Osteosarcoma is the most common primary malignancy of bone and is characterized by a high malignant and metastatic potential. Transforming growth factor alpha (TGF-α) is classified as the EGF (epidermal growth factor)-like family, which is involved in cancer cellular activities such as proliferation, motility, migration, adhesion and invasion abilities. However, the effect of TGF-α on human osteosarcoma is largely unknown. We found that TGF-α increased the cell migration and expression of intercellular adhesion molecule-1 (ICAM-1) in human osteosarcoma cells. Transfection of cells with ICAM-1 siRNA reduced TGF-α-mediated cell migration. We also found that the phosphatidylinositol 3′-kinase (PI3K)/Akt/NF-κB pathway was activated after TGF-α treatment, and TGF-α-induced expression of ICAM-1 and cell migration was inhibited by the specific inhibitors and siRNAs of PI3K, Akt, and NF-κB cascades. In addition, knockdown of TGF-α expression markedly decreased cell metastasis in vitro and in vivo. Our results indicate that TGF-α/EGFR interaction elicits PI3K and Akt activation, which in turn activates NF-κB, resulting in the expression of ICAM-1 and contributing the migration of human osteosarcoma cells.
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