Oncology reports

Chemokine receptor 7 promotes tumor migration and invasiveness via the RhoA/ROCK pathway in metastatic squamous cell carcinoma of the head and neck.

PMID 25434638


Metastatic squamous cell carcinoma of the head and neck (SCCHN) has been shown to express chemokine receptor 7 (CCR7), which can activate signaling pathways to promote invasion and survival of SCCHN cells. We hypothesized that the RhoA/Rho-associated kinase (ROCK) pathway is involved in the CCR7-induced invasion and migration of metastatic SCCHN cells. Thus, using migration, matrigel invasion and scrape wound-healing assays, we elucidated the role of RhoA in mediating CCR7-associated cellular mobility. Pull-down assays and western blotting were used to measure RhoA and its downstream expression. Immunohistochemical staining and analysis were useful in identifying the correlation between CCR7 and RhoA expression and clinicopathological factors. The results showed that inhibition of RhoA/ROCK reduced the tumor cell migration and invasiveness induced by CCL19. Activated RhoA, proline-rich tyrosine kinase-2 (Pyk2) and cofilin induced by CCL19 were elevated, and increased RhoA, Pyk2 and cofilin activity was eliminated by CCR7mAb, RhoA/ROCK and Pyk2 inhibitors, indicating involvement of the RhoA/ROCK-Pyk2-cofilin cascade. In summary, CCR7 via RhoA/ROCK-Pyk2 cofilin pathway promotes invasion and migration of metastatic SCCHN cells.