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Mol Cancer Res. 2011 Oct;9(10):1319-28. doi: 10.1158/1541-7786.MCR-11-0080. Epub 2011 Aug 8.

Macrophage-dependent cleavage of the laminin receptor α6β1 in prostate cancer.

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Department of Pharmacology, The University of Arizona, Tucson, AZ 85724, USA.


The laminin-binding integrin α6β1 plays a major role in determining the aggressive phenotype of tumor cells during metastasis. Our previous work has shown that cleavage of the α6β1 integrin to produce the structural variant α6pβ1 on tumor cell surfaces is mediated by the serine protease urokinase plasminogen activator (uPA). Cleavage of α6β1 increases tumor cell motility, invasion, and prostate cancer metastasis, and blockage of uPA inhibits α6pβ1 production. In human tumors, uPA and uPAR are expressed in tumor cells and tumor-associated macrophages (TAM). TAMs localize to solid tumors and contribute to increased tumor growth and the metastatic phenotype. In this study, we utilized a coculture system of PC-3 prostate tumor cells and macrophages [12-O-tetradecanoylphorbol-13-acetate (TPA)-differentiated human leukemia HL-60 cells] to investigate the hypothesis that macrophages stimulate the production of the prometastatic variant α6pβ1 on human prostate cancer cells via the uPA/uPAR axis. Our results indicate that adherent macrophages cocultured with PC-3 cells increased PC-3 uPAR mRNA, uPAR cell surface protein expression and α6 integrin cleavage. The stimulation does not require macrophage/tumor cell contact because macrophage conditioned medium is sufficient for increased uPAR transcription and α6 cleavage-dependent PC-3 cell invasion. The increased cleavage was dependent on uPAR because production was blocked by silencing RNA-targeting uPAR. These results indicate that macrophages can stimulate uPA/uPAR production in tumor cells which results in α6 integrin cleavage. These data suggest that TAMs promote prometastatic integrin-dependent pericellular proteolysis.

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