Cancer cells are surrounded by the extracellular fluid, matrix, and stroma cells. Little is known about how extracellular components such as growth factor ligands affect the biology of lung cancer cells. The objective of this study was to determine whether extracellular fibroblast growth factors (FGFs) can affect the biology of lung cancer cells and to understand how extracellular FGFs affect the biology of lung cancer cells, including non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) and small cell lung cancer (SCLC) cells. Out of the 23 reported FGFs, we focused on FGF2, FGF9 and FGF10. We examined the effect of FGFs on proliferation, treatment sensitivity, and apoptosis of NSCLC (PC9) and SCLC (H69, H82 and H146) cells in vitro. To determine which FGF was the most clinically relevant, we also examined FGF2 and FGF9 concentrations in the serum of patients with lung cancer. We found that extracellular FGFs can affect proliferation, treatment sensitivity, and apoptosis of lung cancer cells in a cell-specific manner. Our results indicate that extracellular FGFs affect the biology of lung cancer cells through multiple functions.
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