Growth factor-dependent activation of the MAPK pathway in human pancreatic cancer: MEK/ERK and p38 MAP kinase interaction in uPA synthesis

Clin Exp Metastasis. 2003;20(6):499-505. doi: 10.1023/a:1025824816021.


Increased expression of the hepatocyte growth factor (HGF) receptor (c-met) and urokinase type plasminogen (uPA) correlated with the development and metastasis of cancers. To investigate the role of HGF/c-met signaling on metastasis in cancer cells stimulated with HGF, we examined the effects of a specific MEK1 inhibitor (PD98059) and a p38 MAP kinase inhibitor (SB203580) on HGF-induced uPA expression in pancreatic cancer cell lines, L3.6PL and IMIM-PC2. Pretreatment of PD98059 decreased HGF-mediated phosphorylation of extracellular receptor kinase (ERK), uPA secretion and expression of matrix metalloproteinases (MMP-2 and MMP-9) in a dose-dependent manner. In contrast, SB203580 pretreatment increased HGF-stimulated ERK phosphorylation, uPA secretion and expression of MMPs. SB203580 also reversed the inhibition of HGF-mediated ERK activation and uPA secretion in the PD98059-pretreated cells. These results suggest that ERK activation by HGF might play important roles in the metastasis of pancreatic cancer and the p38 MAPK pathway also involved in the HGF-mediated uPA secretion and metastasis by regulation of ERK pathway.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Cell Division / drug effects
  • Enzyme Activation / drug effects
  • Enzyme Inhibitors / pharmacology
  • Flavonoids / pharmacology
  • Hepatocyte Growth Factor / pharmacology*
  • Humans
  • Imidazoles / pharmacology*
  • MAP Kinase Kinase Kinase 1*
  • MAP Kinase Signaling System / genetics
  • MAP Kinase Signaling System / physiology*
  • Matrix Metalloproteinase 2 / metabolism
  • Matrix Metalloproteinase 9 / metabolism
  • Mitogen-Activated Protein Kinases / antagonists & inhibitors
  • Mitogen-Activated Protein Kinases / metabolism*
  • Pancreatic Neoplasms / enzymology*
  • Pancreatic Neoplasms / pathology*
  • Phosphorylation
  • Protein-Serine-Threonine Kinases / antagonists & inhibitors
  • Protein-Serine-Threonine Kinases / metabolism*
  • Pyridines / pharmacology*
  • Tumor Cells, Cultured
  • Urokinase-Type Plasminogen Activator / metabolism*
  • p38 Mitogen-Activated Protein Kinases


  • Enzyme Inhibitors
  • Flavonoids
  • Imidazoles
  • Pyridines
  • Hepatocyte Growth Factor
  • Protein-Serine-Threonine Kinases
  • Mitogen-Activated Protein Kinases
  • p38 Mitogen-Activated Protein Kinases
  • MAP Kinase Kinase Kinase 1
  • MAP3K1 protein, human
  • Urokinase-Type Plasminogen Activator
  • Matrix Metalloproteinase 2
  • Matrix Metalloproteinase 9
  • SB 203580
  • 2-(2-amino-3-methoxyphenyl)-4H-1-benzopyran-4-one