Research Papers:

CCL20 induces colorectal cancer neoplastic epithelial cell proliferation, migration, and further CCL20 production through autocrine HGF-c-Met and MSP-MSPR signaling pathways

Bisweswar Nandi, Jonathan Pastrana Del Valle, Mehmet K. Samur, Allison J. Gibbons, Rao H. Prabhala, Nikhil C. Munshi and Jason S. Gold _

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Oncotarget. 2021; 12:2323-2337. https://doi.org/10.18632/oncotarget.28131

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Bisweswar Nandi1,2,6, Jonathan Pastrana Del Valle1,2,3,7, Mehmet K. Samur2,4, Allison J. Gibbons1, Rao H. Prabhala1,2,4, Nikhil C. Munshi1,2,4,5 and Jason S. Gold1,2,6,7

1 Research Service, VA Boston Healthcare System, West Roxbury, MA, USA

2 Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA, USA

3 Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Boston, MA, USA

4 Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Boston, MA, USA

5 Medicine Service, VA Boston Healthcare System, West Roxbury, MA, USA

6 Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Boston, MA, USA

7 Surgery Service, VA Boston Healthcare System, West Roxbury, MA, USA

Correspondence to:

Jason S. Gold, email: [email protected]

Keywords: CCL20; CCR6; HGF; MSP; colorectal cancer

Received: June 15, 2021     Accepted: September 28, 2021     Published: November 23, 2021

Copyright: © 2021 Nandi et al. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY 3.0), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.


CCL20-CCR6 interactions promote colorectal cancer through direct effects on neoplastic epithelial cells and through modulating the tumor microenvironment. The mechanism of these effects on neoplastic epithelial cells is poorly understood. This study demonstrates that CCL20 induces secretion of hepatocyte growth factor (HGF) and phosphorylation of HGF’s cognate receptor c-Met in HT29 and HCT116 colorectal cancer cell lines both in concentration- and time-dependent manners. Similar to CCL20, HGF induces migration, autofeedback CCL20 secretion, and ERK1/2 phosphorylation in the colon cancer cells. CCL20-dependent ERK1/2 phosphorylation is blocked by HGF inhibition, and CCL20-dependent migration and CCL20 secretion are blocked by inhibition of HGF or ERK. Interestingly, unlike CCL20, HGF does not induce proliferation of colon cancer cells, and CCL20-dependent cell proliferation is not blocked by direct HGF inhibition. CCL20-dependent proliferation, however, is blocked by the multi-tyrosine kinase inhibitor crizotinib. Exploring this effect, it was found that CCL20 also induces production of MSP and phosphorylation of MSP’s receptor MSPR by the colorectal cancer cells. CCL20-dependent cell proliferation is inhibited by directly blocking MSP-MSPR interactions. Thus, CCL20-mediated migration and CCL20 secretion are regulated through a pathway involving HGF, c-Met, and ERK, while CCL20-mediated proliferation is instead regulated through MSP and its receptor MSPR.

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