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Breast Cancer Res Treat. 1993;24(3):241-55.

Molecular and cellular analysis of basement membrane invasion by human breast cancer cells in Matrigel-based in vitro assays.

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Vincent T. Lombardi Cancer Research Center, Georgetown University Medical Center, Washington, DC 20007.


In vitro analyses of basement membrane invasiveness employing Matrigel (a murine tumor extract rich in basement membrane components) have been performed on human breast cancer model systems. Constitutive invasiveness of different human breast cancer (HBC) cell lines has been examined as well as regulation by steroid hormones, growth factors, and oncogenes. Carcinoma cells exhibiting a mesenchymal-like phenotype (vimentin expression, lack of cell border associated uvomorulin) show dramatically increased motility, invasiveness, and metastatic potential in nude mice. These findings support the hypothesis that epithelial to mesenchymal transition (EMT)-like events may be instrumental in the metastatic progression of human breast cancer. The MCF-7 subline MCF-7ADR appears to have undergone such a transition. The importance of such a transition may be reflected in the emergence of vimentin expression as an indicator of poor prognosis in HBC. Matrix degradation and laminin recognition are highlighted as potential targets for antimetastatic therapy, and analyses of laminin attachment and the matrix metalloproteinase (MMP) family in HBC cell lines are summarized. Matrigel-based assays have proved useful in the study of the molecular mechanisms of basement membrane invasiveness, their regulation in HBC cells, and their potential as targets for antimetastatic therapy.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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