JOURNAL ARTICLE
RESEARCH SUPPORT, U.S. GOV'T, P.H.S.
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STAT3 activation abrogates growth factor dependence and contributes to head and neck squamous cell carcinoma tumor growth in vivo.

Epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) is up-regulated and contributes to the loss of growth control in squamous cell carcinoma of the head and neck (SCCHN). Previously, we reported an association between autocrine stimulation of EGFR and constitutive signal transducers and activators of transcription (STAT) 3 activation in SCCHN cells in vitro and in vivo. Here, we evaluated the role of activated STAT3 in tumor progression and EGFR-independent mitogenic signaling. We found that SCCHN cells stably transfected with a dominant active STAT3 construct expressed elevated levels of STAT3 target genes, including Bcl-X(L) and cyclin D1, and demonstrated increased proliferation in vitro and more rapid tumor growth rates in vivo. Cell cycle analysis demonstrated an increased proportion of STAT3 construct transfectants in G(2)-M. These findings provide evidence that constitutive STAT3 activation contributes to tumor growth in SCCHN, independent of the EGFR autocrine axis.

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