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Am J Pathol. 2013 Jan;182(1):266-76. doi: 10.1016/j.ajpath.2012.10.003. Epub 2012 Nov 16.

Melanoma cells use Thy-1 (CD90) on endothelial cells for metastasis formation.

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Department of Dermatology, Venerology and Allergology, Medical Faculty of the Leipzig University, Leipzig, Germany.


The cell adhesion molecule Thy-1 (CD90) mediates the adhesion of melanoma cells to activated human endothelial cells (EC) via the interaction with the αvβ3-integrin on the tumor cells in vitro. Here, we report a strong expression of Thy-1 on both blood vessel and lymphatic EC in melanoma and melanoma metastases. Vascular endothelial growth factor and tumor necrosis factor-α were identified as inducers of Thy-1 expression on EC in vitro. The physiological role of Thy-1 for lymphogenic and hematogenic metastasis of melanoma cells was substantiated in an experimental metastasis model using B16/F10 melanoma cells. Mice lacking Thy-1 showed markedly diminished experimental lung metastasis after injection of B16/F10 melanoma cells compared to wild-type littermate controls. In addition, on generation of a primary subcutaneous tumor, metastasis to regional lymph nodes was clearly reduced in Thy-1(-/-) mice. However, Thy-1 deletion did not affect subcutaneous primary tumor growth, tumor-induced recruitment of inflammatory cells or T cells, angiogenesis, or T-cell activation. In conclusion, Thy-1 contributes to metastasis of melanoma cells by mechanisms likely involving a Thy-1-mediated adhesion of melanoma cells to EC.

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