The metastasis-promoting protein S100A4 induces expression of ephrin-A1 and osteopontin in osteosarcoma cell lines. The aim of this study was to investigate S100A4-mediated stimulation of ephrin-A1 and osteopontin in non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) cell lines, and to characterize the expression of these biomarkers in primary tumor tissue from NSCLC patients.
Four NSCLC cell lines were treated with extracellular S100A4, and ephrin-A1 and osteopontin expression was analyzed by real time RT-PCR and Western blotting. Immunohistochemical staining for S100A4, ephrin-A1 and osteopontin was performed on tissue microarrays containing primary tumor samples from a cohort of 217 prospectively recruited NSCLC patients, and associations with clinicopathological parameters were investigated.
S100A4 induced ephrin-A1 mRNA and protein expression in adenocarcinoma, but not in squamous carcinoma cell lines, whereas the level of osteopontin was unaffected by S100A4 treatment. In primary tumors, moderate or strong immunoreactivity was observed in 57% of cases for cytoplasmic S100A4, 46% for nuclear S100A4, 86% for ephrin-A1 and 77% for osteopontin. Interestingly, S100A4 expression was associated with ephrin-A1 also in vivo, but there was no association between S100A4 and osteopontin. Expression levels of S100A4 and ephrin-A1 were significantly higher in adenocarcinomas compared to other histological subtypes, and S100A4-positive tumors were smaller and more differentiated than tumors without expression.
Our findings suggest that S100A4, ephrin-A1 and osteopontin are involved in the biology of NSCLC, and further investigation of their potential use as biomarkers in NSCLC is warranted.
Keywords: S100A4, Ephrin-A1, Osteopontin, NSCLC, Immunohistochemistry