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Int J Cancer. 1994 Feb 1;56(3):331-6.

Coordinate enhancement of gelatinase A mRNA and activity levels in human fibroblasts in response to breast-adenocarcinoma cells.

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Laboratory of Biology, University of Liège, Belgium.


Gelatinases/type-IV collagenases are metalloproteinases involved in some carcinoma invasion and metastatic processes. The exact cellular source of the 72-kDa gelatinase A is controversial. We have analyzed the expression of mRNA coding for gelatinase A in vivo by in situ hybridization on breast-cancer tissues. The mRNA for gelatinase A was present in fibroblasts. We have therefore evaluated the gelatinase-A activity in vitro, in co-cultures of different breast adenocarcinoma cell lines and human fibroblasts. In monoculture, none of the tumor cells tested produced detectable amounts of gelatinase A. The gelatinase-A activity was enhanced in cultures of fibroblasts maintained in the presence of MDA-MB 231 or SKBR3 cells, or their conditioned medium. This increased enzymatic activity was evidenced both in the culture medium and in the membrane fraction and was paralleled by enhancement of the steady-state levels of mRNA. These results are an in vitro demonstration of a regulation of fibroblasts gelatinase-A production by soluble factors secreted by breast-tumor cells.

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