Epidermal growth factor-induced ANGPTL4 enhances anoikis resistance and tumour metastasis in head and neck squamous cell carcinoma

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Abstract

Epidermal growth factor (EGF) is important for cancer cell proliferation, angiogenesis and metastasis in many types of cancer. However, the mechanisms involved in EGF-induced head and neck squamous cell carcinoma (HNSCC) metastasis remain largely unknown. In this study, we reveal that angiopoietin-like 4 (ANGPTL4) plays an important role in the regulation of EGF-induced cancer metastasis. We showed that EGF-induced ANGPTL4 expression promoted anoikis resistance and cancer cell migration and invasion in HNSCC. In addition, depletion of ANGPTL4 inhibited EGF-induced cancer cell invasion. Autocrine production of EGF-induced ANGPTL4 regulated the expression of matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs). The induction of MMP-1 gene expression by ANGPTL4-activated integrin β1 signalling occurred through the AP-1 binding site in the MMP-1 gene promoter. Furthermore, down-regulation of MMP-1 impeded EGF- and recombinant ANGPTL4-enhanced HNSCC cell migration and invasion. Depletion of ANGPTL4 significantly blocked EGF-primed extravasation and metastatic seeding of tumour cells and MMP-1 expression in lungs. However, no effect of ANGPTL4 on tumour growth was observed. These results suggest that EGF-induced expression and autocrine production of ANGPTL4 enhances HNSCC metastasis via the up-regulation of MMP-1 expression. Inhibition of ANGPTL4 expression may be a potential strategy for the treatment of EGFR-mediated HNSCC metastasis.

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