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J Pathol. 2005 Nov;207(3):324-35.

Type XIII collagen expression is induced during malignant transformation in various epithelial and mesenchymal tumours.

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Collagen Research Unit, Biocenter Oulu and Department of Medical Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, University of Oulu, PO Box 5000, 90014 University of Oulu, Finland.


Little information is available on the expression of transmembrane type XIII collagen in human diseases. The present study has investigated the expression of this collagen in cancer, in particular during malignant transformation. By combining the tissue microarray technique with in situ hybridization, a consistent pattern of clearly increased type XIII collagen mRNA expression was found in the stromal compartment of epithelial tumours and throughout mesenchymal tumours. Slightly elevated mRNA expression was observed in dysplastic samples and in malignant epithelial cells. It is also demonstrated that factors secreted into the culture medium by tumour cells, in particular the growth factor TGF-beta, contribute to the induction of type XIII collagen expression, and trigger concomitantly a profound phenotypic and morphological transition of cultured primary fibroblasts. Reciprocally, type XIII collagen may alter the growth milieu of malignant cells as the soluble type XIII collagen ectodomain influenced the adherence and spreading of cells cultured on vitronectin-rich matrix. It is proposed that malignant transformation stimulates the expression of type XIII collagen, particularly in the tumour stroma and to a lesser extent in the epithelium, and that this high type XIII collagen expression may contribute to tumour progression and behaviour by modulating cell-matrix interactions.

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