Using double immunofluorescence staining and quantitative confocal laser scan microscopy, we show that the intensity of hepatocyte growth factor/scatter factor (HGF/SF) and Met staining in human primary brain tumors increases with the grade of malignancy and is prevalent in both the infiltrating tumor cells and endothelial hyperplastic areas. HGF/SF and Met also are expressed in vitro in glioblastoma multiforme cell lines as well as in normal human astrocyte (NHA) cells. Moreover, HGF/SF stimulates tyrosine phosphorylation of Met in both glioma cell lines and NHA cells, but only the glioma cell lines proliferate and become motile and invasive in response to HGF/SF, whereas the NHA cells are nonresponsive. These results implicate autocrine/paracrine Met-HGF/SF signaling in glioma tumorigenesis and suggest that HGF/SF signaling through Met is negatively regulated in NHA cells.

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Sponsored by the National Cancer Institute, Department of Health and Human Services, under contract with ABL.

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