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Int J Cancer. 1994 Oct 15;59(2):191-5.

Expression of the extracellular matrix molecule thrombospondin inversely correlates with malignant progression in melanoma, lung and breast carcinoma cell lines.

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Laboratory of Pathology, National Cancer Institute, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, MD 20892.


Thrombospondin (TSP) is a member of a family of extracellular matrix glycoproteins that may participate in multiple aspects of the metastatic cascade. We report an inverse correlation of steady-state Thbs-1 mRNA and protein expression with malignant progression among murine melanoma and human lung and breast carcinoma cell lines. Murine K-1735 melanoma cell lines of low metastatic potential, including K-1735 lines transfected with the murine nm23-1 cDNA, expressed higher TSP levels than related highly metastatic lines. In a model system of lung carcinoma malignant progression, immortalized human bronchial epithelial cells expressed higher TSP levels than v-Ki-ras, v-Ha-ras or n-ras transfectants, which in turn expressed higher TSP levels than tumor-derived, more aggressive variants. Among 3 unrelated breast carcinoma cell lines, Thbs-1 steady-state mRNA levels were greater in the 2 non-metastatic lines than the metastatic line. Our data show that malignant progression in some cell lines is associated with reduced TSP expression. The suppressive effects of nm23-1 transfection on metastatic potential are also associated with increased TSP expression; ras transfection, which results in increased tumorigenesis, is associated with decreased TSP expression.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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