Inhibition of the JAK-2/STAT3 signaling pathway impedes the migratory and invasive potential of human glioblastoma cells

J Neurooncol. 2011 Feb;101(3):393-403. doi: 10.1007/s11060-010-0273-y. Epub 2010 Jun 30.


The objective of current treatment strategies for glioblastoma (GBM) is cytoreduction. Unfortunately, the deleterious migratory and invasive behavior of glial tumors remains largely unattended. The transcription factor signal transducer and activator of transcription (STAT) 3 is known to be involved in the development and progression of many different tumor types, including malignant gliomas. Beside other biological effects, STAT3 controls cell proliferation and tissue remodeling, processes common to both wound healing and tumor dissemination. Here, we report on impeded migratory and invasive potential of five different glioblastoma cell lines after treatment with AG490, a pharmacological inhibitor of the upstream STAT3 activator Janus kinase (JAK) 2. STAT3 was constitutively activated in all the cell lines tested, and treatment with AG490 eliminated the biologically active, tyrosine705-phosphorylated form of STAT3 in a dose-dependent fashion, as determined by Western blot analysis. Inhibition of activated STAT3 was paralleled by a decrease in transcriptional expression of the STAT3 target genes MMP-2 and MMP-9, and led to reduced proteolytic activity, as determined by zymography. Accordingly, the migratory behavior of all five GBM cell lines was impeded in monolayer wound-healing assays; invasive capacity in matrigel-coated trans-well assays was also hampered by treatment with AG490. The proliferative activity of the cell lines was also significantly reduced after treatment with AG490. The effects elicited by STAT3 inhibition were observed in both PTEN-expressing and PTEN-deficient cells. Because pharmacological inhibition of the JAK-2/STAT3 signaling pathway affects not only tumor cell proliferation but also the characteristic features of malignant gliomas, i.e. migration and invasion pertinent to invariable tumor recurrence and high morbidity, our findings support the idea that STAT3 is a suitable target in the treatment of brain tumors.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Apoptosis / drug effects
  • Blotting, Western
  • Brain Neoplasms / drug therapy*
  • Brain Neoplasms / metabolism
  • Brain Neoplasms / pathology
  • Cell Adhesion / drug effects
  • Cell Movement / drug effects
  • Cell Proliferation / drug effects
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Endothelium, Vascular / cytology
  • Endothelium, Vascular / drug effects
  • Endothelium, Vascular / metabolism
  • Enzyme Inhibitors / pharmacology*
  • Glioblastoma / drug therapy*
  • Glioblastoma / metabolism
  • Glioblastoma / pathology
  • Humans
  • Janus Kinase 2 / antagonists & inhibitors*
  • Janus Kinase 2 / metabolism
  • Matrix Metalloproteinase 2 / genetics
  • Matrix Metalloproteinase 2 / metabolism
  • Neoplasm Invasiveness
  • PTEN Phosphohydrolase / genetics
  • PTEN Phosphohydrolase / metabolism
  • Phosphorylation / drug effects
  • RNA, Messenger / genetics
  • Reverse Transcriptase Polymerase Chain Reaction
  • STAT3 Transcription Factor / antagonists & inhibitors*
  • STAT3 Transcription Factor / metabolism
  • Signal Transduction*
  • Tyrphostins / pharmacology*
  • Umbilical Veins / cytology
  • Umbilical Veins / drug effects
  • Umbilical Veins / metabolism
  • Wound Healing


  • Enzyme Inhibitors
  • RNA, Messenger
  • STAT3 Transcription Factor
  • Tyrphostins
  • alpha-cyano-(3,4-dihydroxy)-N-benzylcinnamide
  • JAK2 protein, human
  • Janus Kinase 2
  • PTEN Phosphohydrolase
  • PTEN protein, human
  • Matrix Metalloproteinase 2