Diverse tumorigenesis associated with aberrant development in mice overexpressing hepatocyte growth factor/scatter factor

Hisashi Takayama, William J. Larochelle, Richard Sharp, Toshiyuki Otsuka, Paul Kriebel, Miriam Anver, Stuart A. Aaronson, Glenn Merlino

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

365 Scopus citations


Hepatocyte growth factor/scatter factor (HGF/SF) is a mesenchymally derived, multifunctional paracrine regulator possessing mitogenic, motogenic, and morphogenetic activities in cultured epithelial cells containing its tyrosine kinase receptor, Met. c-met has been implicated in oncogenesis through correlation of expression with malignant phenotype in specific cell lines and tumors. Paradoxically, however, HGF/SF can also inhibit the growth of some tumor cells. To elucidate the oncogenic role of HGF/SF in vivo, transgenic mice were created such that HGF/SF was inappropriately targeted to a variety of tissues. HGF/SF transgenic mice developed a remarkably broad array of histologically distinct tumors of both mesenchymal and epithelial origin. Many neoplasms arose from tissues exhibiting abnormal development, including the mammary gland, skeletal muscle, and melanocytes, suggesting a functional link between mechanisms regulating morphogenesis and those promoting tumurigenesis. Most neoplasms, especially melanomas, demonstrated overexpression of both the HGF/SF transgene and endogenous c-met, and had enhanced Met kinase activity, strongly suggesting that autocrine signaling broadly promotes tumorigenesis. Thus, subversion of normal mesenchymal-epithelial paracrine regulation through the forced misdirection of HGF/SF expression induces aberrant morphogenesis and subsequent malignant transformation of cells of diverse origin.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)701-706
Number of pages6
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jan 21 1997


  • Autocrine loop
  • Breast cancer
  • Malignant melanoma
  • Met
  • Transgenic mice

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General


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