Targeting of urokinase plasminogen activator receptor in human pancreatic carcinoma cells inhibits c-Met- and insulin-like growth factor-I receptor-mediated migration and invasion and orthotopic tumor growth in mice

Cancer Res. 2005 Sep 1;65(17):7775-81. doi: 10.1158/0008-5472.CAN-05-0946.


Pancreatic carcinomas express high levels of urokinase-type plasminogen activator (uPA) and its receptor (uPAR), both of which mediate cell migration and invasion. We investigated the hypotheses that (a) insulin-like growth factor-I (IGF-I)- and hepatocyte growth factor (HGF)-mediated migration and invasion of human pancreatic carcinoma cells require uPA and uPAR function and (b) inhibition of uPAR inhibits tumor growth, retroperitoneal invasion, and hepatic metastasis of human pancreatic carcinomas in mice. Using transwell assays, we investigated the effect of IGF-I and HGF on L3.6pl migration and invasion. We measured the induction of uPA and uPAR following treatment of cells with IGF-I and HGF using immunoprecipitation and Western blot analysis. The importance of uPA and uPAR on L3.6pl cell migration and invasion was studied by inhibiting their activities with amiloride and antibodies before cytokine treatment. In an orthotopic mouse model of human pancreatic carcinoma, we evaluated the effect of anti-uPAR monoclonal antibodies with and without gemcitabine on primary tumor growth, retroperitoneal invasion, and hepatic metastasis. IGF-I and HGF mediated cell migration and invasion in L3.6pl cells. In addition, IGF-I and HGF induced uPA and uPAR expression in L3.6pl cells. In vitro, blockade of uPA and uPAR activity inhibited IGF-I- and HGF-mediated cell migration and invasion. Treatment of mice with anti-uPAR monoclonal antibody significantly decreased pancreatic tumor growth and hepatic metastasis and completely inhibited retroperitoneal invasion. Our study shows the importance of the uPA/uPAR system in pancreatic carcinoma cell migration and invasion. These findings suggest that uPAR is a potential target for therapy in patients with pancreatic cancer.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Amiloride / pharmacology
  • Animals
  • Antibodies, Monoclonal / pharmacology
  • Apoptosis / drug effects
  • Apoptosis / physiology
  • Cell Growth Processes / physiology
  • Cell Line, Tumor
  • Cell Movement / drug effects
  • Cell Movement / physiology*
  • Hepatocyte Growth Factor / pharmacology
  • Humans
  • Insulin-Like Growth Factor I / pharmacology
  • Liver Neoplasms, Experimental / secondary
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred BALB C
  • Mice, Nude
  • Neoplasm Invasiveness
  • Neovascularization, Pathologic
  • Pancreatic Neoplasms / blood supply
  • Pancreatic Neoplasms / pathology*
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-met / antagonists & inhibitors*
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-met / physiology
  • Receptor, IGF Type 1 / antagonists & inhibitors*
  • Receptor, IGF Type 1 / physiology
  • Receptors, Cell Surface / antagonists & inhibitors*
  • Receptors, Cell Surface / biosynthesis
  • Receptors, Cell Surface / immunology
  • Receptors, Urokinase Plasminogen Activator
  • Urokinase-Type Plasminogen Activator / antagonists & inhibitors
  • Urokinase-Type Plasminogen Activator / biosynthesis


  • Antibodies, Monoclonal
  • PLAUR protein, human
  • Plaur protein, mouse
  • Receptors, Cell Surface
  • Receptors, Urokinase Plasminogen Activator
  • Hepatocyte Growth Factor
  • Insulin-Like Growth Factor I
  • Amiloride
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-met
  • Receptor, IGF Type 1
  • Urokinase-Type Plasminogen Activator