E-cadherin negatively regulates neoplastic growth in non-small cell lung cancer: Role of Rho GTPases

L. Asnaghi, W. C. Vass, R. Quadri, P. M. Day, X. Qian, R. Braverman, A. G. Papageorge, D. R. Lowy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Non-small cell lung cancers (NSCLC) that express the cell surface adhesion protein E-cadherin may carry a better prognosis than E-cadherin-negative tumors. Here, we found substantial inhibition of anchorage-independent growth in soft agar and cell migration in each of four NSCLC lines stably transfected with E-cadherin. The inhibitory effects were independent of the EGFR and Β-catenin/Wnt-signaling pathways. However, E-cadherin expression was associated with an adhesion-dependent reduction in the activity of Rho family proteins, RhoA in two lines and Cdc42 in the other two. The reduction of RhoA activity was dependent on DLC-1 Rho-GAP and p190 Rho-GAP and associated with an increase in a membrane-associated p190 Rho-GAP/p120 Ras-GAP complex. In parental cells with high levels of RhoA-GTP, siRNA-mediated knock-down of RhoA reduced cell migration and agar growth in a manner analogous to E-cadherin. In parental cells with high levels of Cdc42-GTP, transfection of a Cdc42 dominant-negative mutant reduced cell growth and migration similarly to cells expressing E-cadherin. Thus, E-cadherin can negatively regulate cell proliferation and migration in NSCLC by reducing the level of the predominant active form of Rho family protein, RhoA or Cdc42. These proteins can be considered downstream effectors of E-cadherin and might represent therapeutic targets in some NSCLC.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2760-2771
Number of pages12
Issue number19
StatePublished - May 13 2010


  • Cell migration
  • E-cadherin
  • Rho-family GTPases
  • Tumorigenesis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Genetics
  • Cancer Research

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