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Downregulation of EphA2 expression suppresses the growth and metastasis in squamous-cell carcinoma of the head and neck in vitro and in vivo

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Our previous study has revealed that EphA2 overexpression is significantly associated with aggressive behavior and poor prognosis in patients with squamous-cell carcinoma of the head and neck (SCCHN). However, the function of EphA2 in tumorigenesis and cervical lymph node metastasis of SCCHN has never been elucidated in vivo.


EphA2 was knocked down in SCCHN cell lines. CCK-8 assays, fluorescence-activated cell sorting analysis, invasion and migration assays were performed in vitro. In vivo tumorigenicity assays were performed, and the impact on cervical lymph node metastasis was evaluated.


The present investigation demonstrated that suppression of EphA2 resulted in a significant inhibition of proliferation, migration, invasion of SCCHN cells in vitro and markedly diminished their tumorigenicity and lymph node metastasis in vivo.


These results suggest that EphA2 plays a critical role in SCCHN growth and metastasis and may be a promising therapeutic target to prevent the progression of SCCHN.

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This work was supported by grants from the National Natural Science Foundation of China (No:81172558, 81071757, 30872852, 30901664), the Key Program of Natural Science Foundation of Hunan Province (2010TP4012-1), the Research Fund for the Doctoral Program of Higher Education of China (20100162110036, 20090162110065) and the Fundamental Research Funds for the Central Universities.

Conflict of interest

We declare that we have no conflict of interest.

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Correspondence to Xin Zhang or Yongquan Tian.

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Liu, Y., Yu, C., Qiu, Y. et al. Downregulation of EphA2 expression suppresses the growth and metastasis in squamous-cell carcinoma of the head and neck in vitro and in vivo. J Cancer Res Clin Oncol 138, 195–202 (2012). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00432-011-1087-9

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  • Head and neck cancer
  • Squamous-cell carcinoma
  • Metastasis
  • Prognosis
  • EphA2