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Oncotarget

Critical role of STAT3 in melanoma metastasis through anoikis resistance.


PMID 25216522

Abstract

Anoikis is an anchorage-independent cell death. Resistance to anoikis is one of the key features of metastatic cells. Here, we analyzed the role of STAT3 in anoikis resistance in melanoma cells leading to metastasis. When grown under anchorage-independent conditions, significant proportion of cells resisted anoikis and these resistant cells had higher rate of migration and invasion as compared to the cells grown under anchorage-dependent conditions. The anoikis resistant cells also had significantly higher expression and phosphorylation of STAT3 at Y705 than the cells that were attached to the basement membrane. STAT3 inhibitors, AG 490 and piplartine (PL) induced anoikis in a concentration-dependent manner in anoikis resistant cells. Over-expression of STAT3 or treatment with IL-6 not only increased anoikis resistance, but also protected the cancer cells from PL-induced anoikis. On the other hand, silencing STAT3 decreased the potential of cancer cells to resist anoikis and to migrate. STAT3 knock-down cells and PL treated cells did not form tumors as well as failed to metastasize in SCID-NSG mice as compared to untreated anchorage-independent cells, which formed big tumors and extensively metastasized. In summary, our results for the first time establish STAT3 as a critical player that renders anoikis resistance to melanoma cells and enhance their metastatic potential.