To investigate if loss of extracellular matrix metalloprotease inducer (EMMPRIN) will inhibit the growth of head and neck squamous cell carcinoma (HNSCC) tumor cell lines in vivo. Tumor cell–derived EMMPRIN is highly overexpressed in HNSCC and is thought to be induced by surrounding fibroblasts to stimulate matrix metalloproteases, which modulate tumor cell invasion, growth, and angiogenesis.
In vivo study using FaDu tumor xenografts.
Academic research facility.
Severe combined immunodeficiency (SCID) mice.
The HNSCC cell line FaDu was transfected with EMMPRIN (FaDu/E), control vector (FaDu), or plasmid-expressing small-interfering RNA against EMMPRIN (FaDu/siE). Tumor cells combined with fibroblast cells were xenografted onto the flank of SCID mice. Tumors were measured biweekly over 4 weeks, at which time the mice were killed, and tumor samples were analyzed for proliferation (Ki-67 immunohistochemical analysis), vascularization (factor VIII staining), and apoptosis (TUNEL [terminal deoxynucleotidyl transferase–mediated deoxyuridine triphosphate–biotin nick end labeling] assay).
Main Outcome Measure
Growth of head and neck cancer cell lines genetically engineered to express variable levels of EMMPRIN.
Tumor growth positively correlated and animal survival negatively correlated with increasing EMMPRIN expression. FaDu/E tumor growth was significantly larger at 4 weeks compared with FaDu tumors (P = .006). Similarly, the control vector–transfected FaDu tumors were significantly larger than FaDu/siE (P < .001). Immunohistochemical analysis demonstrated increased Ki-67 in EMMPRIN-transfected cells, without a significant change in the rate of apoptosis between groups. Vascular density and tumor formation rate also increased significantly with EMMPRIN expression.
This study suggests that anti-EMMPRIN–targeted therapy may prove to be a novel treatment option in HNSCC.