospondin-1 was upregulated in both CSCC cells and CCAFs, while thrombospondin-1 silencing in either CSCC cells or CCAFs repressed the activity of TGF-β. Thrombospondin-1 was prominently expressed in cases with pSMAD3 boundary staining (p < 0.05). CONCLUSIONS: These results suggest that interaction between CSCC cells and surrounding CCAFs activates TGF-β via thrombospondin-1 secretion to facilitate CSCC invasion.
Nagura, M; Matsumura, N; Baba, T; Murakami, R; Kharma, B; Hamanishi, J; Yamaguchi, K; Abiko, K; Koshiyama, M; Mandai, M; Murata, T; Murphy, SK; Konishi, I
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