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Open Access Highly Accessed Research article

Constitutively active c-Met kinase in PC-3 cells is autocrine-independent and can be blocked by the Met kinase inhibitor BMS-777607

Yao Dai* and Dietmar W Siemann

Author Affiliations

Department of Radiation Oncology, University of Florida, 2033 Mowry Road, Cancer Genetic Research Complex, Room 485E, Gainesville, FL, 32610, USA

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BMC Cancer 2012, 12:198  doi:10.1186/1471-2407-12-198

Published: 28 May 2012

Abstract

Background

The c-Met receptor tyrosine kinase is aberrantly activated in many solid tumors. In a prior study we showed that prostate cancer PC-3 cells exhibit constitutively activated c-Met without exogenous hepatocyte growth factor (HGF); however whether this characteristic is due to an endogenous HGF/c-Met autocrine loop remains controversial. In the current study we examined the response of PC-3 cells to an anti-HGF neutralizing antibody or a small molecule Met kinase inhibitor (BMS-777607).

Methods

Cell scattering was tested by monitoring cell morphology after HGF stimulation. Cell migration was examined by both “wound-healing” and transwell assasy and invasion was detected by Matrigel-coated transwell assay. Proliferation, survival and anoikis were determined by MTT, colony formation and trypan blue exclusion assay, respectively. Gene and protein expression were assessed by real-time PCR and Western blot, respectively.

Results

Although HGF mRNA could be detected in PC-3 cells, the molecular weight of secreted “HGF” protein was inconsistent with the functional recombinant HGF. Furthermore, conditioned medium from PC-3 cell cultures was ineffective at triggering either motogenic behavior or c-Met signaling in DU145, another prostate cancer cell line expressing c-Met but lacking basal c-Met activation. PC-3 cells also were not responsive to the anti-HGF neutralizing antibody in experiments assessing proliferation, migration, or c-Met signaling. BMS-777607 treatment with micromolar doses nonetheless led to significant inhibition of multiple PC-3 cell functions including proliferation, clonogenicity, migration and invasion. At the molecular level, BMS-777607 suppressed autophosphorylated c-Met and downstream c-Src and Akt pathways.

Conclusions

These results suggest that the constitutive c-Met activation in PC-3 is independent of autocrine stimulation. Because PC-3 cells were responsive to BMS-777607 but not the anti-HGF antibody, the findings also indicate that under circumstances where c-Met is constitutively hyperactive in the absence of functional HGF, targeting the c-Met receptor remains a viable therapeutic option to impede cancer progression.

Keywords:
BMS-777607; c-Met; HGF; Neutralizing antibody; Prostate cancer