c-Met is a receptor tyrosine kinase whose activation by hepatocyte growth factor (HGF) can lead to transformation and tumorigenicity in a variety of tumors. We investigated the effects of suppressing c-Met protein expression in human non-small cell lung tumors. Expression plasmids containing either sense or antisense sequences of the human c-met gene were constructed under control of the U6 snRNA promoter. A U6 control plasmid was also constructed that did not contain any c-met sequence. These constructs have been examined both in vitro and in an in vivo tumor xenograft model. The c-Met protein was downregulated by 50-60% in two lung cancer cell lines that were transiently transfected with the c-Met antisense versus U6 control. Tumor cells treated with the c-Met antisense construct also show decreased phosphorylation of c-Met and MAP kinase when exposed to exogenous HGF. Lung cancer cells were grown as xenografts in mice and treated by intratumoral liposome-mediated transfer of the c-Met sense, antisense or U6 control plasmids. The treatment of lung tumors with c-Met antisense versus U6 control plasmid resulted in the downregulation of the c-Met protein expression, a 50% decrease in tumor growth over a 5-week treatment period and an increased rate of apoptosis. These results suggest that targeting the HGF/c-Met pathway may be an effective novel strategy to treat lung cancer patients.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
We gratefully acknowledge the technical assistance of John Dileo in the Huang laboratory for supplying the DC-Chol and UPMC Developmental Pathology Lab for their technical assistance with the ApopTags assay. This work was supported by Grant CA 79882 awarded to JMS and by CA74918 to LH from the National Cancer Institute. LPS was supported by a fellowship from the American Lung Association.
- Growth factors
- Lung cancer