[Show abstract][Hide abstract]ABSTRACT: NK4 or adenovirus vector expressing NK4 (Ad-NK4) can act bifunctionally as a hepatocyte growth factor antagonist and angiogenesis inhibitor and has potential value in cancer therapy. The aim of this study was to evaluate the therapeutic efficacy of Ad-NK4 in combination with gemcitabine (GEM) against pancreatic cancer. In vitro study showed a strong antiproliferative effect of GEM and a potent anti-invasive effect of Ad-NK4 against pancreatic cancer cells. In in vivo experiments, SUIT-2 human pancreatic cancer cells were implanted into the pancreas of nude mice. Mice were treated with Ad-NK4 by injection into the peritumoral region of the pancreas on day 5 after implantation followed by weekly i.p. injections of GEM. On day 28 after implantation, pancreatic tumor volume was significantly smaller than that in mice treated with Ad-LacZ, Ad-NK4 alone, or GEM alone. Furthermore, combination therapy completely suppressed peritoneal dissemination and liver metastases, leading to significantly increased survival. Histologic and immunohistochemical assays of primary tumors indicated that combination therapy prohibited both cell proliferation and angiogenesis, resulting in high levels of apoptosis. These results suggest that peritumoral injection of Ad-NK4 plus GEM is a potent combination therapy for pancreatic cancer.
Full-text available · Article · Jun 2006 · Cancer Gene Therapy
[Show abstract][Hide abstract]ABSTRACT: NK4, a 4-kringle fragment of hepatocyte growth factor (HGF), is an HGF antagonist that also acts as an angiogenesis inhibitor. NK4 strongly inhibits the infiltration, metastasis, and tumor growth of pancreatic cancer. The aim of our study was to evaluate the antitumor effect of adenovirus-mediated NK4 gene transfer to the liver on hepatic metastasis of pancreatic cancer in vivo. We constructed recombinant adenoviral NK4 (Ad-NK4), which encodes a secreted form of human NK4. Intrasplenic injection of Ad-NK4 induced high and relatively maintained expression of NK4 protein in the liver and suppressed the number and growth of metastatic foci in the liver in a nude mouse model. Microscopically, central necrosis was found even in small metastatic foci in Ad-NK4 treated mice. Immunohistochemical analysis of metastatic tumors showed a remarkable decrease in microvessel density and an increase in the number of apoptotic tumor cells after treatment with Ad-NK4. These results indicate that intraportal injection of Ad-NK4 may be a useful therapeutic modality for the clinical control of hepatic metastasis in pancreatic cancer.
Full-text available · Article · Oct 2005 · International Journal of Cancer
[Show abstract][Hide abstract]ABSTRACT: Hepatocyte growth factor (HGF) is a stromal-derived cytokine that plays a crucial role in invasion and metastasis of tumor cells through the interaction with HGF receptor, c-Met, which is frequently overexpressed in pancreatic cancer. The present study was designed to investigate the change in HGF receptor and HGF-mediated signaling after irradiation in pancreatic cancer cells. Six cell lines from human pancreatic cancer were included in the study. Gamma-radiation was used for irradiation treatment. The changes in expression levels of c-Met were evaluated by immunoblot and confirmed morphologically by indirect immunofluorescence staining. Whether the resultant alteration in c-Met would cascade as biologically usable signals upon HGF ligation was traced by receptor tyrosine phosphorylation analysis and mitogen activated protein kinase (MAP kinase or MAPK) activity assay. The various biological responses to HGF (including cell proliferation, cell scattering, migration and invasion) were evaluated as well. We also used a 4-kringle antagonist of HGF, NK4, to block the HGF/c-Met signaling pathway. Both immunoblot and immunofluorescent analysis showed moderate increased expression of c-Met in 3 of 6 pancreatic cancer cell lines after irradiation. The actions seemed to be dose-responsible, which began at 3 hr and reached its peak value at 24 hr following irradiation. The radiation-increased expression of c-Met could transform into magnifying receptor tyrosine phosphorylation reaction and MAP kinase activity once the ligand was added, fairly corresponding with alteration in the receptor. Sequentially, the cellular responses to HGF, including scattering and invasion but not proliferation, were enhanced. Also, in the presence of HGF, the elevated receptor could help to recover the radiation-compromised cell migration. A recombinant HGF antagonist, NK4 could effectively block these aberrant effects activated by irradiation both in molecular and cellular levels, thus suggesting the deep involvement of the c-Met/HGF pathway in the enhanced malignant potential after irradiation. These results suggest that radiation may promote HGF-induced malignant biological behaviors of certain pancreatic cancer cells through the up-regulated HGF/c-Met signal pathway. Selectively targeted blockade of the HGF/c-Met pathway could help to abolish the enforced malignant behavior of tumor cells by irradiation and therefore may improve the efficacy of radiotherapy for pancreatic cancer.
Full-text available · Article · May 2003 · International Journal of Cancer
[Show abstract][Hide abstract]ABSTRACT: The intensive stromal reaction is one of characteristics of pancreatic exocrine carcinoma. The mutual interaction between pancreatic cancer cells and orthotopic tumor-derived fibroblasts have not been clarified yet. In this study, we sought to elucidate the mechanism underlying the tumor-stromal interaction with an in vitro coculture experimental system. Considerable strong c-Met expression was detected in seven out ten lines of human pancreatic carcinoma cells, as determined by Western blotting. For hepatocyte growth factor (HGF)-production, however, none or only trace amounts of HGF could be detected in those ten cell lines. Of the two lots of tumor-derived fibroblasts obtained from two pancreatic cancer patients, the fibroblasts capable to produce HGF could initiate an apparent invasion-stimulating response in strong c-Met-expressed Suit-2 and Panc-1 cells but not in faint expressed Mia PaCa-2 and BxPC-3 cells. A specialized HGF antagonist, NK4 would effectively inhibit the fibroblast-mediated invasive growth, thus proving the key role of the paracrine-fashioned HGF/c-Met pathway in the tumor-stromal interaction. On the other hand, the regulative action of cancer cells on HGF expression of fibroblasts was also investigated using direct or indirect coculture systems. For the fibroblasts that originally did not produce HGF, cancer cells failed to show any HGF-inductive effect. For the HGF-producing fibroblasts, despite of somewhat upregulation or downregulation in fibroblast HGF expression, the feedback regulation by studied pancreatic cancer cells in both coculture modes were relatively limited. This in vitro study sketched out the interaction between cancerous and stromal compartments with an emphasis on HGF/c-Met signal pathway, thus possibly helping to unveil the more complicated mutual modulation in vivo between pancreatic cancer and host mesenchymal tissues.