The hepatocyte growth factor receptor (c-Met) and a constitutively active mutant of the epidermal growth factor receptor (δEGFR/EGFRvIII) are frequently overexpressed in glioblastoma (GBM) and promote tumorigenesis. The mechanisms underlying elevated hepatocyte growth factor (HGF) production in GBM are not understood. We found higher, coordinated mRNA expression levels of HGF and c-Met in mesenchymal (Mes) GBMs, a subtype associated with poor treatment response and shorter overall survival. In an HGF/c-Met-dependent GBM cell line, HGF expression declined upon silencing of c-Met using RNAi or by inhibiting its activity with SU11274. Silencing c-Met decreased anchorage-independent colony formation and increased the survival of mice bearing intracranial GBM xenografts. Consistent with these findings, c-Met activation by ΔEGFR also elevated HGF expression, and the inhibition of ΔEGFR with AG1478 reduced HGF levels. Interestingly, c-Met expression was required for ΔEGFR-mediated HGF production, anchorage-independent growth, and in vivo tumorigenicity, suggesting that these pathways are coupled. Using an unbiased mass spectrometry-based screen, we show that signal transducer and activator of transcription 3 (STAT3) Y705 is a downstream target of c-Met signaling. Suppression of STAT3 phosphorylation with WP1193 reduced HGF expression in ΔEGFR-expressing GBM cells, whereas constitutively active STAT3 partially rescued HGF expression and colony formation in c-Met knockdown cells expressing ΔEGFR. These results suggest that the c-Met/HGF signaling axis is enhanced by ΔEGFR through increased STAT3-dependent HGF expression and that targeting c-Met in Mes GBMs may be an important strategy for therapy.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cancer Research