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ADAM8 expression in breast cancer derived brain metastases: Functional implications on MMP-9 expression and transendothelial migration in breast cancer cells

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Catharina Conrad, Malena Go¨tte, Uwe Schlomann, Marion Roessler, Axel Pagenstecher, Peter Anderson, Jane Preston, Jessica Pruessmeyer, Andreas Ludwig, Ran Li, Roger D. Kamm, Rainer Ritz, Barbara Carl, Christopher Nimsky, Jo¨rg W. Bartsch

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)779-791
JournalInternational Journal of Cancer
Issue number4
Early online date31 Oct 2017
Accepted/In press18 Sep 2017
E-pub ahead of print31 Oct 2017
Published15 Feb 2018

King's Authors


Metastatic breast cancer affects long-term survival and is a major cause of cancer death for women worldwide. The Metalloprotease-Disintegrin ADAM8 promotes breast cancer development and brain metastasis in a mouse breast cancer model. Here, abundant ADAM8 expression was detected in primary human breast tumors and associated brain metastases. To investigate the function of ADAM8 in metastasis, MB-231 breast cancer cells with ADAM8 knockdown (MB-231_shA8) and scramble control cells (MB-231_shCtrl) were analyzed for their capability to develop metastases. In vitro, formation of metastatic complexes in hanging drops is dependent on ADAM8 and blocked by ADAM8 inhibition. MB-231_shA8 in contrast to MB-231_shCtrl cells were impaired in transmigration through an endothelial and a reconstituted blood-brain barrier. Out of 23 MMP and 22 ADAM genes, only the MMP-9 gene was affected by ADAM8 knockdown in MB-231_shA8 cells. Following re-expression of wild-type ADAM8 in contrast to ADAM8 lacking the cytoplasmic domain in MB-231_shA8 cells caused increased levels of activated pERK1/2 and pCREB (S133) that were associated with elevated MMP-9 transcription. Application of ADAM8 and MMP-9 antibodies reduced transmigration of MB-231 cells suggesting that ADAM8 affects transmigration of breast cancer cells by MMP-9 regulation. ADAM8-dependent transmigration was confirmed in Hs578t cells overexpressing ADAM8. Moreover, transmigration of MB-231 and Hs578t cells was significantly reduced for cells treated with an antibody directed against P-selectin glycoprotein ligand (PSGL-1), a substrate of ADAM8. From these data we conclude that ADAM8 promotes early metastatic processes such as transendothelial migration by upregulation of MMP-9 and shedding of PSGL-1 from breast cancer cells.

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