Wound fluid enhances cancer cell proliferation via activation of STAT3 signal pathway in vitro

Oncol Rep. 2019 May;41(5):2919-2926. doi: 10.3892/or.2019.7047. Epub 2019 Mar 7.


Wound healing begins immediately after surgery with a modification of the microenvironment via a well‑orchestrated interaction between cells, cytokines and growth factors. Some of these growth factors and cytokines have mitogenic effects on cancer cells, which may lead to enhanced cancer cell proliferation and early metastatic events. The present study aimed to investigate the effects of wound fluid (WF) on the head and neck squamous carcinoma cell lines FaDu and HLaC78 in vitro. WF was harvested from 7 patients who had undergone a planned neck dissection. The presence of cytokines and growth factors was evaluated with the dot blot assay. Proliferation and cell viability were investigated via MTT assay and Ki-67 staining. Cell invasion was measured via tree‑dimensional invasion assay. Western blotting was used to investigate STAT 3 activation. WF contained several cytokines and growth factors responsible for pro‑ and anti‑inflammation, chemotaxis, proliferation and angiogenesis. The proliferation effect of WF on FaDu and HLaC78 was concentration dependent. Media with 40% WF resulted in the highest proliferation effect. FaDu and HLaC78 exhibited enhanced motility after cultivation with 40% WF compared with cultivation with expansion medium. Cultivating cancer cells with WF had no advantageous effect on cell viability after the paclitaxel treatment. Western blot analysis revealed enhanced activation of the STAT3 signaling pathway by WF in both FaDu and HLaC78. In conclusion, surgery leads to excessive release of mitogenic factors. The contact of non‑resected cancer cells and these factors may have a negative impact on patient outcome. Future investigations should specifically focus on the inhibition of mitogenic factors following cancer surgery in order to prevent early metastasis and cancer recurrence.

MeSH terms

  • Cell Movement / physiology
  • Cell Proliferation / physiology
  • Cell Survival / physiology
  • Humans
  • Neoplasm Recurrence, Local / pathology*
  • Neoplasms / pathology*
  • Neoplasms / surgery
  • Postoperative Complications / pathology*
  • STAT3 Transcription Factor / metabolism*
  • Signal Transduction / physiology
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Wound Healing / physiology*


  • STAT3 Transcription Factor
  • STAT3 protein, human