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Cancer Res. 2004 Jun 15;64(12):4190-6.

Overexpression of ADAM9 in non-small cell lung cancer correlates with brain metastasis.

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  • 1Department of Molecular Pathology, School of Allied Health Science, Osaka University Faculty of Medicine, Suita, Japan.


The "a disintegrin and metalloprotease" (ADAM) family contributes to regulation of the cell-cell and cell-matrix interactions that are critical determinants of malignancy. To determine the relationship between metastasis and ADAM proteins, we compared the mRNA levels of ADAM9, -10, -12, -15, and -17 in sublines of an EBC-1 lung cancer cell line that were highly metastatic to either brain or bone. ADAM9 mRNA levels were significantly higher in highly brain-metastatic sublines than in the parent or highly bone-metastatic sublines. To elucidate the role of ADAM9 in brain metastasis, we stably transfected A549 and EBC-1 cells with a full-length ADAM9 expression vector. Compared with mock-transfectants, ADAM9 overexpression resulted in increased invasive capacity in response to nerve growth factor, increased adhesion to brain tissue, and increased expression of integrin alpha 3 and beta 1 subunits. Administration of the anti-beta 1 monoclonal antibody attenuated this increase in invasive and adhesive activity. Intravenous administration of ADAM9-overexpressing A549 cells to mice resulted in micrometastatic foci in the brain and multiple metastatic colonies in the lungs. In contrast, administration of parent and mock-transfected A549 cells to mice resulted in lung tumors without brain metastasis. These results suggest that ADAM9 overexpression enhances cell adhesion and invasion of non-small cell lung cancer cells via modulation of other adhesion molecules and changes in sensitivity to growth factors, thereby promoting metastatic capacity to the brain.

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