EGFR-mediated apoptosis via STAT3

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The Epidermal Growth Factor Receptor (EGFR) is a cell surface receptor with primary implications in cell growth in both normal and malignant tissue. Paradoxically, cell lines that hyperexpress the EGFR have been documented to undergo receptor-mediated apoptosis. The underlying mechanism by which EGF-induced apoptosis occurs however remains inexplicit. In an attempt to identify this mechanism, we assessed downstream effectors of EGFR in MDA-MB-468 cells during conditions of EGF-induced apoptosis. The effector assessment revealed STAT3 as a potential mediator of EGF-induced apoptosis. Alternative strategies for activating STAT3, independent of EGFR stimulation, resulted in the induction of the apoptotic pathways. A reduction in STAT3 expression via RNAi resulted in a significant attenuation of EGF-induced PARP cleavage. Our findings support STAT3 as a positive mediator of EGF-induced apoptosis in MDA-MB-468 cells.HighlightsIn MDA-MB-468 cells, STAT3 phosphorylation associates with apoptotic activity.STAT3 knockdown significantly attenuates EGFR-mediated apoptosis.STAT3 antagonists, Stattic and S3I-201, exhibit off-target cytotoxicity, in vitro.

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