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Oncotarget. 2017 Feb 7;8(6):9717-9738. doi: 10.18632/oncotarget.14206.

The expression of Nectin-4 on the surface of ovarian cancer cells alters their ability to adhere, migrate, aggregate, and proliferate.

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Department of Laboratory Medicine and Pathology, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN, USA.


The cell adhesion molecule Nectin-4 is overexpressed in epithelial cancers, including ovarian cancer. The objective of this study was to determine the biological significance of Nectin-4 in the adhesion, aggregation, migration, and proliferation of ovarian cancer cells. Nectin-4 and its binding partner Nectin-1 were detected in patients' primary tumors, omental metastases, and ascites cells. The human cell lines NIH:OVCAR5 and CAOV3 were genetically modified to alter Nectin-4 expression. Cells that overexpressed Nectin-4 adhered to Nectin-1 in a concentration and time-dependent manner, and adhesion was inhibited by antibodies to Nectin-4 and Nectin-1, as well as synthetic Nectin peptides. In functional assays, CAOV3 cells with Nectin-4 knock-down were unable to form spheroids and migrated more slowly than CAOV3 parental cells expressing Nectin-4. NIH:OVCAR5 parental cells proliferated more rapidly, migrated faster, and formed larger spheroids than either the Nectin-4 knock-down or over-expressing cells. Parental cell lines expressed higher levels of epithelial markers and lower levels of mesenchymal markers compared to Nectin-4 knock-down cells, suggesting a role for Nectin-4 in epithelial-mesenchymal transition. Our results demonstrate that Nectin-4 promotes cell-cell adhesion, migration, and proliferation. Understanding the biology of Nectin-4 in ovarian cancer progression is critical to facilitate its development as a novel therapeutic target.


Nectin-4; cell adhesion; migration; ovarian cancer; spheroids

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