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J Cancer Res Clin Oncol. 2008 Mar;134(3):365-72. Epub 2007 Aug 2.

Ecto-5'-nucleotidase promotes invasion, migration and adhesion of human breast cancer cells.

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Department of Physiology and Pathophysiology, Shanghai Medical College, Fudan University, 138# Yixueyuan Road, Shanghai 200032, People's Republic of China.



Associated with many molecules, metastasis includes cell adhesion to extracellular matrix, migration towards specific direction and invasion into local vessel of distant organs. The purpose of the present study was to evaluate the role of ecto-5'-nucleotidase (eN, ecto-5-NT, CD73) generated extracellular adenosine in biologically malignant behaviors of human breast cancer cell lines.


Two human breast cancer cell lines, T-47D with lower expression of CD73 and MB-MDA-231 with higher expression of CD73, were used to investigate the functions of CD73. The effects of CD73 over-expression on invasion, migration and adhesion were observed in T-47D transfected with pcDNA-NT5E plasmid. The effects of specific CD73 inhibitor, alpha, ss-methylene ADP (APCP), were observed in MB-MDA-231 cells.


The results showed CD-73 overexpression increased invasion, migration and adhesion to ECM of the pcDNA-NT5E transfected T-47D cells compared to the saline and mock vector controls. The increased cell mobility of CD-73-overexpressed T-47D cells was blocked by APCP. Adenosine increased the mobility of wild type T-47D cells. APCP inhibited the mobility of the MB-MDA-231 cells.


Taken together, our results indicated that CD73 may facilitate the adhesion, migration and invasion of human breast cancer cells through its enzyme activity of generating adenosine. This study provided a possibly molecular mechanism of metastasis of breast carcinoma.

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