Met receptor signalling in esophageal adenocarcinoma: evidence for effects on cell biology and patient survival

Mark Anderson, R Harrison, P Atherfold, Moray Campbell, SJ Darnton, J Obszynska, JAZ Janowski

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

34 Citations (Scopus)


Purpose: The incidence of esophageal adenocarcinoma is rising, and survival rates remain poor. The hepatocyte growth factor (HGF) receptor Met has been detected in esophageal cancer. The perturbation of cadherin/catenin complexes has also been shown. We sought to investigate a link among Met expression, cadherin/catenin biology, and cell growth. We assessed the prognostic significance of Met expression in esophageal adenocarcinoma. Experimental Design: Met and HGF expression in esophageal tissues were assessed using immunohistochemistry and ELISA. Met-positive cell lines (OE33 and SEG1) and a Met-negative cell line (TE7) were incubated with HGF. Real-time reverse transcription-PCR and Western blotting were used to assess levels of E-cadherin expression. Nuclear TCF/beta-catenin signaling was assessed following reporter construct transfection. Agar colony formation was used to assess anchorage-independent growth. A panel of 72 resected esophageal adenocarcinomas were assessed for Met expression by immunohistochemistry and correlated to survival data. Results: An increased expression of Met was seen along the metaplasia-adenocarcinoma sequence. Met-positive cells showed reductions in E-cadherin mRNA (37% and 69%) and protein expression following stimulation with HGF (P <0.01). OE33 and SEG-1 showed up to a 2-fold increase in the levels of beta-catenin nuclear signaling (P <0.01). TE7 only responded when transfected to express Met; E-cadherin expression decreased by 64% (P <0.01). HGF stimulation led to increased agar colony formation (P <0.01). Patients with Met-positive tumors showed lower 6-month survival rates after surgical resection than those with Met-negative tumors (P <0.05). Conclusions: Met activation induces changes consistent with early invasion, such as down-regulation of E-cadherin, increased nuclear TCF/beta-catenin signaling, and anchorage-independent growth. This is supported by ex vivo data associating Met with reduced short-term survival. Inhibitors of Met may be effective treatment for esophageal adenocarcinoma.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)5936-5943
Number of pages8
JournalClinical Cancer Research
Issue number20
Publication statusPublished - 15 Oct 2006


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