Integrins and integrin-linked kinase (ILK) are essential to cancerous invasion because they mediate physical interactions with the extracellular matrix, and regulate oncogenic signaling pathways. The purpose of our study is to determine whether deletion of β1 and β4 integrin and ILK, alone or in combination, has antitumoral effects in ovarian cancer. Expression of β1 and β4 integrin and ILK was analyzed by immunohistochemistry in 196 ovarian cancer tissue samples. We assessed the effects of depleting these molecules with shRNAs in ovarian cancer cells by Western blot, conventional RT-PCR, cell proliferation, migration, invasion, and in vitro Rac1 activity assays, and in vivo xenograft formation assays. Overexpression of β4 integrin and ILK in human ovarian cancer specimens was found to correlate with tumor aggressiveness. Depletion of these targets efficiently suppresses ovarian cancer cell proliferation, migration, and invasion in vitro and xenograft tumor formation in vivo. We also demonstrated that single depletion of ILK or combination depletion of β4 integrin/ILK inhibits phosphorylation of downstream signaling targets, p-Ser 473 Akt and p-Thr202/Tyr204 Erk1/2, and activation of Rac1, as well as reduce expression of MMP-2 and MMP-9 and increase expression of caspase-3 in vitro. In conclusion, targeting β4 integrin combined with ILK can instigate the latent tumorigenic potential and abrogate the invasive potential in ovarian cancer.
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