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Blood. 1998 Nov 15;92(10):3694-700.

Protease-activated receptor 1 (PAR-1) is required and rate-limiting for thrombin-enhanced experimental pulmonary metastasis.

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New York University Medical Center and Kaplan Cancer Center, New York, NY, USA.


Thrombin-treated tumor cells induce a metastatic phenotype in experimental pulmonary murine metastasis. Thrombin binds to a unique protease-activated receptor (PAR-1) that requires N-terminal proteolytic cleavage for activation by its tethered end. A 14-mer thrombin receptor activation peptide (TRAP) of the tethered end induces the same cellular changes as thrombin. Four murine tumor cells (Lewis lung, CT26 colon CA, B16F10 melanoma, and CCL163 fibroblasts) contain PAR-1, as detected by reverse transcriptase-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR). B16F10 cells did not contain the two other thrombin receptors, PAR-3 and glycoprotein Ib. TRAP-treated B16F10 tumor cells enhance pulmonary metastasis 41- to 48-fold (n = 17). Thrombin-treated B16F10 cells transfected with full-length murine PAR-1 sense cDNA (S6, S7, S14, and S22) enhanced their adhesion to fibronectin 1.5- to 2.4-fold (n = 5, P <.04), whereas thrombin-treated wild-type cells do not. S6 (adhesion index, 1.5-fold) and S14 (index, 2.4-fold) when examined by RT-PCR and Northern analysis showed minimal expression of PAR-1 for S6 over wild-type and considerable expression for S14. Immunohistochemistry showed greater expression of PAR-1 for S14 compared with wild-type or empty-plasmid transfected cells. In vivo experiments with the thrombin-treated S14 transfectant showed a fivefold to sixfold increase in metastases compared with empty-plasmid transfected thrombin-treated naive cells or S6 cells (n = 20, P =.0001 to .02). Antisense had no effect on thrombin-stimulated tumor mass. Thus, PAR-1 ligation and expression enhances and regulates tumor metastasis.

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