The scatter factor/hepatocyte growth factor: c-Met pathway in human embryonal central nervous system tumor malignancy

Yunqing Li, Bachchu Lal, Sherwin Kwon, Xing Fan, Usha Saldanha, Thomas E. Reznik, Eric B. Kuchner, Charles Eberhart, John Laterra, Roger Abounader

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

81 Scopus citations


Embryonal central nervous system (CNS) tumors, which comprise medulloblastoma, are the most common malignant brain tumors in children. The role of the growth factor scatter factor/hepatocyte growth factor (SF/HGF) and its tyrosine kinase receptor c-Met in these tumors has been until now completely unknown. In the present study, we show that human embryonal CNS tumor cell lines and surgical tumor specimens express SF/HGF and c-Met. Furthermore, c-Met mRNA expression levels statistically significantly correlate with poor clinical outcome. Treatment of medulloblastoma cells with SF/HGF activates c-Met and downstream signal transduction as evidenced by c-Met, mitogen-activated protein kinase, and Akt phosphorylation. SF/HGF induces tumor cell proliferation, anchorage-independent growth, and cell cycle progression beyond the G 1-S checkpoint. Using dominant-negative Cdk2 and a degradation stable p27 mutant, we show that cell cycle progression induced by SF/HGF requires Cdk2 function and p27 inhibition. SF/HGF also protects medulloblastoma cells against apoptosis induced by chemotherapy. This cytoprotective effect is associated with reduction of proapoptotic cleaved poly(ADP-ribose) polymerase and cleaved caspase-3 proteins and requires phosphoinositide 3-kinase activity. SF/HGF gene transfer to medulloblastoma cells strongly enhances the in vivo growth of s.c. and intracranial tumor xenografts. SF/HGF-overexpressing medulloblastoma xenografts exhibit increased invasion and morphologic changes that resemble human large cell anaplastic medulloblastoma. This first characterization establishes SF/HGF:c-Met as a new pathway of malignancy with multifunctional effects in human embryonal CNS tumors.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)9355-9362
Number of pages8
JournalCancer Research
Issue number20
StatePublished - Oct 15 2005

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


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