All-Trans Retinoic Acid Induces Proliferation, Survival, and Migration in A549 Lung Cancer Cells by Activating the ERK Signaling Pathway through a Transcription-Independent Mechanism

Published on Tuesday, 05 January 2016


All-trans retinoic acid (ATRA) has been used as an antineoplastic because of its ability to promote proliferation, inhibition, and differentiation, primarily in leukemia; however, in other types of cancer, such as lung cancer, treatment with ATRA is restricted because not all the patients experience the same results.

The ERK signaling pathway is dysregulated in cancer cells, including lung cancer, and this dysregulation promotes proliferation and cell invasion.

In this study, we demonstrate that treatment with ATRA can activate the ERK signaling pathway by a transcription-independent mechanism through a signaling cascade that involves RARα and PI3K, promoting growth, survival, and migration in lung cancer cells.

Until now, this mechanism was unknown in lung cancer cells. The inhibition of the ERK signaling pathway restores the beneficial effects of ATRA, reduces proliferation, increases apoptosis, and blocks the cell migration process in lung cancer cells.

In conclusion, our results suggest that the combination of ATRA with ERK inhibitor in clinical trials for lung cancer is warranted.



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See also All-Trans-Retinoic Acid (ATRA - analogues and/or derivatives).