Constitutive activation of stat3 signaling abrogates apoptosis in squamous cell carcinogenesis in vivo

Jennifer Rubin Grandis, Stephanie D. Drenning, Qing Zeng, Simon C. Watkins, Mona F. Melhem, Sohei Endo, Daniel E. Johnson, Leaf Huang, Yukai He, Jae D. Kim

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

568 Scopus citations


Field cancerization predisposes the upper aerodigestive tract mucosa to the formation of multiple primary tumors, when exposed to environmental carcinogens. Up-regulation of epidermal growth factor receptor occurs early in squamous cell carcinogenesis and is critical for the loss of growth control in a variety of human cancers, including head and neck squamous cell carcinomas. In these tumor cells in culture, epidermal growth factor receptor stimulation initiates signaling via persistent activation of selective STAT proteins. To determine the timing of Stat3 activation in head and neck carcinogenesis, we studied the expression and constitutive activation of Stat3 in tumors and normal mucosa from patients with head and neck cancer compared with mucosa from controls without cancer. Stat3 was up-regulated and constitutively activated in both primary human head and neck tumors as well as in normal mucosa from these cancer patients compared with control normal mucosa from patients without cancer. In vivo liposome-mediated gene therapy with a Stat3 antisense plasmid efficiently inhibited Stat3 activation, increased tumor cell apoptosis, and decreased Bcl-XL expression in a head and neck xenograft model. These findings provide evidence that constitutively activated-Stat3 is an early event in head and neck carcinogenesis that contributes to the loss of growth control by an anti-apoptotic mechanism.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)4227-4232
Number of pages6
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Issue number8
StatePublished - Apr 11 2000
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General


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