Pancreatic carcinomas express high levels of urokinase-type plasminogen activator (uPA) and its receptor (uPAR), both of which mediate cell migration and invasion. We investigated the hypotheses that (a) insulin-like growth factor-I (IGF-I)-and hepatocyte growth factor (HGF)-mediated migration and invasion of human pancreatic carcinoma cells require uPA and uPAR function and (b) inhibition of uPAR inhibits tumor growth, retroperitoneal invasion, and hepatic metastasis of human pancreatic carcinomas in mice. Using transwell assays, we investigated the effect of IGF-I and HGF on L3.6pl migration and invasion. We measured the induction of uPA and uPAR following treatment of cells with IGF-I and HGF using immunoprecipitation and Western blot analysis. The importance of uPA and uPAR on L3.6pl cell migration and invasion was studied by inhibiting their activities with amiloride and antibodies before cytokine treatment. In an orthotopic mouse model of human pancreatic carcinoma, we evaluated the effect of anti-uPAR monoclonal antibodies with and without gemcitabine on primary tumor growth, retroperitoneal invasion, and hepatic metastasis. IGF-I and HGF mediated cell migration and invasion in L3.6pl cells. In addition, IGF-I and HGF induced uPA and uPAR expression in L3.6pl cells. In vitro, blockade of uPA and uPAR activity inhibited IGF-I- and HGF-mediated cell migration and invasion. Treatment of mice with anti-uPAR monoclonal antibody significantly decreased pancreatic tumor growth and hepatic metastasis and completely inhibited retroperitoneal invasion. Our study shows the importance of the uPA/uPAR system in pancreatic carcinoma cell migration and invasion. These findings suggest that uPAR is a potential target for therapy in patients with pancreatic cancer.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cancer Research