FGF8b oncogene mediates proliferation and invasion of Epstein–Barr virus-associated nasopharyngeal carcinoma cells: implication for viral-mediated FGF8b upregulation
Fibroblast growth factor 8, isoform b (FGF8b), has been implicated in the oncogenesis of the prostate and mammary epithelia. We examined whether overexpression of FGF8b in a weakly tumorigenic prostate carcinoma cell line, LNCaP, could alter the growth and tumorigenic properties of these cells. LNCaP cells were infected with a lentivirus vector carrying FGF8b cDNA and the green fluorescent protein (GFP) cDNA in the same construct, and the infected cell population was sorted on the basis of GFP protein expression. It was demonstrated that, in comparison with the cells transduced with GFP-vector alone, LNCaP cells with FGF8b-GFP expression manifested an increased growth rate, higher soft agar clonogenic efficiency, enhanced in vitro invasion, and increased in vivo tumorigenesis. Most strikingly, whereas parental or vector-control LNCaP cells failed to grow at all in an in vivo tumorigenesis/diaphragm invasion assay in nude mice, the cells overexpressing FGF8b proliferated as deposits of tumor cells on the diaphragm, frequently with indications of tumor cell invasion into the diaphragm. Coculturing of primary prostatic or non-prostatic stromal cells with the infected LNCaP cells led us to observe that: (a) stromal cells, irrespective of tissue origin, strongly suppressed LNCaP cell growth; (b) FGF8b producing LNCaP cells could partially evade the stromal inhibition, perhaps from the autocrine stimulatory effect of FGF8b; and (c) production of FGF8b in the coculture had a stimulatory effect on the proliferation of the stromal cells, prostatic or non-prostatic. This stimulation was not attributable to the direct action of FGF8b on stromal cells. Instead, it appears that epithelial-stromal cell-cell contact and some unknown soluble factors secreted by LNCaP cells upon stimulation of FGF8b are required for the maximal effect. Together, these results suggest that the growth rate and biological behavior of prostatic cancer cells can be altered to a more aggressive phenotype by up-regulation of FGF8b expression. These changes in phenotype also influence the interaction of the affected cells with stromal cells. The data obtained may have direct relevance to the progression of prostate cancer, recognizing that FGF8b is naturally overexpressed in advanced disease.