STAT3 activation abrogates growth factor dependence and contributes to head and neck squamous cell carcinoma tumor growth in vivo

Cell Growth Differ. 2002 Aug;13(8):355-62.


Epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) is up-regulated and contributes to the loss of growth control in squamous cell carcinoma of the head and neck (SCCHN). Previously, we reported an association between autocrine stimulation of EGFR and constitutive signal transducers and activators of transcription (STAT) 3 activation in SCCHN cells in vitro and in vivo. Here, we evaluated the role of activated STAT3 in tumor progression and EGFR-independent mitogenic signaling. We found that SCCHN cells stably transfected with a dominant active STAT3 construct expressed elevated levels of STAT3 target genes, including Bcl-X(L) and cyclin D1, and demonstrated increased proliferation in vitro and more rapid tumor growth rates in vivo. Cell cycle analysis demonstrated an increased proportion of STAT3 construct transfectants in G(2)-M. These findings provide evidence that constitutive STAT3 activation contributes to tumor growth in SCCHN, independent of the EGFR autocrine axis.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Autocrine Communication / genetics
  • Carcinoma, Squamous Cell / metabolism*
  • Carcinoma, Squamous Cell / physiopathology
  • Cell Cycle / genetics
  • Cell Division / genetics
  • Cyclin D1 / genetics
  • Cyclin D1 / metabolism
  • DNA-Binding Proteins / genetics
  • DNA-Binding Proteins / metabolism*
  • Epidermal Growth Factor / metabolism*
  • ErbB Receptors / genetics*
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Neoplastic / genetics*
  • Head and Neck Neoplasms / metabolism*
  • Head and Neck Neoplasms / physiopathology
  • Humans
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-bcl-2 / genetics
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-bcl-2 / metabolism
  • STAT3 Transcription Factor
  • Trans-Activators / genetics
  • Trans-Activators / metabolism*
  • Tumor Cells, Cultured
  • bcl-X Protein


  • BCL2L1 protein, human
  • DNA-Binding Proteins
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-bcl-2
  • STAT3 Transcription Factor
  • STAT3 protein, human
  • Trans-Activators
  • bcl-X Protein
  • Cyclin D1
  • Epidermal Growth Factor
  • ErbB Receptors