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September 1994

In Vitro Urokinase Type Plasminogen Activator Levels and Total Plasminogen Activator Activity in Squamous Cell Carcinomas of the Head and Neck

Author Affiliations

From the Department of Otolaryngology, Eye and Ear Institute of Pittsburgh (Pa) and University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine. Dr Petruzzelli is now with the Department of Otolaryngology–Head and Neck Surgery, Loyola University Medical Center, Maywood, Ill.

Arch Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg. 1994;120(9):989-992. doi:10.1001/archotol.1994.01880330067012

Objective:  Determine total plasminogen activitor (PA) activity and urokinase-type plasminogen activator (u-PA) levels in cell-free supernatants derived from primary and metastatic squamous cell carcinoma of the head and neck.

Design:  Plasminogen activator activity was measured by spectrophotometric assay with chromogenic substrate Val-Leu-Lys-para-nitroanilide. Urokinase-type plasminogen activator levels were measured with enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay technique.

Results:  Fourteen established squamous cell carcinoma lines from patients with head and neck cancer were assayed for both total PA activity and u-PA levels at 24 to 48 hours of incubation. Compared with control and fibroblast-conditioned media, cell lines established from squamous cell carcinoma of the head and neck had significantly (P<.005) higher levels of both total PA activity and u-PA levels. Linear regression analysis showed a positive correlation (r=.65, P=.007) between total PA activity and u-PA levels.

Conclusions:  Squamous cell carcinomas of the head and neck are able to activate plasminogen and produce u-PA in vitro. The production of PA by squamous cell carcinomas of the head and neck may play an important role in the biology of invasion and metastasis.(Arch Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg. 1994;120:989-992)

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