Objective: To relate the invasive properties of different squamous cell cancer cell lines to the function and expression of the integrins. Study Design: A series of in vitro and in vivo experiments were designed to assess and compare integrin expression and function in two different head and neck squamous cell carcinoma cell lines. Methods: Invasive properties of two squamous cell carcinoma cell lines (UM-SCC-1 and JHU-022-SCC) were assessed using an in vitro artificial matrix assay as well as an in vivo system with orthotopically implanted tumor cells in mice. Whole cell and surface expression levels of integrin subunits (alpha2, alpha3, alpha5, alpha6, beta1, and beta4) were determined for each cell line using Western blot analysis and flow cytometry. We compared the ability of JHU-022-SCC and UM-SCC-1 cells to bind the extra-cellular matrix elements collagen IV, fibronectin, laminin 5, and laminin10 using an in vitro adhesion assay. Contributions of the different integrins to the adhesive properties were determined by selective antibody blocking of different subunits. Results: The UM-SCC-1 cell line is 50% more invasive in vitro and displays a greater propensity for perineural and lymphatic invasion in vivo. The UM-SCC-1 cells exhibited greater adherence to fibronectin than JHU-022-SCC cells. Alpha6 and beta4 expression is approximately twofold greater in the JHU-022-SCC cells. Alpha2, alpha3, and beta1 expression appears to be upregulated in UM-SCC-1 cells. Conclusion: The UM-SCC-1 carcinoma cells are more invasive than JHU-022-SCC cells and may be related to differential expression of the integrins alpha6beta4, alpha3beta1, and alpha2beta1.
- Collagen IV
- Head and neck cancer