Objectives: The overall goal of this study was to investigate the role of the hepatocyte growth factor (HGF)/Met pathway in the pathophysiology of invasive endometrial carcinoma. Our objectives were (1) to examine expression of HGF and Met in surgical endometrial carcinoma specimens and endometrial carcinoma cell lines, and (2) to determine if HGF would stimulate invasion of endometrial carcinoma cell lines in vitro.
Methods: Using RT-PCR and Western immunoblotting, endometrial carcinoma specimens and the endometrial carcinoma cell lines KLE, HEC-1A, HEC-1B, and RL-95 were examined for expression of HGF and Met. A Boyden chamber invasion assay using collagen type I coated 8-microm porous membranes was then used to determine if HGF would stimulate cell invasion. Last, we assessed the capacity of endometrial stromal cells, isolated from normal human endometrium, to produce HGF as determined by an enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay and to stimulate invasion of the KLE cell line.
Results: All of the endometrial carcinoma tissue samples were found to express Met mRNA, and two of four samples expressed HGF mRNA. However, the endometrial carcinoma cell lines expressed only Met and not HGF mRNA. Both the endometrial carcinoma tissue specimens and the endometrial carcinoma cell lines expressed the 140-kDa Met protein. HGF induced the invasion of the KLE and HEC-1A cells through the collagen-coated membranes in a dose-dependent fashion. The optimal concentration of HGF was between 10 and 100 ng/ml. HGF (10 ng/ml) stimulated KLE invasion 1.8-fold (P < 0.05) and HEC-1A invasion 6.5-fold (P < 0.05). During exposure to endometrial stromal cell conditioned medium containing HGF as determined by ELISA, invasion of the KLE cell line was stimulated 2.5-fold (P < 0.05).
Conclusion: These results demonstrate that HGF stimulates the invasion of endometrial carcinoma cells in vitro. Since endometrial adenocarcinoma specimens express Met, these findings suggest that the HGF/Met pathway may play a role in the invasive progression of endometrial carcinoma.
Copyright 1999 Academic Press.