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Biochem Biophys Res Commun. 2003 May 16;304(4):801-6.

Specific blockade of the ERK pathway inhibits the invasiveness of tumor cells: down-regulation of matrix metalloproteinase-3/-9/-14 and CD44.

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  • 1Laboratory of Cell Regulation, Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences, Nagasaki University, 1-14 Bunkyo-machi, Nagasaki 852-8521, J.apan


Elevated expression of matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs) is associated with increased metastatic potential in many tumor cells. As activation of the ERK pathway has been linked to the expression of MMP-9, we examined a possible correlation between ERK activation, MMP-9 expression, and invasive phenotype in human tumor cells. Activation state of the ERK pathway in tumor cells was well correlated with the invasive phenotype, which was determined by the ability of cells to invade through reconstituted extracellular matrix. Elevated expression of MMP-9 as well as of MMP-3, MMP-14, and CD44 was observed in tumor cells in which constitutive activation of the ERK pathway is detected. Blockade of the ERK pathway by treatment with PD184352, a specific and powerful inhibitor of mitogen-activated protein (MAP) kinase/ERK kinase (MEK), suppressed the expression of MMP-3, MMP-9, MMP-14, and CD44, and inhibited markedly the invasiveness of tumor cells. These results imply that, in addition to anti-proliferative effects, specific blockade of the ERK pathway is expected to result in anti-metastatic effects in tumor cells.

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