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Cancer Res. 2005 Feb 1;65(3):898-906.

Tissue inhibitor of metalloproteinase-1 protects human breast epithelial cells from extrinsic cell death: a potential oncogenic activity of tissue inhibitor of metalloproteinase-1.

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  • 1Department of Pathology, Wayne State University School of Medicine, Karmanos Cancer Institute, 540 East Canfield Avenue, Detroit, MI 48201, USA.


Tissue inhibitors of metalloproteinases (TIMPs) inhibit matrix metalloproteinases and some members of a disintegrin and metalloproteinase domain (ADAM) family. In addition, recent studies unveiled novel functions of TIMPs in the regulation of apoptosis. TIMP-1 inhibits intrinsic apoptosis by inducing TIMP-1 specific cell survival pathways involving focal adhesion kinase (FAK). TIMP-3, however, was shown to enhance extrinsic cell death by inhibiting the shedding of the cell surface death receptors mediated by tumor necrosis factor-alpha converting enzymes (TACE/ADAM-17). Here, we examined whether TIMP-1, an inhibitor of some of the ADAM family members, enhances the tumor necrosis factor-related apoptosis-inducing ligand (TRAIL)-induced extrinsic apoptotic pathway. Surprisingly, we found that TIMP-1 effectively protects human breast epithelial cells from TRAIL-induced apoptosis, demonstrating opposite roles of TIMP-1 and TIMP-3 for the regulation of extrinsic apoptosis. TIMP-1 inhibition of TRAIL-induced apoptosis does not depend on its ability to inhibit matrix metalloproteinases or ADAM activities and is unrelated to its ability to stabilize active or decoy death receptors. Importantly, inhibition of PI 3-kinase signaling by wortmannin and down-regulation of FAK expression using siRNA significantly diminish TIMP-1 protection of human breast epithelial cells against TRAIL-induced extrinsic apoptosis. In addition, the in vitro three-dimensional culture studies showed that TIMP-1 inhibits lumen formation and apoptosis during morphogenesis of MCF10A acini. Taken together, these studies suggest that TIMP-1 may exert oncogenic activity in breast cancer through inhibition of both intrinsic and extrinsic apoptosis involving the FAK survival signal transduction pathway.

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