Neuroblastoma continues to be a devastating childhood solid tumor and is responsible for over 15% of all childhood cancer-related deaths. Focal adhesion kinase (FAK) and vascular endothelial growth factor receptor-3 (VEGFR-3) are protein tyrosine kinases that are overexpressed in a number of human cancers, including neuroblastoma. These two kinases can directly interact and provide survival signals to cancer cells. In this study, we utilized siRNA to VEGFR-3 to demonstrate the biologic importance of this kinase in neuroblastoma cell survival. We also used confocal microscopy and immunoprecipitation to show that FAK and VEGFR-3 bind in neuroblastoma. Finally, employing a 12-amino-acid peptide (AV3) specific to VEGFR-3, we showed that the colocalization between FAK and VEGFR-3 could be disrupted, and that disruption resulted in decreased neuroblastoma cell survival. These studies provide insight to the FAK–VEGFR-3 interaction in neuroblastoma and demonstrate its importance in this tumor type. Focusing upon the FAK–VEGFR-3 interaction may provide a novel therapeutic target for the development of new strategies for treatment of neuroblastoma. © 2012 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.
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