Tumor Biology

, Volume 37, Issue 10, pp 13509–13520 | Cite as

Fibronectin protects lung cancer cells against docetaxel-induced apoptosis by promoting Src and caspase-8 phosphorylation

  • Sida Qin
  • Boxiang Zhang
  • Guodong Xiao
  • Xin Sun
  • Gang Li
  • Guanghong Huang
  • Xiao Gao
  • Xiang Li
  • Huangzhen Wang
  • Chengcheng YangEmail author
  • Hong RenEmail author
Original Article


Fibronectin is involved in orchestrating many diverse cellular behaviors, including adhesion, invasion, differentiation, and proliferation and recently has also been shown to participate in the development of chemoresistance. In this study, we found that fibronectin expression was inversely correlated with clinical responses to docetaxel treatment in non-small cell lung cancer patients. Subsequently, we showed that fibronectin pretreatment could enhance cell viability and reduce apoptosis in docetaxel-treated lung cancer cells because fibronectin induced phosphorylated Src and caspase-8, rendering the later inactive, thus inhibiting docetaxel-induced apoptosis. The inhibition of apoptosis by fibronectin was found to be enhanced by Src overexpression and reversed by Src knockdown in lung cancer cells. Further investigation revealed that a downregulation of phospho-Src via treatment with a Src kinase inhibitor could also abolish fibronectin activity and recover docetaxel-induced apoptosis. Molecular studies revealed that this reversion was due to decreased phospho-Src levels rather than a reduction in total Src expression. Inhibition of phospho-Src reduced phospho-caspase-8 and promoted caspase-8 activity, restoring apoptosis following docetaxel and fibronectin co-treatment. Finally, xenografts experiments demonstrated that fibronectin promoted lung cancer cell proliferation during docetaxel treatment in vivo. Our findings indicate that fibronectin promotes Src and caspase-8 phosphorylation in lung cancer cells, which decreases caspase-8 activation and protects tumor cells from docetaxel-induced apoptosis. Therefore, the fibronectin/Src/caspase-8 pathway may play a crucial role in docetaxel resistance in lung cancer.


Lung cancer Fibronectin Docetaxel Apoptosis 



We would like to thank Edanz English Editing for editing the English language in the manuscript.

Compliance with ethical standards

All the clinical studies and animal studies were conducted in accordance with the protocol approved by the Ethics Committee of the First Affiliated Hospital of Xi’an Jiaotong University.


This study was supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (81402506).

Conflicts of interest



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Copyright information

© International Society of Oncology and BioMarkers (ISOBM) 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Sida Qin
    • 1
  • Boxiang Zhang
    • 1
  • Guodong Xiao
    • 1
  • Xin Sun
    • 1
  • Gang Li
    • 1
  • Guanghong Huang
    • 1
  • Xiao Gao
    • 1
  • Xiang Li
    • 1
  • Huangzhen Wang
    • 1
  • Chengcheng Yang
    • 2
    Email author
  • Hong Ren
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.Department Two of Thoracic SurgeryThe First Affiliated Hospital of Xi’an Jiaotong UniversityXi’anChina
  2. 2.Department of OncologyThe First Affiliated Hospital of Xi’an Jiaotong UniversityXi’anChina

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