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PloS one

Inhibition of tumor vasculogenic mimicry and prolongation of host survival in highly aggressive gallbladder cancers by norcantharidin via blocking the ephrin type a receptor 2/focal adhesion kinase/paxillin signaling pathway.


PMID 24811250

Abstract

Vasculogenic mimicry (VM) is a newly-defined tumor microcirculation pattern in highly aggressive malignant tumors. We recently reported tumor growth and VM formation of gallbladder cancers through the contribution of the ephrin type a receptor 2 (EphA2)/focal adhesion kinase (FAK)/Paxillin signaling pathways. In this study, we further investigated the anti-VM activity of norcantharidin (NCTD) as a VM inhibitor for gallbladder cancers and the underlying mechanisms. In vivo and in vitro experiments to determine the effects of NCTD on tumor growth, host survival, VM formation of GBC-SD nude mouse xenografts, and vasculogenic-like networks, malignant phenotypes i.e., proliferation, apoptosis, invasion and migration of GBC-SD cells. Expression of VM signaling-related markers EphA2, FAK and Paxillin in vivo and in vitro were examined by immunofluorescence, western blotting and real-time polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR), respectively. The results showed that after treatment with NCTD, GBC-SD cells were unable to form VM structures when injecting into nude mouse, growth of the xenograft was inhibited and these observations were confirmed by facts that VM formation by three-dimensional (3-D) matrix, proliferation, apoptosis, invasion, migration of GBC-SD cells were affected; and survival time of the xenograft mice was prolonged. Furthermore, expression of EphA2, FAK and Paxillin proteins/mRNAs of the xenografts was downregulated. Thus, we concluded that NCTD has potential anti-VM activity against human gallbladder cancers; one of the underlying mechanisms may be via blocking the EphA2/FAK/Paxillin signaling pathway.