Fibronectin plays an important role in gastric cancer progression. However, little is known about the microenvironmental factors modulating integrin-dependent interactions between gastric cancer cells and fibronectin. We therefore studied the regulation by fibroblasts of the integrin-dependent adhesion and migration of the gastric cancer cell line HGT-1 onto fibronectin. We first determined, by immunofluorescence, immunoblotting and flow cytometry, that HGT-1 cells expressed alpha3, alpha5, alpha6, alphaV and beta1 integrin chains, and the alphaVbeta3 and alphaVbeta5 dimers. We verified that HGT-1 cells xenografted to the immunosuppressed newborn rat retained the integrin repertoire detected in vitro and were able to induce the formation of tumors rich in fibronectin. By using an in vitro assay in the presence of neutralizing antibodies, we verified that HGT-1 adhesion and migration onto fibronectin involved beta1, alphaV and alpha5 integrin chains; we verified, by using an in situ adhesion test to rat gastric wall frozen sections, that in situ HGT-1 adhesion to fibronectin was integrin dependent. In coculture experiments, we showed that organ-specific fibroblasts from stomach, lung and dermis were able to induce, in a site-specific manner, the expression of beta1, alpha5 and alphaV integrin chains in HGT-1 cells, their integrin-dependent adhesion and migration on fibronectin and their capacity to secrete oncofetal fibronectin. In conclusion, our results show the capacity for tissue-derived fibroblasts to modulate the integrin-dependent interactions between the gastric cell line HGT-1 and fibronectin. They strongly suggest that, in gastric cancer, stromal fibroblasts contribute to promote fibronectin-mediated local invasion by tumor cells.
Copyright 2004 Wiley-Liss, Inc.