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Head Neck. 2009 Jun;31(6):793-801. doi: 10.1002/hed.21045.

Increased mRNA expression of ADAMTS metalloproteinases in metastatic foci of head and neck cancer.

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Department of Molecular Biology and Biochemistry, Graduate School of Medicine, Dentistry and Pharmaceutical Sciences, Okayama University, Shikatacho, Okayama, Japan.



Although contribution of matrix metalloproteinases in cancer progression and dissemination is now well known, roles of recently discovered metalloproteinases, a disintegrin and metalloproteinase with thrombospondin motifs (ADAMTS), in cancer development and progression remain mostly unknown.


Here we examined the mRNA expression pattern of 6 members of ADAMTS aggrecanases (1, 4, 5, 8, 9, and 15) in primary head and neck cancer with and without metastasis by real-time reverse transcriptase-polymerase chain reaction.


Expression levels of ADAMTS mRNAs were lower in the majority of the primary tumors as compared with the controls. On the other hand, the expression levels of all of the ADAMTS mRNAs except ADAMTS4 were higher in the metastatic foci than in their corresponding primary tumors, which suggest that characteristics of the cancer cell population are different in the primary tumor and metastatic focus.


Our findings suggest a metastasis model proposing accumulation of a subtype of cancer cells with high metastatic capacity within heterogenous primary tumor cell population.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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